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A Garmin Forerunner is the only watch runners should buy on Black Friday

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There are better overall smartwatches out there, but nothing matches Garmin for running.

There are an unfathomable number of smartwatches on sale for Black Friday, but if you're a runner there is absolutely no substitute for spending good money on a Garmin. It's actually running Black Friday discounts on several of its smartwatch models, but if you're serious about your running, a Forerunner is the only way to go — a Vivoactive watch is nice for some, but it isn't a replacement for a Forerunner.

Runner's best friend

Garmin Forerunner 945

$499 at Amazon

There's no substitute for a runner.

When you want to take your running seriously, you get a Garmin. The Forerunner has the most accurate GPS tracking, and an incredible number of features that every runner will appreciate.

Garmin is well-known for having the most accurate watch GPS in the business, which is the biggest feature you're paying the big bucks for. But the Forerunner 945 rounds it out with an incredible set of fitness features: great heart rate monitoring, Vo2 max monitoring, aerobic/anaerobic tracking, heat and altitude adjustments, training management, workout load and stress tracking, and so much more.

On the practical side, the Forerunner 945 has full on-board mapping, 2-week battery life in full smartw atch mode (and a low-power mode for triathlon tracking), Spotify and Amazon Music playback over Bluetooth, and NFC payments. You're also not just buying a smartwatch, but you're buying into Garmin's excellent companion app on your phone, which lets you track every aspect of your fitness and activity, follow trends, train, analyze and set goals for everything.

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Garmin knows it's leading the pack with the highe-end dedicated running watches, so it doesn't drop discounts that often — this is a great deal.

But no matter how seriously you take your running, you still may not be interested in dropping a whopping $500 on a dedicated smartwatch. I get that, and that's why the Forerunner 645 is worth considering as well — it's on deep discount for Black Friday, down to a price that's competitive among all smartwatches and truly great for a Garmin.

The 645 brings the same great GPS tracking, heart rate monitoring, 1-week battery life, NFC payments, and access to the Garmin app for all of the same features on that end. It doesn't have music support unless you bump up another $45 for the dedicated "Music" version, but it arguably looks a bit nicer than the utilitarian 945.

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Great value

Garmin Forerunner 645

$199 at Amazon

This will get you most of the experience for less than half the price.

With a deep discount, the Forerunner 645 is a wonderful buy for runners. It doesn't go all-out with every feature, but then again it's extremely well priced and still does all of the basics that matter.

I specifically call out the Forerunners for their run-tracking ability, because they really aren't great overall smartwatches. If you care about general fitness and activity tracking, along with a better screen and smartphone connectivity, there are better picks out there — namely Samsung's Galaxy Watch Active 2, Fitbit Versa 2, and any of the latest Wear OS offerings. But for someone who wants to take their running and biking seriously, being able to accurately and consistently track those activities will trump all other features.

Original Article

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