Golf Tech Reviews

Garmin Forerunner 935 vs 945 — What’s The Difference?

Smartwatches have become an almost essential piece of equipment for fitness enthusiasts.

Able to provide accurate and up-to-date information about your training and health, and tell you when you’ve got a message, the smart running watch is here to stay. But how do you choose the right one?

Garmin has created a range of smartwatches and fitness trackers to appeal to all sports lovers. From golfers to triathletes, Garmin has a smartwatch to match. And the Forerunner range is perhaps the best they’ve come up with so far.

The Garmin Forerunner 935 and the Forerunner 945 are impressive smartwatches.

From the GPS capabilities to the running metrics, these fitness aids act as a training partner. No matter which model you choose, a Garmin Forerunner is a smartwatch you can rely on. 

In this guide, we’ll take a close look at what sets them apart, and which is the right smartwatch for you.

What’s The Difference Between The Garmin Forerunner 935 and 945?

The Garmin Forerunner is a smartwatch designed to monitor exercise and assist you with your training.

“Forerunner for Runners | Why Do We Run? | Garmin” by Garmin on YouTube.

As they are both products from the Garmin Forerunner line, there are some immediate similarities between the two watches. How do the differences stack up?

The 935 is the earlier model, packed with multisport features, as well as the general connectivity and versatility that you expect from a smartwatch.

So, how could the 945 possibly improve? The Garmin Forerunner 945 has taken all the basic features of the 935, and then added some more.

The most notable of these additions is the enhanced GPS, but the 945 is a watch packed full of uses. And while Garmin were adding these extra features, they also increased the battery life.

But did the Forerunner 935 need the updates of the 945? And are either of these smartwatches worth the heavy price? 

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02/05/2024 12:21 pm GMT
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02/05/2024 10:08 pm GMT
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Garmin Forerunner 935 vs 945

From an initial glance, it isn’t immediately obvious what features are included in the Garmin Forerunner 945 to justify the price leap.

The 945 is roughly $100-$150 more than the 935, and is used in much the same way. But the 945 is a serious upgrade, and we’ll go into the details below.

Design And Quality

In terms of overall design, both the Forerunner 935 and the 945 are attractive watches. The look is simple, preferring a sleek, streamlined finish over excessive design.

Garmin Forerunner 935 and 945 product line
Image source: Gadgets And Wearables

The bezel of both watches is similar in design, and made from a fiber-reinforced polymer.

The display size is 1.2 inches in diameter on both watches, and includes color display. Both displays are sunlight-visible, with transflective memory-in-pixel.

Both watches feature a silicone strap, which is Quickfit Watch Band Compatible if you wish to change it.

“Support: Using the Forerunner® 935/945 Quick Release Mount” by Garmin on YouTube.

If there is one issue with the Forerunner 945, it’s the strap. Long and cumbersome, it’s surprisingly difficult to open. A disappointing stumbling block for a premium smartwatch.

With 5 buttons used for navigation on both watches, and an incredibly similar finish, it would be easy to confuse the 935 for the 945.

The Forerunner 945 is the slightly heavier watch, but only by a gram. In terms of how it feels to wear, the difference isn’t noticeable.

For swimmers, both the 935 and 945 have a 5 ATM waterproof rating. This means the watch can withstand a depth up to 50 meters, and can be submerged.

The real difference in the build is in the lens material. The 935 uses chemically strengthened glass, but the 945 has Corning Gorilla Glass DX.

This makes the 945 more durable, and less likely to scratch. Perfect if you like adventure with your exercise.

And in terms of battery life, the 945 is the clear winner. In GPS mode, the 945 has an impressive 36-hour battery life, compared to 24 hours with the 935.

Basic Features And GPS

As useful as the training features are, the Garmin Forerunner 935 and 945 are both intended to be used as a standard smartwatch as well. So, how do their basic features stack up?

The 935 and 945 are both compatible with the iPhone and Android. They also both connect to the Garmin mobile app, which allows you to access additional features.

Calendar and Weather are included as standard, and both watches have smart notifications. Connect IQ allows you to download widgets and apps for the 935 and 945, via Bluetooth Smart, ANT+, or Wi-Fi.

Garmin Connect IQ homepage storefront
Image source: Garmin Connect IQ storefront

Again, the 945 features some upgrades that you just can’t ignore. Like the music features. Although some people can enjoy exercising without their favorite playlists, most will agree music enhances the experience.

You can listen to music using the Forerunner 935, but you do so by connecting to a smartphone, and listening via the watch.

With the Forerunner 945, music can be downloaded directly onto the watch. It has storage to hold up to 1000 songs, so you can download your perfect Spotify playlist and take it with you. And if you lose connection, the music keeps going.

The Forerunner 945 also features Garmin Pay, allowing you to pay using your watch. This feature is sadly missing from the 935.

If you plan on heading off-grid, Forerunner 935 has your back. The GPS and GLONASS coverage tracks across environments, providing you with accurate locational information. But the Forerunner 945 does a better job again. As well as using GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo satellite systems to track your location to an incredible degree, you can also access full scale color maps.

With the 945, you can really concentrate on what you’re doing, rather than where you’re going (especially with the Round-Trip Routing and Turn-By-Turn Navigation). Interactive, full color mapping technology makes the 945 a cut above.

Performance Tracking And Training Features

The Forerunner is a smartwatch designed to monitor fitness, and help you reach your goals. The 935 and 945 are both designed for multi-sports, and are packed full of features to improve your training plans, and help you move forward.

Activity profiles and the ability to download activities from the Garmin Connect community helps users switch between sports, from cycling, to golf, to cross-country skiing.

Switching profiles gives you access to tailored features designed to monitor minute aspects of each activity. The 935 is absolutely packed with sensors, including a barometric altimeter, accelerometer, and thermometer.

With activity tracking, the user can monitor step count, and be given an auto goal based on the daily step level. Calories burned, floors climbed, and distance travelled are all monitored in your day to day.

The range of metrics provided is impressive, and can be used to accurately monitor progress, and design a workout routine to fit your lifestyle.

Again, the 945 does all that — and then so much more.

Rather than listing all the specs of the Forerunner 945, which would take a while, we’ll focus on a few of the stand-out features. A Pulse Ox sensor is added with the 945, able to monitor blood oxygen levels for better sleep, and improved altitude acclimation.

Garmin Forerunner 945 is equipped with a brand new Pulse OX Sensor
Image source:

And with the Body Battery Energy Monitoring, the 945 can provide you with accurate information about when your body needs to rest, and when energy levels are optimal.

The smart analytics used by the VO2 max feature gives the user feedback regarding current fitness level, as well as any changes.

VO2 max can help you set goals and assess previous performance. It’s personalized training, straight from your watch.

Finally, the workouts and training plans included cover an incredible range of activities.

For those who enjoy so much more than road running, the 945 has metrics to support you. Although the 935 covers an impressive amount of sports, there’s a real step up with the 945.

The Forerunner 945 also features an exceptional mode dedicated to triathlon training. It’s comprehensive, including features such as stride length and ground contact time.

And with a decent battery life, you can train hard for a triathlon, without needing to charge.

Which is the Better Buy — Forerunner 935 Or 945?

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is, without a doubt, the better watch. It has all the features of the 935, and then so many more on top. 

Monitoring your performance with the Forerunner 945 comes easily, and when you decide to mix up your routine, it’s right there with you.

The GPS capabilities and maps of the 945 are another feature that can’t be ignored. Guided routes make running and cycling a breeze, and the downloadable and interactive color maps are useful in the day to day.

There are many impressive features to the Forerunner 935, but it lacks the comprehensive coverage of the 945. It also falls behind on some basics. A Corning Gorilla Glass DX lens gives the 945 a durable finish that the 935 is missing.

Music connectivity and control is good, but it can’t compare to the on-watch downloads of the 945. And it’s a shame that the 935 doesn’t have a smart pay option.

When it comes to the 945, there are only a few issues to complain about. The strap is long, and difficult to open, which feels like an oversight on such a good watch.

There is no touchscreen capability, although the buttons do work well. Touchscreen isn’t always a useful feature – sweaty hands are always grateful for the buttons – but it would be nice to have the option.

Overall, it’s difficult to argue with the supremacy of the Forerunner 945. It’s built on and expanded the features of the 935, without losing any of the usability.

Maps and basic smart features make it a watch you’ll want to wear every day, while inclusive monitoring and evaluation features encourage you to reach your fitness goals.

So, the Garmin Forerunner 945 is a better watch than the 935. But is it a better buy?

Is the Garmin Forerunner 945 Worth The Cost?

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is an expensive watch, likely to set you back around $400-$600. Included in that price is a massive range of features, and enough sport modes to satisfy almost any type of athlete.

But if you’re just starting out, the Forerunner 935 may offer a better deal. Admittedly, it doesn’t have the same coverage as the 945, but it can still be a real help in guiding your workout. And the money saved can make up for the missing features.

Although the Forerunner 945 is expensive, we felt during the course of our testing that it was worth the price.

The wonderful GPS alone can explain some of the price difference. Plus, the overall build quality and integrated smart features will ensure this is the only smartwatch you’ll need for a long time.

The Garmin Forerunner 935 is available to purchase from,, and prices
The Garmin Forerunner 945 is available to purchase from,, and prices
Where can I buy the Garmin Forerunner 935 & 945?

Frequently Asked Questions about Garmin Forerunner 935 vs 945

Can you use Garmin Forerunner 935 and 945 to track golf?

Yes. Both the Garmin Forerunner 935 and 945 come with stat tracking for strokes, putts per round, greens and fairways hit.

They also come equipped with Garmin Auto shot, a round timer/odometer, green view with manual pin position, and hazards and course targets.

Is there GPS and Maps on the Garmin Forerunner 935 and 945?

The Garmin Forerunner 935 comes with GPS and GLONASS sensors, providing a satellite view. Maps are basic, and only used for navigation.

The maps and GPS features on the 945 are superior. It uses GPS tracking, GLONASS, and Galileo satellite sensors for comprehensive coverage. The maps are in color, and interactive, integrating easily into your workout.

Are the Garmin Forerunner 935 and the 945 waterproof?

Yes. Both the Garmin Forerunner 935 and 945 have a waterproof rating of 5 ATM. This is suitable for swimming, and the watch can withstand a depth of up to 50 meters.

Is the Garmin Forerunner 935 or 945 better for Triathlon training?

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is equipped with an impressive range of features for triathlon training.

The performance monitoring and preset activity modes are designed for those training for a triathlon. Improved metrics ensure all areas of the triathlon performance can be assessed.

The Garmin Forerunner 935 is beneficial for triathlon training, but lacks the comprehensive metrics of the 945.

Can you use Spotify on Garmin Forerunner 935 and 945?

Yes. Spotify can be used on both the Garmin Forerunner 935 and 945, but it’s only the 945 that allows you to download music to the watch.

Final Thoughts

Choosing between the Garmin Forerunner 935 and the Forerunner 945 might seem like an easy choice at first. The 945 is definitely the better watch, as it takes everything that made the 935 great, and then improves it.

But the 935 is still a fantastic smartwatch, and many athletes will find it has enough features to suit their needs — and it comes with a lower price tag.

To make the right choice, consider which features you actually need. With multisport metrics, impressive GPS, and music capabilities, training gets better with the Forerunner.

By Naomi Hagen

Hi! I'm Naomi Hagen, the Lead Editor of Golftlink. Me and Andrew met during a casual game of golf at Seminole in Florida. I've got a hcp of 5, one of my key achievements in life apart from raising four beautiful children (one is a scratch golfer!). I live with my family outside Florida and absolutely love the game of golf.