Gear Review: Garmin Forerunner 745

The Garmin Forerunner 745 watch and box

The latest update to the formidable Forerunner line, the Garmin Forerunner 745 brings even more brains to an already outstanding running and triathlon watch.

Garmin engineered the Forerunner 745 to track every part of your training. Designers made it waterproof to stand up to your swim; a host of sensors and monitors that deliver hoards of data; and GPS connectivity to track you every stroke, pedal and step of the way.

But the Forerunner 745 doesn’t just keep you informed about your training: Garmin added the ability to sync music, gave it options for contactless payment and powered it with a long-lasting rechargeable battery. The Forerunner’s host of features makes it ideal for training while still fitting into your lifestyle.

Fleet Feet reviewers took the Garmin Forerunner 745 out to test how it works and how it compares to the previous model. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest GPS watch from Garmin.

Tech specs

Garmin Forerunner 745

GPS

GPS, GLONASS, Galileo

Heart rate monitor

Yes

Lens

Corning Gorilla Glass DX

Smartphone compatibility

iPhone, Android

Smartphone notifications

Yes

Music

Up to 500 songs

Garmin Forerunner 745 Hardware and Features

A close up of the Garmin Forerunner 745

Garmin packed the brains into the Forerunner 745, but it didn’t skimp on the brawn, either.

To be suitable for triathlon training, Garmin sealed the 745 to keep the ocean out, and they gave it a tough bezel and case to withstand bumps and drops. It has a slightly smaller display size than the model it replaces, but one reviewer who is a longtime user of the 735 liked the 745’s smaller size and lighter weight.

Here’s what else you need to know about the Forerunner 745’s hardware:

Glass, Bezel and Strap

The Forerunner 745 sports a durable Corning Gorilla Glass DX lens wrapped in a fiber-reinforced polymer bezel. The pairing gives the watch its reliable durability.

Garmin has used Gorilla Glass in many of its other watches, so it’s proven to be strong and scratch resistant. Corning’s Gorilla Glass DX, though, increases the display’s readability in direct sunlight; Corning says Gorilla Glass DX enhances readability by reducing surface reflection and increasing contrast compared to standard glass.

The bezel has proven itself, too. Garmin used fiber-reinforced polymer bezels and cases in other watches, like the premier Garmin Fenix 6, so there’s no guesswork in the Forerunner 745—it’s a proven performer.

Designers used a soft, flexible silicon strap to hold the watch on your wrist. One of the best parts about the strap is the generous number of holes to dial in the fit.

Sensors and Monitors

Garmin loaded the Forerunner 745 with sensors to give you even more information than just the time.

The most important feature is Garmin’s GPS tracking. The Forerunner 745 can tap into GPS, GLONASS and Galileo satellite networks, so you can keep tabs on your distance, pace and time.

But looking beyond GPS, the Forerunner 745 comes equipped with several other important sensors to give you even more data:

  • A wrist-based heart monitor tracks your heart rate whether you’re on the run or at rest. It will also keep tabs on you while you’re swimming and alert you to abnormal heart rates (both high and low).
  • The pulse ox monitor checks your blood oxygen saturation to provide a picture of how you’re adjusting to altitude and how you’re sleeping.

Garmin also uses the watch’s monitors to give you other data, like an estimate of your VO2 max, training load and performance condition.

Garmin Forerunner 745 Performance

The Garmin Forerunner 745 on a performance metric screen

The Garmin Forerunner 745 is a high-performance GPS watch that’s easy to see and navigate, making it ideal for all kinds of conditions.

Garmin’s use of the Corning Gorilla Glass DX paid off: The screen and color display look really sharp in all lighting, including direct sunlight. But even with all the technical features that help it perform during a workout, the 745 looks just as slick for a night out.

If you’ve used other Garmin watches before, the 745 has the same interface and functions. Buttons around the bezel switch screens and start the GPS function, and you can pair the watch with a separate power meter for your rides.

A Fleet Feet reviewer says he appreciated the physical buttons, which he found easier to use than a touchscreen when he started sweating.

Waterproofing

Like many Garmin watches, the Forerunner 745 is waterproof.

Garmin rates the 745 to 5 ATM. That rating means the watch can withstand water pressure equivalent to 50 meters of depth.

While it’s not a diving watch, the water rating means the Forerunner 745 will stand up to your open water swims, laps (or cannonballs) in the pool and every rain storm you find yourself in.

Battery Life

Battery life is vital when you’re planning to be out there for a long run or big training day, so Garmin packed the Forerunner 745 with enough juice to get you out and back with ease.

The rechargeable battery lasts up to a week in regular smartwatch mode. When you turn on GPS and music together, you can still pull up to six hours of power from the 745.

If you’re planning an even longer day, though, turn off the music for 16 hours of battery life or switch into Garmin’s UltraTrac mode for 21 hours.

Battery Life

Garmin Forerunner 745

Smartwatch mode

Up to 7 days

GPS mode with music

Up to 6 hours

GPS mode without music

Up to 16 hours

UltraTrac mode

Up to 21 hours

Garmin Forerunner 735XT vs. Garmin Forerunner 745

A side-by-side comparison of the Garmin Forerunner 735XT and Garmin Forerunner 745

The Garmin Forerunner 735XT and Garmin Forerunner 745 offer very similar features and style when you compare the two timepieces, but a few upgrades make the new 745 even better.

Garmin topped the 735 with a chemically strengthened glass lens while the 745 makes use of a Corning Gorilla Glass DX lens for better readability in bright light. Both watches use a silicone strap and come with a 5 ATM water rating.

Designers added a host of new health monitoring features to the Forerunner 745, though. The 735Xt tracks heart rate, sleep and hydration, while the 745 does that plus blood oxygen saturation, stress tracking, respiration rate and more.

The battery life in the 735XT is a little longer than the battery life in the 745, but extra features offered by the new watch make the tradeoff worth it.

Tech comparison

Garmin Forerunner 735XT

Garmin Forerunner 745

Satellite systems

GPS, GLONASS

GPS, GLONASS, Galileo

Monitors

Heart rate

Heart rate, pulse ox

Lens material

Chemically strengthened glass

Corning Gorilla Glass DX

Music storage

No

Yes

Water rating

5 ATM

5 ATM

Final Thoughts

The Garmin Forerunner 745 is a durable, reliable and intelligent GPS watch that helps you make the most of your training.

Garmin built the 745 as a triathlon training companion, so it tracks your miles on foot, on a bike and in the water, while a wrist-based heart rate monitor keeps up with your effort. Fleet Feet reviewers love the familiar interface and easy-to-read display.

With a few key hardware upgrades and the addition of a slew of improved features, the new Garmin Forerunner 745 gives you all the data you could ever need to track and enhance your training.

Still not convinced? Don’t sweat it. Fleet Feet's return policy means you can test drive your shoes and gear without risk. If you’re not happy with the way your gear performs, looks or fits, we’ll take it back within 60 days. Plus, you’ll get free shipping on orders over $99 and free return shipping on all fleetfeet.com orders. That's our Happy Fit Guarantee.

By Evan Matsumoto. Evan played many sports growing up but didn’t go pro in any of them. Now, he’s the digital copywriter for fleetfeet.com and editor for the Fleet Feet blog where he writes about different foam densities and engineered mesh uppers.

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