Garmin Forerunner 965 vs Forerunner 945

Forerunner 965 and Forerunner 945 are smartwatches for elite runners. Forerunner 965 was released in March 2023 while the Forerunner 945 has been around since April 2019. Forerunner 945 is an old variant. But it continues to enjoy the trust of serious runners.

So, would you get a Forerunner 965 or the Forerunner 945? Let us look at the main features and capabilities of each of these Forerunner watches.

Main differences between Forerunner 965 and Forerunner 945

  • Forerunner 965 is costlier by $100. The list price of the Forerunner 965 is $599.99 and the Forerunner 945 is $499.99.
  • Forerunner 965 has an AMOLED display with better display brightness and clarity.
  • Forerunner 965 is a broader watch with a bigger display screen.
  • Forerunner 965 has a multi-band GPS. Forerunner 945 lacks this feature.
  • Forerunner 965 and Forerunner 945 offer comparable battery backup on various GPS modes.
  • Forerunner 965 has better device storage.
  • Forerunner 965 has touchscreen functionality. The touchscreen feature is missing on Forerunner 945.

We will review each of these differences in detail below.

Forerunner 965 smartwatch in Yellow and Gray bands

Display

Garmin Forerunner 965 has an AMOLED display. Forerunner 945 continues to use the MIP or memory-in-pixel screen.

The difference between AMOLED and MIP display technology is very significant.

  • The display resolution of Garmin Forerunner 965 is 454 x 454 pixels and the display resolution of Forerunner 945 is 240 x 2402 pixels only. The difference in the display resolution can be directly attributed to the AMOLED display type of Forerunner 965.
  • Forerunner 965 also supports the Always-on-mode (AOD) on the watch. Always-on-display is unavailable on Forerunner 945.
  • Additionally, the Forerunner 965 has an ambient light sensor.

Both watches do have a color display.

The only downside to AMOLED display and Always-on-display mode is heavier battery usage.

From the perspective of display specifications, Forerunner 965 is definitely ahead of the Forerunner 945.

Physical specifications

The Forerunner 965 smartwatch is slightly broader and marginally thinner than the Forerunner 945 series smartwatch. The exact hardware and physical details of both watches are shared below.

SpecificationsForerunner 965Forerunner 945
Watch dimensions47.2 x 47.2 x 13.2 mm47 x 47 x 13.7 mm
Display diameter1.4″ or 35.4 mm1.2″ or 30.4 mm
Recommended wrist circumference135-205 mm130-220 mm
Watch band size22 mm22 mm
Band materialSiliconeSilicone
Weight53 g50 g
Display GlassCorning Gorilla Glass 3 DXCorning Gorilla Glass 3 DX
Watch bodyFiber-enforced polymerFiber-enforced polymer
BezelTitaniumFiber-enforced polymer
Water rating5 ATM5 ATM
Device storage32 GB16 GB

The important specifications that you need to be aware of include the display glass and water rating of both watches. Corning Gorilla Glass 3 DX is a special type of display glass that comes with an anti-reflective coating to improve display readability, especially under sunlight.

Another important point to note is the titanium bezel of Forerunner 965. The titanium bezel gives a premium look to the Forerunner 965.

Battery

Forerunner 965 and 945 offer comparable battery backup on the various GPS modes. On the smartwatch mode, the difference is more substantial.

Battery backup on various modes of Forerunner 965 and 945 are given below for ready reference,

Watch modeForerunner 965 BackupForerunner 945 Backup
Smartwatch modeup to 23 daysup to 14 days
GPS mode without musicup to 31 hoursup to 36 hours
GPS mode with musicup to 10.5 hoursup to 10 hours
Multi-band GPS modeup to 19 hoursMulti-band not available
Multi-band GPS with musicup to 8.5 hoursMulti-band not available

Forerunner 965 and 945 have pretty decent battery backups. As such, the battery capacity does not pose any challenge on either of these watches. This is especially true while measuring activity data on GPS modes.

Forerunner 965 offers a unique battery saver mode to prolong battery life in special conditions. The battery saver mode is unavailable on the Forerunner 945 smartwatch.

Garmin Forerunner 945 smartwatch

GPS

One of the biggest differentiators between the Forerunner 965 and 945 has to be the availability of a multi-frequency positioning sensor on the Forerunner 965.

Multi-frequency positioning sensor helps in offering multi-band GPS support on Forerunner 965. With multi-band GPS, you can get GPS data from multiple satellites at the same time. This improves the accuracy of GPS data to a great extent.

Besides the multi-band GPS, the SatIQ technology on Forerunner 965 is another big differentiator. SatIQ helps in toggling between multi-band or single GPS modes automatically. If the quality of GPS data is good, SatIQ will not use the multi-band GPS feature as it causes severe battery drain.

The chief benefit of SatIQ technology is the conservation of battery life.

For serious runners, Forerunner 965 should be preferred on account of multi-band GPS support.

Activity profiles

There are incidental differences between Forerunner 965 and 945 in terms of various activity profiles offered.

Forerunner 965 offers additional profiles for outdoor recreation, cycling, swimming, running, and Gym. Not all people may need these. However, for elite runners, it may be worth checking the actual profiles offers on Forerunner 965 in comparison with Forerunner 945.

  • Gym profiles – Forerunner 965 has additional profiles for HIIT workouts and offers on-screen workout muscle maps.
  • Running profiles – Forerunner 965 also has an additional profile for Ultra running.
  • Outdoor recreation profiles – Forerunner 965 has additional profiles for Backcountry Skiing, Backcountry Snowboarding, XC Skate Skiing, Rowing, Snowshoeing, Mapping, Navigating, Tennis, Pickleball, Padel, Track Me, Project Waypoint, Disc Golf.
  • Cycling profiles – Forerunner 965 has additional profiles for Gravel Biking, Bike Commuting, Bike Touring, eBiking, eMountain Biking, Indoor Biking, Cyclocross.

Apart from these additional profiles, other activity profiles on Forerunner 965 and 945 are identical.

Final verdict

In this comparison guide, we have seen the major points of distinction between the Forerunner 965 and 945.

We believe that the Forerunner 965 is a better watch. The additional cost of Forerunner 965 is justified.

I will prefer Forerunner 965 over 945 for these two reasons:

  1. AMOLED Display
  2. Multi-band GPS and SatIQ technology

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