Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar test: a complete and successful sports watch

Ergonomics and design

This Forerunner 955 is content to make small changes to the Forerunner formula. Thus we find five buttons and a fair imposition of the circular fiber-reinforced polymer case (46.5 x 46.5 x 14.4 mm). If the case becomes a little narrower than the 945, the screen gains in size and definition, from 1.2 inches and 240 x 240 px to 1.3 inches and 260 x 260 px. Not enough to change the experience, especially since it’s still a transflective MIP (Memory-in-Pixel) LCD panel with displays that are as solid as they are readable. New though, this screen is now touch sensitive. A little more to manipulate the mapping options or simply navigate the menus.

The Forerunner 955 case.

The Forerunner 955 case.

This model is waterproof up to 5 ATM. So it is possible to wear it during a swimming session. Be careful, however, during water activities that shake a little, such as diving or surfing. Excessive pressure changes can cause the housing to lose its tightness. The silicone strap remains comfortable to wear no matter the situation.

The back of the Forerunner 955 case with its proprietary charging connector.

The back of the Forerunner 955 case with its proprietary charging connector.

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5

Interface

Like other Forerunners, this 955 is managed with five buttons: two to scroll through screens or options, one to validate, another to return and the last to activate or deactivate the slab backlight. Added finger gestures to the touch screen for those who don’t want to fiddle with buttons. While Garmin regulars find their marks quickly, newcomers have to go through a short, but inevitable adjustment period. Don’t worry so after a bad maneuver, everything is there.

If this Forerunner 955 benefits from Garmin’s basics, it’s not content with them. Like the Forerunner 255 that passed through our hands a few months ago, it has a lot of software additions. New features, here and there, that improve the experience and further support the “virtual coach” dimension that Garmin wants to introduce into its products in a few years. The most obvious symbol of this dynamic, the “morning report”. When we wake up, the Forerunner 955 offers a report on our state of health made thanks to the metrics compiled by the watch. It shows our general health, suggests exercises based on it and gives a score on the efficiency of our sleep – if of course we wear the watch at night. This “morning report” also takes the opportunity to show “heart rate variability”, a new metric available on the 955. It focuses on the heart’s contraction intervals, and therefore its regularity .

The different screens of the morning report.

The different screens of the morning report.

This Forerunner 955 also includes new training and preparation widgets. It is also possible to show messages to our potential supporters through the Live Track function. A phone connected to the watch is necessary however to receive encouragement from our loved ones, without a 4G model with eSIM.

The map manager is compatible with Fenix ​​itself, while the maps of the ski resorts are emerging. New features that also suggest a rapprochement between Garmin ranges. This 955 thus offers most of the functions of a Fenix ​​​​​​​​​​​and is thus naturally positioned as an excellent multisport watch.

The Forerunner 955's menus and notifications display.

The Forerunner 955’s menus and notifications display.

One of the greatest strengths of the Forerunner 955 is its ability to change to suit the user. A performance made possible by the great malleability of the interface. The sports profiles are legion, the metrics are numerous and the customization options are numerous. Thus it is possible, during an output, to display up to 6 metrics per screen. And the user is spoiled for choice: stopwatch, live or average heart rate, pace, live or average speed, distance, step rate, altitude, ascent, vertical oscillation gauge. As long as you have a power sensor, the watch now offers the possibility to display its measurements. During a hike or a trail, mapping and the “back to start” function are available; in swimming, the watch counts lengths… A range of options supported by Garmin’s multisport expertise and combined in one model.

More readable display during sessions.

More readable display during sessions.

What about everyday life? If this Forerunner 955 is a sports watch in its DNA, it still offers some more … mundane functions. It briefly displays notifications received on the smartphone, serves as a payment method thanks to Garmin Pay and stores up to 500 music titles. Of these three functions, only notifications leave us motionless with a display that is too small and often lacking information.

Editor's Rating: 5 out of 5

Uses and Accuracy

The Forerunner 955 is packed with sensors. Thus there is a GPS, a heart rate monitor, a barometric altimeter, a compass, a gyroscope, an accelerometer, a thermometer and a pulse oximeter. And it must be admitted that the whole has a very good quality. Whether it’s for a short or long, varied or linear outing, the tracking of this Forerunner 955 remains intact.

Multiband GPS is very accurate. In town or in nature, there is almost no deviation. A real comfort that allows to support the reliability of its dimensions. The heart rate monitor also shows reliable performance. During an endurance outing, it is able to stay close to the level of accuracy offered by a Polar H10 chest strap – serving as our reference – throughout the effort.

In orange, the Forerunner 955, in blue, the Polar H10 chest strap.

In orange, the Forerunner 955, in blue, the Polar H10 chest strap.

Even during the interval session, the follow-up retains all its accuracy. In the screenshot below, the session starts with two blocks of 4 x 30 seconds and ends with a block of 6 x 800 meters. Both workouts were transcribed flawlessly on the Forerunner 955.

In orange, the Forerunner 955, in blue, the Polar H10 chest strap.

In orange, the Forerunner 955, in blue, the Polar H10 chest strap.

Don’t worry if you want to train in a specific heart zone. This Forerunner can get you there quickly.

Editor's Rating: 5 out of 5

autonomy

During intensive use, combining the reception of notifications and sports, heart rate and sleep monitoring, the Forerunner 955 lasts about 12 days. A very good result, especially since the tocante keeps the battery well when it is left. In a day without using it, it only burns 2 or 3%. Enough to allow it to be left in its drawers between two major sessions.

A special feature of this Solar version is a “Power Glass” solar glass with an integrated photovoltaic sensor that captures a small amount of energy when the watch is exposed to the sun. Don’t expect miracles, though, and consider that solar charging will basically reduce the rate of discharge. We can gain especially the duration of use of the connected watch if we wear the watch in sunny weather, but it is difficult to observe a difference during a sport activity using GPS. According to Garmin, we will thus go from 20 to 22 hours of autonomy in GNSS mode using all satellites. Numbers that match our tests. Always a good take, but not revolutionary.

To recharge it, approximately 1 hour is required using the proprietary cable provided by Garmin.

Strong points

  • Excellent heart monitoring.

  • The accuracy of the dual-band GPS chip.

  • Autonomy of more than 10 days.

  • Custom racing interface.

  • Garmin Pay for contactless payments.

  • Music storage.

  • A very complete Garmin Connect application.

Weak points

  • Unattractive screen.

  • Summary display of notifications.

  • Solar charging is not as good as expected.

Conclusion

5 stars on LesNumériques.com
Global score

Editor's Rating: 5 out of 5

How does grading work?

With this Forerunner 955 Solar, Garmin offers an almost flawless running watch, combined with a complete multisport function. With accurate GPS tracking, excellent heart rate tracking performance and a rich Garmin interface, it is suitable for all profiles, from the most novice to the most expert. Light and relatively compact, it even allows itself to titillate the range of the Fenix ​​cousin, more expensive, more attractive and finally also awarded.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *