The Garmin Forerunner 35 debuted in 2016 and has been our favourite budget running watch since we first got our hands on it, so we were excited as anyone to see what Garmin did with its successor, the Garmin Forerunner 45.
At first we were a little disappointed, purely because the price has jumped to £169.99 – £40 more than the Forerunner 35. Admittedly, until recently that was what the 35 cost before a “let’s shift some stock before the new one comes out” price cut, but even before then you could usually find it for £120 or so. That means until the discounts start, it’s a stretch to call the 45 a budget option – but it’s unquestionably a more advanced device with some great features that make it a brilliant beginner running watch.
That’s mainly because of the new Garmin Coach feature in the Garmin app. This allows you to load training plans for events like 5Ks and half marathons on to the watch, and then follow guided training sessions. Stick to the plans and you should be in good shape to complete your first few races, or set some new PBs. You can also create your own workouts to follow on the watch.
Other major updates include a new circular watch face, an improvement on the boxy look of the 35, and a colour screen. There’s also a fifth button on the 45, to make it easier to navigate the menus. The watch comes in two sizes too: the 45S has a smaller design to fit slimmer wrists, although the screen is the same size.
The 45 also has more sports modes than its predecessor, including a general cardio and yoga modes, though it’s still not as comprehensive on this front as Garmin’s pricier trackers.The new watch also adds Garmin’s Body Battery feature, which is designed to show your energy reserves at a glance, based on your recent activity.
These new features build on the excellent base provided by the Forerunner 35, so you still get 24/7 heart-rate tracking, built-in GPS, an estimation of your VO2 max and everyday activity tracking.
It’s a terrific running watch, but the price is a big question mark. You can pick up some excellent sporty smartwatches for around £200, such as the Fitbit Versa or Ionic, and usually find older Garmin models like the 735XT, which is a fully-fledged multisport watch, for around £230. The 45 even matches the feature set of the Forerunner 235, which has long been one of Garmin’s most popular running watches, but with the forthcoming introduction of the 245 you can expect to find that for £150.
Buy from Garmin (available before the end of June) | £169.99