Garmin Forerunner 55 vs. 245 (Music) Comparison

Garmin Forerunner Series has been the most successful lineup of GPS sports watches so far. From the original Forerunner released almost two decades ago to the latest FR55 introduced in 2021, the company has introduced a slew of budget, mid-range, and premium wearables for runners in between.

Forerunner 245 and 245 Music tops the chart in the mid-range category whereas FR55 is marketed as an entry-level watch. Our goal here is to find out the differences between the two and of course the similarities (there are many), so you can safely invest your money in one of them.

Here is the table to help you figure out what is missing in Forerunner 55 for those $ 100 savings in investment. Don’t have time for it? just skip to the end of the post to find out the key differences.

General Comparison:

GeneralGARMIN FORERUNNER 245GARMIN FORERUNNER 55
PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENT DATEAPR 30TH, 2019JUNE 2ND, 2021
ACTUAL AVAILABILITY/SHIPPING DATEAPR 30TH, 2019JUNE 2ND, 2021
GPS RECORDING FUNCTIONALITYYESYES
DATA TRANSFERUSB, BLUETOOTH SMART, WIFI (ONLY MUSIC HAS WIFI)USB, BLUETOOTH SMART
WATERPROOFING50 METERS50 METERS
BATTERY LIFE (GPS)UP TO 24HRS REGULAR GPS, 24HRS+ FOR ULTRA TRACE20 HOURS
RECORDING INTERVAL1-SECOND, SMART, ULTRATRAC1S/SMART
ALERTSVIBRATE/SOUND/VISUALSOUND/VISUAL/VIBRATE
BACKLIGHT GREATNESSGOODGREAT
ABILITY TO DOWNLOAD CUSTOM APPS TO UNIT/DEVICEYES (ALL CONNECT IQ APPS)YES (ALL CONNECT IQ APPS)
ACTS AS DAILY ACTIVITY MONITOR (STEPS, ETC…)YESYES

Design and Display Features:

Design Features:

 GARMIN FORERUNNER 245GARMIN FORERUNNER 55
Dimensions, Weight42.3 x 42.3 x 12.2 mm, 38.5 g42 x 42 x 11.6 mm, 37 g
Band Sizeyes (20 mm, Industry standard)yes (20 mm, Industry standard)
Build materialssiliconesilicone
ColorsBerry, Slate GrayAqua, Black, White
Waterproofing5 ATM5 ATM

Display Features:

 GARMIN FORERUNNER 245GARMIN FORERUNNER 55
Display Size1.2 inches1.04″ inches
Screen Type & Resolutionsunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP), 240 x 240 pixelssunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP), 208 x 208 pixels
Pixel Per Inch283 ppi282 PPI
Screen ProtectionCorning® Gorilla® Glass 3chemically strengthened glass
Always-on DisplayYesYes
Rotating BezelNoNo

 Music And Music Control Features:

MUSICGARMIN FORERUNNER 245GARMIN FORERUNNER 55
CAN CONTROL PHONE MUSICYESYES
HAS MUSIC STORAGE AND PLAYBACKYES (MUSIC VERSION)NO
STREAMING SERVICESSPOTIFY, AMAZON MUSIC, DEEZER, IHEARTRADIONO
CONTACTLESS-NFC PAYMENTSNONO

Connectivity:

CONNECTIVITYGARMIN FORERUNNER 245GARMIN FORERUNNER 55
BLUETOOTH SMART TO PHONE UPLOADINGYESYES
PHONE NOTIFICATIONS TO UNIT (I.E. TEXTS/CALLS/ETC…)YESYES
LIVE TRACKING (STREAMING LOCATION TO WEBSITE)YESYES
EMERGENCY/SOS MESSAGE NOTIFICATION (FROM WATCH TO CONTACTS)YES (VIA PHONE)YES (VIA PHONE)

Sports Features:

Cycling:

CYCLINGGARMIN FORERUNNER 245GARMIN FORERUNNER 55
DESIGNED FOR CYCLINGYESYES
POWER METER CAPABLEWITH SOME CONNECT IQ APPS (BUT CANNOT RECORD DATA)NO
SPEED/CADENCE SENSOR CAPABLEYESYES
CRASH DETECTIONYESYES

RUNNING

RUNNINGGARMIN FORERUNNER 245GARMIN FORERUNNER 55
DESIGNED FOR RUNNINGYESYES
FOOTPOD CAPABLE (FOR TREADMILLS)YES (ALSO HAS INTERNAL ACCELEROMETER)YES (ALSO HAS INTERNAL ACCELEROMETER)
RUNNING DYNAMICS (VERTICAL OSCILLATION, GROUND CONTACT TIME, ETC…)YES (WITH ACCESSORY)NO
VO2MAX ESTIMATIONYESYES
RACE PREDICTORYESYES
RECOVERY ADVISORYESYES
RUN/WALK MODEYESYES
TRACK RECOGNITION MODEYESYES

SWIMMING

SWIMMINGGARMIN FORERUNNER 245GARMIN FORERUNNER 55
DESIGNED FOR SWIMMINGYESYES
LAP/INDOOR DISTANCE TRACKINGYESYES
RECORD HR UNDERWATERYESYES
INDOOR METRICS (STROKE/ETC.)YESYES
INDOOR DRILL MODEYES
CHANGE POOL SIZEYESYES
INDOOR MIN/MAX POOL LENGTHS14M/15Y TO 150Y/M
ABILITY TO CUSTOMIZE DATA FIELDSYESYES
CAN CHANGE YARDS TO METERSYESYES
CAPTURES PER LENGTH DATA – INDOORSYESYES

WORKOUTS

WORKOUTSGARMIN FORERUNNER 245GARMIN FORERUNNER 55
CREATE/FOLLOW CUSTOM WORKOUTSYESYES
ON-UNIT INTERVAL FEATUREYESYES
TRAINING CALENDAR FUNCTIONALITYYESYES

FUNCTIONS

FUNCTIONSGARMIN FORERUNNER 245GARMIN FORERUNNER 55
AUTO START/STOPYESYES
VIRTUAL PARTNER FEATUREYESVIRTUAL PACER
VIRTUAL RACER FEATUREYESNO
RECORDS PR’S – PERSONAL RECORDS (DIFF THAN HISTORY)YESYES
DAY TO DAY WATCH ABILITYYESYES
WEATHER DISPLAY (LIVE DATA)YESYES

NAVIGATE

NAVIGATEGARMIN FORERUNNER 245GARMIN FORERUNNER 55
FOLLOW GPS TRACK (COURSES/WAYPOINTS)YESNO
BACK TO STARTYESNO
DOWNLOAD COURSES/ROUTES FROM PHONE TO UNITYESNO

SENSORS

SENSORSGARMIN FORERUNNER 245GARMIN FORERUNNER 55
ALTIMETER TYPEGPSNO
OPTICAL HEART RATE SENSOR INTERNALLYYESYES
SPO2 (AKA PULSE OXIMETRY)YESNO
ECG FUNCTIONALITYN/ANO
HEART RATE STRAP COMPATIBLEYESYES
ANT+ HEART RATE STRAP CAPABLEYESYES
ANT+ SPEED/CADENCE CAPABLEYESYES
ANT+ FOOTPOD CAPABLEYESYES
ANT+ LIGHTING CONTROLYESNO
ANT+ BIKE RADAR INTEGRATIONYESNO
ANT+ REMOTE CONTROLYES FOR GARMIN VIRBNO
ANT+ MUSCLE OXYGEN (I.E. MOXY/BSX)YESNO
BLUETOOTH SMART HR STRAP CAPABLEYESNO
BLUETOOTH SMART SPEED/CADENCE CAPABLEYESNO
BLUETOOTH SMART FOOTPOD CAPABLEYESNO
TEMP RECORDING (EXTERNAL SENSOR)YES (TEMPE)NO

SOFTWARE

SOFTWAREGARMIN FORERUNNER 245GARMIN FORERUNNER 55
PC APPLICATIONGARMIN EXPRESSGARMIN EXPRESS (PC/MAC)
WEB APPLICATIONGARMIN CONNECTGARMIN CONNECT
PHONE APPIOS/ANDROID/WINDOWS PHONEIOS/ANDROID

Garmin Forerunner 55 vs. 245: Key Differences

  • The initial sale price of the Forerunner 245 was $350 but the watch can be bought for $50-100 at e-commerce stores (refurbished/discount). The initial sale price of FR55 is $199, and you won’t find any refurbished unit in the market this early as it is a relatively new product.
  • There is a music version of FR 245 that costs $50 more and can store up to 500 songs, and can download and stream music from popular platforms like Spotify, Amazon Music, and Pandora. Forerunner 55 has no music storage whatsoever but it can control music on your smartphone.
  • SpO2 tracking is missing on the Forerunner 55, whereas respiration rate monitoring can’t be found in FR245. Other health features like heart rate, sleep, and stress tracking are shared by the two.
  • Advanced Running Dynamics can only be found in the Forerunner 245 that includes ground contact time & balance, stride length, vertical ratio & oscillation, and cadence. Keep in mind that the watch alone can’t track these features, you would have to attach an external sensor to the watch (Garmin HRM-Tri or HRM Dual)
  • Forerunner 245 has additional trekking features like ‘Back to Start’, ‘ follow GPS track’. Also, you can download courses and routes right on the watch before you start your journey.
  • Though both the watches can be connected to an external sensor via Bluetooth or ANT+, FR 245 support a greater number of sensors.
  • Garmin introduced HIIT in the Venu 2, and the same made it to the FR 55. Despite having two more sports profiles (trail running, indoor rowing), FR245 is still missing high-intensity interval training.
  • Forerunner 245 offers 24 hours of battery performance when GPS is running in the background, FR55 offers just 20. However, the latter’s battery-saving mode can extend the performance for up to 2 weeks. FR245 offers only 1 week in comparison.
  • FR 55 has both recovery time and race predictor but that’s is the end of it. Forerunner 245 goes a few steps further to offer your Anaerobic and Aerobic Training Effects, Training Load, and Training Status.
  • FR 245 is a bit thicker and weighs slightly more. However, the difference is more prominent in display size and resolution where FR55 measures 1.04-inch and offers 203 x 203 pixels, whereas the FR245 measures 1.2-inch and offers 240 x 240 pixels. Also, the latter has Gorilla Glass Protection to its advantage.
  • Forerunner 245 has a more refines user interface and offer more data to view in a single glance.
  • Garmin has picked two different color schemes for these watches. While the old Forerunner 245 is available in Black and White, the latest FR55 is available in Berry and Gray.

Garmin Forerunner 55 vs. 245: Key Similarities

  • Both watches are water-resistant for up to 50m. You can take shower or swim in the pool without having to take any of them off.
  • As they both use the same Elevate V3 sensor, the heart rate accuracy of either watch is no better than the other.
  • You can download third-party apps from the Connect IQ stores on both these watches. A word of caution: the store minus a couple of sports app is all but useless.
  • Safety features like LiveTrack and Incident Detection are featured on both these watches, but unlike FR945 LTE, these two need to be connected to your phone.
  • We were pretty disappointed with the FR55 when it like the two years old FR245 didn’t pack the NFC technology. Adding support for contactless payment would have given it an edge.
  • The casing, strap, and bezel material are the same. Both watches come with a 20mm interchangeable strap.

The Bottom Line:

Forerunner 245 wins here but not by a huge margin. As it is an old watch, you may find it at a discounted price especially in the Christmas Sale. Maybe, you will have to pay the same price as for FR55, or maybe $50 extra. But if the size isn’t an issue, you should go for the FR 245 for it has music storage as well as advanced running, training, and navigation features.