This is it – we actually have very good smartwatches for runners in the sub-$200 price range. While there are others that are definitely worth considering as well, it would seem that many people want to compare the Garmin vs Apple Watch. For this post, we will take a look at what both the brand new Garmin Forerunner 45 and the Apple Watch Series 3 have to offer runners.
Garmin Forerunner 45 vs Apple Watch Series 3
Pricing for the Garmin Forerunner 45 vs Apple Watch Series 3
- Apple Watch Series 3 38mm – $199
- Apple Watch Series 3 42mm – $229
- Garmin Forerunner 45S 39mm – $199
- Garmin Forerunner 45 42mm – $199
Let’s start with the pricing. While the $199 price tag is the official, retail price of the new Garmin 45, the Apple Watch Series 3 sees that $199 price as a sale price. I definitely would not pay more than that for the Apple Watch Series 3 38mm (the 42mm costs $229).
One more thing on price – the Apple Watch Series 3 price of $199 is only for the smaller faced 38mm model. If you want more visible space (and you should!), the 42mm will run you $229. On the Garmin side, they also offer two different sizes – the 45 (with a 42mm face) and the 45S (with a 39mm face) – but they share the $199 price.
Head-to-Head Spec Comparison of the Garmin Forerunner 45 vs Apple Watch Series 3
Numbers don’t tell the whole story but they are a good place to start. Here is a list of how the specifications of both watches line up.
|Specification||Apple Watch Series 3||Garmin Forerunner 45|
|Battery Life||General Use: 18 Hours|
GPS Use: 5 Hours
GPS w/Music: 4 Hours
|General Use: Up to 7 Days
GPS Use: Up to 13 Hours
|Music Storage||8GB of storage||N/A|
|Water Resistant||Up to 50 Meters||Up to 50 Meters|
|Native Sleep Tracking||No||Yes|
|Built-in Heart Rate Monitor||Yes||Yes|
|Glass material||Ion-X Strengthened Glass||Chemically strengthened glass|
|Weight||38mm - 26.7 Grams|
42mm - 32.3 Grams
|45S - 32 Grams
45 - 36 Grams
|Dimensions||38mm - 38.6 x 33.3 x 11.4 mm|
42mm - 42.5 x 36.4 x 11.4 mm
|45S - 39.5 x 39.5 x 11.4mm
45 - 42 x 42 x 11.4 mm
|Sensors||Optical heart sensor, electronic heart sensor, gyroscope, barometric altimeter, accelerometer||Garmin Elevate heart rate monitor, accelerometer|
|GPS Technology||GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS||GPS, GLONASS, Galileo|
|Compatible with iOS and Android||No||Yes|
|Switchable watch bands||Yes||No|
|Price||38mm - $199|
42mm - $229
|45S - $199
45 - $199
Music Onboard – Garmin Forerunner 45 vs Apple Watch Series 3
This is an easy one – only the Apple Watch Series 3 will let you play your tunes without your phone. The Garmin Forerunner 45 will let you control your smartphone’s music controls but it does not have onboard music capability of its own.
For some people, that is not a huge dealbreaker. The Apple Watch Series 3 has a battery that will not give you a ton of time if you choose to play music and use GPS so that is a tradeoff. I always listen to things when I run, often audiobooks. But, since I always run with a phone, I am normally playing that off my phone. Only rarely have I used the music playback of the Apple Watch Series 4.
If you are a runner that normally carries a phone on the run, the missing music option on the Garmin Forerunner 45 shouldn’t be a big deal. On the other hand, if you want to fly along as lightweight as possible, you will want the Apple Watch Series 3 for the music capability.
Battery Life – Garmin Forerunner 45 vs Apple Watch Series 3
Here is another easy one. With the Apple Watch Series 3, you will be charging that little guy every day. If you aren’t running, you could go from morning on day 1 until the night on day 2 but that is not typical if you are running on one of those days.
With the Garmin Forerunner 45, you will be getting up to 13 hours of GPS usage! That means that the average runner will have no problem getting all their runs done in a week without having to charge the Forerunner 45. That is good!
Actual Smartwatch Functions – Garmin Forerunner 45 vs Apple Watch Series 3
There are no two ways about it – the Apple Watch Series 3 is an awesome, actual smartwatch. It has onboard apps and a beautiful screen to give you a lot of things right on your wrist. Plus, you get two-way interaction so you can retweet a tweet you find interesting, answer a text message, like a friend’s photo, make a call, check your bank account balance, and more with just taps on the mini-screen. If you want to do more on your wrist and less on your iPhone, the Apple Watch is for you.
Garmin puts its best foot forward – it is an awesome watch for GPS activity and workout data. Over the last few years, they have added smartwatch functions including their own little app store. While you can actually have Uber onboard, you are not going to be doing a ton of smartwatch type stuff on your Garmin. Instead, you will get your notifications, control your music, answer your phone, and some other things.
Garmin Forerunner 45 vs Apple Watch Series 3 – Which Watch?
People’s decision over the Garmin Forerunner 45 or the Apple Watch Series 3 will likely come down to the actual smartwatch part.
If you want to have a watch that will let you leave your phone in the pocket/bag/purse/drawer, you want the Apple Watch.
If you want a watch that does a great job on delivering GPS function and metrics and will let you know about notifications so you don’t have to pick up your phone every time it makes a sound, the Garmin Forerunner is your watch.