Fitness Tracker Test 2024
Independ reviews of Fitness Trackers and Sport Watches

Garmin Forerunner 255 – Revamped with more features and battery life

Runners have had to wait a long time for the Garmin Forerunner 255 since its predecessor has been released three years ago. Today, Garmin has unveiled the Forerunner 255 which seems to be more grown up than ever, so that it may become one of the most popular sports watches once again. You can find all information about the mid-ranged sports watch here.

Garmin started this sports year with a bang and released two new outdoor sports watches in the premium segment – the Fenix 7 and Epix Gen 2. With the vivomove Sport and the vivosmart 5, Garmin complemented its product range on the lower end.

Garmin Forerunner 255 (Source: Garmin)

Garmin Forerunner 255 (Source: Garmin)

The Forerunner 255 is a mid-range sports watch that addresses the needs of ambitious athletes, especially runners. The Forerunner 955, that has been released today as well, is even more sophisticated, feature-rich and expensive.

Garmin Forerunner 255 – Two sizes, four variants

When Garmin released the Forerunner 245 in April 2019, buyers could choose between the standard model and the Forerunner 245 Music. The music edition allows for storing and playing back MP3s and offline playlists from Amazon Music, Spotify, and Deezer.

Although Garmin no longer separates music and non-music on many models, the differentation remains on the Forerunner 255. In addition, Garmin announced the Forerunner 255 in two different sizes, as the company has done for years with other models. In the end, customer have to choose between:

  • Forerunner 255S
  • Forerunner 255S Music
  • Forerunner 255
  • Forerunner 255 Music

Forerunner 255 – Basic specs

Forerunner 245Forerunner 255SForerunner 255Forerunner 955
Displaytransfl. MIP displaytransfl. MIP displaytransfl. MIP displaytransfl. MIP display
Display size1,2"1,1"1,3"1.3"
Display glasGorilla Glas 3Gorilla Glas 3Gorilla Glas 3Gorilla Glas DX
Resolution240 x 240218 x 218260 x 260260 x 260
Pixel density200 PPI200 PPI200 PPI200 PPI
Dimensions42.3 x 42.3 x 12.2 mm41 x 41 x 12.4 mm45.6 x 45.6 x 12.9 mm46.5 x 46.5 x 14.4 mm
Weight38.5 g39 g49 g53 g
Wristband20 mm
Quick Release
18 mm
Quick Release
22 mm
Quick Release
22 mm
Water resistent5 ATM5 ATM5 ATM5 ATM

There has been little innovation relating to transflective MIP displays so the display of the Forerunner 245 and Forerunner 255 are pretty similar. At 1.3 inches, the Forerunner 255’s display has been enlarged, while the Forerunner 255S’ display shrinks to 1.1 inches.

Those who were hoping for an AMOLED display might be disappointed.

Forerunner 255 – Battery life

Battery life has been improved in general. While there are only minor improvements when using GPS, the battery life in smartwatch mode has been doubled, which is great as you have to charge your watch every 14 days only.

Forerunner 245Forerunner 255SForerunner 255Forerunner 955
Smartwatch modemax. 7 daysmax. 12 daysmax. 14 daysmax. 15 days
GPSmax. 24 hoursmax. 26 hoursmax. 30 hoursmax. 42 hours
GPS + musicmax. 6 hoursmax. 6.5 hoursmax. 6.5 hoursmax. 8.5 hours
all GNSSmax. 20 hoursmax. 25 hours
all GNSS + multi-bandmax. 13 hoursmax. 16 hoursmax. 20 hours
all GNSS + multi-band + musicmax. 8.5 hours

The empty table cell indicate that the watch either doesn’t not support the respective mode or Garmin hasn’t published any numbers.

Forerunner 255 – Connectivity

There are no real surprises concerning the sports watch’s connectivity, except for the multi-band support. Multi-band capabilities (aka L1/L5) allow for using L1 and L5 frequencies. By doing so, the position tracking is supposed to significantly enhance. It’s of advantage when it’s being used in environments where the satellite signal is week or it’s being reflected a lot (e.g. by trees, buildings, canyons). At the same time, the multi-band feature puts more load on the battery.

Forerunner 245Forerunner 255SForerunner 255Forerunner 955
WI-FImusic edition onlymusic edition onlymusic edition only+

Garmin Forerunner 255 – New and noteworthy features

The Forerunner 255’s features are based on its three-year-old predecessor, and yet some new functions have been added:

Forerunner 245Forerunner 255SForerunner 255Forerunner 955
SpO2 sensor++++
Pre-installed sport profiles15+30+30+45+
Training effect (aerob)++++
Training effect (anaerobic)++++
Training status++++
Training load++++
HRV status-+++
Real-Time stamina---+
Running power-+++
Suggested workout++++
Race widget-+++
Barom. altimeter-+++
Gyroscope sensor---+
Garmin Musicmusic edition onlymusic edition onlymusic edition only+
Garmin Pay-+++
Morning Report-+++
Running Dynamics++++
Incident detection++++
Garmin Forerunner 255 (Source: Garmin)

Garmin Forerunner 255 (Source: Garmin)

Let’s briefly discuss the most important points:

  • Morning Report

    The morning report has been introduced with the Garmin Lily. It is presented after waking up and includes a greeting, a short weather report, the sleep score, the body battery score, upcoming appointments for the day and information about the menstrual cycle, if applicable. The Forerunner 255 offers this brief summary at the start of the day as well and includes additional metrics such as HRV status and training status. The report can be customized according to one’s needs.

  • HRV status

    The HRV status (HRV – heart rate variability) is a new metric that is available on the Forerunner 255. HRV usually is a good indicator about health, fitness and recovery. The HRV is recorded during the night and Garmin determines a nightly average, as well as a seven-day baseline. The results are displayed in three ways: First, you can see last night’s HRV graph with the average and maximum value. Second, you can compare last night’s value with your seven-day baseline, and third, you can see your average HRV value for the last seven days. Additionally there is a view giving you some textual information about how your last night’s HRV relates to your training status.

  • Race Widget

    The Race Widget is a new view that can be accessed from the watchface. It contains race-related training tips, daily suggested workouts, weather forecast, and the estimated finish times based on the course, your training and fitness.

  • Running Power

    Stryd, Coros and also Polar have been ahead of Garmin when it comes to running power using one device only. An app driven solution to Garmin’s more expensive devices has never been really convincing. However, the Forerunner 255 supports Running Power when used with an external sensor. This could either be a Running Dynamics Pod or a compatible heart rate strap. It’s not really what a lot of people are longing for but it is a first step towards a full integration into Garmin’s sports watches.

  • Garmin Pay

    Not entirely new but new to the Forerunner 255 (FR245 doesn’t have it) is Garmin Pay. The NFC based solution allows for contactless payments, whether you are on the move or just have forgotten your wallet.

Features that didn’t make it to the Forerunner 255

With every new product there are rumors about features that are said to be sported by the product but never made it. This accounts for the Forerunner 255 as well.

  • Real-time stamina

    Real-time stamina has been introduced along the Fenix 7 and Epix Gen 2. The runner-centric metric indicates how much stamina is left at a given pace.

    Although this feature suits even the mid-ranged Forerunner models well, it’s available on Forerunner 955, Fenix 7 and Epix Gen 2 only.

Prices and Availability

To be honest, the Forerunner 255 comes in with a remarkable (not to say high) price tag. The Forerunner 255 / 255S both are $349.99, while the models with music support are $399.99. The watch feels even more expensive when you consider that the Forerunner 955 starts at $499.99.

The Forerunner 255 is available in the following colors:

  • Forerunner 255
    • slate/black
    • blue/black
  • Forerunner 255 Music
    • light gray/black
    • rose/black
  • Forerunner 255S
    • black
    • whitestone
  • Forerunner 255S Music
    • black
    • whitestone
Garmin Forerunner 255
This website is reader-powered. If you buy something using the links above, I will earn a small commission that helps to keep this website ad-free and running.

By the way, the recommended HR strap / Running Dynamics Pod are available for way less:

Garmin HRM-Pro strap
Garmin Running Dynamics Pod

One more thing...

Can you imagine that this is a privately-run website? There's no office or editorial staff here, just me with a lot of passion and motivation to provide information, reviews, and news in a manner that large online magazines simply can't match. Even if English is not my first language, I hope you found this article useful.

If you'd like to support this website or show appreciation for my work, please leave a comment, share a link, or use the Amazon link to buy anything (it doesn't have to be related to the subject of this article). It would be much appreciated and will support this website.

Picture of Florian

I am the creative mastermind behind this page, with a passion for both sports and technology. By combining these interests, I write about wearables and gadgets that can enhance your sports experience. As a regular consumer, I offer insights from the perspective of a genuine user.

You can learn more about me and this site here.

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  1. Patrick Reply

    Any idea whether the 255 will have the 4 week training load focus that the 945 currently has? The 245 doesn’t. (see link: Link)

    1. Florian Reply

      Sorry Patrick, I can’t tell you that right now. The FR255 supposedly has the training load focus feature, but so does the FR245. We’ll have to wait and see if the 4 weeks statistics are available.

    1. Florian Reply

      Sorry, no information from Garmin about a touch-enabled display on the FR 255. As this would be a major feature, I guess is that the FR 255 won‘t have a touch display.

  2. Sam Reply

    Hi. Any information about a flashlight on any of the 955 watches? Will there be anything additional on the 955 Solar over the 955 non-solar other than Solar power?

    1. Florian Reply

      Hi Sam, no information about a flashlight on the 955 and unfortunately no other information than the different battery life so far.

    1. Florian Reply

      Hi David, I have seen specs that the Forerunner 955 will have storm alerts. I am not sure about the FR 255 but my guess is that it’ll have this feature as well.

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