After a few months of inactivity, it seems that manufacturers of the best running watches and best fitness trackers are back at it again. For instance, Garmin just dropped a bomb by releasing the Garmin Forerunner 745, the successor of the extremely popular Forerunner 735XT, as well as the new HRM Pro strap which will most likely end up near the top of our best heart rate monitor guide.
This all happened after not so long ago, a range of solar-powered devices have been released by Garmin, including the Garmin Instinct Solar adventure watch which has an 'indefinite' battery life and the water-lovers' favourite Garmin Quatix 6X Solar. Other fitness wearable brands have also been busy, most notably Fitbit that's also just announced the brand new Fitbit Sense health smartwatch and the updated Fitbit Versa 3.
The timing is not all that surprising, to be honest, as both Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday are just around the corner. People are also spending more on their health and especially fitness wearables, so never a better time to release new multisport watches!
Garmin Forerunner 745: a triathlon watch with all the perks
The Garmin Forerunner 745 is an advanced GPS smartwatch for runners and triathletes featuring dozens of built-in activity profiles, including triathlon, pool swimming, track running and more.
The Forerunner 745 uses the same algorithm (from Firstbeat Analytics) to measure and estimate VO2 max, training load, training status and aerobic and anaerobic training effects as other top Garmin running watches so we can assume the Forerunner 745 will provide accurate information on all those.
Much like how the Garmin Forerunner 735XT almost always came bundled up with a heart rate monitor, the Forerunner 745 can reach its maximum potential by adding a Running Dynamics Pod or compatible heart rate strap, such as the new HRM-Pro, to the mix. Adding one of these extra devices can provide athletes with an extra six running metrics, including cadence and stride length.
The Forerunner 745 also features advanced dynamics to help with cycling training. While on a bike, it will track data such as left/right balance, time seated and standing, platform center offset and power phase. In the water, the Forerunner 745 will track distance, stroke, pace, personal records and more.
The Garmin Forerunner 745 also features a range of 'casual' and recovery features, blurring the line between the best smartwatches and the best running watches even more.
Based on the difficulty of a workout, the improved recovery time feature will let you know how long to rest before a hard training session. It also accounts for other factors that impact recovery including all-day stress, sleep and daily activities, and will adjust the recovery time on the watch.
Of course, the Forerunner 745 also automatically syncs data with Garmin Connect and other training apps, including TrainingPeaks and TrainerRoad. the watch is also compatible with Garmin Coach, a free adaptive running trainer that can sync workouts with the watch.
Most importantly, the Garmin Forerunner can store up to 500 songs on the watch from select preloaded music streaming services such as Spotify and even Amazon Music, or transfer music from a computer. The watch is also Garmin Pay ready and can be used for contactless payments.
Other features include a Pulse Ox sensor, 'Body Battery' energy monitor, menstrual cycle tracking, smart notifications, built-in safety and tracking features include incident detection, assistance and LiveTrack.
The Forerunner 745 features up to one week of battery life in smartwatch mode, up to 16 hours in GPS mode and up to 6 hours in GPS mode with music.
Garmin Forerunner 745: price and availability
The Garmin Forerunner 745 is available to buy at Garmin for £449.99 / $499.99 / $849 AUD ($929 NZD).
It is available in black, neo tropic, magma red or whitestone colourways.
Introducing the Garmin HRM-Pro strap
Garmin also announced the HRM-Pro strap, a heart rate monitor that transmits real-time heart rate data over to a compatible smartwatch or smartphone using ANT+ connectivity and Bluetooth technology. What’s more, it captures running dynamics, including ground contact time, cadence, stride length and more to help runners improve their form.
Better still, the Garmin HRM-Pro heart rate monitor supports the Garmin lactate threshold test when coupled with a compatible running watch. The Garmin HRM-Pro feels right at home in the water too: not only it has a 5 ATM water resistance but it will also automatically download heart rate data to a compatible smartwatch for analysis alongside other swimming metrics.
The HRM-Pro includes a user-replaceable battery that can last for 'up to one year'.
HRM Pro strap: price and availability
The HRM-Pro is available to buy at Garmin and has a suggested retail price of £119.99 / $129.99 / $159 AUD ($179 NZD) .