Garmin Forerunner 255 | Full Review, Details and Opinion


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The Garmin Forerunner 255 has grown up and now becomes a family. To the two models available until now (normal and Music version) a smaller size has been added.

But not only has it grown by having more models completing the series, the FR255 is a watch that has moved up a category. Now the line separates with the Garmin Forerunner 955 (also presented on the same day) is getting smaller and smaller.

In fact 1TP7I could sum it all up and tell you that the new 255 is basically an upgraded 945 but without maps. Not to mention that it has clearly gone to the FR745 being a superior watch. In fact the Forerunner 255 becomes a triathlon watch because it supports this mode along with others such as open water swimming, something that has never happened before.

I always like to remind you of the origin of the devices I test. In this case the Forerunner 255 in the test has been temporarily loaned by Garmin. Once the review is finished it will go where it came from so there is no compensation from the brand in exchange for a more positive review. This gives me the possibility to tell you all the good, but also all the flaws of any device.

So if you like the work I do in these tests and you want to collaborate with the website, you can do it through the published links. And don't forget to join the Telegram channel I post a lot of bargains there on a regular basis, thanks for your support!

Garmin Forerunner 255

Global operation
Training possibilities
Platform and apps
Battery life
Finishes and comfort
Price/performance ratio


Now the Garmin Forerunner 255 is a triathlon watch, no longer just a road running watch. That takes it up a few notches in terms of all it has to offer. To top it off, multi-band satellite reception for maximum accuracy and more performance and training metrics.

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The good

  • Multi-band satellite chipset in a midrange
  • Profiles for triathlon and open water swimming
  • Pulse variability monitoring
  • Very high price/performance ratio
  • With barometric altimeter

The bad

  • No Stamina metric
  • ClimbPro is missing
  • Autonomy is ok, but not stellar
  • External accessory required to enjoy the power during the race
  • Does not natively support third-party stroke potentiometers (such as Stryd).

What's new Garmin Forerunner 255

As usual, and even more so if it shares the presentation date with the new top of the range Forerunner, the FR255 does not present anything new or exclusive. But since it is a slightly shortened version of the new FR955 the list of new products is no nonsense either.

  • It becomes a family and there are two versions available, Garmin FR255 and Garmin FR255S. The difference is the size. There are music and non-music versions of both.
  • 1.3″ display on the FR255 and 1.1″ display on the FR255S (the FR245 used 1.2″ display). No touch control
  • The FR255 is 45.6mm in diameter and the FR255S is 41mm. 49 grams and 39 grams of weight respectively.
  • Garmin Elevate V4 Optical Pulse Sensor, which was released with the Garmin Venu 2
  • Multiband (dual-band) system on all versions
  • With barometric altimeter
  • Up to 30 hours with GPS use on 255, or 26 hours on 255S version
  • Pulse variability monitoring (HRV or HRV)
  • Morning report with sleep quality, pulse rate variability during sleep, weather forecast and training for the day
  • Heart rate variability (HRV) is used as an additional piece of data when displaying training status to try to be more accurate.
  • Training status screen with more values: VO2Max, HRV and load status for the last 7 days (ATL or fatigue in TrainingPeaks).
  • New race widget with days to test, weather at that location and more details based on your history
  • Running power estimation with external accessory (HRM-Pro sensor or Running Dynamics Pod)
  • Possibility to change settings from the watch or, finally, also from the mobile application
  • Triathlon and open water swimming profiles are available.
  • HIIT profile for recording activity, with animated workouts and instructions. It was released with the Garmin Venu 2
  • Garmin Pay is available in any of its versions.
  • Direct access from the watch to the Connect IQ store to update items via WiFi
  • Available in five colors: white, black, pink, blue, gray. Not all are available for all versions, depending on sizes and if they have music.

The qualitative leap that has given the Garmin Forerunner 255 with respect to the 245 is very large. Not only in overall performance, but also in the type of watch. It has ceased to be a watch intended for running to become a complete triathlon watch. So much so that right now the 745 is totally out of the game and in many ways can be a perfect replacement for the 955.


All models in the Forerunner 255 range

As I said at the beginning, the 255 has now become a family: there are different sizes and in both cases versions with or without music. In total there are four models:

  • Garmin Forerunner 255S (41mm diameter)
  • Garmin Forerunner 255 (45.6mm diameter)
  • Garmin Forerunner 255S Music
  • Garmin Forerunner 255 Music

The Music versions allow you to download music to the watch from online platforms like Spotify or Amazon Music (or load it from your computer). But it is not a requirement to have other things like the multi-band chipset for satellite reception that is giving such good results.

In short, you simply have to choose the size of the watch (and consequently of the display) and whether you are going to listen to music during your workouts.

What you need to know about Garmin FR255

The Garmin Forerunner 255 is one more of the Forerunner family, so you know what you're going to find. Everything about it continues to be continuity and there are no surprises of any kind. 

There is no touch screen as in the case of the 955, but since there are no maps it is not really necessary. The control is done through the classic 5 buttons, three on the left side and two on the right.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - Buttons

The buttons are metallic and have a good feel, but another difference with respect to the 955 is that they are not engraved with a second function. That is, pressing the lower left button accesses the music, that in the 955 is engraved on the button but in the 255 is completely smooth.

What they do share is the screen, which is 1.3″ in both cases and with a resolution of 260×260 pixels. It is an important change with respect to the 245 because that 0.1″ of size is noticeable.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - Display

This is the 255, because the 255S, being smaller, sees the screen size reduced to 1.1″. In this case we are already walking in more swampy terrain and perhaps you can stay small.

As you may already know, there are several clock screens that you can configure directly from the watch, it is something that we still do not podemos do from the phone application. Because the configuration from the mobile is another of the new possibilities added in the 255. We will mainly use it to configure the sport profiles, but it also supports other types of settings.

All changes are immediate, there is no need to synchronize to see how the chosen data screen looks like. This is what you will be most grateful for because podrás do it at cell phone speed and not going in and out of different menus.

If the clock screens you have available on your watch don't work for you, you can always install any of the thousands available through Connect IQ.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - Garmin Connect IQ

It is the same with widgets, 1TP7We can add or remove the default ones. Or change the order in which they are displayed. In this case it is possible to do it through the phone application. And likewise, podemos also download other widgets from Connect IQ.

The Garmin Forerunner 255 does not revolve only around sport, there are also general health metrics that pod We can record and analyze about our daily life. Steps, heart rate, floors climbed (because we now have barometric altimeter), Body Battery (a metric that interprets remaining energy for the whole day), sleep analysis, etc. You can see that in the widgets of the watch, or also directly in the application.

But all this was already available in other watches of the brand since a few years ago. What is new is the "Morning Report". A screen that appears every morning and informs us of data on how you feel about your rest, training load, pulse variability during the night and a reminder of what training we have to do for the day.

The main difference with respect to the Garmin FR955 is that the 255 does not offer the "Training Readiness" metric, the rest of the information displayed by the Morning Report is identical (see all this in more detail in the 955 review). 

Training bias is a metric that encompasses all those numbers that are appearing in the daily report and represents it in one easy-to-see number, in case you don't want to make decisions based on everything else.

There are changes with respect to the training suggestion, first of all because it now considers more data to make the recommendation (such as pulse variability), but mainly because it is now possible that the suggested workouts are with a target that we have in our calendar. Because there is a new widget, the racing calendar.

We can enter a competition through Garmin Connect and from that moment on podrás will see on the clock how much time is left for the event to arrive.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - Training Calendar

Already in the watch podrás see estimated time to complete the race based on the current VO2Max and the temperature that you can do according to historical.

Beyond the "aesthetic" complement of seeing when your race is, the important part is that from that moment on all the daily training recommendations will revolve around that goal. They will no longer be generic recommendations but rather there will be a structured plan for that particular race.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - Training suggestions

As the daily workouts take into account past training, recovery, training status and other metrics we have seen above, it is a fully dynamic training plan based on your actual condition. Of course, this training plan will not be focused on any particular goal (e.g. running a marathon under 3 hours).

However, you should know that for the moment it is only valid for cycling or running competitions, but not for triathlon. And it is not only in training, is that in the calendar neither podrás add a triathlon event.

But continuing with the morning report, the next thing we'll look at is the pulse variability status. I use the picture of the 955, because to have a comparison with respect to the average of the last three weeks we have to wear the watch for at least 19 days, and Garmin only lends me the watch for 14... so I can't get to the days :-).

Garmin Forerunner 955 - Training Predisposition

The watch measures the pulse variability during the whole night and 1TP7We can see in a graph how it has evolved together with the average and maximum of the night. For clarification, a high variability is usually considered as a sign of a rested and recovered state, while a low variability denotes stress or fatigue.

The HRV status takes into account the pulse variability throughout the night, and compares the data with the average of the previous three weeks. It is for this reason that you will have to wait a long time after purchasing the watch to see this complete information.

As for the data itself, it is specific to each person so it makes no sense to compare it with that of your training partner, and even differs greatly throughout the year and our activity.

Sleeping with two clocks the data are not exactly the same, but very similar. The difference is that the clock takes the reference value at certain times and is not constant, therefore the peaks may be different.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - Heart Rate Variability

Continuing with more metrics that have changed we have the training status, now more complete.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - Training status

It's old hat, but now it's showing more metrics to help decipher why it's giving messages. In my case it's saying that I'm in danger of overtraining right now, which is partly true.

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My VO2Max is dropping, logical because I took a break from training after the Ironman. My pulse variability is unbalanced because of what I just commented; and my acute load is high because until a week ago it was practically non-existent. Knowing where I'm coming from and why I know there's no danger of injury, but it's something to keep in mind.

You may have noticed that I talked about "acute training load". It's a slight change from how I used to take it into account, diluting the high loads over time. That is, if today you do a heavy series training you know that tomorrow you will be quite fatigued, but in 5 days the body will have recovered.

The training load is the daily average for 7 days. Previously that high load was present for all those days and podía produce messages of being out of balance, whereas now that load is diluted as the days go by to give a truer picture of what you have accumulated.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - Acute Charge

To sum it all up, these are the new metrics you can see in 255 and what you should be aware of with them:

  • VFC statusThe average of pulse variability during the night, which helps to decipher the state of our body and the trend with respect to fatigue and rest. It is the nightly average compared to the previous three weeks.
  • Training statusIt takes into account the trend of VO2Max, pulse variability and training load. It serves to put into perspective what we are doing with our last weeks of training.
  • Acute training loadThe training load of the last 7 days, but diluting the more intense workouts with the passing of the days and recovery.

In short, all these are the basic aspects of the watch plus some additions that I consider essential to comment. But I leave to talk about it in more detail two crucial additions to this model. First of all the power estimation in race, which podry to have an implementation with a little more affection. And then tell you about the addition of the multiband GNSS chipset, something unique in watches of this price range.

Running power

Garmin finally adds running power estimation to its watches, at least officially. But it's somewhat limited compared to what pod can see in the competition.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - Power

I think that, after waiting for so long, Garmin has not done a good job with respect to running power. Unlike Polar or COROS, in the case of Garmin it is necessary to use an external sensor for poder to obtain this data, and it is not obtained simply from the wrist. Specifically one of these Garmin sensors:

  • HRM-Run pulse sensor
  • HRM-Tri pulse sensor
  • HRM-Pro pulse sensor
  • Sensor Running Dynamics Pod

In case you wear one of these sensors while running then you will have access to power estimation, which includes displaying it in real time and recording it in the activity file, as well as poder set up advanced workouts with power target (in addition to the usual pace or heart rate). We can also poder define specific power zones for racing.

If we go back a few years, we already talked about a Connect IQ application called Garmin Running Powerwhich Garmin launched in beta version and about which there have been no major changes. Garmin has simply added that application natively to the watch. If you have used it in the past you know what to expect when using it now, the only thing that being natively integrated allows you to use the power for phased workouts.

To continue to dig deeper, Garmin does not allow to natively display data from any other external sensor such as Stryd. They say this is because Stryd doesn't use the appropriate standard, but that hasn't stopped Suunto, Polar, Wahoo or COROS from doing so (i.e. all the others).

If you want to use Stryd, you will have to continue to do so through its various applications but without access to the advantages of native integration.

These are the data fields that podemos select in the screen configuration:

  • Power
  • Power indicator
  • Average power
  • Return power
  • Last lap power
  • Maximum power
  • Power zone

If we compare it with the options we have in cycling, there are much less options. In this gallery you can see first of all the options for running, the following images correspond to the cycling profile.

Obviously there are no cycling dynamics fields or similar, but some parity with interesting metrics such as %FTP, time in zones, intensity factor, 3s or 10s averages, etc. would be appreciated.

So it can be considered a "half-baked" integration. I would love it to natively support Stryd for poder to use it just like on watches from other brands. That would allow for power workouts natively without having to be downloading Connect IQ apps. Maybe we'll see it in the future because Garmin hasn't closed the door, but for now that's what we have.

Finally you will have the most important question... Are Garmin power data reliable? Well, they are as reliable as power data from any other brand. There is no fixed standard and in all cases it is an algorithm based on different parameters. It is not possible to compare power data between devices of different brands, but it is possible to compare them with each other.

But about all that I already talked in the past. If you are interested in race power estimation. I have several items (and YouTube videos) about it.


As in the FR955All versions of the FR255 include the new dual-frequency multiband chipset. This is an important difference with respect to the Fenix 7 or EpixIn some cases, it is necessary to go to more expensive versions (sapphire crystal) to enjoy this chipset.

If I already found it a bit strange in the 955 (it would not have been unreasonable if it had been reserved only for the Solar), it is even more remarkable in the more economical model. 

But before I go into the details of how it works, I want to clarify all the technical aspects. Basically this is what I have been writing about since the presentation of the VERTIX 2 from COROS, but it is time to comment again.

Satellites transmit data at different frequencies, something like your home router. As with your Wi-Fi router, using different frequencies we can benefit in speed or distance. It's a mere example and they are two things that have nothing in common, but I hope you get the idea with that.

Dual-frequency systems allow for improved positioning in places with difficult reception such as forests, cities where the signal bounces off buildings, etc. By receiving information from more than one radio signal from each satellite, the device can differentiate between real signal and bounced signal.

GNSS dual frequency Garmin allows us to carry out different configurations in the clock settings:

  • GPS disabled
  • GPS only
  • All systems: the watch will prioritize between GPS/GLONASS/Galileo/BeiDou/QZSS depending on which one offers the best performance at the time).
  • All systems plus multi-band: as above but using L1 and L5 frequencies (only on models with sapphire crystal)
  • Auto Select: This is the new SatIQ mode "officially" introduced with the Garmin Enduro 2.
  • UltraTrac: Very low power mode reducing the GPS update rate every few seconds. Only necessary for expeditions or multi-day adventures.

All the modes are quite well defined in themselves, but the one that is worth commenting on is the new Auto Select mode. With this new mode it will allow the watch to dynamically alternate satellite settings, increasing accuracy by using the multiband system when running through a dense forest, or prioritizing autonomy when there are no signal reception problems.

Selecting this setting will possibly increase battery consumption, but it ensures that you will always have the best possible tracks and satellite reception.

It works dynamically, switching between the different modes available depending on whether we have good signal or if the reception is complicated. The best thing is that it is the watch that works independently and we do not have to remember which mode to select depending on where we are going to do our training.

What you should keep in mind is that the use of the dual band will have a noticeable impact on the battery, almost double. Without going into all the different options and their autonomies, I can tell you that the autonomy of the 255 can be 30 hours of activity or only 16, depending on whether you only use GPS or the option of all systems plus multiband. In either case these are very good figures, but you have to take it into account.

A final note with regard to the dual-frequency. Just because accuracy can increase significantly doesn't mean that we're going to have absolutely perfect tracks under any circumstances. Obviously, there will still be specific errors.

GPS and optical HR sensor performance

Having clarified the whole issue of the dual band (and if there is something you have not understood, you have the comments to clarify doubts), it's time to go to the performance comparisons. As with the optical sensor tests that you will see later, the GPS comparisons are done in the same way: with the watches accompanying me in my usual workouts. Wearing both the Garmin Forerunner 255 and other models, and checking where the problems appear.

I do not have any defined path to establish a score for the simple reason that there are other external factors that we should never forget. Things like clouds, leaves on the trees or simply the position of the satellite can alter the GPS results from one day to the next.

This is why I prefer to make this type of comparison instead of having a predefined route and assess it from this one.

As for the optical sensor, you should keep in mind that a wrist heart rate monitor does not work the same way on every body. We are all different, and if we add into the equation things like skin tone, tattoos, body hair... the difference from person to person can be quite large.

In my tests it is not that the spectrum of users is very broad: it is me, myself and I. So what works well for me might not do it for someone else, or it might be better.

But the most important thing to keep in mind is that you have to follow some guidelines to wear the sensor. It should be tight (but not cut off your circulation), enough to keep the watch from moving freely on your wrist, leaving a separation of approximately one finger from the wrist bone. By following these details you will ensure that you get the best results that your conditions can offer.

After the "disclaimer" that I do in all my reviews, let's go to the tests themselves. I will try to be brief and concise because this section is always a bit tedious both for you to read it and for me to write it.

I've done some training with the "All Satellites" setting, and then switched to the new SatIQ or Auto Select option. Don't worry I will specify which is which in each of the examples.

I start with this simple training at easy paces. The FR255 is with the "All satellites" option and I wear the FR955 on the other wrist (same satellites configuration). In addition the Wahoo ELEMNT RIVAL and as pulse sensors a Polar H10 and the Polar Verity Sense.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - GPS Review

I zoom in to see the details. This is one of the first turns, the clocks have not yet made the complete triangulation with all available satellites and I'm still going at a somewhat slow pace (slopes and warm-up).

Both FR255 and Wahoo are a bit off on both sides of the route, with the 955 being the best behaved, but not perfect either. That's about the part I've circled.

It stands out where I have marked with the arrow, as both Garmins plot that point perfectly while the Wahoo watch again goes off the correct path.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - GPS Review

The Wahoo is again slightly off the correct route, just as it had been before. It is marked with the arrow. Further ahead I have circled an interesting point because it goes under a tunnel to cross the highway. That causes the signal to be lost momentarily and allows me to see how they behave both when they lose it and how long it takes to recover it, because I make a turn immediately after leaving the tunnel.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - GPS Review

In this case the three watches behaved quite well. The best of them all was the 255, which marked a perfect line both on the descent through the tunnel and when making the turn. The Garmin FR955 had a little hesitation before the entrance, but the turn was equally perfect. The ELEMNT RIVAL shifted slightly, but even so it didn't take long to recover the signal and be able to identify the left turn.

Further on, in this area I go down a street where I run close to a row of buildings. Already at the finish the Wahoo goes a bit off the correct route (which is the one marked by the two Garmins), but going down the street it deviates further and in fact ends up entering the park area on my right.

The track recorded by the two Garmin watches is simply perfect. Yes, I make that turn and run along the road as seen in the tracks of both watches, because there I try to save an area of terraces that at 7 pm is in full swing.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - GPS Review

If you like, let's go with the pulse sensor data from this workout. The goal was constant pace throughout the workout in Z2-Z3 and 6 fast intervals at the end.

The first impression is very satisfactory, with all sensors matching almost perfectly, although I have marked two points for closer observation.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - Optical sensor review

This is the first of them. Here I stop briefly to tie a lanyard. You can see how the reaction to the pulsation drop is instantaneous from the Polar H10 sensor, and the Polar Verity Sense follows not much later, although the minimum peak is not able to reach it equally.

In the meantime the clocks take much longer to lower the log. This is normal, because the algorithm is trying to understand what has happened and whether it is indeed a drop in heart rate or something else. Sudden changes in intensity is where the optical sensors that are placed on the wrist encounter the most problems.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - Optical sensor review

On the other hand, this is the extension of the strong intervals at the end. Pace changes of only 20 seconds, with 20 seconds rest. Not an easy thing for the sensors (not for the chest one either) but the performance is good overall.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - Optical sensor review

You can see how the watch sensors are slower to react to changes, exactly as we have seen in the previous example. While the Polar H10 reacts the fastest to changes, the Polar Verity Sense also ramps the intensity up and down quite quickly.

I now move on to interval training, in which I repeat the same run, steadily increasing and decreasing the pace. In this case I change the Wahoo for a Suunto 5 Peak.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - GPS Review

So the most logical thing to do is to zoom in on that area where I repeat the same section over and over again.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - GPS Review

Good results in general, although there are some moments in which we can appreciate slight departures from the running area in the case of Suunto 5 Peak (blue) and Garmin FR955 (purple). The track of the Garmin FR255 does not "peek out" at any time, at least at this zoom level.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - GPS Review

By zooming in on a pivot point (and on the main straight), you can see everything in more detail. Of course there is no perfection, but it does work all three clocks quite well in this training.

However this was a workout to primarily pull heart rate data and poder compare it. 

Garmin Forerunner 255 - Optical sensor review

And not that there's much to say... Yes, there's a repeat of the situation that the optical pulse sensors are a little slower to change than the Garmin HRM-Tri I wear on my chest, but it's nothing we haven't known for quite some time. But during training the optical sensors of the FR255 and the Suunto 5 Peak perfectly nail the 10 intervals performed.

So far the GPS configuration of the Garmin Forerunner 255 is all satellites, but without using the multiband mode. So for this next example I will make use of that, but of the automatic SatIQ function, which is what I find most interesting. The Garmin FR955 is still in the same "All systems" configuration in order to poder compare both modes.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - GPS Review

I tried to look for areas that could offer complications to the GPS such as turns, buildings or forest areas, so I will look for those in the track.

In this first zone I run through the interior of that forest, more lush than it appears in that image at that point. To fix the error I have marked on the COROS APEX Pro when I reach that turn.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - GPS Review

That sort of "S" that the 255 track makes is how I went through that area, as I was running on the left side of the road but it was very bumpy, so halfway down the road I went to the center. Both 955 and the COROS have been more inaccurate.

Next point. I turn left and run close to a fairly tall hotel. All three clocks make the turn perfectly, but the signal bounce off the building confuses both the COROS and the 955. The 255, with the SatIQ setting, remains unperturbed and nails the course. 

Garmin Forerunner 255 - GPS Review

More forest ahead. It seems to slightly confuse the Forerunner 955 and the COROS (which makes a curve further on by trimming the course). Again the 255 stands out for making a perfectly straight line.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - GPS Review

And one last example of this training, in which I make 90º turns on purpose in several narrow streets (albeit with low houses). Again 1TP7We can see how the 255 performs very well, improving the graphs of the Forerunner 955 that was not making use of the SatIQ function.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - GPS Review

One last example with the same configuration on the two Garmin clocks, and changing the COROS APEX Pro for a Polar Grit X Pro.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - GPS Review

I let the images speak for themselves below. You can perfectly appreciate the advantage of the more modern chipset of the Garmin compared to the one used by the Polar.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - GPS Review Garmin Forerunner 255 - GPS Review Garmin Forerunner 255 - GPS Review Garmin Forerunner 255 - GPS Review

Do I ride a bike at all? At least from the point of view of the optical pulse sensor, because in GPS there is nothing to see.

This is a short workout where after warming up I do 2×15′ uphill. 

Garmin Forerunner 255 - Optical sensor review

As long as I maintain a high intensity everything goes perfect (it also helps that the asphalt is perfect and there are no vibrations from the road). But from the middle when I start the descent and everything is much smoother, the differences start to appear.

Garmin Forerunner 255 - Optical sensor review

Not a bad result for the very bad charts I've seen in the past, but still the optical sensors are not at a point where I can trust them in cycling.

I could go on putting comparisons of workouts that I have done, but everything would be the same both in the aspect of GPS and optical pulse sensor. The results I've gotten for the Forerunner 255 are frankly good.

The satellite chipset of the new Garmin models is working very well. It already does so in the "All Systems" function, although in complicated areas the SatIQ option becomes a good ally with the advantage that everything is done automatically by the watch. These tracks of the 255 are possibly the best I have obtained to date considering any watch on the market, something extremely interesting when we talk about a mid-range watch like the Forerunner 255.

On the part of the Garmin Elevate 4 sensor there is not much to note that we have not already seen in the past. I haven't had any major glitches beyond the usual slowness in recording intervals, which is not a sign of a malfunction but a sign of how the technology works (in the end it's an estimate, and there has to be a trend change). I feel perfectly comfortable using this type of sensor on a run, although as with any optical sensor I prefer to use the chest strap when training on the bike.

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Opinion Garmin Forerunner 255

The Garmin Forerunner 255 has grown up. It is no longer the mid-range Garmin model focused on runners of any level. It has been upgraded to a multisport and triathlon watch, of course without neglecting runners (still its target customer). So much so that it has eaten into the niche that in the past has been occupied by models such as the 645 and even the 745, a theoretically higher-end model.

In fact as I've said up to this point the 255 is practically an FR945 without navigation maps but has added a few things that the 945 doesn't have: dual band satellite reception, running power estimation, pulse variability recording, Garmin Elevate 4.0 optical sensor... and the list 1TP7I could go on and on.

In this sense, Garmin wanted to get ahead of the presentation of the COROS APEX Pro 2, scheduled for the end of this year. It has wanted to show its letter of introduction with a powerful and full-featured model, which is why I believe they have included the multiband GNSS chipset (which will probably also be present in the APEX Pro 2).

But this also has a danger. The 255 will also cut sales of higher-end models such as the 955 or the Fenix. With its range, barometric altimeter and performance it is perfectly valid for triathletes and trail enthusiasts of any level, and for almost half the price. 

So many triathletes who do not make use of the maps will find that they have no need to opt for the more expensive version, when the 255 has almost everything... or everything they will use.

The Forerunner 255 is a great watch, quite reasonably priced given all it offers. As you have podido check the reliability of both GPS and optical pulse sensor is among the best. Not much more to ask of it, and if you want more features Garmin has superior models that give them to you. 

The truth is that with the two new additions to the Forerunner range the competition is finding it increasingly difficult. Before they saved the furniture because Garmin had lost the north with respect to prices, but with the two new models that is no longer an objection. They are going to have to get their act together.

And with that... thanks for reading!

Garmin Forerunner 255
Garmin Forerunner 255 : Full review, details and opinion 13

10 things you should know about the Garmin Forerunner 255 and detailed and in-depth analysis of everything the mid-range GPS from Garmin has to offer.

Product SKU: 010-02641-11

Product Brand: GARMIN

Product Currency: EUR

Product Price: 265.00

Price Valid Until: 2025-12-14

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:

Eduardo Mateos

I've been surrounded by electronic devices of all kinds for more than 25 years. Using them, testing them, taking them apart and dissecting them. Long distance triathlete: I swim, run and cycle for a long time. Maybe too much.

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  1. Great article, I have looked at the features and precisely except maps it has everything . As a hiking watch I have seen that it also has everything in its widgets; barometer in graph, graphical altitude, storm alarm, weather trend indicator .... also in data fields you can even put to say the time of sunrise, sunset, barometric pressure ...... and navigation gives you everything except maps. You can save a location to use it as a point of interest at another time, astronomical functions..... of everything. My question is : I have recently been left with a polar grit x pro which is supposed to be outdoor and in both widgets and boot camp it doesn't have half the outdoor features (hiking, climbing trekking adventure) of what this 255 has I missing something apart from the build materials? Honestly I am impressed that the Garmin 255 is above the top of the range polar outdoor ... I would appreciate it if you could clarify because in principle I see it very clear, thanks in advance

    1. They are different platforms and different approaches. By number of features the Garmin has more, but if you prefer the Polar training platform or its metrics it is the choice to make.

  2. One quick question, in the music version you can only load songs from Spotify and Amazon Music? With Tidal for example it would not be possible? If you are playing music through a phone and not the watch, can you change songs or stop it using the watch?
    Thank you for your tests, they seem to me the most sincere on the internet. Best regards.

  3. Great article, yes sir!
    I am looking at watches, so far I have always or almost always run on asphalt and my fr235 has behaved luxuriously.
    Now, the idea is to start doing some trail riding.
    Longer runs (better battery), unevenness.....
    Doubts start when looking at the fr255 and the suunto 9 peak.
    Which one would you advise?
    Thank you very much.

    1. The main difference will be in the platform (I like the Suunto a bit more) and materials (the Suunto is much better). But then the Garmin has multiband reception, better optical pulse sensor and, by number of features, superior to the Suunto.

    2. Very good article, I have to change watch and my main option is Garmin, for poder to do training on the roller from the watch. I usually do mtb and running in the countryside and I have doubts between the 255 and the instinct 2. Which one do you recommend?

  4. Hello, Thank you very much for the article. It is very helpful. I have reviewed and I think q is not put: there is a difference in autonomy in terms of normal and music? I mean. If you use the music mode in the music have the same autonomy or is penalized by carrying this mode? And a second question in case you know it. How long does the battery last in music mode? I have read that in other models it drains it immediately.
    Thanks for your help!

  5. Hello
    A very complete article on this watch
    My idea is to use it mainly in the mountains for trekking routes, if I'm not mistaken I can install the Wikiloc app but I think this app does not do "turn by turn" navigation, I have read that for example the 945 can do it by importing the kml files exported from Wikiloc on the maps of the watch itself, but I would like to know if this model has this mode of indications in its map application.

    Thank you very much.

  6. I bought a 255 in June and I am delighted. I miss the power that I saw in the vantage v, and therefore I consider buying the garmin pod. Is it currently a good option, or is a renewal to be expected? I see that it is a product that is already a few years old?

  7. Hello

    I have the 225, and I'm thinking of renewing my garmin, having access to garmin coach can be an extra help.
    For 150€ is it worth opting for the 245 or is it better to opt for the 255 which costs approximately 300€?

    Thank you

  8. Hello

    I have the 225, and I'm thinking of renewing my garmin, having access to garmin coach can be an extra help.
    For 150€ is it worth opting for the 245 or is it better to opt for the 255 (+/-300€)?

    Thank you

    1. It depends on what you are looking for. The 255 is more complete, more sport profiles (triathlon, open water...) and many more features in terms of training load tracking. But if you want something basic similar to the 225 and cheaper, the 245 is a good choice.

  9. Hello
    I like the Garmin for having on a mountain bike.
    For the features of 255 I would go for it but many of the features it has I would not use it as I would only use it for walking and hiking.
    Is it worth spending on 255 or am I dropping down to the 55
    Livertrack!!! .... barometric altimeter!!....
    Training! ....
    Thank you

    1. FR55 I don't recommend it mainly because of the screen, for the price difference the 245 is a better option. In fact, if you are only going to use it for walking and hiking, it would be the most sensible option. Now on Black Friday there will be good deals, stay tuned that will be published on the web all of them.

      1. I had considered that option
        With the black friday I will look at the offers that may be available and maybe I will make a larger outlay for 255
        Lest I regret it with the best features that the 255 has.
        The barometric altimeter option?
        I am interested in
        Thank you

  10. Good morning,

    I am hesitating between the 945 and the 255 music. I like the ClimbPro and the maps, but on the other hand, I'm afraid that the 945 will be abandoned.

    Do you know if the ClimbPro is expected to be added to the 255?

    For the same price, which one would you recommend? I usually do 2/3 running workouts and 1 bike ride per week.

    Thanks in advance.

    A salute!

    1. If you are going to make use of maps and ClimbPro is 945 it will be a better option. ClimbPro is something that is not going to reach 255, and in the cycling part the truth is that it is quite useful.

  11. I've had the FR245 for 2 years (bought in your black friday links), in the sports section it's enough for me (except for the lack of weight training or similar, what I practice most is MTB with chest strap and some walking), but it limps a little in the health part. I see that this one brings many improvements in that aspect, partly thanks to the new sensor. Is it worth the change focusing on that aspect? I'm more interested in the health part than the sports part. I'm considering other alternatives such as the Venu 2 (I think it lacks things like recovery time, training effect, etc..), or other more "Smartwatch", such as Apple Watch, Huawei Watch GT 3, Amazfit GTR 4... The Apple Watch is going out of price, and I would not want to do without the SpO2 and ECG (SE version), in addition, I think there are many measurements that do not do or depend on third-party applications, the Huawei penalizes quite a lot with iOS, and Amazfit is not very reliable for data management and failures that have been reported historically with its sensors. On the other hand if I stay on Garmin, I can take advantage of Garmin IQ purchases and downloads.

    1. I understand that by "health" you mean the training load functions, pulse variability, etc. All that the Venu 2 does not have and will not have, as it is oriented to more casual exercise. Apple Watch emphasizes the health part, but more for day to day (no sports). As for Huawei and Amazfit, very basic in that sense.

      1. Basically it is to know if the jump is substantial between the 245 and 255, in terms of sensor and measurements. On paper it adds interesting things, and goes beyond what the 245 already does.

  12. Great report, at almost equal price (50€ plus the fenix) the 255 music or the Fenis 6x pro? I do trail and mtb

    1. Good afternoon, I have the forerruner 645, and I wanted to renew it, I am between the 245 or 265. Which is more similar? Is there much difference between the latter two? Thank you.

  13. Good reviews, thank you!!!!
    Doubt and opinion!!!

    I am going to renew the GPS for running, trail and mountain routes (several days included).
    Doubt between 255 and 955.

    Let me explain:
    - mtb: I use the Edge 530 (differences with the 830, tactill: with gloves on a bike I don't want; and navigation to points of interest: I'm not interested).
    - Both 255 and 955 can be fitted with routes (e.g. from Wikiloc, via Garmin Connect).
    - mountain routes, I usually carry a physical map and the route downloaded offline with a map on my cell phone (Wikiloc type).


    1. Both support routes, the difference is in the maps. But if you use other ways to orient yourself I don't think it's essential. And I suppose that with the autonomy of the 255 you will have enough.

  14. Congratulations on this review and all the ones on the website! They are fantastic.
    I wanted to ask you a question. Right now, there is the Garmin 745 for 270-300 E, below the best deals on the Garmin 255. In your opinion, which one is more worth it? I'm an athlete who practices triathlon at the popular level, but mostly I run and I come from the Suunto 5.

    1. Thank you Alejandro

      As of today I consider the 255 the most interesting, unless you want to save those 30€ having music or the ClimbPro is a must have. In the links listed on the page, through TradeInn, you have it at a good price.

      1. Thank you very much, Eduardo. Besides the obvious longer range, what improvements does the 255 bring over the 745?

  15. I switched from the FR310 to the 255 music. I had been using my vieno 310 for years, I always told myself that I was going to change when one comes out that I can listen to music without carrying the cell phone... they came out and I couldn't find one that works with multisport like the 310, until I saw this one and surprise! My girlfriend gave it to me! Now I'm going to give it everything! Thanks for the review! Very detailed

  16. Excellent review!

    The Tidal model have everything the same except the music?

    This 255 can be used for trail and hiking? maps can be downloaded in Garmin Connect

  17. thank you very much for the article! it's great!

    Tengo un Vivoactive 3 que me ha dado varios problemas (altimetro no funciona, la vibracion a penas se nota, %bateria erroneo y poca duración). Practico habitualmente fitboxing, salgo a correr de vez en cuando y senderismo. Mis dudas son:
    - despite not having maps natively, I have seen that there are applications available, such as dwmap, compatible FR255. I would like to know what you think of these apps and how they work with buttons without touchscreen.
    - With the appearance of FR265, is it possible that this model will be relegated for further upgrades in the near future?
    - How sensitive is the barometric altimeter and in general these watches to sudden movements? I am referring to bumps against the punching bag. I have suspicions that this may have podido caused the problem with my VA3 and for that reason, I am also considering the Instinct 2 which meets military standards.

    Thank you very much.

    1. Both the 255 and 265 have navigation (without maps) natively. There is no need to install any application.

      255 and 265 are the same watch, only the display changes. The new features that come to one will also come to the other.

      In general, electronics and impacts get along pretty poorly. I wouldn't wear the watch when hitting the bag, and neither would the Instinct 2.

  18. Good afternoon, first of all congratulations for your work, it is great.
    I have a big doubt, I am a user of polar and Garmin, it kills me the auto lap of Garmin that is interrupted with the manual lap, in polar it goes separately from the manual lap for the day day I find it very comfortable, and I also like polar flow, but the GPS accuracy of my vantage v leaves much to be desired especially in areas with buildings and trees, I intend to change the watch and I am between Polar vantage v2 that I can find for 220 € in Amazon reconditioned or Garmin 255 music that I think I can get it for about 300 €, this as good has described in your article has enough GPS accuracy, which would you recommend.

    1. Thank you Fernando.
      Rather than the Vantage V2, which is practically the same as your Vantage, I would recommend the Pacer Pro which will also be cheaper than the V2.

      Regarding the 255, you will certainly find much better satellite performance than in Polar.

  19. Hi, I have a forerunner 645, and I want to renew it, I am between the 255 and 265, which one is more similar, is there much difference between the latter two? Thanks

  20. I have , I have a forerunner 965 for training only and I would like to buy another Garmin for day to day ( for night and daily measurements ) . Do you recommend any ? I thought about Venu SQ2 or forerunner 255 . What do you think?

    1. Note that while daily activity data does sync, rest data such as HRV does not yet... personally I think you should use the 965 for everything, but if you want something basic on a daily basis the Venu SQ2 may be an option.

  21. Hola, crees que el forerunner 255 me sería útil para entrenamiento de fuerza, cardio, tenis, senderismo o me recomendarías otro ( aunque sea otra marca)?

    1. Para ese uso y sin necesidad de métricas específicas u otros aspectos, más o menos todos los relojes te van a aportar la misma información. Y sí, el 255 es un reloj que encaja en ese uso, siempre que no necesites mapas de navegación.

  22. Buenos días. Lo primero, muchas gracias por tus análisis y objetividad, se agradece mucho. Voy a comprar mi primer SmartWatch y lo voy a usar para senderismo principalmente y alguna vez bici (unas dos veces por semana). Me gustaría pasar las rutas de Wikiloc al reloj y así seguir las rutas sin depender del móvil. A igualdad de precio, tirarias por el 255, el Coros Pace 3 o el Suunto 9 peak? O con el 245 sería suficiente? Soy de muñeca pequeña, por lo que no me gusta que sea un reloj muy aparatoso. Muchas gracias

  23. Hola, Eduardo. Vuelvo a la carga… ¿Cómo ves Garmin 255, Polar Pacer Pro y Suunto Racer? ¿Con cuál te quedarías para un uso intensivo de running y esporádico de ciclismo y natación? Muchas gracias.

  24. Buenos días. Lo primero, muchas gracias por tus análisis y objetividad, se agradece mucho. He comprado este reloj gracias a tu análisis y después de varias semanas con el no puedo estar mas contento. Lo único tengo una duda que no he logrado solucionar, cuando se configura ritmo en las actividades, estamos hablando de ritmo o ritmo medio? Y esa pantalla en concreto no he encontrado donde poder configurararla para cambiarla.
    Thank you very much!

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