When it was time to upgrade my old GPS watch, my wandering eye went straight to the top with the good looking Garmin Fenix 5s. Then suddenly I was hit with a notification of a similar watch, the Garmin Forerunner 945.
Hmmmm similar in price, but not the same watch.
I was curious what made these two different and as always willing to test out the gear for you to help settle any debates over which running watch is best for you!! Plus, Garmin reviews are the best way to get me learning all the features and excuses to go for an extra run!
Garmin Fenix 5 vs 945
I won’t waste any time, let’s get right to the big question. What’s the difference between the Fenix and the 945?
The list is surprisingly short, but could be extremely important depending on how you plan to use the watch. Following are the major differences:
- Fenix 5s is designed for a smaller wrist, making it more comfortable for daily wear
- 945 has longer battery life (and I thought the Fenix battery was great)
- 945 is slightly lighter
- 945 provides Emergency Notifications (see below)
- 945 has Crash detection while cycling (see below)
- 945 has Pulse Oximetry (see below)
- Fenix 5s can be used for diving – 945 is really only rated for swimming
- Fenix 5 has more custom activity availability
Now that we’ve gotten a quicky on what’s different, let’s explore those added features and what makes the Garmin 945 a quality watch.
Garmin 945 Review
One of the things which makes the Fenix stand out is the design, which makes it a slightly smaller and more feminine watch. It’s one of the few that’s not simply listed as multi-sex and it has an actual design to it, making it feel more wearable for all day casual use.
Overall you’ll find that the 945 actually comes with nearly everything that the Fenix 5 does and then some, as noted in the chart above. Since, I outlined all those features from Smart Watch to Activities previously in the Fenix 5s review, here I’ll focus on the components that are different.
This watch is focused more on the athlete and not the style.
The first thing I noticed when connecting the watch to the App was it immediately asked me to set up a number of safety features. I didn’t even know these features were available and they’re incredibly useful.
- LiveTrack is a feature in Garmin Connect that allows you to share you’ve started an activity so someone can check on you during that long run!
- Incident Detection will automatically send an alert to one of your selected emergency contacts if something occurs while on your run
- Activating Assistance allows you to manually send a request for help by holding the power button for 7 seconds and then it will send a message with your real-time location to your preloaded emergency contacts
The only downside is one I discovered when trying to utilize the “Find My Phone” feature. These things only work if you have the Garmin Connect App OPEN and running in the background on your phone.
This measures the amount of oxygen in your blood and can be useful for those training at altitude. You’ll be able to see how your body is adapting with the changes in elevation and sometimes it could indicate you may need to go back gown to prevent any issues.
An oxygen saturation percentage greater than 95% is considered to be a normal reading.
This number an also be useful if you wear the watch through the night, as it might help to identify sleep apena from periods where your oxygen reading drops too low.
Heat and Altitude Acclimation
Now this is a pretty cool feature as someone who moved from FL to CO, it would have been fascinating to see the numbers change in both categories!
- For heat acclimation you need to have one of the weather apps installed and then it can run while you’re performing and activity to give you a score upon finishing.
- It will use this number to adjust your VO2 and any adaptive training programs.
A few of the interesting altitude facts based on their data:
- adaption starts over 2625 ft.
- total adaption should appear after 21 days, HAAAA it took me like a year in Denver
- you start losing adaption after 21 days — again haaaa, I notice it coming back after a week at sea level
None the less, I would be intrigued by this information. I think living here now, it would only be really useful if I went up to the mountains for a solid week of training (which is another 4000 feet of elevation gain).
Previously I mentioned Heart Rate Variability has a tool to help determine exactly how recovered or not you are. Garmin’s Body Battery is basically designed to assist with that as well only without the requirement of wearing a HR strap.
Since you can wear the watch all the time, it’s going to use the following metrics and cumulative data:
- Physical activity
- Recovery periods
- Heart rate (which rises and falls with stress from life or workouts)
“Body Battery can be used to help manage a user’s day. When the number is high, it should mean the user has enough energy for a workout or exercise. Conversely, when the value is low, it may be a good idea to conserve and rest. It can also be used to learn how the body reacts to various situations and stimuli. ”
Your number should naturally vary throughout the day, so you’ll learn how to use the score to best judge when you need a rest day or can push harder.
It’s another tool to help you ensure that you’re taking recovery seriously and working to the zone of progress, but not pushing yourself so far that you’ll negate your work by over doing things. It’s powered by the same company which provides the VO2 metrics on the watches.
Like I said, I detailed a lot of this in the Fenix 5 review, but you can expect to find these features:
- Daily step, activity and sleep tracking
- Integration of Apps
- Color maps
- Music streaming or saving up to 1000 songs
- Custom screens for any activities
- Water safe for swimming
Other Garmin reviews you’re looking for? Let me know so I can plan to test those things out next!
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