Fitbit, Apple, TomTom and Samsung all offer sports trackers that have space for music, so it was only a matter of time before Garmin got in the act. And the Forerunner 645M does more than fill a gap in Garmin’s line-up – it could actually be the best all-round option for runners.

That’s because, as well as adding smartwatch features like music playback and Garmin Pay (the latter of which should become increasingly useful as Garmin gets more banks signed up throughout 2018), the Forerunner 645M offers almost all of the advanced running features of the excellent Forerunner 935. That includes providing feedback on your training status (whether you’re overtraining for example) and effect (how much you improve your aerobic and anaerobic fitness with each training session), a virtual race pacer, and the ability to follow routes on the watch.

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All these features are crammed into a stylish watch with a metal bezel that resembles the Garmin Vivoactive 3 smartwatch, but unlike the Vivoactive 3 the Forerunner 645M uses buttons rather than a touchscreen. That might sound like a negative, but for the sweaty runner it can be the exact opposite. Buttons are far easier to use during exercise, because sweat and rain don’t play well with touchscreens.

The Forerunner 645M will have space for 500 songs, which will need to be loaded onto the watch from a computer. You will also be able to listen to podcasts, and Deezer+ premium users will be able to download offline playlists to the Forerunner 645M.

Battery life is expected to clock in at around seven days in smartwatch mode, 12 hours of GPS, and five hours of GPS plus music.

As well as the Forerunner 645M, Garmin is releasing a version of the watch without music – the Forerunner 645 – for those who like the stylish design and top-notch running features, but don’t give a fig about having space for tunes on their watch.

The Forerunner 645M costs £399.99, and the Forerunner 645 £349.99. That positions it between the Forerunner 935 (£469.99) and Vivoactive 3 (£279.99), and it’s fair to say the 645M is a near-perfect hybrid of both those watches. The Forerunner 935 has a few more features up its sleeve and a massive battery life (24 hours of GPS use), but doesn’t have the smart features of the 645M, which nabs the stylish design and swappable bands of the Vivoactive 3 while substantially upgrading its features.

£399, pre-order on garmin.com

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