Garmin’s first GPS watch with music onboard is here.
The Garmin Forerunner 645 Music holds up to 500 songs, the primary feature that makes the 645 Music stand out versus other Garmin wearables. The compact watch – it has a smaller face than the Forerunner 935 and Fenix 5S, for example – is lightweight and looks sleek with its chrome outer rim finish.
In addition to music-playing capabilities, Garmin introduced its ‘Pay’ system in the Forerunner 645 Music, a contactless payment method in which a credit card can be stored through the watch. For the most part, the Forerunner 645 Music has many of the same advanced features as the Forerunner 935 and Fenix 5, plus the basics like tracking distance/pace/heart rate/cadence/calories and so on.
Beyond its basic running features, which we’re most interested in, the Forerunner 645 Music has a variety of sport modes including the following: treadmill, indoor track, bike, pool swim, walk, ski, snowboard and numerous others. A quick-start is easy as the Forerunner 645 Music allows one to add favourites while the remainder of modes are stored in the back end.
Size and battery
Weighing in at 42.2 g, the actual size of the watch is 42.5 x 42.5 x 13.5 mm. It fits nicely on the wrist though still large enough to be able to see all key stats while exercising. (Watch face is 30.4 mm diameter.) A quick release bands allows users to swap out the Vivoactive band for an alternative, either from Garmin itself or a third-party manufacturer. The Forerunner 645 Music band is 20 mm.
In our initial testing, the battery life has been quite good though it gets significantly reduced when streaming music (via a Bluetooth headset, there are no external speakers to play music through on the 645 Music). Garmin advertises the battery life to be seven days without GPS use and five hours for GPS use with music.
Besides the addition of watch-stored music and Garmin Pay (not yet available), the Forerunner 645 Music is like most other Forerunner models in recent years. The non-touchscreen, five-button watch is also available in a non-music version, simply known as the Garmin Forerunner 645.
Notable features include a wrist heart rate monitor, 24×7 HR tracking, advanced running dynamics, course navigation and sleep tracking. All of this information can be viewed in Garmin Connect, available on Android and iOS. Other more basic features include fully customizable watch faces and configurations, which can be changed within the watch and widgets can be synced through the Garmin Connect app.
Phone pairing through Bluetooth is also available as it is on most advanced sport watches these days.
GPS-wise, we found the Forerunner 645 Music to be extremely accurate with smooth uploading to Strava, a third-party activity sharing platform that can be synced to Garmin Connect.
Note that the Forerunner 645 Music does not track heart rate when in the pool, which is unfortunate if you pool run often or swim as a form of cross training.
A major downfall – and this is more of a Spotify issue than Garmin – is that Spotify is not supported on the Forerunner 645 Music. Neither is Apple Music. iHeartRadio is however available to download playlists to the watch.
Watch for the Garmin Forerunner Music 645 to be available early spring 2018 with a price point just below $600. We see this watch being a good option for those who have music/podcasts downloaded as files on their computer, those looking for a mid-tier priced GPS watch that can do almost everything, or someone interested in a compact, lightweight watch in comparison with the other Garmin advanced watches.