This is an updated version of an article that we published at the end of last year. The 945 is one of the most popular devices in the Forerunner range. These are our expectations for its successor – the 955.
We wrote before about an eagle eyed developer on Reddit who spotted code in Garmin Connect that revealed a whole plethora of goodies to be released in the future. It’s worth pointing out, all of that information is according to an unconfirmed leak.
In the code some devices were mentioned that have been launched by Garmin since. This includes the Index 2 scale and Forerunner 745. Devices that were mentioned but have not seen the light of day yet include the Forerunner 955 (and LTE version) and Fenix 6 Sport.
One of the most anticipated watches amongst the Garmin crowd is the Forerunner 955. Many are wondering when we’ll see it and what features to expect. Competition is stiff, so it’s a fair bet that the company will set its aims high once again.
Garmin Forerunner 955: Design expectations
The Forerunner 945 is a cheaper version of the Fenix 6. Both have pretty much the same features, the main difference is in design. The fact that the bezel and case are made of fiber-reinforced polymer means Garmin is able to keep the price down. Mind you, this is still an expensive device but that’s to be expected considering the specs.
Most Garmin sports watches have now adopted a similar look. The Forerunner 945 is a rather bulky device although it is lightweight coming in at only 50 grams. But it’s fair to say this is a watch designed mostly for men. The company has started introducing different sizes. For example the Fenix 6 also comes in a 6s version and 6X. Could we see the same with the Forerunner 955? Possible, but not very likely.
It is also unlikely the watch will come down in size. If you want a smaller timepiece, you can always opt for the Forerunner 745 or small Fenix. But what Garmin could do is shave off a few millimeters in thickness.
This should not impinge on the battery very much as the tech is becoming more power-efficient. The Forerunner 945 runs an impressive 2 weeks on a single charge (GPS mode with music: up to 10 hours; GPS mode without music: up to 36 hours). Garmin will probably look to match or top this as battery capacity remains an important selling point.
The same consideration applies to the possible introduction of a touch or a high-res screen. While a better display is a realistic possibility, the company will not want to compromise battery life so will opt to keep the physical buttons on the sides for navigation. The decision not to offer a touchscreen is practical because athletes would find a touchscreen difficult to use in wet weather or when swimming.
What is more likely is a sliming down of the bezel. Both the mid-size Fenix 6 and Forerunner 945 measure 47 x 47. But the Fenix 6 has a 1.3 inch display versus the 1.2 inch display on the 945. This is something Garmin could very well (and probably will) replicate with the 955. A resolution boost would be nice, too.
Apart from shrinking the bezel, we don’t anticipate many other design changes with the 955. Garmin has showed it is sticking to the tried and tested formula.
Garmin Forerunner 955: Expected features
The 945 is a very capable multi-sport GPS watch. Whatever type of exercise you are into, it can track it. In addition to heart rate monitoring from the wrist, the watch provides advanced running metrics and outdoor navigation. And finally, while not the most user friendly, the Garmin Connect software is top notch whether you are utilizing the smartphone app or the even more comprehensive web dashboard.
According to the above mentioned leak the Forerunner 955 is arriving in a regular and an LTE variant. Are you likely to call your office while on a run? Perhaps not, but it would be nice to have the option.
Before we see the LTE variant of the 955, we should see a version for the 945. This is according to EMVCo – the outfit that is responsible for ensuring card-based payment products work together seamlessly and securely worldwide. The release of this one is expected in late May or early June. It will give Garmin a chance to try out the tech on an existing device. But the EMVCo registration of the 945 LTE pretty much confirms that we will see an LTE variant of the 955.
New performance metrics and sport profiles
It will be interesting to see what else the 955 brings to the table as it already has pretty much most of the features of Fenix 6. This includes lots of Firstbeat metrics. No doubt, the company will continue to build on these particularly as it has recently acquired the Finnish outfit.
A good example is the Forerunner 745. At launch it came with a few features that were not seen before, namely Daily Workout Suggestions, Track Run profile and improved Recovery time. These have since made it to other watches via software updates. Expect more such goodies to be built into the 955 when it comes out.
Recovery metrics are where we feel where Garmin has scope for improvement. For instance, it would be nice for the watch to dish out raw HRV information.
But, this watch is not simply for running. There are special features to help with swim training, cycling, golfing and skiing too. To list them all would simply take too long. Garmin will continue to build on these which means we will see other niche sports and additional metrics tracked.
ECG sensors have been making all the headlines over the past year. Why not ECG functionality on a Garmin watch? Not a must-have, but it is a nice-to-have. Could we realistically expect this? Maybe not at this stage. The likes of Withings and Samsung have shown it is not easy securing regulatory approval for such functionality, particularly in the US.
A realistic possibility is a skin temperature sensor. Fitbit has it, as do another of other brands. In these coronavirus times, it would be a useful addition.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
Other sensors are always a possibility. It’s been a while since we’ve seen something truly revolutionary on this front. This could include a blood-pressure sensor which seems like a good candidate, either this year or next. Valencell has issued a press release at CES 2021 revealing new sensor technology for wearable devices. It will allow smartwatches to take blood pressure readings with the same accuracy as traditional cuffs – no calibration needed. And this is done via the optical heart rate sensor.
Another possibility is a glucose sensor which should also land in the next year or two. Sweat analysis and a hydration sensor are probably a few years down the line.
Solar charging is also something we saw on Fenix 6. Garmin could easily port this over to the Forerunner line. This along with Power Manager options. On Fenix 6 the functionality offers various settings to manage battery use including Battery Saver, Power Mode, and Battery Alerts.
Garmin Forerunner 955: Expected release date
Garmin usually has a two year cycle for upgrading its sports watches. The Forerunner 945 was released in April 2019 so the launch of the 955 should not be far off.
As mentioned, we are expecting the reveal of the 945 LTE first. If that one is launched in May or early June, it would not make sense to unveil the 955 before IFA in Berlin. This falls in September each year.
That’s actually a great time to release new devices as its before the end-year holiday shopping period. If we do not see the 955 in September, then we are looking at CES 2022.
As far as price, expect something around the $600 mark. If we get an LTE variant, that one will probably run an extra $100 or so.
So what do you think? What would you like to see on the Forerunner 955?
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