Garmin Forerunner 245 and Forerunner 645

OK, yes, I recently said you were safe with the existing products. Times change though, and new information comes along to change things.

Recently Garmin launched the Approach S60, a golfing watch. We all know that Garmin like to re-use hardware platforms where they can, and I think this will be the case here. The S60 looks to be essentially a Fenix 5 hardware platform but with the important details that it doesn’t have buttons on the left hand edge and instead has a touch screen interface.

This tells us two things, firstly that Garmin have updated the Fenix base firmware with support for touch. Secondly, they now have a platform which has touch screen but on the modern platform.

The S60 though, seems to be in a Fenix package, a stylish case to be worn by golfers in their fancy golfing pants. Forerunner isn’t that type of watch. Look at the Forerunner 935, it’s a Fenix device in a plastic case. This makes it light and powerful but more importantly comfortable for sports use. The Fenix is heavy by comparison so although it can and is used for the same purpose it’s less focussed.

So, the Forerunner 645 then will I think be an S60 internal with touch inside a plastic case to keep weight down. It’s likely they will also reduce the battery size to make it even thinner than the 935 because for running, a marathon is the biggest “normal” event you’d want to do so 8 hours battery in use would be sufficient. For Ultra runners the Fenix and 935 are available which last much longer.

The 245 though? That’s harder, but I’ll go out on a limb and say this will be a Fenix 5s in a plastic case. Much lighter and the smallest, thinnest watch with all these features (still Fenix platform hopefully). They may drop the altimeter but I’m hoping they decide small, thin, light is a selling point and leave the features standardised across the range.

We’ll see in a couple of months probably. The expectation would probably be autumn so don’t let this stop you if you’re training this summer – get a watch now if you need a watch now but go in with your eyes open and look for deals because the 235 and 630 are getting older.

Posted in Garmin, Running
12 comments on “Garmin Forerunner 245 and Forerunner 645
  1. Ben says:

    Since this site is devoted to rumor and speculation, I’ll add some of my own 🙂

    I suspect the Forerunner 645 will be a “935-lite” watch with a similar layout as the S60. As you mention, an S60 in a plastic case. No multisport capabilities but the same sport profiles available on the 630, but probably losing WiFi and the barometer.

    But I suspect the 245 will be more like a “235 +”. Putting the Fenix in a plastic case and selling it for $300 probably would pinch Garmin’s profit margin too much. So I’d suspect any 245 would have the same screen as the 235 currently has, the new Elevate HRM and probably ConnectIQ 2.x. The Forerunner 235 has a well-earned reputation for crappy battery life so I hope Garmin will address that as well. As an incentive for current 235 owners to upgrade, Garmin may throw in some additional First Beat metrics like Lactate Threshold or Workout Load, but it wouldn’t use Running Dynamics from a HRM-Run or RD Pod.

    The only spanner in the works is the touch screen. Until I saw the touch screen on the S60 I thought Garmin had abandoned it because it wasn’t selling. Based on the used market, I was under the impression that the FR630 was a bit of a dud. But Garmin needs something in that slot: FR 35 for $200, FR 235 for $300, FR 645 for $400, FR935 for $500. However, until I saw the S60, I assumed they’d introduce a new 745 to fill that $400 gap, or beef up the FR245 and raise the price to $375 or so and maybe increase the FR45 price and leave the Vivo to cover the lower price point.

    But we’ll see.

    • lusty says:

      I definitely think the 7xx and 2xx will become one device. There’s no reason to keep both if they align the firmwares and features but every reason to make a smaller device that’s light like a 935 with lower battery life and smaller case. I think technology now allows them to differentiate on form factor alone (size, battery, touchscreen, shiny cases).
      Not sure they still would remove features – the S60 has swimming mode and it’s a golf watch!

      • The 7xx and 2xx ARE one device (at least the 235 and 735)
        They will never sell as one device (unless competitors force them)
        There is a huge reason to keep both and that is profit!, sure the 735 has more cost because of added functionality, license cost and advertising (and a extreme minimal amount due hardware) but selling the same watch for $200 more is profit.

        • Ben says:

          It seems right that Garmin would have something between a 245 type watch and the 935/Fenix line. The only question is how they would justify the price. No one would buy a 735 at $450 when the 935 is only $50 more. When it was on sale a month or two back for $315 ($350 for the HRM Bundle), well that’s the same list price as the FR 235 so who would by THAT.

          So what feature set can they offer in the $400-$430 price range that will differentiate it from the FR245 on the low end and FR935 on the high end. A touch screen could do it. But if it’s just a tarted up Forerunner 245 it will be interesting to see what they think customers will pay an extra $100 for.

  2. Don van D says:

    [quote]But I suspect the 245 will be more like a “235 +”[/quote]
    That would be more then enough for me! Lightweight and a great balance between price and what you get for it.

    • pasta4u says:

      yea I just want running features , all day hr and much better battery life. That’s why I haven’t bought the 235 yet

  3. As i’m very limited in time and responding is easier than writing a story on my own site. I planned the “Garmin Lego” story a few weeks back but still no further than a concept.
    Glad other sites get the same info.

    First the Fenix, F935,S60 and . where all designed together. The S60 wasn’t announced at the PGA 2017 show as i expected but after the FR935.
    With these series we see most LEGO building blocks Garmin can combine to build a watch.
    Optical HRM, Touch screen, Display, Battery, Amount of buttons, Wifi, Memory! mix it and create you own watch.

    As for the S60 i am missing a few points (overlooked) in this post.
    First is the price, this is the lowest priced part of the family, it doesn’t have the (almost zero costing) HRM but it has the QuickFit bands. Clearly shows again prices are based on what the customer wants to pay rather than production cost.
    Second: Beside the touch screen this unit has a memory of 1GB!!. Unfortunately unless you’re a developer at Garmin this memory can only be used to show Golf Courses. THIS unit will NOT support Topo maps but i gives you an direction for future watches :).

    @Don, as i already wrote about it earlier the 235 with a new Elevate HRM an updates CIQ already exists, only Garmin sells ths 9x% identical watch a a huge price called the 735XT even with the recently price drop of $100 it remains to expensive over the 235.
    At this time i don’t hope they would sell the same watch with reduced firmware for less, that would really mean lack of innovation.

  4. Andre O Sousa says:

    Guys,

    What I want is a 630 with wrist HR monitor…. or a 235 with a running dynamics. Which watch should I go for?

    Kind Regards

  5. Stefano says:

    fr245… waiting the react after the suunto spartan trainer

    • lusty says:

      Yes I’m thinking 245 will now be the 935 software in full in a smaller/cheaper package just because they can. It would actually cost Garmin less to do that than to create a different firmware so fingers crossed for a price war. Unfortunately I think that price war may destroy Polar who are the only player left without a modernised platform so it will cost them dearly to compete.

      • Martin says:

        simplest response to Spartan Trainer is:
        FR235 + multisport + OW = 735 (735 and 235 are roughly the same HW, so only SW differs)

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