Garmin Forerunner 245 vs Coros Pace 2: which is the best running watch for the price-conscious athlete? Despite the abundance of cheap running watches on the market, Garmin is still considered the market leader and benchmark for accuracy, app ecosystem, and the number of different sport modes available on running watches.
However, in recent years, Coros has been at the heels of Garmin and followed the tried-and-tested approach of offering similar features to Garmin watches but for a more reasonable price. The primary beneficiaries of this rivalry are runners who enjoy both the increase in available running watch options and the subsequent price drop; something watch manufacturers will have to do eventually to make their offerings more appealing to athletes worldwide.
The best mid-range Garmin running watch for most runners is the Garmin Forerunner 245, a capable running watch that utilises many features of the higher-end Garmin Forerunner 745. On the other hand, the Coros Pace 2 offers extra-long battery life and a brilliant screen at a friendlier price point. Is one better than the other?
Garmin Forerunner 245 vs Coros Pace 2: Features
The Garmin Forerunner 245 comes in two versions: the Standard and Music Edition. Apart from the Music edition being able to store offline music on the watch, the two versions are pretty much identical. The Music Edition costs approx. 20% more than the standard edition. The Forerunner 245 has a pulse-oximeter sensor, tracks elevation and supports WiFi, unlike the Coros Pace 2. The Garmin also has more sports modes straight out of the box, including elliptical training, stair-stepping, indoor rowing and yoga.
The Coros Pace 2 has a lighter body than the Forerunner 245 and has a barometer and a gyroscope, none of which sensors can be found in the reinforced plastic body of the Forerunner 245. The battery life is waaaay longer than the Garmin (more on this below). The Pace 2 also has a multi-sport mode that enables users to track multi-sport events as one continuous activity instead of three separate ones.
Garmin Forerunner 245 vs Coros Pace 2: Design
Physically, both versions of the Garmin Forerunner 245 are essentially identical. They sport Corning Gorilla Glass 3 lens and a 1.2" (30.4 mm) diameter sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) display with a resolution of 240 x 240 pixels. The Garmin weighs 38.5 grams, water-rated to 5 ATMs and uses 'industry-standard' 20 mm quick-release straps (silicone bands included in the box). Much like all other Garmin watches, the Forerunner 245 hasn't got a touch screen and uses a five-button navigation system instead.
Similarly, the Coros Pace 2 protects its display with Corning Gorilla Glass lens and has a 1.2" always-on memory LCD with 240 x 240 pixels resolution. The Pace 2 is the lightest running watch on the market and weighs only 35 grams with the silicone band included. The Coros also uses industry-standard 20mm, quick-release bands. The screen on the pace Pace 2 isn't touch-sensitive either, and the watch uses a digital crown + button navigation configuration.
Garmin Forerunner 245 vs Coros Pace 2: Battery life
The Garmin Forerunner 245 has an up to seven days battery life in smartwatch mode – i.e. when the GPS is off – and will last between two charges for up to 24 hours in GPS mode. That's 24 hours of GPS tracking, so there is no need to charge the watch every day if it's only used to track a 30-minute jog in the afternoon. Considering a mix of moderate GPS tracking and smartwatch use, the Forerunner 245 will last for around 4-5 days between two charges.
On the other hand, the Coros Pace 2 is an absolute beast in battery life. The Pace 2 will last for almost three weeks in smartwatch mode (Coros claims it's 20 days), 30 hours in 'full' GPS mode and a whopping 60 hours in UltraMax mode. In UltraMax mode, GPS is turned on for 30 seconds only every two minutes, and for the rest of the time, an algorithm calculates the distance travelled using the onboard sensors. Ideal for trail runners, ultramarathoners and people who really can't be bothered to charge the watch, like ever.
Garmin Forerunner 245 vs Coros Pace 2: Accuracy
Garmin is famous for constantly tweaking the sensors on its watches, which also applies to the Garmin Forerunner 245. The sensors are accurate for a wrist-wearable anyway. GPS signal is picked up quickly, and the optical heart rate sensor gives accurate readings, especially in higher heart rate zones. The pulse-oximeter is so-so, but the compass and the accelerometer are acceptable for accuracy.
When tested, the Coros Pace 2 had some issues picking up the GPS signal – it required yours truly to stand in the middle of an open field – but once the watch holds onto the signal, it retains it steadily and reliably. The Pace 2 has six sensors (optical heart rate monitor, barometric altimeter, accelerometer, compass, gyroscope and thermometer), and they work with admirable accuracy.
Garmin Forerunner 245 vs Coros Pace 2: Pricing and availability
The Garmin Forerunner 245 is available to buy at Garmin and at selected third party retailers for a recommended retail price of £249.99 / $299.99 / AUD $499.
The Garmin Forerunner 245 Music is also available to buy at Garmin and at selected third party retailers for a recommended retail price of £299.99 / $349.99 / AUD $579.
The Coros Pace 2 is available to buy at Coros and at selected third party retailers for a recommended retail price of £179.99 / $199.99 / AUD $280.