Last year, Garmin launched the third device of its fitness tracker cum smartwatch series Vivoactive, the Vivoactive 3. Though widely regarded as an alternative to the Apple Watch and Fitbit Ionic, the device lacked one big feature: onboard music storage. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018, the company announced its first wearable with space to save offline music: the Forerunner 645 Music.
The Forerunner 645 Music has a user available storage space of about 3.5GB. This means users can store approximately 500 songs on their device, much more than Fitbit Ionic's 300 songs limit. The songs can be transferred from a computer or a music streaming service. However, music download from streaming services is currently available for paid subscribers of iHeartRadio's streaming service only. The company plans to further expand the list in the future.
The Forerunner 645 Music also supports DRM-free music downloaded from iTunes and Windows Media Player. To transfer music to the device, one would need to install the Garmin Express desktop application on their PC. Once transferred, you can pair the Forerunner 645 Music with Bluetooth earbuds and listen to music without your smartphone.
As of now, none of the Garmin's wearables had offline music storage, one of the most sought-after features by serious runners and athletes. Now that the company has introduced a device with onboard music storage, the next big thing that Garmin could work on is standalone LTE access.
Last year, Garmin launched its contactless payment service, Garmin Pay, with the Vivoactive 3. However, the lack of onboard music storage was something that many users couldn't digest. Now with Forerunner 645 Music, users can enjoy music on their morning walk and pay for a cup of coffee on their way back, even if they didn't carry their phone and wallet.
The Forerunner will be available in two models: the regular 645 (without music storage) and the 645 Music. The Forerunner 645 will have a battery backup of seven days in smartwatch mode, without GPS and music. In GPS mode, with music, the device will last up to five hours, the company says. The Forerunner 645 Music is priced at $449 whereas the regular Forerunner 645 starts at $399.