Garmin Forerunner 255 Music test: the mid-range running watch keeps getting better

Garmin Forerunner 255 Music test: the mid-range running watch keeps getting better

The long-awaited Forerunner 255 has arrived. And this time, Garmin didn’t settle for a simple software update. This new model is equipped with features usually reserved for high-end watches and offers one of the most attractive technical specifications: multi-band GPS, Garmin Pay, barometric altimeter, triathlon mode… This Forerunner 255 has everything to convince.

The Garmin Forerunner 255.

The Garmin Forerunner 255.

Compared to the 245 model, the novelties are innumerable. First of all, we find ourselves with two case sizes, as is often the case now with Garmin. The classic 255, sold for €349.99, is thus accompanied by a more compact 255S, marketed at the same price. If the former sports an imposing 46mm case, the latter is 41mm, aimed in particular at a female audience.

Each comes in a “Music” version, €50 more expensive. The Forerunner 255 Music and 255S Music can store up to 500 songs in their internal memory, so you can listen to them without having to take your smartphone with you. Please note that between Classical and Music versions, the only difference is music storage.

Editor rating: 4 out of 5

ergonomics and design

This Forerunner 255 has a relatively large case (45.6 x 45.6 x 12.9 mm). If your wrist is very small, we naturally recommend that you switch to the 255S version. Despite its size, the Forerunner 255 is comfortable on the wrist. Made of fiber-reinforced polymer, the case can be worn comfortably for several hours. Same observation for the silicone bracelet, which adapts to all wrist circumferences and does not irritate in any way, even when wet.

The case of the Garmin Forerunner 255.

The case of the Garmin Forerunner 255.

This Forerunner 255 is also water resistant to 5 ATM. This means you can shower or swim recreationally with it. Be careful though, if you are going to be diving, surfing or jet skiing too violent pressure changes could improve the case.

The back of the Garmin Forerunner 255 case.

The back of the Garmin Forerunner 255 case.

Who says big case, often says big screen. Without being gigantic, the slab of this Forerunner 255 extends by 1.3 inches, or 0.2 inches more than that of the 245. At the same time, the resolution goes up to 260 x 260 px compared to the previous 240 x 240 px. This slight gain helps air out the Garmin interface screen. The manufacturer remains faithful to non-touch transflective MIP screens, as sober as they are legible, but not very flattering. We are far from what a Venu 2 can offer, for example.

Editor rating: 4 out of 5

Interface

With five buttons and a non-touch screen, this Forerunner 255 offers strictly identical navigation to previous Garmin models. Thus, there is a validation button, a back button, two for scrolling through the menus and a last one dedicated to the backlight. However, the experience offered on the wrist continues to be enriched, particularly in terms of personalization and data analysis.

So when we wake up we are entitled to a “morning report”: a summary of our night if we slept with the watch on our wrist, personalized training suggestions or even data on our recovery or -new- the recorded heart rate variation. Although trivial, these data are usually relevant and allow us to face our day to day with a greater awareness of our fitness.

Another novelty is the arrival of Garmin Pay to the 200 series, offering a little more autonomy during sports outings. A welcome function.

We also highlight the deployment of “race widgets” to plan a session or the presence of Live Track, a tool that allows our friends to follow our efforts live. So many nice new additions to the catalog of features already available in the Forerunner 200 series, like Garmin Coach, PacePro, or turn-by-turn guidance.

The Garmin Forerunner 255 running screen.

The Garmin Forerunner 255 running screen.

On the wrist, a large amount of data can be quickly accessed. Live heart rate, training status, sleep tracking, number of steps, “body battery” energy level, floors climbed, calories burned, or sunrise/sunset times… Sometimes drafts, graphs, curves, and other very specific data are displayed. available. We still recommend viewing all of this data on a larger screen, through Garmin Connect on a smartphone or computer.

If the Forerunners are aimed above all at runners, this 255 offers thirty more sports profiles on the wrist: biathlon, triathlon or even swimrun. During sessions, it is possible to customize each of the screens displayed and accommodate up to 6 metrics of your choice. A very pleasant freedom of use, allowing you to adjust your performance at a glance. Especially since the choice is plethora: stopwatch, pace, distance, speed, cadence, vertical oscillation indicator, altitude, ascent, live or average heart rate… Also note that it is now possible to display the power delivered during the race complete. Of course, you have to go through an external power sensor, the Forerunner 255 being unable to calculate it on its own. When walking or running trails, it is possible to display your GPS route and activate an option to return to the starting point using your watch. Functions already crossed in the high-end models of the American manufacturer, specifically the Fenix ​​7. This high degree of customization contributes to the wearing comfort of this watch.

The vast amount of data displayed by the Garmin Forerunner 255 during a run.

The vast amount of data displayed by the Garmin Forerunner 255 during a run.

As with other Forerunner models, the screen stays on constantly and automatically backlights when wrist motion is detected. In use, this routine offers very good readability. Be careful though: without a built-in light sensor, the backlight can sometimes be too powerful, especially when used at night or when waking up.

The notification display on the Garmin Forerunner 255.

The notification display on the Garmin Forerunner 255.

On this Forerunner 255, notifications are displayed very clearly. The text is large enough to scan at a glance. WhatsApp messages are accompanied by the application logo, just like Messenger messages, for example. However, the number of recognized applications is still too low and very often we find ourselves reading content without knowing its origin.

The music screen on the Garmin Forerunner 255.

The music screen on the Garmin Forerunner 255.

Present for several generations, music control remains just as practical. The screen is successful and navigation efficient. Not to mention that the storage, up to 500 titles, can accommodate beautiful playlists.

Editor rating: 4 out of 5

Uses and Accuracy

This Garmin Forerunner 255 integrates a whole series of sensors. There is a GPS, a heart rate monitor, a barometric altimeter, a gyroscope, an accelerometer, a thermometer or even a pulse oximeter.

Let’s start with GPS, which now supports three modes of operation: GPS only, multi GNSS (combining GPS, GLONASS and Galileo), and dual-frequency multi GNSS. As the name suggests, this last mode doubles the tracking frequencies of GPS and GLONASS. It is particularly effective, even in the city, where its precision remains satisfactory. Nothing to do with a GPS mode alone or a smartphone. The design is much more realistic here.

In blue, the GPS track of the Forerunner 255, in red, that of an iPhone 12.

In blue, the GPS track of the Forerunner 255, in red, that of an iPhone 12.

For its part, the heart rate monitor provides good monitoring in almost all situations. During a long ride without sudden variations in heart rate, the watch offers results similar to those obtained with the Polar H10 chest strap that serves as a reference.

In blue, the Forerunner 255, in red the Polar H10 chest strap.

In blue, the Forerunner 255, in red the Polar H10 chest strap.

On the other hand, during an interval workout, the Forerunner 255 will track high variations in heart rate, but only those that are several minutes apart. In the screenshot below we can clearly guess, in the last two thirds of the curve, an exercise of 6 x 800 meters spaced with 3 minutes of rest. The curves are almost identical to those seen by the Polar H10 chest strap. Unfortunately, it is much less accurate in the first third of the graph. This part corresponds to changes of rhythm for 30 seconds. In these conditions, where the variations are intense and brief, the Forerunner 255 shows more difficulty to follow.

In blue, the Forerunner 255, in red, the Polar H10 chest strap that serves as a reference.

In blue, the Forerunner 255, in red, the Polar H10 chest strap that serves as a reference.

The Forerunner 255 will thus be relevant in most situations and especially in the race. However, you will have to rely on it a little less during a session based solely on very fast cardio variations.

Strengths

  • Full interface.

  • Successful Garmin Connect app.

  • Very accurate GPS.

  • 10 days of autonomy.

  • Music storage.

  • Garmin Pay.

Weak points

  • Non-touch transflective screen.

  • Viewing summary notifications.

  • The accuracy of cardiovascular monitoring is less good during rapid rate variations.

conclusion

we tried we liked
global brand

Editor rating: 4 out of 5

How does the rating work?

Let’s not overdo it, the Forerunner 255 is a very good watch for runners. Its GPS is precise, its cardio in general very satisfactory and its comfortable autonomy… The icing on the cake, the 255 opens up to triathlons and multiplies the software proposals to optimize the performance of those who wear it.

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