Tech reviews

Garmin Fenix 6 Pro and Forerunner 945 review: Best fitness smartwatches on the market


When it comes to wearable fitness accessories, you’d be hard pressed to have a conversation without Garmin getting a prominent mention.

Why’s that? Well look no further than two of their latest high-end watches –the Fenix 6 Pro and the Forerunner 945.

Both put their direct competition to shame in a lot of areas, measuring more metrics than most average athletes will ever need. But don’t be fooled into thinking that’s where it stops. These watches now go well beyond just fitness.

But how do they stack up against the best smartwatches on the market right now?

I took both these bad boys for test runs and two weeks in, it became rather apparent that I barely scratched the surface of what they’re capable of.

What we liked

Garmin Fenix 6 Pro

The F6 Pro.
The F6 Pro. Credit: Supplied
  • Premium build quality
  • Impressive battery life
  • Versatile screen layout
  • Body battery function
  • Unbelievable workout variety
  • Race Planner

Garmin Forerunner 945

The Garmin Forerunner 945 multi-sport smartwatch.
The Garmin Forerunner 945 multi-sport smartwatch. Credit: DCrainmaker
  • Impressive battery life
  • Detailed maps
  • Seamless music controls
  • Strava compatibility
  • Light weight, sleek design
  • Race Planner

Negatives

Garmin Fenix 6 Pro

  • May be too heavy for some
  • No cellular option
  • Price tag

Garmin Forerunner 945

  • Not as easy to swap watch straps
  • No cellular option

Next level fitness analysis

Coronavirus restrictions and the realisation I still had to work meant I wasn’t able to explore the Ski resort or golf course maps that are provided on both models.

But as far as running, swimming and cycling goes, it’s hard to find smartwatches that will give you feedback like the F6 Pro and Forerunner 945.

A daily summary, Vo2 Max analysis and a comparison to other runners.
A daily summary, Vo2 Max analysis and a comparison to other runners. Credit: Supplied

Not to mention the inbuilt Spotify, Strava compatibility (because if you didn’t flex on your fitness-crazed friends, did it really even count?) and Garmin Pay are easy to access and mean you can leave your phone at home when heading out for a run. Unfortunately, there’s no cellular option, so if you do, you won’t be receiving any messages or calls.

As with all things tech, the data can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Fortunately, a newly condensed widget view and easily customisable watchface means you can get a simplified analysis of key data fields, including distance, pace, heart rate, VO2 Max and Relative Effort, all in the one place.

If you’d like to view this content, please adjust your .

To find out more about how we use cookies, please see our Cookie Guide.

If all of that becomes too much to understand, the ‘body battery’ offers a simplified summary of the energy you have exerted through the day – and what percentage of your ‘battery’ is still available.

The Forerunner 945 can provide as extensive or simplified levels of data, depending on your preference.
The Forerunner 945 can provide as extensive or simplified levels of data, depending on your preference. Credit: Supplied

I also used the F6 Pro to track an outdoor weights season and was pleasantly surprised with the accuracy of the reps, given wrist-based readings can sometimes be a little off the mark.

The Forerunner 945, despite boasting a somewhat minimalist design, also packs a mean punch, perhaps bigger than you’d expect. It includes a heart rate monitor, built-in maps, barometric altimeter, pulse oximetre, gyroscope and accelerometre – in addition to all the basic pacing metrics.

Watch design

Fenix 6 Pro

Let’s start with F6 Pro – It comes with a $1,399 price tag for a reason (there are cheaper options available).

A rugged design, with increased screen size from the Fenix 5, it doesn’t look like a plastic toy on your wrist, like so many fitness watches do. From the second you scroll through its features, you can tell this watch is meant for more than just your weekend jog around the park.

Its weight suggests the same – but that may not be for everyone.

The F6 Pro.
The F6 Pro. Credit: Supplied

The stainless-steel casing make it a standout in appearance but bulkier than watches like the Forerunner 945 – something you can notice when running. If you’re after a good heart rate reading, it’s probably worth tightening the strap before a run as the increased size means it can move around a bit more on your wrist.

No, it’s not a touch screen, however it’s five buttons are easy to utilise while exercising.

This watch came with the standard silicone band but the QuickFit design means it is incredibly easy to swap over if you want to change up the look.

Forerunner 945

The Forerunner 945 has a near identical shell/case as its predecessor, the FR935 – because why change a winning formula?

Sleeker and lighter than the Fenix 6 Pro, the Forerunner 945 comes with a 22mm perforated silicone band, making it a dream to wear, even during a serious sweat session.

The Forerunner 945.
The Forerunner 945. Credit: Supplied

It boasts a 47mm screen with fibre-reinforced polymer casing that makes it a dream to use. Despite the ample size of the watch face, the Forerunner 945 is sleek.

All of the features mentioned above are wrapped up in a 13.7mm watch case, meaning at times I forgot I even had it on – a real benefit if you plan on utilising the body battery feature.

Music playback

The inbuilt Spotify is a real treat to run with.
The inbuilt Spotify is a real treat to run with. Credit: Supplied

It was a welcome change to leave my phone at home, with both watches pre-installed with Deezer and Spotify.

You’ll need a set of Bluetooth headphones as there’s no speaker on either device. After connecting for the first time, you’re good to go. Both watches will prompt you to turn on the headphones once activating the music feature.

The controls are easy enough to access while exercising too.

Battery life

Both watches offer an indulgence of battery modes which vary anywhere from 36 hours to 46 days.

Should you need it to, the F6 Pro and Forerunner 945 can both last upwards of 46 days without a charge. Yes, you read that right.

Admittedly this is the absolute extreme battery conservation mode.

The battery life on both the F6 Pro and FR 945 are elite.
The battery life on both the F6 Pro and FR 945 are elite. Credit: Supplied

Conversely, the ‘Max battery’ mode can last up to three days, while using Garmin’s UltraTrac mode that records track points and sensor data less frequently. Or up to 36 hours in full GPS mode.

I was somewhere in between and managed to go seven days in between charges with consistent heart rate tracking and smart notifications switched on. This included three or four 10km runs (using Spotify the entire time) and a couple of swims.

In short, both batteries are elite.

How do they compare?

Yes both watches offer Garmin payment options, music playback services and smart notifications from your smartphones. You can read your text messages and answer phone calls from both, if your phone is within range.

But let’s be clear, these are fitness smartwatches first and foremost.

They rightly knock off Apple and Samsung in the fitness departments, but they aren’t going to offer all the bells and whistles you see on the tech-focused smartwatches.

It’s also important to note that there’s no cellular option if that’s something you’re interested in.

Verdict

Forerunner 945

The Forerunner 945, put simply, is hard to fault.

It analyses all the crucial running metrics the F6 Pro does, is more comfortable to run with and more affordable.

If you are keen to take your training to the next level, you’d be hard pressed to find a smartwatch that could help you more than this.

Fenix 6 Pro

The one question you have to ask yourself before considering the F6 Pro is “what do I actually need?”

If fitness (and a bit of premium wrist candy) is not the primary motivation, there are probably cheaper models that would suit you better.

In my opinion the titanium finish makes the F6 Pro perhaps the best looking smartwatch on the market at the moment.

So if the thicker design isn’t a problem for you and you’re after an elite multi-sport smartwatch, this can definitely become your day-to-day smartwatch.



READ SOURCE

READ  Review - Lenovo Legion 5 (R5-4600H | GTX 1650 | 8GB D4-3200 | 512GB SSD

Leave a Reply