Garmin Forerunner 745 and HRM-Pro first look: Advanced running watch and premium chest strap

The Forerunner watches are focused on providing runners and triathletes with detailed training data to help them achieve their goals. The new Forerunner 745 succeeds the popular 735XT while the HRM-Pro provides running metrics and accurate heart rate data.

forerunner-745-family-image.jpg

Image: Garmin

Garmin released the Forerunner 735XT in 2016 with the Forerunner 935 following up a year later with just a few additional features and a higher price. The new Garmin Forerunner 745 slides in just under the Garmin Forerunner 945 I tested last year with all of the current software functions you expect on a Garmin GPS sports watch today.

The Garmin Forerunner 935 brings key performance monitoring tools from Firstbeat Analytics. One feature I look forward to testing out this month is the new workout suggestions for running and cycling, based upon my current training load and VO2 Max. The Forerunner 935 offers up to a week of battery life, 16 hours in GPS tracking mode, and six hours in GPS tracking mode with music streaming to a Bluetooth headset.

Also: Garmin Forerunner 945 review: Music, mapping, payments, pulse, and incident detection

You can purchase the Forerunner 745 in black, neo tropic, magma red, or whitestone for $499.99. I received a black one to test out for the rest of this month and have taken it for one run so far. The new HRM-Pro is the latest heart rate strap that provides six running metrics and works in the water too. It is available for $129.99.

Garmin Forerunner 745

Here is how the Garmin Forerunner 745 stacks up to the Forerunner 945, which was one of the first things I was curious about.

  • Price: The Forerunner 945 is $100 more than the Forerunner 745
  • Size: The Forerunner 745 is smaller and lighter at 43.8 x 43.8 x 13.3 mm and weight of 47 grams. The 945 is 47 x 47 x 13.7 and weighs 50 grams. These might seem like small numbers, but side-by-side and on the wrist, the 745 definitely feels smaller and is likely to appeal to more athletes.
  • Music storage: The Forerunner 745 holds up to 500 songs whereas the 945 holds up to 1,000 songs
  • Onboard maps: The Forerunner 945 has onboard maps while the Forerunner 745 does not

The Garmin Forerunner 745 at first glance appears to be a smaller Forerunner 945. The black model has a cool flash yellow band around the top right activity button with a flash yellow line adjacent on the bezel. It's a small design feature, but cool to see on the watch.

The typical five button Garmin navigation system is here with 240x240 pixels sunlight-visible transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) display. The 22mm silicone straps are QuickFit compatible, although the band included out of the box is not set up for QuickFit replacement.

There are a ton of sport modes, including the latest cardio, pilates, yoga, and breathwork exercises. Unfortunately, golf mode is not present on the 745 so that is one sport limitation for those of you who run, bike, and golf.

The watch obviously syncs up with the powerful Garmin Connect smartphone app and the Garmin Connect website so you can further capture, analyze, and process all of the data captured by the watch. Customization is the name of the game so you can set up various displays and data fields to train to your heart's content.

See also: Garmin Vivoactive 4 review: Touchscreen, advanced health tracking, golf, music, and more

HRM-Pro chest strap

hrm-pro-hr-1000.png

Image: Garmin

It's been years since I worked out with a heart rate strap, but I've been considering going back to using one for more accurate data and to use while cycling as wrist-based heart monitors on bikes is not a comfortable solution. The new Garmin HRM-Pro chest strap is much more comfortable than the last strap I tried out.

The HRM-Pro provides heart rate data over ANT+ and Bluetooth so it works with your Garmin watch, smartphone apps, and compatible equipment in the gym. Swimmers will appreciate the 5 ATM water resistance and storage of heart rate data on the band that syncs to your device. If you take your Garmin device off for team sports and other activities, the HRM-Pro can be worn to track steps, intensity minutes, and more that can later be synced to your Garmin device.

Also: Garmin MARQ Golfer review: Virtual caddie contained in a luxurious and powerful GPS sports watch

First run with the Forerunner 745 and HRM-Pro

After charging up the Forerunner 745, I set up the screens and data fields for running. I then simply connected the HRM-Pro to the Forerunner 745 and launched the run exercise. The GPS signal was secured in less than a minute and I was ready to run.

The display is visible and easily readable while running with all the data you want right at your fingertips. The Forerunner 745 is very comfortable and the light weight is barely noticeable on my wrist.

After the run, I enjoyed customizing and then scrolling through the widgets. I'm a fan of the smaller widget format where you can select and view more details with a press of the upper right button.

I will continue to run, bike, hike, walk, and sleep with the Forerunner 745 as I gather data and experience all aspects of the new watch for my in-depth review. If there is anything you want me to test out, please leave a comment below.