Garmin Forerunner 255 review: A multi-sport marvel (2023)

Garmin Forerunner 255 review: A multi-sport marvel (1) Why you can trust Pocket-lint

(Pocket-lint) - The Forerunner 255 sits around the middle of Garmin's extensive family; a running watch that's a step up from the entry-level Forerunner 55, but not quite as advanced as something like the Forerunner 955.

And while the headline addition on the last-gen model - the Forerunner 245 - was the addition of a music player, the pendulum has swung back again towards the tracking experience. Garmin has added the same multi-band GPS present in the Fenix 7 and Epix 2 watches, as well as adding plenty of recovery tools and profiles to support triathlon training.

With devices like the Polar Pacer Pro and the Coros Apex sitting in this bracket, though, there's stiff competition. Has Garmin done enough here to ensure the Forerunner 255 stays ahead of the chasing pack? We've been testing in order to find out.

Our quick take

The Forerunner 255 comes in at a bigger price than the 245 now, but if you value features like accurate run tracking, better insights into your training and the option of a small or large case sizes, then this is one of the best running watches you can buy.

There's more to this watch than just running though. With newly added tracking support for open water swimming, it also doubles up as an affordable triathlon watch, making it a very welcome addition to the Garmin family indeed.

Garmin Forerunner 255 review: A multi-sport marvel (2)

Garmin Forerunner 255

4.5 stars - Pocket-lint recommended

(Video) TOP 5 Best Garmin Watches (2022)

Against

  • Only minor battery improvements
  • Music version costs a fair bit more
  • Music streaming and Pulse Ox still drain battery considerably

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Design and display

  • 41mm and 46mm size options
  • Comes in music and non-music versions
  • Removable straps
  • Waterproof up to 5ATM

In the previous generation, there was only one case size option available. With the Forerunner 255, that's been added to - and the option to add music for a little more cash is still present.

The standard 255 comes in at 46mm, which is bigger than the much-loved Forerunner 235, and there's now a smaller 41mm version - the 255S. We had the smaller 255S to test, and it really is a dinky little thing.

At 39g, it's very light, which is exactly what you want from a sports watch. It's not quite as light as the Coros Pace 2, but it's a watch you largely forget is even there.

Pocket-lint

Garmin Forerunner 255 review: A multi-sport marvel (3)

On the 255S, there's a 1.1-inch, 218 x 218 transflective display, with the regular 255 packing a larger, 1.3-inch, 260 x 260 resolution display. There's no AMOLED here, like with the Garmin Venu and Epix series, so it's familiar display tech that Garmin has stuck to for years, offering strong visibility in bright outdoor light without hampering battery performance.

There's no solar power here, either, so you miss out on Garmin's PowerGlass lens tech, with just Corning's Gorilla Glass 3 there in place to add a layer of protection. And, while the display is tiny, it's also easily viewable - even if you're trying to check tracking stats underwater.

(Video) SHORT TERM REVIEW GARMIN FORERUNNER 255, GPS-NYA APA KABAR?

It's not a touchscreen display, though, so you're dealing with a pretty typical array of physical buttons dotted around the screen. Pressing down on the top left one gets you into your quick settings menu, and the bottom left pushes you into the music player and controls screen. If you've used a Garmin watch recently, it will all feel very familiar.

Pocket-lint

Garmin Forerunner 255 review: A multi-sport marvel (4)

In terms of straps, Garmin is sticking to a pretty similar silicone, quick-release strap. The 255S uses 18mm options, and the bigger 255 features 22mm variants. There are additional bands you can pick up, of course, if you want to mix things up.

On the underside, meanwhile, is Garmin's Elevate heart rate sensor, which can also take care of delivering blood oxygen data during sleep or throughout the day (to the detriment of battery life).Garmin also sticks to the same 5ATM water-resistant rating as the 245 here, so it's also fine to keep on for swims or your morning shower.

Sports and fitness tracking

  • Multi-band GPS support
  • Triathlon and open water swimming modes
  • Morning reports
  • HRV status

The Forerunner 255 pair - as the name suggests - is still primarily built for runners, and that's reflected in the core features. Whether you want to track runs, get coached to run a 5k, optimise training or find out how fast you could run a marathon with your current level of training, then the 255 has you covered.

It's not just about running here anymore, however. The central tracking modes are still running, cycling and swimming, but Garmin has now included tracking support for open water swimming and added a triathlon mode, making it more suitable for the multi-discipline support. Prior to the 255, you'd have to pay more for the Forerunner 745 or 945 to get that level of support. Now, it's available for less - and it's about time, too.

Pocket-lint

Garmin Forerunner 255 review: A multi-sport marvel (6)

Back to running, though. There are plenty of new features to get into here, including greater accuracy for tracking outdoor runs, as well as enhanced modes for interval training and even a race widget that offers personalised workout suggestions and tips to help you get to the starting line in shape.

The big addition, as we've alluded to, is the addition of Garmin's multi-band positioning support, which seeks to improve accuracy by communicating over different frequencies to various satellite systems. This should help in challenging tracking conditions, like around big buildings or in tall, wooded areas. Putting it to use does have a greater impact on battery, but, ultimately, based on our testing, it does deliver more accurate tracking data - just as it did on the Epix and Fenix 7 series.

Another new feature added into the mix is something that Garmin calls Morning Report. A version of this appeared on the Vivosmart 5, and now it's going bigger - you get details about your sleep, recovery and workout suggestions based on training and recovery needs.

(Video) Top 6 Best Garmin Watches You Can Buy in 2022

Pocket-lint

Garmin Forerunner 255 review: A multi-sport marvel (7)

The customisable reports also include Garmin's new HRV Status insights, which are designed to inform you of your readiness to train based on heart rate variability measurements captured during sleep. You'll need to capture three weeks of these readings before you receive a full status, so it's a feature you need to be patient with, but it does really help add some context to the numbers.

Elsewhere, Garmin offers pretty much all of the same features as it did with 245. There are some navigation features, say, but this still stops short of the full mapping experience you get on the pricier models. Plus, you still have access to the excellent Garmin Coach platform, allowing you to access plans for specific tagets, as well as tracking profiles for things like strength training and yoga.

Garmin Forerunner 255 review: A multi-sport marvel (8)

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Garmin's Elevate heart rate monitor is a solid performer for monitoring heart rate and fueling many of the heart-rate powered features on board. It performed well on steady paced workouts and actually held up well in our high intensity tests and was within 2-3bpms of a chest strap monitor. Using the PulseOx sensor continuously still puts a dent in the battery, so if you really want to use it, it might be best to use it during sleep only. That sleep tracking feels a little more reliable on the whole but can still overestimate sleep duration at times.

There's the same smartwatch features here too, with Garmin Pay on board, notification support, access to the Garmin Connect IQ Store and you do have that music player, which works with both your own music and streaming services like Spotify. Of all the sports watches that offer smartwatch features, Garmin arguably still offers the best, but it doesn't quite rival what you'll get from an Apple Watch or a Samsung Galaxy Watch on that front.

Battery life

  • Up to 14 days in smartwatch mode
  • Up to 16 hours in multi-band mode
  • Up to 30 hours in GPS mode

Garmin is promising some improvements on the battery front, whether you go for the 255S or the 255.

(Video) Top 3 Best Garmin Watches Buy 2022 | Garmin Watch 2022

The 245 offered up to 7 days in smartwatch mode and 24 hours of GPS battery life. With the 255, that's up to 14 days in smartwatch mode, 30 hours in GPS mode and using the multi-band support drops that down to 16 hours.

For the 255S we tested, you can expect 12 days in smartwatch mode, 26 hours in GPS mode and up to 13 hours in that more accurate multi-band mode. So that’s improvements across the board, but smaller ones on the 255S.

Pocket-lint

Garmin Forerunner 255 review: A multi-sport marvel (9)

We found that the 255S was good for a week's worth of training when we used the more accurate multi-band tracking mode for outdoor run tracking. We also tracked pool swims and found daily drop-off can give you just about a week. Using that multi-band mode does see a noticeably bigger drop-off, around 4 per cent for similar runs using GPS where that drop off is usually 1-2 per cent.

If you factor in streaming music, that still does have a noticeable impact on battery life, though Garmin has now offered the ability to choose between stereo and mono to reduce that dent and still get a hit of music on your runs for longer.

So for us, it's a slight improvement on battery performance compared to its predecessor, but you're not going to get weeks of training like you will on Garmin's top-end watches.

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To recap

The Garmin Forerunner 255 is a great running watch that's now also a great option for triathlon lovers, as well. It's grabbed some desirable features from Garmin’s pricier watches, and, whether you’re a beginner or more experienced runner, there's plenty to like about the successor to the very popular Forerunner 245.

Garmin Forerunner 255 review: A multi-sport marvel (10)

If you love tracking stats and crunching the numbers on your latest outdoor activity, you'll love The Gear Loop. Our new sister site is here to bring you the freshest news, the most honest reviews, informative guides and inspirational travel features that cover all outdoor active lifestyle pursuits, from sea to summit. Whether that's running or cycling, winter sports or water sports, The Gear Loop has got it covered.

Writing by Michael Sawh. Editing by Chris Hall.

(Video) Top 10 Best New Garmin Watches To Buy in 2023

FAQs

Does the Garmin 255 have maps? ›

It doesn't have on-watch maps and the 5ATM water resistance isn't the best Garmin offers. But these limitations just aren't going to matter for many people. Battery life of about a week isn't mind-blowing by Garmin standards either, but again the lighter unobtrusive design will be well worth the sacrifice for some.

What is the difference between the Garmin 255 and 255S? ›

The larger 255 offers more battery life, lasting up to 14 days in smartwatch mode and 30 hours with GPS-only sports tracking (using multi-band GPS or listening to music will reduce this). In comparison the Forerunner 255S lasts up to 12 days in smartwatch mode and 26 hours in GPS-only tracking mode.

Does Forerunner 255 have triathlon mode? ›

Sports and fitness tracking

The central tracking modes are still running, cycling and swimming, but Garmin has now included tracking support for open water swimming and added a triathlon mode, making it more suitable for the multi-discipline support.

When did the Garmin Forerunner 255 come out? ›

The Garmin Forerunner 255 arrived at the start of June 2022 as a refined, fitness-focused successor to the Forerunner 245 and the Forerunner 245 Music.

Does Garmin 255 have wifi? ›

Wi‑Fi® is available only on the Forerunner® music watch. Automatically sends your activity to your Garmin Connect account as soon as you finish recording the activity. Allows you to sync audio content from third-party providers.

Does Forerunner 255 have wifi? ›

The Garmin Forerunner 255 has both Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity.

Does Forerunner 255 have HRV? ›

Garmin Forerunner 255 review: What you need to know

Essentially, this has more light sensors, which theoretically means you can get more accuracy without having to put on a chest strap every time you head out. The new sensor also allows the measurement of heart-rate variability, or HRV.

Will Garmin 255 get training readiness? ›

Will Training Readiness come to FR255, or is the metric available on Garmin Connect if I syncronize with a FR255? DC Rainmaker states it will not. Training readiness only in forerunner 955 and later in 945 LTE , Fenix 7 and Epix.

How do I use my Garmin 255? ›

You can use your device to navigate to a destination or follow a course.
  1. Press START.
  2. Select an activity.
  3. Hold UP.
  4. Select Navigation.
  5. Select a category.
  6. Respond to the on-screen prompts to choose a destination.
  7. Select Go To. Navigation information appears.
  8. Press START to begin navigation.

Is Forerunner 255 good swimming? ›

The Forerunner 255 is now a multisport triathlon watch. Sure, it's also a running watch, but it can now swim/bike/run with the best of them, including featuring Garmin's high-end multi-band/dual-frequency GPS chipset.

Is Garmin 255 touch screen? ›

Garmin Forerunner 255 review: Design

While the new Fenix 7 and Forerunner 955 have the addition of a touchscreen, the Forerunner 255 is still controlled using five buttons — three on the left and two on the right.

Does Garmin 255 have golf? ›

The Forerunner 255 does not have any golf features. Big things come in small(ish) packages, as the Forerunner 955 comes with a solid 32 GB of storage, allowing users to store trail maps, Strava live segments, Garmin maps, and up to 2,000 songs!

How accurate is Garmin race predictor? ›

Garmin's VO2 Max status is pretty accurate. Some studies suggest it overestimates someone's VO2 Max (particularly in men than women) while other studies suggest the opposite is true. Almost all studies find that Garmin's VO2 Max estimate is within about 5 percent of your true VO2 Max value.

What is Garmin multisport mode? ›

During a multisport activity, you can transition between activities and continue to view your total time. For example, you can switch from biking to running and view your total time for biking and running throughout the multisport activity.

How do I get Spotify on my Garmin Forerunner 255? ›

How to Play Spotify on Garmin Forerunner 255 Music and Forerunner 955
  1. Press and hold the Down button until you see music controls.
  2. Now press and hold the Up button to bring more options.
  3. Next select Music Providers followed by Spotify.
  4. Now choose the playlist you want to play.
  5. Press the button to play the track.
3 Aug 2022

How do I put music on my Garmin 255? ›

How to Play Music on Garmin Forerunner 255
  1. Press and hold the Down button on your Garmin Forerunner 255.
  2. Find Music.
  3. Hold Up button.
  4. Choose the Music providers, if you want to listen to the songs you just downloaded from your PC, then select My Music.
  5. Now select the play option on your watch.
  6. That's it.
9 Aug 2022

How do I connect my Garmin 255 to WIFI? ›

Garmin Connect App
  1. Open the Garmin Connect app.
  2. Access the app menu. iOS: Touch More. Android: Touch .
  3. Select Garmin Devices.
  4. Select your Garmin watch.
  5. Select General or Connectivity.
  6. Select Wi-Fi Networks or Wi-Fi > My Networks.
  7. Select Add a Network.
  8. Select the network you wish to add.

How big is the Garmin Forerunner 255? ›

General
Lens MaterialCorning® Gorilla® Glass 3
Physical size45.6 x 45.6 x 12.9 (mm) Fits wrists with a circumference of 130-205 mm
Color display
Display Size1.3" (33 mm) diameter
9 more rows

How do I change the watch face on my Garmin 255? ›

Customizing the Watch Face
  1. From the watch face, hold UP.
  2. Select Watch Face.
  3. Press UP or DOWN to preview the watch face options.
  4. Select Add New to scroll through additional pre-loaded watch faces.
  5. Select START > Apply to activate a pre-loaded watch face or an installed Connect IQ watch face.

Is Garmin bringing out a new watch? ›

Garmin Instinct Analog

Instinct Analog is another watch we are expecting in the second half of 2022. That sounds like a hybrid watch – and Garmin already has experience in this area. But a hybrid Instinct would have an audience.

How do I connect my Garmin to strava? ›

Strava App Instructions
  1. From your smartphone open the Strava app.
  2. Select You from the bottom menu.
  3. Select. ...
  4. Select Link Other Services (Android) or Applications, Services, and Devices (iOS).
  5. Select Connect a new device to Strava.
  6. Select Garmin.
  7. Select Connect Garmin.
  8. If prompted, sign in to your Garmin Connect account.

How long does Garmin Forerunner 255 battery last? ›

Battery Life Information
ModeForerunner® 255S series Battery LifeForerunner 255 series Battery Life
Activity mode with All + Multi-Band mode and wrist-based heart rateUp to 13 hr.Up to 16 hr.
Smartwatch mode with activity tracking, phone notifications, and wrist-based heart rateUp to 12 daysUp to 14 days
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How do I use Garmin stamina? ›

Stamina Data Screen
  1. Press START to view the activity list.
  2. Select a running or cycling activity profile.
  3. Press UP to access Options.
  4. Select the activity settings.
  5. Select Data Screens.
  6. Select Add New.
  7. Select Stamina.
  8. Press UP or DOWN to change the location of the data screen.

Will there be a new Garmin Forerunner 245? ›

Garmin Forerunner 245 successors leak as the Forerunner 255 and Forerunner 255s. Garmin on replacing the Forerunner 245, a smartwatch that is almost three years old. Reportedly, Garmin will announce Forerunner 245 successors as the Forerunner 255 and Forerunner 255s, both in music and non-music/non-Wi-Fi editions.

Does Garmin 255 have PacePro? ›

You can create a PacePro plan using the Garmin Connect™ app. You can preview the splits and elevation plot before you run the course.

How do I turn off Garmin 255? ›

How to Turn Off Garmin Forerunner 255
  1. Press the Light button to bring up the Settings menu.
  2. Now use the Up and Down button to Power Off the watch.
  3. Once you see the Power Off option, press the Start Stop button.
  4. That's it.
27 Jul 2022

What is training readiness on Garmin? ›

Your training readiness is a score and a short message that helps you determine how ready you are for training each day. The score is continuously calculated and updated throughout the day using these factors: Sleep score (last night) Recovery time. HRV status.

What is heart rate variability Garmin? ›

Heart rate variability is used for the calculation of physiological measurements such as stress score, lactate threshold, and Body Battery. HRV is also used to determine sleep stages and respiration on newer Garmin watches that feature an optical heart rate sensor.

How does Garmin measure pulse ox? ›

Pulse oximetry (or Pulse Ox, for short) is a noninvasive method used to measure the saturation of oxygen in the bloodstream. Compatible watches use a combination of red and infrared lights with sensors on the back of the watch which can determine the percentage of oxygenated blood (SpO2%) available in your blood.

What is 3D distance Garmin? ›

3D Distance – Calculates the distance traveled using both elevation change and horizontal movement over ground.

Is the Garmin Vivoactive HR discontinued? ›

vívoactive HR | Discontinued | Garmin Malaysia.

Does Garmin Forerunner 55 have triathlon mode? ›

What's Missing From The Garmin Forerunner 55? - YouTube

When did the Garmin Forerunner 45 come out? ›

The Forerunner 45/45S, released on April 30, 2019, is an entry level running watch. The 45S has a smaller bezel (39mm) than the 45 (42mm) - there are no other differences.

Is the Garmin Forerunner touch screen? ›

The new Garmin Forerunner 955 is the company's latest high-end sports watch and it might just be the biggest upgrade to the Forerunner 9xx series as it now comes with a touch screen, the option to get it with solar charging, plus it adds a bunch of new performance metrics and features.

How long does Garmin Forerunner 955 battery last? ›

Battery Life Information
ModeBattery Life
Activity mode with All + Multi-Band mode and wrist-based heart rateUp to 20 hr. Up to 22 hr. with solar
Activity mode with All + Multi-Band mode, wrist-based heart rate, and music playbackUp to 8.5 hr.
6 more rows

Does Garmin 245 track calories? ›

Fitness Features and Accuracy. The Forerunner automatically tracks steps, calories, and heart rate. It also tracks more intricate stats including stress levels and your Body Battery, which calculates your body's energy levels based on factors like activity, sleep, stress, and your VO2 Max.

How do I download maps to my Garmin 955? ›

You can use the Map Manager to download additional maps or manage map storage. To purchase additional map data and view compatibility information, go to garmin.com/maps.
...
Map
  1. Viewing the Map.
  2. Saving or Navigating to a Location on the Map.
  3. Navigating with the Around Me Feature.
  4. Changing the Map Theme.

Does Forerunner 955 have music? ›

NOTE: There are three different music playback options for your Forerunner® 955 watch. On a Forerunner 955 watch, you can download audio content to your watch from your computer or from a third-party provider, so you can listen when your phone is not nearby.

Is the Garmin 955 waterproof? ›

There's another potential Forerunner 955 issue: it is water-resistant to 5ATM, not the 10ATM offered in the Fenix and Epix series.

How do I setup my Garmin 255? ›

Support: Getting Started with the Forerunner® 255 Series - YouTube

How do I change the watch face on my Garmin 255? ›

Customizing the Watch Face
  1. From the watch face, hold UP.
  2. Select Watch Face.
  3. Press UP or DOWN to preview the watch face options.
  4. Select Add New to scroll through additional pre-loaded watch faces.
  5. Select START > Apply to activate a pre-loaded watch face or an installed Connect IQ watch face.

How can I update my Garmin maps for free? ›

Go to http://my.garmin.com, and log onto your myGarmin account. Notifications appear in the Home tab that inform you of recently purchased map updates and available free updates.

Does Garmin Nuvi 255w have lifetime updates? ›

Free Garmin Map Updates

Some Garmin models come with free map updates for life, but the Nuvi 255 W isn't one of those. If you bought yours new, though, you're entitled to one free update so that you're starting with the most current maps.

Is Garmin 255 touch screen? ›

There is no touchscreen on the Forerunner 255 series, only the buttons. For touchscreen access you'd have to nudge over to the Venu 2 series (which is more general-fitness based), or up to the Forerunner 955/Fenix 7/Epix series (which is a bit more hardcore).

Does Garmin Forerunner 255 track sleep? ›

While you are sleeping, the watch automatically detects your sleep and monitors your movement during your normal sleep hours. You can set your normal sleep hours in the user settings on your Garmin Connect™ account.

How do I connect my Garmin 255 to WIFI? ›

Garmin Connect App
  1. Open the Garmin Connect app.
  2. Access the app menu. iOS: Touch More. Android: Touch .
  3. Select Garmin Devices.
  4. Select your Garmin watch.
  5. Select General or Connectivity.
  6. Select Wi-Fi Networks or Wi-Fi > My Networks.
  7. Select Add a Network.
  8. Select the network you wish to add.

Can I design my own Garmin watch face? ›

Garmin offers three sources for customizing watch faces: Customize preinstalled watch faces already on the watch. Use the Connect IQ Store to browse, download, and customize thousands of watch faces. Use the Face It app to upload and use a photo as your the watch face.

How do I add music to my Garmin 255? ›

How to Play Music on Garmin Forerunner 255
  1. Press and hold the Down button on your Garmin Forerunner 255.
  2. Find Music.
  3. Hold Up button.
  4. Choose the Music providers, if you want to listen to the songs you just downloaded from your PC, then select My Music.
  5. Now select the play option on your watch.
  6. That's it.
9 Aug 2022

How do you pay for Garmin watch faces? ›

Garmin doesn't run a Apple or Google Play app store. If you go back to the app and check the description, the dev will tell you how to pay them, typically through PayPal. Sure enough, you are correct.

Are Garmin lifetime maps free? ›

Garmin Drive 60 6" GPSps Navigator (with Free Lifetime Maps for the US) - Walmart.com.

What can I do with an old Garmin GPS? ›

Garmin encourages proper disposal and recycling of products that have reached the end of their life cycle to aid in the protection of the environment. It is recommended that products be disposed of in accordance with all applicable federal, state and local requirements or through Garmin's Product Recycling Program.

Does Garmin charge for map updates? ›

If your Garmin device needs any software updates, these will usually be installed as the map update is. While most software updates are free, there's a fee for the map updates, which may run as much as several hundred dollars.

Is Garmin Nuvi discontinued? ›

Garmin nüvi 50 5-inch Portable GPS Navigator(US) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

Can you update a Garmin Nuvi? ›

You can use Garmin Express™ software to download and install the latest map and software updates for your device.

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