One of the Forerunner 745’s key new features is a pulse oximeter to track blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) – a very useful metric for getting a picture of your overall fitness, which is found in almost all of Garmin’s latest running watches.
The launch comes just hours after Apple released its first watch with an SpO2 sensor – the Apple Watch 6 – but the two devices are designed for very different audiences.
Whereas the Apple Watch 6 is very much an everyday smartwatch with workout tracking options for general fitness, the new Forerunner 745 is built with athletes firmly in mind, and builds on the features of its predecessor.
For example, the Forerunner 745 now tracks training intensity and recommends workouts to optimize your training. Garmin also claims improved accuracy for track running sessions. For multi-activity workouts and brick training sessions, you can switch between activities with a single press of a button.
The Forerunner 745 also offers new smartwatch features, including music playback with storage for up to 500 songs, plus the ability to sync playlists from streaming services including Spotify (though it can’t stream directly). There’s Garmin Pay integration as well, so you can leave your wallet at home on runs and rides – provided your bank is among those supported.
You can expect up to a week of battery life when using the Forerunner 745 in smartwatch mode, up to 16 hours in GPS mode, and up to six hours in GPS mode with music.
The price reflects those more advanced features – while the Apple Watch 6 starts at $399 / £379 / AU$599 for the GPS-only 40mm version, the new Forerunner 745 is priced at $499.99 / £449.99 / AU$849. It’s available in three colors: Neo Tropic, Magma Red, Whitestone and Black.
It’s available to buy in the US and UK now, but will be released a little later in Australia (it will land “third quarter 2020” according to Garmin’s website).
Finger on the pulse
Garmin has also announced a new chest-strap heart rate monitor that can be paired with the Forerunner 745: the Garmin HRM-Pro, which connects to compatible watches via ANT+ and Bluetooth.
It can also hook up to compatible treadmills and other gym equipment, capturing dynamics including cadence, stride length, contact time, vertical oscillation and running power to help you analyze and improve your form.
The HRM-Pro offers a water resistance rating of 5ATM, making it ideal for swimming and other water sports, and is on sale now for £119.99 (about $150 / AU$200).