Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 5 Plus series – Buyers guide

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Garmin has recently introduced the Forerunner 945 at the start of May roughly 11 months since the Fenix 5 Plus line up. While each wearable caters for different fitness types, they do have a fair bit of crossover. So in this article, we take a look at the key differences between the Forerunner 945 vs the Fenix 5 Plus series.

Although the Fenix 5 Plus series is pretty much the same across the range in terms of features, there are some key differences. So if you want to know the differences between the Fenix 5 Plus series, then check out the link below to the buyers guide to the Fenix 5 Plus.

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Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 5 Plus: Design

Looking at the main design difference between Fenix 5 Plus vs Forerunner 945 is the material used in the design and build. Garmin has built the Fenix 5 Plus with premium materials of stainless steel or titanium options. However, the Forerunner 945is made of fiber-reinforced polymer.

Because of the materials used on the Fenix 5 Plus, the entire range is more substantial in weight compared to the Forerunner 945. The Fenix models weight starts at around 65g all the way 96g on the Fenix 5x Plus,  whereas the 945 comes in at only 50 grams.

Size is another important difference with the Fenix models come in three sizes and the Forerunner 945 only coming in one size. While the Fenix 5s Plus is the smaller of the fitness watches. The Fenix 5 Plus is the most similar to the Forerunner 945 with bot being 47mm in size. However, the Fenix 5X is the largest of all the wearables by a noticeable difference.

Turning over all 4 Garmin wearables, you will find the optical HR sensor, which they all share. However, only the Forerunner 945 and Fenix 5 Plus has the Pulse Ox sensor. The PulseOX sensor is used to measure blood oxygen levels and helps for sleep tracking calculations

Below is a table of all the key differences between the Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 5 Plus series in terms of design.

Spec

Fenix 5s Plus

Fenix 5 Plus

Fenix 5x Plus

Forerunner 945

Lens material

Domed chemically strengthened glass or sapphire crystal

Domed chemically strengthened glass or sapphire crystal

Domed chemically strengthened glass or sapphire crystal

Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX

Bezel/case material

stainless steel or titanium

stainless steel or titanium

stainless steel or titanium

fiber-reinforced polymer

Display size

1.2” (30.4 mm) diameter

1.2” (30.4 mm) diameter

1.2” (30.4 mm) diameter

1.2” (30.4 mm) diameter

Display resolution

240 x 240 pixels

240 x 240 pixels

240 x 240 pixels

240 x 240 pixels

Display type

sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)

sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)

sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)

sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)

Strap material

Silicone, leather

Silicone, leather, metal

Silicone, leather, metal

silicone

Quickfit

Yes (20mm)

Yes (22mm)

Yes (26mm)

Yes (22mm)

Physical size

42 x 42 x 15.4 mm

47 x 47 x 15.8 mm

51 x 51 x 17.5 mm

47 x 47 x 13.7 mm

Weight

  • 65g
  • 86 g
  • Titanium version: 76 g
  • 96 g
  • Titanium version: 87 g
  • 50 g

Water rating

10 ATM

10 ATM

10 ATM

5 ATM

Memory/History

16GB

16GB

16GB

200 hours of activity data

Pulse Ox sensor

No

No

Yes

Yes

Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 5x Plus: activity and fitness

If you are into running, cycling, swimming, hiking, or other outdoor recreation. Then these Garmin wearables will have you covered. All of these fitness watches come with a boatload of advanced fitness and tracking features.Garmin Fenix 5 Plus vs Forerunner 945 fitness features

The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus and the Forerunner 945 all track things like steps, stairs climbed and all of the usual stuff and based on my testing they all do this well.

The only real difference in sports tracking is that the Fenix 5 Plus a few more sports profiles to pick. While these are outdoor recreation activities, it makes little difference in my view.

A table of all the key activity tracking differences between the Fenix 5 Plus vs the Forerunner 945 is listed below.

Feature

Fenix 5 Plus series

Forerunner 945

Run profiles

Running, Treadmill Running, Trail Running

Running, Indoor Track Running, Treadmill Running, Trail Running

Cycling profiles

Biking, Indoor Biking, Mountain Biking, Triathlon

Biking, Indoor Biking, Mountain Biking, Triathlon

Gym activity profiles

Strength, Cardio and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing and Yoga

Strength, Cardio and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Indoor Rowing and Yoga

Outdoor recreation profiles

Hiking, Climbing, Mountain Biking, Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing, Kayaking, Jumpmaster, Tactical

Hiking, Climbing, Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing, Kayaking

Swim profiles

Pool Swimming, Open Water Swimming

Pool Swimming, Open Water Swimming

Round-trip course creator

Yes

Yes

Colour topo maps

Yes

Yes

Advanced Vector support

No

Yes

Speed and cadence sensor support (with sensor)

Yes

Yes

Firstbeat differencesFirstbeat features Fenix 5 Plus vs Forerunner 945While the Forerunner 945 vs the Fenix 5 Plus share very similar fitness tracking features. Its when we look at the Firstbeat difference that we find some performance metrics on the Forerunner 945, that you won’t find on the Fenix devices.

The Forerunner 945 has 18 Firstbeat features, compared to the Fenix 5 Plus 12. These include heat and altitude acclimation, Training Load Focus and Training Effect labels. Garmin has also included respiration rate tracking in the Forerunner 945 during exercise with a compatible accessory.
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The Forerunner 945 also has Garmin’s new Body Battery function. This feature uses a combination of stress, heart rate variability (HRV), sleep and activity data to give you an indication of your body’s energy levels. You can then make informed decisions about when to exercise or rest.Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 5 Plus features
While the Forerunner 945 and the Fenix 5 Plus share very similar fitness tracking, its the additional Firstbeat performance features make the Forerunner 945 more feature packed.

Below is the difference between the Fenix 5 Plus vs the Forerunner 945 Firstbeat features.

Firstbeat feature

Fenix 5 Plus

Forerunner 945

VO2max Fitness Level

Yes

Yes

Lactate Threshold

Yes

Yes

Functional Threshold Power (FTP)

Yes

Yes

Training Effect: Aerobic

Yes

Yes

Training Effect: Anaerobic

Yes

Yes

Real-Time Performance Condition

Yes

Yes

Calories Burned

Yes

Yes

Training Load

Yes

Yes

Training Status

Yes

Yes

Recovery Time Advisor

Yes

Yes

Quick Stress Level Test

Yes

Yes

All-day Stress & Recovery

Yes

Yes

Training Load Balance

No

Yes

Workout Labels

No

Yes

Body Resources

No

Yes

Race Time Predictor

No

Yes

Respiration Rate

No

Yes

Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 5 Plus: Smart and battery.

Both the Fenix 5 Plus and the Forerunner 945 comes with smart features. These range from call and text alerts to features like Garmin Livetrack. While none of the smart features like Call and text alerts is anywhere near as good as Apple Watch, they do have them.

The Fenix 5 Plus and the 945 also come with built-in storage for music on your wrist. Both wearables have enough room for up to 1,000 songs along with Spotify support. Plus they have Garmin Pay to make contactless payments.Garmin Fenix 5 Plus vs Forerunner 945 smart

Forerunner 945 and the Fenix 5 Plus range feature Incident Detection and Assistance. When an incident is detected via the wearable, the Garmin Connect app will send an automated text message and email with your name and GPS location to your emergency contacts.

Battery life is where things are slightly different across the fitness watches. For instance, with the Fenix 5s Plus, you will only get around five days of use. Then moving up around ten days with mix use for both the Fenix 5 Plus and the Forerunner 945. But if you want a more extended battery then Fenix 5x Plus will give you around 12 days of mixed use.

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I want to point out that the specs below show the Forerunner 945 with similar battery life to the Fenix 5x Plus. However, based on my real-world testing, the Fenix 5x Plus outperformed the Forerunner device.

Below is the difference between the Fenix 5 Plus vs the Forerunner 945 smart and battery features.

Feature

Fenix 5s Plus

Fenix 5 Plus

Fenix 5x Plus

Forerunner 945

Smart notifications

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Connectivity

Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi

Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi

Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi

Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi

Music Storage

Up to 1000 songs

Up to 1000 songs

Up to 1000 songs

Up to 1000 songs

Garmin Pay

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Battery life

  • Smartwatch: Up to 7 days
  • GPS: Up to 11 hours
  • GPS and Music: Up to 4.5 hours
  • UltraTrac mode: Up to 25 hours
  • Smartwatch: Up to 12 days
  • GPS: Up to 18 hours
  • GPS and Music: Up to 8 hours
  • UltraTrac mode: Up to 42 hours
  • Smartwatch: Up to 20 days
  • GPS:
  • Up to 32 hours
  • GPS and Music: Up to 13 hours
  • UltraTrac mode: Up to 70 hours
  • Smartwatch: Up to 2 weeks
  • GPS: Up to 36 hours
  • GPS and music: Up to 10 hours
  • UltraTrac mode: Up to 70 hours

Incident detection and assistance

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 5 Plus verdictForerunner 945 vs Fenix 5 Plus buyers guide

If you are serious about your sports and fitness tracking, then out of the Garmin range. Then this is where the top end Fenix devices and Forerunner 945 come into play.

My honest view on this is, it all comes down to individual preference and the features you want. While both the Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 5 Plus offer similar features,  you need to take into account the key elements that will make a difference to you.

Choose the Fenix 5 Plus over the Forerunner 945

For instance, the Fenix 5 Plus range is aimed at the mixed fitness type that needs a robust design. These are watches built from premium materials including stainless steel and titanium for specific versions.

You also get a choice between three versions to cater to all tastes and wrist sizes. The Fenix 5s Plus, in particular, is an excellent option for females and those with small wrists.

The battery life is awe-inspiring for the long-distance hikes or events, especially if you go for the Fenix 5x Plus

Choose the Forerunner 945 over the Fenix 5 Plus

The Forerunner, in my view, is aimed at the runner that wants the best device packed with features. It comes with pretty much everything you get on the Fenix 5 Plus model but in a smaller design that is more suited to sports requiring a smaller profile.

If you opt for the Forerunner 945 over the Fenix 5 Plus, you’ll get the extra Firstbeat features that might be important to you.

So that’s it; hopefully, you have found the Fenix 5 Plus vs Forerunner 945 comparison useful. Don’t forget to subscribe to receive the latest regarding wearables and smartwatch If you have a question or comment then leave it below.


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Jon Ratcliffe
I have a huge passion for technology having worked in the sector for over 18 years in a variety of roles. I cover Wearables, tech and smart home.My reviews and information will talk about how the product works in reality and not just what the marketing departments want you to think.

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161FansLike
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