The Garmin Forerunner 45 is a simple and affordable GPS running watch that still offers plenty of features given the price tag.
The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is a very well-rounded GPS Sports Watch packed with features, sports modes and fitness functions.
In this post, we will be highlighting the key similarities and the key differences between these two wearables. Let’s get stuck in.
What are the main differences between the Forerunner 45 and the Vivoactive 4?
- Sports Modes – The Forerunner 45 has 10 sports modes in total. The Vivactive has double that amount with 20 sports modes in total.
- Pool Swimming – Sadly the FR45 can’t measure pool swims. However, the Vivoactive 4 can.
- Golf Mode – Only the Vivoactive 4 has a dedicated golf mode built into the watch.
- Barometric Altimeter – The Vivoactive 4 has a barometric altimeter. This means it can measure vertical movements more accurately when running, cycling or hiking.
- Touchscreen – The Vivoactive 4 has a touchscreen, whereas the Forerunner 45 relies on buttons to operate the watch. A lot of runners and cyclists tend to prefer a button only setup when exercising.
- Music Storage & Apps – The Vivoactive 4 can store up to 500 songs directly on the watch, and you can use apps like Spotify and Deezer to play your music.
- Payments directly from the Watch – With Garmin pay, the Vivoactive 4 allows you to make payments from the watch. This can be convenient if you just want to leave the wallet at home during a run or cycle.
Forerunner 45 vs Vivoactive 4 - Key Similarities
Forerunner 45See Price
Vivoactive 4See Price
FR45 vs Vivoactive 4 - Key Differences
Comparison of Sports Modes
|Forerunner 45 - Sports Modes||Vivoactive 4 - Sports Modes|
|01) Running||01) Running|
|02) Cardio Training||02) Cardio Training|
|03) Elliptical Training||03) Elliptical Training|
|04) Stair Stepping||04) Stair Stepping|
|05) Cycling||05) Indoor Rowing|
|06) Yoga (added in app)||06) Yoga|
|07) Indoor Cycling (added in app)||07) Strength Training|
|08) Treadmill Running||08) Treadmill Running|
|09) Indoor Track Running (added in app)||09) Indoor Track Running|
|10) Walking||10) Trail Running|
|12) Indoor Cycling|
|13) Pool Swimming|
|16) XC Skiing|
|17) Stand Up Paddleboarding|
Main Reason To Choose The Forerunner 45
1. The FR45 is considerably cheaper
The recommended retail selling price (RSP) of the Forerunner 45 is about 40% less than the RSP of the Garmin Vivoactive 4. For many people, this could easily be a dealbreaker.
Even though the Vivoactive 4 is definitely the better watch overall, you might not need all the extra features and functions that come with it.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for a budget friendly running watch, the Forerunner 45 is a very attractive choice.
2. You just want a simple watch to help you track runs and cycles
First and foremost, the Forerunner 45 is an entry level GPS running watch. If you’re a 5km, 10km, half marathon or marathon specialist, the Forerunner 45 could serve you very well.
The same can be said for cyclists that just want a good quality GPS watch with a reasonable price tag.
3. You prefer sports watches that don't have touchscreens
There are plenty of runners out there who aren’t particularly big fans of touchscreens. This is mainly because touchscreens can be a bit clumsy if you are sweating profusely and need your fingertips are a wet.
To be fair, most people are unlikely to encounter issues with the touchscreen of the Vivoactive 4, but if you do fall into the ‘button only’ camp, the Forerunner 45 should be right up your alley.
Main Reason To Choose The Vivoactive 4
It has double the amount of sports modes
We’ve already clarified this with the sports mode comparison table a bit further up the article. Nevertheless, it’s worth re-emphasizing that the Vivoactive 4 gives you access to the following extra sports modes, that aren’t available on the Forerunner 45:
- Pool Swimming
- Indoor Rowing
- Cross Country Skiing
- Stand Up Paddleboarding
- Trail Running
- Strength Training
- Outdoor Rowing
You could justify the extra cost of the Vivoactive 4 purely on the strength of these additional activity modes.
Music Storage & Music Apps
This one is pretty simple. The Vivoactive 4 can store up to 500 songs directly on the watch. In addition, you can also use the following popular streaming apps to play music on the Vivoactive:
- Amazon Music
- iHeart Radio
It's like having a dedicated golf watch, that doubles as an activity tracker
The golfing features in the Vivoactive 4 are legitimately impressive. You basically get all the main technology from Garmin’s more expensive golf watches, namely:
- Yardage to the front, middle and back of the green
- Yardage to hazards, bunkers and layup areas
- Automatic shot distance tracking
- Detailed greenview, with the ability to manually place the pin position
- Digital scorecard
If you workout in the pool, the Vivoactive 4 is definitely the better choice
This one is a no brainer. The Vivovacitve 4 supports pool swimming. The Forerunner 45 does not. If you enjoy doing laps in the pool, it’s pretty clear that the Vivoactive 4 is the better choice.
The Guided Workouts feature is a big drawcard for fitness enthusiasts
Garmin’s guided workouts are a bit like having a personal trainer that can demonstrate all the key moves and guide you through a workout, except you don’t have to make idle chat or pay them for the session.
Long story short, the Vivoactive 4 can literally guide you through the built-in workouts, with visual displays of each key move. Better yet, if you do grow tired with the workouts, you have the ability to download new routines through Garmin connect.
It feels and operates more like a smartwatch with the touchscreen
If you’re comfortable operating touchscreen devices, it should be pretty seamless for you to transition to the Vivoactive 4. It’s basically the same as operating a modern day mobile phone.
Payments from the watch
As mentioned earlier in the article, the Vivoactive 4 supports Garmin Pay. This means you can leave your wallet at home when running, cycling or visiting the gym. If you do need to buy something during your session, the Vivoactive 4 will have you covered.
Just keep in mind that the spend limit on Garmin pay is currently set at $30 in the US. So don’t go ordering sushi thinking that you’ll be able to cover the bill with Garmin pay. You won’t, and that could be awkward.
The Vivoactive 4 Has Better Garmin Connect Support
With the Forerunner 45, you only have the option to download custom watch faces. With the Vivoactive 4 you get full support for Garmin connect, meaning you can:
- Download custom apps
- Download custom widgets
- Download custom watch faces
We’ve listed pretty much all the main features of each watch. If you’re still on the fence at this point, these buying tips might help.
Go for the Forerunner 45 if:
- You’re on a tight budget
- You focus primarily on running
- You don’t play golf
- You don’t do any pool training
- Your prefer watches that rely on buttons rather than a touchscreen
Go for the Vivoactive 4 if:
- You want the more well rounded sports watch and activity tracker
- You’re more than happy to use a touchscreen
- You play golf
- You enjoy training in the pool
- You want access to more smart features through Garmin connect
- You want the better watch overall