Garmin Forerunner 245 Music GPS Smartwatch Review

Garmin has been at the cutting edge of adventuring and fitness smartwatches for quite some time now. As this Garmin 245 Music Smartwatch product review will show, this cycle isn’t about to break anytime soon.

The company’s latest and greatest Forerunner offering is absolutely loaded with features, to the point where most users might not even find them useful anymore.

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General Overview of the Forerunner 245 Music

Garmin’s R;D department had a very clear vision in mind while designing Forerunner 245 Music, we believe. The goal had to have been to produce a simple and straightforward smartwatch, but one that doesn’t skimp on features.

To that end, they’ve managed to create a remarkable gadget that packs an incredible punch under the hood. Its non-touchscreen LED display won’t impress at first sight, however.

That said, it doesn’t happen often that we come across a smartwatch that cleverly combines the best aspects of both rugged and high-tech devices, but Garmin 245 Music sure is one of them.

Really, it’s the screen that’s going to be the most disappointing aspect of this smartwatch for most users. Instead of going with a standard touchscreen model, Garmin has opted instead for a somewhat clunky button-driven interface.

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music Features

As we had already suggested, Garmin’s 245 Music model is completely at home no matter what sort of exercise you might be into. It keeps track of up to 200 hours of activity data, which can be more specifically tuned using the following exercise profiles:

  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Rowing
  • Elliptical Machine
  • Stair-Stepper Machine

If none of these really fit the bill for your specific exercise routine, you can easily create custom workouts using Garmin’s dedicated phone and/or PC apps (Garmin Connect). The smartwatch will wirelessly sync to said apps, though a wired connection is also supported.

245 Music also offers lapping and milestone functionality. Basically, you can set it to notify you (beeping, vibration, etc.) when you’ve hit a number of different milestones, which is extremely handy if you don’t want to have to look at the screen every so often.

This variant of Garmin’s popular Forerunner lineup also comes equipped to display maps, which integrate with the built-in GPS to offer rudimentary positioning data even if you don’t have a smartphone at hand.

Unlike some of Garmin’s more adventuring-oriented smartwatches, though, 245 Music does not have a preloaded set of topographical maps on-board. Since this isn’t what most users would be looking for in a fitness watch, though, we can’t hold that against it.

Now, one of the main draws of the Forerunner 245 Music is – you’ve guessed it – the music. Featuring 3.5 GB of flash memory, which is enough for about 500 music tracks total, this smartwatch can directly connect to your Bluetooth headphones.

If handling loose music files doesn’t sound like a good time, fret not. 245 Music offers full Spotify integration with offline playback support if you need it.

On-board sensors

245 Music is also equipped with a full array of quality sensors. You’re getting a built-in GPS (with support for both Glonass and Galileo), Garmin’s own heart rate monitor solution, a compass, an accelerometer, and a blood oxygen saturation monitor.

Garmin’s neat ‘Body Battery’ feature is available, too, so you can get a rough estimation of your energy levels at any given time. The watch will also keep track of your sleep data, which is sure to come in handy.

Note, however, there’s no onboard altimeter or barometer available. If you’re a fitness nut and need to track all of the floors and flights of stairs you climb – this watch isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a watch with floor/stair tracking as well as all of the features of the 245 check out the Garmin 645 Music or the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro

Battery life expectations

Depending on your specific use case, 245 Music can survive up to a full week on a single charge. Note, however, that this is with GPS and the heart rate tracker both turned off and without listening to music.

With GPS on, you’re going to get about 24 hours of usage out of 245 Music, but if you turn on all the bells and whistles we mentioned here, you’ll get about 6-or-so hours of total runtime.

There’s no solar-powered variant of this particular watch, so you’ll have to stick with other Garmin products if that’s a serious consideration.

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music Specifications

Forerunner 245 Music is on the smaller and leaner side of the smartwatch size spectrum. The chassis is 42.3 x 42.3 x 12.2 mm, which is about what you’d expect out of a sporty gadget such as this. It’s reasonably lightweight, too, sitting at a mere 38.5 grams in total.

The smartwatch comes with a high-quality silicone strap, but what we really enjoy about this Garmin device is that it features standard, garden-variety 20-millimeter quick-release bands as a strap-mounting mechanism.

Back to specs, though: the bezel is made of fiber-reinforced polymer, featuring a Gorilla Glass 3 lens. Said lens protects a 1.2” display with a resolution of merely 240 x 240 pixels, which may disappoint some, but works reasonably well in daily use.

Finally, if you’re worried about water and dust resistance, 245 Music comes reasonably well-equipped to handle the majority of casual use cases. According to official sources, it’s got a water rating of 5 ATM, which means it can withstand pressures equivalent to about 50 meters (164 feet) deep.

Otherwise, 245 Music will easily handle rain, snow, showering, swimming, diving, and snorkeling.

Pricing – Final Remarks

While Garmin 245 Music does offer an incredible bang, it’s the ‘buck’ part of the equation that we’re concerned about.

The MSRP is $349.99, which puts it at only $50 less than Apple’s own ubiquitous offering. Now, it’s worth pointing out that Forerunner 245 Music does deliver certain features that the Apple Watch cannot match, but the same could be said vice-versa, really.

If you exercise a lot and, specifically, if you’re crazy about running, there’s probably not much else on the market that could parry what Garmin has done with their 245 lineup. Add the onboard music playback feature and it’s a real hoot if you want some tunes on the go.

At the $350 asking price, though, this smartwatch may be an understandably hard pill to swallow for some.

What did we like about the Garmin 245 Music?

  1. Jam-packed with useful features
  2. Top-of-the-line fitness functionality
  3. On-board music playback and Spotify integration
  4. Long battery life
  5. Replaceable 20 mm straps

What we didn’t like about the Garmin 245 Music?

  1. Lack of touch-screen functionality
  2. Somewhat cumbersome user interface
  3. Pretty expensive

Missing features?

  1. Touch-screen and a touch-oriented UI
  2. OLED display
  3. Barometer
  4. Altimeter

Conclusion

We won’t dawdle too much: Garmin Forerunner 245 Music is a phenomenal smartwatch with just a few real downsides. Said downsides are, however, compounded by the steep asking price that’s tacked onto the device.

If you’re a sporty person who wants a reliable, rugged, and feature-loaded gadget to wear on your wrist, and if listening to music is important to you – snag the 245 Music. Especially if you can get a good deal on it.

For most users, and even casual runners, though, chances are that 245 Music might be a bit overkill. There’s also the fact that you’re stuck with physical buttons and a non-touch display, which is a real shame.

The sheer amount of sensory data and metrics that 245 collects is downright incredible, and we’re sure that this is a big part of the reason for its pricing. Since most users simply won’t find this data useful, it’s hard to recommend it for that reason alone.

Customized training plans and workouts aren’t always available on lower-end exercise-oriented smartwatches, however, and there’s a point to be made about the sheer level of quality and reliability that’s on offer with this device.

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Coach Scott is a published author, RRCA certified running coach (Level 2), and an NASM CPT (Certified Personal Trainer). He has published over 20 books including, Beginner’s Guide to Half Marathons: A Simple Step-By-Step Solution to Get You to the Finish Line in 12 Weeks! (Beginner To Finisher Book 3), which has become an Amazon International #1 bestseller. Scott specializes in helping new runners become injury-free race finishers. He recently completed his 14th half marathon race. 

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References

Garmin.com: https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/646690

The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/may/28/garmin-forerunner-245-music-review-a-runners-best-friend

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