If there’s one thing that was underscored by Apple’s recent Q3 2019  results, it’s the rise and rise of wearables. Apple’s Wearable category (that also include Home and accessories) rose by 48% this quarter. Smartwatches have evolved over the last years and so have buyers. One size clearly doesn’t fit all. Brands like Garmin are laser focused on fitness. The Forerunner 945, Garmin’s latest flagship watch is crafted for individuals who take their fitness very seriously.

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is not for attention seekers. This is not a watch that is going to spark conversations at the pub or in your workplace. It’s clearly function over style. It doesn’t just look rugged; the display is reinforced with Corning Gorilla Glass DX. You don’t have to worry too much about those scratches. And yet at 50 gms, it’s about the same weight as an Apple Watch 4 (the 44mm version weighs 48 gms). The 1.2-inch display (240 x 240 pixels) is bright but certainly not as vivid as the Apple Watch. Another example of Garmin choosing function (battery life in this case) over form. 

The watch is surrounded by 5 buttons that take care of all the navigation. This is not a touch screen. Navigation can take some get used to; it took us a bit to find our way but once we did, it works like a breeze. The lightweight form factor is complemented by a high-quality silicone strap that looks stylish and is comfortable to wear for hours together. We reviewed the blue colour variant; a slim blue ring around the dial matches the colour of the strap, a clever design touch.

I tested the fitness creds of the Forerunner 945 with a couple of gym workouts and I knew I had only scratched the surface of a Triathlon wearable device. One of the cool features is VO2 Max tracking that is quite unique for a smartwatch – this analyses the amount of oxygen that you can utilise during an intense workout. There are multiple features that include training load balance that tells you about how productive your workout is. And then there’s aerobic and anaerobic training effect, safety and tracking features- like incident detection and real time location to your emergency contacts. This is clearly the device for runners and fitness aficionados who love drill-down data. It offers performance measurements adjusted for heat and altitude, including acclimation status for both. It also tracks recovery time, aerobic and anaerobic training effect. If you need training tips for a 5K or a marathon, the Forerunner creates a personalised workout; you can also turn to Garmin Coach adaptive training plans.

The light form factor allows you to wear this 24/7, handy if you’re obsessed with your sleep data. From deep sleep to light sleep and REM sleep, this is the most comprehensive sleep tracking app out there. While the Forerunner 945 ticks all fitness and wellness boxes, it also has some cool smartwatch functionality. My favourite feature is Music storage. While you can transfer up to 1000 songs from your laptop, it’s the Spotify support that truly nails it. From all your favourite tracks to podcasts, you can mirror your Spotify playlists. And then there are other useful functions like text and calendar alerts – you can also program text replies (only on Android smartphones). Battery life is another big win; Garmin claims about 2 weeks on smartwatch mode and 10 hours with GPS mode and music on. Based on three days of testing, these numbers are quite accurate.

The Garmin Forerunner is one of the most expensive smartwatches you can buy right now and the best Garmin wearable we’ve tested. This is not users seeking basic calorie tracking. It’s clearly the smartwatch to beat in the fitness department and offers a whole bunch of customisations and tracking for fitness fanatics.

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is priced at Rs 59,990 and comes in black and blue.