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. 

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 HRM with new wrist-based HRM
  • 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 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 basically a no-brainer. 

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.

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

GPS Battery Life

36 Hours

18 Hours

GPS + Music Battery

10 Hours

8 Hours

UltraTrac Battery

60 Hours

42 Hours

Smartwatch Battery

14 Days

12 Days

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

Measures Running Power

With Accessory

With Accessory

Advanced Running Metrics

Built-in Maps & Routing Tech

Golf Mode

Pulse Oximeter

All FR945 Models

Fenix 5X Plus Only

Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi

Full-Color TOPO Mapping

Replaceable Straps

Custom Watch Faces via Connect IQ

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 which give you a more complete understanding of the physical state of your body.

If you take your sport and your health seriously, the FR945 is simply one step above the Fenix 5 Plus. There is no counter argument to that statement.

"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 can actually be justified (unlike the Fenix 5 Plus and the Garmin Marq series, which are both overpriced)."

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