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Garmin Vivioactive 4 vs Forerunner 245

Garmin Forerunner 245 vs. Vivoactive 4

About 21% of Americans use a smartwatch or fitness tracker, but not all models stack up to one another. The Garmin Forerunner 245 and the Garmin Vivoactive 4 are two excellent smartwatches. While the Forerunner 245 works well for runners, the Vivoactive 4 caters to more workouts.


In this article, we will compare the Vivoactive 4 vs. Garmin Forerunner 245. Keep reading to learn more about each watch to decide which one meets your needs.

Before we begin here’s a little more about our process. This isn’t a sponsored post; we have purchased both watches to check out their features and take our own pictures. In the question of whether you’d prefer the Garmin Vivioactive 4  vs Forerunner 245, it’s going to come down to looking at specs to decide which features are most important. 

Garmin Vivioactive 4


Garmin Forerunner 245

Garmin 245 Music
Garmin 245 Music

Garmin Forerunner 245

The company Garmin works to release the best wearable technology and GPS tools for the aerospace, automotive, fitness, marine, and outdoor markets. They are known for their smartwatches, such as the Garmin Forerunner 245, released in 2019.

This lightweight GPS smartwatch can monitor your stats, performance, recovery, form, training load, routine, and goals. It tracks your training load, coaches you for races, looks at your dynamics, and assists you in an accident. If you would like, you can even monitor your energy levels, pregnancy, and menstrual cycle.

Designed for runners, the Forerunner 245 provides daily run recommendations based on your fitness level and training. However, you can use the integrated sports apps to track your swimming, cycling, elliptical, and stair-stepper workouts.

If you opt for the Music model, you can get music storage on the watch too.


  • Sleek and lightweight design with a sweatproof wristband and customizable face
  • It monitors your training, form, and performance to provide custom workouts
  • Battery lasts up to seven days
  • Tracks your pulse, blood oxygen saturation, energy levels, and menstrual cycle
  • Other features include GPS, live tracking, text alerts, accident reports, and music storage


  • Features do not work as well for workouts other than running
  • Side buttons pose a challenge to navigate when in motion
  • Choose between the 245 and 245 Music model
  • Access a huge selection of performance metrics
  • Add more functionalities with the Connect IQ store
  • Wear a comfortable GPS watch with a stylish design
  • Read data easily thanks to the bright and colorful display
Garmin Vivioactive 4 vs Forerunner 245

Garmin Vivoactive 4

Another activity-oriented smartwatch from Garmin is the Vivoactive 4, announced in September 2019.

This sturdy GPS smartwatch offers countless health stats, workout animations, playlists, and over 20 sports apps. Some metrics include energy levels, blood oxygen saturation, stress, menstruation, hydration, pregnancy, breathing, heart rate, and sleep.

The Vivoactive 4 works for all sorts of physical activities, including running, golfing, cycling, skiing, snowboarding, paddleboarding, rowing, swimming, yoga, elliptical training, strength, stair-stepping, rowing, pilates, floor climbing, and breathwork. You can choose one of their workouts with animations or create your own with Garmin Connect.


You can get phone notifications, play music, send your location to contacts, use contactless pay, and customize your watch face. This smartwatch is available in 40 mm (1.57 in.) and 45 mm (1.77 in.) case sizes, with the smaller one having a sleeker look than the larger one.


  • Works with multiple sports and physical activities
  • Monitors your energy, oxygen, stress, women’s health, hydration, breathing, sleep, heart rate, steps, activities, calories, distance, reps, intensity, and more
  • Battery lasts up to eight days
  • Has preloaded workouts complete with animations
  • Provides suggestions throughout the day to move, drink water, and breathe


  • No live event options
  • Coaching only available for running
Garmin Vivioactive 4s
Garmin Vivioactive 4s
  • Configurable and adaptable to suit many different fitness and lifestyle activities
  • Up to 8 days of battery charge keeps you moving, not tethered to a charger
  • Extremely durable housing and powerful display for use in all conditions
  • An array of sensors to track many aspects of workouts and health
Garmin Vivioactive 4 and Garmin Forerunner 245 Music
Garmin Vivioactive 4s on the Left and the Forerunner 245 Music on the Right

Garmin Forerunner 245 vs. Vivoactive 4

Both of these Garmin smartwatches have plenty of features that apply to active lifestyles. But how do they compare?

Design and Specs

The Garmin Forerunner 245 has a glass, polymer, and silicone composition with quick-release bands and a color display. You can read the screen in sunlight as well. The specs include:


  • Physical Size: 1.67×1.67×0.48 inches
  • Wrist Circumference: 5-8 inches 
  • Display Size: 1.2-inch diameter
  • Display Resolution: 240×240 pixels
  • Weight: 1.36 ounces
  • Water Rating: 5 atm


The Garmin Vivoactive 4 has a glass, stainless steel, polymer, and silicone composition. It has quick-release bands and a sunlight-visible color display. The specs are:


  • Physical Size (40 mm): 1.57×1.57×0.5 inches
  • Physical Size (45 mm): 1.78×1.78×0.5 inches
  • Wrist Circumference (40 mm): 4.33-6.89 inches
  • Wrist Circumference (45 mm): 5.31-7.87 inches
  • Display Size (40 mm): 1.1-inch diameter
  • Display Size (45 mm): 1.3-inch diameter
  • Display Resolution (40 mm): 218×218 pixels
  • Display Resolution (45 mm): 260×260 pixels
  • Weight (40 mm): 1.41 ounces
  • Weight (45 mm): 1.78 ounces
  • Water Rating: 5 atm

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 245

While the Vivoactive 4 has the potential for a higher resolution, it is also larger and heavier. The smaller option has a lower resolution and higher weight than the Forerunner 245, making the Forerunner the more balanced choice.


Battery Life

If you keep your Forerunner 245 in smartwatch mode, it can last up to seven days. Turning the GPS on shortens the battery life to 24 hours, and you can keep the music and GPS running in the Music model for six hours. Despite these values, many people find that the watch loses power faster than the maximum time would suggest.


In smartwatch mode, the Vivoactive 4 lasts up to eight days. Turning on the GPS cuts that to 18 hours, and GPS with music lasts six hours. As with the Forerunner 245, the watch often loses its charge faster and needs more frequent charging.

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 245

Despite potentially lasting one less day in smartwatch mode, the Forerunner lasts six more hours with GPS. Unless you never use the GPS or music features, the Forerunner 245 has superior battery life. Many find the Music model lasts longer than the Regular one as well.


The Forerunner 245’s GPS lets you find your watch, let others track your location, detect incidents, get assistance when running, and track distance, pace, and time.

However, distance tracking does not work well if you do not move your arms, giving inaccurate measurements. Some GPS options include GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, and a compass. On an Android device, you can share live events.

The Vivoactive 4’s GPS has GLONASS, GALILEO, and a compass as well, but you can also access a barometric altimeter, compass, and gyroscope. The GPS lets you find your watch, detects incidents, live tracks your location, provides assistance, and tracks speed, distance, and pace.

It gives more accurate measurements from non-running activities because the Vivoactive 4 has more compatible workout modes. However, you cannot share live events with this watch.

Winner: Garmin Vivoactive 4

The Vivoactive 4 provides more information about your location to help you with navigation and performance. While you cannot share live events, you can still use live tracking and perform the same GPS activities as the Forerunner.

Map Features Garmin Vivioactive 4 vs Forerunner 245
Map Featres

Garmin Vivioactive 4


Garmin Forerunner 245



The Forerunner 245 and Vivoactive 4 do not have full maps, but you can perform outdoor navigation with them. You can find the distance to your destination, see coordinates, track routes, save locations, and find your home. However, you can access better navigation functions with apps from the Connect IQ store.

Winner: Tie

The two devices have nearly identical mapping features.

Sensors on the Vivioactve 4s and Garmin 245
The Sensors on the back of the the Vivioactive 4(Left) and Forerunner 245 Music(Right)

Sensors and Monitors

The sensors on the Garmin Forerunner 245 include an accelerometer, Pulse OX sensor, VO2 max, pedometer, and GPS. It measures your heart rate data from your wrist to measure how hard you work your heart during rest or activity. 


The GPS measures pace, distance, and intervals, and VO2 max monitors how you should perform that day when considering your stats and environmental factors. The Pulse OX sensor checks your blood oxygen saturation all day and night.


You can see your calories burned, TrueUp, and Move IQ scores as well. It measures your heart rate zones and maximum levels, recovery, and idle time to help reduce your sedentary behavior. It sets a step goal based on your activity level.


Using the Connect IQ store, you can download apps and widgets to monitor your hydration, menstrual cycle, and pregnancy. You can access challenges as well for adults and children.


The Vivoactive 4 excels in sensors. You can monitor your heart rate, respiration rate, blood oxygen saturation, fitness age, energy levels, stress, sleep, hydration, menstruation, and pregnancy with the sensors. It has an accelerometer, pedometer, and thermometer as well.


You can get heart rate and breathing alerts to help you relax. The watch also shows you heart rate zones, maximum levels, idle time, speed and distance, exercise respiration rate, your VO2 max, and cadence. It has challenges designed for adults and children.


The Vivoactive 4 also sets a step goal for you and tracks your idle time. You can find your calories burned, distance traveled, floors climbed, intensity minutes, TrueUp, and Move IQ.

Winner: Garmin Vivoactive 4

The Vivoactive 4 has far more sensors than the Forerunner 245 without installing extras from the Connect IQ store. You can discover almost everything you would want to know about your health and performance with this watch.

Sports Tracking Features

Sports Tracking and Training

The Forerunner 245 tracks your training status by evaluating your performance indicators and exercise history to show you the quality of your sessions. You can also check the training effect to see how you have impacted your stamina, power, and speed. Based on WHO and CDC guidelines, you can see if you met your daily intensity minutes during your regular activity.


The training load metric checks your exercise volume and compares it to your activity history and fitness levels to see if you are in the optimal range. It has a virtual coach to train you for races and suggest the best workouts for your fitness level. The watch has a recovery time advisor that tells you how long you should rest before your next session while accounting for your sleep schedule, NEET, and stress.


Combining it with a Running Dynamics Pod, HRM-Run, or HRM-Tri lets you measure stride length, balance, ground contact time, and cadence. Other compatible accessories track cycling. You can also monitor strength training, cardio, stairs, rowing, and yoga.


The Vivoactive 4 does not have custom workouts outside of running, but you can choose premade routines from the app. You can download training plans as well. It tracks your intervals, reps, and laps. You will not need an accessory to track your cadence, but combining it with one may help monitor your form.


This smartwatch monitors yardage, strokes, hazards, and time during golf. It tracks your ascent, descent, and distance to start during outdoor activities like skiing, paddleboarding, snowboarding, and rowing. Using the app, you can calculate the area, see sun and moon information, and look at a hunting and fishing calendar.


The options for cyclists include goal alerts, speed, and cadence sensor support. Swimmers can track their distance, pace, lengths, stroke count, and efficiency during different strokes. You can track pilates, yoga, and weights as well, and time your rest.


During yoga, you can track your respiration rate. It encourages you to relax and engage in breathwork when you seem stressed. The preloaded workouts and sports modes also help you find new ways to move each day.

Winner: Garmin Vivoactive 4

If you like varied workouts, you should consider the Vivoactive 4. While the Forerunner 245 goes extraordinarily in-depth for running, you can get more measurements that encourage a balanced fitness routine.

Side by Side Views with the Vivioactive 4 on the inside and the Forerunner 245 Music on the Outside


Both the Forerunner 245 and Vivoactive 4 have 200 hours of memory for your activity data.

Winner: Tie

This feature is the same for the two watches.


If you upgrade to the Garmin Forerunner 245’s Music model, you can store 500 songs on your smartwatch to listen to using a wireless device. The Vivoactive 4 has the same functions.

Winner: Tie

Both devices provide the same music storage and playing capabilities when considering the Music Forerunner.

Ease of Use

Despite the vast number of features on the Forerunner 245, it is navigable with experimentation. However, the Owner’s Manual is challenging to get through, so you will need to try out the features.


Since the Vivoactive 4 requires fewer downloads from the Connect IQ store, it is slightly easier to use. Nevertheless, you will need to explore most of the features yourself due to the lengthy manual.

Winner: Garmin Vivoactive 4

This one is a close call as they both have similar challenges, but the Vivoactive has more features already installed to reduce the amount of time spent setting it up.

Garmin Forerunner 245 vs Vivioactive 4
Garmin Vivioactive 4 (Left) Garmin Forerunner 245 (Right)

Garmin Forerunner 245 Standout Features

Here are some unique features of the Forerunner 245.


  • Training Effect: This feature lets you see how your workouts impact your fitness in the form of stamina, strength, power, and speed.
  • Tailored Workouts: Even if you are not training for a race, you can get custom runs based on your capabilities to improve your performance.
  • Performance Tracking: The Forerunner shows you whether your training load is helping or harming you, and it gives suggestions to optimize your routine.

Garmin Vivoactive 4 Standout Features

While the two watches have many of the same features, here are some different ones on the Vivoactive 4.


  • Overall Fitness Trackers: Whether you want to track your recovery, health, activity, fitness age, oxygenation, relaxation, or anything else, you can probably find it on the Vivoactive 4.
  • Outdoor Sensors: If you want to find out if it’s the fishing season or just learn the temperature, you can readily do that with this smartwatch.
  • Garmin Pay: This watch goes a step further than most by letting you engage in touchless pay at many locations.

Garmin Forerunner 245 vs. Vivoactive 4: Final Thoughts

After comparing the Garmin Forerunner 245 vs. Vivoactive 4, you will find that they are both outstanding watches. The Forerunner is more run-focused, while the Vivoactive is better for monitoring overall fitness.


We suggest you select the Garmin Forerunner 245 if:


  • You want to spend a bit less money
  • You are an avid runner who wants to improve their performance
  • You want something lightweight
  • You need a virtual advisor to help with activity and recovery


The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is preferable if:


  • You have some more to spend on a newer product
  • You engage in multiple forms of exercise
  • You want to track your overall health
  • You would like more environmental tracking options


Both of these options have their purpose, so you should choose the one that aligns with your goals best to improve your fitness and performance.

Garmin Vivioactive 4


Garmin Forerunner 245

Picture of Robby McClung

Robby McClung

This article was written by the editorial staff of the Canaan Valley 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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