Unlike its predecessor, the Forerunner 245, the Forerunner 255 is a true multisport GPS smartwatch featuring both auto and manual multisport activities. Moreover, having a lot of features in common with the higher-end Forerunner 955, it’s a cheaper alternative. The Forerunner 255 shares a lot of features in common with the 955, it also welcomes many of the newly added health tracking features like Morning report, HRV status, onscreen animated muscle maps and running power. Nonetheless, the Forerunner 955 is a more equipped smartwatch. In this post, we’ll compare the differences between the Garmin Forerunner 255 and 955 to help you choose your next multisport GPS smartwatch.
Garmin Forerunner 255 Music vs 955 Forerunner Full Specifications
|Garmin Forerunner 255||Garmin Forerunner 255 Music||Garmin Forerunner 955|
|Device name||Garmin Forerunner 255||Garmin Forerunner 255 Music||Garmin Forerunner 955|
|Device type||Fitness/GPS smartwatch||Fitness/GPS smartwatch||Fitness/GPS smartwatch|
|Predessesor||Garmin Forerunner 245||Garmin Forerunner 245||Garmin Forerunner 945|
|Released date||June, 2022||June, 2022||June, 2022|
|Display type||Transflective memory-in-display (MIP)||Transflective memory-in-display (MIP)||Transflective memory-in-display (MIP)|
|Display size||1.3 inches||1.3 inches||1.3 inches|
|Display resolution||260 x 260 pixels||260 x 260 pixels||260 x 260 pixels|
|Pixel density||282.8 PPI||282.8 PPI||282.8 PPI|
|Input type||5 buttons, (Not touchscreen)||5 buttons, (Not touchscreen)||5 Physical buttons|
|Customizable watch face||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dimension||45.6 x 45.6 x 12.9 mm||45.6 x 45.6 x 12.9 mm||46.5 x 46.5 x 14.4 mm|
|Weight||49 grams||49 grams||52 grams|
|Casing material||Fiber-reinforced polymer||Fiber-reinforced polymer||Fiber-reinforced polymer with polymer rear cover|
|Bezel Material||Fiber-reinforced polymer||Fiber-reinforced polymer||Fiber-reinforced polymer|
|Interchangeable band||Yes, 22mm||Yes, 22mm||Yes, 22mm|
|Screen protection||Corning Gorilla Glass 3||Corning Gorilla Glass 3||Corning Gorilla Glass DX|
|Water resistant/Protection||Yes, 5ATM||Yes, 5ATM||Yes, 5ATM|
|Swim-proof||Yes, recommended||Yes, recommended||Yes, recommended|
|Memory card slot||No||No||No|
|Bluetooth||Yes, and ANT+||Yes, and ANT+||Yes, and ANT+|
|Payment system||Garmin Pay||Garmin Pay||Garmin pay|
|Text response||Yes||Yes||Yes (android only)|
|Heart rate monitoring||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Menstrual cycle tracking||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Under-water heart rate tracking||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|On-screen workout modes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Preloaded sport modes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Operating system (OS)||Proprietary OS||Proprietary OS||Proprietary OS|
|Type of battery||Non-removable Li-ion battery||Non-removable Li-ion battery||Non-removable Li-ion battery|
|Battery life||Smartwatch mode: Up to 14 days|
GPS-only mode: Up to 30 hrs
|Smartwatch mode: Up to 14 days|
GPS-only mode: Up to 30 hrs
GPS mode with music: Up to 6.5hrs
|Smartwatch mode: Up to 15 days|
GPS mode without music: Up to 42 hrs
|Charging type||USB charging cable||USB charging cable||USB charging cable|
|Charging time||About 1-2 hours||About 1-2 hours||About 1-2 hours|
|Battery saver mode||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Compatibility||Android and iOS|
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|Android and iOS|
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|Android and iOS|
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|Companion app||Garmin connect IQ||Garmin connect IQ||Garmin connect IQ|
|Garmin Forerunner 255||Garmin Forerunner 255||Garmin Forerunner 955|
|USB charging cable||USB charging cable||USB charging cable|
|Quick start guide||Quick start guide||Quick start guide|
|NOTE: We can't guarantee that all the information on this table are 100% correct. Read full disclaimer. Please, report an error.|
|Official Site||Official Site||Official Site|
Difference Between Forerunner 255 and 955
In a nutshell, the difference between the Forerunner 255 and 955 is that the latter is a better-equipped smartwatch. The Forerunner 955 has a bigger display size, longer battery life, higher storage capacity, and more activity-tracking features.
Meanwhile, the Forerunner 255 is available in two models, the Standard and Music edition. The music edition allows you to add music to the watch which you can listen to offline. The Forerunner 955 also comes in two models, the Standard and Solar models. The Solar model has a longer battery life than the standard edition, as a result, it’s priced higher.
Garmin Forerunner 255 vs Forerunner 955 Features
Starting with the design, the Forerunner 255 looks very much like the Forerunner 955. It spots the same circular design with 5 physical buttons. The only thing that can help you differentiate these two by merely looking at them is that the Forerunner 955 has an inner marking around the edge of the bezel.
Beyond the appearance, the Forerunner 255 is a slightly more compact smartwatch and weighs slightly less than the Forerunner 955. Going by the average size and weights of smartwatches I have reviewed, I consider these two lightweight and compact. None of these should weigh you down.
The case material is the same for both watches. Moreover, both watches come with silicone straps that can be swapped for another one of your choice.
While the Forerunner 255 spots a Corning Gorilla Glass 3, the Forerunner 955 spots a slightly more durable Corning Gorilla Glass DX.
Like many other Garmin smartwatches, both the Forerunner 255 and 955 are rated 5ATM which means that you can wear this to the swimming pool or to the shower (diving isn’t recommended).
Both watches support tracking for open water and pool swimming. Each of these two will track your pace, distance, calories, strokes, swim efficiency (SWOLF) and also detect your stroke type while swimming.
Both watches spot a transflective memory-in-pixel display that is easy to read. You shouldn’t have any problem reading complications on the screen even under direct sunlight.
Display size is the same for both watches except for the 41mm unit of the Forerunner 255 which has a 1.1 inches display size.
Navigation is easy with 5 physical buttons on both watches. Moreover, touchscreen support was introduced to the Forerunner 955 which no doubt makes it a lot easier to operate. It is the first smartwatch in the Forerunner 9 series to have a touch-sensitive screen.
So as per display, we have two watches that have very easy-to-read displays and are also easy to operate.
The Forerunner 255 and 955 are both equipped with the same number of sensors, however, the Forerunner 955 can track more activities than the 255. Apart from the battery life, price, storage capacity and display size, the number of activities each of these can track is one of the main differences between these two. The Forerunner 955 is in the same league as the Fenix 7 and Epix series.
Nonetheless, both watches will track all the basics like your steps, calories, intensity minutes, respiratory rate, stress, 24/7 heart rate monitoring and track your sleep in all four stages of sleep. There are many more activities each of these can track, these are listed in the table below.
Both watches feature the high-end Garmin Elevate v4 heart rate sensor, the same sensor on all recently released Garmin watches. This sensor is more advanced than its predecessor, thus resulting in a more accurate activity tracking.
Another interesting feature is the new multi-band GPS sensor that enables increased location tracking accuracy. This is in addition to inbuilt GPS with support for three satellite systems; GLONASS, Galileo and GPS.
Both watches also feature popular features like the health snapshot that gives you an overview of vital health metrics consisting of pulse ox level, respiratory rate, heart rate variability and stress.
Interesting features like the onscreen animated workout are also present on both watches, and this can significantly save you some money on gym class subscriptions. You also get the relatively new onscreen animated muscle maps that indicate what muscles are targeted during a workout.
Newly added features like the morning report that gives you an overview of your training and recovery performance is also present on both Forerunner 255 and 955. Others include the new HRV status and running power which now doesn’t require a third-party app.
In terms of security features, both the Forerunner 255 and 955 feature incidental fall detection that can activate Assistance, a feature that will allow the watch to send a message with your location and name to a preset emergency contact when your phone is nearby.
Both watches also feature LiveTrack which allows friends to follow your workout and there is Live Event Sharing which allows you to share your current workout stats with friends. All these security features require your phone to be close by except for the Forerunner 945 LTE.
Meanwhile, the Forerunner 255 lacks Spectator messaging which is present on the 955. With Spectator messaging, your LiveTrack followers can send you audio and text messages during a workout (phone must be nearby).
You can see that most of the newly introduced features are present on the Forerunner 255 despite being a lower-end device.
- Talking about what activity tracking features are available on Forerunner 955 but not on the 255, the 955 features more gym profiles like breathwork, indoor biking and bouldering.
- The Forerunner 955 also features heat and altitude acclamation that shows the temperature and current elevation gain. There is also the real-time stamina feature that helps you manage your exertion during a workout so that you don’t overwork yourself.
- Other training features available on the Forerunner 955 but not on 255 include Garmin live segments, Strava live segments, and road-trip course creator for running and cycling workouts.
- Trendline popularity routing is also available on the Forerunner 955. This feature gives you access to billions of data collected from other users that allows you to find the best route and help you avoid busy routes. It’s akin to Google maps suggesting the best route, only that in this case other users have actually followed these routes and that should give you some form of safety.
- Meanwhile, while the Morning report is present on the Forerunner 255, it lacks training readiness which is available on Forerunner 955. Training readiness gives you an insight into your recovery status which is based on your recent stress level, sleep, recovery, and heart rate variability. This feature is quite similar to body battery energy monitor that tells you if it’s a good day to train.
- One major difference that separates the Forerunner 955 from the 255 is the availability of preloaded topographical maps as well as road and trail maps. These are offline maps that come in handy in helping you plan your outdoor workout more efficiently. You can also download more maps, and with touchscreen support, it will be a lot easier to access maps. Routable cycling maps plus advanced cycling dynamics are also present on the 955.
- The Forerunner 955 also features more outdoor recreational profiles, including xc skate skiing, kayaking, snowshoeing, mapping, navigating, tennis, pickleball, padel, track me and project waypoint.
- Climbpro is present on Forerunner 955 but not on the 255. This feature can help you achieve more in your hiking, running and climbing activities. It shows you upcoming climbs, at what distance they occur as well as the gradient.
- There are also more running profiles on the Forerunner 955 than on the 255, this includes gravel biking, bike commuting, bike touring and cyclocross.
So in essence, while the Forerunner 255 has a lot of activity tracking features including most of the newly added features, the 955 has even more which in summary include more activity profiles, preloaded maps, Climbpro, real-time stamina, live segments, trendline popularity routing and Spectator messaging.
In terms of storage, the Forerunner 955 has 32GB storage compared to 4GB of the Forerunner 255. On both watches, you can add your personal music, and you can also add music from popular music services like Amazon Music, Deezer and Spotify.
Like every other Gamin smartwatch, both the 255 and 955 will alert you by vibration when you get a message on your phone (your phone must be nearby of course). You can also reply to messages using preset quick replies. This is only supported for Android smartphones.
The battery life of the Forerunner 255 and 955 also differs, the 955 has a longer battery life. With the 955, you get up to 15 days of battery life compared to about 12 days with the Forerunner 255. It’s even longer with the Forerunner 955 Solar which offers up to 20 days of battery life. Both watches have customizable battery-saver modes that can get you a little longer battery life.
Forerunner 255 (41mm) vs (46mm)
The Forerunner 255 is available in two sizes; 41mm and 46mm. Both sizes have the same features, price and approximately the same battery life. The only difference is that the 46mm unit has a larger display size of 1.3 inches compared to the 1.1 inches of The 41mm unit. Also, while the 41mm unit is compatible with 18mm straps, the 46mm model is compatible with 22mm straps.
The 46mm model is available in tidal blue and slate gray colors, while the 41mm model is available in light pink and powder gray colors.
Both the 46mm and 41mm models are available in music and no-music models.
The Forerunner 255 music comes with a 4GB storage capacity with about 3GB available that allows you to load music onboard the watch. As a result, the music edition is priced at $400 compared to the non-music edition price of $350
Forerunner 955 vs 955 Solar
The Forerunner 955 is available in two models, Forerunner 955 standard model and Forerunner 955 Solar model. These two are the same in every aspect except for differences in the battery life. With the Standard edition, you get up to 15 days long battery life compared to up to 20 days with the Solar edition. Thus, the Solar model is priced at $600 compared to the $500 of the standard edition.
Forerunner 255 or 955 – Which is Right For You?
From all indications, Forerunner 255 and 955 are great multisport GPS smartwatches for advanced activity tracking that can significantly increase your workout productivity.
However, the Forerunner 955 is a more advanced smartwatch. It has touchscreen support that makes navigation a lot easier. It also has a longer battery life, more storage space plus more activity-tracking features. Moreover, you get preloaded maps that come in very handy for your outdoor workouts.
So, if you have the budget, the Forerunner 955 is a better bargain than the 255. However, if you have a lower budget but still want a comprehensive multisport GPS smartwatch plus the ability to choose your preferred size, the Forerunner 255 is no doubt a fantastic smartwatch as opined in this DC Rainmaker’s review.
Garmin Forerunner 255 vs 955 Activity Tracking Features Comparison
ACTIVITY TRACKING FEATURES
|Garmin Forerunner 255 (Non-music)||Garmin Forerunner 955|
|Connect IQ (Downloadable watch faces, data fields, widgets, and apps)||Yes||Yes|
|On-device Connect IQ store||Yes||Yes|
|Text response/reject phone calls with text (Android only)||Yes||Yes|
|Real-time settings sync with Garmin Connect™ mobile||Yes||Yes|
|Battery saver - customizable low power watch||Yes||Yes|
|Controls smartphone music||Yes||Yes|
|Plays and Control Watch Music||No||Yes|
|Find my phone||Yes||Yes|
|Find my watch||Yes||Yes|
HEALTH MONITORING FEATURES
|Wrist-based Heart Rate tracking||Yes||Yes|
|Daily resting heart rate||Yes||Yes|
|AbNormal heart rate alert||Yes (high and low)||Yes|
|Respiration Rate (24/7)||Yes||Yes|
|Blood oxygen (SpO2) monitoring||Yes (spot-check, and optional all-day acclimation and in sleep)||Yes (spot-check, and optionally all-day and in sleep)|
|Battery energy monitor||Yes||Yes|
|Relaxation breathing timer||Yes||Yes|
|Advanced sleep tracking/Sleep Score||Yes||Yes|
|Menstrual cycle tracking||Yes (in Garmin Connect™ and optional Connect IQ™ widget)||Yes (in Garmin Connect and optional Connect IQ widget)|
|Hydration tracking||Yes (in Garmin Connect and optional Connect IQ widget)||Yes (in Garmin Connect and optional Connect IQ widget)|
SAFETY AND TRACKING FEATURES
|Live event sharing||Yes (Android only)||Yes (Android Only)|
|Incident detection during select activities||Yes||Yes|
|Spectator Messaging (New)||No||Yes (with compatible smartphone)|
|Assistance Plus (New)||No||No|
|Night vision mode||No||No|
|Dual Grid Coordinates||No||Yes|
ACTIVITY TRACKING FEATURES
|Move bar (displays on device after a period of inactivity; walk for a couple of minutes to reset it)||Yes||Yes|
|Auto goal (learns your activity level and assigns a daily step goal)||Yes||Yes|
|Sleep monitoring (monitors total sleep and periods of movement or restful sleep)||Yes||Yes|
GYM & FITNESS EQUIPMENT
|Available gym activity profiles||Strength, HIIT, cardio and elliptical training, stair stepping, floor climbing, indoor rowing, pilates and yoga||Strength, cardio, elliptical training, stair stepping, floor climbing, indoor rowing, pilates, yoga, breathwork, HIIT, indoor climbing and bouldering|
|On-screen workout animations||Yes||Yes|
|Automatic rep counting||Yes||Yes|
|On-screen workout muscle maps||Yes||Yes|
TRAINING, PLANNING & ANALYSIS FEATURES
|GPS speed and distance||Yes||Yes|
|Customizable data pages||Yes||Yes|
|Customizable activity profiles||Yes||Yes|
|Improved interval (Includes open repeats, intervals data page, rest screen and auto detection) (New)||Yes||Yes|
|Downloadable training plans||Yes||Yes|
|Power modes - customizable in-activity battery settings||No||_|
|Rest timer (New)||Yes||Yes|
|Configurable lap alerts||Yes||Yes|
|Heat and altitude acclimation||No||Yes|
|VO2 Max. (Run)||Yes||Yes|
|VO2 Max. (Trail run)||Yes||Yes|
|Training status (lets you see if you're training effectively by tracking your training history and fitness level trend.)||Yes||Yes|
|Training load (your total training load for the last 7 days calculated from estimated epoc)||Yes||Yes|
|Training load focus||Yes||Yes|
|Training effect (aerobic)||Yes||Yes|
|Training effect (anaerobic)||Yes||Yes|
|Primary Benefit (training effect labels)||Yes||Yes|
|Improved Recovery Time (New)||Yes||Yes|
|Daily Suggested Workouts (New)||Yes (7 days)||Yes|
|Race an activity||Yes||Yes|
|Auto multisport activities||Yes||Yes|
|Manual multisport activities||Yes||Yes|
|Garmin Live Segments||No||Yes|
|Strava Live Segments||No||Yes|
|Round-Trip course creator (running/cycling)||No||Yes|
|Trendline Popularity Routing||No||Yes|
|Touch and/or button lock||Yes||Yes|
|Activity history on watch||Yes||Yes|
|Noopener Noreferrer">Physio Trueup||Yes||Yes|
HEART RATE TRACKING FEATURES
|% HR max.||Yes||Yes|
|Auto max HR||Yes||Yes|
|Morning report (New)||Yes||Yes|
|Race glance/widget (New)||Yes||Yes|
|HRV status (New)||Yes||Yes|
|Training readiness (New)||No||Yes|
|HRV stress test (measures your heart rate variability while standing still, for 3 minutes, to provide you with an estimated stress level; the scale of this is 1 to 100; low scores indicate lower stress levels)||No||Yes (with compatible accessory)|
|HR broadcast (broadcasts HR data over ANT+ to paired devices)||Yes||Yes|
|Respiration rate (during exercise)||Yes||Yes (with compatible accessory)|
|Available run profiles||Running, outdoor track running, treadmill running, indoor track running, trail running, virtual running and ultra running||Running, treadmill running, indoor track running, trail running, virtual running, outdoor track running and ultra running|
|GPS-based distance, time and pace||Yes||Yes|
|Running dynamics||Yes (with compatible accessory)||Yes (with compatible accessory)|
|Vertical oscillation and ratio (the degree of 'bounce' in your running motion and the cost-benefit ratio with stride length)||Yes (with compatible accessory)||Yes (with compatible accessory)|
|Ground contact time and balance (shows how much time, in the running motion, your foot is on the ground rather than in flight and lets you check your running symmetry)||Yes (with compatible accessory)||Yes (with compatible accessory)|
|Stride length (real time)||Yes (with compatible accessory)||Yes (with compatible accessory)|
|Cadence (provides real-time number of steps per minute)||Yes||Yes|
|Running power (New)||Yes (with compatible accessory)||Yes (with compatible accessory)|
|Performance condition (after running 20 minutes, compares your real-time condition to your average fitness level)||Yes||Yes|
|Lactate threshold (through analysis of your pace and heart rate, estimates the point where your muscles start to rapidly fatigue)||Yes (with compatible accessory)||Yes (with compatible accessory)|
|PacePro pacing strategies||Yes||Yes|
|Course and weather-specific race predictor (New)||Yes||Yes|
|Foot Pod Capable||Yes||Yes|
|Preloaded with 42,000 courses worldwide||No||Yes|
|Yardage to F/M/B (distance to front, middle and back of green)||No||Yes|
|Yardage to layups/doglegs||No||Yes|
|Measures shot distance (calculates exact yardage for shots from anywhere on course)||No||Automatic|
|Stat tracking (strokes, putts per round, greens and fairways hit)||No||Yes|
|Full vector map||No||No|
|Auto Courseview updates||No||Yes|
|Green view with manual pin position||No||Yes|
|Hazards and course targets||No||Yes|
|Touch-targeting (touch target on display to see the distance to any point) (New)||No||No|
|Automatic club tracking compatible (requires accessory)||No||No|
|Available outdoor recreation profiles||Hiking, skiing, sNowboarding, XC classic skiing, stand Up paddleboarding and rowing||Hiking, climbing, skiing, sNowboarding, backcountry skiing, xc classic skiing, xc skate skiing, stand up paddleboarding, rowing, kayaking, sNowshoeing, mapping, navigating, tennis, pickleball, padel, track me and project waypoint.|
|Bread crumb trail in real time||Yes||Yes|
|Back to start||Yes||Yes|
|Around me mode||No||Yes|
|Distance to destination||Yes||Yes|
|Barometric trend indicator with storm alert||Yes||Yes|
|ClimbPro ascent planner||No||Yes|
|Trail run auto climb||No||Yes|
|Future elevation plot||Yes||Yes|
|Preloaded Topographical maps||No||Yes|
|Preloaded road and trail maps (New)||No||Yes|
|Preloaded Ski resort maps||No||No|
|Downloadable cartography support||No||Yes|
|Compatible with Basecamp||No||__|
|Sight 'N GO||No||Yes|
|Area calculation||No||Yes (via Connect IQ)|
|Hunt/fish calendar||No||Yes (via Connect IQ)|
|Sun and moon information||Yes||Yes (via Connect IQ)|
|Expedition GPS activity||No||No|
|Available cycling profiles||Biking, indoor biking, mountain biking, eBiking and eMountain biking||Biking, road biking, mountain biking, gravel biking, bike commuting, bike touring, ebiking, emountain biking, indoor biking and cyclocross.|
|Alerts (triggers alarm when you reach goals including time, distance, heart rate or calories)||Yes||Yes|
|MTB Grit & Flow||No||Yes|
|Cycle map (routable cycling-specific street map)||No||Yes|
|Bike lap and lap maximum power (with power sensor)||Yes||Yes|
|Race an activity||Yes||Yes|
|FTP (Functional Threshold Power)||Yes||Yes (with compatible accessory)|
|Compatible with Vector (Power Meter)||Yes||Yes|
|Power Meter compatible||Yes||Yes|
|Advanced cycling dynamics||No||Yes|
|Compatible with Varia Vision (head-mounted display)||Yes||Yes|
|Compatible with Varia Radar (Rear-Facing Radar)||Yes||Yes|
|Compatible with Varia Lights||Yes||Yes|
|Speed and cadence sensor support (with sensor)||Yes (ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart sensors)||Yes|
|Available swim profiles||Pool swimming and open water swimming||Pool swimming, open water swimming, swimming/running|
|Open-water swim metrics (distance, pace, stroke count/rate, stroke distance, swim efficiency (SWOLF), calories)||Yes||Yes|
|Pool swim metrics (lengths, distance, pace, stroke count, swim efficiency (SWOLF), calories)||Yes||Yes|
|Stroke type detection (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly) (pool swim only)||Yes||Yes|
|Drill logging (pool swim only)||Yes||Yes|
|Basic rest timer (up from 0) (pool swim only)||Yes||Yes|
|"Repeat on" rest timer (pool swim only) (New)||Yes||Yes|
|Auto rest (pool swim only) (New)||Yes||Yes|
|Time and distance alerts||Yes||Yes|
|Pacing alerts (pool swim only) (New)||Yes||Yes|
|Countdown start (pool swim only)||Yes||Yes|
|Pool swim workouts||Yes||Yes|
|Critical swim speed (New)||Yes||Yes|
|Underwater wrist-based heart rate||Yes||Yes|
|Heart rate from external HRM (real-time during rests, interval and session stats during rests, and automatic heart rate download post-swim)||Yes||Yes (with HRM-Tri and HRM-Swim)|
Hi! I’m Jude, the chief editor at Smartwatchseries.com
I’m a graduate of biochemistry, a 3D artist and a passionate fitness enthusiast. On here, I and other smartwatch fans work hard to help you find the right smartwatch for you with our guides, reviews, and comparisons.
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