Let’s cut straight to the chase.
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 945See Price
Fenix 5 PlusSee Price
Garmin FR945 versus Fenix 5 Plus - Key Differences
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
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.
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.
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.