Garmin Forerunner 265 vs Forerunner 45

Forerunner 265 is a relatively newer variant in the Forerunner series. It was released in March 2023. Forerunner 45 is the most basic watch in the Forerunner series. It was released in 2019.

Smartwatch technology changed between 2019 to 2023. How does the technology upgrade help Forerunner 265?

Let us compare Forerunner 265 and Forerunner 45 smartwatches below.

Main differences

The main differences between Forerunner 265 and Forerunner 45 are shared below:

  • The most significant difference between Forerunner 265 and 45 is the cost. Forerunner 265 is costlier than Forerunner 45 by $250.
  • The next best thing on Forerunner 265 is the AMOLED display with a vastly improved display resolution.
  • The display lens on Forerunner 265 is a third-generation DX-coated Corning Gorilla Glass. Forerunner 45 comes with a basic glass.
  • Forerunner 265 has a touchscreen.
  • Forerunner 265 comes integrated with multi-band GPS support.
  • Forerunner 265 has multiple sensors while the Forerunner 45 lacks most sensors on the watch.
  • Forerunner 265 offers 8 GB device storage; Forerunner 45 can store up to 80 hours of activity data.
  • Forerunner 265 has a full suite of health tracking features. Forerunner 45 has limited coverage for health tracking features.
  • There are no outdoor recreation profiles in the Forerunner 45.
  • Forerunner 265 offers longer battery backup than Forerunner 45.

The Forerunner 45 is a basic watch for runners. It is a good starting point for someone looking to start running for the first time.

We look at the main features of Forerunner 265 and Forerunner 45 below.

Latest Garmin Forerunner 265 smartwatch front view

Display specifications

The AMOLED display in Forerunner 265 is a major feature upgrade in the Forerunner series.

The AMOLED display results in a couple of benefits in the Forerunner 265:

  • The AMOLED display results in a much-improved display resolution.
  • Always-on-display or the AOD mode is supported in Forerunner 265.

The display lens of Forerunner 265 is a third-generation DX-coated Corning Gorilla Glass.

The DX coating on the display lens is an anti-reflective coating. It helps in improving screen brightness.

The DX coating also improves the readability experience on the smartwatch, especially under bright sunshine.

The complete set of display specifications is compared below in a side-by-side comparison.

Display specificationsForerunner 265Forerunner 45
Display lensCorning Gorilla Glass 3 DX coatingChemically-strengthened glass
Display size1.3″ or 30 mm1.04″ or 27 mm
Display typeAMOLEDMIP (Memory-in-pixel)
Display resolution416 x 416 pixels208 x 208 pixels
Color displayYesYes
LED FlashlightNoNo
Ambient light sensorYesNo

Forerunner 265’s display lens and AMOLED display are strong points of the watch. Forerunner 45 has a very basic display configuration.

Forerunner 265 also has an ambient light sensor. It adjusts the screen brightness based on ambient light.

Physical specifications

The hardware specifications of Forerunner 265 show a marked improvement in comparison with the Forerunner 45 smartwatch.

A side-by-side comparison of Forerunner 265 and Forerunner 45 is given below.

SpecificationsForerunner 965Forerunner 45
Watch size46.1 x 46.1 x 12.9 mm42 x 42 x 11.4 mm
Thickness12.9 mm11.4 mm
Watch weight 47 g36 g
Watch bodyFiber-enforced polymerFiber-enforced polymer
BezelFiber-enforced polymer Fiber-enforced polymer
Band materialSiliconeSilicone
Band size22 mm
Recommended wrist circumference135-205 mm129-197 mm
Device storage8 GB80 hours of activity data
Water resistance5 ATM (50 Meters)5 ATM (50 Meters)
Swimming profilePool Swimming, Open Water Swimming
Wireless connectivityANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FI
NFC PaymentsGarmin PayNot available
Garmin Elevate Heart SensorYesYes
Pulse Ox SpO2 SensorYesNo
Barometric AltimeterYesNo
iOS compatibleYes, iOS 15 and higherYes, iOS 15 and higher
Android compatibleYes, Android 7 and higherYes, Android 7 and higher
ChargerGarmin wire chargerGarmin wire charger

In terms of hardware configuration, there are quite a few differences between Forerunner 265 and Forerunner 45.

  • Garmin Pay or contactless payments are not available in Forerunner 45.
  • Barometric altimeter, Compass, Gyroscope, Thermometer, and PulseOx sensor are unavailable in Forerunner 45.
  • Forerunner 265 has 8 GB device storage for offline music storage and mapping.
  • Forerunner 265 is broader and thicker than Forerunner 45 smartwatch.


Forerunner 265 and Forerunner 45 support GPS, GLONASS and Galileo networks.

However, the GPS accuracy and performance of Forerunner 265 is much better than Forerunner 45.

There is a multi-frequency positioning sensor in the Forerunner 265 smartwatch. The multi-frequency positioning sensor helps in providing multi-band GPS mode.

The multi-band GPS mode is equivalent to dual-frequency mode. Your smartwatch can get GPS data from multiple satellites at any given point in time.

If the GPS signal is weak or poor, your device can get GPS data from alternate satellites.

This improves GPS accuracy and reliability of the Forerunner 265.

Since the multi-band GPS drains battery significantly, there is a need to optimize battery usage of the smartwatch.

Therefore, Garmin has also added SatIQ technology sensor in the Forerunner 265.

SatIQ technology is a thinking tech. It helps in managing the battery of Forerunner 265 by optimizing the usage of multi-band GPS mode.

SatIQ will automatically toggle on or off the multi-band GPS mode.

If the GPS signal is of good quality, SatIQ will keep the multi-band GPS mode off. When the GPS signal is of poor quality, SatIQ will turn on the multi-band GPS mode.

SatIQ and multi-band GPS mode in Forerunner 265 is a game changer for the GPS performance, accuracy and reliability. Forerunner 45 does not support multi-band GPS mode or SatIQ technology.

Garmin Forerunner 45 smartwatch

Health tracking

Forerunner 265 offers full suite of health tracking features. Forerunner 45 does miss quite a few health tracking features in the watch.

The side-by-side comparison below captures health tracking features of Forerunner 265 and Forerunner 45.

Health featuresForerunner 265Forerunner 45
Heart rate monitoringYesYes
Blood oxygenation trackingYesNo
Respiration rate trackingYesNo
Stress monitoringYesYes
Body BatteryYesYes
Sleep monitoringYesYes
Sleep scoreYesNo
Women’s HealthYesNo
Health snapshotYesNo

Advanced health metrics that are missing on Forerunner 45 include Hydration tracking, Women’s Health tracking and Health snapshot. Respiration monitoring and sleep score are unavailable in Forerunner 45. All these health tracking features are available in the Forerunner 265.


Forerunner 265 offers full music feature and functionality.

On a Forerunner 265, the following music features and functions are possible:

  • You can store audio content on the internal storage of Forerunner 265.
  • Music on the smartwatch storage can be managed from the smartwatch.
  • You can also control and play music on the paired smartphone.
  • You can download music streaming apps like Spotify and Deezer from the Connect IQ store. You will need a valid subscription to music streaming services to play music through the smartwatch.

In comparison to Forerunner 265, Forerunner 45 can only control and play music on the paired smartphone.


Forerunner 265 offers longer battery backup that the Forerunner 45 smartwatch. On different watch modes, Forerunner 265 offers backup to keep runners in good stead on long runs and efforts.

The side-by-side comparison below shows battery backup of Forerunner 265 and Forerunner 45.

Watch modeForerunner 265Forerunner 45
Smartwatch modeUp to 13 daysUp to 7 days
GPS-Only GNSS mode Up to 20 hoursUp to 13 hours
GPS-Only GNSS mode with musicUp to 7 hours
All-Systems GNSS mode + Multi-BandUp to 14 hours
All-Systems GNSS mode + Multi-Band with musicUp to 6 hours
SatIQ (AutoSelect) GNSS mode Up to 16 hours
SatIQ (AutoSelect) GNSS mode with musicUp to 6.5 hours

Activity profiles

Forerunner 45 does not have outdoor recreation profiles. Forerunner 265 does have outdoor recreation profiles that include Hiking, Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Classic Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing.

Forerunner 265 has additional running profiles for Outdoor Track Running, Treadmill Running, Trail Running, Virtual Running, Ultra Running.

Forerunner 265 has additional cycling profiles for Mountain Biking, eBiking, eMountain Biking.

Apart from these activity profiles, Forerunner 265 also offers detailed metrics for Gym profile and training features.

Safety features

Forerunner 265 includes safety features of spectator messaging.

Spectator messaging allows you to receive text or audio messages from your followers. Spectator messaging will use the network connectivity of the paired smartphone.

You can also get incident detection alert on compatible phones on Forerunner 265 watch.

Final verdict

Forerunner 265 is the latest variant in the Forerunner series. We prefer Forerunner 265 smartwatch over the Forerunner 45 for the following reasons:

  • AMOLED display
  • Full health tracking features
  • Full music functionality
  • Multi-band GPS and SatIQ tech
  • Longer battery life

There are obvious cost differences between a Forerunner 265 and Forerunner 45.

Forerunner 45, in our experience, is a good running watch for the first-time users. If your tracking needs are limited, a Forerunner 45 smartwatch should be a good fit.

Suggested reading

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