This is our first impression of the Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar. We’ve gone hands-on with the brand new watch (and its smaller brother, the 255s) to give you a comprehensive overview of its features and an early idea of what we think of it.
While we have the watch in our hands and on our wrists, we haven’t had a chance to test all of its features ourselves, so check back in the coming days and weeks for a full and thorough review. However, due to our short time with it, it will likely make it onto our list of the best Garmin watches very soon.
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar: Price and Release Date
The Garmin Forerunner 955 is out now, with one version with a Power Glass solar lens, which extends the battery life of the Forerunner, and another version without the solar lens.
The 955 Solar is priced at: $599.99 in the US (opens in new tab)and £549.99 in the UK (opens in new tab), with no Australian prices listed yet. The Forerunner 955 without a solar option costs $499.99 in the US and £479.99 in the UK.
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar: Design
The watch feels quite hefty and rugged, and I’m not at all concerned about taking on the roughest of adventures. It’s also comfortable on the wrist, with a soft silicone strap that’s perfect for swimming (the watch is, as you’d expect from a product aimed at triathletes, 5ATM water resistant). The Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar shares a lot of design DNA with many of Garmin’s classic features, such as the metal housing and five-button functions.
Anyone who has used a Garmin watch like the previous Forerunners, the Epix or Enduro will know the button configuration: up, down and ‘light’ buttons on one side and a ‘confirm’ and a ‘back’ button on the other. other side.
Like the more expensive Fenix watches, Garmin has also added a touchscreen here. This is my first touchscreen Garmin, and so far I find the combination of buttons and touchscreen superfluous. I end up mainly using the buttons to navigate, but maybe this is one of those situations where, given enough time, it feels more intuitive to switch between cards with a finger swipe and use the buttons to navigate the list. But as it is, I wonder what else they could have done there instead of a touchscreen.
Solar charging will surely be great. As a user of the Garmin Enduro for the past month, I have yet to recharge it, and I can’t stop gushing about how seamlessly the Power Glass lens is able to do the job in a watch so packed with, well, other stuff. The Forerunner’s battery only lasts 20 days instead of the Enduro’s 50, but still: if you hate charging your smartwatch every few days, this is going to be one of the best multisport watches money can buy.
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar: Features
The Garmin Forerunner 955 is packed with just as many fitness features as Garmin’s other premium watches, such as the Enduro and Epix ranges. For starters, the GPS promises to be more accurate than ever, with multi-band tracking via various satellite systems. As a result, the Forerunner 955 Solar has the power to take full advantage of Garmin’s extensive GPS capabilities.
You can set up routes with turn-by-turn directions so you don’t have to stop and think about the next turn. Like other Garmins before that, you can set yourself distance and time goals with the companion Garmin Connect app. One feature we’d love to try out is to enter a distance and then have the Forerunner automatically calculate a circular route and guide us through it. PacePro and ClimbPro provide guidance along the way and warn you in advance of challenging hills and elevations.
None of this, however, is particularly new. What’s new are some of Garmin’s innovative new software features, such as HRV status, which provides detailed information about how your heart rate varies while you sleep, leading to more accurate overall sleep tracking. It’s part of the Training Readiness score, an updated feature from previous models that works like Polar’s Nightly Recharge or Fitbit’s Daily Readiness score, and gives you a simple colored gauge to show you how ready for hard training you are.
Both widgets are easily accessible by default in Garmin’s main widget menu, but they also appear in the Morning Report, a morning summary on the wrist, including the weather ahead, your sleep pattern from the previous night, and your training Readiness Score.
Putting all the information in one place is a good idea, but getting push notifications with sleep updates can be counterintuitive. If you’re not in a position to change your behavior based on the previous night’s sleep, or if there’s a big race coming up and you get a poor Training Readiness score, it can lead to unwanted anxiety. Nevertheless, you have the option to disable the feature if you don’t want the notification every morning.
I won’t include our usual “Buy It As” and “Don’t Buy It As” sections here, as I have yet to give a full verdict on them. However, I can safely say I’m impressed with the way it looks and feels so far, and the specs list is undeniably impressive. Let’s hope the watch’s performance is up to the task.