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Garmin instinct Vs. Garmin Forerunner 45: Comparison

If you are someone who loves to run and train outdoors, then you must also need a device to track your miles and overall stats. Something like a GPS running watch would be amazing for that purpose, right? Well, one of the best brands that offer those is Garmin.

Garmin has more models to choose from, but in this article, we will be making a comparison between Garmin Instinct and Forerunner 45. Keep on reading to find out more about the key differences and which one has the edge over the other.

Key Takeaways


  • The Garmin Instinct is heavier in comparison to the Forerunner 45.
  • Neither of them come with a touch screen.
  • Both of them offer health tracking features and access to Garmin Coach.
  • As smartwatches, you can receive notifications on these devices.
  • The battery life of the Garmin Instinct is better than the one of the Forerunner 45.

Garmin instinct Vs. Forerunner 45 – How do they differ?

Both these devices are really competent and offer great quality and performance. The key differences between them would be the design, size of display, weight and battery life. We have explained these factors in detail below.

Also Read: Vivoactive 3 Vs. Forerunner 245

Design and display: Garmin instinct & forerunner 45

Garmin Instinct is a modern running watch that is designed to endure even heavy outdoor conditions. For that purpose, it also has a damage resistant glass unlike the Forerunner 45.

It is a good looking rough running watch with an incredible design that makes it appear like an outdoor watch.

It is also dustproof, sweatproof, and waterproof up to 10m depth so you don’t have to worry as it is safe to use in the shower or even during swimming.

The Instinct offers a display where you can see your information and stats clearly. The screen size is not so big, but it offers good visibility even in bright light and it is always on.

It doesn’t have a touch screen, so there are 5 buttons provided. Many people like this because during activities you might want to clean the screen and without a touch screen you won’t accidentally activate things.

Garmin Forerunner 45 is also a very good-looking watch. It is lightweight and has a sleek design. This means it has a sporty look and it’s easier to carry compared to the Instinct which is a bit heavier in weight.

It also offers a very good display that shows the color and is readable even in direct sunlight. The display is always on and there are two modes: with or without a backlight.

Same as the Instinct, the Forerunner 45 doesn’t come with a touch screen, but rather with 5 physical buttons. This is specifically simple to use.

Fitness features: Garmin instinct vs forerunner 45

The Garmin Instinct has built-in sports apps so there are a lot of activities that you can track such as running, cycling, swimming, hiking, climbing, etc. As this is a GPS watch the navigation feature that can help you set your course is on point. There are also features that can help you track your way back to home as a kind of breadcrumbs map.

Even though the screen size is not so big, it still provides a great navigation experience so don’t worry about that at all. That’s not all there is to it as this watch is also able to provide activity level tracking.

The watch can also be connected to Garmin Connect and access the feature of Garmin Coach where you can choose your race goals, and you will be able to receive guidance through a free training plan that includes selected workouts. These workouts will be synced to your watch.

The Garmin Instinct features a heart rate monitor which will help you keep track of the intensity of your workouts. Based on your heart rate during the day it can show you a stress level report. If your level of stress is high, it offers a breathing session to lower it.

As a fitness tracker, it keeps track of your steps, pace, and distance covered. To keep you motivated, there is a move alert that encourages you to do some activity if you have been sedentary.

Another thing it keeps track of is sleep. But you should keep in mind that the accuracy here is low as it cannot make much difference between deep sleeping and laying down.

The Garmin Forerunner 45 puts its main focus on running, but it still offers other 12 activity programs such as those for running, walking, cycling, etc. This watch will also provide you with great navigation and tracking experience.

Same as the Instinct, the Forerunner 45 offers access to Garmin Coach. The training plans are easy to set and are based on recent performance and your goals. Hence this is perfect for beginners.

The Forerunner also provides a heart rate monitor and works as a tracker of steps, pace, distance, and sleep. It offers stress level reports and moves alerts during the day in the same way as the Garmin Instinct.

Additional to these features, there is also one called Body Battery that shows you how much energy you have left based on your heart rate, activity, and sleep.

Smartwatch features: Garmin instinct vs forerunner 45

The Garmin Instinct works well with both Android and iOS devices so you will be able to receive notifications on your watch, control the music playing on your phone and check weather updates or the calendar, but you won’t be able to connect to Garmin Connect IQ app store and add music files on the watch.

The Instinct is pretty basic as a smartwatch but does a decent job.

As a smartwatch, the Forerunner 45 does a great job of helping you stay connected during your runs and activities. It shows your notifications for text messages and phone calls and same as the Instinct it allows you to be in control of the music playing on your phone.

You can also customize the Forerunner 45 with free watch faces from the Connect IQ app store.

Battery life: Garmin instinct vs forerunner 45

Garmin Instinct offers a good battery life with a rechargeable battery that can last up to 14 days in smartwatch mode, up to 16 hours in GPS mode, and even more so in Ultratrac battery saver mode.

Based on these promised numbers, you will be able to comfortably enjoy your adventures without running out of battery with regular use of GPS.

It doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker, but we can note that both the Garmin Instinct and Forerunner 45 don’t show the percentage of battery, only battery bars. The good thing is that they have an indicator for when the battery is low.

On the other hand, the Garmin Forerunner 45 can last up to 7 days in smartwatch mode and up to 13 hours in GPS mode. In this section, the Instinct is a clear winner with much better battery life in comparison.

Also Read: Garmin Forerunner 235 Vs. Forerunner 35

Final verdict

Personally, I would go with the Garmin Instinct mostly because of its longer battery life and it is more of an outdoorsy watch, great for hikes and outdoors adventures. Choosing between the two depends on your needs and preferences, whether you want something more lightweight or something tougher, but whichever you choose you certainly cannot go wrong.