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Pros

  • Snappy and accurate multi-band GPS connectivity
  • Comfortable discrete design
  • Local music playback

Cons

  • Limited smartwatch functionality

If you hop over to our best Garmin Watch of best fitness tracker guides, you’ll see the Garmin Fenix 7 is the best “top end” option we recommend for serious athletes. But, if you’re not interested in a tracker for extreme sports or only care about running specifically, then the Forerunner 955 is actually a better option.

Despite costing less than the baseline Fenix 7 it actually shares a lot of the same features and a few exclusives missing on its more premium sibling that during our tests made it as, if not better, for runners.

For starters, the device is a lot smaller, featuring a 1.3-inch transflective touch screen and chassis that’s a few millimeters thinner than what you find on the Fenix. This made it much more comfortable to wear during longer runs, and day-to-day for our reviewer, who was actually using the Fenix 7 as his daily tracker prior to reviewing the 955.

On top of that, it provides the same multi-band GPS support as the Fenix. This meant location tracking was accurate throughout testing and we never had any issue finding a GPS connection.

Add to this the same local music playback and local maps support and it became an easy recommendation. These are two key features that let you get guided, turn-by-turn directions on routes you’re not familiar with. The local music also let our tester enjoy a soundtrack to their run without needing to bring their phone along.

But what really sets it apart is its post-run analytics and coaching features. Unlike the Fenix and many other trackers, as well as distance, heart rate and training effect (which tells you how effective your last activity was) the device has a few useful add-on features. Our favourite was its training readiness service. Training readiness is an add-on that tells you how prepared your body is for a race or run. 

The feature flags causes for lower scores, like poor sleep and offer active recommendations about how to get race ready. As an added bonus, the watch also factors races you’ve put into your calendar into its daily recommendations, making it easier to avoid over training ahead of the big event.

This plus the week-long battery life we enjoyed reviewing it, makes the Forerunner 955 the best option we’d recommend to any serious runner or racer at the moment. The only reason we recommend the Fenix 7 over it for more generalist or adventurous athletes is the fact that it has a plastic, not metal, chassis. This plus the lack of a Sapphire Glass option mean it’s not as rugged as the Fenix and a less reliable option for climbers, watersports and extreme sports athletes.

Reviewer: Alastair Stevenson
Full review: Garmin Forerunner 955 review



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