Garmin Fenix 7 vs. Forerunner 945: How They Compare

Are you wondering how Garmin’s Fenix 7 compares to the Forerunner 945? This article is focused on helping you assess whether it’s worth spending extra money on the Fenix watch.

This review is different from other traditional reviews of Fenix 7 vs. Forerunner 945. We found that very few reviews compare the Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 7 vs. Fenix 6. But before you compare the Fenix 7 to the Forerunner 945, it’s important you understand what Garmin changed from the previous Fenix 6, so this article includes high-level comments about how the two Fenix watches differ.

If you’re after a detailed review, check out our full review of the Garmin Fenix 6 vs. Fenix 7.

Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 7

Garmin Forerunner 945

FOR

  • Cheaper
  • Lighter and smaller
  • LTE option

AGAINST

  • No Solar or Sapphire option
  • Buttons only, no touchscreen

Garmin Fenix 7

FOR

  • Touchscreen is an irreplaceable feature while using maps
  • Better battery life
  • Improved heart-rate technology
  • Better GPS sensor

AGAINST

  • Pricier
  • More sturdy on the wrist means it could be more bothersome for runners

Forerunner 945 vs. Fenix 7: Health Sensors

The Forerunner series has always been fitness-first, and the Forerunner 945 lineup is no different. The Fenix models have been transformed into the best outdoor watch two models; this has not changed since the newest Fenix 7 was released. In terms of health sensors, there isn’t much difference between the Fenix 7 and Forerunner 945. Both models still monitor:

  1. Heart Monitoring – Fenix and Forerunner have an optical heart rate sensor that uses Garmin’s Elevate technology. This is one of the most accurate sensors on the market, and it’s hard to find a model that doesn’t include this technology.
  2. Blood Oxygen Levels – this feature uses the optical sensor in both watches to measure your blood oxygen saturation levels.
  3. Sleep Score and Insights – both watches use sensors to track your sleep, give you an idea of how well you sleep, and provide a score on the Garmin Connect app.
  4. Temperature – the Fenix and Forerunner models can also track your body temperature.
  5. Respiration – the newest Garmin watches can track your respiration rate and accurately do so

Fortunately, both the Fenix and Forerunner lines have the same health sensors as before, but the Fenix has the newest generations and, dare we say, should be more accurate. We should also note that the Fenix 7 has better performance and optimization in tracking and monitoring your health statistics.

The Fenix 7 also provides a Health Snapshot that captures and shares data on critical health-related insights in a two-minute session. This insight has your Heart Rate, Heart Rate Variability, Pulse Ox, respiration, and stress levels; essentially, users can get an idea of their cardiovascular status in a convenient report. The Forerunner 945 LTE, but not the Forerunner, and Fenix 7 models have this feature.


Garmin Forerunner 945 Photos


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Fenix vs. Forerunner: Fitness Sensors

These running watches will have you covered whether you’re into tennis, volleyball, golf, or baseball. Even the most data-obsessed individuals will find plenty to do with this wealth of performance and information. Garmin doesn’t come highly rated for nothing. 

It’s important to note that the functionality of these watches is very similar. There may be slight differences in health and performance metrics, but you’ll be satisfied with your choice. As before, both the Fenix 7 and Forerunner 945 have these metrics:

  • Anaerobic Training Effect – this measures how your workout affects your VO₂ max and estimates the calories you burn.
  • Real-Time Performance Condition – this metric tells you how your current fatigue level affects your performance.
  • Training Load – this measures the training volume from the last seven days and gives you an idea of how your body responds to the load.
  • Training Status – this metric tells you if you’re overreaching, peaking, or tapering for your next event.
  • Recovery Time Advisor – this tells you how much time you need to recover from your last workout before you start your next one.
  • Quick Stress Level Test – this test uses your heart rate and HRV to give you an idea of how stressed you are.
  • (24/7) Respiration Rate – this tracks your respiration rate throughout the day and during sleep.

The Up Ahead function on the Fenix 7, as well as a Stamina Metric, are worth a mention. The first is a tool that displays information about upcoming locations along your journey or road. The second metric is designed to show you how much performance ability you have left. Its goal is to help you set a pace for yourself to finish the race strong; these features may come to the Forerunner 945 via future firmware updates. Unfortunately, as of September 2022, the Forerunner LTE still lacks these fitness tools.

Forerunner 945 vs. Fenix 7: Water Resistance

Garmin Forerunner 945 has a 5ATM Water Rating

The Forerunner is waterproof up to 5ATM, making it ideal for swimming, surfing, and snorkeling. If you’re concerned about the snow getting on it or showering with it being a worry, there shouldn’t be an issue.

Garmin Fenix 7 has a 10ATM Water Rating

The Fenix 7, with its improved outdoor look and titanium body, is more resistant to water with a 10 ATM rating and performs the same tasks in water as the Forerunner 945 and other watches; those who perform high-speed water sports or dive into water should not be concerned about their watch’s capabilities. The Forerunner LTE had minor design changes, but they do not affect the 5ATM water resistance nor improve it.


Fenix 7: Check out today’s price

Forerunner 945 vs. Fenix 7: Battery Life

It’s difficult for other Garmin models to outperform the Fenix series on battery management. While the Forerunner and LTE aren’t pushovers, the Fenix 7 variants still have better battery management.  Fortunately, no matter which model you choose, you’ll get a highly competitive battery life whether in smartwatch mode, using GPS and music, or simply using GPS.

Each of the three Fenix sizes allow you to choose the standard, solar, or sapphire solar option. With these options, the solar and the sapphire solar offer users the benefit of convenient battery life extension using the sun and sturdy sapphire glass protection.

Fenix 7 vs Forerunner 945 Battery Life

The battery life on the Fenix 7 is noticeably improved from the Fenix 6 models, putting it far above the capacity of the Forerunner 945. With the addition of the solar option for each Fenix 7 watch size, users have a lot more flexibility. 

Forerunner 945Fenix 7 StandardFenix 7 Solar
Smartwatch mode with activity tracking14 days11 days (F7S)
18 days (F7)
14 days (F7S)
22 days (F7)
37 days (F7X)
With GPS on36 hours37 hrs (F7S)
57 hrs (F7)
46 hrs (F7S)
73 hrs (F7)
122 hrs (F7X)
With GPS and music10 hours7 hrs (F7S)
10 hrs (F7)
7 hrs (F7S)
10 hrs (F7)
16 hours (F7X)
UltraTrac mode GPS, no heart-rate tracking60 hours26 days (F7S)
40 days (F7)
43 days (F7S)
74 days (F7)
139 days (F7X)

Garmin Fenix Power Management Options

The newest Forerunner 945 did not add any power management menus or abilities, like in the Fenix lines of smartwatches. Still, users can adjust the watches’ function using battery power if needed. For instance, users should try altering Backlighting, the most significant contributor to battery drain, next to Pulse OX and GPS, which users can also set to Manual mode to save as much power as possible. Unfortunately, the Forerunner and Forerunner LTE are lacking in battery management settings.

The Fenix 7, like the former Fenix 6, shines when comparing its battery-centric features to other fitness watch models. Below is a list of additional features not included in the Forerunner or Forerunner LTE:

  • Power Manager – allows users to enable a Battery Saver Mode that sets the watch into low power mode disabling battery draining features. With this feature, most Fenix 7 models can get anywhere from 40 to 80 days.
  • Jacket Mode – this product disables some features like hear-rate monitoring to allow up to 40 hours of GPS tracking.
  • Expedition Mode – The updated GPS, GALILEO, and GLONASS receiver inside the Fenix 7 are there for a reason. They allow the watch to go 28 days without charging for long excursions away from an outlet.
Black Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar
Garmin Fenix 7 Solar Sapphire


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Forerunner 945 vs. Fenix 7: Workout Modes

Garmin Sports Profiles

Both Garmin watches have typical sports profiles such as golf, skiing, walking and running, and for those who desire dedicated workout modes, the Forerunner and Fenix have you covered with modes such as kayaking and snowboarding that provide metrics explicitly tailored for each sport.

On Fenix 7, Garmin added more activity profiles that are not available on Fenix 6, like Adventure Race and pickleball. In addition, you’ll find new Bike profiles like eBike, eMTB, Road, Mountain, Indoor, Gravel, and Cyclocross.

For a full list of workout modes, check out our article about Sports Modes by Fitness Watch.

Users can take advantage of Fenix 7’s newest outdoor recreation profiles like Kiteboard, Windsurfing (with a SpeedPro function specific to this profile), Snowshoe, Stand Up, and structured HIIT workouts. 

The Fenix 7 still doesn’t offer anything different in most running metrics compared to the Forerunner, and the Fenix 7 is still well suited for outdoor activities. But Garmin did add functions like Run/Walk/Stand graphing within your selected workout mode that the Forerunner 945 smartwatch lacks.

Garmin Rest Time Suggestions

Both watches also have downloadable training plans and suggest rest times after workouts. The Fenix 7 and Forerunners use Physio TrueUp, which syncs information between compatible devices. However, Garmin tweaked the Pulse OX, which has better handling. 

Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE LiveTrack

The Forerunner LTE has a cellular connection, but it’s about a cellular athletic connection rather than a smartwatch cellular connection. In other words, the Forerunner LTE is designed to be a dedicated running watch with the ability to use a cellular connection, not through your existing carrier, and use LiveTrack, which was recently added, and Live Event Tracking.

Garmin also added Spectator text messages for friends and family to text you in real-time during workouts and Spectator voice messages via a cellular connection. 

Forerunner 945 vs. Fenix 7: Smart Features

Garmin Fenix and Forerunner Smartwatch Features

Since Garmin users are generally more outdoor and activity-oriented, the Garmin smartwatch features are a bit more basic than those of Apple or Galaxy watches.

The Forerunner 945 and Fenix 7 have many similar features, but several differences between them stand out:

  • Both watches offer payment services such as contactless payments with Garmin Pay.
  • Both watches can control and play music.
  • Both watches receive smart notifications.
  • The Fenix 7 and Forerunner 945 cannot make phone calls or send text messages
  • You can use the Fenix 7 and Forerunner 945 LTE  to reject phone calls and read texts.
  • You can get Real Time Settings Sync from Garmin Connect and notifications from your favorite apps on the Fenix 7. This feature is absent in the Forerunner. 

Touchscreen on Garmin Fenix 7

As a user navigates one of the menus, often they are required to scroll or utilize the buttons; this remains true for the Forerunner. However, all new Fenix 7 models offer touchscreens for a more user-friendly experience. Another benefit to this screen is that it works well even when it gets wet, though there may be some limited functionality. The sapphire crystal models are also scratch-resistant, which is a nice touch. While the Forerunner’s display is still reliable and works well, it cannot compare to the Fenix’s touchscreen display.

Forerunner 945 vs. Fenix 7: Sleep Tracking and Body Battery

The Forerunner and the Fenix 7 both track your sleep cycle and record your entire night’s sleep into the Connect app into an organized summary showing all data from the night before. To get an accurate sleep tracking representation, you’ll need to wear the watch to bed and enable the sleep tracking feature in the Garmin Connect app. Tthe Forerunner and Fenix 7 optical heart rate sensors accurately track sleep using Advanced Sleep Monitoring (ASM), but the sensors on the Fenix 7 are the brand-new version 4.0.

The sensors still track your light, deep, and REM sleep cycles to show you how well you’re resting. The Garmin uses heart rate variability (HRV), movement, and duration to estimate how long you slept and the quality of your sleep. In addition, these watches incorporate altitude acclimation and pulse oximetry into their sleep-tracking analysis. Pulse oximetry is a method of measuring blood oxygen saturation levels. It is helpful for those who live at high altitudes or athletes who want to check their recovery rate. 

Using the collected data, the Forerunner and the Fenix 7 take advantage of the Body Battery feature. This feature uses the data to give you an idea of how much energy your body has throughout the day. This way, you can better plan your workouts and know when you will most likely be tired. Unfortunately, besides these notes, the Fenix 7 doesn’t improve much more in the sleep tracking department.

Forerunner 945 vs. Fenix 7: Display and Looks

The Forerunner 945 and the Forerunner 945 LTE are mirror images of the same device. The Forerunner 945 has a simplistic look and is made with Corning Gorilla Glass. It is light and is built with a fiber-reinforced polymer.

The Fenix 7 comes out as the premium watch. Fenix 7 weights less than Fenix 6, but it is still a sturdy watch. Aesthetically, the Fenix 6 and the Fenix 7 are quite alike — both have large metal bezels and can accommodate Garmin’s suede, fabric, or Quickfit bands.

Fenix 7 and Forerunner 945 Display At-a-Glance

Fenix 7XFenix 7Fenix 7SForerunner 945
Resolution280-pixels260-pixels240-pixels240-pixels
Color DisplayYesYesYesYes
Screen Size1.4 inches diameter (35.56 mm)1.3 inches diameter (32.02mm)1.2 inches diameter (30.4 mm)1.2 inches diameter (30.4 mm)


Forerunner 945: check out today’s price

Forerunner 945 vs. Fenix 7: Storage Capacity

The Forerunner 945 and the Fenix 7 have different storage space capacities. The Forerunner has a memory capacity of 16GB, whereas the Fenix 7 features a memory span of 32GB. As a result, if you enjoy listening to music while working out, the Fenix is preferable. With 2,000 songs in its music library, the Fenix 7 offers better music storage than the Forerunner 945 (which can store up to 1,000 songs).

Forerunner vs. Fenix 7: Mobile App

The Forerunner 945 and the Fenix 7 series line use the Garmin Connect app to store and analyze the collected data. The mobile app is compatible with Android and Apple iOS operating systems. The app syncs data from the watch to the phone and views the analytics of your workouts and sleep.

Both models still have access to the optional Connect IQ Widget is an excellent tool for personalizing your Garmin device. This app can download watch faces, data fields, music streaming services, and more – all free! In addition, you can use the Garmin Connect IQ platform to add and customize relevant data fields and measures for your compatible gadget. The Running Power app, for example, calculates your running power in real-time.

Forerunner 945 vs. Fenix 7: Maps

The Forerunner 945 and the Fenix 7 offer the best navigation and mapping capabilities in the company’s newer models. They also have the same mapping capabilities and access to detailed topographical maps. All Fenix 7 models come with maps, unlike the Fenix 6 where only the Pro models have maps.

The Fenix 7 is also a more accurate when using the GPS features; this improvement is mainly due to the multi-GNSS mode available on the newest model. As a result, it makes the GPS more reliable and precise. The improvement is worth the extra price tag.

You can combine routes in the Garmin Connect companion software or other compatible third-party applications and upload them to the watch. You’ll be able to visit places of interest, follow breadcrumb trails, look for previously stored locations, create courses, and access valuable features like Back to the Start and TrackBack. In addition, thousands of ski resorts are preloaded with topographical maps.

The Fenix series offers map themes to assist you in making your data more relevant to the activity you’re performing and enhanced specifics included in the mapping displays.

Forerunner 945 vs. Fenix 7: Cost

The Forerunner 945 is generally cheaper than the Fenix 7, but that gap varies based on retailer deals throughout the year.


Fenix 7 Deals on Amazon

The Forerunner and the Forerunner LTE have a very mall difference in price. Like its predecessor, the Fenix 7 series offers an updated variety of models with premium features like the solar and sapphire lens package. These premium features are in demand and come at a higher price point consistent with their value.

So, if you want a Garmin with more premium attributes and made from higher-grade materials, you should still look at the Fenix series, but if you need something more simplistic yet functional and rugged, the Forerunner is the way to go.

Verdict

The Fenix 7 is Better Than Forerunner 945 For…

We considered Garmin Fenix 6 to be superior to Forerunner 945, but only by a small margin. Garmin Fenix 7, on the other hand, is better than Forerunner 945 in several areas such as battery life, maps, music storage, build materials, and heart-rate sensors. It’s undeniable that Fenix7 is a better sports watch than Garmin Forerunner 945. However, it is pricier.

If you need more ruggedness, detailed mapping, more music storage, or access to premium materials, the Fenix 7 is better. The Garmin Fenix 7 watch is great for outdoor adventures, such as hiking, climbing, skiing, trail running, watersports, long-term expeditions, or mountain biking. Pro athletes will find Fenix’s performance tracking features helpful as well.

The Forerunner 945 is Better Than Fenix 7 For…

The Forerunner is your best bet if you’re looking for a cheaper, mid-grade fitness watch with detailed workout tracking and analysis. If you don’t need extra features like extra music storage or mapping that the Fenix supports, stick with the Forerunner to save some money. Additionally, if you want a smaller and lighter watch, you should go with the Forerunner 945 over Fenix models. A lighter and smaller watch is more convenient for runners and swimmers, and it’s not a surprise that Forerunner 945 remains a favorite of triathletes and runners.


Forerunner 945 Deals on Amazon

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