Saturday, June 19, 2021

Garmin Forerunner 55 Initial Review: Accurate, Legible, 33g Light, Full Garmin Eco System, $200

 Article by Sam Winebaum

Garmin Forerunner 55 ($200)

I am testing the just released Forerunner 55. At $200 it is very light on the wallet and on the wrist at 33g with only the Coros Pace 2 (RTR Review) a few grams lighter. 

Fully capable as a training watch with most commonly used data fields available, it only leaves out some of the more sophisticated physiological evaluation metrics, navigation and usable altimeter, and some battery life. 

It still has a very respectable 20 hours training time and my initial run test indicates it definitely meets that spec. My initial all day smart watch battery test which consumed 5% of the battery over 22 hours indicates an 18 day battery life, exceeding the 14 day spec.

As far as smart watch features and health tracking, it includes all the Garmin standards such as heart rate stats, steps, calories, sleep quality, VO2 max and race time estimates, Body Battery (recovery), weather, notifications, calendar, music control, incident Detection and Assistance (with phone in the mix) and recent run totals. All are accessible in summary and in detail from a handy single screen as widgets.

Obviously Garmin is looking at the Coros Pace 2 as a key competitor. While the Pace 2 has longer battery life (30 hours training plus an ultra mode) and a barometric altimeter whose readings can be used in data screens,  I think, so far, it lags in smart watch features and overall ecosystem.. 

While its display dimensions are 1.04” vs the more common 1.2” and its resolution is 208 x 208 vs the usual 240 x 240, the screen is highly legible with Garmin’s nice fat fonts in the 3 data field view and superb trans reflectivity even at angles. 

Why other brands don’t do this I don’t know… Looking at you Suunto 9 Peak with its thin fonts and dimmer trans reflectivity and where I had to squint on today’s run with it on my other wrist unless the sun hit the screen right and I know from testing that in dim light the backlight is weak.

Graphs: DC Analyser

My first run demonstrated accurate wrist HR on my dominant wrist. I had the Suunto 9 Peak (Initial Review) on my non-dominant wrist (blue above) and it struggled to find an accurate heart rate at the start of the run and after my many stops for pictures and to chat with friends I met on the trails in Round Valley, Park City. The lighter and smaller the watch I find the more accurate optical heart rate is especially on my dominant wrist. The 55 weighs a significant 20g less than the Suunto 9.

GPS accuracy appears excellent. In the screenshot above you can see how closely both track to the actual trail. And the beautiful titanium bezel Peak is a $699 watch..not $200 as here.

While there is no barometric altimeter called out in the Garmin specs and no data fields available for Ascent, Descent, Altitude and such, export of the data file shows an elevation profile remarkably close (purple above) to the Suunto 9 Peak (blue above)  who's on board altimeter is renowned during my test run. Is there one actually on board but “disabled” from view or am I looking at GPS data correlated from the track I am not sure. 

Data collected and displayed in the Garmin Connect app during my first day is below:

More testing to come, but if you are training with a Forerunner 10, 15, 35, 45, 225, or 235 or any 3 to 4 year old watch (as all brands have improved accuracy and battery life in recent years), the Forerunner 55 is clearly a great new option. Need those extras of altimeter data view, deeper performance stats, 4 more hours of battery life, and breadcrumb navigation look at the 245 at $150 more. 

If you have a “heavy '' watch that weighs you down and you struggle with wrist heart rate with it and just need the more essential and training basics, data field configurability, and full smartwatch capabilities the 55 is also a great new choice.

Garmin's compare tool where I compare the F45, F245, and F55 is here

The Forerunner 55 is available now including at our partners below

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. No other compensation was received by RTR or the authors for this review beyond potential commissions from the shopping links in the article. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by Following RoadTrailRun News Feed
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and currently preferred shoes

RoadTrailRun receives a commission on purchases at the stores below.
Your purchases help support RoadTrailRun. Thanks!

Forerunner 55 available now!
FREE 2 Day Shipping EASY No Sweat Returns

Forerunner 55 available now!

Forerunner 55 available now!

Forerunner 55 available now!

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Join VIP Family, Get Free Shipping and 15% in VIP Benefits on every order, Details here

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE Shipping on orders over 99, 30 days return policy, no questions asked.


Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
Facebook:  Instagram: @roadtrailrun
Twitter: @RoadTrailRun You Tube: @RoadTrailRun

1 comment:

Manno said...

Thanks for the review and take like the website. I'm really interested in this or the Pace 2. I mainly run up to 45k per week with a little bit of yoga and HIIT. Looking to now build more structured training sessions for running. Which do you think? Thanks