Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs Forerunner 245 - Which is better?

Written by Lucas B | published on 22.07.2019 | no comments |
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Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs Forerunner 245 - Which is better? The Garmin Vivoactive 3 and the Garmin Forerunner 245 are both powerful sports watches. There is a lot in common between the two. In detail, however, there are also decisive differences. Let's take a look at the Smartwaches in comparison and decide which Garmin is better suited for you. You can also go directly to my recommendation.

Comparison table

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Model Garmin vivoactive 3* Garmin Forerunner 245 Music*
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HR function 24/7 HR function 24/7 Yes HR function 24/7 Yes
Build in GPS Build in GPS Yes Build in GPS Yes
Battery (up to) Battery (up to) 7 days Battery (up to) 7 days
Battery life with GPS Battery life with GPS 13,0 hours Battery life with GPS 24,0 hours
Touchdisplay Touchdisplay Yes Touchdisplay No
Display Display Display Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Display, length Display, length 42,30 mm Display, length 42,30 mm
Display, width Display, width 42,30 mm Display, width 42,30 mm
Depth / thickness Depth / thickness 12,20 mm Depth / thickness 12,20 mm
Display size Display size 1,20 " Display size 1,20 "
Weight Weight 39 g Weight 39 g
Waterproof / Swimproof Waterproof / Swimproof Yes Waterproof / Swimproof Yes
Waterproof / Swimproof Waterproof / Swimproof 5ATM Waterproof / Swimproof 5ATM
Pulse oximeter Pulse oximeter No Pulse oximeter Yes
Barometer Barometer Yes Barometer No
Floors Floors Yes Floors No
Garmin Golf Garmin Golf Yes Garmin Golf No
Mobile payment Mobile payment Garmin Pay Mobile payment No
Changeable bands Changeable bands Yes Changeable bands Yes
View offer* Check price » Check price »
buy Garmin vivoactive 3
buy Garmin Forerunner 245 Music

Differences between Garmin Vivoactive 3 and Forerunner 245

Let's take a look at the two strong devices in comparison. I'll also look at some important similarities. At the end you will find my recommendation.

Pulse measurement

In terms of pulse measurement, we have no difference, but a clear commonality. Nevertheless, this point should definitely be mentioned, since it is elementary for watches.

Of course, both watches have a 24/7 pulse measurement directly on the wrist. The sensor from Garmin convinces in both cases with quality. In addition, a chest strap can also be connected to both devices to obtain a higher accuracy of the measured values.


Both the Garmin Vivoactive 3 and the Forerunner 245 have strong GPS clocks. Both have a built-in GPS and can therefore be used independently from the smartphone.

The difference, however, lies in the battery life. GPS is a power guzzler and is therefore not used by many manufacturers. 

With switched on GPS the battery life decreases with both devices clearly:
  • Garmin Vivoactive 3: 13 hours
  • Garmin Forerunner 245: 24 hours

This puts the Garmin Forerunner in the lead on this point.

Battery life

The general battery life, however, is identical for both devices. The battery lasts up to 7 days in simple mode. No music is played and no GPS is used.

The built-in modules of the Forerunner 245 are somewhat newer and work more energy-efficient. For this reason, the battery lasts a good deal longer even with GPS and music.

With GPS switched on and music playing, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 has a battery life of up to 5 hours. With the Forerunner, it's one hour longer at 6 hours under the same conditions.


Both watches have a 1.2 inch display (30.4 mm diameter) made of Corrning Gorilla Glass 3. However, there is a serious difference in the condition. The Vivoactive 3 has a touch display, which is not the case with the Forerunner 245. There the clock is controlled by buttons. Both watches weigh the same and weigh 38.5 grams.

Advantages of the Garmin Vivoactive 3

Let's look at aspects you only get with the Vivoactive 3 and which you have to do without with the Forerunner 245.

Altimeter & Pulse Oximeter

Although both clocks have built-in GPS, there are differences in the remaining sensors.

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 offers a bit more here. There is a barometric altimeter. This results in another difference. The Garmin Vivoactive 3 can count floors. This is not the case with the Forerunner 245.

In return, we get a pulse oximeter with the Forerunner 245, which is not built into the Vivoactive 3.

Contactless payment

With Vivoactive 3 you get the possibility to use Garmin Pay. This allows you to pay directly via the watch. This is also known as NFC payment. A very practical thing you don't have with the Forerunner 245. As purchase criterion I would not set this point however yet.


Logically, this point is only interesting for golfers. The Vivoactive 3 has a mode that is specially optimized for use in golf.

If you are a passionate golfer this can be very interesting for you. You get information about distances and important values in golf. This is not necessarily my specialty. The values can, however, help you to optimize your tactics.

Here it shows again that Garmin is very good at special functions and especially appeals to athletes. This is also a big difference between Garmin and Fitbit.

More sports

In addition to golf, the Vivoactive offers a few more sports than the Forerunner 245. That would be:
  • Climbing stairs
  • snowboarding
  • skiing
  • Stand Up Paddles (SUP)
  • Rowing in open water

Advantages of the Garmin Forerunner 245

Not only the Vivoactive 3 has advantages. The Forerunner 245 also stands out with a few functions and features.

Optimization for runners

One of the most important differences between the Vivoactive and Forerunner 245 is the optimization for runners. The Forerunner offers fewer sports, but a more pronounced profile for running units.

For some of the readings, however, the Garmin Forerunner 245 requires additional sensors, which you have to buy separately. For larger Garmin models, there are some measurements available without additional sensors.
  • Ground contact time
  • ground contact balance
  • Vertical vibration
  • Vertical ratio
  • cadence
  • stride length

With the Vivoactive you don't get these values with other sensors either.

GPS battery life

I have mentioned it before, but it is a big difference. The Garmin Forerunner 245 has a much better battery life when GPS is on. We're talking 24 hours instead of 13. The reason for this is the better GPS chip from Sony.

Which Garmin is better?

From my point of view the decision is relatively easy to make. If you like many different sports, the Garmin Vivoactive 3* is your choice.

If you are a runner, then the Forerunner 245* is very interesting for you. The watch is specially optimized for running and helps you improve your performance there. However, you should not overlook the fact that for some readings you also have to connect other sensors.

I personally prefer the Garmin Vivoactive 3*. The Smartwatch comes much closer to the flagship, the Garmin Fenix 5. Another reason for this is that I enjoy many different sports and enjoy a wide variety of activities.

In addition to the significantly more sports, the Vivoactive 3 also convinces with a touch screen.
buy Garmin vivoactive 3
buy Garmin Forerunner 245 Music
Tags: ProduktvergleichVS, Fitnesstracker, Garmin The article is written by and published on .
Geschrieben von Lucas B
Lucas ist einer der Betreiber und Entwickler von buffcoach. Obwohl er im Bereich der IT tätig ist, nehmen Sport und Ernährung einen sehr großen Anteil seines Lebens ein. Er trainiert im Bereich des Kraftsports nach Grundlagen von Crosstraining. Sein Ziel ist es stark und fit zu sein. Eine gesunde Ernährung ist damit eng verbunden. Sein Wissen teilt er auf im Magazin und Forum.
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