Garmin Fenix Review by Staff Member Tehra Wieck
Before we get started, The Garmin Forerunner 945 is currently $100 off between November 15th and December 1st for a pre-holiday sale. If you’re thinking of gifting one to yourself or a very lucky significant other, now is a great time to grab one: https://austintrailrunning.com/product/garmin-forerunner945/
I’ve been using the new Garmin Forerunner 945 for a few months now, and so far I love it. Before this watch I used the Suunto Spartan Sport for running, and before that, the Garmin Vivo Active. What I hoped to gain by switching from the Spartan Sport to the 945 was:
- a longer battery life,
- a smaller profile watch
- heart rate wrist monitor.
So far the battery life seems so much better than the Spartan Sport, which could only get me through a 50K. I wore the Forerunner 945 at the Mellow Paleface Marathon in September out of the box and my battery still looked fully charged at the end of it. In fact I went on three more runs with it before I decided to charge it and it was still at 44%.
One thing I love about this watch, is how much data it gives you. Just from scrolling through the watch face, I can see:
- Estimated VO2Max & 5K estimate time
- Training Status (went from “Productive” to “Peaking”)
- Health Stats (Heart Rate, Stress Level, and Body Battery)
- Stats for the day (weekly minutes at intensity, floors climbed, # of steps, calories burned)
- Oxygen level
- Text and voice messages
- Outside temp and forecast
- Exercise 30 day history
- Weekly mileage and;
- last activity.
From each one of those screens you can select it and scroll through to get deeper into the data.
I’ve also slept with the watch to get an idea of what my sleeping patterns are like. The watch is smart, and knows when you are just laying there. You can’t trick it. On days when I’ve woken up knowing I slept awful, but also thinking I was still enough that it might have thought otherwise, it knew.
In addition, the Forerunner will break your sleep down into Deep Sleep, Light Sleep and REM sleep and show you a nice pretty chart of what your body is doing. When you get a good night sleep, like after I ran the marathon, my “body battery” was fully charged. But I’ve had shorter, higher intensity workouts where it showed my heart rate didn’t fully recover and combined with a crappy nights sleep I could see it confirmed that my body battery was still a bit drained. I could see how monitoring this and listening to your body, you could get outside confirmation of when you need to back off the intensity or take a day off to avoid the Training Status from telling you, you’re “Over Reaching”.
Other cool features of this watch are the Music Download and the Garmin Pay options. If you have Spotify you can download your playlists to the watch and use bluetooth headphones without having to also have your phone with you. This of course will drain some of the battery, but it’s advertised to have 10 hours of battery life while playing music.
The Garmin Pay option is like Apple Pay. You can store your credit card number and use your watch as your wallet. It is password protected with a 4 digit passcode. I have been wanting to test this option to see how it works, but have not actually used it for a purchase.
One deceiving feature on the 945 is the “Incident Detection and Assistance”. As advertised you can input up to three contacts as your emergency contact. If you get into trouble on a run or get lost or just get a bad vibe, you’re supposed to be able to hold a button down and it will send an alert (by text or email) showing your location to your emergency contact. Sounds great, but this feature only works if you also have your phone with you. I was disappointed with this because if you have your phone, you could obviously call or text on your own and a lot of times you might not have your phone with you on a run.
Overall I am so pleased with this purchase. I found myself thinking “My watch will be so proud of me after this run!” and I looked forward to seeing “Fastest Mile” and other words of encouragement similar to “Keep it up, you’re on the road to improving”. The Suunto was too bulky for me to wear as a daily watch, but I have no problem wearing this all day and sometimes even sleeping with it.
If you are looking for a running watch, the Garmin 945 is well worth the money.
Editors Note: Tehra used this watch at No Business 100. The battery lasted just under 30 hours for her race. There is a new update as well that allows you to turn off different functions (i.e. heart rate, music, background applications, etc.) to save more battery life as well.