Garmin Forerunner 245 Music Review: Reliable Running Partner?

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Garmin Forerunner 245 Music

8.9

Activity Tracking

9.0/10

Smart Features

7.0/10

Sleep Tracking

9.5/10

Running Analysis

9.5/10

Display

8.5/10

Battery Life

9.5/10

Value For Money

9.0/10

Pros

  • Good battery life
  • In-depth analysis of your run
  • Good readability of the display in a bright environment
  • Less charging time
  • Supports offline music playback 
  • Plethora of built-in sensors for health & wellness tracking

Cons

  • No Altimeter sensor on the watch
  • Limited smart features 

Garmin is a name that every sports and fitness enthusiast has heard at least once in their lifetime. I mean they make some of the best sports watches and when it comes to sports activity analysis they are in the league of their own.

However, it’s not a secret that most Garmin watches are expensive. Affordable Garmin watches like Forerunner 45 and 55 are there but they don’t have many smart features. Keeping all that in mind, Garmin decided to launch Garmin 245 which is the successor to the original Garmin Forerunner 235.

Not only in sports and fitness tracking but 245 also features improvement in the smart features department. And, today it is considered to be the best entry-level Garmin smartwatch for runners. There are two variants of the Garmin 245, one is the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music as the name suggests it supports music playback. Another one is simply called Garmin Forerunner 245 and doesn’t support music playback. And, today I am going to be reviewing Garmin Forerunner 245 Music smartwatch as I have been using this watch for more than 2 months now.

I will try to answer whether or not this is a good smartwatch? Analyze its sports and fitness tracking based on my daily usage. And, hopefully, you will find answers to all of your questions in this Garmin Forerunner 245 Music smartwatch review.

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Garmin Forerunner 245 Music Review

Smartwatches today come with lots of amazing health and fitness features. And, Garmin 245 music takes all those features and cranks it up to 10. Whether it’s built quality, health, and fitness tracking, or features, Garmin 245 music has almost everything serious athletes or casual fitness nut needs.

At the time of writing, Garmin Forerunner 245 Music is being sold for $290 & Standard (non-music variant) for $199. The only two differences between the 245 & 245M is that the Music variant supports offline music playback and the other one doesn’t support music at all. The second difference is that Forerunner 245M also offers WiFi connectivity for downloading music.

Before I discuss the build quality of the watch, I would recommend checking out the spec sheet below.

Specifications Of The Forerunner 245 Music

spec

Display Size: 1.2 inch

Display Type: Transflective LCD display with Gorilla Glass 3

User Interface: Button based

Size of the Lugs Of The Strap: 20mm with quick release mechanism for replacement

Weight: 38.5 grams

Storage For Apps & Music: 3.5 GB

Charging Time: Little over 1 hour

Connectivity: ANT+ compatible smartwatch, Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi for downloading music

Sensors Available On The Watch: Support multiple navigation systems(GPS, GLONASS, Galileo), Optical heart rate tracker, Pulse Ox, Accelerometer

Sensors Not Available: Barometer, Altimeter, NFC for contactless payment

Build Quality And Display Of Garmin 245 Music

You can get the Garmin 245 Music in 5 color choices namely Slate Gray & red, White, Aqua, Berry & Slate Gray. I went with the Slate Gray and red color variant of the watch as I believe this one looks the best.

You will be forgiven for not being able to find the color red as it’s on the Start/Stop button of the watch. If more prominent dual-tone color schemes are your style then Berry & Aqua variant is an attractive option.

Besides that, the watch also allows you to create your color combinations as the 20mm silicone strap comes with a quick-release mechanism. So you can instantaneously replace it with the strap of your choice to create a look you like.

The watch features a 42.3mm case that is made of a sturdy polymer that protects the watch from shocks and impact. Besides the build, I found the quality of the display to be quite good. The watch comes with a transflective LCD display which makes the watch readable in bright environments.

Garmon forerunner 245m daylight readabilty

The display on it is quite like a digital watch which can be difficult to read at low light or at night time. Thankfully, the watch comes with a dedicated backlight which makes the display easier to read at night.

Using the watch settings, you can modify the backlight function, it can be set to start automatically after sunset, keep it on continuously, gestures, or when you are performing an activity. The brightness of the display can be also be adjusted based on the user’s individual preferences.

The watch is aimed towards athletes who would find a touch screen watch to be a hindrance while performing sports. That’s why Garmin 245 Music comes with a button-only user interface so the only way to operate the watch is using the 5 buttons available on it.

If you are worried about whether or not you will be able to use the buttons-only interface then let me assure you, it will be part of muscle memory in no time. There are five buttons on the watch Start/Stop button at 2 o’clock, Back button at 5 o’clock, down button at 8 o’clock, up button at 9’o clock, and light button at 10 o’clock position.

The light button is used to turn on the backlight at low light to read the time. Besides that, the light button is used to power on/off the watch, enable find your phone, use the assistant function to send an emergency message to your loved ones, and more. To navigate between the menu/option you will use the up & down button. For selecting the menu/option you will use the Start/Stop button. And, the back button is for going out of the menus.

There are several benefits of the button-only user interface. I personally found it to be easy to operate once I got used to using the buttons. This makes the watch easy to use while running as hands are shaky and most often than not you will select the wrong option in a touch screen watch.

Garmin Forerunner 245 smartwatch review buttons

Buttons have a quite tactile feel to them and don’t feel as they will break even with heavy usage. Similarly, the display of the watch is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 so the display won’t get scratched or damaged easily. I have been using it for more than 2 months and still, there aren’t any scratches on the display.

I tend to forget to take off my watches until I am in the shower so a waterproof smartwatch is a must for me. Thankfully, Garmin Forerunner 245M is rated to be water-resistant up to 50m which means you can go swimming wearing the watch.

All in all, for the price I am quite satisfied with the Garmin 245, it has a good display which might not be an OLED or AMOLED but it is definitely good. The biggest benefit of the display is definitely the reduced power consumption of the smartwatch which I will discuss in the latter part of the review.

What I Like-

  • The quick-release mechanism makes the strap on the watch easier to change.
  • The button-only user interface becomes part of muscle memory after a while.
  • Good visibility in daylight.
  • Dedicated backlight function to read time at night.
  • The watch is water-resistant up to 50m.

Fitness And Sports Tracking

One of the most important reasons why I purchased Garmin 245 was because I wanted to track my run. I may not be a Usain bolt but I like to go on a run every now and then. So I wanted a watch that can track my runs, provide some good feedback and also sync the data to Strava. And, at sub $300 price range only a handful of brands like Polar, Coros, & Suunto can go head to head with Garmin watches in sports analysis.

run_complete

I would say that watch didn’t disappoint me at all when it comes to sports tracking. While running the watch would show my speed, the time elapsed, average speed, distance covered, and more on the watch face in real-time. It can also track your VO2 Max so you can monitor how much oxygen your body utilizes when performing high-intensity exercise. In short, a good score indicates your ability to perform longer at your peak performance.

I usually got the score in the 40s which is considered to be fair and I agree with the score. Similarly, the watch can further tell how much aerobic and anaerobic workout was part of your run. An anaerobic workout is when you are performing sport(in my case running) at your peak speed continuously. On the other hand, an aerobic workout would be considered as pacing or simply not going on the full-throttle while running.

Another feature that I found useful is the recovery function, it tells you how long it would take to recover your energy. This feature is very important for me because sometimes I tend to push myself unnecessarily and this has led to some minor muscle injuries in the past. In the meantime, the watch recommends you do some light exercises or run at a particular speed so you don’t mess up on your daily fitness routine.

garmin stress alert

For professional runners, the watch also comes with an interval training function and most athletes use it to train themselves to improve their cardio. You can set the timer to jog for a certain period then run at full speed, jog, full speed, and the cycle continues. It would be more useful for professional athletes who want to work on their cardio and endurance.

Before I purchased Garmin Forerunner 245M, I was using the Amazfit Neo smartwatch that didn’t have built-in GPS. It wasn’t a sports watch but still, I disliked the fact that you need to have your phone to use GPS to track activities. However, that issue was resolved with Forerunner 245M as it comes with GPS that locks on to the signal in almost no time. Once you get used to it there is no going back.

Moreover, the watch comes with music support so you can import your MP3 files from PC and Mac using Garmin Express software. If you have a paid subscription plan for Spotify or Amazon Prime Music then you can download & play music using the app. Then you can pair your Bluetooth headphones onto the watch and listen to music on the go.

I found that music playback drains the battery quite fast which resulted in having to charge my smartphone in 2-3 days. So I stopped using the watch for music playback and now I have to charge the watch only every 5-6 days.

Besides running, you can also track your cycling, pool swimming, yoga, rowing, indoor running, and various other sports activities. And, since it is an ANT+ compatible watch you can connect it to your fitness accessories to track your vital while running. You can also connect a Bluetooth-based heart rate strap to the watch for better heart rate accuracy while performing the activity.

What I Like

  • Built-in several profiles for sports tracking.
  • ANT+ Compatible watch.
  • Connect Bluetooth earphones or headphones to listen to music on the go.
  • Built-in GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo navigation system support
  • Can track your blood oxygen saturation level
  • Monitor your energy level using the body battery function of the watch

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Wellness And Health Tracking Features Of Garmin Forerunner 245M

Besides sports, there is a lot more Garmin Forerunner 245M can track which also includes your sleep. The watch can track various sleep cycles you go through at night and then assess your sleep quality. I usually found sleep tracking to be accurate and it motivated me to create a better bedtime schedule.

Garmin Connect sleep

You can also track your heartbeat per minute 24*7 using the Garmin 245 Music. It has the same Garmin heart rate sensor that is found in the flagship Garmin Forerunner 945 smartwatch. And, it will alert you by vibrating if it detects an abnormally high heartbeat per minute.

Abnormal heart rate

 

The watch can also track your blood saturation level which is a good metric to monitor your health. However, I won’t recommend considering these results to be as accurate as a medical-grade device.

Garmin has not forgotten women as you also get several women’s health-oriented features with the watch. Using the Garmin Connect app you can log your workout, menstrual cycle, stress, mood, and more. Not just for men, This is one of the best Garmin watches for women too.

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Garmin Forerunner 245 Music Smart Features

Garmin is not aimed at casual users who are looking for a watch that is an extension to their smartphone. It is for fitness freaks or athletes who are looking for a fitness companion. But it doesn’t mean that Garmin Forerunner 245M has no smart features whatsoever.

First and foremost, the watch comes with notification sync which ensures that you can read text, apps notifications, email, and social media DMS on the watch. So you can leave your phone in the gym locker and still you will be able to keep track of all the important notifications on the watch.

The watch doesn’t have a built-in speaker and microphone for taking the call but you can accept or decline the call using the watch. Another feature that the watch comes with is the incident detection feature which detects when you have taken a hard fall. Once the watch detects you have fallen, it allows you to send an SOS message to your designated emergency contact.

It also has a live track feature that lets you share your live location with your friends and family members. This feature is very useful if you do trail running as you can keep your loved ones informed of your location while out running.

Feature-wise Garmin 245M didn’t disappoint me a lot as I don’t want to use Google Assistant or Siri on my smartwatch. However, some of my colleagues can’t live without them as they use them for replying for calling, setting reminders, and more. Therefore, if you are also like my colleagues then I won’t recommend this watch to you.

Similarly, Garmin has an App Store of its own which is called Garmin Connect IQ Store. It has various apps, watch faces, widgets, and more but its collection is nowhere as big as App Store for Apple Watch. You will find a lot of fitness-related apps there but you won’t find a lot of entertainment apps like Shazam that are found on Apple Watch or Wear OS watches.

The only thing that I would say is that this watch lacks is the contactless payment support through Garmin Pay. In Garmin’s defense, how else will they incentivize you to go for a high-end watch if you get all the features in this one?

Garmin Connect Ecosystem

Smartwatches are no longer just about a simple watch that you wear to track your sleep and heart rate. You are also buying an experience and that experience starts with the app that helps you connect the watch with your phone. To connect your watch you will need to install Garmin Connect App into your smartphone. Once installed you will be able to sync all your fitness activities to your smartphone. And, you will get an in-depth analysis of your health, sleep, and sports in the app itself.

Garmin connect forerunner 245 review heart

Besides that, the Connect app allows you to connect and sync your runs and other activities to Strava, My Fitness Pal, Apple Health, and more. I have connected my Strava account with the Connect app and it automatically syncs all my runs as soon I finish with my run.

Another great thing about the Garmin is that you can join the community, earn badges and compete with others. Badges are a great way to motivate users to maintain a daily healthy routine and encourage them to start more of it. I have written an in-depth guide on Garmin badges, do consider reading it.

The app has a clean user interface as you can see below the My Day screen of the app consists of heart rate, body battery, stress, intensity minutes, step goals, calories, respiration, and other metrics. You can even customize the screen and have only those charts that matter the most to you.

Garmin Connect homescreen

All in all, I found the app to be straightforward and easy to use. Compared to some other apps from fitness brands this one has a quite good overall user experience. Even if you are someone who is not a hardcore technophile still you won’t find the app difficult to use.

Charging And Battery Life

green light on the back of apple watch

Only a few smartwatches come with good battery life and I am happy to report Garmin Forerunner 245M is one of them. Although I have discussed the battery life in the sports section of the review but not in detail.

The watch offers a decent 5-6 days of battery life on a single charge with almost 1 hour of running daily with GPS enabled. And, if I take a day off in a week (which I usually do) then the battery usually lasts a week.

Talking about the charging time, I saw various users and reviews stating that their Garmin Forerunner 245M takes 2 hours to fully charge. However, in my case, I found the charging time to be 1 hour. The charging cable provided with the box is of good quality too so it would not easily break and will last for quite some time.

Music playback on the watch resulted in battery lasting for only 2-3 days. According to Garmin, the watch offers 6 hours of continuous playback with music and GPS enabled. That’s why I didn’t use the music playback function as I didn’t want to charge my watch every 2-3 days. Nonetheless, this battery life is still impressive and should satisfy fitness enthusiasts who like to work out with some tunes.

Forerunner 245 Music Review Verdict

Garmin 245m review conclusion

Garmin has some of the highly sophisticated and feature-rich smartwatches for athletes. And, this is one of the best affordable smartwatches for runners from Garmin.

You can take your music with you, share live location, incident alert and even sync your running sessions to Strava or other services. Also, you will get an in-depth analysis of all your run, cycling, and other activities within the Garmin app. You can even connect your Garmin watch to peloton bikes, heart rate straps, dynamic running pods, and various other fitness accessories.

While this is a great watch, it still does cut some corners and the first one is the lack of an altimeter sensor. It can tell your altitude on a trip but it takes the data from the GPS. Another feature missing from the watch is support for contactless payment which can be a deal-breaker for some.

However, what makes this watch just short of being a perfect all in all sports watch is its inability to track open water swimming. That particular feature is for higher-end watches from Garmin, and it’s not the fault of the Garmin Forerunner 245 per se but its inclusion would have made the watch a stellar offering from Garmin.

I was also quite satisfied with the build quality of the watch, it is an extremely lightweight sports watch as every good sports watch should be. Plus, the display on the watch is quite readable even under direct sunlight and doesn’t cause discomfort to the eyes.

Besides being a sports/athlete-oriented watch, it comes with its fair share of smart features that will come in handy in day-to-day use.

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FAQs

What Can Garmin Forerunner 245M Do?

At the sub $300 price tag, 245 music is one of the best affordable smartwatches for athletes who want an in-depth analysis of their activity. Besides that, the watch also comes with a slew of smart features like incident detection, music playback, notification sync, and more.

What Is The Difference between Garmin Forerunner 245 & Forerunner 245M?

Garmin 245M supports comes with 3.5GB onboard storage and built-in WiFi so you can download music on it through Spotify, Amazon Prime, or import your own music using Garmin Express software. Except for these two, there isn’t any other difference between 245 and 245 Music.

How Long Does Garmin 245M Battery Last?

A fully charged Garmin 245M with 1 hour of daily activity with GPS enabled would last 5-6 days. However, if you will also use the watch for music playback then battery life would decrease by half.

Does Garmin 245 Support Spotify?

No, only Garmin 245M supports music playback and download through Spotify.

Tom Nielson

Tom's love for watches started when his grandfather gifted him his Rolex watch when he turned 18! Being a teenager it was a big deal for him. Later when he got his first job he bought Fossil Palm Pilot back in 2003 which was a smartwatch. Since then smartwatches have come a long way and so is Tom's love for them. His experience with watches inspired him to start Wearholic and share his knowledge of wearables including watches, smartwatches, smart glasses, & smart clothing.

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