In this post
- Garmin Forerunner 645 Music, the watch
- Possibilities of use in sport
- Music playback
- Garmin Pay
- Optical pulse sensor and external sensors
- Garmin GPS Reception FR645
- Buy Garmin Forerunner 645
- Help the site
- My opinion of the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music
Garmin's big bet for 2018 is the Forerunner 645 and its Music version, the latter being the first watch from the brand to offer the possibility of playing music without depending on an external device. This is the most important new feature presented by the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music, which is really only new to the brand since other manufacturers have already done something similar in the past, starting with TomTom and continuing with many others.
But as always, it is one thing to offer support for music playback and another to implement it and the additional possibilities it offers, which in the case of FR645M include support for some streaming platform.
Music may be the only feature that sets the 645 apart from the rest of the range, but it's certainly not the only thing Garmin has added to its new GPS running watch. It gets many other features from range brothers such as the ability to make wireless payments, new sports profiles (including swimming), new metrics, and more.
I've had the FR645 Music on my wrist for quite a few weeks now so I know exactly what it has to offer. The unit I've been testing has been on loan from Garmin, but once it's completed and published it will be sent back and when I need it I buy my watches myself from Amazon. What do I mean by this? That there is no brand fee for these tests.
Remember, if you want to support the site you can do it by buying through the links you will find in this test (either your new Garmin Forerunner 645 or a diamond ring). This is the only way to finance and pay part of all the work I do here. Don't forget that this works exclusively thanks to you and your trust.
Ready to see the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music in detail?
- Finally a Garmin watch with music playback capability
- Synchronization with music platforms is done by the Connect IQ application, leaving the door open to successive developments without Garmin having to release updates
- You have reduced the size while maintaining the screen size
- And in the same way, it has improved the feeling of quality without increasing the weight (it is very light)
- Barometric altimeter, swimming pool, ski and snowboard profiles, rowing... many new features compared to the FR630 it replaces
- Although there is 3.5GB for music storage, the space available for syncing with streaming platforms is much more limited (except with Spotify)
- Garmin Pay is still an anecdote with very little support
- Using music playback the autonomy is very limited
- Does not use the new sync and charging cable
Finally, Garmin has a clock with integrated music playback, the most important new feature in the Forerunner range, which also takes advantage of many of the new features we have already seen in the Fenix 5 and Forerunner 935.
It also continues to provide its watches with greater training possibilities, with swimming being the most notable new sports profile compared to the model it replaces, the Garmin Forerunner 630. This 645 is a much more complete watch than the model it replaced, not only in terms of training, but also from the point of view of an intelligent watch, as it is the second model of the brand to incorporate wireless payment through Garmin Pay.
Garmin Forerunner 645 Music, the watch
The aesthetics of the Garmin Forerunner 645 are totally reminiscent of the Vivoactive 3, but with one substantial difference: the presence of the five control buttons, dispensing with the touch screen. Personally, I appreciate this, as I find it more comfortable to control the watch through the buttons, especially if I'm training. Perhaps the smartest option is what Suunto did by offering both solutions, but that's another matter.
As in all Garmin, the function of the button is different if you press it simply or leave it pressed, for example to access the main menu or music playback (if you have FR645 Music).
It is a watch that surprises for its lightness and contained size. It is a little more than 42 grams and 42.5mm in diameter, which makes it a watch that is even small for what we are used to seeing, especially compared to other intelligent watches. I will now compare it with other watches, so that you can get an idea of the magnitude of its size, always being the smallest. (Yes, I have played the game of the chairs with the two photos, so you can have fun differentiating which is which).
A small size doesn't mean that the screen area has been reduced. It's 1.2″ and 240×240 pixels, the same as on the FR935 or Fenix 5. It's not the Suunto's huge screen, but it's very reasonable for the size of the watch. And speaking of the screen, the truth is that it has a higher clarity than the Forerunner 935, as if the LCD screen were closer to the glass than on the top model.
It shares straps with the Vivoactive 3, both in size (20mm) and in system to be able to remove and put the strap quickly.
But in the end, above and beyond aesthetics, the most important thing is to know what the watch is capable of doing. What does it offer with respect to the model it replaces, the FR630? Well, the following:
- Adds Garmin Elevate optical pulse sensor (same as Forerunner 935 and Fenix 5)
- Touch screen is removed and switches from 4 to 5 control buttons
- Higher quality screen, much more visible
- Barometric altimeter. This allows you not only to have altitude data in your activities, but also to follow the ascended floors in the activity monitor and to offer specific profiles for ski/snowboard
- Possibility of music playback on the Music model (first Garmin to offer this option)
- Ability to make wireless payments with Garmin Pay (VERY dependent on your bank)
- Latest version of Connect IQ, which the 630 had already lost due to lack of performance
- Advanced performance metrics, just like the Fenix 5 and FR935
- Support for Bluetooth sensors in addition to ANT+ (FR630 only supports the latter)
- Possibility to follow swimming in the pool
- More additional sports like rowing, yoga, elliptical, etc.
- Route navigation
- Live Strava Segments
In other words, the Forerunner 645 inherits many characteristics from its older brothers, although in some aspects it does not achieve the same possibilities. These are the main differences with respect to FR935 and Fenix 5 (or 5S, which is the most similar model in terms of size):
- There is no possibility of multisport activities. Although I support running and cycling profiles, we cannot for example have a duathlon profile
- Only swimming in the pool is available, there is no possibility to have an open water swimming profile
- Although we have the option of navigation, it is somewhat smaller than the equivalent version of the 935 and Fenix 5
- No support for cycling power meters
- It has music playback (in the Music version) and support for Garmin Pay, not present in Fenix 5 or FR935
Using the clock is very similar to what Garmin has been used to for quite some time. By scrolling up or down you can access the different screens (called widgets) that you have activated. Both those that are built into the clock and those that you can download from Connect IQ are present. All of this is controlled from Garmin Connect, as are the applications (sports profiles are applications themselves).
The screen for the clock is also customizable. From the clock we can configure both the design and the layout of some elements, although again if you go to the Garmin app store you will be able to download different dial options, as if it were a smart clock.
And speaking of smart watches, the Garmin 645 offers the same as the rest of the range both in smart features and in the possibilities of the activity monitor, where everything is already quite standardised. A very complete activity monitor that counts steps, estimates distances, tracks heart rate, stress... here is a good gallery of the amount of information it can offer you.
I don't want to go into detail on all the possibilities it offers, but I do at least want to detail them:
- Step estimation
- Estimated number of floors to be raised
- Estimation of distance travelled in activity tracking mode (here no GPS is used)
- Sleep monitoring (at night, does not take into account naps)
- Stress monitoring
- 24-hour heart rate monitoring
- Ability to automatically record activities with Move IQ (e.g. walks)
And then there are the smart clock options, allowing you to display your smartphone's notifications on screen, as well as access application downloads (again, thanks to Connect IQ). The Garmin Forerunner 645 is also the first to offer the ability to reply to messages directly from the clock with pre-defined messages, although it's only compatible with Android at the moment.
What about the battery? Well, it depends a lot on what options you're using. In normal use as a daily clock and activities using GPS in training I have had to charge the clock every 4 or 5 days. But if we use the music playback function (either while training or at another time) the impact on the battery will be remarkable. These are the data that Garmin offers regarding battery life:
GPS mode without music: up to 14 hours
GPS mode with music: up to 5 hours
This last figure is perhaps the most disappointing, as 5 hours of autonomy is frankly not enough, although it is equally true that it is a similar figure to that offered by the competition when using the possibility of playing music via Bluetooth. But don't worry, I will talk about this possibility in much more detail later, as it is one of the highlights of this new Garmin.
Possibilities of use in sport
The fact that the Garmin FR645 is a clock oriented mainly to runners is obvious. You only need to look at the clock face that Garmin loads by default on this model (which can be changed with the predefined ones on the clock itself or by downloading one from Garmin Connect), as the main screen allows you to have a small detail with the kilometers we have run in this week.
This distance is exclusively for running, it does not include the distance practicing any other sport, but that does not mean that the only thing you can do with it is to run.
The Forerunner 630 it replaces already had a specific cycling profile, but the 645 goes further by adding many other profiles. The most notable is swimming (only in pool, not in open water), as it is the first time it is included in a Forerunner that is not a multisport. It is something present in the Vivoactive 3The watch shares quite a lot of things with him, so if it's not included it would be quite strange.
As I said in the previous section, talking about sports performance the Garmin FR645 is not much to envy of the FR935 and Fenix 5. It loses some of its most outstanding functions, but keeps the most important aspects. In short, it is not about making a multisport watch (because that is what the 935 is for) or something to navigate routes in the mountains (because the Fenix 5 already exists).
Still, the list of available sports is tremendously extensive:
- Running (plus tape and covered track profiles, no GPS used)
- Cycling (and indoor cycling, without using GPS)
- Swimming in a pool
- Skiing and snowboarding
- Cross-country skiing
- Paddle surfing and rowing (together with indoor rowing, again without GPS)
- Force (by posting repetitions and identifying exercises performed)
- Upgrading of floors
- Other (to cover everything else)
And it said it's a road racer's watch, right? Welcome to cross-training.
Sports profiles can be configured in detail: data screens, alerts, pause and automatic lap - you can choose two fields to see each time a lap is marked -, automatic scrolling through the screens, etc. And also using Strava highlight segments (Premium account required), activate the use of GLONASS or use UltraTrac power mode for longer battery life - at the cost of greatly reducing GPS accuracy by recording the position only every 60 seconds.
Therefore, it lacks more specific functions such as 3D speed and distance or autoclimb, which are intended for mountain running. We still have support for following navigation routes directly in any sport profile without depending on external applications. As I have already indicated, there are some lesser options, such as the absence of the Sight N' Go function or being able to navigate to certain coordinates, but the basic function of being able to create a route from Garmin Connect (or recently, directly import it) is present.
However, there is no map present, the route you are going to follow will simply be a succession of points so you will have to be aware of what the screen indicates, as there will not be a turn signal either.
What is available is the lactate threshold calculation, something that will be done automatically when we do some demanding series training (i.e. when you are running above the threshold in order to obtain data), or that you can start manually from the menu, making the watch guide us through different steps destined to obtain the necessary data.
But you must keep in mind that in order to have this data or to perform the manual test you need a chest sensor, since it is necessary to record the pulse variability data, something that optical pulse sensors are not able to do.
Of course, there is access to creating advanced workouts from Garmin Connect (as well as being able to create them a little more easily on the clock itself). It's not like Vivoactive 3, but we have all the full options in mind, including phase change notifications. These are the workouts you can design through Garmin Connect.
Note that we can not only upload running training, you can also design (and synchronize) training for cycling and swimming.
Also present is all the performance metrics data that were released with the Fenix 5 and are also present in the Forerunner 935. There is no change here, so instead of rewriting everything again, I simply link you to that section of the FR935 test where you can see all the details and what each function means.
These performance metrics are not in any menu within the watch, but are accessible through the training status widget.
Here you can see many other details, such as the estimate of VO2max and times you could perform in different races, the recovery time or the training load.
As you've seen, in essence the performance is similar to that of a Fenix 5 or Forerunner 935, but as it is a watch primarily intended for use in road racing, if that's going to be your main use those missing features should not worry you too much.
Let's go with what stands out most in this model, at least in the Music version. Remember that the music reproduction is only available in the FR645 that has this surname, the normal version lacks the necessary components to be able to reproduce music. Therefore, if you are interested in this function you must acquire the 645 Music obligatorily (50 euros difference in official PVP).
The music (or if necessary podcasts or audio books as well) must be previously synchronized with the clock, because it does not have independent LTE connectivity to play in streaming. From here the possibilities are divided, because we can automatically synchronize with music platforms or load the files from our computer.
In terms of available memory, the clock has a total of 4GB, but not all of that space is available for music storage. We have a total of 3.6GB of available space that is shared among all of the stored files with the rest reserved for use by the system. This includes not only music, but also the rest of the training files, applications, etc. But all of that really takes up very little space, leaving almost all of that space available for music. According to Garmin's calculations, about 500 songs in total.
Synchronization with music platforms
At the time of publishing this test these options are not yet available, so I will specify what is the theory and how it should work "on paper". The reality will differ little from this, so you can take it all at face value, what I can't do is to go into details about possible transfer errors or show you screenshots of the procedure.
At the time of release Garmin confirmed support for two streaming music platforms: IHeartRadio and Deezer. The first has a fairly limited distribution, currently only available in the United States (although the platform is available in three other countries, you can check this list for changes here), while Deezer has a availability list In both cases you must be a subscriber to each of them.
At the moment only these two platforms will be available.
And no, before you ask, Spotify is not available.
Update 31 October
Garmin today announced Forerunner 645 Music's support for Spotify, as it did for the Fenix 5 Plus. You have all the details of the application here.
The main advantage of Garmin's integration is that these functions are not built into the firmware itself, but are based on Connect IQ applications Therefore, any developer or platform could launch an application at any time to do the same and they would appear directly in the list of available applications.
After installing the application and linking it to your paid account, you will be able to select which music lists to download automatically. This requires that you have your WiFi connection set up, as the transfer is wireless. So you will be able to update the song list anytime you are in the coverage area of the same network that you use to transfer your workouts. So if you make changes to the music lists through the application, then all of this will be updated automatically on the clock without any further interaction from you.
This means that with each WiFi connection the clock will check for changes and download any new music that has been included. The music is stored in the clock so there's no need to carry your phone around and have a constant connection. The update is dynamic, so the advantage is that you don't end up with the typical series of files stored in the clock that never change.
On the clock you can choose the chosen music provider directly through the widget or by pressing the lower left button and accessing the management menu.
However, there is a limitation on memory usage: the maximum space for music downloaded by Connect IQ applications is limited to 250MB per application. You will not be able to automatically download more than that amount of data, although you can use the rest of the memory to manually upload music, as we will see below.
Manual music synchronization
The other option we have is to synchronize the music from the computer via cable. We can do this through the Garmin Express application or, if you use Windows, by dragging files directly into memory. By connecting the clock to the computer and activating the computer's MTP mode we have access to the two available memories.
On a Mac, you only have access to main memory, not media memory. But there's a catch, if you install the Android file transfer application (Android File Transfer) you will be able to see that memory and operate normally with it.
However, it is more advisable to do so through the Garmin application, since the corresponding playlists will be created for each album you synchronize, and you can later access the music through the names of artists, albums, songs, etc.
Simply select what you want to sync and send it to your device.
The transfer is really fast (nothing to do with the Fitbit Ionic user experience)
Playing music on Forerunner 645M
And once you've got the music stored on your watch, it's just a matter of listening to it. Whether you're in training or at any other time, you'll simply need to access the music player to start playing. Just access the music widget or press and hold the lower left button.
Before starting playback, you need to pair a Bluetooth headset because obviously, if there's nowhere to listen to it, you won't be able to start playback.
Garmin's management of the Bluetooth headset is the same as that of the sensors, allowing a multitude of devices to be linked and stored in memory. short list of compatible headphones Perhaps the only major compatibility issue is with Apple airpads, which are the subject of many complaints, but if everything else works, perhaps it's more of an issue than a problem...
Once you have connected the headphones you can return to the playback screen where you will find all the control buttons. You can start playback and exit from here to return at any time in the same way (from the widget or by pressing the button).
You can start, pause, change songs, etc. You can also turn the volume up and down. If the headphones have controls, they can also be used without any problem.
Within the source you can choose what you want to listen to: music downloaded from the online platform or uploaded to the clock, and from the latter you can choose the playlist or what you want.
And while you're training, every time you dial a manual or automatic lap a voice message will be played with the details of that lap.
How does it work in general? Well, satisfactory. I haven't had any music cuts while I was playing, although this is more related to the headphones and their internal antenna, so everyone's experience here can be different.
What is recommended is that, in case of cuts, you keep the watch on your wrist on the side where the headset antenna is located. It is usually on one of the two sides and, in the case of wireless headset, there is always one that is the master and another that is the slave.
In short, the integration is satisfactory in all respects and I have had no problems of any kind, either in playback or synchronization. What remains is for the possibility to use streaming platforms to come along, and not just Deezer but some others who want to jump on the same bandwagon. Only time will provide answers.
Garmin Pay is still a work in progress. The reason is the same that plagues all other wireless payment platforms, be it Apple, Google, Fitbit or Samsung (among others). The contactless payment system is not something that is "talked about" with Visa or any other card issuer, but rather Garmin must come to agreements with each of the banks. And to add insult to injury, on top of that, not all approved bank cards are compatible with the system.
But it's not Garmin's fault, it's the way the financial sector is organized. Contrary to what's happening with commerce in general where the user experience and consumer satisfaction come first, in the banking sector what still comes first is profit, so no one wants to pass up the opportunity to make a few cents on every transaction.
At the moment the only bank that has reached an agreement with Garmin in Spain is CaixaBank (here But to add more salt to the wound, not all of this bank's cards will be compatible with the system, since for the moment the agreement only covers Visa cards. The service will be available throughout this first semester.
The process of adding a card is quite simple, all from the phone and the Garmin Connect application. By accessing the device settings you will find the Garmin Pay option.
The next thing is to create the wallet where you will include the card or cards compatible with the system and that you want to use to pay with the clock. To do this you must create a security PIN.
You select the card type and add it, either manually or by scanning it with the phone's camera.
Once you have the card added, you can access the payments from the clock in the quick access menu, that is, by pressing and holding the upper left button.
Simply select your wallet and it will ask for the same PIN you entered earlier. All that's left is to bring your watch closer to the payment terminal and let the magic of NFC technology do its work. It's actually much simpler than it looks.
Garmin estimates that in the next few months they will have about 20 models that support the wireless payment system (yes, you read that correctly, 20), so I am sure that Garmin Spain will try to reach as many agreements as possible.
But of course, then we see the Apple Pay and Google Pay situation and we feel like sitting around...
Optical pulse sensor and external sensors
In addition to the Garmin Elevate optical sensor (see below), the Forerunner 645 is compatible with many other external sensors. In addition to the classic ANT+ sensors that the American firm has always maintained compatibility with - not surprisingly, they are the most important part behind Dynastream, which developed the protocol - the latest Garmin models are also coming with the ability to link to Bluetooth sensors.
I have always been a strong advocate of the ability of watches to support as many connections as possible, and I'm glad that Garmin has been encouraged to support the Bluetooth connection. I only hope that the other two major manufacturers in the industry (Polar and Suunto) will do the same with ANT+.
The list of compatible sensors is quite extensive, and not only running sensors but also cycling sensors. This also includes the Garmin Varia lights or radar. What we will not find is compatibility with cycling power meters, which is logical considering that this is a model mainly oriented to be used in racing.
These are all the sensors it's compatible with:
- Pulse sensor (ANT+ or Bluetooth). In the case of ANT+, compatible with sensors that include accelerometers for race dynamics such as HRM-Run and HRM-Tri
- Race dynamics sensor RD Pod (ANT+)
- Running Footpod (ANT+ or Bluetooth) - Stryd via Connect IQ
- Speed and/or cadence sensor (ANT+ or Bluetooth)
- Garmin Tempe Temperature Sensor
- Garmin VIRB cameras
- ANT+ lights (from Garmin or other manufacturers such as Bontrager, Cycliq, etc.)
- Garmin Varia Radar
As for the pulse sensors, an additional note must be made, because despite having a swimming profile, it is not compatible with downloading data from the HRM-Tri or HRM-Swim sensors. These sensors have a memory where they store the pulse data recorded during swimming. This data cannot be transmitted directly to the watch, as it is a digital transmission and does not work underwater.
In multisport watches it is possible to do this download, so at the end of our swimming training the watch would ask to download the file to the sensor to combine it all in the resulting file. But this is not present in Forerunner 645.
Returning to the optical pulse sensor, it should be remembered that the Garmin Elevate that equips this FR645 is the same as that of the new Garmin watches, which stands out for its lower energy usage.
This allows you to track your heart rate constantly throughout the day, not only providing very detailed graphs of how your day has been (regardless of whether you've been training or not), but also keeping track of minimum and maximum frequencies.
And from here I guess what you're most concerned about is sensor performance while you're training, right? So let's get down to business.
I will start with a training of one hour at a constant pace, the easiest part and where the optical sensors should not have any problem of functioning as there are no changes of intensity or sudden movements. It is the first test and the one that, obligatorily, everybody must pass with a note.
We have a pair of watches with an optical sensor and a pulse sensor in the chest to confirm the data. It is precisely the latter that has a somewhat more complicated start, typical of this type of sensor due to the lack of humidity. As soon as the body begins to sweat everything returns to its point. It is remarkable that both the Polar M430 and the Garmin FR645 are completely identical from the start.
There may seem to be a lot of differences in the second part of the training, but it is just slight one-touch or two-touch peaks in the graphs, especially in the case of the Polar M430. Here you can see that part of the training expanded, you will see that there are no major problems.
We're going with a slightly more complicated training. A progressive start and then three intervals of about a mile.
We changed the sensors for the comparison. In this case the Garmin FR935 is connected to the Scosche RHYTHM+ while the sensor on the chest is the Suunto Smart Sensor.
There are four strange peaks that occur in the FR935 chart for which I honestly have no explanation, so I won't be doing any thinking either.
As for the intervals, you can perfectly appreciate how the FR645 accuses the typical delay of the Garmin sensor, both at the beginning of the exercise and especially at the end.
In the first two intervals the rise in heart rate is practically at the same rhythm in the three sensors, sinning from this delay when it is time to rest. In the third interval it is more pronounced, both at the entrance and exit of the interval.
By increasing the degree of difficulty, the following training is of shorter and more intense intervals.
You'll see that the image is a bit "weird", it's because the Amazfit Stratos did something weird with the recording of the file, changing the recorded time, so I had to modify it and change the times by hand, because it was totally displaced. And to add even more wood to the fire, it didn't finish recording the training in the file either (but it did appear complete in the clock).
Therefore, with this problem I can't enter to enlarge the graphs since I have had to overlay them so that they appear correctly, but it won't be necessary.
We have two blocks of 400m intervals with 30 seconds of rest stopped, therefore very abrupt changes of intensity.
You can see that if the FR645M is a little late both at the beginning of the interval and at the end, as we have already seen, the Amazfit is much worse.
Nevertheless, in general the performance of FR645M is quite correct, without showing an excessively marked delay in the beginning of any of the intervals, and only in three of the eight recoveries is it remarkably slow, especially in the first interval, in which the difference is quite remarkable.
This can cause that if you do the intervals using the heart rate as a target value can create some problems, at least in the recoveries. If you usually do a lot of interval training, series or fartleks, my recommendation is that in these cases you use a pulse sensor in the chest. However, the days of continuous running can depend on the optical sensor without any problem.
And what about cycling? Well, there's not much to say, because the sensor still hasn't improved from what Garmin has us used to in its optical sensor. The performance is bad, there's no other way to say it.
The other optical pulse sensor that I wore during this long training session has coincided almost always with the HRM-Tri sensor (although in some points there are also differences), and occasionally the Garmin as well, but it is overcome by the situation on many occasions.
When I'm training at a more or less stable pace everything seems fine, but when there are variations (like crossroads, traffic lights or times when I stop) that's when problems appear.
Why does one optical sensor work well and the other not? Well, regardless of the technology used, the main reason is location. The Scosche is worn on the top of the forearm, a fleshier area that allows the heart rate to be recorded much more reliably. It is also a much lighter device so ground vibrations have much less effect on it.
In short, it does not change much what we have already seen with other watches with optical pulse sensors (both Garmin and other manufacturers). When we are running at a constant pace the record is perfectly reliable as long as it is worn correctly. For interval training there is a little bit of everything, occasions when you can simply appreciate a little delay in the record (seconds) and other situations when it is lost completely. And for cycling, because it is still not a valid option and we have to continue to depend on the sensor in the chest.
Garmin GPS Reception FR645
With each new model of watch, it's time to perform new GPS logging tests. You should keep in mind that the results can be variable, since the areas I frequent and their conditions can be very different from the places where you train.
My training locations, by location, are almost always outdoors (little vegetation and trees), skies with hardly any clouds and with very good satellite reception. So if the sites you frequent are very different (lush forests in areas with many clouds, steep canyons or inside the city), the results you get with respect to GPS tracking can be totally opposite to mine.
I say this because if there is something conflictive in this kind of devices it is always regarding the satellite reception. You just have to look at different forums and see comments like "my friend has an X clock and he tells me that the GPS is very bad, don't buy it". And then it turns out that the friend trains exclusively in the center of London, with many days with thick clouds and surrounded by high buildings.
And that comment is followed by another one that says "well, I use it in all my training sessions and the GPS is always very accurate", but nobody asks him where he trains, and he is doing it in the desert of Almeria with total and absolute visibility of the sky at all times, with the nearest cloud 100km away. As you see, "it all depends".
As for my GPS analysis methodology, I simply use it in my day-to-day training by comparing it with other devices. In other publications, comparisons are made on a predefined route where the same tests are repeated over and over again, but on different days. In my opinion, this is not the most correct way to perform the tests, because even though the route is the same, the specific situation of that particular day is not being taken into account.
A cloudy day affects much more than you might think. And if there are trees, do they have the same leaves in spring as in winter? The test has always been performed at the same speed, or has it been faster at times? All variables can affect different records, making a test at different times lose consistency. And of course, always with data recording per second. This time I have not used the GLONASS for not considering it necessary.
I have tried the new Garmin in different trainings, all of them during my preparation for the Half of Seville, so there has been a little bit of everything but especially running and cycling. I have not done open water trainings but since the watch does not have a specific profile either, it is not necessary at all.
I'll start with a "circuit" format race training, so there are no lines that intersect and it will be easier to identify possible mistakes. Besides the FR645 Music (blue line) I also wore the Forerunner 935 (purple line) and the Polar M430 (maroon line).
The start is always a little more difficult for all watches because even if they mark that they have already obtained a GPS signal the triangulation is still not perfect, especially noticeable when we are running surrounded by buildings where the signal bounces.
In this first turn at the roundabout it is the FR645 that best represents it, but when I start to go down the street it gets lost along with the Polar. It is the FR935 that draws the street perfectly. The Polar returns to the correct location, but the 645 continues to think that we are still jumping between buildings.
And it's something that continues several metres further on.
First complication, turns in the tree zone. So far it has arrived in line with the other two watches, but it has the same fault again and shows the way 1-2 meters further on from where we have passed. The Polar M430 sins of the same thing again reacting quite late to the turns of the bends. None of them are perfect, but the representation of the Forerunner 935 is the best.
Running in the open and without any obstacles hindering the signal there is no problem at all. Round trip without strange artifacts and the turn, without being exact, there is only a few centimeters of error.
Let's go with a different training, a short and progressive circuit, in this case the Polar M430 is replaced by a Garmin FR235, changing the colors by the ones you can see in the image.
First curve and again the 645 arrives a couple of meters off the route. Just before reaching the turn joins the other two models and draws the curve perfectly like the 935. On the other hand the 235 that had reached the turning point perfectly is the one that moves its position two meters from where I'm running.
This slight deviation is repeated throughout the exercise. It is not too important because there is no variation in distance and the rhythm will not be misrepresented, but it is certainly not the desired behavior.
As is usual in cycling, there is no problem in moving at a higher speed, for example, this training session is carried out on a circuit where I pass the same point repeatedly.
Obviously, I do not want the route to be constant at all times, firstly because technology does not allow it and secondly because I am not a tram that always passes through the same exact point.
In this case the important thing is that the lines are totally straight where it is straight, and the curves are marked in their place.
Here I observe a similar behavior with respect to the slight tendency to move one meter from the actual location. You can see in the image of the turn track that the only ones that appear more prominent on the right of the image belong to the FR645.
In this case the result of the Edge 520 is more precise, but you must also take into account that it is mounted permanently on the handlebars while the watches go on the wrist and slightly rotated with respect to the sky.
As I was saying, cycling behaviour is like this because the speed is high, so the distance between the points is high and this helps to have totally straight lines.
You want to know what would happen if it's a roundtrip training series on the same course? Then ask and you will get it.
Here the pace is lower so there is more instability, and I have also travelled under a row of trees, which hinders satellite reception to some extent.
The Suunto Spartan Sport and the Garmin FR645 have similar behaviour, fairly straight lines and not much variation between each pass, and it's the Amazfit Stratos that occasionally does something strange.
In short, I have not found any serious errors. I have noticed a slight tendency to move one or two meters away from the real route consistently, but apart from the incorrect drawing in the plan, it does not present any major problem.
In addition, this is something that Garmin can correct through a software update, not something that is caused by an error in the antenna design.
As for the rhythm and distance calculations, they are perfectly correct, and the tendency to go slightly off the line does not alter either of these two metrics in any way.
In short, it does not get a brilliant reception, but I do not consider the margin of error to be something that should concern you or make it impossible to use.
Buy Garmin Forerunner 645
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My opinion of the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music
For the first Garmin model to incorporate the ability to play music, the Americans have done a good job. Especially important is the file transfer speed, which in the case of the Fitbit Ionic, for example, spoiled the user experience quite a bit.
As a running watch it's a fantastic option. Small, light, loaded with features and with the possibilities offered by Connect IQ that are increasingly interesting, at least in terms of training possibilities (not as a smart watch as it's far from what an Apple Watch or WearOS can offer).
But (and there's always a but) I don't really see it fitting into the current Garmin range. If music isn't something you're interested in then there's very little difference in its favour from other high end Garmin models. Yes, the 645 does offer the ability to pay wirelessly, but it's still quite limited and doesn't look like it's going to get any better in the future as it doesn't depend directly on Garmin.
We can compare it with the Fenix 5S because it is the same size. 645 reduces slightly the navigation possibilities, it has no open water swimming and no possibility of multisport activities. At a similar price and by list of functions, the new model may seem less interesting.
I hope that the possibilities of synchronizing music with streaming platforms will mature, not only in the amount of applications supported (more than Deezer in Europe) but also in the amount of data that can be stored for this type of synchronization, which is currently limited. On the other hand, I want to see Garmin Pay in operation and that it starts to be a viable option, because I think that in the field of sports it can be a turning point, since you can buy anything to drink even if you have gone out without money.