The Garmin Forerunner 745 and COROS APEX Pro are two popular multisport watches, tracking everything from triathlons to trail runs. Since these are some of the more premium watches, you want to make sure you’re making the right investment for your needs. In this post, I’ll be breaking down the similarities and differences of the two watches, and how to decide on one over the other.
As context for my review, I’m a GPS watch nerd who’s tested all the COROS models as well as the most popular Garmins (thanks to loaners or my friends). I train mainly for marathons, but have also dabbled in trail running and triathlons. I don’t own the COROS APEX Pro, but have had the chance to use one for a bit, and I bought a used Forerunner 745 specifically to review, which I’ll later pass on (I personally own and use the COROS APEX).
This post is not sponsored, but it does contain affiliate links/codes, meaning that I earn a small commission on any purchases, at no extra cost to you. Your support allows me to keep writing reviews like this one 🙂
Things in Common: Garmin Forerunner 745 and COROS APEX Pro
Before I go into the reasons to pick one watch over the other, here are some things the watches have in common.
Both these watches track a wide variety of activities, including:
|Run||Open water swim||Ski touring (backcountry)|
|Indoor run||Pool swim||Gym cardio|
|Track run||Flatwater (canoeing, kayaking, SUP)||Indoor rowing|
|Indoor bike||XC ski|
The also take care of your everyday fitness stats: steps, heart rate, sleep, VO2 max (aerobic performance capacity), SpO2 (blood oxygen saturation)
You’ll find more advanced training stats as well: training load, recovery time, aerobic and anaerobic training effect.
For those you like to wear their watches 24/7, the basic smartwatch features come in handy, including calendar, messages, calls.
If you’re planning to be out on the trails, you’ll appreciate the point-to-point navigation, allowing you to download routes and follow the breadcrumb trail in real time.
Finally, you can you can easily sync Strava to your COROS or Garmin app and automatically upload your workouts for those kudos.
Now, let’s get into the differences between the Forerunner 745 and APEX Pro!
Reasons to Choose the Garmin Forerunner 745
Some of the most noticeable differences are physical size and weight. The Forerunner 745 is smaller, at dimensions of 43.8 x 43.8 x 13.3 mm, while the APEX Pro is 47 x 47 x 13.4 mm. As a result, the Forerunner 745 weighs less, coming in at 47g, while the APEX Pro is 59g with the silicone band and 49g with the nylon band. The screen size and display resolution are exactly the same, however.
As someone with tiny wrists, I found the FR745 easier to wear, while the APEX Pro felt a bit clunky (though not terribly so). On the flip side, if you want a more rugged-looking watch, the APEX Pro is definitely your pick.
The Forerunner 745 also has a few more specialized tracking profiles, including:
- Virtual running and Indoor track running (the APEX Pro just has Indoor running)
- Mountain trail biking (the APEX Pro just has Biking)
- XC skate skiing (instead of just XC skiing)
- Stair stepping and Floor Climbing (the APEX Pro just has Gym cardio)
- Pilates and Yoga (also just Gym cardio on the APEX Pro)
If you like listening to music during your workouts, the Forerunner 745 is a better choice, as only the most expensive COROS watch—the VERTIX 2—can carry music. Garmin watches also work with Spotify Premium, Amazon music, Deezer, and iHeartRadio.
Because of the music functionality, you can even get Audio Prompts from your watch when connected to Bluetooth headphones (you can use the Garmin app if you don’t want to wear headphones). These prompts with announce your stats as you work out, including metrics like: pace, speed, heart rate, lap number, lap time.
Those going for PRs will appreciate PacePro, which creates a pacing plan for your races and runs, based on elevation and your goal time. You can also adjust the plan based on whether you want a positive, negative, or even split, and based on whether you want to take uphills easy or hard.
If you plan to exercise alone quite often, the safety features on Garmin may give you a peace of mind. LiveTrack allows you to share your location in real time with your loved ones, and Incident Detection will alert your emergency contacts if it detects an accident during running, biking, or walking/hiking. You have to be connected to your phone for both of these.
With the FR745, you can forget your wallet at home, as Garmin Pay allows you to make contactless payments with your watch. This is perfect for those long run days where you run out of water and need to pop into a gas station for a bottle (I’m not the only one, right?).
The Garmin app also comes with some useful tracking features that COROS currently lacks, including:
- Shoe mileage tracking (you can use Strava as an alternative)
- Menstrual tracking (you can use an app like Kindara as an alternative)
- Stress (there are even breathing exercises to help you relax)
- Body Battery (your energy levels)
You can learn more about the big differences between COROS vs. Garmin in my in-depth review.
Reasons to Choose the COROS APEX Pro
There are many reasons to choose the FR745 because of Garmin’s extra lifestyle tracking features. So, while this section on the APEX Pro is going to be a bit shorter, that doesn’t mean it’s an inferior watch. It’s simply more focused on training than lifestyle.
First things first, let’s talk price. The COROS APEX Pro has been discounted $100 since Spring 2022, so it’s $100 cheaper than the Forerunner 745. At $399, you’re probably not going to find a more capable GPS watch than the APEX Pro.
COROS’ claim to fame is its stellar battery life. With the APEX Pro, you get 30 days in smartwatch mode, 75 hours on UltraMax GPS mode, and 40 in regular GPS mode. With the Forerunner 745, you only get up to 7 days in smartwatch mode, 21 hours in UltraTrac mode, 16 in regular GPS mode, and 6 hours while using GPS with music.
I’ve also always had a great experience with COROS’ quick GPS signal. When I owned a Garmin, signal was fairly consistent, but I’d get a day or so each month where it would take several minutes for my watch to find signal. With COROS, the watches latch onto signal within seconds every time, and the APEX Pro is no different.
This watch also has some extra tracking profiles that the FR745 doesn’t, including:
- Mountain climbing
- Walk (counts steps instead of mileage)
- GPS cardio (more general tracking option for gym workouts)
While both the FR745 and APEX Pro have breadcrumb navigation, the APEX Pro takes it a step further and has full mapping (topographic and landscape). Within navigation and mapping, the APEX Pro also has touchscreen functionality, making it much easier to move the map around.
The touchscreen feature also applies when you scroll through workout data screens and any data widget history (heart rate, elevation, air pressure, temperature).
If you love documenting your adventures, the APEX Pro also comes with GoPro and Insta360 camera control, making it easier to get those action shots.
Finally, COROS has longer warranty at two years vs. Garmin’s one year, and they’re constantly releasing updates to existing watches. Mapping and GoPro control, for example, were added in Fall 2021, two years after the APEX Pro release date.
The Bottom Line
The Garmin Forerunner 745 is the better option for those who want both a lifestyle and fitness watch. You’ll be able to track a wide variety of activities and get advanced training metrics, all while also having music functionality, Garmin Pay, and a more discreet/everyday style design.
The COROS APEX Pro is more rugged physically, and is better-suited for more rugged outdoor activities. With out-of-this-world battery life and detailed mapping, it’s ideal for trail runners, hikers, randonneurs, and mountain climbers.
As a marathoner, I’m partial to COROS’ long battery life, but the APEX Pro is a little too large for me. If you like the APEX Pro but don’t need the mapping or touchscreen, I’d recommend the regular APEX (just wait until the APEX 2 is released, which is hopefully soon). That’s what I personally went with as someone who wanted long battery life, training/performance metrics, open water swimming, and breadcrumb navigation.
The APEX Pro is still an amazing watch though, and I’d say it’s one of the best value, if not the best, at its price. Full mapping and 40 hours of battery life at $399 is unheard of. For Garmin, you have to go the next level up to the Forerunner 955 to get maps, which retails at $499. (Speaking of which, that’s the same retail price as the FR745, so you should also consider the FR955, or try to find the FR745 used/discounted).
The Forerunner 745 is also a solid choice, and I was actually deciding between it and the COROS APEX last year. I previously owned a Garmin before I owned my COROS, and if I’d used the extra lifestyle features more (music, Garmin Pay, safety tracking), I probably would’ve stuck with Garmin. I just didn’t need them, so COROS’ longer battery life and quick GPS signal enticed me away.
Ultimately, it comes down to what matters most to you, and you may have to make tradeoffs depending on the features you plan to use most.
Where to Buy the Forerunner 745 and COROS APEX
If this review helped you, it would mean a ton if you purchased through my affiliate links (or used my affiliate code). I also want to encourage you to buy secondhand or from local running shops, if you can. I don’t get paid if you do that, so if you still want to show your appreciation financially, you’re welcome to buy me a virtual coffee.
Directly from Garmin/COROS
Here’s a free watch band code! For any watch on the COROS site (or any other watch), use my code COROS-Lily. You’ll be able to get a free, extra watch band or any other accessory (minus gift cards and the explorer pack). Just add both the accessory and the watch to your cart before applying the code at checkout. Please do not share this code on public forums.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments. Also let us know what you picked and why!