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REVIEW: Garmin Forerunner 745

The 745 delivers on battery life, workout suggestions and looks, making it an ideal training companion

After three weeks of wearing the new Garmin Forerunner 745, I can confidently say this is a great watch. The 745 replaces the 735XT and has additional recovery features, so runners can track improvements and optimize their training. The watch made good on its promise to easily switch between sports and deliver a remarkably long-lasting battery, even in GPS mode. Here’s a deeper dive into what this watch does well (and what it could improve on).

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The best functions

This watch is great for the runner who also has other sporting interests. I was injured over the summer, and have since returned to running, but am still incorporating lots of cross-training into my routine. This watch can seamlessly record and digest multiple forms of activity in one day, an asset for the runner who cross-trains. 

The body battery function is great, as long as you wear the watch all the time. In order to be accurate, the watch needs to be measuring strain all the time, so if you’re someone who never takes their wearable off, this is a function that will interest you. The 745 accurately assessed my hard days as depleting me more than my easy days, even when those runs were lower mileage but higher intensity. 

The workout suggestions were also great. In fact, on many occasions, they mimicked what I had on the training plan from my coach. While I follow a human-prescribed program, as far as automated plans go, I found Garmin’s to be really sensible based on the running I’d been doing. The workouts are determined based on training load and the wearer’s VO2 Max. 

In terms of the look of the watch, it’s sleek, small and feels durable. The buttons are sturdy and vibrate when you touch them. The screen also lights up when you bring your wrist toward your face, which is a really nice touch for the early-morning or evening runner. 

Two other small but notable improvements from other Garmins I’ve worn are the payment function (so you don’t need to bring a credit card on your run) and satellite retrieval. The payment option is great for food emergencies or post-run coffee. This watch also finds satellites faster than any other GPS watch I’ve worn, so two big points for Garmin. 

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The functions that need a little work

There are two functions that didn’t deliver quite as well as I’d hoped: the sleep tracker and the temperature sensor. Like many other wearable sleep trackers on the market, this one was spotty at best. When it comes to the temperature sensor, as the watch sits on your wrist, body heat can throw it off. Stick to the weather app for your outdoor conditions check. 

Overall thoughts

The biggest difference between the 745 and the 945 comes down to the mapping function. The 745 doesn’t do offline mapping and the 945 does – the main reason for the price and weight bump. Unless you’re doing huge backcountry days, the 745 should meet almost every runner’s needs. With solid battery life, music, a wallet and really good built-in workouts, this watch is a great training companion. 

The watch, which retails for C$699.99, has one week of battery life in smartwatch mode, 16 hours in GPS mode (for those really long trail runs) and six hours in GPS mode with music. It’s available in black, neo tropic, magma red or whitestone. 

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