Garmin Forerunner 55 GPS Smartwatch Review

Garmin Forerunner 55 Gps Smartwatch Garmin Forerunner 55 Gps Smartwatch

Dive into the world of advanced fitness tracking with our in-depth review of the Garmin Forerunner 55 GPS Smartwatch. Ideal for both seasoned athletes and casual runners, this smartwatch blends cutting-edge technology with user-friendly features. Discover its key functionalities, performance metrics, and unique selling points. Whether it’s understanding its specifications, weighing the pros and cons, or exploring expert opinions, we’ve got you covered. Plus, get answers to the most frequently asked questions by fitness enthusiasts. Join us as we unveil everything the Garmin Forerunner 55 has to offer.

Key Features of Garmin Forerunner 55 GPS Smartwatch

  1. GPS Tracking: Central to its design, the Garmin Forerunner 55 offers precise GPS tracking, allowing users to accurately measure distance, pace, and intervals. This feature is indispensable for outdoor runners and cyclists who want to track their routes and performance metrics.
  2. Heart Rate Monitoring: With wrist-based heart rate monitoring, the watch provides continuous heart rate data. This enables users to track their heart rate zones, monitor their resting heart rate, and gauge their effort levels during workouts, contributing to more effective training sessions.
  3. Daily Suggested Workouts: The smartwatch comes equipped with daily workout suggestions based on your current training load and fitness level. This personalized feature helps users optimize their training while reducing the risk of overtraining or injury.
  4. Body Battery Energy Monitoring: By analyzing heart rate variability, stress levels, sleep quality, and activity, the Garmin Forerunner 55 estimates the user’s body energy reserves. This helps users plan their workout and rest periods more effectively, ensuring they’re training at their optimum.
  5. Stress Tracking and Relaxation Reminders: Understanding the impact of stress on physical performance, the Garmin Forerunner 55 offers stress tracking and sends relaxation reminders. This encourages users to engage in short breathing exercises, aiding in stress management and recovery.
  6. Sleep Tracking: Comprehensive sleep tracking capabilities allow users to monitor sleep stages, including light, deep, and REM sleep, providing insights into sleep quality. Adequate rest is crucial for recovery, making this feature valuable for users looking to optimize their fitness regimen.
  7. Safety and Tracking Features: In an emergency, the Garmin Forerunner 55’s safety features can send a message with the user’s location to emergency contacts, offering peace of mind during solo workouts.
  8. Smart Notifications: Stay connected without interrupting your workout. The Garmin Forerunner 55 displays emails, texts, and alerts when paired with a compatible smartphone. This ensures users can stay informed while remaining focused on their training.
  9. Customizable Watch Faces and Apps: With access to Garmin’s Connect IQ Store, users can personalize their watch faces, add new widgets, and download apps to tailor the smartwatch to their lifestyle and fitness goals.
  10. Water Resistance and Long Battery Life: Designed to withstand training sessions in various conditions, the Garmin Forerunner 55 is water-resistant. Additionally, it offers up to 2 weeks of battery life in smartwatch mode and up to 20 hours in GPS mode, minimizing the need for frequent charging.

These features collectively make the Garmin Forerunner 55 GPS Smartwatch a versatile and invaluable tool for individuals looking to enhance their fitness journey through detailed insights and personalized training guidance.

Specification

SpecificationDetail
Product TypeGPS Smartwatch
BrandGarmin
ModelForerunner 55
Display TypeSunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
Display Size1.04″ (26.3 mm) diameter
Display Resolution208 x 208 pixels
Weight37 grams
Battery LifeUp to 2 weeks in smartwatch mode; Up to 20 hours in GPS mode
Water Rating5 ATM (Withstands pressures equivalent to a depth of 50 meters)
Memory/History200 hours of activity data
Wrist-Based Heart RateYes
GPSYes, with GLONASS and Galileo
ConnectivityBluetooth®, ANT+®
Smart NotificationsYes (text response/reject phone call with text (Android™ only))
Activity Tracking FeaturesSteps, Calories Burned, Distance Traveled, Intensity Minutes, TrueUp™, Move IQ™
Gym & Fitness EquipmentAvailable workouts include Cardio and Strength Workouts, Automatic Rep Counting
Training, Planning and Analysis FeaturesVO2 Max, Recovery Advisor, Race Predictor, Daily Suggested Workouts
Heart Rate FeaturesHR zones, HR alerts, HR calories, % HR max, HR Broadcast (broadcasts HR data over ANT+™ to paired devices)
Running FeaturesGPS-based distance, time and pace, Cadence (provides real-time number of steps per minute), Run workouts
Cycling FeaturesTime/distance alerts, Compatible with Varia™ radar (rear-facing radar), Speed and cadence sensor support (with sensor)
Swimming FeaturesPool Swimming Metrics (lengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories), Stroke type detection, Swim efficiency (SWOLF), Drill logging
Safety and Tracking FeaturesLiveTrack, Incident Detection during select activities, Assistance
CustomizationConnect IQ™ (downloadable watch faces, data fields, widgets, and apps)

Performance

GPS Accuracy and Reliability

The Garmin Forerunner 55’s GPS functionality is exceptionally accurate and reliable. It quickly locks onto GPS signals, minimizing wait times before starting activities. The device supports multiple satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo), ensuring more precise tracking in different environments, from urban canyons to dense forests. Users report minimal discrepancies in distance tracking, highlighting its reliability for tracking runs, cycles, and more.

Heart Rate Monitoring Precision

Heart rate monitoring is another area where the Garmin Forerunner 55 shines. The wrist-based heart rate monitor provides continuous tracking, offering insights into heart rate zones, resting heart rate, and effort levels during exercises. It’s noted for its accuracy, closely matching readings from chest strap monitors, which are often considered the gold standard. This precision is crucial for training within specific heart rate zones and monitoring overall cardiovascular health.

Battery Life

Garmin promises up to 2 weeks of battery life in smartwatch mode and up to 20 hours in GPS mode, a claim that holds up under real-world conditions. Such longevity makes it a standout choice for users who dislike frequent charges or those participating in long-duration events. The battery performance can vary with usage intensity, but for most users, it exceeds expectations, balancing smart features and tracking capabilities without constant battery concerns.

User Interface and Navigation

The user interface of the Garmin Forerunner 55 is designed with simplicity and ease of use in mind. Navigation through menus and features is intuitive, using buttons instead of a touchscreen, which can be more reliable during active use, especially when hands are sweaty or in wet conditions. The display is clear and readable under various lighting conditions, including direct sunlight, thanks to its transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) screen.

Fitness Tracking and Training Features

Fitness tracking is comprehensive, catering to a wide range of activities beyond running and cycling, including swimming and gym workouts. The daily suggested workouts, based on user fitness levels and training history, are particularly appreciated for helping users avoid overtraining while progressing towards their goals. The addition of advanced features like VO2 max estimates, recovery advice, and race time predictions further enriches its value for serious athletes.

Smart Features and Connectivity

Smart notifications, safety features like incident detection and live tracking, and the ability to download apps and customize watch faces via Garmin’s Connect IQ Store, enhance the smartwatch experience. While not as extensive as some dedicated smartwatches in terms of app availability, these features are well-integrated and add significant value without detracting from the core focus on fitness and health tracking.

Overall Performance

The Garmin Forerunner 55 GPS Smartwatch delivers outstanding performance for its target audience, striking an excellent balance between detailed fitness tracking, smartwatch functionality, and ease of use. Its reliability, accuracy, and comprehensive feature set make it a favorite among fitness enthusiasts and athletes alike, offering a depth of insights into performance and health that support both everyday activities and training for specific goals.

Pros

  1. Comprehensive Fitness Tracking: Offers detailed tracking for a variety of activities, including running, cycling, swimming, and more, making it versatile for different types of athletes.
  2. GPS Accuracy: Incorporates GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo satellite systems, ensuring accurate tracking of outdoor activities.
  3. Heart Rate Monitoring: Provides continuous, wrist-based heart rate monitoring that’s accurate and reliable, suitable for heart rate training and daily activity monitoring.
  4. Battery Life: Excellent battery performance, with up to 2 weeks in smartwatch mode and up to 20 hours in GPS mode, reducing the need for frequent recharges.
  5. User-Friendly Interface: The watch’s interface, navigated through buttons rather than a touchscreen, is straightforward, making it easy to use during active and sweaty workouts.
  6. Safety Features: Includes safety and tracking features like incident detection and live tracking, offering peace of mind for users during outdoor activities.
  7. Smart Notifications: Allows for the receipt of smartphone notifications directly on the watch, ensuring users stay connected without needing to access their phones.
  8. Customization Options: Access to Garmin’s Connect IQ Store allows users to download apps, widgets, watch faces, and more, personalizing the device to their preferences.

Cons

  1. Lack of Touchscreen: While the button navigation is reliable during workouts, some users may miss the convenience and intuitiveness of a touchscreen interface.
  2. Limited Smartwatch Features: Compared to dedicated smartwatches, the Garmin Forerunner 55 has limited third-party app support and smart features, which might not satisfy users looking for a comprehensive smartwatch experience.
  3. No Music Storage or Control: It lacks onboard music storage and direct music playback control, a feature found in some of its competitors and higher-end Garmin models.
  4. Basic Design: The design is functional and focused on fitness, but it might not appeal to users looking for a stylish accessory to wear throughout the day.
  5. Limited Swim Tracking: While it supports pool swim tracking, its capabilities are basic compared to more advanced swim watches, lacking open water swim tracking.
  6. No Payment or Wireless Connectivity: Lacks features like Garmin Pay for contactless payments and Wi-Fi connectivity for independent software updates without a phone.

In summary, the Garmin Forerunner 55 GPS Smartwatch is a solid choice for individuals prioritizing fitness tracking accuracy, battery life, and safety features. However, those seeking advanced smartwatch functionalities, stylish design, or specific features like music storage may find it lacking. It excels as a fitness-first device, catering well to the needs of runners, cyclists, and multi-sport athletes.

Final Thoughts

The Garmin Forerunner 55 GPS Smartwatch stands out in the crowded fitness technology market, not just for its robust set of features, but also due to the unique perspective and expertise Garmin brings to its design and functionality. Garmin’s long-standing reputation in precision navigation and fitness tracking tools is evident in the Garmin Forerunner 55, which is designed to cater to the needs of runners and athletes at various levels. Here’s a detailed look at the expertise and unique perspective behind this device:

Precision Engineering and GPS Expertise

Garmin’s roots in GPS technology have profoundly influenced the development of the Garmin Forerunner 55. The company’s expertise ensures that the smartwatch offers superior GPS tracking accuracy compared to many competitors. This precision is critical for athletes who depend on accurate distance and pace measurements to track their progress and performance. Garmin’s commitment to integrating advanced satellite navigation systems (GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo) exemplifies its dedication to providing users with reliable data, regardless of their location.

User-Centric Design

A key aspect of Garmin’s approach is its focus on the user experience. The Garmin Forerunner 55 is designed to be intuitive and accessible for athletes of all levels. Its user interface, which favors button controls over a touchscreen, demonstrates an understanding of the practical challenges athletes face, such as sweaty hands or the need to navigate features in various weather conditions. This design philosophy extends to the watch’s durable build and water resistance, ensuring it can withstand the rigors of daily training and competition.

Holistic Fitness and Wellness Tracking

Garmin’s expertise in health and fitness technology is evident in the comprehensive tracking capabilities of the Garmin Forerunner 55. Beyond standard metrics like pace and distance, the device offers heart rate monitoring, sleep analysis, stress tracking, and even VO2 max estimation. Garmin understands that performance is not just about physical activity but also recovery and overall wellness. This holistic approach helps users not only improve their fitness but also manage their health more effectively.

Safety and Connectivity

Recognizing the importance of safety for outdoor athletes, Garmin has equipped the Garmin Forerunner 55 with features like incident detection and live tracking. This reflects an understanding of the concerns athletes may have while training alone or in remote areas. The addition of smart notifications and connectivity options underscores Garmin’s recognition of the modern athlete’s desire to stay connected without being distracted from their training goals.

Tailored Training Insights

Garmin’s unique perspective shines through in the personalized training insights offered by the Garmin Forerunner 55. The device doesn’t just collect data; it provides actionable guidance through features like daily suggested workouts, which are based on the user’s current training load and fitness level. This bespoke approach demystifies training for beginners while offering valuable insights to more experienced athletes, showcasing Garmin’s commitment to supporting users at every stage of their fitness journey.

Community and Ecosystem Integration

Finally, Garmin’s expertise extends beyond the device itself to the broader ecosystem it supports. Integration with Garmin Connect, a comprehensive fitness and health platform, allows users to analyze their data, set goals, and share achievements. The ability to download custom watch faces, apps, and more from the Garmin IQ store offers a level of personalization and community engagement that enhances the overall user experience.

In summary, the Garmin Forerunner 55 GPS Smartwatch reflects a blend of precision engineering, user-centric design, holistic health tracking, and personalized training insights. Garmin’s unique perspective, grounded in decades of navigation and fitness technology expertise, makes the Garmin Forerunner 55 a standout choice for athletes looking to optimize their training and performance.

FAQs

  1. Can the Garmin Forerunner 55 track activities other than running?

    Yes, the Garmin Forerunner 55 is designed to track a wide range of activities beyond running. While it excels as a running watch, offering specialized features for tracking running metrics, it is also equipped to monitor other types of workouts. Users can track cycling, pool swimming, cardio, yoga, and more. The watch automatically captures daily activities such as steps, calories burned, and intensity minutes, making it a versatile fitness tracker. Additionally, it includes features like breathing exercises and stress tracking, highlighting its capability to support overall wellness, not just physical performance.

  2. How does the Garmin Forerunner 55’s battery life compare to other smartwatches, and what can affect its longevity?

    The Garmin Forerunner 55 offers up to 2 weeks of battery life in smartwatch mode and up to 20 hours in GPS mode, which is significantly longer than many other smartwatches that prioritize a wide range of connectivity features and apps. This extended battery life makes it ideal for athletes and fitness enthusiasts who need reliable performance without frequent charges.
    Several factors can affect the battery life of the Forerunner 55, including:
    GPS usage: Continuously using the GPS function, especially in activities tracked with GPS, consumes more battery. The 20-hour GPS mode lifespan can decrease with prolonged use of GPS-intensive features.
    Heart rate monitoring: The continuous heart rate tracking feature, while efficient, also contributes to battery consumption. However, Garmin has optimized this to minimize battery drain.
    Screen brightness: The display’s brightness level can impact battery life, with higher brightness settings consuming more power.
    Smart notifications: Frequent alerts for emails, texts, calls, and app notifications can reduce battery longevity due to the increased screen activation.
    Usage of Connect IQ features: Downloading and using custom watch faces, apps, and data fields from the Garmin Connect IQ store can also influence battery life, depending on their complexity and resource demands.

  3. Is the Garmin Forerunner 55 waterproof, and can it track swimming workouts?

    Yes, the Garmin Forerunner 55 is designed with a 5 ATM water rating, meaning it can withstand pressures equivalent to a depth of 50 meters. This makes it suitable for swimming and showering, ensuring that users can track their pool swims without concern for water damage.
    For swimming workouts, the Forerunner 55 offers specific features to monitor pool swimming, including the ability to track:
    Stroke type: The watch can recognize the type of stroke being used, such as freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, or butterfly.
    Swim distance: It measures the total distance swam during the workout.
    Swim pace: The device calculates the average pace over the course of the swimming session.
    Stroke count and rate: It counts the number of strokes per lap and the rate of strokes, providing insights into efficiency and performance.
    Swim efficiency (SWOLF): Combining stroke count with the time it takes to swim a pool length, the Forerunner 55 calculates a SWOLF score to help swimmers understand their efficiency in the water.