Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 5 Plus

Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 5 Plus

Let’s cut straight to the chase.

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is essentially a Fenix 5 Plus, with one or two extra features,  and a more palatable price tag.

In other words, they share far more similarities than differences.  So for this article, we will unpack all the key similarities, and all the key differences, to give you a well-rounded overview of what these watches can do. 

Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Garmin Fenix 5 Plus - Key Similarities

Forerunner 945

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Fenix 5 Plus

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Wrist HRM

Indoor + Outdoor Running

Indoor + Outdoor Cycling

Indoor + Outdoor Swimming

Indoor + Outdoor Rowing

Triathlon Mode

Multiple Cardio Modes

Over 20 Outdoor Sports Modes

Music Storage + Spotify + Deezer

Payments from Watch

Garmin Running Power

Advanced Running Metrics

Built-in Maps & Routing Tech

Golf Mode

Pulse Oximeter

All FR945 Models

Fenix 5X Plus Only

Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi

TOPO Mapping

Replaceable Straps

Custom Watch Faces via Connect IQ

Garmin ClimbPro

Sports & Activity Modes



Garmin FR945 versus Fenix 5 Plus - Key Differences

Forerunner 945

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Fenix 5 Plus

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Less Expensive

More Expensive

Temperature Acclimation

Altitude Acclimation

Training Focus Metrics

Body Battery Score

GPS Battery Life

36 Hours

18 Hours

GPS + Music Battery

10 Hours

8 Hours

UltraTrac Battery

60 Hours

42 Hours

Visual Summary of Product Features

FR945 vs Fenix 5 Plus - Sports Modes

Forerunner 945 - Sports Modes Fenix 5 Plus - Sports Modes
01) Strength Training 01) Strength Training
02) Cardio Training 02) Cardio Training
03) Elliptical Training 03) Elliptical Training
04) Floors Climbed 04) Floors Climbed
05) Indoor Rowing 05) Indoor Rowing
06) Yoga 06) Yoga
07) Running 07) Running
08) Treadmill Running 08) Treadmill Running
09) Trail Running 09) Trail Running
10) Hiking 10) Hiking
11) Climbing 11) Climbing
12) Skiing 12) Skiing
13) Snowboarding 13) Snowbaording
14) Cross Country Skiing 14) Cross Country Skiing
15) Stand Up Paddle Boarding 15) Stand Up Paddle Boarding
16) Rowing 16) Rowing
17) Kayaking 17) Kayaking
18) Cycling 18) Cycling
19) Indoor Cycling 19) Indoor Cycling
20) Mountain Biking 20) Mountain Biking
21) Pool Swimming 21) Pool Swimming
22) Open Water Swimming 22) Open Water Swimming
23) Triathlon Mode 23) Triathlon Mode
24) Golf Mode 24) Golf Mode
25) Stair Stepping 25) Stair Stepping
26) Swimming/Running 26) Swimming/Running
27) Tactical 27) Tactical
28) Jumpmaster 28) Jumpmaster
29) Indoor Track Running 29) Indoor Track Running

Features Limited to Forerunner 945

Better Measurement of Human Body - Forerunner 945 Only

The Forerunner 945 uses the following features to better measure important health metrics:

  • Slightly improved optical heart rate monitor (Garmin Elevate V3)
  • Pulse Ox Sensor to monitor blood oxygen saturation levels
  • Stress Tracking
  • Advanced Sleep Monitoring
  • Altitude Acclimation

Even though the Fenix 5X Plus also has a Pulse Oximeter, it isn’t leveraged in the same way that the oximeter is used in the Forerunner 945.

Garmin have capitilized on technology that was only introduced into the Garmin MARQ series (released in March 2019), and packed into the FR945.

The end result is that the Forerunner 945 is just a little bit better at measuring your heart rate, blood oxygen saturation levels, stress levels, sleep quality and training load.

For serious athletes then, going for the Forerunner 945 is probably the right choice. 

Training Focus Metrics - Forerunner 945 Only

Training load is nothing new, and it is found in the Fenix 5 Plus and the FR945. But training load focus is a new feature. This is Garmin’s summary of what it does: 

Training load focus sorts your recent training history into different categories based on activity structure and intensity

So basically, it’s an upgraded version of training load, with categorical breakdowns that make the information more useful and easier to understand. 

Better Battery Life - Forerunner 945

By shifting to Sony’s GPS chips, Garmin have unlocked some serious wins in terms of battery life. The easiest way to verify this is by looking at GPS battery life of each watch.

  • Forerunner 945 GPS Battery Life – 36 Hours
  • Garmin Fenix 5 Plus GPS Battery Life – 18 Hours

As you can see from the bullet points above, the GPS battery life of the FR945 is literally double that of the Fenix 5 Plus. Garmin’s decision to move to Sony’s GPS chips has clearly paid off.

Body Battery Score - FR945

Garmin’s body battery score has become a key metric for the company in the year 2019. 

The concept is actually quite simple. The Forerunner 945 uses a combination of heart rate data, sleep tracking, stress tracking and recovery metric to ass your body’s overall energy levels. 

When your score is high, you can push yourself harder than normal. When your score is low, it’s probably time to ease up for a session or two and get some much needed rest. 

The only issue with body battery score is that it’s not 100% accurate. In other words, it’s a good guideline and it can be helpful to assess your energy levels, but it’s not gospel. So basically, you still have to listen to your body, but Garmin’s body battery score can help turn up the volume, so to speak. 

Features Limited to Fenix 5 Plus

Tougher Construction

The Fenix 5 Plus isn’t quite as durable as the military grade Garmin Instinct, but it’s pretty darn close

The Fenix series has always been extremely resilient, and Garmin have continued this trend with the Fenix 5 Plus. To help demonstrate the differences in material construction, let’s use another cheeky table. 

Forerunner 945 Fenix 5 Plus
Lens - Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX Lens - Domed chemically strengthened glass or sapphire crystal
Bezel - fiber-reinforced polymer Bezel - stainless steel or titanium

More Designs & Colour Options

It’s hard to argue against the design of the Fenix 5 Plus. It’s a very good looking multisport watch, and there are plenty of options to choose from. To celebrate these designs, a miniature gallery is needed. 

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Final Thoughts

With the Forerunner 945, Garmin have created arguably the best multisport GPS watch that has ever been made. 

You get all of the technology packed into the Fenix 5 Plus, and on top of that, new and improved training load focus metrics and Garmin’s patented body battery score. 

Add in the temperature acclimation and altitude acclimation from the Garmin MARQ series, and it’s easy to see why people will be tempted by the Forerunner 945. It might not be quite as good looking as the Fenix 5 Plus, but it is the better watch, especially when you factor money into the equation. 

"The Garmin Forerunner 945 is the best multisport GPS watch in the world right now. It has the best combination of technological features, a beautiful design, and a price tag that the Fenix 5 Plus just can't match."

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