Garmin Forerunner 55 review: Bringing much more than the basics

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(Pocket-lint) - The Garmin Forerunner 55 is efficaciously acceptable to regenerate the Forerunner 45 arsenic the affordable enactment successful Garmin's ample household of watches built for runners.

Along with covering the moving ticker bases with built-in GPS, bosom complaint monitoring and delivering halfway real-time moving metrics, it besides brings successful features that debuted connected pricier Forerunners - features specified arsenic PacePro pacing strategies, a contention predictor, and regular suggested workouts.

With the terms jumping up somewhat from the earlier 45 model, you're paying a small other for those bundle extras, though the Forerunner 55 feels little similar an entry-level merchandise than its predecessor.

Design and display

  • 42mm lawsuit only
  • 11.6mm heavy / Weighs: 37g 
  • Waterproof up to 50 metres depth
  • 1.04-inch 208 x 208 pixel transflective display

The Forerunner 55 astatine archetypal glimpse doesn't look that antithetic from the Forerunner 45. It matches the larger 45's 42mm ticker case, and portion it increases somewhat successful thickness, it's not successful a mode you'd truly notice.

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In emblematic Forerunner fashion, it's a polymer lawsuit that's matched up with a 20mm silicone set that uses Garmin's quick-release bands, making it overmuch easier to swap successful 1 of Garmin's different authoritative bands oregon drawback a cheaper alternate from determination else.

There are 4 lawsuit colours successful total, letting you prime from white, black, aqua and grey - which are the benignant of colour schemes we've seen look connected different Forerunner models. The wide look is unsurprisingly sporty, but it's a small, lightweight, and wide a comfy ticker to unrecorded with.

Around that lawsuit you'll find 5 carnal buttons that run successful the aforesaid mode arsenic they bash connected the 45. Hold down the apical close fastener and you tin find a shortcut to immoderate settings. Press the fastener beneath that and that volition propulsion you deeper into those settings menu.

Front and centre is simply a 1.04-inch display, matching solution to what Garmin offers connected the Forerunner 45. While it's a tiny screen, visibility is beardown successful agleam outdoor light, and there's a backlight that offers ample brightness to marque it 1 that's casual to glimpse astatine for night-time runs and workouts.

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Around the back, there's Garmin's Elevate optical bosom complaint monitor, which doesn't look to beryllium the astir up-to-date mentation of the company's sensor exertion - which archetypal appeared connected the Venu 2 and the Venu 2s. There's besides nary pulse oximeter, though that's possibly not each that astonishing fixed the 55 sits astatine the much affordable extremity of Garmin's Forerunner range.  

As a package, you're getting thing that's h2o resistant to up to 50 metres depth, making it suitable for keeping it connected for a aquatics too.

Software and performance

  • Phone notifications, euphony controls and upwind forecasts
  • Full Garmin Connect IQ support

Garmin does each of its bundle concern in-house and that doesn't alteration with the Forerunner 55. You're getting thing that's compatible with Android phones and iPhones and requires Garmin's Connect companion app to acceptable things up and presumption your wellness and fittingness stats. It's besides compatible with third-party apps, truthful you tin propulsion information to the likes of Strava and MyFitnessPal. We had nary problems firing runs, workouts and swims implicit to Strava.

In presumption of that on-watch bundle experience, it's going to consciousness similar a acquainted spot if you've played astir with a Garmin from 2020 onwards. The large bundle alteration successful the 55 implicit the 45 is that Garmin has embraced its new-look idiosyncratic interface that swaps widgets for a watercourse of glanceable information that you tin presumption successful 1 spot and past grow if you privation further details. It's an attack that feels similar the close measurement from Garmin successful presumption of making getting astir and uncovering the information you attraction astir quicker.

With the 55 you person to contend with the information you're not getting the afloat complement of smartwatch features that you volition find connected different Forerunner watches. There's nary built-in euphony subordinate oregon Garmin Pay for instance. What you bash get is the quality to presumption notifications, power euphony playback connected your phone, and presumption information specified arsenic upwind forecasts. Unlike the 45, you bash present get entree to everything successful the Garmin Connect IQ store. 

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Off the watch, Garmin Connect tin inactive consciousness similar an overwhelming spot for anyone who's caller to the Garmin platform, and there's overmuch much to find successful the dropdown paper too. It pays to walk immoderate clip getting to cognize wherever things live, peculiarly getting your ticker settings close and seeing however you tin besides propulsion workouts to the ticker and setup running-focused features specified arsenic Garmin Coach.

Sports and fittingness tracking 

  • Daily suggested workouts
  • Pool aquatics tracking
  • Works with Garmin Coach
  • PacePro pacing strategies
  • Recovery advisor
  • Finish clip estimates

In presumption of hardware, you're getting the aforesaid arsenic what you'll find connected the Forerunner 45. The aforesaid outer enactment for mapping outdoor workouts, positive a bosom complaint show to continuously way bosom complaint oregon show it during exercise. There's besides an accelerometer to way indoor workouts similar treadmill runs and present excavation swims.

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What Garmin has sought to bash present is laic connected apical features that instrumentality the 55 from a basal moving ticker to a overmuch smarter one. These features person already appeared connected different Forerunner watches, but present they've filtered down to 1 of Garmin's astir affordable watches.

We volition pb with moving due to the fact that that's what the Forerunner 55 is truly about. There are 5 moving profiles, including caller way moving modes and a virtual moving mode to marque it 1 that volition play bully with apps similar Zwift. You tin seizure moving metrics basics similar pace, distance, clip and pace.  

The Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity means you tin brace sensors similar footpods and outer thorax strap monitors arsenic well. We had nary occupation pairing up Garmin's ain HRM-Pro thorax strap and the latest procreation Wahoo Tickr X strap. 

While GPS pick-up was a small sluggish astatine first, things picked up aft a fewer runs and against the pricier Garmin Enduro it held up good connected region tracking and delivering those halfway metrics. Heart complaint show doesn't interruption the mould from what you'll get from different Forerunners: it's good suited for dependable paced runs, but brace up a thorax strap erstwhile you're tackling precocious strength training.

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What changes successful the 55 implicit the 45 is what's astatine your disposal prior, during and aft your run. Before you get tracking, you present person entree to Garmin's PacePro pacing strategies, which is simply a diagnostic designed to assistance you amended strategise and nail your pacing during a tally or, much usefully, during a race. You'll request to prime your people illustration successful Garmin Connect and past sync it implicit to the watch. From determination you'll beryllium guided to deed a definite gait based connected the illustration of the course. You won't spot a representation of the people arsenic the 55 doesn't enactment maps, but it volition inactive connection that guidance without it.

There's besides entree to contention predictor and decorativeness clip features, which dissimilar erstwhile versions of these features, instrumentality into amended relationship of your logged moving past to amended recognize however speedy you tin decorativeness a 5K - but besides amusement what clip you'll decorativeness if, say, you're trying to compression successful a tally earlier a meeting.

Garmin has brought implicit its regular suggested workouts and improved betterment advisor, but those features are somewhat scaled backmost from the ones that debuted connected the Forerunner 745 and person since rolled to different watches. They'll inactive connection recommended running-based workouts based connected moving past and wage adjacent attraction to betterment time. That betterment advisor simply tells you the hours to see grooming again based connected the strength and duration of logged workouts. They're decidedly much guides than definitive advice, but if you're caller to moving and looking for immoderate guidance connected what to bash and erstwhile to bash it, these are bully features to have.

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Outside of running, this ticker is inactive acceptable for tracking outdoor cycling and present there's excavation aquatics tracking, which lets you way metrics similar distance, gait and changeable count. There's changeable designation and car remainder enactment too. Garmin's excavation tracking is consistently coagulated crossed its ticker scope and that doesn't alteration with the Forerunner 55. It's conscionable bully to spot that aquatics tracking has yet been added to the mix.

If you privation a fittingness tracker and thing to show aspects of your health, this ticker crams those features successful arsenic well. You tin way steps and automatically show slumber - though similar a batch of Garmin devices, the 55 tends to over-report slumber duration. There's present enactment to way respiration, too, which is delivered by that Elevate optical bosom complaint monitor. Women's wellness tracking works crossed the ticker and the Connect app too, which wasn't disposable connected the 45.

Battery life

  • Up to 2 weeks successful smartwatch mode
  • 20 hours GPS artillery life

The Garmin Forerunner 55 offers a artillery boost erstwhile you're tracking and erstwhile you're conscionable utilizing it successful smartwatch mode. You tin expect to get up to 2 weeks, which is astir treble that of the earlier model. It's moved from 13 hours to 20 hours for GPS-tracking artillery life, which are rather sizable improvements connected the stamina front. 

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Essentially, though, the 55 is simply a ticker that's bully for a coagulated week's worthy of grooming erstwhile tracking mundane and besides utilizing its smartwatch. Cut that down to possibly 2-3 GPS based workouts and you tin get adjacent to that fortnight. It's worthy mentioning that if you person a wont of switching up ticker faces, peculiarly ones from the Connect IQ store, you mightiness find immoderate whitethorn origin the artillery to drain quicker than utilizing Garmin's ain preloaded faces.

In presumption of artillery drop-off erstwhile GPS is successful use, this isn't a ticker that's deed hard and we recovered it would driblet conscionable beneath 5 percent per an hour's worthy of moving - truthful 20 hours of non-stop if you're an ultra ultra runner. While it mightiness not beryllium the champion of the precise champion artillery numbers you tin get astatine this price, it surely doesn't underperform, truthful we're alternatively impressed with the longevity.

Verdict

The Garmin Forerunner 45 was and is inactive a large ticker for runners, but what Garmin has done with the Forerunner 55 is marque things adjacent better.

There are much insights and features built astir the aforesaid sensors that instrumentality things beyond a basal moving ticker acquisition to 1 that feels a batch smarter. It lasts longer per complaint too.

The running-centric features unsocial springiness it large appeal, portion the summation of aquatics tracking is simply a bully bonus. Although you don't get the afloat smartwatch works, those blessed with notifications, euphony controls and afloat Connect IQ store entree volition beryllium good served here.

Bottom line: the Garmin Forerunner 55 is simply a small, lightweight moving ticker that ticks the cardinal boxes first, past throws worthwhile features connected apical of that, which could assistance you instrumentality your tally grooming and racing to the adjacent level.

Also consider

Garmin Venu Sq

This volition springiness you much smartwatch features and a colour touchscreen display, positive those large Garmin sports tracking skills too.

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Garmin Forerunner 45

The earlier exemplary mightiness miss retired connected immoderate of the caller smarts, but it offers a akin plan and an wide large tally tracking experience. You should beryllium capable to prime it up for little wealth too, of course.

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Polar Ignite 2

This has large features you won't find connected Garmin's watches - specified arsenic its FitSpark workout recommendations, which look beyond moving - and it has a look that consciousness that's a batch much stylish successful our opinion.

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Writing by Michael Sawh. Editing by Mike Lowe. Originally published connected 30 July 2021.

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