Garmin Forerunner 255 Unveiled Today: Review
Garmin Forerunner 255. Multi-sport triathlon watch: The Forerunner 255 Of course, it can still be used for running, but Garmin’s high-end multi-band/dual-frequency GPS chipset means it can now compete with the best of them. In addition to being the cheapest multisport watch on the market, it’s also Garmin’s cheapest comprehensive multisport watch.
To infer, however, that Garmin has merely included a few sport profiles would be a mistake. Forerunner 945’s advanced training load and recovery capabilities were carried over, but the business added even more tools including HRV status and a completely redesigned daily suggested workouts function that can now lay out an entire season’s worth of exercises leading up to a particular race (or series of races). Not to mention the addition of a battery. Assuming, of course, that you already have a sensor that is compatible.
However, the Forerunner 255 wasn’t the only timepiece unveiled today;
There were a number of others as well. New Forerunner 955 Solar models were also unveiled, which match the Fenix 7’s features while adding new ones from the Forerunner 955. I’ve done a comprehensive review of it here.
As is customary, Garmin loaned us this watch, which will be returned to us shortly. Neither this review nor any of the products I review are sponsored by any company, and I do not receive any compensation from any companies I review. In addition, as longtime readers know, I’m not afraid to call something out on its flaws, regardless of the manufacturer (as Garmin saw just two weeks ago). For future testing purposes, I’ll purchase a new one once this one is returned. Consider becoming a DCR Supporter, which removes ads and gives you access to a video series that takes you behind the scenes at DCR Cave, if you enjoyed this review. The links are at the bottom of the page. And, of course, it makes you a better person.
With the addition of the Forerunner 955’s advanced features, the Forerunner 255 series is effectively a Forerunner 745. To put it another way, there’s a tonne of fresh content here. There are many similarities between the new Forerunner 955 and the new Instinct 2 series, as well as a slew of new features added to the Forerunner 945 LTE last summer.
For the sake of comparison, here’s a rundown of what’s new in this model compared to its predecessor:
42mm and 46mm are the new standard sizes for this product (price same for both)
- There are two options: non-music for $349 and music for $399.
- GPS multi-band functionality has been added (dual-frequency support)
- A barometric altimeter and compass have been integrated into the system.
- Added support and activity profiles for full triathlon/multisport events.
- Support for cycling power metres and VO2Max has been added.
- Running-power specific training zones have been added (native fields/recording, but require RD pod/HRM-PRO/HRM-TRI/HRM-RUN) and the ability to track sleep stages has been added.
- Added monitoring of HRV state (at night)
- Morning Report (summarises HRV, Sleep, training programmes, etc…) has been added to the app.
- Adding contactless payments using Garmin Pay.
Race Predictor historical trendlines (to see if you’re getting faster or slower) have been added to the Race Predictor widget. – Added New Race Calendar and Race Details/Countdown Widgets
Workouts now include automatic Run (or Walk)/Stand detection; watch activity profiles and data fields can be customised from your phone.
Power Saver Feature was added (up to 62 days of battery life)
– The training status/load system has been completely reworked (more details lower down)
– Changed the focus of your training load to keep track of all of your upcoming races. As of today, the future of exercises, long-workout days, more options, etc. may now be predicted.
– Workouts may now be linked to upcoming race events, creating workouts for that distance/course – making it easier to track your progress. Garmin Elevate V4 Optical HR sensor has been substituted. GPS In base GPS mode, battery life goes from 24 to 30 hours; daily battery life goes from 7 to 14 days.
How does this differ from the recently announced Instinct 2 Series? You’re welcome, and here’s the primary list of targets:
- Acute Training Load and HRV Status
- Native Running Power
- Morning Report
- Widgets for a race calendar
In the Daily Suggested Workouts, races on the calendar are now taken into consideration
Instinct’s display type (like colours) isn’t affected by many of the menu/user interface modifications that are tied to these main characteristics (sub-features of these items). There is also a subset of these capabilities added to the Instinct 2 series watches to bring them into some type of equivalence with the Forerunner 255. Items A, B, and D are the ones they’ll get. Instinct 2 beta upgrades for these capabilities are expected to be released soon, according to Garmin.
The comparison photographs for sizing will be added in the near future, but I’m running low on fuel right now. Due to the fact that the DCR Cave wasn’t sufficiently provisioned for this now 36-hour-long day, I was unable to eat Oreos throughout the day. However, I was able to take a few images during that process to better illustrate the precise dimensions using the one metric that matters: The Oreo standard is as follows:
Metrics for Training Load and Recovery
The Forerunner 255’s training load and recovery suggestions have got a major overhaul in addition to the new sport profiles, barometric altitude, and extended power options. FR945 LTE and Fenix 7 & Epix Series will soon join the Forerunner 955 in getting a makeover that includes Training Readiness, which combines all of this data into one score that can be used as a starting point for training. Even so, the FR255’s expansion is substantial, so let’s take a closer look.
With Garmin’s new Training Status and plenty of other information, you’ll know exactly where you are when it comes to your workouts. To the untrained eye, the new Acute and HRV Status measurements would appear to be the only differences. To counteract getting an Unproductive message when you’re just going through a tough training block, metrics have undergone significant revisions.
To begin, let’s quickly go over a few fundamental ideas before going into more detail in the following paragraphs:
Revamped Training Status: VO2Max trends and HRV status are examined in this process. More about how you’re training than if you should train. It’s a question of whether you’re overdoing it or underdoing it in terms of intensity. That’s why you’ll be labelled “Unproductive.” It’s important to think about a coach’s perspective when it comes to your training diary.
New HRV Status: Measurement of HRV during sleep and comparison to your 3-week baseline to a rolling 90-day baseline is what this is all about. Drinking for just one night will not cause you to lose this score; yet three nights of partying is not enough to maintain your good standing.
Immediate Stress (Relatively New):
In this view, you can see your last seven days of usage, but the usage is now burned off in real time. Rigorous training days 7 days ago have a far smaller impact on the score than hard training days now. Acute Load was previously referred to as 7-Day Load.
In the last four weeks, your training efforts have been broken down into different categories by Load Focus (Same). Anaerobic, high-aerobic, and low-aerobic are all examples. You can’t expect to get faster without following an even training diet. You won’t get faster if you just keep going at full speed every day. You’ll only end up hurting yourself and becoming slower as a result.
How long you’ll need to recover between hard-intensity workouts is determined by this setting.
Your next challenging workout isn’t until your next workout, as is often misunderstood. This is essentially the same as before. A good night’s sleep can hasten this process, while a stressful day can slow it down.
It’s possible that there are too many measurements here. However, if you disregard the sheer number of them, most of them genuinely have a purpose, even if it’s a little unclear. The new Training Readiness status would be the only one I’d focus on if I were to take a step back.
But first, we’ll cover the essentials, which includes the new HRV Status parts.
When it comes to a wide range of indicators, Garmin has been using HRV data for years. But I didn’t actually tell you about it. We first saw this a year ago with the Health Snapshot function, which allowed users to take one-off HRV values but didn’t have an easy mechanism to track them in the long term.
When you use HRV Status, your nightly HRV readings are trended against previous time periods. While you sleep, it captures your heart rate variability (HRV) and displays a graph of the night’s variations and the night’s average and maximum values, as well as a seven-day trend of the HRV data. Left: FR255 with no HRV status statement (still in its three-week calibration window); right: FR955 after it has cleared the calibration window (seen here at left). However, these are merely the bits used to collect data. Three weeks into this, you’ll get your first “HRV Status” notice. To be more precise, it requires 12 days of baseline data before the first message may be received, followed by 4 of the following 7 nights. As a result, if all goes according to plan, today would be day 19. HRV data will be available prior to this moment, but you won’t be able to see any color-coded assistance. When you’ve reached the background data, you’ll see the above-described colours.
Overview of GPS satellites with many bands:
In January, Garmin introduced multi-band/dual-frequency GPS to the Fenix 7 and Epix series watches, which are now available in the Forerunner 255 and 955 series.
But first, let’s go through what multi-band GPS is all about. Many people, both inside and outside of the GPS community, consider it to be the pinnacle of GPS accuracy. GPS, on the other hand, is the wrong term. This is due to the fact that GPS is a ‘brand,’ whereas GNSS is only an umbrella term (Global Navigation Satellite System). For the time being, let’s ignore the Kleenex controversy. Because you can connect to satellites using two different frequencies, the dual-frequency GPS theory is that if one frequency is experiencing connectivity or visibility issues, this would alleviate that by providing not just an additional frequency to validate against (L5), but one that is ten times greater than the primary (L1). As a result, your watch can now discern upwards of 60 satellites rather than the 20-25 it could previously observe. Your watch can better deal with signal blockages and boost accuracy by viewing additional satellites in addition to enhancing the signal and altering the frequency.
This is not the first time a corporation has attempted to enter this market.
The Fenix 7 and Epix were the first Garmin wearables to come equipped with multi-band GPS, which Garmin began rolling out to some of its hand-held devices a year ago. COROS Vertix 2 and Huawei’s GT 3 have both lately boasted this feature, which was first introduced in the summer of 2013. The COROS Vertix 2 didn’t produce any miraculous outcomes during my testing. But it wasn’t the land of milk and honey either. Because the technology is so young, we can expect (and have already seen) frequent firmware updates to make it even better. In a second, I’ll talk about that. The MediaTek/Airoha chipset (AG3335M) is used by COROS, and Garmin has stated that Airoha is their provider for all of their devices (Fenix 7 Sapphire units, Epix Sapphire units, FR255/FR955/Tactix 7). Because it’s the only publicly available Airoha chipset that meets Garmin needs despite the company’s refusal to say which one it uses, the most likely candidate is the AG3335M.
As a result of the debut of the Fenix 7 and the Forerunner 955, Garmin has reworked the selection procedure for GPS devices.
Changing satellites is possible in two places: As a system, the entire watch All sport profiles share this parameter, and it is assumed to be the default unless otherwise stated.
Per -Sport/Activity Type: The battery life may be sacrificed in return for increased (or decreased) GPS accuracy for a particular sport. For example, you may use a high-level dual-band GPS for an openwater swim or a difficult mountain bike ride, but then switch to a less battery-draining alternative for a road bike ride, which is normally one of the easiest GPS-tracked activities.
Next, you can now select from four different GPS settings:
GPS Only: This is the basic GPS-only option from Garmin, however they claim to have significantly improved the battery life compared to the previous GPS-only option.
The dealer can choose between GLONASS and GALILEO for this option, which has the odd name “All Systems.” Garmin is the dealer for this option. Garmin is now rotating between GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BeiDou, and QZSS based on the quality of the satellites from each, determining “which to prioritise” rather than letting the user decide which one to use.
All of the above With this new dual-frequency option, you may now use it on both L1 and L5 satellites, making it multi-band across both frequencies. In principle, this should be the most accurate, but it uses a lot more battery power.
For extremely extended expeditions, choose UltraTrac, which drastically slows the GPS update rate. If you don’t absolutely have to utilise this setting, your GPS traces will be horrendous. Consider this a last resort.
Aside from the fact that a 1-second recording is still available in the options, it has no effect on the GPS reception time or display.
It is only what it writes to the recorded file that matters.
The Forerunner 255, 255S, and 255 Music & 255S Music all make the following battery claims:
GPS-only: For up to a total of 30 hours (26 hours for the FR255S)
All of the above Up to 16 hours of multi-band use (13 hours for the 255S)
Multi-band + All Systems: + Up to 6.5 hours of music (5.5 hours for the FR255S Music)
There’s no mention of it in the Garmin Smartwatch’s specifications, but it’s an ideal spot to put UltraTrac. a period of fourteen days (12 days for FR255S)
I’ve primarily been testing in the multi-band/dual-frequency mode, and the battery burn rates appear to be in line with what they’re supposed to be. With a power metre connected, here’s an example of a 2-hour ride that shows a tendency toward 21 hours in multi-band configuration, which is better than Garmin’s own projections.
Q1: Is there going to be a Garmin 255 in the future?
Two new racing widgets have been added by Garmin. Since the Forerunner 255S isn’t a wearable health monitoring device like the Oura Ring or Apple Watch, this is why. It’s for running training, thus it’s best suited to that population. Two new racing widgets and Garmin’s Morning report feature are included with the 255S.
Q2: How do you know which Garmin is the best deal?
- Most up-to-date models from Garmin
- It is a Garmin Forerunner 245 This is the best Garmin watch for general use.
- The Forerunner 55 from Garmin. The Garmin Venu 2 Plus is the company’s best entry-level running watch. The greatest smartwatch from Garmin.
- Garmin Lily Garmin Approach S62 Garmin Epix 2
- a Garmin Forerunner 945 with LTE
- Fitbit Surge HR & Heart Rate Monitor
Q3: Is it worth it to get a Garmin watch?
Mobile payments, audio storage, and colour displays are all standard capabilities on some Garmin watches, but these aren’t necessarily the finest smartwatch features. Fitness tracking is a specialty of Garmin gadgets, and several of them are among the best sports watches and fitness trackers available today.
Q4: Which company has owned Garmin?
It was renamed Garmin AT, Inc. and became a completely owned subsidiary of Garmin International, Inc. after the acquisition. Dynastream Innovations, EME Tec Sat SAS (EME), and Digital Cyclone have all been purchased by Garmin.
Q5: Who does Garmin sell to?
On some Ranger Tugs, Cutwater boats (a part of Fluid Motion LLC), Bayliner boats (a division of Brunswick Corporation), Bavaria Yacht and Chaparral boats, Edgewater boats and Bennington marine models are equipped with Garmin devices.
Q6: Do any Garmin watches have built-in speakers?
Garmin Venu 2 Plus 33mm Fiber-reinforced polymer GPS Smartwatch Silver.
I decided to give Garmin another go once they finally installed a speaker.