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DUEL: Garmin Forerunner 255 vs. Garmin Forerunner 955

Tags: Fight | Garmin | Smart

27.6.2022 | 8 MIN | 2x comment

Do you think it's foolish to let these watches compete against one another? False. Although the Garmin Forerunner 255 and Forerunner 955 are from a slightly different price range,who would walk out of this duel a winner is still... Unclear.

The Forerunner line has always focused on running, and therefore triathlon, watches and it has always been supported by the equipment of the models and their surprising lightness. It only makes sense that a marathon watch cannot be half a ton and must be efficient and aerodynamic.

Recently, the Forerunner 255 and Forerunner 955 watches have entered the market, which caused a wave of enthusiasm, but also a slight disgruntlement, with regard to the FR 955. That's why, today, we will put these two up to a test in direct combat.

To be clear, the comparison will be run with the Forerunner 955, not the Forerunner 955 Solar and the Forerunner 255, not the Forerunner 255S. If you haven't read the reviews on these models yet, I would recommend starting with those.

Garmin Forerunner 955 review – Satisfied only with the best
Garmin Forerunner 955 review – Satisfied only with the best

Garmin Forerunner 255/255S Review – Loaded mid-price athlete
Garmin Forerunner 255/255S Review – Loaded mid-price athlete

Noticeable visual shift of both models

Wearing Forerunner used to be a bit embarrassing, and it sure wasn't fit for a day-to-day, casual wear. But times are changing, and their design is becoming more and more sophisticated.

Na pouzdře FR 255 je největším překvapením barevný kroužek po obvodu, protože ten se poprvé objevil na Forerunnerech 935, pak 945 ale na 955 už ne a ukradl si ho pro sebe mladší sourozenec.

The biggest surprise on the FR 255 case is the colored ring around its perimeter. It first appeared on the Forerunner 935, and then on the 945 model, but not on the 955 model, where its younger sibling took the liberty of snatching it away.

Zabroušené tlačítko a sexy kroužek

The grounded button of 255 and that sexy ring

It's a pretty stylish feature, so I'm surprised that the FR 955 didn't get it too, following the example of its predecessors. The "higher" model may have not gotten the ring, however, what it /did/ get is a neat inscription that says "Forerunner" on its side with this sporty stripe. Overall, I rate the look of the watch very positively.

If we take a closer look at the buttons, we find that the Forerunner 255 has steel buttons (ground at the top), while the FR955 already has them made of titanium. And speaking of buttons, the function of each individual button is located either on the bezel in the case of the "higher" model, while on the "lower" one you can find it on the ring around the display.

FR 245 were 42 millimeters and FR 945 were 47 mm. The change occurred in both new models where the lower one is 45.6 mm and the higher 46.5 mm. You won't notice much difference millimeter-wise, but in height you surely will. The FR 255 is noticeably lower and fits better on the wrist than its higher Forerunner sibling.

Tlačítka u FR 955 mají vygravírované základní nastavení

The buttons on the FR 955 have engraved basic settings

Let's see a detailed millimeter and weight chart in the table below (compared to the older models):

Garmin Forerunner 255
Garmin Forerunner 955
Case diameter 45,6 mm 46,5 mm
Case height 12,9 mm
14,4 mm
Strap width 22 mm 22 mm
Display size 1,3" 1,3"
Display resolution 260 x 260 px 260 x 260 px
49 g
53 g

Display makes for a big surprise

If you read the table thoroughly, I'm sure you didn't miss the display size – which both me and my partner Dominik were (still are) absolutely enthralled by. We could've predicted that the FR 955 would get a larger display, and that it would have a touchscreen like the Fenix 7 – that prediction was pretty spot on – but the fact that the 255's would get the same large display as the higher model, that one was unexpected. It may not be a touchscreen, which I find to be an advantage, since the screen rendering got incredibly fast.

So the higher model has a touchscreen, where the functions are so far very similar to the Fenix's. But it has a few shortcomings, like missing touch gestures and a bit impaired reactivity. They also lost the haptic response.

Honestly, I rarely use the touch with the Fenix ​​and I wouldn't mind it completely gone with the Forerunner, and so it appears to me that the "Speedy Gonzales" Forerunner 255 definitely takes the win.

Senzor gunners

There is nothing to add, nor is there anything to remove, at least if you are serious about sports. And again, the FR 255 gets the higher model to its knees with the same sensor equipment. Here you will find everything you need for training in any performance category. Barometer, GPS, heart rate monitor, pulse oximeter, gyroscope, thermometer, compass, just about everything.

If you have already read a review from a colleague Dominik, or seen the youtube video, you know that we are excited. But the longer I observe, the more excited I am for the Forerunner 255!

The accuracy of both the models shouldn't even be a subject of discussion. I think these are the most accurate watches to measure both GPS and heart rate in general. Both models are as light as a feather (ideal for the heart rate measuring) and with a multi-band – just pure sensation that makes the accuracy pretty much perfect.

But since the lower model costs less, and is capable of very much the same as the higher one, where the triumph lies this time. Forerunner 255.

Sport lives in each bit of DNA

If you imagine the DNA of a watch, the double helix structure, the molecules form the word "sport" in each section. And in fact, sports bring the first noticeable differences between these watches to the table. They're both absolute pros in the sports area but the Forerunner 955 has a little wider range of features. Now, simply and clearly, the Forerunner 955 also has:

  • Training readiness – tells you how ready we are for the next training based on many factors
  • Temperature and height acclimatisation
  • Real Time Stamina – shows you in activity monitoring how long you can last in such a load. The expression of perseverance is either about the number of kilometers, time or percentages
  • Garmin and Strava segments
  • Map data and route planning directly in the watch
  • Golf features and connections to the Garmin Golf app
  • MTB Grit / Flow - Difficulty and fluency of riding a MTB
  • Missing certain sports activities

Then there is the very upsetting absence of training readiness functions and real-time stamina, which the lower model could have had. The other things are more of replaceable trifles.

The map data are an advantage but I still think that it is not entirely needed. The lower model has been enriched with curve navigation (on a blind map), so with the help of an imported GPX file, you can also be navigated with the Forerunner 255. You just won't see it in pretty colors. :-)

Don't be frightened by the missing activities, though, there are still some fun bits such as bouldering, rock climbing, swim / run, tennis or about a thousand of cycling activities, which only got to 955.

The battery difference is ridiculous at best

Everyone had big hopes for the Forerunner 955. If anything, at least the endurance was expected to be on par with the Fenix ​​7, but that didn't happen even in the slightest. The expectations for FR 255, on the other hand, were far lower, and judging by the battery only, it deserves a proper trophy, because the endurance is just incredible. Take a look at the table and laugh at the Forerunner 955 with me.

Garmin Forerunner 955
Garmin Forerunner 255
Smartwatch mode
15 days
14 days
All satellite systems + music
8,5 hrs
6,5 hrs
All satellite systems + multiple frequency bands
20 hrs
16 hrs
Pouze GPS GPS only
42 hrs 
30 hrs
80 hrs 
54 hrs

Yes, the Forerunner 955 has a slightly higher battery life than the FR 255, but we can all agree on the same one thing. That stamina is just weak. On the contrary, the FR 255 obliterated the Forerunner 245Forerunner 745 and, compared to the 955, it is not falling behind at all. So thumbs up, and this category's victory goes to the lower model.

Both can pay, play music or receive notifications

Both models do not lack anything from clever functions. When it comes to the Forerunner 255 Music version, it also has a music player.

Both models, therefore, offer contactless payments and a music player (the FR 255 model without the "Music" part in its name also has Garmin Pay). But their music storages differ. The higher model can fit up to 2 000 songs, while the lower model only about five hundred, but even so, who listens to more than 500 songs at once? Streaming services are supported in both devices.

And then the basics, of course. Notifications (the option of responding straight from the watch available only for Android users), alarm, stopwatch, "Find my phone" or a security assistant even. The last function only works if your phone is connected – similarly to "Find my phone", but that's obvious. :-)

Fresh wind of fitness functions led by VST

Slightly older, but still fairly new feature such as health snapshot, of course, makes an appearance in both models. However, there were also innovations such as morning reports and all-night heart rate variability measurements.

The first thing you will see on your watch in the morning is the morning report, which you can set up according to yourself. By default, there is a sleep overwiev, recommended training for the day, and that night VST. Garmin now measures variability overnight and in the morning it "spits out" the average VST value and the maximum night value. Based on this information, you can refine your training and better monitor your health.

You may be thinking that the differences are so far minimal, and you'd be right, but...

Final evaluation

It's forerunner 255. Definitely. As I said above, the more I got into the issue, the more clear it became that the Forerunner 255 would be the winner. What they did with this model is unbelievable and I'm really happy about it, while with the FR 955, I'm mainly disappointed. It's still a premium watch (FR 955), but there's something missing, some spark, that'd truly sell the watch.

For me, the biggest advantage of the FR 255 is its battery life, barometer, curve navigation and card payment. These 4 things make this model simply the best middle-class watch for sports with a very pleasant price tag, that easily towers above some of the higher models.

And what does my colleague Dominik have to say?

Although the Forerunner 955 is a cult series that has its own fans, it is more likely they get it "out of habit". Forerunner 255, on the contrary, blew a hole in the sports smart watch market (in the best way possible). It offers premium smart features, as well as sports ones, very long battery life, and as a cherry on top there is a tag that says "middle price class". The FR 255 covers a huge target market and it's only a matter of time before customers come flooding the stores.

Who is the winner in your book? Forerunner 255 nebo Forerunner 955?

You may also like:

Garmin Fenix 7 review – I am Fenix the 7, and who is better than me?
Garmin Fenix 7 review – I am Fenix the 7, and who is better than me?

Garmin Forerunner 945 – After 4000 kilometers
Garmin Forerunner 945 – After 4000 kilometers

Heart rate sensor – everything about it and how can it help you
Heart rate sensor – everything about it and how can it help you


Krisago 697 days, respond
Garmin 255 take the win!
Jasonago 475 days, respond
It's all about the size and look. The FR 255 is sharper, sportier, one I like to wear. The 955 is too tall, not certain if it would fit with dress shirts. It is just a bit too big with small wrists. The mapping is incredible with street details but I have that on my cycling computer, and although it would be a win for trail running, they need to make it slimmer is my thought(s).

Watches mentioned in the article