The Garmin Forerunner 35 is one of the best selling GPS running watches that has ever been made.
However, it’s no longer Garmin’s No.1 budget GPS Watch.
That honor now belongs to the Garmin Forerunner 45, which includes some solid new features, a better looking design, and a colour screen (thank goodness).
But before we dive into this product comparison, let’s take a look at where these watches sit, in the Garmin Forerunner family.
But make no mistake. Both the FR35 and the FR45 can power you through an ultramarathon with ease.
Now let’s unpack the key differences between these two watches.
Garmin Forerunner 35 vs Forerunner 45 - Key Differences
Garmin Forerunner 35 vs Forerunner 45 - Key Similarities
Features Unique to the Forerunner 45
Garmin Coach - FR45 Only
The Garmin Coach feature gives you customized training plans for all the most popular running distances, including:
- 5K Training Plans
- 10K Training Plans
- 21K Training Plans
- 42K Training Plans
GLONASS & GALILEO Satellite Technology - FR45
Even though most people will be perfectly fine the GPS tracking only, it’s reassuring to have GLONASS and Galileo tracking built-in to the watch.
In years gone by, GLONASS and Galileo tracking were reserved for Garmin’s more expensive units, but now they are including it in entry-level units. The Forerunner 45 is the perfect example of this.
Colour Screen - FR45
If there’s one area where the FR35 show its age, it’s the lifeless black and white screen.
This stands in stark contrast to the Forerunner 45, which has a crisp color screen that makes the unit feel a lot more modern.
Personally, I wouldn’t let this sway the decision too much, but it is a lot more pleasant looking at a color screen, rather than a dreary black and white equivalent.
Custom Watch Faces
This is a feature worth celebrating. Garmin have finally introduced custom watch faces to their entry level running watch (FR45).
Together with the enhanced design and color screen, the addition of custom watch faces completes a series of visual upgrades that will keep the Forerunner 45 looking sharp for years to come.
Male & Female Version
Garmin, Suunto, and Polar are guilty of designing GPS watches with a male target market in mind.
Fortunately they haven’t repeated this mistake with the Forerunner 45, which has a female version(38mm), and a male version (42mm).
This is a good move from Garmin. A lot of women prefer a smaller watch face, and now they have this choice with the FR45.
Multiple Cardio Modes
Safety Tracking (Incident Detection)
This particular feature has been baked into the Forerunner 45, 245 and 945.
Once your phone is paired with your watch, it has the ability to detect and communicate ‘incidents’ via the watch directly. You can prompt emergency assistance manually (using the watch), and it can also do it on your behalf (automatic incident detection).
I don’t know exactly how the automatic incident detection works, but I think it basically detects a movement anomaly (ie going from 35km/h to 0km/h instantly) and a heart rate anomaly and then alerts your emergency contacts.
So which one should you buy?
I think it’s pretty clear to see that the Forerunner 45 is technically a better watch than the Forerunner 35.
It has significantly more features, it’s better looking, and the screen has been upgraded.
To summarize this whole article in two short sentences:
The Forerunner 35 is worth getting if you’re on a tight budget and you can find a really good deal.
The Forerunner 45 is worth investing in if you want the better watch, and you don’t mind paying about $70 more for the extra features.