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Garmin launches two Forerunner watches with new racing features

The Garmin Forerunner 255 models side-by-side
The Forerunner 255 family adds a host of new racing features and multi-band GPS. | Image: Garmin

Just in time for Global Running Day, Garmin is introducing two new running watches to its Forerunner lineup: the $349.99 Forerunner 255 and the $499.99 Forerunner 955. Both GPS watches sport multi-band GPS and new racing features, including a race widget. The Forerunner 955 will also come in a Solar version, which, as the name suggests, adds solar charging for even longer battery life.

The Forerunner 255 is a lightweight, midrange running watch that builds on the Forerunner 245. It’ll come in two sizes. The standard Forerunner 255 will measure 46mm and weigh 49 grams, while the smaller 255S will measure 41mm and weigh 32 grams. There’ll also be a Forerunner 255 Music and 255S Music variants, which will be able to store up to 500 songs on the watch itself. Garmin says that also includes playlists from Spotify, Amazon Music, and Deezer. The Music models will cost an extra $50 for a total of $399.99. The watches are rated for 5ATM of water resistance with an estimated 14 days of battery life, with up to 30 hours in GPS mode.

The big additions this time around include a new racing widget, heart rate variation (HRV) status during sleep, multi-band GPS, and the ability for triathletes to more easily switch between sports via a single button press. The race widget will include race prep information, including performance predictions, race-day weather, and a countdown clock. Multi-band GPS is an increasingly popular feature on multisport watches that boosts GPS accuracy by enabling communication with multiple satellite frequencies. The promise is better accuracy in environments where it’s hard to get a good signal. Lastly, the watch also features a “morning report” feature. When a user wakes up, the watch will deliver a short summary of the day’s weather, a daily workout suggestion, and a report of last night’s sleep, recovery time, training status, and HRV status.

Compared to the Forerunner 245, the 255 lineup adds an NFC chip for Garmin Pay. Otherwise, it’s not too different sensor-wise. It still features continuous heart rate monitoring as well as SpO2 sensors to enable features like Body Battery. The metric measures how well you’ve recovered during sleep as well as how “drained” you are during the day from stress. The Forerunner 255 series will also support basic smartwatch features like push notifications and Garmin’s safety features, such as incident detection and live tracking. For training features, it’ll also give users daily workout suggestions as well as access to training programs via Garmin Coach and in-depth metrics on the Garmin Connect app.

The Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar and non-solar models side-by-side Image: Garmin
The Forerunner 955 series adds solar charging and a new training readiness metric.

Meanwhile, the Forerunner 955 is more of a top-of-the-line running watch. (Though, it’s not quite as full-featured as Garmin’s flagship Fenix series.) It features a 47mm always-on, full-color touchscreen display and weighs 52 grams. Button fans need not worry, however. The 955 still includes five physical buttons that can be used in tandem with the touchscreen. Like the 255 series, it’s rated for 5ATM of water resistance but has a slightly longer battery life at an estimated 15 days, with 42 hours in GPS mode. There’s also a $599.99 Forerunner 955 Solar, which features Garmin’s proprietary Power Glass lens. With solar charging, the 955 Solar gets up to 20 days on a single charge, with 49 hours in GPS mode. (This assumes you’re getting roughly three hours per day in 50,000 lux conditions, so take that with a grain of salt.)

Like the Forerunner 255 series, the Forerunner 955 also gets multi-band GPS, HRV status, morning reports, and the new race widget. It also has a new training readiness metric. As the name implies, the metric takes into account sleep, recovery time, HRV, and a few other metrics to give users a score indicating how “ready” they are for a training session. It also adds real-time stamina tracking, which Garmin first introduced with its Fenix 7 series.

As far as health tracking and smart features go, the Forerunner 955 has the same staple features as the 255. However, it adds a few extra training metrics, like PacePro and ClimbPro, that give real-time guidance on your pace and elevation. You can also store a greater number of songs on the 955 — 2,000 to be exact.

Both the Forerunner 255 and Forerunner 955 are available starting today. The Forerunner 255 is available in four colors: gray, pink, blue, and black. Meanwhile, the Forerunner 955 is available in white and black.

Source: The Verge

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