Garmin Forerunner 965 vs Forerunner 945 LTE

Forerunner 965 is the latest in the series of Forerunner watches in 2023. Forerunner 945 LTE has been around since June 2021.

Forerunner 965 and Forerunner 945 LTE make for an interesting comparison study as both watches cost the same.

What do you gain with a Forerunner 965? Or, should you buy the ever dependable Forerunner 945 LTE?

We look at the Forerunner 965 and Forerunner 945 LTE watches in a detailed study below.

Main differences

  • Forerunner 945 LTE has cellular connectivity. You need a cellular plan to make calls right off the watch, without the need to carry the paired smartphone at all times.
  • Forerunner 965 has an AMOLED display while the Forerunner 945 LTE has MIP (Memory in Pixel) screen.
  • Forerunner 965 supports multi-band GPS mode to achieve reliable GPS connectivity.
  • Forerunner 965 is a bigger, broader, and thicker watch.
  • Forerunner 965 has a touchscreen feature and an ambient light sensor.
  • Forerunner 965 has double the storage of Forerunner 945 LTE.

You will notice that the Forerunner 965 has quite a few additional features. Forerunner 945 LTE, however, offers LTE connectivity directly from the watch.

We look at the main capabilities and points of distinction between Forerunner 965 and Forerunner 945 LTE below.

Garmin Forerunner 965


The biggest differentiator between Forerunner 965 and Forerunner 945 LTE is the AMOLED display of the Forerunner 965.

AMOLED display makes the screen brighter and more vibrant. Because of the AMOLED display, the Forerunner 965 gets the following advantages over the Forerunner 945 LTE:

  • Much better display resolution of the Forerunner 965
  • Always-on-display mode (AOD) is supported by the Forerunner 965

Apart from the AMOLED display, Forerunner 965 has a bigger display screen.

We have mentioned the display specifications of Forerunner 965 and Forerunner 945 LTE below.

Display SpecificationsForerunner 965Forerunner 945 LTE
Display lensCorning Gorilla Glass 3 DXCorning Gorilla Glass 3 DX
Display size1.4″ or 36 mm1.2″ or 30 mm
Display typeAMOLEDMIP (Memory in pixel)
Display resolution454 x 454 pixels240 x 240 pixels
Pixel density459 ppi283 ppi
LED FlashlightNoNo
Color screenYesYes
Ambient light sensorYesNo

Another point that merits your attention is that both watches use the DX coated Corning Gorilla Glass 3. DX coated glasses contain an anti-reflective coating.

This coating improves readability and screen contrast ratio for a better user experience.

For its AMOLED display, Forerunner 965 offers better display performance and experience than the Forerunner 945 LTE.

Physical specifications

We find the Forerunner 965 to be a broader and thicker watch.

The hardware specifications of both watches are shared below for ready reference.

SpecificationsForerunner 965Forerunner 945 LTE
Watch size47.2 x 47.2 x 13.2 mm44.4 x 44.4 x 13.9 mm
Thickness13.2 mm13.9 mm
Watch weight53 g49 g
Watch bodyFiber-enforced polymerFiber-enforced polymer
Bezel materialTitaniumFiber-enforced polymer
Band typeSiliconeSilicone
Band size22 mm22 mm
Band optionsSiliconeSilicone
Android compatibilityYesYes
iOS compatibilityYesYes
Device storage32 GB16 GB
Water rating5 ATM5 ATM
Swimming profilesPool Swimming, Open Water Swimming, Swimming/RunningPool Swimming, Open Water Swimming, Swim running
GPSGPS, GLONASS and GalileoGPS, GLONASS and Galileo
Wireless ConnectivityANT+, WiFi, BluetoothANT+, WiFi, Bluetooth, and LTE
NFCGarmin PayGarmin Pay
Charging deviceGarmin plug chargerGarmin plug charger
Compass, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, ThermometerYesYes

Forerunner 965 has a more premium feel and appearance. The titanium bezel gives the watch a unique look.

Forerunner 965’s higher device storage and titanium bezel are two important differentiators between Forerunner 965 and Forerunner 945 LTE.

Additionally, the LTE connectivity of Forerunner 945 LTE is not available on the Forerunner 965 smartwatch.

Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE


Forerunner 965 comes with a multi-frequency positioning sensor and SatIQ technology sensors.

The multi-frequency positioning sensor helps in providing multi-band GPS capability to the Forerunner 965 smartwatch.

The advantage of using multi-band GPS is that you can get GPS data from multiple satellites at the same time. If the GPS signal is weak, multi-band GPS helps in getting data and signals from alternate satellites of the same satellite system.

However, the downside to using multi-band GPS over an extended period of time is the severe battery drain caused by it. To resolve battery issues, Garmin has added SatIQ technology to the watch.

SatIQ automatically toggles multi-band GPS mode on or off. If the GPS signal is poor, SatIQ will use the multi-band GPS mode.

When the GPS signal is of good strength, SatIQ will turn the multi-band GPS mode off and use the simple GPS mode.

A combination of multi-band GPS and SatIQ technology gives Forerunner 965 a much more reliable GPS performance.

Forerunner 945 LTE does not have multi-band GPS or SatIQ technology.

Forerunner 965 has much better and reliable GPS performance due to multi-band GPS technology.

LTE connectivity

Forerunner 945 LTE has cellular connectivity in the watch. You can make calls directly from the watch. On a similar basis, people can reach you by sending you text and audio messages over the LTE connection.

For LTE connectivity to work, you will need a valid cellular connection service and plan for the Forerunner 945 LTE.

Forerunner 965 does not provide LTE connectivity from the watch.

Having said that, Forerunner 965 uses a spectator messaging feature. Your followers can send text and audio messages to you using the network connectivity of the paired smartphone.

You will not miss the LTE connectivity on Forerunner 965 as it uses the network connection of the paired smartphone.

Miscellaneous features

Apart from the main factors stated above, there are a few miscellaneous feature differences between the Forerunner 965 and Forerunner 945 LTE.

  • Forerunner 965 has additional profiles for outdoor recreation.
  • Forerunner 965 has additional cycling profiles.
  • Forerunner 965 has additional features for running and training.
  • Forerunner 945 LTE has ‘Assistance plus’ feature that requires LTE subscription.
  • If you enable Assistance Plus on your LTE-capable Garmin device, you can alert the Garmin Response Center if you need help. A Garmin Response team member will attempt to contact emergency services on your behalf and may call one or more of your emergency contacts.


Forerunner 965 and Forerunner 945 LTE have a list price of $599.99. There is no difference in cost of the two smartwatches.

Final verdict

In our experience, the Forerunner 965 makes for a compelling buy decision. The primary factors that sway the decision for Forerunner 965 are:

  • AMOLED display of Forerunner 965
  • Multi-band GPS and SatIQ technology

For the Forerunner 945 LTE, there are a couple of factors that work in its favor:

  • Assistance plus feature becomes a reality with a valid LTE subscription.
  • LTE connectivity does bring a certain peace of mind for the watch owner.

Both watches look good for a long term purchase.

Suggested reading

If you are looking for a new smartwatch, these comparison studies may help you find the watch you are looking for:

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