Smartwatches and wearable devices in general have been trying to find their purpose for several years now, as Fitbit’s market domination appeared to suggest it was best to focus on activity tracking and affordability back in the day.
But since Apple took over the shipment crown while strengthening its control of the fledgling industry’s profits, more and more OEMs have shifted their attention to wrist-worn gadgets that can do it all.
The newly unveiled Garmin Forerunner 645 Music is one such multi-purpose GPS running watch, even though it lacks standalone cellular connectivity. Instead, its primary selling point is on-device music storage, believe it or not, which Garmin previously ignored altogether.
Better late than never… we guess, although there’s still no direct streaming functionality in tow. Or the ability to store offline Spotify tunes. All you get is support for playlist downloading from iHeartRadio, Deezer and “more” services of that sort, capped at 500 songs.
Another first for Garmin is a premium stainless-steel metal bezel look complemented by an always-on Chroma Display easy to read even in direct sunlight, which still doesn’t make for the world’s most stylish smartwatch.
On the undoubtedly bright side, the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music is just as robust as any other member of the Forerunner family in terms of advanced running dynamics, performance monitoring tools and heart rate tracking.
If you’re serious about your health and getting or staying in shape, this is the wearable to buy, keeping your heart rate under observation 24/7, accurately tracking your distance, pace, stroke and personal records in the pool, as well as how far, how fast and where you run with built-in GPS and GLONASS.
Garmin Pay is another nice feature to have at $450, whether your bank already supports it or not, and the always-vital battery life is rated at up to 7 days in “smartwatch mode” or 5 hours with the GPS turned on and continuous music playing. If you want to save a few bucks, a Forerunner 645 version without “integrated music capabilities” costs $399.99.