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Home / Fitness and Health / Garmin Forerunner 745 fitness and triathlon smartwatch test

Garmin Forerunner 745 fitness and triathlon smartwatch test

The first thing I do when I put on a new smartwatch is to find out what exactly the device is built for. Some have a narrow focus on a particular type of user while others try to check every single box for the crowds.


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The newest entry in Garmin’s Forerunner lineup, the 745, belongs precisely to the first category. The device has a basic design and features that are clearly tailored for serious athletes – or at least demanding serious athletes – who are looking for a new tool to help them tweak their training plan. Garmin knows exactly what type of activity the device is suitable for and specifically markets it as a triathlon companion. The company has largely achieved its goals here, and the 745 quickly became a solid tracking partner for my training and beyond during the week-long trial period.


Garmin Forerunner 745

  • Top notch fitness tracking
  • Solid battery life
  • Suggested workouts for a smart training plan
  • Slightly boring home screen options
  • Expensive
  • Less features for casual users

In its most basic function, the 745 serves as a watch. The case is lighter than some other high-performance trackers like the Suunto 9 or Garmin’s own Fenix ​​6. My test device came in red, which makes it ideal for runners but a bit bold if you want to dress it up for wear and tear.

Garmin’s operating system, which I got used to after testing the excellent Venu for three months and making the Fenix ​​6 my daily routine for most of the summer, is one of the best. Instead of overwhelming the wearer with menu after menu with intelligent functions, the most important functions are available with just a few pushes of a button. The training data is clearly accessible directly on the wrist and divided into easy-to-understand categories.

The preset dial provides clear, important data at a glance. More faces are available through a separate Garmin app, but it’s not as seamless to use as it is with Apple or Fitbit. Also, I’d recommend using the default face anyway and tweaking it to your own preferences; I kept coming back to this after looking through other, less functional options.

Training with the Garmin Forerunner 745

I’m not exactly a triathlon beast – I rarely swim, and never for speed reasons – but the bike, run, and swim functions are just the beginning of the 745’s capabilities. I would have a hard time finding an edge over any other smartwatch company of Garmin’s GPS functionality (which makes sense given the company’s origins), and the 745 is consistently excellent in that function too.

Hardcore exercisers will particularly appreciate the 745’s fixation on high-level data. Training load status uses EPOC data to provide a measure of understanding the impact of the volume of your training – similar to one of my favorite wearables, the whoop strap, which uses a slightly different methodology – to help you understand when you are are to perform at their best. After each training session you will receive data on the training effect of your work, broken down into aerobic and anaerobic effects, as well as an estimate of how long it should take to fully recover from the session. I was surprised that the feedback was also received during the training. As I was tracking runs, the watch popped up “performance condition” warnings that gave me real-time feedback. I didn’t find this particularly useful as I’m pretty much aware of how I feel at any given point in time over a short distance, but I can see how it can help with longer runs or race day scenarios.

Garmin 745


One of the most compelling features of the 745 is what you should be doing, not what you have already done. Runners and cyclists receive training suggestions on a daily basis that are tailored to all other data points from logged training units and other biometric measures. This can be very helpful for athletes who are in the middle of a serious training cycle, or even for less dedicated enthusiasts without a coach or defined program who want additional guidance. Other wearables offer features similar to smart coaching, but are often less focused with the goal of reaching a certain level of activity rather than preparing for performance.

While I’m a runner, most of my training time is devoted to weight training. Garmin has the most useful setup for lifting wearables in my experience. The system gets better at automatically identifying exercises and repetitions (it hit my daily chest routine of bench presses and pushups) but is still struggling too hard to be completely reliable. Instead, serious strength trainers will appreciate the simple controls that make tracking work and rest periods seamless.

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The Garmin Forerunner 745 as an everyday smartwatch

While exercise is the be-all and end-all of the 745, anyone looking for an easy-to-use smartwatch will be familiar with the device. You get basic smart notifications right on the watch that are easy to read on the clean, simple display, plus features like Garmin Pay and connectivity to Spotify and other music apps so you can call for free. Battery life is roughly a week depending on how often you use music streaming and tracking features.



But the price of the 745 and lack of general bells and whistles make it a better choice for the fitness enthusiast than the general user. Some features that are more common in the generally more attractive flagship devices on the market are absent here. There’s no touchscreen or a silky smooth OLED display that’s always on. Garmin does have blood oxygen measurement functionality like the latest Apple and Fitbit models, but no EKG functionality. Additionally, the health traits here are more performance-focused, and while I find the breakdowns easy to understand, I could see how a less athletic-focused user might have difficulty finding them useful.

The price is high even for a general consumer; At $ 500, it’s way above the Fitbit Sense ($ 330) and even the most basic Apple Watch Series 6 ($ 399). The general audience would be better off with Garmin’s Venu ($ 350) or even the stripped-down (but still standout) Venu Sq ($ 199).

That’s not to say the Forerunner 745 isn’t a good smartwatch. It’s excellent – but it’s an even better training tool, an assistant that athletes can rely on to improve their training schedule. For this type of user, the cost makes more sense (and for some, it’s a small price to pay for a competitive advantage). In the race for well-informed, performance-oriented workout, the 745 can help you become a winner.

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