Current testing methodology is v1.2
May 17, 2021
Price not available
1.65 x 1.65 x 0.46 in
Released in June 2021, the Garmin Forerunner 55 was one of the most popular GPS watches that year. Is it still a worthy purchase more than two years later? Let’s find out!
A Bit Of Background
As a brand, Garmin is highly regarded in the running community for its GPS watches that track distance, pace, calories burned, and heart rate. I started running in 2013 and have known about the brand since. Back then, their watches were mainly designed for running.
However, recent models cater to more sports as they also provide tracking for other activities such as cycling, swimming, HIIT, yoga, and pilates, just to name a few.
Garmin Forerunner 55
A reliable watch designed for runners
The Garmin Forerunner 55 is a highly regarded GPS watch in the running community because of its good performance at an affordable price. Even with the brand’s newer releases, this watch is still a great option as it offers excellent features for tracking your runs and other activities, training progress, and health data.
It comes with tailored training plans through Garmin Coach and it can predict your finish time – both of which you’ll find quite useful if you have an upcoming race. At $200, the Forerunner 55 is worth considering especially if you’re a runner.
- Lens Material: Chemically strengthened glass
- Strap Material: Silicon
- Physical Size: 42 x 42 x 11.6 mm
- Display Size: 1.04″ (26.3 mm) diameter
- Display Resolution: 208 x 208 pixels
- Display Type: Sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel
- Weight: 37g
- Battery Life in Smartwatch Mode: Up to 2 weeks
- Battery Life in GPS mode: Up to 20 hours
- Water Rating: 5 ATM
- Memory: 200 hours of activity data
What’s in the Box?
- Garmin Forerunner 55 GPS watch
- Charging cable
- Quick user guide and warranty card
Stuff I like
- Easy to use and has simple controls
- Excellent run and activity tracking capabilities
- Workout and recovery suggestions
- Lightweight design
Stuff I like less
- Short battery life when used with GPS
- Display has relatively low resolution
Before getting into smartwatches, my very first “sports watch” was a Garmin Forerunner 15. I got it in 2014, just months after its release date when I was training for my first full marathon. I used it for my regular training sessions and races until it finally croaked in 2019
Truth be told, it’d probably still work today since the only thing that’s broken was one of the side buttons. However, getting it fixed was pricey and I felt like it wasn’t worth it. It served me well for five years and that was that.
Fast forward to today, I’ve been using mostly smartwatches instead of a GPS watch since I “retired” from long-distance running. My current watches are my Apple Watch 3 and Fitbit Charge 5, and while I’m quite happy with them, I’ve been thinking if I should get another one.
Before making any purchase, I tested my cousin’s Garmin Forerunner 55 to see how it does.
Design and Build Quality
Retailing for around $200, the Garmin Forerunner 55 is more on the budget-friendly side compared to other watches offered by the brand which means that you’ll unlikely find premium materials in its build.
It has a fairly simple and straightforward design. Its profile is slim and lightweight, making it quite suitable for running. Because of its size, it’s also best for people with smaller wrists. It comes in four color variants: Black, Aqua, White, and Monterra Grey.
With its quick-release band, you can easily swap it out. Garmin sells bands in other colors such as purple, orange, lime green, olive green, and light grey. Plus, there are many third parties out there that also sell Garmin straps in different colors, designs, and materials.
In terms of durability, the Forerunner 55 does pretty well. The unit I tested is more than a year old and it still looks pretty good with no signs of wear and tear except for some tiny scratches on the watch face, which were mainly caused by how it was handled by the owner.
The Garmin Forerunner 55 is, first and foremost, a GPS watch made for runners so its main function is to track runs. It can track the distance, pace, heart rate, and calories burned for every run. After your run, it displays relevant data for you to track your performance. You can customize the watch to only show the data you need at a glance. And the data it records is quite useful.
This watch utilizes your activity and health data to suggest recovery times between runs. If you have a race coming up, it uses your training records to predict your finish times so you can plan your next training sessions accordingly, especially if you have a certain time to beat.
Speaking of training, you can get personalized training sessions through Garmin Coach. Through this feature, you can set your goals and choose a professional running coach to help you reach those goals. This includes a training program tailored to your needs and you can sync this program with your watch.
Other features of the Garmin Forerunner 55 include the following:
- Health Monitoring – Apart from tracking your runs, this watch can record daily health data such as your heart rate, steps taken, calories burned, and sleep quality.
- Multi-GNSS Support – This watch offers support for multi-global navigation satellite system so you can plan out your run routes.
- Various Activity Profiles – Though it’s designed for running, the Forerunner 55 also supports a wide range of activity profiles, such as cycling, swimming, yoga, and more, with metrics for each activity.
- Daily Workout Suggestions – With its comprehensive tracking, you can get training suggestions based on your recent activity and physical condition.
- Stress Tracking – Through this feature, you can find out if you’re having a calm, stressful, or balanced day. You’ll also get reminders prompting you to do a breathing activity when needed.
- Respiration Tracking – This watch can also track you’re breathing during activities or throughout the day.
- Smart Notifications – This feature lets you receive emails, texts, and alerts on your watch when it’s paired with your smartphone.
Overall, I wasn’t too impressed with the features of the Garmin Forerunner 55 as other watches offer more comprehensive health-tracking features for the same price. However, I have to remind myself that this watch is designed for running so the features that it does have would be perfect for any runner, be it a seasoned athlete or someone just starting out.
Ease of Use
The Garmin Forerunner 55 is pretty easy to use. The interface is user-friendly so the learning curve isn’t steep and it won’t take you too long to familiarize yourself with the menu system. And I’m saying this as a current Apple Watch and Fitbit user.
I also like how this watch has dedicated buttons, with 3 buttons on the left and 2 on the right. Below are the functions of each button.
|Top Left Button||-Press to power on the watch.|
-Press to turn the backlight on and off.
-Hold to view the controls menu.
|Bottom Left Button||-Press to scroll through the options, settings, widgets, and data screens.|
-Hold to open the music controls.
|Top Right Button||-Press select to start and stop the activity timer.|
-Press to choose an option on the menu or to acknowledge a message.
|Bottom Right Button||-Press to return to the previous screen.|
-Press to record a lap, rest, or advance to the next step of a workout during an activity.
|Middle Left Button||-Press to scroll through the options, settings, widgets, and data screens.|
-Hold to view the menu.
The Garmin Connect App, available for both iOS and Android, may be a bit outdated but it works as expected. It’s also relatively easy to use, as it seamlessly syncs your workouts and activity data.
Battery Life and Charging
Compared to other GPS watches at the same price point, the Garmin Forerunner 55 has one of the shortest battery life when used in GPS mode as it can last for only up to 20 hours. However, it does exceptionally well when in smartwatch mode as it lasts for up to two weeks.
Charging the Garmin Forerunner 55 may take up to 2 hours if the battery is fully depleted. A couple of hours of charging time isn’t that bad but there are other GPS watches and smartwatches that take a shorter time to charge.
If you plan to use this watch only for your training sessions and races, then 20 hours of battery life should be more than enough. However, it can be a pain to use this as an everyday watch while you’re regularly training in GPS mode since you’ll have to charge it frequently.
Overall, the Garmin Forerunner 55 is a great GPS watch option even more than two years since its release. It’s more affordable compared to other Garmin models and it performs quite well as a GPS watch and a health and activity tracker.
Its slim and lightweight design makes it perfect for running because, in this sport, any gear that weighs you down isn’t suitable. While its battery life isn’t the best when in GPS mode, it’s more than enough if you’re only using it for your training sessions and running events.
If you’re a runner, then you’d benefit a lot from its run-tracking and personalized training features, especially if you train regularly for races. On the other hand, if you need a watch that offers more comprehensive tracking for health and fitness, then I’d suggest you look elsewhere.
Eva is a content writer and digital creator who's passionate about traveling, photography, and fitness. When she's not writing or traveling, she enjoys watching movies on Netflix and playing Sims 4 and Animal Crossing. She also dabbles in graphic design and video editing.
This post was last updated on 2023-12-02 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.