Even though the various wearable companies may not specify that they are competing against each other, there is no doubt that they are all competing for the wrists of active people.
Garmin Just Introduced the Latest Apple Watch Competitor
In late 2017, Apple, FitBit, and Garmin all rolled out watches that had features that crossed over with each other to some extent. But, for many, the Apple Watch still has some features that beat out the others – at least for iOS users.
The latest Garmin GPS running watch is actually a model with two variants – the new Garmin Forerunner 645 and the 645 Music. While the Garmin Forerunner 645 is an upgrade to the running watch, it is the Music variant that more closely aligns with the Apple Watch.
New Features to the Garmin Forerunner 645
There are several new additions to the new Garmin Forerunner 645 as it draws from other models. According to Ray from DC Rainmaker (who has a great hands-on post about it), it is similar to the Garmin Forerunner 935 and Garmin Fenix 5 with the addition of Garmin Pay (from the Garmin Vivoactive 3) and the MP3 player and taking away the multi-sport and open-water activities and some of the navigation features.
He has a nice list of the new features and you can see them all here.
So, what was added that puts it up against the Apple Watch?
- Music storage/MP3 player
- Garmin Pay
Many of the recent Garmin watch models have music controls onboard to control the phone it is connected to so that part of the watch will likely seem familiar except the music is now onboard.
It can play your own playlists or from iHeartRadio.
Garmin Pay is quite new still and still needs more banks onboard to make it be a competitor with other contactless payment solutions.
The Garmin Forerunner 645 will be selling for $399 and the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music will sell for $449. The Music model has a total of 4GB of onboard storage of which about 3.5 GB would be available for music.
The Garmin Forerunner 645 will be shipping in a few weeks.
With the addition of an MP3 player (a first for Garmin), battery life is definitely going to take a hit. Without using the music player, the Garmin Forerunner 645 will get about 14 hours (with the non-music version reportedly getting about 16 hours) of GPS usage and 7 days in smartwatch mode.
However, if you go with GPS and music, the battery life drops to 5 hours. That is a real hit to battery life so you will be charging it more than you would other Garmin devices.
One more thing that may be of concern, to me anyway, is the Bluetooth connection. I have found that Garmin watches quickly disconnect with just part of the body between the phone and the watch while Apple Watches do not do that. It will remain to be seen how that connectivity is affected based on what kind of earbuds/headphones you are using (such as which wrist you wear it on/which earbud is the master).
I will be trying it out as soon as it is publicly available and may even replace my Garmin Fenix 5 with it. I love my Fenix 5 but love the look, size, and weight of the new Garmin Forerunner 645. I look forward to seeing how it performs!
A Good Competitor to the Apple Watch?
This is what people will be wondering with this new Garmin Forerunner 645. With the addition of music and contactless payment, it is the closest competitor from Garmin watches.
The price is higher for the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music – almost $100 more than the 42MM Apple Watch Series 3. I am not sure if Garmin will keep the price at this point. I mean, check out what they have done with the Garmin Vivoactive 3! Just 2 months after its release, it could already be had for as much as $100 off the launch price!
If there are runners that like to be free from their phone or they like the simplicity of a single device, the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music could be that one. But, if you like having a communication device along for the run, Garmin still won’t help you there.
Will you be checking out the Garmin Forerunner 645?