Image source: Garmin

Garmin Forerunner 955: rumors, release date, design and specs

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This is an updated version of an article that we published at the start of this year. The 945 is one of the most popular devices in the Forerunner range. These are our expectations for its successor – the Forerunner 955.

We wrote in 2020 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. All of that information is, of course, according to an unconfirmed leak.

In the software 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.

Interestingly, one of the devices that was not mentioned in the code is the Forerunner 945 LTE. That one was launched in early Summer. Could there have been a shift in Garmin’s plans since last year? That’s quite possible.

This year has been out of the ordinary with wearable brands only releasing a handful of new devices. Garmin is no exception. A combination of factors are to blame including the pandemic, energy shortages in certain Asian countries, coupled with chip shortages. There have clearly been delays in many company’s release schedules.

Nevertheless, there’s talk that Garmin has a few devices stacked up that are ready to launch. Quite a few filings have gone through the FCC in September and October. Could Forerunner 955 be one of them? This is definitely one of the most anticipated watches along with the Fenix 7.

Many are wondering when we will see the 955 and what features it will have. But apart from the code which mentions the name, there have been no leaks as to the 955. So all we are left with is speculation and features that one could reasonably 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

Garmin Forerunner 935 or 945: should you upgrade?
Image source: Garmin

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. It is one of the most fully featured sports watches out there.

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 is fair to say this is a watch designed mostly for men. The company has started introducing different sizes with its recent crop of watches. For example the Fenix 6 also comes in a 6s version and 6X. Could we see the same with the Forerunner 955?

Previously we would have said unlikely, but rather surprisingly the 945 LTE did come down in size. It has a diameter of 44mm compared to the 47mm of the regular variant. And Garmin did this whilst maintaining the size of the 1.2 inch display (by slimming the bezel).

So it is quite possible we might see the introduction of a couple of different sized watches. If Garmin chooses to retain the 47mm variant we could very well see an increase in display size. Slim the bezel down and you could nicely fit in a 1.3 inch display into the frame. A resolution boost would be nice, too. What Garmin could also 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). The 945 LTE has pretty much the same battery life, despite the smaller size. 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 slightly 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. If we do see the introduction of touch functionality, most likely this will be in combination with the physical buttons.

We don’t see a realistic possibility of Garmin introducing an AMOLED display on the 955. Apart from being power hungry, it would increase the price of an already expensive watch. An AMOLED display is not the top of the wishlist of most 935 and 945 owners.

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

Garmin Forerunner 935 or 945: should you upgrade?
Image source: Garmin

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.

LTE variant

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.

The fact that we’ve seen a 945 LTE makes it pretty much certain we will see a 955 LTE, as well. This is to support phne-free safetly and tracking features.

One of these is something Garmin calls Assistance. It can be useful in emergencies as it automatically sends an alert with your location to pre-defined contacts. There’s a Plus version of the same which taps into Garmin’s 24/7 staffed emergency response unit.

As far as cellular tracking features, these include Livetrack, Spectator Messaging and Live Event Sharing. This revolves most around sharing your real-time location, and receiving audio and text messages on the watch – no phone needed, thank you very much.

A LTE variant of the 955 will most likely build on these features. But we don’t see true cellular ability which would allow you to make calls on the Forerunner 955. The Venu or Vivactive range is a better fit for that as these are all-purpose smartwatches that compete with the likes of the Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Watch and Fitbits.

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 lots of scope for improvement. At minimum, 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.

New sensors

The 945 LTE brought with it the new V4 heart rate sensor. An upgrade is the heart rate sensor is a certainty.

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.

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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. Perhaps for the Forerunner 965…

Solar charging

Solar charging is also something we saw on Fenix 6. Garmin could easily port this over to the Forerunner line. This is another feature that is probably not top of people’s wish lists. The solar doesn’t really add very much to existing battery life and the Forerunner 935 and 945 watches already have excellent battery life.

Having said that, we could see the introduction of 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 adopts a two year cycle for upgrading its sports watches. The Forerunner 945 was released in April 2019 and the 945 LTE in June 2021. The 935 was unveiled back in March 2017. That one is still a great watch, by the way.

If we ignore the LTE variant, Spring looks like the ideal time to release the 955. It would be around three years after the original 945, and four years after the 935. So in line with the two year cycle.

Our money is that we will get a Fenix 7 unveiling at CES 2022 in Las Vegas, followed by the 955 a month or two after. It is unlikely both will be announced at the event. If we do get the Fenix 7 next month, it will provide lots of clues as to what to expect from the Forerunner 955.

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Garmin Forerunner 945/945 LTE
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Garmin Forerunner 955

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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33 thoughts on “Garmin Forerunner 955: rumors, release date, design and specs

  • “Why not ECG functionality on a Garmin watch? Not a must-have, but it is a nice-to-have. ”

    No, it’s not a nice to have feature. At best it’s a try once, never use again feature.

    It’s a useless thing and it only makes the watch more expensive.

    And, no a 745 is not an option if you want a “cheaper” watch, because you have to do to much concessions on battery life.

    Reply
    • True, the GPS only battery life is 36 hours on the 945 compared to only 16 hours on the 745. It’s a very big difference.

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      • Fenix 6 also has shorter battery life compared to 945. This is the main difference between them besides the silly fact that 945 doesn’t have XC Skate mode.

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      • If they would go to amolid & touch screen with workout lockout ability they would easily sweep the market. I purchased the 245 which is basically the same visibility as the 945 and the P6… All those button menus felt like an antiquated device out of 2005 and the visibility was horrible. I returned it the next day.

        Reply
        • Touch screen would be nearly useless for me, and worse than useless if they did away with the buttons entirely. It’s cold here, and I’m a mountain biker, I’m wearing gloves 23/rds of the time.

          Eliminate the bezel, more navigation points (my 935 only has 50 navigation points? how about 1000 points Garmin?) and I’d be a happy camper. It doesn’t need to look good, it needs to function well when I need it to.

          Reply
        • Serious sports people will not opt for touch screens which play havoc when out in the wet or swimming or rigorous activity. The forerunners must remain efficient on battery life. Higher Screen resolution is also pointless since no video or photos are needed. As long as the letters numbers & icons are bright & large enough is all that is needed. This is a watch for those who need sport ‘info’ not fancy imagery battery draining features that ruin your long survival expedition or ultra workout. For those obsessed with resolution and gimmickry go for the Apple Watch.

          Reply
        • Amolid? Touch screen? You don’t seem to get where this device should be used: outdoors. Visibility is superb there. Have you ever tried an OLED screen outdoors? It’s invisible. Battery life would be a sub-one hour too.
          If you’re looking for a touchscreen OLED watch with fancy menus, buy an Apple watch or other smartwatch. This is a different device.

          Reply
          • You really have to try a good AMOLED screen. Once you go AMOLED you cannot go back whatever the conditions are…..

        • I completely agree. Having both touchscreen and buttons can improve by ages the usability. Whoever is with gloves can still use the buttons to navigate.
          On the AMOLED… people that talk bad about that AMOLED is not suitable for outdoors haven’t really tried a good AMOLED screen on a watch. Unless you are in direct sunlight on a bright day, an AMOLED will always give a better experience. Even with direct sunlight you can always create shade if you need.
          I had a Fenix 3HR a Fenix 5X and since I moved to AMOLED I cannot go back… and my problem is exactly that… I miss a good sports/running watch with AMOLED.

          Reply
          • Those of us that have been using Garmins for years will remember the perils of touch controls on the 405 line. I don’t need my $600 sports watch to have a good looking touch screen. I need its battery to last as long as possible and for it to perform reliably in any conditions. Some seem to be forgetting that roots of the 9X5 line is the XT line which was a triathlon focused line. Due to the battery life, this line is also well adopted by the ultra endurance athlete community who needs long GPS battery life and a watch that performs in all conditions.

          • “Unless you are in direct sunlight on a bright day,”

            This is exactly what the watch is for.

            “Even with direct sunlight you can always create shade if you need.”

            Or I could not do that and be able to see my info without huddling over my watch on a run or crashing my bike during a triathlon.

            These are triathlon watches. If they make them touchscreens and/or difficult to see in bright direct sunlight, triathletes will drop them en masse.

            Not saying they couldn’t make a variant for the few who would want a lot of the forerunner features for other uses, but it would always be a secondary, smaller market. The non-triathlon watch types, such as the vivoactive, suit most of those needs just fine.

          • I am sorry Pedro, but this is just wrong. Touchscreen and AMOLED are nice, but not on a high-end sports watch. You will always have to select the optimal technology for the sport you target if you ask for a premium price. If you do not understand, you are not the target audience for this product.

        • The combination of salt and moist makes the touch screen terrible when you sweat

          Reply
      • I just used my 945 on my recent 100KM Ultra and got 19% batter left after 16hr35mins, from a full charged. Where is the 36hrs Garmin promised? ??
        Has it been tested on real ultra runs before?

        Reply
        • It depends on GPS mode and reception.

          Reply
    • I disagree that ECG is a try once, never use again feature. It is not at all uncommon for endurance athletes to develop symptomatic cardiac arrhythmia as they age. The ECG function can collect data useful for identifying trends that can be shared with medical professionals. The wrist-based ECG can be an effective warning sign to seek further, more reliable and comprehensive investigation you’d get with a cardiologist. Even after being evaluated, the ECG can continue to be used to possibly identify triggers for symptomatic cardiac arrhythmia (for example, after I drink caffeine or alcohol, the arrhythmias are more frequent and closer together- which are detectable by the ECG).

      Reply
  • Touch screen makes sense and is really wished only in the maps Mode. As Coros implemented in there Apex/Vertix watches.

    Reply
  • Looking to get a fitness watch and wondering if you could let me know your opinion. Would like a watch that will track and provide stats/metrics for running, cycling (stationary as well as non-stationary), and golf. I want to be able to listen to music through the watch and Garmin Pay is a desirable feature. This led me down the track of the Forerunner series and, more specifically, the Music and 945 model. If I told you my primary activities will be running, biking and golfing, whats yours recommendation? The Fenix also seems like it could be suitable, but the increase in price might not really be worth it for me. Also wondering if I should wait it out for the 955 or 945 LTE. LTE would be a feature I would like to have. Thinking I might wait this one out? What do ya think?

    Reply
  • 27th of April is the most likely date for 955 to arrive.

    Reply
  • The only LTE device from garmin so far is limited to verizon in the US. To make a 945LTE viable, it surely needs worldwide (or at least UK/US/EU) LTE support. I wonder if garmin has the influence and pull for carriers to provide wide enough support?

    Reply
  • As others have said, if you want an athletic watch with touch screen controls, a bright screen and high resolution, go buy an Apple watch or something else. A touch screen or AMOLED screen would be unnecessary, battery-draining luxuries and would shift the 9X5 series away from what the userbase appreciates about it. I guarantee the “old fashioned” buttons menu and dim screen are perfectly fine (and preferable, considering battery life trade-off) for ultra runners, triathletes, backpackers, swimmers and other dedicated athletes who use it. Let’s hope Garmin doesn’t focuses on the important things in the 955.

    I think a slightly smaller bezel / larger digitally available face, solar charging, an even longer active battery life, and maybe a distress beacon that doesn’t rely on a phone connection would be cool features/upgrades.

    Reply
  • The 955 is interesting to me.

    I want a larger running watch however. The 245 is nice but I want a bigger screen but without the other sport support. Running / walking , cycling and maybe weights is enough for me. I also want LTE for health reasons

    Reply
  • At this point I just want to see a forerunner 955 released! The enduro is spot on with the features I want it just needs LTE. As an Ironman Triathlete it would be great to be able to leave the phone home on my long rides.

    Reply
    • Besides battery life, what features does the Enduro have that the 945 doesn’t? I don’t think there are any?

      Reply
      • Solar charging.
        But it’s also lacking maps for one.

        Reply
  • I would like a water temperature gauge as I spend a lot of time swimming in the sea. I think there is a lot of work yet to be done on the various swimming algorithms. Not sure the current ones are that accurate. When you take into consideration water temperature, currents and tides etc. Appreciate that’s a lot of work linking GPS position, the direction of travel, tides currents, water temperature but that’s what we strive towards it’s called accuracy. Always wondered why I burned more calories on a walk that was no effort yet a killer swim was less. Sometimes speed and HR does not tell the whole story.

    Reply
    • Agree, we need focused sensors to truly deliver accurate measures, especially on a watch marketed for triathlons.

      Important to me: Battery duration, physical and voice controls, always on visible and high-def screens, temperature, sound, 24h sensors to monitor continual health condition (temperature, heart beat and pressure, Oxygen, glucose), and light and easy to wear 24/7.

      Reply
  • What do you think about the FR 255 or potential FR 655 release?

    Reply
  • Your math is off. “945 was released in April 2019” which makes April 2022 a *3* year gap.

    Reply
    • Yup, all the more reason for Garmin to get the new version out soon! Thanks – will make the correction.

      Reply
  • Fenix7 has touch screen but you can luckily disable it. I moved from apple watches to the fenix 6 pro (and a forerunner 735xt) and would never, ever go back. Long battery life, physical buttons, ANT+ for the myriad of sensors I use and still get at least 9 days out of the fenix with half of them activated. As others have said, I have zero interest in a fancy touchscreen AMOLED display, this is not our market! 🙂
    I may get the 955 if it has a nice big display with light weight.

    Reply

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