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Garmin Forerunner 265 vs 245 (2023): Which Running Watch Is Better?

If you’re in the market for a new fitness watch, you may have come across the Garmin Forerunner series. These wearables are known for their built-in GPS and advanced features that make them ideal for tracking fitness activities, especially running. However, with so many different Forerunner models available, it can be tough to know which one to choose.

Below, we’ll compare the new Garmin Forerunner 265 and 2019’s Garmin Forerunner 245. Which standard mid-range model should you buy? Keep reading to find out.

Garmin Forerunner 265 vs 245 Comparison Chart

ModelGarmin Forerunner 265Garmin Forerunner 245
 
Price
Size46.1 x 46.1 x 12.9 mm42.3 x 42.3 x 12.2 mm
Weight47g38.5g
Display1.3-inch AMOLED1.2-inch transflective memory-in-pixel
TouchscreenYesNo
GPSYesYes
Multi-band GPSYesNo
CompassYesYes
Barometric AltimeterYesNo
Heart Rate MonitoringYesYes
Respiration RateYesNo
Pulse Ox SensorYesYes
Sleep MonitoringYesYes
Incident DetectionYesYes
Smartphone Music ControlsYesYes
Music StorageYesNo
Contactless PaymentGarmin Payβ€”
ConnectivityBluetooth, ANT+, Wi-FiBluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi
Water Rating5 ATM5 ATM
Maximum Battery LifeUp to 13 daysUp to 7 days

Design

The Garmin Forerunner 265 has a more premium design, thanks to its AMOLED touchscreen display, as opposed to the MIP screen of the Forerunner 245.

Garmin Forerunner 265 vs Forerunner 245 Design
A look at the Garmin Forerunner 265 (left) and the Forerunner 245 (right)

Garmin Forerunner watches that start with 2 are usually mid-range β€” both in design and features. But with the Forerunner 265, Garmin incorporates more premium qualities into the lineup.

Like the Garmin Epix 2, the 265 boasts a bright and beautiful AMOLED display. It’s slightly larger than the 245’s screen and has an optional always-on mode. In contrast, the 245 relies on a MIP display that, while colorful and crisp, lacks the brightness offered by the 265. Garmin’s 2019 running watch isn’t touchscreen, too, whereas the latest iteration is.

Of course, the value of a touchscreen on a running watch is arguable. Nonetheless, touch gestures are welcome when you’re not exercising. It’s a nice alternative to the five physical buttons used for navigation.

There aren’t big changes when it comes to materials. The 265 still has a fiber-reinforced polymer bezel and a silicone strap like the 245. Like its predecessor, Garmin also protects the 265’s lens with Corning Gorilla Class 3. Both watches are also water-resistant to a depth of 50 meters.

Activity Tracking and Fitness

Garmin’s Forerunner 265 has more activity tracking and fitness features than the Forerunner 245.

Garmin Forerunner 265 vs Forerunner 245 Fitness
Morning reports on the 265 (left) and training status on the 265 (right)

People buy running watches for their training features. As expected, the Garmin Forerunner 265 and 245 excel in this area. These wearables support various activities, including cycling, swimming, outdoor recreation, and running. They also have comprehensive training, planning, and analysis features.

As expected, the newer 265 offers more features than the 245. It now includes a barometric altimeter that provides more precise elevation reports, and its multi-band GPS improves positioning accuracy.

Garmin also introduces two new features to the 265: Morning Report and Training Readiness. The former offers at-a-glance information about a user’s sleep and training outlook. Meanwhile, the latter generates a readiness score to determine whether they are ready for a workout or need recovery time.

Both the 265 and 245 offer advanced metrics for running, including cadence and running dynamics. However, the latter requires a compatible accessory to access this feature, while the 265 is wrist-based. Furthermore, Garmin has added an Ultra Running profile to the latest Forerunner.

Health Monitoring

The Garmin Forerunner 265 has a slight edge over the 245 when it comes to health features.

Garmin Forerunner 265 vs Forerunner 245 Health
Live track and assistance are some of the safety features available on these watches

While they’re not health smartwatches like the Fitbit Sense, these Forerunners have ample health features. Both units track your heart rate and blood oxygen level saturation. They also monitor sleep, although the 265 has the advantage of sleep score and insights.

Garmin equips the 265 and 245 with a relaxation breathing timer as well. With this feature, users can focus on their breathing to help reduce stress. The 265 even comes with a relaxation reminder that detects when your stress levels are unusually high. If that’s not enough, it also measures respiration rate, a good indicator of physical fitness.

The watches have Garmin-exclusive features, too. Both Forerunner models offer the Fitness Age metric. On the 265, the feature is wrist-based. In contrast, the 245 measures Fitness Age via the Garmin app. Both watches also come with the Body Battery Energy Monitor built-in.Β 

As for safety, don’t expect Apple Watch-like capabilities like crash detection. Instead, you have the standard features β€” incident detection, live tracking, and assistance.

Smart Features and Battery

Garmin’s Forerunner 265 has more built-in smart features and a longer standard battery life than the Forerunner 245.

Garmin Forerunner 265 vs Forerunner 245 Smart Features and Battery
The Spotify app on the Forerunner 265 (left); battery life of the Forerunner 245 (right)

The Garmin Forerunner 265 and 245 are compatible with Android and iOS. They also stream smartphone notifications to your wrist. If you want to customize the watch face, then Connect IQ is the store to go. On the 265, the Connect IQ is available on the device itself. The watch also supports Garmin Pay, a feature missing on the 245.

Some runners like to have music during their training. Fortunately, these Forerunners can control music from your paired smartphones. However, if you want to store tracks locally, only the standard Forerunner 265 offers enough memory. In the case of the 245, you’ll have to purchase the dedicated 245 Music variant to enjoy music storage.

Meanwhile, the battery life depends on usage. Garmin says that in smartwatch mode, the 265 can last up to 13 days. With GPS and navigation systems turned on, the battery life can be as little as 14 hours. Users should also expect further reductions when music is playing. But if you’re in standard GPS mode only, the 265 squeezes in about 20 hours.

In contrast, the 245 has a battery life of up to seven days in smartwatch mode. With GPS turned on, the 245’s week-long power decreases to 24 hours. That’s still more than other smartwatches on the market.

Verdict

The Garmin Forerunner 265 feels more like a premium watch than its mid-range sibling, the Forerunner 245.

So which watch should you buy? The Garmin Forerunner 245 may be an older model, but it still delivers the goods. It comes packed with advanced training features and offers above-average battery life.

However, the Garmin Forerunner 265 builds on the qualities of the 245 while offering the biggest improvement for the mid-range line β€” an AMOLED screen. Bright and immersive, this upgrade alone makes the 265 feel like a premium Forerunner. And it being touchscreen, the user experience gets a considerable improvement.

Of course, the upgrades come at a cost. The Forerunner 265 is almost twice the price of the 245. But given the improvements, you’re shelling out money for a future-proof running watch sans the mapping ability. That said, runners looking for a cheaper option will find the 245 a strong budget alternative, especially now that it sells for a reduced price.

FAQs

πŸ“Œ What is the display resolution of the Garmin Forerunner 265?

The Garmin Forerunner 265 has a display resolution of 416 x 416 pixels.

πŸ“Œ What are the available run profiles on the Garmin Forerunner 245?

Garmin’s Forerunner 245 offers the following run profiles: Running, Outdoor Track Running, Treadmill Running, Indoor Track Running, Trail Running, and Virtual Running.

πŸ“Œ Does the Garmin 265 use quick release bands?

Yes. The Garmin 265 uses 22m industry-standard quick release bands.

πŸ“Œ What type of charger does the Garmin 245 use?

The Garmin 245 uses the Garmin proprietary plug charger.

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.