Our Verdict
Get the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music if you are a significant runner who loves to listen to music.

For
Bright colorful display
Onboard music storage
Good battery life
Plenty of training metrics
Against
Menus could be difficult to navigate
For a long time, I’ve ran with a Garmin Forerunner 235. This GPS watch has seen me through half marathons, full marathons and many 5Ks, dutifully tracking my every step on the way. I’ve loved its large, easy-to-read display and customizable menus.

So Garmin had a higher bar to clear using its successor, the Forerunner 245 Music. And it can, in all respects. The Garmin Forerunner 245 Music is smaller and lighter, yet includes a more colorful display, and it could store music onboard-no more lugging a smartphone along! And it can all of this without sacrificing battery life. As I learned logging miles because of this Garmin Forerunner 245 Music review, it’s among the finest sports watches for runners.

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music: Price and availability
The Garmin Forerunner 245 Music costs $349, and is available with a black, white, or aqua band and case. For individuals who don’t want the music feature, the Garmin Forerunner 245 is $299, and will come in black or berry red.

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music: Design
The Forerunner 245 includes a softer, more refined design than its predecessor, the Forerunner 235. Notably, the edges are rounder, giving it a less boxy shape.

However, the 245 retains the five-button design common to numerous of Garmin’s running watches, with a tiny tweak occasionally. The Start/Stop button in the upper now includes a red ring around it, in addition to a red hash mark on the watch bezel, so that it is stick out just a lttle bit more.

Despite having a smaller 42mm case (weighed against 44mm for the 235), the Forerunner 245 has practically the same size screen – 30.4mm – as its predecessor. It includes a higher 240 x 240 pixel resolution, and more important, it generally does not have the flat-tire look (the most notable and bottom of the 235’s display was take off). The display just looks brighter and more colorful.

While both watches have transflective displays – which reflect sunlight to create them more viewable outdoors – the 245’s backlight is a lot brighter, too. I had no issue seeing that which was on the display, day or night.

Forerunner 245 Music: Interface
Because the Forerunner 235 arrived in 2015, Garmin’s devices have grown to be much more complex – almost just like a real smartwatch – so that it was only natural that the business integrated features within the Fenix 5 into its flagship running watch.

As with most of its dedicated running watches, the Forerunner 245 lacks an impression screen, which is okay by me. If you ask me, it’s a whole lot harder to swipe and tap than it really is to press a button while running, and I didn’t have any problems with the Forerunner 245 as I took it out for a run.

Cycling through the Forerunner 245’s various screens, you will see the elements, your calendar, notifications, workout history, heartrate, steps, health stats and more. Each one of these screens is known as a widget, and you will add, remove and rearrange them as you see fit.

Garmin Forerunner 235 (left), Garmin Forerunner 245 Music (right)
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music Specs

Display Size: 1.2 inches
Resolution: 240 x 240
Weight: 38.5 grams
Water resistance: 5 ATM
GPS Battery life: 6 hours w/ music, a day w/o music
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ANT+
Music storage: Up to 500 songs

When diving through all of the menus, Garmin keeps things simple. Pressing and holding the center button on the left side enables you to change settings such as for example watch faces, widgets and sensors. However, there are so many menus and submenus – due to each of the watch’s features – that it is easy to get lost. Pressing the trunk button will eventually help you to the home screen.

MORE: Smartwatch Buying Guide

The Forerunner 245 may also show notifications from your own smartphone, but unlike a real smartwatch just like the Apple Watch Series 5 or the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, you can’t reply, make calls or connect to an assistant like Siri.

Forerunner 245 Music: Running features
While not each is necessarily not used to Garmin’s GPS watches, the Forerunner 245 incorporates some more metrics catering to runners. Training Status analyzes your activities to see if you are progressing as you should; Training Load, which talks about your previous a week of workouts; and anaerobic and aerobic Training Effect, to start to see the effectiveness of your own workouts.

When you have your phone with you throughout a run, Incident Detection and Assistance enables you to utilize the Forerunner 245 to get hold of emergency services, and can send them where you are.

A number of the other more running-focused features are the ability to race among your previous runs, and, when you pair the watch with a running dynamics pod ($69), you can aquire additional data including the amount of bounce in your step, ground contact time and stride length.

You can also hook up the Forerunner 245 right to Wi-Fi networks, so that it will sync automatically without you having to open the Garmin software on your smartphone.

Forerunner 245 Music: Features
As its name indicate, you can store your tunes on the Forerunner 245 Music. In this manner, you can leave your phone or aging iPod in the home if you wish to hear something as long as you’re out exercising.

You can download music to the watch from your own computer, or from Spotify or Deezer assuming you have premium subscriptions from those service. After signing into your account through Garmin’s app, after that you can view and sync your playlists to the Forerunner 245 music. Downloading my running playlist, which includes 11 songs, took about three minutes. You may also sync podcasts via Spotify, too.

The Spotify iphone app also recommended several workout-related playlists, such as for example “160 BPM Runner’s Club,” “Power Workout,” and “Beast Mode,” nevertheless, you can’t preview the songs on the lists on the watch without downloading them first.

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music: Performance
Out in the burbs, the Forerunner 245 found a GPS signal within 10 seconds of me starting a running activity, and accurately tracked me throughout my runs. The screen was bright, and I liked that I possibly could customize it showing the stats I recommended to view. Also you can cycle through multiple screens, so you can show your stats for your current run, while another screen could show your metrics for the existing lap.

MORE: Best sports watch: Reviews of GPS watches

The Forerunner may also demonstrate a map of your run. But you will just start to see the route, rather than a map with streets.

The watch maintained a reliable link with my Bose Soundsport wireless headphones within my run. Not once did a song skip or cut out as I jammed along to Eye of the Tiger. It’s fairly simple to change tracks using the buttons on the watch, but I suspect that lots of (like myself) will prefer to utilize the controls on the headsets for this function. You may also switch between playlists on the watch while running, but it’s a bit more of a pain. My advice is always to bunch one playlist with the songs you’ll need.

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music: App
Just like the watch itself, Garmin’s iphone app (Android, iOS) includes a lot of features which can be difficult to navigate. The primary My Day screen shows your daily stats instantly – heartrate, steps, calories burned and more. Among these is Body Battery, a metric that Garmin uses showing you just how much energy you have on a scale from 1 to 100. An excellent night’s rest will increase your number, while strenuous activity or stress will lower it.

Also not used to the Forerunner 245, along with Garmin’s other new fitness watches, is menstrual-cycle tracking.

Other tabs along underneath of the screen demonstrate challenges you’ve completed, a calendar of your activities, and a News Feed displaying what your other Garmin-equipped friends are doing.

Finally, a far more tab brings you down a rabbit’s hole of settings and advanced metrics, like VO2 Max and Lactate Threshold. Here, you can even start workouts and custom-made training plans for 5K, 10K and half marathons, and access the Connect IQ Store, Garmin’s ersatz iphone app store, where you could download additional watch faces and widgets to the watch. However, you won’t find software as you’ll for the Apple Watch. Generally, there are just watch faces plus some other fitness-related apps, such as for example Strava.

Forerunner 245 Music: Battery life
One of the benefits associated with by using a fitness-first watch, instead of a smartwatch, to track your runs is battery life. Garmin’s watches can last for days longer than any Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch. Without GPS, the Forerunner 245 ought to be best for up to a week. With the GPS fired up, Garmin says that the Forerunner 245 Music can last up to a day.

If you are using the watch to play music, too, battery life requires a hit: The business says that the 245 Music can last just 6 hours in GPS mode with music. My testing would seem to be to bear that out: A half-hour run using GPS, the heartrate monitor and playing music drained the battery by 8 percent, roughly consistent with Garmin’s estimates. Still 6 hours is plenty of time to get most of the people via an entire marathon.

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music: Verdict
I’ve tested several running watches through the years, but when it found actual training and racing, I usually returned to the Garmin Forerunner 235. It had everything – a major and bright display, accurate tracking and an excellent battery life. Its successor, the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music, has all that and more.

At $349, the Forerunner 245 Music is practically as expensive as the Apple Watch Series 5 ($399), but its in-depth tracking features and far better battery life helps it be the better choice for serious runners. If you wish to save some cash, the Forerunner 245 ($299) has yet features as the Forerunner 245 Music, but without the onboard music storage. Garmin fans on a budget also needs to browse the Garmin Forerunner 45 ($199), which includes fewer features, but a similarly attractive design and display, along with 13-hour battery life in GPS mode.