Garmin Forerunner 245 vs Garmin Venu

Garmin Forerunner 245 vs Garmin Venu

The Garmin Forerunner 245 is a midrange GPS watch built primarily for running specialists.

The Garmin VENU is a premium GPS activity tracker with lots of sports modes and a beautiful AMOLED High Res Touchscreen.

The goal of this article is to provide a detailed comparison of the Garmin Venu vs Forerunner 245. To help you choose the correct smart watch, we’re going to compare all the key similarities and all the key differences, and present a few recommendations at the end.

Let’s get stuck into this Garmin Watch comparison.

What are the main differences between the Forerunner 245 and the Garmin Venu?

  1. High Res AMOLED Display Touchscreen (Venu) – The Venu has a gorgeous 390x390px high res touchscreen, whereas the Forerunner 245 has a 240×240 px screen, and relies exclusively on buttons to work the watch. 
  2. Advanced Running Dynamics (FR245) – Only the Forerunner 245 supports advanced running dynamics. This means real time access to cadence, stride length and other running specific metrics.
  3. Golf Mode (Venu)  – This is a big selling point for people who play 18 holes regularly. The Garmin Venu is basically an advanced fitness tracker, that doubles up as a dedicated golf watch. 
  4. Guided Workouts (Venu)  – The Garmin Venu makes great use of its beautiful screen with the guided on-screen workouts. It’s a bit like having a personal trainer built into the watch. 
  5. Training Status, Training Load & Training Effect (Forerunner 245): With the FR245, you get access to training load and training status metrics. This can help you identify  you when you’re over training, when your under-training, and when you’re getting it exactly right. 
  6. Race Predictor (Forerunner 245) – The Forerunner 245 will use your VO2 max  estimate and your training history to predict a potential race time.  
  7. Virtual Partner (Forerunner 245) – Garmin’s virtual partner technology allows you to set a pace for the Virtual Partner and race against it. This can be a great tool for achieving target race times. 
  8. Barometric Altimeter (Venu) – Only the Venu has a built-in barometric altimeter. This makes it a bit better for measuring vertical movements during endurance exercises like running, cycling and hiking. 
  9. Six Additional Sports Modes – If you opt for the Venu, you gain golf mode, snowboarding, skiiking, cross country skiing, rowing and paddleboarding, in addition to all the sports modes that both watches share (eg running, cycling, swimming etc). 

FR245 vs Garmin Venu - Key Similarities

Forerunner 245

Garmin Venu



Wrist-based HRM

24/7 Activity Tracking

Sleep Tracking

Stress Tracking

Indoor + Outdoor Running

Indoor + Outdoor Cycling

Indoor + Outdoor Rowing

Pool Swimming


Garmin Running Coach

Music Storage & Apps

Bluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi®

Open Water Swimming

Triathlon Mode

Garmin Running Power

3rd Party Running Power



GPS + Music Battery

6 Hours

6 Hours

Screen Size

1.2" (30.4mm) diameter

1.2" (30.4mm) diameter

Forerunner 245 vs Garmin Venu - Key Differences

Forerunner 245

Garmin Venu

Screen Resolution

240 x 240 pixels

390 x 390 pixels

Physical Size

42.3 x 42.3 x 12.2

43.2 x 43.2 x 12.4 mm


38.5 g

46.3 g

Advanced Running Dynamics


Golf Tracking

Guided On Screen Workouts

Barometric Altimeter

Total Sports Modes



Smartwatch Mode Battery

7 Days

8 Days

GPS Mode Battery Life

24 Hours

18 Hours

Sports Modes



Sports Modes & Fitness Tracking Features

Forerunner 245 Music - Sports Modes Garmin Venu Fitness & Sports Modes
01) Strength Training 01) Strength Training
02) Cardio Training 02) Cardio Training
03) Elliptical Training 03) Elliptical Training
04) Stair Stepping 04) Stair Stepping
05) Indoor Rowing 05) Indoor Rowing
06) Yoga 06) Yoga
07) Running 07) Running
08) Treadmill Running 08) Treadmill Running
09) Indoor Track Running 09) Indoor Track Running
10) Trail Running 10) Trail Running
11) Cycling 11) Cycling
12) Indoor Cycling 12) Indoor Cycling
13) Pool Swimming 13) Pool Swimming
14) Walking 14) Skiiing
15) Snowboarding
16) XC Skiing
17) Stand Up Paddleboarding
18) Rowing
19) Walking
20) Golf

Main Reasons To Choose the Forerunner 245


1. It's the better choice for serious runners

The main reason the Forerunner 245 is better than the Garmin Venu for runners, is because it boasts support for Garmin advanced running dynamics. This quite literally opens up the following running metrics on the FR245. 

  • Ground Contact Time – The time your foot spends on the ground with each stride. 
  • Ground Contact Balance – Symmetry between left and right foot when running. 
  • Vertical Oscillation – The amount of ‘bounce’ in your running motion. Reducing the amount of bounce in your stride can improve your running efficiency/economy. 
  • Vertical Ratio – the cost-benefit ratio with stride length. This stat can help you find the ideal stride length for setting new a PB, in any distance. 
  • Cadence – Real time cadence metrics,  displayed on your watch
  • Stride Length – Real time stride length data, displayed on your watch

However, it’s worth mentioning that in order to unlock these advanced running dynamics, you will need to invest in one of the following 3 accessories. 

  1. Garmin HRM-Run (Chest Strap)
  2. Garmin HRM-Tri (Chest Strap)
  3. Garmin Running Dynamics Pod
Then also, we touched on it at the beginning of the article, but’s worth repeating. The Forerunner 245 also includes Garmin’s virtual partner feature, which is great for trying to achieve pace targets during training or races.
Furthermore, only the FR245 includes a race predictor function. This uses your V02 max and training history to pre-calculate potential race times. 
Ultimately, it’s the combination of advanced running dynamics, virtual partner and the race predictor function that make the Forerunner 245 better suited to runners.

2. The Forerunner 245 has a slightly longer battery life

The GPS battery life of the Forerunner 245 is 24 Hours.  The GPS battery life of the Garmin Venu is 20 hours. In addition, the FR245 also has a longer smartwatch battery life during everyday use. The bullet points below should make things clear. 

  • Forerunner 245 GPS Mode Battery: Up to 24 hours
  • Forerunner 245 Smartwatch Mode Battery Life: Up to 7 Days
  • Garmin Venu GPS Mode Battery Life: Up to 20 Hours
  • Garmin Venu Smartwatch Mode Battery: Up to 5 Days

3. The FR245 is a lot lighter

Although both watches are reasonably light, the Forerunner 245 is is definitely one of the lightest watches in Garmin’s line up. Again, the bullet points below clarify the difference in weight. 

  • Garmin Venu – 46.3 grams
  • Forerunner 245  – 38.5 grams

Main Reasons To Choose the Garmin Venu

Garmin Venu

1. It has 6 additional sports modes

The total number of sports modes is probably the biggest difference between the Garmin Venu and the Forerunner 245. 

  • Garmin Venu – 20 Sports Modes
  • Forerunner 245 – 14 Sports Modes

These are the extra sports modes that you gain access to, if you opt for the Garmin Venu. 

  1. Golf Mode
  2. Snowboarding
  3. Skiing
  4. Cross Country Skiing
  5. Outdoor Rowing
  6. Stand Up Paddleboarding

2. The Guided Workouts Technology Is Impressive

The Garmin Venu comes with pre-loaded cardio, strength, yoga and pilates workouts that are super easy to follow on the 390×390 px screen.  

Perhaps more importantly, you can download additional workout routines through the Garmin connect app, so you can upgrade your routines as your fitness levels improve. 

Ultimately, Garmin have done a pretty good job here. The guided workouts are a great addition for anyone who needs a bit of help with their fitness routine, be it at the gym or even in the comfort of your own home. 

3. It feels more like a Smartwatch with the Large Touchscreen

It’s worth repeating that the Garmin Venu has the most impressive screen of all the sports watches they have ever made. 

As a result, the Garmin Venu definitely feels like more of a smartwatch than the Forerunner 245. 

Basically, if you’re comfortable navigating a phone with a touchscreen, transitioning to the Garmin Venu should be pretty seamless for you. 

4. The Garmin Venu has a Built-in Barometric Altimeter

The main benefit of the built-in barometric altimeter is better calculation of vertical movements during exercise. This is particularly relevant for road runners, trail runners, road cyclists and mountain bikers. 

Instead of relying on the watch’s GPS alone to calculate vertical movements, the Garmin Venu also uses changes in atmospheric pressure from the altimeter to assess upward and downward movements. 

This is also why the Venu can track how many flights of stairs you take during the day (which the Forerunner 245 can’t do). It relies on the built-in altimeter to do this. 

Final Thoughts

If you want some super simple thoughts on how to choose between these two watches.

Go for the Forerunner 245 if:

  • You’re passionate about running
  • You prefer sports watches that don’t have touchscreens
  • You’re likely to buy one of the accessories that unlocks advanced running dynamics

Go for the Garmin Venu if: 

  • You want the more well-rounded fitness watch
  • You want a beautiful AMOLED touchscreen and the feel of a premium smartwatch
  • You want access to all the extra sports modes like golf, snowboarding and rowing
  • You can see yourself using the guided on-screen workouts

1 thought on “Garmin Forerunner 245 vs Garmin Venu

  1. Thank you for the review.
    For me the two plus points for the 245 over the Venu are Training Load / Recovery (you get without buying additional accessories) and course navigation.
    The one for the Venu over the 245 is the Altimeter (and with it skiing mode).

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