Garmin Forerunner vs Fenix: Key Differences & Selection Guide [2022]

This time we are comparing Garmin Forerunner vs Fenix premium smart watches. These watches look so identical considering the smart watch features and it could be compelling for you to find out which one is better. Simply saying, we do prefer our Garmin Forerunner 945 over the Fenix 6, Fenix 6 Pro-Solar and Fenix 6 Pro-Sapphire editions, and here is why! The Forerunner 945 does better than standard Fenix 6 model in many aspects. Also, compared to the Forerunner 945, you have to pay a lot more to get some of the additional stuff that comes with the Fenix ​​6 Pro-Solar and Pro-Sapphire versions.

Main Differences for Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 6, Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 6 Pro Solar, Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 6 Pro Sapphire

Here is the table we have put together to help you better understand Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 6 comparison:

Comparison of #Forerunner 945Fenix 6Fenix 6 Pro SolarFenix 6 Sapphire
Lens MaterialCorning® Gorilla® Glass DXCorning® Gorilla® Glass DXPower Glass™Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX or Sapphire Crystal
Bezel Materialfiber-reinforced polymerstainless steelstainless steel or Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coated titaniumstainless steel, titanium or Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) coated steel
Strap materialsiliconesiliconesilicone or titaniumsilicone, leather, titanium or nylon
Display size1.2″ (30.4 mm) diameter1.3” (33.02 mm) diameter1.3” (33.02 mm) diameter1.3” (33.02 mm) diameter
Display resolution240 x 240 pixels260 x 260 pixels260 x 260 pixels260 x 260 pixels
Weight50 gSteel: 80 g (case only: 57 g)Steel: 85 g (case only: 62 g)
Titanium: 72 g (case only: 48 g)
Steel: 83 g – case with silicone band (case only: 60 g)
Titanium: 72 g – case with silicone band (case only: 49 g)
Battery lifeSmartwatch Mode: Up to 2 weeks
GPS mode with music: Up to 10 hours
GPS mode without music: Up to 36 hours
Smartwatch: Up to 14 days
Battery Saver Watch Mode: Up to 48 days
GPS: Up to 36 hours 
Max Battery GPS Mode: Up to 72 hours
Expedition GPS Activity: Up to 28 days
Smartwatch: Up to 14 days/16 days with solar*
Battery Saver Watch Mode: Up to 48 days/80 days with solar*
GPS: Up to 36 hours/40 hours with solar**
GPS + Music: Up to 10 hours
Max Battery GPS Mode: Up to 72 hours/93 hours with solar**
Expedition GPS Activity: Up to 28 days/36 days with solar*
*Solar charging, assuming all-day wear with 3 hours per day outside in 50,000 lux conditions
**Solar charging, assuming use in 50,000 lux conditions
Smartwatch: Up to 14 days
Battery Saver Watch Mode: Up to 48 days
GPS: Up to 36 hours
GPS + Music: Up to 10 hours
Max Battery GPS Mode: Up to 72 hours
Expedition GPS Activity: Up to 28 days
Water Rating5 ATM10 ATM10 ATM10 ATM
Battery
Saver Mode
Manual SelectionYes-Mode SelectionYes-Mode SelectionYes-Mode Selection
Smart Phone
Music Control
YesYesYesYes
Preloaded Topo MapYesNoYesYes
Music Storage1000 SongsNo2000 Songs2000 Songs
Recovery TimeStandard Recovery TimeImproved Recovery TimeImproved Recovery TimeImproved Recovery Time
Round-trip
course creator
YesNoYesYes
PriceCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on Amazon
Expert EvaluationIn-depth ReviewIn-depth ReviewIn-depth ReviewIn-depth Review

So, the main differences between the Garmin Forerunner 945 and Fenix 6 are about glass and bezel materials, water resistance ratings, battery life, weight and music storage. Also, we will be talking about some minor factors that are different in between.

Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 6 / Pro Solar / Sapphire: Key Differences

Here, we are comparing the Garmin Forerunner 945 side-by-side with Fenix 6, Fenix 6 Pro Solar, and Fenix 6 Sapphire.

Glass and Bezel Material

The first noticeable difference between these watches is the Glass and Bezel Materials. The Forerunner 945 has a glass made of Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX. This is the same for the glass of standard Fenix 6. The Corning Gorilla Glass DX is highly durable and resistant to scratches, but not 100% resistant to scratches. You can check out following video to learn more about Corning Gorilla Glass DX.

On the other hand, Fenix 6 Pro-Solar has Power Glass to produce some electricity through its solar panels. So, as you can see, it is not going to be able to more durable as the Forerunner 945 and standard Fenix 6.

About the Fenix 6 Sapphire, its glass is made of Sapphire Crystal and almost impossible to scratch it. But it cost a lot, you need to pay almost $200 more compared to Forerunner 945 and Fenix 6.

Water Resistance

The Forerunner 945, Fenix 6, Fenix 6 Pro Solar and Fenix 6 Sapphire, all of them water proof up to a point! The water resistant ratings for Forerunner Series are up to 5 ATM (50 meters deep). On the other hand, Fenix series are water resistant up to 10 ATM (100 meters deep).

Here is the question, is it wort buying the Fenix line instead of the Forerunner? If you are not technical diving, you can never go 100 meters deep in water. So, we will still prefer our Forerunner 945 over the Fenix 6 and its variants, since 10 ATM water resistance is fair enough.

Battery-life for Garmin Forerunner vs Fenix

When it comes to battery-life, the Forerunner vs Fenix comparison could be competitive. All of them are having a battery life up to 2 weeks on smart watch mode, and 36-hours when GPS enabled.

However, on the expedition mode, Garmin Fenix Series can last up to 28 days! Especially, Fenix 6 Pro Solar can go beyond this and can last up to 36 days with solar charging.

To be honest, we like to listen to music and activate the GPS mode while running. In this case, both Forerunner 945 and Fenix ​​6/6 Pro Solar/6 Sapphire can last up to 10 hours. Therefore, we are charging their battery at the end of each day. So, unless you’re on an expedition or desperately need 28 days of battery life, it doesn’t make sense to choose the Fenix ​​series.

Power/Battery Save Mode

This is an overrated function of the Fenix 6 and its variants. Basically, the Fenix 6 has some additional watch modes to save more power and extend the battery-life. A very similar thing is included in the Forerunner 945, but you need to deactivate the functions manually one by one to extend the battery life.

Weight for Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 6

The Forerunner 945 is around 50 gr, since it includes mostly plastic materials on it. However, the Fenix Series goes beyond 80 gr which you will definitely feel on your wrist.

The Fenix is bulkier and almost 1-millimeter thicker than the Forerunner 945. This makes Fenix 6 heavier than the Forerunner 945.

Some say, the bulkier and heavier structure of Garmin Fenix feels premium. But, we still prefer Forerunner 945, since it is lighter and lighter is better for running.

Music Storage

Both Forerunner and Fenix series can control the music in your smart phone. But, when it comes to storing music and playing offline, the standard Fenix 6 lacks this feature. On the other hand, the Forerunner 945 can store up to 1000 song and still being almost at the same price level.

However, the Fenix 6 Pro Solar and Fenix 6 Sapphire editions can store music up to 2000 songs for offline playing. You may thing that storing 2000 songs is amazing. But, please just be realistic! Do you really need 2000 songs to store in you smart watch? If you really need it, you need to pay more around $200 for the Fenix 6 Pro Solar and Fenix 6 Sapphire compared to the Forerunner 945.

Display Resolution

The display size of Forerunner 945 is 1.2 inches in diameter, whereas the Fenix 6 has 1.3 inches in diameter. Therefore, screen resolution of Forerunner 945 is 240 x 240 pixels, but screen resolution of Fenix 6 and its variants is 260 x 260 pixels. There are also Fenix 6S and Fenix 6X options which has different case size and display resolution. The “S” is fore small and “X” is for large to accommodate different wrist size.

Again, we do not see the display resolution difference as a deal breaker. We still prefer our Forerunner 945 over the Fenix 6 and its other variants.

Recovery Time Measurement

Both Forerunner 945 and Fenix 6 have recovery time feature. But Fenix 6’s recovery function is improved. The improved recovery time can shorten initial recovery time estimation by checking the followings:

  • Stress levels.
  • Quality of sleep.
  • Additional training intensity.
  • Daily activity levels.

Bottom-life Garmin Fenix 6 / 6 Pro Solar / 6 Pro Sapphire vs Forerunner 945 Comparison:

Our verdict on the Garmin Fenix 6​ vs Forerunner 945 comparison is that we will never give up the Forerunner 945 for the Fenix ​​6. Simply saying, the Forerunner 945 is way cheaper than Fenix 6 Pro, Fenix 6 Solar and Fenix 6 Sapphire. Also, we never needed the extra features and functions that come with the high-end Fenix 6 variants.

Although their prices are pretty much similar, the Forerunner 945 does a better job than the standard Fenix 6. For instance, Forerunner 945 has a music storage feature by default. The standard Fenix 6 cannot store music, but you need to pay extra cash and get Fenix 6 Pro version to store songs to play offline.

You should consider, do you really need these features like 10 ATM water resistance, battery life which can last to 28 for expedition, and insanely strong glass material (only on Fenix 6 Sapphire). Personally, we never needed these additional stuffs.

We still prefer our Forerunner 945 over the Fenix 6. But when all these overrated features and functions of Fenix 6 Pro, Fenix 6 Solar, and Fenix 6 Sapphire add up, it may make sense for you.

Here is the links that you can check the latest rates on Amazon:

You may also wonder how Garmin Fenix 6 performs agains Apple Watch Series 7. We have compared Garmin Fenix 6 vs Apple Watch 7 side by side, if you would like to read further on this.