The RW Takeaway: The Garmin Forerunner 45 has everything you need if you’re used to wearing a more simplistic Forerunner.
- Nutrition & Weight Loss.
- Records stress, sleep, steps, workouts, and more.
- Provides emergency assistance as well as incoming calls and other phone notifications.
Battery Life: 7 days in smartwatch mode, 13 hours in GPS mode
I’m sort of a Luddite when it comes to smartwatch tech. Or maybe you could say my approach to watches aligns with the Shaker mindset: “Tis the gift to be simple, tis the gift to be free.” There are just three features for a GPS watch to meet my running criteria: distance, pace, and time. When my Forerunner 25 was beginning to go on the fritz, however, I begrudgingly tried one of Garmin’s newest devices, the 45.
All at once, it changed how I monitored my running as well as my life—I am not exaggerating. A simple everyday improvement, for example, was the watch’s ability to connect via Bluetooth to the Garmin Connect app on my iPhone. Instead of having to use a USB cable to download my runs to my computer, my run was recorded to my online profile as soon as I was close to my smartphone for the watch to sync.
The watch also vibrated when I had an incoming call, and gave me the option to accept or decline (at times, I would accept calls prematurely and realize—as the caller yelled—that my phone was out of reach).
My Watch Is Judging Me
I usually wear my Garmin on runs only; wanting to use the 45 to its full potential, I kept it on 24/7 to study my sleep pattern and stress levels. Fortunately, the watch was comfortable to wear. The face isn’t as bulky as some watches I’ve attempted to test, such as the Polar Vantage. The band still had notches to spare after I attached it to my five-inch wrist (a smaller model, the 45S, is also available). As I wore the Forerunner, I found the watch pervaded my life in ways that caused me to ask, “Am I really taking care of myself?”
When it said my body battery—a measurement that signifies my energy level—was down, I would use that as a crutch to relax. At times, it felt like the 45 was praising me—“I had reached my steps goal! Huh, I didn’t even know I had a steps goal.” Other times, I couldn’t help feeling my watch was berating me. After a night of five hours of sleep (45 minutes, of which, were REM), all-day travel, and a resultant body battery of 23/100, for instance, the app advised I should get some rest. I stubbornly went out for a four-mile run instead and felt, as my watch had warned, exhausted and on the verge of injuring myself.
There were also moments when the Forerunner took surprising liberties. When I was getting a tattoo, for example, the app registered my high heart rate and lack of body movement as, much to my amusement, a three-hour elliptical workout.
Bottom Line: It’s User-Friendly for a Runner Finally Upping Her Smartwatch Game
There are still avenues I’ve yet to explore using the 45, including the Garmin Coach feature, which provides training plans and custom workouts. The watch can also record yoga, cycling, treadmill, and other activities.
For a first-time smartwatch owner, I found the 45 an easy transition, especially for a user familiar with the Forerunner line. It also enriched my knowledge—about myself. One thing I’ve learned for sure: I should take a breather during my workday so I don’t self-destruct.