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Today we finally present the Garmin Forerunner 955possibly one of the most anticipated models of recent years. The expectations placed on this model by many users were high, something completely normal if we consider that this is the top of the Forerunner series and gives clues as to where Garmin wants to go with its new top of the range.
However, I am not sure that it will fulfill the wishes of all users. Whenever there is a long-awaited model, the wish list grows and grows, but then we get a reality check.
No AMOLED screen. No LTE version. Perhaps these are two of the most expected things regarding the new model. But it was to be expected because there is only to observe what are the novelties of its cousin the Garmin Fenix 7 (the development of the high ranges of Garmin have always gone in parallel).
But at last there is power estimation during the race, new metrics based on pulse variability, a larger display, more autonomy and solar charging...
It was not the only model to be presented today. Garmin also unveiled another new range, the Forerunner 255/255S (in development, will be available a little later) that now come in two sizes with respect to which there are not so many differences.
But this article is all about the 955, let's go with it.
News Garmin Forerunner 955
As I said a few paragraphs back, from the 955 pod we can expect a Fenix 7 with plastic casing. In the past it was the 945 that first hit the market and upon which the Fenix 6 was launched, while this time it has been the other way around: first came the Fenix 7 and after it the 955 has been presented.
Here are all the new features that pod can find in the new Garmin FR955:
- It becomes a family and there are two versions available, Garmin FR955 and Garmin FR955 Solar
- Touch screen in both versions. The five control buttons are maintained. The touch screen can be activated or deactivated in menu, activities, etc.
- 46.5mm in diameter (47mm for the 945, 44.4mm for the 945 LTE) and 53 grams of weight for the solar -52gr for the normal-.
- Larger 1.3″ screen
- Garmin Elevate V4 Optical Pulse Sensor, which was released with the Garmin Venu 2
- Multiband (dual-band) system on all versions
- Up to 42 hours with GPS use, or 49 hours on the Solar version (36 hours on the 945)
- Morning report indicating readiness to train based on quality of rest, training load and pulse variability
- Pulse variability monitoring (HRV or HRV)
- Heart rate variability (HRV) is used as an additional piece of data when displaying training status to try to be more accurate.
- Training bias metrics based on pulse variability, load, rest, etc.
- New acute load metric
- Training status screen with more values: VO2Max, HRV and load status for the last 7 days (ATL or fatigue in TrainingPeaks).
- New watch face that allows you to switch between different values to be displayed such as VO2Max, heart rate, etc.
- 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/HRM-Run/HRM-Tri sensor or Running Dynamics Pod)
- Power training zones
- Stamina function, an algorithm that allows you to manage your effort during a full ride by indicating your remaining energy. Very similar to what Xert.
- Possibility to change settings from the watch or, finally, also from the mobile application
- HIIT profile for recording activity, with animated workouts and instructions. It was released with the Garmin Venu 2
- TopoActive maps of Europe and possibility of downloading worldwide via WiFi
- POI navigation screen showing the remaining distance to the points of interest you have marked on your route
- Direct access from the watch to the Connect IQ store to update items via WiFi
- 32GB memory capacity
- Available in black or white
The hardware level is the same as in the Fenix 7: touch screen, more autonomy, good solar charge incidence (for extended autonomy), possibility of multiband satellite configuration.
But in software functions, several things stand out, such as the integration of the HRV in the different load metrics and, finally, the complete power estimation during the race.
HRV and availability for training
At the level of training metrics the adoption of pulse variability is undoubtedly the most interesting novelty. This is not something that Garmin has done as totally new, there are already other manufacturers such as Oura or Whoop that are doing similar things, but in those cases it involves the payment of a monthly fee.
There are also apps like HRV4Training, Elite HRV, etc. They haven't discovered the wheel, but it is interesting that the same device you use for training is the one that records all the data at night.
Pulse variability is the time that passes between each heartbeat (because we are not a machine, there is a millisecond difference between each beat). If the time between beats decreases, it may be indicative of fatigue.
To obtain the necessary data you have to create a baseline against which you can compare the data every night. To do this you have to wear the watch at night for about three weeks to create this baseline, and the more time you spend, the more reliable it will be because the depth of data will be greater.
Once the base is created, the watch will compare the data obtained and combine them with the data of load and training status, intensities, rest, etc. to make a report every day in which it will say if the body is in perfect condition to face a strong training or if it recommends us to take it easy.
We can see the evolution in the watch and also integrates them in the different algorithms and metrics it uses. For example the "Training Readiness" function.
It is a score from 0 to 100 that, based on heart rate variability plus the quality of rest and past training load will tell you whether it is going to be a positive training day or if it is better to take it easy.
But there is also monitoring and comparison with past data, accompanied by messages with recommendations. In other words, it tries to provide information but also to indicate whether the data is positive or not.
Also the morning report is new and uses HRV data. When you wake up 1TP11You will directly see a summary of the sleep and pulse variability status.
And it will also show details of the day's weather.
Of course, all of this data can be viewed in greater detail in the podrás app or in Garmin Connect. What the watch shows are simply small fragments with quick information, but if you want more detail or graphs, in the app podrás find it all.
At last the power estimation in race comes officially to Garmin. Until now it was available with its own Connect IQ app in beta status, or through third party accessories like Stryd. But the main problem is that it was not integrated into the system for all other functions.
Things as basic as having power zones, seeing data in the end of activity summary or even the possibility of having your training plan based on power. That is, in the end for Garmin is not just to show the instantaneous power, is to integrate it into its entire ecosystem and that is what has taken more work.
But unlike other manufacturers, Garmin needs to use an external sensor to display power data. Recall that both Polar and COROS do this without the need for external accessories, just using data from the watch's own sensors.
I don't want to go into too much detail about running power, mainly because I've talked about it enough in the past. If you have any doubts, I recommend you to take a look at the complete guide to power training which I published both on the web and in the YouTube channelor in the video I made together with Jaime Menéndez de Luarca (Triluarca) also on the same subject.
I do want to add that regardless of the data and how they are, the adoption of the power in race by Garmin is a very good news, because it is the definitive backing for this metric.
It is not that Garmin is the pioneer or who leads the singing voice, but in the end they are the ones who sell the largest number of devices so they are the ones who will bring it to the general public. Although perhaps as it depends on an external accessory not everyone will know its possibilities.
Garmin Forerunner 955, availability and pricing
The Garmin Forerunner 955 will be available in the coming days. As for its price, it is € 549.99 for the normal version (available in white or black) and € 649.99 for the version with solar charging, also available in the same colors.
For once it seems to me a "reasonable" price knowing the usual way of price increase of Garmin. However for this occasion the base price has been lowered (the 945 came to the market with a price of 599€, the 955 is 50€ cheaper), which is not usual for Garmin.
Review Garmin Forerunner 955
There are not many surprises presented today with the 955. We 1TP11We could summarize it in the adoption of pulse variability metrics integrated into various algorithms of the clock and the adoption of running power natively. Which is not to say that this is a minor update.
Finally we have a larger screen, which at 1.3″ is similar in size to that of the Garmin Fenix 7. It is also touch control, with the advantages it brings mainly for route navigation and scrolling through the maps.
We also have multiband satellites, something that does not depend on opting for a "premium" version at extra cost, because it is available in both models of the range. This is a surprise compared to the Fenix 7.
And surprisingly all this with a starting price lower than the model it replaces, which is not at all usual in Garmin and also strange that they are doing it now, with the inflation data that is happening around the world.
However, there is something that generates a lot of doubts in my mind. What happened with the LTE, is something not working? It was enough to launch a watch with that specific feature (the 945 LTE) but since then more high-end models from the brand have come out and none of them offer it even as an option. Nothing has been heard of a Fenix 7 with LTE or a 955 with LTE.
Not that I think it should be a basic feature and that everyone will miss it (I do think it is something very interesting), but I find it strange that Garmin carried out not only the development of the feature but mainly all that it entails with respect to agreements with different operators, countries, integration with the system, etc.. All so that for the time being it remains practically swept under the rug.
But back to the 955, this is an interesting development, especially if you are interested in pulse variability data and want to integrate it into your training. Of course that's not the only thing, it has grown in all other aspects. I'm hoping that the unit I'm going to buy will arrive soon to start analysis and that I'll have room to build an HRV base now that I'm finishing up with Ironman preparation for a month from now, which is when I'm going to have the most load and hardness.
And with that... thanks for reading!