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 Bell

Duncan is the former lifestyle editor of T3 and has been writing about tech for almost 15 years. He has covered everything from smartphones to headphones, TV to AC and air fryers to the movies of James Bond and obscure anime. His current brief is everything to do with the home and kitchen, which is good because he is an excellent cook, if he says so himself. He also covers cycling and ebikes – like over-using italics, this is another passion of his. In his long and varied lifestyle-tech career he is one of the few people to have been a fitness editor despite being unfit and a cars editor for not one but two websites, despite being unable to drive. He also has about 400 vacuum cleaners, and is possibly the UK's leading expert on cordless vacuum cleaners, despite being decidedly messy. A cricket fan for over 30 years, he also recently become T3's cricket editor, writing about how to stream obscure T20 tournaments, and turning out some typically no-nonsense opinions on the world's top teams and players.

Before T3, Duncan was a music and film reviewer, worked for a magazine about gambling that employed a surprisingly large number of convicted criminals, and then a magazine called Bizarre that was essentially like a cross between Reddit and DeviantArt, before the invention of the internet. There was also a lengthy period where he essentially wrote all of T3 magazine every month for about 3 years. 

A broadcaster, raconteur and public speaker, Duncan 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."