The Garmin Forerunner 235 has been one of the most popular running watches since it launched back in mid-2015, with its extensive feature set and reliability making it one of the top options to buy – which it remains today, especially since it’s now almost always on sale.
That means Garmin had to produce something special for its replacement, and on paper it looks like it’s done just that. The new Forerunner 245 has taken features from premium watches like the Forerunner 645 to offer all the features a committed runner could want for under £300.
The new watch comes in two forms – the 245 and the 245 Music, with the latter having space for 500 songs and the ability to sync playlists from premium Spotify and Deezer accounts. The standard 245 costs £249.99 and the music version £299.99.
Both watches now have breadcrumb navigation to help you retrace your steps when running in an unfamiliar area and can link with a footpod to show in-depth info on your run like ground contact time, which helps more experienced runners analyse their running form. The 245 also has the training load features seen on Garmin watches released in the past couple of years, so you’ll be told whether your training is productive or whether you’re overdoing it, and how each workout is affecting your aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
The Forerunner 245 also links up with the new Garmin Coach section in the partner app, so you can load entire training plans for races like a 5K or half marathon on the watch, which will guide you through each workout. These plans also adapt to how you’re actually running, and you’ll even get a predicted race time based on your training.
On top of all of this, the battery life has been vastly improved on the 245. The watch now lasts 24 hours in GPS, more than double the 11 hours of the 235, though the battery life does drop to six hours when you’re listening to music while using the GPS.
There’s no multisport mode on the 245 and it’s missing some smart features like Garmin Pay. It also doesn’t have a barometric altimeter or the on-board maps you can find in more expensive Garmin watches. However, the vast majority of runners will be more than satisfied by what’s included. It’s hard to justify upgrading to the Forerunner 645, for example, unless you reckon Garmin Pay, a barometric altimeter and a silver bezel are worth an extra £100.
The mid-range running watch market is more competitive than ever, with newcomer Coros joining Garmin, Suunto and Polar in offering feature-rich options for less than £300. There are also several great smartwatches available at that price. Our first impression of the Forerunner 245 is that it offers enough to stand out even in this crowded field, but we’ll see if that’s the case when we get our hands on a review unit sometime in the next month or two.
Buy from Garmin (available soon) | £249.99-£299.99