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Garmin Forerunner 235 vs 45

Garmin Forerunner 45 vs 235

Whether you’re training for a 10k, or just headed out for an evening jog, a GPS watch is just what you need to track all your training and take your fitness to the next level. When you’re in the market for a GPS watch, you don’t want to overlook Garmin. 

They offer great GPS watches that integrate training with top-of-the-line accuracy. Today, we’re taking a look at two of the brand’s most popular models by comparing the Garmin Forerunner 45 vs 235. 

Garmin Forerunner 45

4.5/5
  • Live coaches to keep you on track with your fitness goals
  • Quickly get notifications from your phone to your wrist.
  • Lightweight and comfortable fit
  • Incident detection adds to safety and security.
 
 

Garmin Forerunner 235

4.5/5
  • Tracks distance, pace, time, heart rate and more
  • Connected features¹: automatic uploads to Garmin Connect™, live tracking, audio prompts, smart notifications and social media sharing
  • Activity tracking² counts daily steps, distance, calories and sleep
  • The Garmin Forerunner 235 continues to be a Runner’s Favorite. Even though it is an older watch, it’s still a great value!

The Garmin Brand

Garmin released their first GPS in 1989, and they’ve been perfecting it ever since. The Garmin Forerunner collection is the result of all that hard work. 

Garmin Forerunner 45 and 45s

Garmin 45 and 235 in background

The Garmin Forerunner 45 comes in two options, the 45 and 45s. However, the only difference between the two is the case size. The Garmin Forerunner 45’s case size is 42mm, while the Garmin Forerunner 45s is slightly smaller at 39mm. 

It has a 1.04-inch display, built-in step counter, a VO2 max estimator, and can last up to 7 days when used as a smartwatch. If you’re actively using it in GPS mode, it can last for up to 14 hours. 

Just like the more expensive Apple smartwatches, these watches can sync up to your phone and receive messages and alerts. Furthermore, the 45 and 45s works with both Apple and Android devices. 

Even better when you’re out on your run, you won’t need to mess with your phone to change the playlist. With built-in controls, you’ll get alerts, notifications, and ways to manage everything straight from your wrist. 

The Garmin Forerunner 45 and 45s come with a heart rate monitor built straight into the watch. Finally, it comes with an incident tracking safety feature that will automatically alert a loved one or an ambulance if you are ever in an accident while on a run. 

Pros

  • Integrated Garmin Coach training plan
  • Built-in incident/safety tracker
  • Select apps allow for compatibility with treadmills and more
  • Has both GPS and smart watch features

Cons

  • Only comes with North American maps
  • Heart rate monitor can be inaccurate
Pros & Cons Garmin 45

Garmin Forerunner 235

Gramin 235 vs the Forerunner 45

The Garmin Forerunner 235 doesn’t have all the frills and features of some of the more expensive Garmin GPS watch options, but the 235 Garmin Forerunner makes up for it with the features it does have. 

It has access to worldwide maps, so no matter where you travel, your GPS watch will work. Its 1.23-inch display screen is one of the largest in the market, but the watch itself isn’t any bigger than its counterparts. Instead, the screen is closer to the edge, maximizing its size without supersizing the watch. 

However, this Garmin forerunner is more than just a GPS watch. It’s also a step counter, VO2 max estimator, sleep monitoring, recovery advisor, an advanced training tool that can step your runs up to the next level. 

Its battery lasts an impressive 9 days when you’re using it in a smartwatch capacity, but it also lasts up to 11 hours if you’re using it as a GPS tracker.

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Pros

  • Has access to worldwide maps
  • Large 1.23-inch display size
  • Long-lasting 9-day battery life
  • Integrated Garmin Coach training plan

Cons

  • Does not have a touchscreen
  • Does not have a virtual pacer option

Feature Comparisons

Both the Garmin Forerunner 45 and the Garmin Forerunner 235 come jam-packed with tons of cool features. But what kind of comparison tool would this be if we didn’t pit them against each other in a classic Garmin Forerunner 45 vs 235 matchup? 

Battery Life

Both the Garmin Forerunner 45 and the 235 have long-lasting batteries, and after breaking down the specs, it’s not clear which watch has the advantage. 

That’s because while the Garmin Forerunner 235 outlasts the 45 when you’re using it as a smartwatch – at 9 days to 7 – it’ll run out of juice faster if you’re utilizing both the watches GPS features. 

The Garmin Forerunner 45 can last up to 14 hours of continuous GPS tracking, while the 235 can only last for 11 hours. While it’s an impressive time for both watches, you get a GPS watch to use it as a GPS – and it wears out the battery in the 235 a bit quicker. 

The Winner – Garmin Forerunner 45

Maps

If you live anywhere in North America and never leave, there’s no difference between the Garmin Forerunner 45 and 235. However, if you ever travel outside North America and want your watch’s GPS features to work, you’ll need the Garmin Forerunner 235. 

That’s because the Garmin Forerunner 235 comes loaded with worldwide maps, while the 45 only comes with maps for North America. 

The Winner – Garmin Forerunner 235

App Compatibility

Both the Garmin Forerunner 235 and the 45 are compatible with a wide range of applications that work with both Android and Apple smartphones. However, only the Garmin Forerunner 235 allows you access to the Connect IQ app store

This lets you get even more apps and customizable widgets for your watch. If you want to quickly check the weather with just a glance at your wrist, the 235 lets you handle this. 

However, the Garmin Forerunner 45 does come with a few more training apps that you can use. 

The Winner – Garmin Forerunner 235

Training Aid

If you’re buying a GPS watch called the “Forerunner,” it’s probably because you want to work out with it. While both Forerunner watches work great on runs, only the Garmin Forerunner 45 comes jam-packed with applications that let you use it for cycling, indoor tracks, treadmills, ellipticals, and a ton more physical fitness applications. 

They both come with a heart rate monitor, and both come with the built-in Garmin Coach application. This allows you to create and monitor workouts tailored to you. Finally, they both have a VO2 max estimator, which is one of the more unique features in the Garmin Forerunner line. 

The Winner – Garmin Forerunner 45

The Price

Both the Garmin Forerunner 45 and the 235 are very similarly priced. Garmin priced the Garmin Forerunner 45 and Garmin Forerunner 45s at just under 200 dollars apiece, regardless of what color you choose. 

Meanwhile, the Garmin Forerunner 235 starts at under 170 dollars but goes up to 250 depending on your color choice. This gives the 45 more versatility for your color options, but if you’re looking for the cheapest Forerunner watch, it’s the Garmin Forerunner 235.

The Winner – A draw

Garmin 235 vs Garmin 45 Features

Stand Out Features

When comparing the Garmin 45 vs 235, you’ll notice many similar types of features. However, each watch also has unique features you won’t find in the other model. Here’s a closer look:

Unique Features for the Garmin Forerunner 45 and Forerunner 45s

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  • Automatic incident reporting: You upload your emergency contacts, and if anything happens, your watch will automatically notify them with real time data. It’s an invaluable safety feature, especially if you are running alongside busy streets or you have a history of health conditions. 
  • Smart apps for more than just running workouts: Just because you like to run doesn’t mean that you don’t like to work out in other ways, and you want your smartwatch to track those things too. The Garmin Forerunner 45 does just that. Not only does it track a wide range of non-running workouts, but it will track your time on a treadmill too.

Unique Features for the Garmin Forerunner 235

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  • Customizable widgets: You can really make the Garmin Forerunner 235 your own. It has weather widgets and more to make this watch feel like it’s truly yours. 
  • Download datasheets: Every GPS watch can submit data to your smartphone, but this one will actually download to your watch. That matters because it lets you get customizable workouts on the go, straight from your watch. 
Garmin Forerunner 45 and 235

Conclusion

Our breakdown of the Garmin Forerunner 45 vs 235 highlights the diverse applications you can use each product for. But, depending on your situation, it will change which one is the right fit for you – but one thing is for sure, you can’t go wrong with either Garmin Forerunner GPS watch. 

When You Want the Garmin Forerunner 45 or 45s

Garmin Forerunner 45 Review

If you’re serious about running and fitness, and you never leave North America, it’s going to be hard for you to beat the Garmin Forerunner 45. If you’re looking to take your runs to the next level, the Garmin Forerunner 45 might be exactly what you’re looking for: 

  • If you only plan to use it in North America
  • If you enjoy a wide range of workouts and want your watch to track them
  • If you’re more worried about fitness than a smartwatch

Does this sound like the watch for you? Check out the official page for the Garmin Forerunner 45 for more info and to purchase. 

4.5/5
  • Live coaches to keep you on track with your fitness goals
  • Quickly get notifications from your phone to your wrist.
  • Lightweight and comfortable fit
  • Incident detection adds to safety and security.

When You Want the Garmin Forerunner 235

If you’re looking for a product that’s more like an Apple Watch, but has the GPS capabilities of a Garmin, then the Garmin Forerunner 235 might be exactly what you need. No matter where you go in the world, the maps are already loaded and waiting for you. What are you waiting for? Get a GPS smartwatch that will travel the world with you in the Garmin Forerunner 235. 

  • If you want your GPS watch to work outside North America
  • If you want a highly customizable smartwatch
  • If you want a larger screen size on your GPS watch

If this option sounds more like your style, check out the official page for the Garmin Forerunner 235 to purchase it or learn more. 

No matter which one you choose, you’re sure to love it’s durability, effectiveness, and style! 

4.5/5
  • Tracks distance, pace, time, heart rate and more
  • Connected features¹: automatic uploads to Garmin Connect™, live tracking, audio prompts, smart notifications and social media sharing
  • Activity tracking² counts daily steps, distance, calories and sleep
  • The Garmin Forerunner 235 continues to be a Runner’s Favorite. Even though it is an older watch, it’s still a great value!
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Robby McClung

Robby McClung

This article was written by the editorial staff of the Canaan Valle Running Company and Robby McClung. Robby is the founder of the Canaan Valley Running Company. You can read more in the about section of the website on Robby and the Canaan Valley Running Company.

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