When it comes to Garmin, all that comes to mind is a dedicated fitness smartwatch which tracks crucial metrics with the accuracy that most fancy smart wearables don't. However, it makes you shell a lot of money. Recently, Garmin brought Forerunner 45, an update to its Forerunner 35. The smartwatch, geared towards beginner to intermediate-level runners and fitness enthusiasts, comes for a price that may not pinch all.
We spent a few weeks with the watch — running, cycling, and sometimes just walking around the city — and here's what the experience was like:
Design and display
Garmin Forerunner 45 is very slim and extremely lightweight — something an ideal fitness wearable should have. You can hardly feel it on your wrist due to its size and weight.
The smartwatch weighs 32 gm, which is due to the plastic frame and buttons. The silicone strap may not seem too impressive but all we can say is it won't disappoint at all.
The 1.04-inch colour display comes with 208 x 208 pixel resolution. Although we won't say the colours are punchy, there's decent clarity and sunlight legibility. The bezels are a bit thick, though.
Garmin has gone with the convention of a five-button control set-up and those who've used a Garmin smartwatch before wouldn't have to put any effort to get used to the navigation. Those who haven't will have to fiddle a bit.
We must say the watch is so comfortable to wear that there would be days when you would forget to take it off before going to bed. Even so, unlike most smart wearables, there would be no sign of any irritation.
The Forerunner 45 has built-in GPS, VO2 max, accelerometer, an optical heart rate monitor, activity and sleep tracking, energy-level monitoring, stress tracking, music controls, and safety features such as live tracking and incident detection.
The watch offers five different exercise modes to choose from, including cycling, running, and walking. In the workout mode, it displays stats like distance, time, pace, and heart rate.
We started with the step count since it's the basic one can do. We can really vouch for its ability to track the metrics with accuracy — we verified it with other devices, too; the results on Forerunner 45 were convincing.
The next was running. We clocked 4.19 km in about 25 minutes (missed the 5K as it was definitely a rough day). From heart rate, elevation, stride length and calories, the watch recorded all the readings and one could get further insight on the app.
We cycled for about 20 km and compared the data from the speedometer on the bike for average to maximum speed, there was only a slight difference in the reading on both devices. Hence, the watch did a decent job there. We got drenched while on the way back due to sudden rain, but in all that, we observed the Forerunner 45 could handle water too.
Next, we hit the gym for an HIIT session and saw the heart rate jumping to 182 bpm from the average 55-60 bpm.
It indeed was surprising to see the heart rate touching 182 bpm so we opened the app to see the timings on which the heart rate was so high. Now, we can't say with certainty if the reading was correct since we usually see the heart rate in the 150-160 zone during intense workouts.
Overall, the metrics and then insights offered by the app make it easy to read where exactly the workout is going and the weekly data offers further information.
When it comes to battery life, Garmin claims the Forerunner 45 can last up to a week on a full charge. The smartwatch does last for about a week but that's if you use it on standard mode. But if you use it for some activity, then the battery might just drain in one or two days.
We used the watch while cycling and it was a long ride (40-50km), the battery level came down to amost 50 per cent.
Similarly, we used it to track the metrics during a 10-km run and then for a fitness workout later in the day. The tracking did drain the battery significantly.
We have used several smartwatches during workouts and have often found Garmin very good with its tracking. The Forerunner 45 follows in the same tradition. Although there were a lot of things to mention about the Forerunner 45 and its features, we decided to dwell more on the tracking part.
The Forerunner 45 is priced at Rs 19,990. At this rate, it's one of the cheapest activity trackers from Garmin. The watch is indeed bang for your buck. We couldn't find any significant flaw that should bother a buyer.