Garmin Forerunner 645 Music hands-on Review

Written by Colton

Garmin Forerunner 645 Music hands-on: Garmin’s new running watch packs in music and contactless payments

Garmin’s latest dedicated running watch from CES 2018 has plenty to like for seasoned runners. It includes onboard storage and support for Bluetooth headphones, which is a first for the company. It’s also the second wearable from Garmin to support its Garmin Pay for contactless payments.

Garmin Forerunner 645 Music price and release date

The Garmin Forerunner 645 Music will retail for £399.99. There’s also a version without support for integrated music known only as the Forerunner 645, which is available for £349.99. Both models are available to order now.

Garmin recently released the Vivoactive 3 fitness watch, which was Garmin’s first wearable to support its Garmin Pay contactless payments method. Well that’s now joined by the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music, which has more of a dedicated running watch form factor.

This is thanks to its dedicated hardware buttons that’ll make it a little easier to operate while on the move. There’s no touchscreen here, which are always fiddly to use while running. For the first time, the Forerunner 645 has an always-on chroma display that should be easy to read outdoors. Certainly under the glaring lights of CES it was legible.

The Forerunner 645 has a metal bezel, chemically strengthened glass on its display and the option of interchangeable bands. On the back is a heart rate sensor. As you would expect for a running watch at this price, it has both GPS and GLONASS support for accurate distance measurement without the need to drag your phone along for the ride.

Garmin Forerunner 645 Music

Enhancing its ability to go sans phone, the Forerunner 645 Music has onboard storage for your favourite tunes and can pair with wireless Bluetooth headphones. Garmin says there’s room for 500 songs that you can transfer over from a computer, or if you have a Deezer+ subscription you can download offline playlists. It’s a shame there’s no offline Spotify support as seen on the likes of the Samsung Gear Fit Pro 2 as that’s arguably the much more popular streaming service.

If you’re looking for more advanced running metrics, the Forerunner 645 is compatible with the optional Running Dynamics Pod, which clips to your waistband. This will let the Forerunner 645 detect metrics like ground contact time, cadence and vertical oscillation.

Garmin Forerunner 645 Music

Garmin has again used training features from Firstbeat so you’ll be able to monitor your estimated VO2 Max and also see training insights to let you know if you’re training productively as well as your overall training load.

Garmin is promising 7 days battery life or 5 hours when using GPS and music. That’ll be enough to get you through a marathon.

First impressions

Garmin Forerunner 645 Music

The Forerunner 645 Music certainly seems like it checks all the boxes for what you would want from a more advanced running watch. The inclusion of onboard storage for music is always welcome as many runners need the added motivation of a heart-pumping soundtrack or a good podcasst or audiobook during longer runs.

Garmin Pay in theory is another handy inclusion for those wanting to be less encumbered when out running, but it’s going to need better bank support, especially in the UK, before it’s really going to be useful.

Be sure to check back for a full review when we can get a few miles under out belt with Garmin’s latest wearable.