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Review of Garmin Forerunner 45S: the perfect watch for new riders

Garmin has renewed its smart fitness watches with new features and improved style throughout the line. The new Forerunner 45S is the upgrade to the Forerunner 35, the company's entry-level career clock. The Forerunner 45S takes the best from the Forerunner 35 and makes it even better with a handful of new race metrics, new health and wellness features and an elegant circular design. We have been training for several weeks with the Forerunner 45S to see if it works as well as it looks.

The Forerunner 45 is available in small size (FR45S) and large (FR45). Both watches are identical in every way, except the case and the colors. The FR45 measures 42 mm and is available in red or black, while the FR45S is 39.5 mm with lilac and white options. I tested the FR45S in white, but everything in the revision also applies to the FR45S.

The clock face, circular in color, is a showstopper.

While all of Garmin's other Forerunners have an elegant, circular design, the Forerunner 35 remains an unpleasant exception with its square dial and awkward four-button design. When we saw the new Forerunner 45S, we were pleasantly surprised by the physical changes. The Forerunner 45S not only has a circular clock face, but also features five-button navigation on Garmin's other Forerunner watches. It looks and acts like any other Forerunner watch.

The FR45S features a 1.04-inch color screen that is slightly larger than the 0.93-inch monotone screen of the Forerunner 35. It also has a higher resolution (208 x 208 pixels) than its predecessor ( 128 x 128 pixels). I had no problems reading the screen during the day or at night using the built-in backlight. The high-resolution screen allowed me to see a series of metrics on the screen and was grateful that several metrics were color-coded for clarity.

Garmin Forerunner 45S
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Garmin uses chemically reinforced glass to cover the screen instead of the Gorilla Glass used in other Forerunner models. This option keeps the price down, but the FR45S could be scratched more easily than the other Garmin Forerunners. I have not scratched the watch face yet, but I have only been testing the unit for a few weeks. My previous Forerunner 235, which also has chemically reinforced glass, showed some scratches after a few months. Scratches are not a functional problem, but consider a screen saver if it bothers you.

With a circular watch face and five-button navigation, the Forerunner 45S looks and acts like a Forerunner watch.

This Forerunner 45S is a little wider (39.5mm) and smarter (11.4mm) than the 35 (35.5mm, 13.3mm). The watch face on the FR45S is an ideal size for small dolls, but is too small for large dolls. People with larger dolls should buy the Forerunner 45 that has a 42mm shell and fits dolls up to 197mm. Garmin updated the silicone strap of the Forerunner 45S unit making it thinner than the Forerunner 35. It is curved to fit your wrist, which can be uncomfortable. The watch has a sporty look that adapts well with an informal outfit, but looks out of place with formal clothes.

The Forerunner 45S has a 5-button navigation that is significantly easier to use than the four buttons on the FR35. The FR45S uses the same button design and user interface as the other Garmin Forerunner watches. The buttons on the Forerunner 45 are slightly raised from the bezel, which makes them easy to press even through a jacket. The start / stop button is black with a red ring, and is more than the other buttons on the watch, so you can easily find it even in the middle of a workout. Each button has a label for its function, so it is difficult to find out what each one does.

There are a lot of metrics for a new broker

Forerunner 45S is an entry-level sports watch, and it shows. Everything in the watch is aimed at casual runners who want to improve their physical condition but do not want to go beyond the crunching numbers. The watch measures all the metrics you need in a running clock, including distance, pace, speed, cadence, calories burned and heart rate. New in the FR45S is a calculation of V02 max that approximates your cardiovascular fitness level and is found in other Garmin Forerunner watches. All these metrics are easy to understand and follow. You need a degree in exercise physiology to apply to your career and make improvements.

The Forerunner 45S has the latest Garmin heart rate sensor and GPS built in with GPS, Glonass and Galileo. The heart rate sensor is located on the back of the case and is so compact that you would not know it was there if it were not for the green LED. The heart rate monitor is top-notch, with a performance comparable to that of other smart watches and devices that I used in tests, such as the Garmin 645, the Garmin Fenix ​​5X Plus, the Suunto 9 and the Polar H10 chest strap. . The GPS was also accurate with distance, tracking and elevation, in line with Garmin's other Forerunner watches. GPS blocking took between 10 and 30 seconds depending on whether it was in an open area or in a wooded area.

It is useful to observe the metrics, but if you really want to improve your need for a training plan. Fortunately, Garmin did not skimp on this area, adding training plans to all of its devices, including the affordable Forerunner 45S. You can create your own training plan or use them in Garmin Coach. Along with its new Forerunner watches, Garmin has expanded its Garmin Coach training beyond the 5K mark and now includes 10km and a half marathon training plans. I have used training plans in the past to go beyond the 5K plateau and I am delighted to see this country's features, even at the start of Garmin's smart watch.

Health & Wellness

The Forerunner 45S tracks your health and well-being, and is a useful complement to running metrics. The heart rate sensor tracks your heart rate 24/7, allowing you to monitor your resting heart rate and calculate your stress level throughout the day. This information is channeled to the new Garmin body battery metric, which tracks your energy reserves in general. The Forerunner 45S does not measure your training load, so the body's battery is a useful tool that allows you to keep your activity level and recovery time under control.

The Forerunner 45S tracks your dream and is as accurate as any other smart watch we have tested.

The Forerunner 45S also tracks your sleep and is divided into stages of sleep: deep, light, REM and awake. It was accurately detected when I fell asleep and when I woke up every morning. It even detects your movement so you can see how much you roll and rotate each night. Unlike the Forerunner 245 and 945 models, there is no pulse oximeter, so you can control your oxygen levels during the night.

Garmin Forerunner 45S
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Battery life has decreased, but it still lasts four to five days.

The Garmin Forerunner 45S units with new metrics, enhanced GPS and a color screen, but all these extras come at a cost. The battery life of the new Forerunner 45S in smart watch mode reaches 7 days, instead of the 9 days promised by the Forerunner 35. I used the Forerunner 45S for notifications, sleep tracking and operation of approximately One hour each day with GPS and I had to charge every 4-5 days. That's not surprising, but it's not enough to recharge the watch.

It is still made for runners first

The Garmin Forerunner 45S is a clock that runs first, and a second smartwatch. Its main function is that a smart watch is notifications, which are sent to the watch from your connected mobile phone. Each notification softens your wrist and contains both the incoming alert and the application that sent it. Without opening my phone, I can know if I just received an email, a Facebook message or a Trello alert.

With this information, I can decide if I should take out my phone and respond immediately or wait until later. In progress, you can not make phone calls, activate Siri / Cortana or even respond to clock notifications on iOS. Android does not allow you to reply to text messages, but you can only use predefined messages.

Information on prices, availability and guarantee

The Forerunner 45S is now available for $ 200 at Garmin, REI and other online retailers. The 42mm Forerunner 45 also sells for $ 200 on Garmin, REI and more. Garmin gym products are warranted against defects in materials or workmanship for one year from the original date of purchase.

Our take

The Garmin Forerunner 45S is a complete fitness smartwatch that tracks all important metrics of the needs of new and casual runners.

Is there any better alternative?

If you want more than just the basics, such as distance and pace, you should consider the Forerunner 245, which costs $ 100 more and includes basic and advanced performance metrics. If it is necessary to have a barometric altimeter, you must update Forerunner 645 for $ 400 or Forerunner 945 for $ 600. The 645 has the same main functions as the 245 with the addition of an altimeter and a gyroscope, while the 945 is a fitness tracking machine used by serious runners and numbers.

How long will it last?

The Forerunner 45S is manufactured to the quality you expected from Garmin. The biggest weakness is the chemically reinforced glass that is used to cover the screen. Unless protected by a screen saver, I would expect to see scratches on the screen. Even so, the watch must remain functional for three to five years.

Should you buy it?

You should buy the Forerunner 45S if you are running regularly and you want to start tracking more than just the basics such as pace and distance. Unleash an elite or really enjoy pouring the metrics, everything you need to analyze your running performance is available on this $ 200 watch. Runners who care about mountains and lifts should fit in the Forerunner 45S and look at the Forerunner 645, the Forerunner 945 or the Fenix ​​series.

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