Garmin has made official earlier today the high-end Forerunner 955 watch and its pricier solar variant. Both come with some excellent hardware and software upgrades that have really excited the Garmin crowd. The question many are asking right now is whether their existing device will get some or all of the new features.
Retailing for $500, right now the Garmin Forerunner 955 is one of the best value for money sports watch you can buy. It is the first Forerunner with touchscreen functionality and the first Forerunner with a Solar option. There’s also the larger display which Garmin has managed to squeeze by reducing the bezel into the same case size.
Recovery metrics will give Whoop and Oura something to think about
Even more newsworthy are the software innovations. The company has focused quite a bit on introducing new recovery metrics. So much so that Whoop and Oura will really have something to worry about.
Essential reading: Garmin Forerunner 955 vs 945 vs 935
Of course, the device comes with all the software functionality of the Fenix 7 such as Real Time Stamina and more. However, it adds some bits and pieces which cannot be found on any other Garmin watch right now (apart from the Forerunner 255 which was also introduced today).
They include the following:
- HRV Status
- Daily Training Readiness
- Race Calendar & Race Event Widgets
- Acute Training Load
- Morning Report
- Native Running Power
- Improved Daily Suggested Workouts
The Fenix 7 and Epix 2 were introduced earlier this year. As it has only been a few months since their launch we are expecting them to benefit from all these features through upcoming firmware updates. We’ll keep an eye on upcoming Beta releases. So far, these just include bugs and fixes so there’s no mention of the new functionality.
Garmin has recently introduced a new Beta Program which makes installing these types of updates easier. You sign up and the software is installed like regular releases. No more need for you to do any manual downloads and installations.
Gen 4 Elevate heart rate sensor is required
What Fenix 7 and Epix 2 watches have in common is the latest Gen 4 Elevate heart rate sensor. This seems to be a requirement in order for the device to track these metrics.
We suspect HRV status, in particular, needs the latest heart rate sensor. The sensor is said to work almost (but not quite) as accurately as a chest strap. It can even used to take ECG readings although Garmin has not made this live on any watch yet. It does have the ECG tech in testing, though.
The Forerunner 945 LTE is another device that comes packing the Gen 4 heart rate module. That one will also, reportedly, be getting the above features. Hopefully sooner rather than later.
Other watches with the necessary tech include Instinct 2, Venu 2 Plus and Venu 2. It will be interesting to see how many of the above features land on these devices. Garmin has not confirmed any of this yet but expect the Beta firmware updates to start landing in the near future.
Of course, there’s also multi-band GNSS support on the Forerunner 955. This is already present on the Epix (Gen 2) Sapphire and Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar series, which can help to improve location accuracy. This is a hardware upgrade so other watches will not be getting it. Which paradoxically means the Forerunner 955 will be more capable in some aspects than the Fenix 7 non-Sapphire line.
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