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.
|Specification||Apple Watch Series 4||Garmin Forerunner 245 Music|
|Battery Life||General 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 Storage||16GB of storage||3.5GB of storage|
|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||Corning Gorilla Glass 3|
|Weight||36.7 Grams||38.5 Grams|
|Dimensions||44 x 38 x 10.7 mm||42.3 x 42.3 x 12.2 mm|
|Sensors||Optical heart sensor, electronic heart sensor, gyroscope, barometric altimeter, accelerometer||Optical heart sensor, compass, accelerometer, Pulse Ox|
|GPS Technology||GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS||GPS, GLONASS, Galileo|
|Compatible with iOS and Android||No||Yes|
|Switchable watch bands||Yes||Yes (20mm bands)|
|Price||40mm - $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.
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!
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 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).