Fitness Gear

The Garmin Forerunner 245 vs Apple Watch Series 4: Head to Head Comparison

apple watch vs garmin 245
Written by Charlie

The new Garmin Forerunner 245 is an amazing watch and at a great price point compared to the Apple Watch Series 4. Check out their features in this head-to-head comparison.

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If you like smart things on your wrist to accompany you on your run, then there has never been a better time to be a runner! There is really no end to watches that can deliver things like GPS tracking as well as a boatload of other features – from the $69 Huawei Band 3 Pro to the Garmin Marq Athlete with the eye-watering price of $1,500.

The Garmin Forerunner 245 vs Apple Watch Series 4 – A Head-to-Head Comparison

But, when it all gets boiled down, for iPhone users, it almost always comes down to Apple Watch vs Garmin. The latest Apple Watch, the Series 4, had brought some nice upgrades to it that helped it to be a very worthy competitor to the mid-range of Garmin GPS watches. But, Garmin is back again this year with some awesome new upgraded watches that could make that decision oh-so difficult!

Here is a feature comparison, head-to-head, of the Garmin Forerunner 245 vs Apple Watch Series 4.

SpecificationApple Watch Series 4Garmin Forerunner 245 Music
Battery LifeGeneral Use: 18 Hours
GPS Use: 6 Hours
GPS w/Music: 5 Hours
General Use: Up to 7 Days
GPS Use: Up to 24 Hours
GPS w/ Music: Up to 6 Hours
Music Storage16GB of storage3.5GB of storage
Water ResistantUp to 50 MetersUp to 50 Meters
Native Sleep TrackingNoYes
Built-in Heart Rate MonitorYesYes
Always-On DisplayNoYes
Multi-Sport CapabilityYesYes
Glass materialIon-X Strengthened GlassCorning Gorilla Glass 3
Weight36.7 Grams38.5 Grams
Dimensions44 x 38 x 10.7 mm42.3 x 42.3 x 12.2 mm
SensorsOptical heart sensor, electronic heart sensor, gyroscope, barometric altimeter, accelerometerOptical heart sensor, compass, accelerometer, Pulse Ox
GPS TechnologyGPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSSGPS, GLONASS, Galileo
Compatible with iOS and AndroidNoYes
Switchable watch bandsYesYes (20mm bands)
Fall/Incident DetectionYesYes
Price40mm - $399
44mm - $429
Non-Music - $299
Music - $349

If you were to compare this chart with the way the Apple Watch Series 4 stacked up against the Garmin Forerunner 645, you would find a ton of similarities between the 245 and the 645. But, in many ways, the 245 does present an overall better value – while saving you $100 at retail prices.

Read: The Awesome Garmin Forerunner 245 Review by DC Rainmaker

Build Quality

The Garmin Forerunner 245 is actually lighter and even a bit thinner than the 645 which means that it gets even closer to the thinness of the Apple Watch. Another nice addition to the Garmin Forerunner 245 is the Gorilla Glass 3. This Corning technology is now 6 years old but it is a new addition to a Garmin watch face. It brings better resistance than before as well as the ability to have deeper scratches without cracking the whole display.

The Apple Watch Series 4 has “Ion-X strengthened glass”, Apple’s way of saying that they have made it to be pretty tough. In reality, both glass faces are ion strengthened so it would come down more to which one can handle scratches the best.

Which Watch for Runners – Garmin Forerunner 245 Music or Apple Watch Series 4?

I am working on another post about how to choose between Garmin and Apple Watch but I will put a bit in here now – Garmin is hands down the better choice for runners. Yes, Apple has really improved some things about their watch for runners and there are a host of apps available now but they have also chosen to neglect some basic things for runners.

Frustrating Things with Apple Watch for Runners

These things include something as simple as the option to have a data field (in the native workout app) for lap pace. If you are doing repeats or any kind of interval workout, using the Apple Watch Workout app makes that incredibly difficult to track your paces real-time. Apple’s choice to ignore something that simple, which has to just do with software, shows they are ignoring a huge market of runners. Yes, there are other apps that can do that but Apple should have it in their own app!

Apple Watch Series 4 vs Garmin Forerunner 645

This is the Apple Watch GPS map. You can notice the smoothing that Apple does

Part of that may also have to do with another frustrating thing for runners and that is Apple’s approach to GPS tracking. To make it seem more Apple-elegant, Apple uses some smoothing to the GPS trail instead of going for more precise tracking. While I have not found a huge variant between an actual race distance, Garmin, and Apple Watch, there is definitely work that Apple could do to improve some of this behavior.

For example, there is no way that Apple acquires satellite tracking in their 3-2-1 countdown for a run. I mean, I can be inside a building and hit the workout button and it will start “gps tracking” inside – not happening! Again, Apple has chosen for a simplistic appeal to the user instead of a more accurate approach. With Garmin, you have to wait until the satellite tracking is acquired, which doesn’t take long. But, you know that you are getting tracking from step 1 with Garmin.

New Garmin Features

While Apple has come a long way (and I have been using an Apple Watch Series 4 exclusively for over 215 days now), Garmin has just really done a great job with their latest round of watches. Not only have they included many of the features from the 645 into a watch that is, again, $100 cheaper at retail pricing but they have also managed to put even more and newer features in.

garmin forerunner 245 vs apple watch series 4

Garmin has the upper hand in battery life so you can go a week without having to charge the battery (not happening with Apple Watch, though Series 4 can give you up to 2 days). Garmin has way more data fields available to help you refine your run and track your improvements in a variety of ways. The Garmin Forerunner 245 can even give you adaptation information with your VO2Max numbers so that you are getting a more accurate number. This is done by using temperature and altitude acclimation information, combined with your workout performances, to let you know how your training is progressing with your fitness.

Which To Pick – Apple Watch Series 4 or the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music?

When it comes down to it, the major difference is – do you want a great smartwatch that will track your run or do you want a great running watch that will give you smart notifications?

I will say I like a lot of the apps with the Apple Watch Series 4 (as well as some of the simple things like the watch unlocking my laptop when I lift the lid). I also really like the ECG feature and am looking forward to the additional health sensors that Apple will introduce in years to come. Plus, the Apple Pay with the Apple Watch is much easier and quicker to use than Garmin Pay (as well as supporting a lot more banks).

 

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About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

7 Comments

  • Now that you’ve switched to using the AW as your primary device, I’m curious how you manage your data (runs, steps, sleep, etc.). Do you still maintain data in Garmin’s system? Do you just rely on Apple’s Health app? Gyroscope?

    I switch back and forth between my AW and Garmin but I’ve never found a central place to store my health data that works for me.

    • Hey, Patrick, I actually have just been in the Health app. When I am trying out different devices, I normally try to rely on just the native system to get the best feeling for the whole thing.
      I can say that there are some nice apps (SleepWatch, for example) with Apple but many of the things I enjoy for fitness/sleep are native with Garmin so I am looking forward to going back to it. I know many people use apps like RunGap to put their data into things like Strava directly (since the Workout app won’t upload that by itself).
      Which models are you going between? I am going back to Garmin with the 945 since it ticks a lot of boxes for me but I am sure I am going to miss some things like TripIt when traveling. We shall see!

      • If I stay with a combination of AW and Garmin, I’ll likely opt for the 245 and just use it for running. But if I move back to Garmin full time I’ll opt for the 945.

        One of my concerns with Garmin as a full time watch is build quality. I went through three 935s that developed button problems before giving up. From what I’m reading in the forums, build quality may still be an issue with the 945.

        But what I miss most when I wear a Garmin full time is Siri for reminders and the ability to respond quickly to texts. Siri on the watch seems more accurate and convenient to me than Siri on the phone.

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