One one side of the ring we have the Forerunner 735. Even though the FR735XT is slightly older (it was released in May 2016), it still packs a pretty serious punch in terms tech features.
The most important thing to note about the FR735 is that it’s designed for triathletes. In other words, it can track road running, cycling and open water swimming, and it does so using Garmin’s multisport mode.
On the other side of the ring, we have the Forerunner 245. It’s much newer (released in June 2019), and it’s designed primarily for runners. It includes most of Garmin’s latest tech features, including music playback, body battery score, an improved wrist-based heart rate monitor, and a pulse oximeter.
To get this battle started, we are going to look at the following, in order:
- Key Similarities
- Key Differences
- Complete list of sports modes for each watch
- Visual summaries of watch features
- Explanation of key differences
- Final thoughts on which watch you should buy
Forerunner 245 vs Forerunner 735XT - Key Similarities
Forerunner 245 vs Forerunner 735XT - Key Differences
FR245 vs FR735XT - Sports Modes
|Forerunner 245 Sports Modes||Forerunner 735XT Sports Modes|
|01) Strength Training||01) Running|
|02) Cardio Training||02) Treadmill Running|
|03) Elliptical Training||03) Cycling|
|04) Stair Stepping||04) Indoor Cycling|
|05) Indoor Rowing||05) Pool Swimming|
|06) Yoga||06) Open Water Swimming|
|07) Running||07) Triathlon|
|08) Treadmill Running||08) Multisport|
|09) Indoor Track Running||09) Stand Up Paddleboarding|
|10) Trail Running||10) Rowing|
|11) Cycling||11) Hiking|
|12) Indoor Cycling||12) XC Skiing|
|13) Pool Swimming||13) Strength Training|
|14) Cardio Training|
FR245 - Visual Summary of Features
FR735XT - Visual Summary of Features
Features Unique to Forerunner 245
Music Storage & Apps - FR245 Only
This is one of the most important differences between these two watches. The Forerunner 245 gives you the ability to store and play music directly from the watch, while the FR735XT does not. In essence, with the FR245 you get:
- 500 Songs of music storage (about 3.5 GB’s)
- The ability to playmusic using Spotify, Deezer & iHeartRadio
Garmin Running Coach - FR245 Only
Garmin only introduced this feature in 2019, and it’s a serious win for the watches that are compatible with Garmin coach.
The whole idea here is to give you access to customized running programs, built around your training goals.
More importantly, it’s not just a machine making these programs. Garmin have partnered with Jeff Galloway, Amy Parkerson-Mitchell and Greg McMillan to build these programs, which adds a huge boost of credibility. You are literally getting access to a training plan, built by a world class coach, for free!
Also, it’s worth mentioning that Garmin coach offers training plans for the following distances:
- Half marathon
Pulse Oximeter - FR245 Only
Garmin have started introducing Pulse Oximeter technology into all their mid-level and high-end running watches.
And just in case you aren’t sure, a Pulse Oximeter is designed to measure your blood oxygen saturation levels. It’s actually quite amazing to think that this level of technology is now being introduced into mid-level activity trackers.
Body Battery Score - FR245 Only
Garmin are pioneering this particular metric, and it’s an intriguing concept.
Basically, Garmin’s body battery score factors your sleep quality, stress levels, resting heart rate and recovery metrics into one holistic measurement of your body’s energy levels.
When your score is really low, it means you should rest up and avoid doing any ridiculously tough training sessions. Conversely, when your score is really high, it means your ready to put your body to the test.
The only problem here is that it’s not the most reliable measurement in the world. Some users have reported feeling extremely tired at certain times of the day, despite receiving a relatively high body battery score.
Ultimately, it’s a really cool idea that might require some refinement over time.
Stress Monitoring - FR245 Only
The FR245 uses your heart rate variability to calculate your stress levels over the day. With this technology, you can literally see your body switching from a state of flight (stress), to a state of rest and digest (rest), and back again.
It actually provides a score and a zone (low, medium and high stress) to reflect your stress levels. If you find that you are constantly in a state of medium or high stress, it might be time to make some alterations to your lifestyle, to bring things down a notch.
Features Unique to Forerunner 735XT
Open Water Swimming - FR735XT
Open water swimming is essential for a triathlon watch, so it makes perfect sense for this feature to be packed into the FR735.
On this point, it’s worth mentioning that the FR245 and the FR735XT both track indoor swimming. So if you do most of your swimming in a pool, the FR245 is definitely the better option.
Triathlon Mode - FR735XT
This by far the biggest advantage that the FR735XT has over the Forerunner 45.
It opens ups a whole new category of sportsmen (ie triathletes), and it could be a deal breaker for some people.
Basically, if you do triathlons, it makes sense to go for the Forerunner 735XT over the Forerunner 245. This is pretty much the only reason to choose the 735 over the 245.
XC Skiing - FR735XT
The Forerunner 735XT has a cross country skiing mode, whereas the FR245 does not.
This isn’t super relevant for most runners, but if you do your fair share of XC skiing, it makes sense to opt for the FR735.
So which one should you buy?
From my perspective, this is a pretty one sided product battle.
- Music storage
- Garmin running coach
- Pulse Oximeter
- Body battery score
- Stress tracking
- Galileo Satellite
- Better battery life
The only reason to choose the 735XT over the Forerunner 245 is if you do triathlons. If you don’t do triathlons, go with the FR245. It’s a top class GPS running watch packed with all of Garmin’s latest technology, and it hits the sweet spot in terms of features, value and price.