Garmin has announced the Forerunner 955, which it calls the company’s “first dedicated running smartwatch with solar charging.”
The standard Forerunner 955 costs $499, while the Forerunner 955 Solar costs $599. This is a significant drop from the cost of the respective Fenix 7 models, and as in the last generation the primary visible difference is the switch from a metal bezel to a “fibre-reinforced polymer” one.
As such, the Forerunner 955 is likely to be a great option for buyers who want high-end Garmin features at a lower cost.
Like other recent flagships Garmin watches, the Forerunner 955 now has a touchscreen alongside its side buttons. Garmin disables touch during tracked exercise by default, to avoid accidental presses while offering a more modern feel when flicking around the interface day-to-day.
The Forerunner 955 also has a feature not available in the Fenix 7 or Epix 2 at the time of writing, HRV Status.
HRV is heart rate variability, and is a metric that assesses the variance in milliseconds between your heart beats over time. A high HRV, of perhaps 100ms, is considered positive, while a low 20ms score is less so.
Recent Garmins like the Fenix 7 show HRV data in the 2-minute Health Snapshot mode but the Forerunner 955’s HRV Status monitors heart rate variability as you sleep. It’s a passive way to see changes in your HRV score over the weeks and months, while recording data at a largely consistent time of the day.
The Garmin Forerunner 955 also offers a Training Readiness Score, not available in the last-gen Forerunner 945, to suggest whether or not your body is primed for a big workout. This takes into account elements like your sleep quality and duration, and your HRV status.
In a similar vein, the Real-Time Stamina Insights feature analyzes exertion during exercise to let you monitor your pace more effectively – this should prove useful for marathon runners.
Behind the scenes, the Forerunner 955 also benefits from some tech upgrades seen in other recent Garmin watches, such as multi-band GPS. This will also be one of the most affordable ways to get a watch with full on-watch mapping and support for advanced features like smart bike turbo trainer control.
Battery life is shorter than the Fenix 7’s at up to 15 days in “smartwatch” mode, instead of 18, but the Forerunner 955 is shaping up to be a good deal in a catalogue of watches that often seem prohibitively expensive.
The Garmin Forerunner 955 and 955 Solar are available to order today.