The Garmin Forerunner series of sports watches has always been the volume seller for the brand. They’re not the most affordable around, but for the amount of useful features they are hard to beat.
We took out the new Forerunner 245 Music for an extended try out, and found that Garmin has continued to build on the previous-gen design to deliver a more user-friendly package that is still on the forefront of GPS and heart-rate monitoring technology.
Designed specifically for sports enthusiasts that favour running, the first impression that stuck is the weight, or lack thereof. It’s an extremely light watch, and after five minutes of running you’ll forget that it’s there.
Useful in that it doesn’t impede your arm swing, which is
crucial for maintaining forward momentum on longer routes and races.
There’s about 3.5Gb of storage space in the 245 Music for you to store music files in, which is then played back on your own wireless earbuds via a Bluetooth connection. It’s great while out in the parks, but like many of its other competitors, we discovered that the audio connection is easily disrupted while running in the city and in the proximity of offices or tall buildings.
This is not a problem with the device itself, but rather serves to highlight that there are a very large amount of radio waves emanating from office blocks that we can’t see.
One of the major advantages of Garmin devices are that they
generally work very well even without being paired to a mobile app. The Garmin
Connect app does provide you with a more detailed analysis of your training
sessions, but even without it, the watch has plenty of data screens that helps
you review the recorded data.
The unlit display is designed to be readable in ambient light, but a backlight can be toggled in darker conditions. The advantage of doing away with a fancy full-colour display means that the Forerunner 245’s battery life is fantastic. In basic smartwatch mode the brand claims that it will keep going for seven days. In practice, we found this to be closer to 10 days.
With GPS and heart-rate monitoring activated, it will work for 24 hours before the battery needs a recharge.
The usual Garmin standards like VO2 max estimates, training
status with adjustments for heat, recovery time, plus aerobic and anaerobic
training effects are all on hand. While the watch-mounted heart rate sensor is
excellent, the device is also compatible with the optional Running Dynamics Pod
or compatible heart rate strap.
The user interface consists of five very intuitively placed buttons, similar to many other Garmin products currently available. It’s very easy to get adapted to, even if you haven’t used a Garmin device before. The buttons simply scroll up and down through the menus, confirm an entry, or move back through the menu layers. The back light has its own dedicated button for quick access in the dark.
At an RTP of S$529, the Forerunner 245 Music is one of the more affordable Garmins you can get, but short of some more detailed functions and readouts, it still has all the essentials that every avid runner will find useful.