Finally, after massive demand, Garmin has given in and released a watch that has onboard music storage support. In even better news they did an excellent job of it, 3.5GB (approximately 500 songs) is more than Fitbit Iconic’s 300 song limit and the Apple watch series 1 & 2 watches which had a limit of 2GB.
The Forerunner 645 Music is expected to hit Australian stores late January at an RRP of $599.
The Garmin watch is also designed to link with Bluetooth headphones. We have a validated list from Garmin here. This list doesn’t contain every set of Bluetooth headphones that are compatible, but it does show the ones that Garmin have tested themselves.
What’s Changed – Forerunner 645 vs Forerunner 630 and Forerunner 935
I’ll show the spec comparison at the end of this article and just some of the main differences here. The most significant feature differences between the Forerunner 645 and the Forerunner 935 are the new inclusions of Garmin Pay and the music.
These are all available on the Forerunner 645 Music
- Music storage
- Garmin Pay
- Wrist-based Optical HR (Forerunner 935 as well)
- Bluetooth sensor (Forerunner 935 as well)
- Training status metrics (Forerunner 935 as well)
- Garmin Connect IQ (Forerunner 935 as well)
- Lactate Threshold tracking (Forerunner 935 as well)
- HRV Stress Tracking app (Forerunner 935 as well)
- Can respond to text messages (Android only and Preset messages)
- Compatible with Quick Release bands (vivoactive 3 and vivomove HR)
There a couple of minor other changes that I haven’t listed here but these are the significant differences from the Forerunner 630 and the Forerunner 935. Just as a quick sum up the Forerunner 645 Music is just missing on some of the multisport/open water functionality which is still only available on Garmin’s top tier Forerunner 935 and fenix 5 ranges.
Unlike the vivoactive 3, the Forerunner 645 music has stuck to its routes and only uses a button interface (more reliable than a touchscreen when you’re out of breath from a long run). It comes with five buttons one dedicated for quick access to the music widget and the others for navigating the functions and pages on the watch.
The battery life on this device is about what you’d expect smartwatch mode, up to 7 days. The GPS mode with music will chew through power though which isn’t ideal only lasting 5 hours.
The music supported by the watch is only compatible with DRM-Free music like iTunes and Windows media player. Garmin will be using its desktop application Garmin Express as a gateway to loading the music onto your device.
Garmin has also partnered with iHeartradio music streaming services to link with the watch enabling you to download your playlists and take them with you offline. At this stage, iHeartRadio is the only music streaming service partnered with Garmin, but they have plans to partner with more. They have also partnered with Deezer, but that’s primarily Europe based.Bluetooth headphone compatibility list (This is only for the ones tested and validated by Garmin. Most Bluetooth headphones work with the watch)
|Aftershokz||Trekz Air||Good with watch on either wrist|
|Aftershokz||Trekz Titanium||Better with watch on right wrist|
|Jabra||Elite Sports||Better with watch on right wrist|
|Jaybird||FREEDOM 2||Good with watch on either wrist|
|Jaybird||X3||Good with watch on either wrist|
|JBL||Inspire 500||Good with watch on either wrist|
|JBL||Reflect Mini BT||Good with watch on either wrist|
|Plantronics||BackBeat FIT||Good with watch on either wrist|
|SoundPEATS||QY7||Good with watch on either wrist|
|Skullcandy||Method Wireless||Good with watch on either wrist|
How to Add music to the Forerunner 645
Hold the down key to bring up the music widget, the first-time time you view music controls you’ll see a prompt to connect the watch to the computer.
Then use Garmin Express with your connected device and select music. Next, send the music playlists you want from your (DRM Free Music likely iTunes or Windows Media Player) to your watch. That's it.
How to Add Bluetooth headphones
Hold the up key to access menu -> sensors, and accessories -> add new (Bluetooth headphones need to be set to searching mode) -> press the enter key to select the headphones
Garmin Pay new to the vivoactive 3 watches is also going to be incorporated into the forerunner 645 series as well. Garmin's contactless payment system has been adopted by the big four Australian Banks (Westpac, ANZ, NAB and Commonwealth) it has also been picked up by Bendigo Bank and Latitude Financial services. This page here will give you the latest information on which banks are compatible with Garmin Pay. You can filter the results only to show individual countries and card types.
Garmin as usual shine in the fitness metrics category offering a plethora of critical running metrics. You have your stock standard metrics which I’ll list off quickly:
- Step counter
- Move Bar (250 steps every hour approx.)
- Auto Goal for daily steps (Adjusts as you improve or get worse)
- Sleep monitoring
- Calories Burned
- Distance Traveled
- Floors Climbed
- Intensity Minutes
- True Up and Move IQ Software (Links with Garmin connect for all your stat data and Move IQ will try to tag any activities you do by matching your movement to known exercise patterns like cycling, running, walking, etc.)
- Preloaded Gym activity profiles along with cardio, strength workouts
- Rep counting (It’s good in theory but doesn’t ever seem to work accurately)
Getting into the high tier stuff which is what you want to know if you’re looking to push yourself. It has the new Elevate wrist based optical Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) and will track your HR % Max and recovery time.
It will also run all your data for training, planning and analysis. It will measure your VO2 max, training status, training load. The effect of your training (aerobic or anaerobic). It can also use your fitness data further for specific activities like running to give you a race predictor on how well you will perform based on your training status (Peaking, Maintaining, etc.) and your fitness level. For more advanced running metrics you will need the compatible foot pod from Garmin. The Forerunner 645 Music has a specific focus on features for running activities, outdoor recreation (Point-to-point navigation, back to start, distance to destination, etc.), cycling and swimming.
You can also see that Garmin has taken a page out of Fitbits book and is pushing social features and interactions to help build up the Garmin Connect community. The watch will link with your phone for calls, texts and you can reply if you have an Android phone. But friends can also live-track your runs, and you can even compete and track your friend's progress and fitness activities.
All in all, this is a very balanced watch taking a lot of the best features from different ranges in the Garmin line-up. I do like the inclusion of offline music though it doesn’t have access to some of the more popular music streaming sites like Spotify as of yet. It just falls short of an elite athlete watch, but the price reflects the admission of the extra features needed and lands it in a sort of mid to high tier category. If you’re aiming to improve your fitness but also want an everyday watch the Forerunner 645 Music hits the perfect sweet spot. The vivoactive 3 has too much of a focus on style and loses some of the more robust fitness metrics particularly in the running, cycling and outdoor recreation profiles. On the other side, it looks a lot more stylish than the Forerunner 935 and comes with Garmin Pay and Onboard music while losing some of the extra features.
Garmin forerunner 645 music - Select the colour in the drop-down menu (Cerise or Black)
Garmin forerunner 645 Replacement Bands - Available in Black, Cerise, Sandstone, Black slate, White, Moss, Azure, White (Rose Gold clasp), Dark Leather and Brown Leather