Garmin announces its first GPS watch with music playback

Deezer+ is only music service it will support

8 Jan 2018
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Incredibly, Garmin has never made a watch that lets you store your music on it.

Considering it’s such a major player in the fitness wearables market, that feels a little short sighted - even more so when you consider devices from Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, Polar and TomTom (among others) already boast it among their features.

Thankfully, that’s all about to change with the Forerunner 645 Music, unveiled at CES 2018. The watch isn’t available to order from the UK site just yet, but is due to launch this quarter with a price of £400. If you’re not fussed about the music option, though, you can get one without the feature for £350.

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Sadly, it’s probably not worth getting too excited about music features because they look somewhat limited. You can choose between either transferring up to 500 songs directly from your PC, or storing playlists offline with Deezer+. Now, there’s nothing wrong with Deezer per se, but prospective buyers might well feel aggrieved that Garmin’s not given them more choice, especially when Deezer has far fewer paid subscribers than both Spotify or Apple Music.

Elsewhere, the Forerunner 645 Music gets support for contactless payments via Garmin Pay, so you can grab something at a shop or cafe without having to take your cash or cards with you. Garmin Pay was first introduced on last year’s Vivoactive 3, but it still doesn’t support UK banks or credit cards so we can’t recommend buying the Forerunner 645 until it does.

The Forerunner 645 additionally comes with an array of “connected features” including sending and receiving text messages, inviting friends to follow you while running, in real time with LiveTrack, and viewing social media updates and emails. There’s no cellular option, though, so you’ll need to be within range of your phone to perform any of these tasks.

That shouldn’t stop it from it being a good runners’ watch, though. As you’d expect, its built-in GPS and GLONASS let you track how far, how fast and where you’ve run and you can also use the watch for cycling, swimming and walking.

Unlike many cheaper watches, it also lets you view and follow downloaded courses or race a previous activity. You can additionally train with simple intervals or follow complex workouts. When used with Garmin’s Running Dynamics Pod (sold separately for £60), it allows you to track cadence, ground contact time, stride length and more.