Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Polar Vantage V – Product Comparison

Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Polar Vantage V – Product Comparison

The Vantage V is Polar’s best multisport Triathlon watch.

The Forerunner 945 is Garmin’s best multisport Triathlon watch.

In this post, they go head to head in a straight up product battle. Let’s begin.

Polar Vantage V vs Garmin Forerunner 945 - Key Similarities

Vantage V

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GPS & GLONASS

Wrist-based HRM

Indoor + Outdoor Running

Indoor + Outdoor Cycling

Indoor + Outdoor Swimming

Indoor + Outdoor Rowing

More than 20 Sports Modes

Triathlon Mode

Bluetooth

Accelerometer

Barometric Altimeter

Route Guidance & Back To Start

Polar Vantage V vs Garmin Forerunner 945 - Key Differences

Vantage V

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Sports Modes

130+ Sports/Activities

22 Sports/Activities

Running Power

Built-In

Requires Accessories

Wrist-HRM Accuracy

Excellent

Good

Pulse Oximeter

Music Storage & Apps

Payments from Watch

Galileo Satellite

TOPO Maps

Changeable Straps

Golf Mode

Smartwatch Capabilities

Average

Excellent

WiFi Connectivity

ANT+ Connectivity

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Biggest Advantages of the Vantage V

1) Over 100 Extra Sports Profiles - Vantage V

When it comes to the total number of Sports Profiles, no brand is better than Polar. 

So if you decide to go with the Vantage V, you will be glad to know that there are over 130 Sports Profiles that you can choose from, when measuring your exercises and activities.

Admittedly, the watch can only store 20 options at a time, which basically means you have to choose the 20 most relevant sports modes for you, using the Polar Flow App. 

2) Better Wrist-Based HRM - Vantage V

Polar has always been the industry leader in heart rate monitoring technology, and they have continued this trend with the Polar Vantage V. 

The Vantage V uses a series of 8 optical LED’s and 6 skin contact points to measure your bloodflow through the wrist. The number of LED’s helps to improve readings for darker skin tones. The skin contact points ensure that you are actually wearing the watch when the measurements take place.

3) Running Power from the Wrist - Vantage V

The Polar Vantage V is the only multisport watch capable of measuring running power from the wrist. There is no Garmin, Suunto, Fitbit or Chronos that can compete with this particular feature.

Together with the excellent optical HRM, running power from the wrist is by far the biggest selling point of the Vantage V. 

Biggest Advantages of Forerunner 945

If you’re a Polar fan, close your eyes, cause things are about to get messy.

1) Music Storage & Music Apps - FR945

The Garmin Forerunner 945 has 3.5GB of storage built into the watch. This works out to about 500 songs. 

It also works with Spotify, Deezer, Pandora and iHeartRadio, so you should be covered in terms of music apps and music storage.

2) Pulse Oximeter - FR945

I never truly understood the power of a pulse oximeter until studying the new series of Forerunner watches (FR45, FR245 & FR945). 

Basically, Garmin use the Pulse Oximeter to measure your blood oxygen levels, and then they combine it with your HRM data to improve measurements of:

  • Stress levels
  • Sleep quality
  • Recovery status
  • Body battery score
In other words, the Pulse Oximeter comes in handy, and Garmin are using it to enhance the quality and quantity of body measurements available to Forerunner 945 users.

3) Payments from the Watch - FR945

This one is pretty simple. The Forerunner 945 has NFC payment technology built into the watch, which means you can load your card data and then make payments with the watch.

Polar are unlikely to ever release a product with payment technology.

4) Galileo Satellite Tracking - FR945

Galileo satellite tracking is Europe’s answer to GPS tracking (American technology) and GLONASS (Russian technology) tracking.

Even though most people will be fine with GPS & GLONASS (which both watches have),the option of Galileo tracking is a nice bonus. Also, there is reason to believe that Galileo tracking could become more accurate than GPS tracking over time.

5) TOPO Map Technology - FR945

The addition of TOPO maps to the Forerunner 945 means that it is quite literally packing the same technology as the Garmin Fenix 5. 

The main benefit of TOPO maps is that you can literally use your watch to discover new routes in exotic settings. It tells you exactly where you are, and summarizes the terrain of all nearby areas. 

In short, it’s the kind of technology that should get your heart racing if you’re trail runner, hiker, or mountain biker.

6) Replaceable Straps - FR945

I don’t know why Polar didn’t give the Vantage V replaceable straps. It makes the watch much more versatile from a fashion standpoint, and it also makes it much more convenient to change straps if something goes wrong with the original strap.

7) Better Smartwatch Capabilities - FR945

In terms of smartwatch capabilities, the Vantage V and the Forerunner 945 are basically on different planets.

The Vantage V is designed primarily for endurance athletes, which basically means it lacks all the technological bells and whistles that come with a high end Garmin.

Some users might find the simplicity of the Vantage V refreshing, but if you’re a technology enthusiast that wants a multisport watch with decent smartwatch capabilities, the Forerunner 945 is definitely the better choice.

8) Golf Mode - FR945 Only

If you enjoy playing golf, it makes sense to choose a Garmin that has a golf mode baked into the watch. Fortunately the Forerunner 945 includes a golf mode, together with a library of over 41 000 courses (you can download more via Garmin connect). 

Speaking as a passionate golfer, this is a dealbreaker for me. If you don’t play golf, don’t let it sway your decision in any way.  

9) ANT+ Connectivity

Amazingly enough, there are only 3 Polar products that support ANT+ connections (Polar OH1 Optical Sensor, Polar OH1 Plus Optical Sensor, Polar H10 Chest Strap). 

It’s possible that Polar will open up ANT+ for the Vantage V in the future, but right now, the Garmin Forerunner 945 offers ANT+ support, and the Vantage V doesn’t. 

This could be a deal breaker for lots of people who use devices that rely on ANT+ connectivity, or plan to purchase such a product in future.

10) WiFi - Forerunner 945 Only

Personally, I woudn’t let this affect my decision all that much, but I will say this. Having the option to sync your workouts via WiFi (rather than bluetooth) is hella convenient.

Over time, the frustration of Bluetooth can wear on you (especially if you use a Huawei), so if you’re leaning toward the Forerunner 945, WiFi is simply an extra convenience that you can look forward to. 

Final Thoughts

Personally, I think there is a clear cut winner of this particular product battle.

In my humble opinion, the Forerunner 945 knocks this one out of the park. It’s a Polar Vantage V and Fenix 5 Plus slayer that’s garnering some serious street cred in the wearable tech space.

In terms of price, value and features, the Forerunner 945 is the best watch that Garmin has ever made. It's as simple as that.

2 thoughts on “Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Polar Vantage V – Product Comparison

  1. Personally I’ve been using Polar products for running since the beginning of time. It actually amazes me the early watches still function after all these years. I do use Garmin for cycling though as they’ve proven to be rugged and reliable and I’ve seen no reason to change.

    Polar Flow is a standout feature that Garmin doesn’t have though. It’s fantastic and I can’t ever see myself moving across to a forerunner, despite the feature set.

    Mind you the Garmin’s are amazingly feature packed and great looking watches, but I would never use the NFC functionality, music (I use my phone with Jabra’s anyway) and most other things the Garmin’s now feature. So I guess the Polar does everything I would need it to have and I wouldn’t miss those others really. But I think POlar needs to bring their prices down realy to make a dent in Garmin’s stranglehold like they did years ago with the M400.

    Kind regards,

    Jeff

  2. I am selling my polar vantage v as – in simple terms – it’s not finished yet….. it’s a great watch, but bar the wrist based HRM the polar v800 is actually more fully developed….

    And in a year of using the V800, I never had to reset it…. that’s a weekly occurrence with the VV….

    And I do love polar flow – but getting it to sync reliably with the Vantage…… forget it imho

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