Garmin’s Firmware Update Brings New Life All Forerunners

Following the release of Garmin’s Forerunner 945 LTE and Forerunner 55, Garmin released a set of major firmware updates that bring its existing x45 products up to date with their two newest watches, minus the hardware differences. Normally we do not review firmware updates, because most manufactures continuously push minor updates to their products. However, this release rejuvenates several two-year-old products and highlights a pattern we are starting to see in fitness products over the past few years (such as Garmin’s 1030 got most of the new features from the 530/830, Hammerhead Karoo got most of the Karoo 2 updates, Wahoo RIVAL got a major update, and more). The great news for us consumers is that these kinds of updates extend the lives of our devices.

Many of these updates are Firstbeat features. (If you recall, Garmin acquired Firstbeat Analytics about a year ago.) Before the acquisition, Garmin licensed FirstBeat for its products, so there was a cost for every copy. This would have been a barrier to retroactively update older devices with newer Firstbeat features. Now that barrier is gone; therefore, Garmin has more flexibility to update its products.

The firmware updates apply to the Forerunner 45, 45S, 245, 245 Music, 745, and 945. There are a handful of features on the Forerunner 55 that do not roll back to the 45 & 45S, such as daily suggested workouts, PacePro, pool swim, track run activity profile, race predictor, and full Connect IQ support. The Forerunner 945 will roughly equal the Forerunner 945 LTE, minus the LTE capabilities and new intervals feature.

Updated Firstbeat Analytics Features:

  • Improved VO2 max (245, 245 Music, 745, and 945)
  • Rate of perceived exertion and feel (45, 45S, 245, 245 Music, 745, and 945)
  • Improved intensity minutes (245, 245 Music, 745, and 945)
  • Daily suggested workouts (245, 245 Music, 745, and 945)
  • Advanced sleep and sleep score (745 and 945)
  • Improved fitness age (745 and 945)

Other New Features:

  • Ultrarun activity profile (745 and 945)
  • Additional animated on-screen workouts (745 and 945)
If you have one of the older units, or are shopping, this update clarifies positioning of Garmin’s core running & multisport products. (I am surprised that the f?nix products were not mentioned.) The purchase or upgrade decisions center around the prices and key hardware differences rather than detailed digging to figure out subtle feature differences.

Happy shopping!