In the lineup of every prominent brand, there is always an entry-level product that doesn't feature fancy bells and whistles but is high-quality, reliable, and excessively covers the customer's basic needs. The Forerunner 55 is the Honda Accord or Toyota Corolla of the running watch market. It costs a little, serves for years, and will never let you down.

The Garmin Forerunner 55 Design.


The Garmin Forerunner 55 offers high-end running, health, GPS, HR, and fitness tracking capabilities that you get for an entry-level running watch price. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy and Apple Watch, the device confidently covers the needs of advanced beginners and professional runners. Even some elite runners on a race day prefer the Forerunner 55 because it is 2 times (!) lighter than other premium models from Garmin. The device provides one of the best value for money among running smartwatches.



  • High HRM and GPS accuracy
  • Lightweight running watch
  • Sophisticated Modes
  • Impressive battery life
  • The screen is bright even in the sun
  • Compatibility with external sensors
  • Connectivity with popular apps via Garmin Connect
  • Low price tag
  • The pixels are visible on the screen
  • Modest design
  • No music and contactless payments
  • Limited capabilities for triathlon and trail running

Best Deals for Garmin FR 55

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Garmin logo.


93 /100

Crucial Specs

  • Core Features: HRM, GPS
  • Battery (Watch/GPS mode): 14 days/20 hours
  • Screen: 1.04" of 208 x 208 px
  • Storage: 200 hours of activity (equivalent to half a year of training for pro athletes)
  • Music: No (you can only control your smartphone's music player, but you can't listen to music without your phone)
  • Sports: Running, Cycling, Swimming (no navigation and multisport mode)
  • Price: ~$200
The Garmin Forerunner 55 Music playback management.


The watch has a round plastic body with Garmin's usual five physical buttons and an adjustable silicon strap. It looks minimalistic and sporty. The smartwatch comes in a black or white color option and has six pre-defined watch faces.

The default strap was improved compared to the previous model. It is more flexible and covers your wrist smoothly and naturally. There are many holes to adjust the strap comfortably. Also, you can replace the band with any other 20mm one if you, for example, don't like the strap material.

The device weighs only 1.3oz/37g. Once you put it on, you don't feel it and ultimately forget about it. It's the watch that is comfortable to wear during sleep.

The Garmin Forerunner 55 watch mode.


The Garmin Forerunner 55 has a 1.04-inch transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) display, which provides a surprisingly excellent contrast ratio and clear visibility, even in direct sunlight. It isn't a touchscreen display. The resolution is only 208 x 208 pixels, meaning you will notice pixels without extra effort. The screen can depict a 64-color palette, enough for comfortable use.

User Interfaces And Navigation

The Forerunner 55's interface is intuitive and user-friendly, especially for those who have used Garmin watches. The well-placed physical buttons make navigating settings menus, and features quick and easy. If you migrate from Coros or Polar, you'll also get the hang of it very soon.

Water Resistance

The device is water-resistant, up to 50 meters/5ATM, so you can shower and swim without taking it off. However, the vendor recommends using an external heart rate monitor for accurate pulse measurement while swimming.


The watch is built to last. The Forerunner 55 is durable and withstands the rigors of daily use, even though it doesn't have the extra protection, in contrast to the premium models. The display is protected with chemically strengthened glass, and the case features fiber-reinforced polymer.

The most sensitive part of all Garmin watches is the heart rate sensor. It is easy to scratch when the watch isn't on your wrist. So, be careful when taking it off; I recommend laying it with a face down on hard surfaces.

The Garmin Forerunner 55 HR sensor.


The Garmin Forerunner 55 is compatible with iOS and Android. Users can connect the device to their smartphones using the Garmin Connect app, which allows viewing fitness data, setting goals, and tracking progress over time. Moreover, your previous workouts from other Garmin devices will also be seamlessly migrated to your new watch.

You can set up an automated data sync with Strava, Runkeeper, or Training Peaks in the Garmin Connect app. So, you have all your activity data in a familiar format and interface.

The Forerunner 55 pairs with a chest-based Garmin HRM-Dual heart rate monitor. For more precise measurements, the Forerunner 55 is also compatible with other external Bluetooth/ANT+ sensors, like foot pods, speed, and cadence units.


The hardware of the Forerunner 55 is first-class. It collects the same number of data points as premium models with comparable accuracy.

Because of the lower computing power of the chip, the vendor has limited access to all the data collected from your wrist. However, on a smartphone or laptop, the breadth and depth of analytics are top-notch.

The one complaint I experienced was related to the GPS module. Sometimes, it takes time to connect to satellites. It isn't critical, but it takes slightly longer than for premium models.

The Garmin Forerunner 55 running tracking.


The perfect balance of hardware and software results in precise distance, pace, and heart rate tracking.

The integrated wrist-based Garmin Elevate heart rate sensor takes your pulse literally every second. In zones 1-3, the watch accurately measures the current heart rate during workouts. However, for high-intense sessions in 4-5 zones, the vendor recommends connecting a chest strap or other external heart rate monitors.

Also, additional sensors can provide better precision and more data points for specific sports like cycling and swimming.

The GPS is precise, too. In marathon races, the deviation from the official distance is insignificant. However, usually, the watch measures a slightly longer distance and therefore depicts a bit faster pace than the official/actual one.

Battery life

The significant benefit of a low-resolution MIP screen is its energy efficiency. It provides up to two weeks in smartwatch mode and 20 hours in workout+GPS mode — much more than other fitness trackers of the same price range provide.

In real-life use cases, with 4-5 workouts per week, the smartwatch delivers about two weeks of battery life. Also, it takes less than 2 hours to charge the Forerunner 55 to 100%. The device comes with a proprietary charging USB cable.

I usually don't pack the charger when traveling for a marathon or vacation. I charge the watch before departure, and there is still plenty of battery left when I'm back.

Features for Running

Run tracking features are high-end. The workout stats and analytics you get with Forerunner 55 are exhaustive and equal to what the high-end running watches provide.

You can log laps or intervals by clicking the back button at any time, and the watch will immediately notify you about the lap pace and time. The lap distance can be custom, but at most, it is 1 mile or 1 km.

Also, you can create custom workouts and PacePro pacing strategies in the Garmin Connect app and have them transferred to your watch. So, the watch will notify you when to pick up the pace and slow down.

The Garmin Forerunner 55 PacePro feature.

The advanced workout analytics and graphs are available in the Garmin Connect app and website.

The training suggestions feature is based on your previous workouts, sleep, and recovery time. It is helpful when deciding whether to jog easily, work out, or have a rest day. You can also create your training schedule in the mobile app and upload it to your watch.

In terms of run profiles, the watch can track outdoor, indoor, treadmill, track, and virtual running. However, the best distance precision is found outdoors.

Before running, adjust the training watch faces so the crucial metrics (like lap time and current heart rate) are visible or reachable with just a few button clicks. For a proper data screen setup on Garmin watches, I recommend watching a video by Ben Parkes.

The Forerunner 55 also supports the Garmin Coach feature. It is a collection of adaptable training programs created for advanced beginners by three professional coaches. If you have a separate goal for 5K/10K/Half-marathon, the training plans by Garmin Coach can help you achieve it better than any ready-made training programs you can purchase online. The best part, they don't cost you anything.

The Garmin Forerunner 55 running modes.


The Forerunner 55 has preloaded activity modes to track cycling, pool swimming, walking, cardio, yoga, elliptical, HIIT, stair stepper, pilates, breathwork, and many other types of workouts.

There is no multisport mode to track a triathlon race as a single activity. Also, there are no built-in maps and navigation, which makes trail running more challenging. For the same reason, the Forerunner 55 isn't suitable for outdoor swimming.

Regardless of your fitness level and diversity in sports, the number of modes is exhaustive for everyone except for trail runners and triathletes.

Forerunner 55 In Day-To-Day Life

Like every fitness tracker, the Forerunner 55 offers generic activity tracking, like calories burn, steps count, and other basic functions. It also tracks personalized health metrics, like stress level, sleep quality, respiration, and recovery.

The Forerunner 55 has an Assistance feature that sends SOS-like messages to designated contacts when holding the top left button for 7+ seconds. However, it works only when connected to a smartphone.

The smartphone notifications are in place and work well. It's worth mentioning that you can't use the watch for calls.

Health Tracking

The watch reveals insights into your current stress levels during the day and how different events and activities affect your well-being. For example, the watch spotted an unusually high stress level while I was approaching the job interview and suggested breathwork. The Forerunner 55 notices even the slightest signs of stress, like driving a car through a traffic jam or running late for a meeting.

Respiration Rate

For me, it's difficult to imagine how the watch on my wrist counts the breaths I make with my lungs. Nevertheless, in the Garmin app, you can find the highest, lowest, and average number of breaths per minute you make during the day and at night.

Sleep Tracking

The device tracks sleep duration and quality and distinguishes 3 phases of sleep. The sleep tracking feature gives me valuable insights into my sleep patterns and how different factors affect my recovery time. The sleep data is the first thing I check after waking up.

Body Battery

The body battery data is based on your heart rate variability, respiration rate, sleep quality, training history, recovery time, and stress level. Sleep at night and napping in the afternoon charge your body's battery, but sports and daily stress drain it.

I find this metric accurate, even though it doesn't consider eating habits and hydration that significantly affect well-being too.

Forerunner 55 in the Garmin's lineup

The two closest alternatives to the Forerunner 55 in Garmin's lineup are FR 45 and FR 245. All models provide the following:

  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Lightweight (1.2-1.7oz/32-49g)
  • Optical wrist HRM (every second)
  • Connectivity with apps and external sensors

The features they differ in are the following:

Garmin FR 45/45S

Garmin FR 55

Garmin FR 245/245S Music

Key Features

HRM, Distance, Pace

HRM, Distance, Pace

HRM, Distance, Pace, Multisport, P2P Navigation, Barometer

Battery (Watch/GPS mode)

7 days/13 hours

14 days/20 hours

7 days / 24 hours


208 x 208 px

208 x 208 px

240 x 240 px


80 hours of activity

200 hours of activity

4 GB




Yes, $50 extra


Running, Bike, Swimming

Running, Bike, Swimming

Running, Bike, Swimming, Triathlon, Trail, Hiking, Skiing, Snowboarding, Rowing





Forerunner 55 vs. 45/45S

The Forerunner 45 and 45S are the predecessors to the Forerunner 55 and offer similar features, such as GPS tracking, heart rate monitor, and workout modes. However, on top of that, the Forerunner 55 provides:

  • x2 times improved battery life
  • x2 internal memory

These two differentiation points are worth paying an extra $20.

The Forerunner 55 also features advanced running programs, like PacePro, race predictor, daily suggested workouts, recovery advisor, estimated finish time, and training calendar.

Lastly, the strap of FR55 is more flexible in the place where it connects to the watch's body. As a result, the watch fits more comfortably and covers the wrist more naturally.

Forerunner 55 vs. 245/245 Music

The two advantages the Forerunner 55 has over the FR 245 are:

  • x2 longer battery life in a watch mode
  • $80 lower price tag

So, if you are looking for a watch for road running only and music without a phone isn't critical, take Forerunner 55 for a lower cost and enjoy the longer battery life.

On the other hand, the Forerunner 245 offers more advanced features, such as:

  • Multisport, Navigation, and Barometer (to track triathlon, trail, skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and rowing)
  • Music playback (Music version only, for $50 extra)

So, the Forerunner 245 is the ultimate choice if you are doing triathlons or need to listen to music without a phone.

Best Deals for Garmin FR 245

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Comparison And Alternatives (outside Garmin)

Casual smartwatches (like the Apple Watch) don't cover the functionality needed for an advanced beginner in running. So, we'll compare the Garmin Forerunner 55 only to similar models from Coros and Polar.

Polar Pacer

Garmin FR 55

Coros Pace 2

Key Features

HRM, Distance, Pace

HRM, Distance, Pace

HRM, Distance, Pace, Multisport, Barometer

Battery (Watch/GPS mode)

7 days / 35 hours

14 days/20 hours

20 days/30 hours


240 × 240 px

208 x 208 px

240 x 240 px


Running, Bike, Swimming

Running, Bike, Swimming

Running, Bike, Swimming, Triathlon





Garmin FR 55 vs. Polar Pacer

The Polar Pacer has a slightly bigger screen but only half of the battery life in watch mode and is priced at $10 higher. So, the Garmin Forerunner is a more reasonable choice between these two devices.

Garmin FR 55 vs. Coros Pace 2

The Coros Pace 2 outperforms the Forerunner 55 in many crucial aspects: features, screen size, battery life, and workout modes. These advantages are worth paying $19 extra. Moreover, if you own a proprietary Coros charger, the price will be the same as for FR 55.

Best Deals for Coros Pace 2

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Coros logo.

The Bottom Line

I absolutely recommend buying the Garmin Forerunner 55. It is a high-end, lightweight running watch with an entry-level running watch price tag. The device is a sweet spot regarding smartwatch functions, running-specific features, battery life, and cost. The watch ensures accurate measurements and will serve you for a long, long time. However, I don't recommend buying a used device.

It's compatible with any smartphone and running app. The daily suggested workouts and personalized health insights reveal valuable information to keep you in shape and perform at your best.

Can you use the Garmin Forerunner 55 without a phone?

Yes, the Garmin Forerunner 55 is fully functional without a phone and can track your workouts, health, and fitness. It has built-in GPS tracking and can store up to 200 hours of physical activity data (10 charges) without syncing with your smartphone.

Is Garmin Forerunner 55 worth buying?

The Garmin Forerunner 55 is worth buying if your dominant sport is running. It offers an excellent balance of features, accuracy, battery life, durability, and price.

Is Garmin Forerunner 55 better than 45?

Yes, the Garmin Forerunner 55 is an improved version of the Forerunner 45. It provides a longer battery life, a better fit, and advanced running features. It's $20 more expensive, but it is worth an upgrade.

Can you answer calls on Garmin Forerunner 55?

No, the Garmin Forerunner 55 cannot make or receive phone calls. However, it can display notifications from your phone and allow you to control music playback on your phone.

How old is the Garmin Forerunner 55?

The Garmin Forerunner 55 was released in June 2021.

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Alex Roven
Alex Roven

I completed my first 10K on a dare. In a year, I ran a half-marathon. Another year later, I finished a marathon race. Today I run 4 marathons a year and a half-marathon every week. I learned everything about running the hard way. So, I help runners achieve better results easier.