Garmin Forerunner 55 evaluation: A finances health tracker that doesn’t skimp on options

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Garmin presents a variety of full-featured operating watches designed for elite athletes. Its Forerunner 745 and 945 are unbelievable coaching instruments, however they arrive with elite value tags and infrequently embrace options the typical runner doesn’t want. That’s the place the $199 Garmin Forerunner 55 (with its smaller, lighter dimension, and a function record that focuses on private enchancment) is available in. 

It includes a vary of biometric and fitness-tracking apps, coaching workouts, and navigation instruments. Plus, it performs smartwatch capabilities like controlling your telephone’s music and displaying messages and texts. What’s extra, it does all this for a value that received’t empty your pockets. However can a comparatively cheap operating watch lap the competitors, or does it sputter out simply earlier than crossing the end line? Learn on to search out out.  

The Garmin Forerunner 55’s design

It’s a chunky gadget, however its slick design helps it mix in exterior the health club. Brian Stillman

The Forerunner 55 isn’t as modern as some devoted Garmin smartwatches. On the identical time, it’s additionally not overly apparent that it’s meant for figuring out. It may go from the health club to the workplace to dinner with out elevating eyebrows. The lens is created from what the corporate describes as “chemically strengthened” glass. Whereas that’s not as strong because the Corning Gorilla Glass used on its greater siblings, it’s designed to face as much as a vigorous exercise. I dropped it on its face from about 3 ft to simulate tumbling to concrete throughout a run. It remained scratch-free. 

The lens sits in a clean-looking metallic bezel for a easy, understated look. It has three perform buttons on the left facet of its case and two on the precise, similar to the opposite Forerunners. 

As normal with the perfect Garmin watches, the Garmin Forerunner 55 comes with a cushty silicone watch band. I’m not an enormous fan of silicon and discover it traps sweat. Fortunately, this operating watch options quick-release pins that make it straightforward to swap bands. Garmin and third-party producers make them in quite a lot of colours and supplies and customizing your watch is a breeze. 

At 42mm in diameter and solely 11.6mm thick, weighing barely 37g, this was one of the crucial comfy health watches I’ve worn. It’s large enough that the 26.3mm, 208 x 208-pixel coloration show supplies a whole lot of easy-to-read info, however compact sufficient for smaller wrists. My spouse, who hates chunky operating watches, cherished the dimensions. 

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And, like all Garmins, the Forerunner 55’s face presents copious choices for personalization. Instruments included with the watch allow you to determine what knowledge you wish to be displayed and the best way by which the watch presents it. I made a decision to go away the watch set to indicate simply the time and date. I like checking my steps and coronary heart price, however I can name up that knowledge with the push of a button or give it extra in-depth consideration later within the app.

Establishing the Garmin Forerunner 55

Garmin Forerunner 55 smartwatch in plants
The display leaves ample room for info. Brian Stillman

These new to Garmin smartwatches and health trackers will likely be completely satisfied to listen to that the Forerunner 55 walks you thru the set-up course of, which solely takes about 10 minutes. The watch arrived about 80-percent charged. The cable makes use of a proprietary connector, so don’t lose it. You’ll additionally want to supply your personal USB wall adapter. 

Garmin eschews the wi-fi magnetic charging discovered on, say, an Apple Watch. That helps preserve the value down and, frankly, charging through cable is simply quicker. Garmin says the battery will last as long as two weeks in smartwatch mode and 20 hours in GPS mode. This truly exceeds the efficiency of Garmin’s high-end 945. In real-world assessments, I used to be completely satisfied to search out these numbers borne out. This a really environment friendly operating look ahead to its class. 

As soon as charged, I adopted the on-screen prompts to obtain the Garmin Join app (out there for iOS and Android). I then used the app to enter primary biometric knowledge, like peak, weight, gender, and sleep/wake hours. The watch syncs to the telephone and also you’re good to go. 


The Forerunner 55 is all about bettering private efficiency. Garmin loaded up this watch with instruments for runners, whether or not they’re coaching for a race or simply cruising the neighborhood. Constructed-in GPS tracks the place you run and supplies correct stats, together with distance, intervals, and tempo. Cadence alerts let you understand if you’re exterior your goal vary. And a useful restoration advisor, a device I’ve actually grown to depend on, analyses biometric and efficiency knowledge collected by means of your actions to optimize your restoration time. Which means I do know precisely how a lot downtime to take in an effort to get again to my exercise with essentially the most power. 

It’s not simply restricted to operating, both. The watch comes with built-in sports activities trackers for swimming, mountain climbing, and lots of others, in order that it might probably change issues up if you do. 

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The Forerunner 55 doesn’t supply Garmin Pay, which helps you to make purchases as you may do together with your telephone. Is that this an enormous deal? That relies upon. I like to go away my pockets safely stowed in my locker once I go to the health club and generally I wish to purchase a snack. Having the ability to pay with my watch is fairly handy. But when stripping performance permits Garmin to maintain down the value of their health watch, I feel Garmin Pay is a straightforward app to lose. 

For the extra aggressive runners

Plenty of the Garmin Forerunner 55’s options are designed that will help you obtain higher instances when racing. The race predictor examines your health degree and physiological knowledge collected over time to foretell your race time. This makes it simpler to set targets and really see your enchancment. One other piece of tech, PacePro, works carefully with the Garmin Join app in your Apple or Android smartphone to assist arrange methods for race day. Simply obtain programs or set the correct distance, and the smartwatch supplies GPS-assisted tempo steering so that you can comply with.  

I’m not the world’s finest runner and I’m much less involved with racing than I’m with total health. And what I’d actually love to do is run with my spouse. However to do this, I would like to enhance. I like the Forerunner 55’s Every day Recommended Exercises. They supply common, customized run suggestions based mostly on my coaching historical past, health degree, and restoration time. As a result of I’m horrible at devising my very own coaching routine, I’ve discovered it remarkably useful in pushing me ahead. I can’t fairly sustain with my spouse but, however I’m getting there.

Navigating the Forerunner 55

Garmin Forerunner 55 smartwatch on a pole
Daring characters make it easy to learn at a look. Brian Stillman

The very best Garmin watches supply a whole lot of performance that you just management utilizing solely 5 buttons. So, it’s not shocking that many buttons serve double responsibility. A fast push could obtain a distinct perform than a press-and-hold on the identical button.  

As a result of the display is sufficiently small to take a seat in your wrist, and the knowledge supplied goes fairly deep, I did discover myself having to navigate quite a lot of sub-menus. It may get complicated. It took me slightly time earlier than I might transfer by means of the Garmin Forerunner 55’s person interface with out getting misplaced or unintentionally hitting the mistaken button. Now, I can normally make my approach to the instruments I would like once I want them with none missteps.

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Two hot-buttons on the left facet of the watch scroll up or down by means of the widgets. These are surface-level readouts of information like coronary heart price, steps, your physique battery rating (which describes your power ranges), and total efficiency. You too can scroll by means of typical smartwatch knowledge, similar to your calendar and notifications. By deciding on a widget and urgent the top-right button, you possibly can dive deeper into the knowledge. For example, scrolling to coronary heart price and deciding on it is going to present you a graph of your BPM over time. From right here, you possibly can scroll right down to yet one more display displaying a seven-day common. Urgent the bottom-right button all the time takes you again one display till you attain the principle watch face. 

The highest-left button prompts the backlight, and holding it down brings you to the watch’s management display. That is the place you possibly can flip it on or off, resync together with your telephone, set an alarm, entry the timer, and different primary capabilities. 

Holding down the center button on the left calls up the settings menu. From right here, you possibly can add trackable actions, modify the watch’s look, sync to exterior sensors or equipment, modify your person profile, and extra. 

After utilizing it for a number of days, I made a decision to reorder the widgets in order that the 2 items of information I checked essentially the most had been on the high and backside of the record. This basically turned the up and down scroll buttons into hotkeys taking me straight to these widgets. Customizing the options to your wants makes it extra pleasant to make use of.

So, who can buy the Garmin Forerunner 55?

This operating watch impressed me with the variety of options it contains whereas nonetheless sustaining an inexpensive value. The Garmin Forerunner 55 is good for runners who deal with well being and health, or who wish to race however aren’t involved with competing at an elite degree. It’s additionally a wonderful alternative for anybody new to the game, with a toolset that continues to be helpful whilst they enhance. And, at $199, it’s not a heavy funding for a Garmin health tracker of this class.