Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar review: Garmin’s most powerful watch built for runners

Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar professionals and cons Execs Light-weight and cozy for twenty-four/7 put on Lengthy battery life with photo voltaic charging assist Touchscreen and five-button navigation interface Helpful new widgets and glances Working energy with appropriate accent Highly effective Garmin ecosystem and functionality Cons No LTE for emergencies or monitoring No telephone name or … The post Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar review: Garmin’s most powerful watch built for runners appeared first on Ferdja.

Jun 5, 2023 - 22:00
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar review: Garmin’s most powerful watch built for runners


Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar

professionals and cons

  • Light-weight and cozy for twenty-four/7 put on
  • Lengthy battery life with photo voltaic charging assist
  • Touchscreen and five-button navigation interface
  • Helpful new widgets and glances
  • Working energy with appropriate accent
  • Highly effective Garmin ecosystem and functionality
  • No LTE for emergencies or monitoring
  • No telephone name or voice assistant assist


  • Show: 1.3-inch diameter 260×260-pixel decision, sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel with Energy Glass lens
  • Supplies: Fiber-reinforced polymer case materials. Silicone 22mm watch band
  • Storage: 32GB inside storage for as much as 2000 songs
  • Water resistance: 5 ATM
  • Connectivity and sensors: WiFi, Bluetooth, ANT+, GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou, QZSS, optical HR, barometer, compass, altimeter, Pulse Ox
  • Battery: As much as 15 days in smartwatch mode or 20 days with three hours a day of photo voltaic charging, as much as 42 hours with GPS/49 hours with photo voltaic, and as much as 8.5 hours in GPS mode (all GNSS mode) with music enjoying
  • Dimensions: 46.5 x 46.5 x 14.4mm and 52 grams
  • Colours: Black and White

There have lengthy been rumors of a Garmin Forerunner 945 successor with many articles stating that we’d see the Forerunner 955 final 12 months. As an alternative, Garmin launched the Forerunner 945 LTE which provided a barely improved design and the flexibility to attach for security and monitoring by way of a mobile connection.

Coinciding with International Working Day, Garmin really did announce the Garmin Forerunner 955, the true successor to the 945. For the previous few weeks, I have been working, mountain climbing, fishing, strolling, sleeping, working, and residing with the Garmin Forerunner 955 Photo voltaic. That is Garmin’s first devoted working watch with photo voltaic charging functionality, and it has me questioning my Garmin Epix buy from only a few months in the past.

The Garmin Forerunner 955 Photo voltaic is a implausible GPS sports activities look ahead to multi-sport athletes, however the focus is clearly on runners. With photo voltaic charging functionality and an enough quantity of sunshine, athletes can expertise as much as 20 days of battery life and as much as 49 hours in GPS monitoring mode. Along with the photo voltaic charging functionality, Garmin launched the watch with a touchscreen show and software program enhancements that embrace HRV standing, race widget, morning report (presumably my favourite new Garmin characteristic), working energy built-in into the native software program, and far more.


The principle purpose I bought a Garmin Epix was the compelling OLED show on a watch that does all of it. Nonetheless, the Forerunner collection is optimized for runners with a fiber-reinforced polymer physique, light-weight, and lower cost. The Garmin Epix is constructed with a titanium case, sapphire crystal lens, and a really excessive stage of water resistance. Whereas I take part in numerous sports activities, my major exercises embrace indoor rowing on the Hydrow and working.

Each the Epix and Forerunner 955 Photo voltaic provide far more than I really want, and I could quickly change over to the 955 Photo voltaic due to the brand new software program parts, lighter weight, and lower cost. The OLED show on the Epix is hard to surrender, and I suppose my private excellent Garmin could be a Forerunner with photo voltaic charging and an OLED show. We’ll see what the longer term holds with regard to OLED on a Forerunner.


Matthew Miller/ZDNet

The show on the Garmin Forerunner 955 Photo voltaic watch is 1.4 inches in diameter with 280 x 280 pixels in a sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel panel. Given this show expertise, the show is at all times on with an optionally available backlight that lights up in low-light circumstances.

A photo voltaic charging ring is positioned across the seen watch face, known as Energy Glass, with a fiber-reinformed polymer case for the physique of the perimeters and again of the watch. I used to be despatched a white pattern, so it has a black bezel with a white physique and white silicone band. The show helps contact display swipes and faucets however can be turned off if you happen to choose the everyday Garmin five-button navigation system. I just like the contact display for rapidly swiping up and down by the glances after which at all times choose to show it off for my exercises, so I do not by accident activate something with my sweat or inclement climate circumstances I usually discover myself in.


Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Garmin states that the watch, with enough lighting and photo voltaic charging at capability, will present as much as 49 hours of battery life in GPS monitoring mode with the center fee monitor enabled. Music streaming from the watch will scale back battery life. With this similar stage of photo voltaic charging, customers ought to anticipate almost three weeks of battery life in typical watch mode.

Additionally: Finest sports activities watch: Garmin, Coros, Polar, and extra

A single press of the top-left button toggles the backlight on and off, whereas a press and maintain opens up the round controls characteristic. Controls will be absolutely personalized on the watch or within the Garmin Join smartphone software program as a way to rapidly entry greater than 10 choices with this button and a faucet. The middle-left button strikes up the show, and the underside left button strikes down. Press and maintain the center-left button to entry the huge menu of settings and choices on the watch.

The highest proper button, labeled begin/cease, is silver in shade on the watch I’m testing, and it opens up your favourite exercise checklist after which is used as a variety button. The underside proper is the lap/again button as a way to return one display in your navigation. You possibly can customise press/maintain and a number of button presses to function hotkeys for different features. Discover these choices within the settings of the watch.

A really comfy silicone 22mm watchband is connected to the watch. Just like the Forerunner 945 LTE, the watchband is held in with spring-loaded pins which are discovered throughout the opening on the ends of the band. I’ve a watch restore package screwdriver that works effectively to press down the spring-loaded pin to take away the band. You may also place in a pin after which use the QuickFit Garmin bands with the watch, however up to now, I’ve solely used the band that got here with the pattern watch. The retail bundle will even embrace an ordinary Garmin USB charging cable.

As we noticed first with the latest Garmin Fenix 7 collection and Epix, the Garmin Forerunner 955 Photo voltaic helps multi-band frequency and multi-GNSS settings, so you’ll be able to have a number of positioning methods enabled for improved location monitoring in sure circumstances as you exercise world wide.

Watch software program

The core software program on the watch is similar now we have seen on latest Garmin watches, with the watch face displaying always and glances available by way of swiping up and down or urgent the up and down buttons on the left aspect. Urgent the beginning button, or tapping on the look, will open up extra particulars of that exact widget after which you’ll be able to scroll by much more info. You possibly can press the again, decrease proper button, and even swipe from left to proper throughout the show to return. Glances are very useful and helpful for viewing and accessing the knowledge that’s most vital to you, and I spend the vast majority of my time with the watch interacting with the glances.

There are a number of new software program parts within the Garmin Forerunner 955 Photo voltaic that I hope to see launch with updates on different watches. My favourite new software program characteristic known as Morning Report. With this ingredient enabled, if you get up and have a look at your look ahead to the primary time, you’ll be able to view a lot of playing cards, together with coaching readiness, exercises, sleep, HRV standing, climate, physique battery, ladies’s well being, depth minutes, steps, and calendar. These are additionally out there as glances, however having a quick consolidated view very first thing within the morning is useful for planning out the day forward. The playing cards that seem on this report are chosen by you within the settings, and you can too toggle the Morning Report off if you don’t discover worth in it.


Matthew Miller/ZDNet

It might be attention-grabbing to see Garmin proceed to make use of the information captured by the watch to create an Night Report that reveals you ways a lot sleep is beneficial to be ready in your exercise the following day and an estimate of how a lot time is required to plan in your instructed exercise or subsequent step in your coaching plan.

One other new look that can also be out there as a section of the Morning Report is coaching readiness. Garmin makes use of your sleep, restoration time, HRV standing, and extra metrics to tell you of your coaching readiness for that day. VO2 Max, HRV, acute load, load focus, and restoration seem as particulars within the coaching readiness look.

A race widget can also be out there, which is ideal for me now as I simply began a Garmin coaching plan for my half marathon in September. The race widget gives a race day efficiency prediction, race day climate and a countdown clock. Additionally, as soon as a race is put onto your calendar, each day instructed exercises will adapt based mostly in your race plans. Presently, the widget has a prediction 20 minutes slower than my aim, however now that I began my coaching plan, I anticipate that race prediction to drop rapidly.


Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Urgent the beginning button, higher proper, takes you to your favourite exercises/actions after which you’ll be able to press it once more to start out the exercise. Customization of the particular exercise, together with information screens and plenty of extra features, seem as soon as you choose that exercise after which press the up button. You may also customise exercise settings within the Garmin Join smartphone app and have them synced over to the watch. This functionality is pretty new, and I choose it as it’s simpler to customise every thing on a big smartphone show after which sync it over to your watch.

The Garmin watch software program helps as much as six hotkeys, consisting of press and maintain or urgent of two buttons collectively, so you’ll be able to rapidly perform features akin to screenshot, music controls, Garmin Pay, and extra. These hotkeys will not be mentioned usually, however you’ll be able to actually avoid wasting effort and time diving into all the menus by intelligently establishing these hotkeys.

Press and maintain on the center-left button to leap into all the watch settings that embrace watch face choice and customization, clocks, historical past, notifications and alerts, look, sensors, map, music, connectivity, well being & wellness, system, and far more. There may be an exhaustive quantity of customization out there on the Garmin Forerunner 955 Photo voltaic when you soar into these settings.

There are an in depth variety of sports activities and actions that may be put in and used on the Forerunner 955 Photo voltaic with the deal with triathlon sports activities, together with outside run, monitor run, open water swim, bike, extremely run, and extra. A number of winter sports activities embrace ski, snowboard, backcountry ski, cross nation traditional ski, cross nation skate ski, and snowshoe. Water sports activities embrace stand-up paddleboard, kayak, and row. Different sports activities embrace tennis, pickleball, padel, yoga, pilates, bouldering, cardio, indoor rowing, and extra.

One new information discipline choice you’ll be able to choose if you exercise known as Stamina. The highest huge stamina share and standing bar reveals your present stamina as you prepare within the exercise. The decrease left stamina is your potential, and this determine will lower over the time of your exercise. It is an attention-grabbing metric to gauge how exhausting you might be pushing issues and the way a lot gasoline you might need left within the tank.

One other new information discipline choice is energy fields. With different Garmin gadgets, you’ll be able to set up an app from Garmin Join to make use of the HRM-Professional or Working Dynamics Pod for viewing your energy output. On the Forerunner 955 Photo voltaic, working energy assist is constructed into the watch so {that a} separate app is just not required. This won’t present you working energy instantly out of your wrist, as we see with COROS and Polar, however it’s seamless if you put on a chest strap or pod. Accessible energy fields embrace energy, energy gauge, common energy, lap energy, final lap energy, most energy, and energy zone. I subsequent need to see extra assist for working energy within the coaching plans.

Additionally: Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE evaluation: Related options for security and reside monitoring

Smartphone software program and web site

It’s thrilling to see enhancements in Garmin Join, the place there may be now virtually common synchronization of the watch settings within the Garmin Join app. Actual-time syncing takes place if you change a setting in your telephone to have it synced to the watch. Up to now, you’d make a number of settings modifications within the Garmin Join smartwatch app after which provoke a syncing session to have them synced over.

There are additionally many extra watch settings mirrored within the Garmin Join smartphone app as Garmin works to streamline the Garmin software program expertise and create a richer expertise for folks. I discover it simpler to arrange particular train particulars on my telephone’s giant show moderately than on the watch so I actually admire this performance and surprise if firms like COROS have been serving to inspire Garmin to take steps like this. Sensors and equipment stay a watch-only perform, however that is smart because it requires a direct Bluetooth or ANT+ connection from the watch to the accent.

Amassing the information is vital, however utilizing that information for monitoring developments, enhancing efficiency, difficult associates, and figuring out downside areas can also be essential. Garmin provides the Garmin Join app for iOS and Android, and it’s a highly effective and succesful utility that carefully matches the Join web site expertise.

While you first launch the smartphone app, you will note a display known as My Day. It is a dashboard and utterly customizable to your preferences. Merely scroll to the underside and select to Edit My Day. Right here you’ll be able to select from the next playing cards: coronary heart fee, steps, Physique Battery, depth minutes, flooring, sleep, stress rating, weight, energy, Pulse OX, and a number of other extra. There are additionally toggles to see yesterday’s stats and the final 7 days of stats. As well as, if you document an exercise (run, bike journey, and so forth.) on that day, a field seems up high with that card. Tapping any card takes you into far more intensive element for that measurement.

Different tabs within the smartphone software program embrace challenges, calendar, information feed, and notifications. One in all these will be substituted for Garmin Coach as soon as you choose and arrange a coaching plan. I’ve Garmin Coach in my app with information feed hidden from view. Faucet on the tab icon to see extra particulars for every of those. In challenges, you’ll be able to earn badges for numerous challenges, arrange a problem along with your connection, and extra. It is an effective way to get motivated to get out and train. The calendar views present you bars in your numerous standing ranges and are attention-grabbing to view over a protracted time frame. The information feed presents abstract info out of your connections, whereas the notifications web page reveals notifications, akin to likes, out of your Garmin connections.

The Garmin Coach display reveals you the standing of your coaching plan, together with which week you might be in, upcoming exercise, full exercise schedule, and up to date periods. You possibly can modify the date of your scheduled exercise if a battle arises and likewise see your race aim time on the Coach show.

Tapping the upper-left three-bar icon (Android) or decrease extra choice (iPhone) presents a listing of different areas to go to within the app, together with insights, exercise stats, efficiency stats, well being stats, coaching, gear, connections, teams, security & monitoring, Join IQ retailer, Garmin gadgets, settings, and assist. This menu and person interface matches what you see on the web site as effectively. You possibly can view information over completely different time frames, see your data, view the badges you earned, see totals and averages, and far more.

There are alternatives to manage telephone notifications throughout your exercise and in any respect different instances if you end up not recording information as a part of exercise. In case you are linked to an Android smartphone, you’ll be able to go to Settings>Notifications within the Garmin telephone app to customise precisely which apps present notifications to the watch. You shouldn’t have this per app management when linked to an iPhone.

With a paired Android telephone, you can too choose to answer to messages with textual content you might have already arrange upfront in your telephone. This contains personalized textual content responses.

Additionally: Epix (2nd Gen) evaluation: Garmin’s greatest fashionable GPS sports activities watch

Whereas there are a plethora of exercise choices on the watch you can too obtain preset exercises from Garmin Join. Even higher, you’ll be able to create your individual customizable exercises with over 1,400 workout routines to select from. 75 preset animated exercises are supplied for cardio, yoga, energy, HIIT, and pilates so you actually don’t have any excuse not to have the ability to develop exercises that enchantment to you and meet your well being and wellness wants. I nonetheless need to see Garmin have a Exercise sport since it’s nonetheless a bit clunky to determine if you should choose cardio, energy, HIIT, or one thing else to get to your exercise. That is one space that could be complicated to new customers, and I hope to see it addressed in a future Garmin Join replace.

The Garmin Join web site expertise is similar to what you see within the smartphone utility, with much more functionality to generate studies, import or export information, arrange connections to different purposes (akin to Strava, RunKeeper, and MyFitnessPal), and extra. Much like the snapshots interface on the telephone, you might have a dashboard on Garmin Join you could customise.

Day by day utilization experiences and conclusions

The Garmin Epix was my favourite Garmin wearable of 2022, however the Forerunner 955 Photo voltaic is placing up an amazing combat for that spot on my wrist too. It’s out there now for $599.99 and gives every thing I would like in a GPS sports activities look ahead to my working, indoor rowing, body weight workout routines, biking, mountain climbing, golf, and strolling. Whereas the Epix has that beautiful OLED show, the Forerunner 955 Photo voltaic is lighter and extra comfy to put on whereas sleeping. There may be additionally a non-solar mannequin priced at $499.99 that has every thing, however the photo voltaic charging characteristic, mentioned on this evaluation.

The brand new software program parts, together with Morning Report, race widget, and HRV standing, present helpful info in a well timed style. Will probably be attention-grabbing to see how shut I end my half marathon to the race prediction time proven on the watch. Actual-time stamina can also be an attention-grabbing metric to view, and I’m happy to see native assist for working energy with my HRM-Professional coronary heart fee strap.

Forerunner 955 Photo voltaic has full-color maps so you’ll be able to comply with a route or course with turn-by-turn visible instructions. PacePro gives grade-adjusted steering, and ClimbPro reveals you when hills are arising in your programs. The Garmin ecosystem’s nice components are additionally supported, together with Garmin Pay, Physique Battery, blood oxygen saturation, ladies’s well being monitoring, and offline music assist with Spotify, Amazon Music, and Deezer.

I think about we may even see a future model of the Forerunner 955 with LTE assist, however for now, Forerunner 945 and different customers seeking to improve must be glad with the photo voltaic charging functionality, touchscreen show, longer battery life, and improved software program parts of the brand new watch.

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