The Garmin Forerunner 745 is basically a Garmin Forerunner 945 Lite. That means it’s a high quality GPS triathlon watch with all of Garmin’s features and technology for endurance sportsmen. The only chink in the armor is the relatively short battery life, the absence of topographical maps, and the lack of a golf mode (if it had these things, it would actually be a FR945).
The Garmin Venu is effectively Garmin’s best activity tracker at this moment in time. It gives you access to almost all the sports and fitness modes that Garmin has to offer (except for triathlon tracking) and it has a beautiful high res AMOLED touchscreen. If you want a competent all rounder that’s reasonably priced, the Garmin Venu is a very good option.
Now that we have introduced each watch, let’s compare the Forerunner 745 vs the Garmin Venu in greater detail.
Table of Contents
Key Similarities - Forerunner 745 vs Garmin Venu
Key Differences - Forerunner 745 vs Garmin Venu
Explanation of Differences
1 – Triathlon Tracking: Both watches can track running, cycling and swimming. However, only the FR745 has a multisport triathlon mode. This is arguably the biggest difference between these two watches.
2 – High Res AMOLED Touchscreen: The Garmin Venu has a beautiful high res AMOLED screen. The screen resolution of the Venu (390 x 390 pixels) is significantly better than the screen resolution of the Forerunner 745 (240 x 240 pixels). The Venu also has a touchscreen, while the FR745 relies on a button only interface.
3 – Golf Tracking: The Garmin Venu includes golf tracking. This means that it is basically a dedicated golf watch, that also happens to be an excellent activity tracker.
4 – Advanced Running Dynamics & Garmin Running Power: Only the FR745 is equipped with running dynamics and Garmin running power. This could be a dealbreaker if you’re passionate about running.
5 – Daily Workout Suggestions: The Forerunner 745 recommends daily run and ride workouts based on your current fitness levels. Right now, it’s the only Garmin with this technology, but we expect this to carry over into other high end models like the FR945 and the Fenix range.
6 – Garmin PacePro (FR745 Only): Garmin PacePro factors in elevation changes in your trainin course/race, and then calculates when to increase or decrease your pace for the best possible time.
7 Garmin ClimbPro (FR745 Only): ClimbPro is a feature for cyclists that identifies any significant climbs on a course and then grades them according to difficulty. The whole goal of ClimbPro is to prepare you for each and every major ascent along a cycling route.
8 – Open Water Swimming: The Forerunner 745 can track indoor swimming and open water swimming (essential for triathlon tracking). The Venu is limited to pool swimming only.
Reasons To Choose The Forerunner 745
1. It's the better choice for endurance athletes
Simply put, the Forerunner 745 will serve experienced endurance athletes far better than the Garmin Venu can. There are a number of reasons for this, highlighted in the bullet points below.
- Triathlon Mode
- Open Water Swimming
- Cycling power meter compatible
- Advanced running dynamics
- PacePro Pacing Strategies (running routes)
- ClimbPro Hillclimbing strategies (cycling routes)
Collectively, these features add up to a more complete endurance sports watch. Modelling the FR745 after the FR945 was a good a decision on Garmin’s behalf.
2. The FR745 has better navigation capabilities
From a navigation perspective, the Foreunner 745 outguns the Garmin Venu. The bullet points below should make this clear.
Garmin Venu Navigation Capabilities
- Back to start
- Total ascent/descent
Garmin Forerunner 745 Navigation Capabilities
- Point-to-point navigation
- Bread crumb trail in real time
- Back to start
- Distance to destination
- Elevation profile
- Total ascent/descent
- Vertical speed
- Trail run auto climb
- Barometric trend indicator
- Future elevation plot
3. The FR745 has more running features and technology
By opting for the Garmin Forerunner 745, you can open up an array of advanced running stats that aren’t supported by the Garmin Venu. The bullet points below explain these stats in greater detail.
- Ground Contact Time – The amount of time your foot spends on the ground with each stride.
- Ground Contact Balance – The symmetry between your left and right foot when running.
- Vertical Oscillation – The degree of upward ‘bounce’ in your running motion. Lowering this stat can increase running efficiency.
- Vertical Ratio – The cost-benefit ratio with stride length. This allows you to discover the ideal stride length for chasing down a new PB.
- Cadence – Real time cadence stats displayed on the FR745.
- Stride Length – Real time stride length stats displayed directly on the Forerunner 745.
- Garmin Running Power – Measure your running power output in Watts (kinda like cyclists do).
There is just one thing you need to keep in mind. In order to unlock advanced running dynamics and running power on the Forerunner 745, you need to invest in one of the following four accessories.
Reasons To Choose the Garmin Venu
1. Gorgeous High Res AMOLED Touchscreen
The beautiful high-res AMOLED screen in the Garmin Venu remains one of its best selling points. In addition, the Garmin Venu has a touchscreen, whereas the FR745 relies exclusively on buttons. The main benefit is that a touchscreen makes the Garmin Venu look, feel and operate more like a Smartwatch.
- Garmin Venu Screen Resolution: 390 x 390 pixels
- Garmin Forerunner 745 Screen Resolution: 240 x 240 pixels
2. Golf Tracking Capabilities
The Garmin Venu includes almost all of Garmin’s best golf tracking features. This includes:
- Yardage to the whole
- Yardage to hazards
- Automatic measurement of shot distance
- Digital scorecard
- Round timer
In other words, the Garmin Venu has almost all the same features that you would expect in a dedicated GPS golf watch. The same cannot be said for the Forerunner 745.
3. It's better value for money for most people
There is a notable price difference between the FR745 and the Garmin Venu. Regardless of whether you agree with Garmin’s pricing strategy, the underlying point is that the Garmin Venu is definitely one of the best value-for-money watches in Garmin’s product line-up.
It has a very well rounded selection of sports modes, excellent fitness tracking, a brilliant screen and a reasonably affordable price tag. In other words, it should tick most of the boxes for everyday people that exercise a lot or participate in a bunch of different sports. It’s really only the hardcore endurance athletes that should favor the Forerunner 745.
If you’re still undecided at this point, these final buying tips may help.
Go for the Forerunner 745 if:
- You’re big into running
- You’re an avid cyclist
- You participate in triathlons
- You need navigation capabilities
- You prefer a button-only interface
Go for the Garmin Venu if:
- You want better value for money
- You don’t need triathlon tracking or open water swimming
- You play golf regularly
- You prefer a touchscreen interface and a high resolution display
- You want an excellent selection of sports and fitness features for a reasonable price