T3 Awards 2020: for runs and workouts nothing tracks as well as Garmin Forerunner 245

…Or the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music, if you prefer to run footloose and phone-free

T3 Awards 2020: Garmin Forerunner 245 is our #1 running watch
(Image credit: Garmin)

We're half way through the Fitness portion of the T3 Awards 2020 with no signs of hitting 'the wall' just yet. In the category of best running watch there was, ironically, only really one brand in the running: Garmin. And while the Garmin Forerunner 245 may not be the most glamorous or prestigious of its fitness watches, it offers an unbeatable spread of features for a comparatively low cost. 

The 245 – and its musical sibling named, aptly enough, Forerunner 245 Music – can track anything from a walk to the shops to a marathon, and also offers workout monitoring and some advanced lifestyle features. That's why it's our wrist-worn running and workout champ.

• Read our Garmin Forerunner 245 review 

Of all the current generation of Forerunner watches, the 245 shows off the biggest strides forward from its predecessor. Where that was a basic, though generally excellent, running watch, the 245 is a full-fledged, multi-activity running and workout tracker.

The 245 also boasts greatly improved cardio tracking, which is good news for all forms of exercise, and more accurate GPS that locks on to satellites quicker – fantastic for outdoor runs, hikes and even bike rides. 

There are also some more Fitbit-like new features. These include improved sleep tracking, with monitoring of blood oxygen levels while you doze – raised variability in blood ox can point to underlying health issues. There's also 'body battery', which attempts to give an overview of how tired or energetic you are, which can help you decide whether today should be a rest day or not. 

It's the core functionality that's the real draw here, however, and Garmin's app, training programmes and associated services remain the best in the business. 

As usual with Garmin, the 245 is well designed and feels like it's built to last. The screen is easily visible in most lighting conditions and the battery lasts for ages – a week of general use and an  ultra-marathon-ready 24 hours of running with GPS and pulse monitoring. Even on the 245 Music, using it as a Bluetooth music player on top of that, you'll get 6 hours of battery life, which should be enough for a marathon. The addition of Spotify compatibility on that model means you can run without the need to take a phone with you. 

Whichever version of the Garmin Forerunner 245 you opt for, it won't let you down. Use one and you'll become fitter, faster and more informed about your progress to Legend status.

• See all the winners in the T3 Awards 2020 

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Duncan has been writing about tech for almost 15 years and fitness ever since he became middle aged and realised he could no longer rely solely on his boyish good looks. He used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."
Pre-lockdown Duncan was widely regarded as the best-dressed man ever to work for T3 – admittedly not saying much. Post-lockdown he is looking forward to wearing clothes other than shorts and hoodies again very soon, assuming he can still fit into them. He currently writes about cycling, fitness tech that isn’t too heavy, and all things kitchen and home related.