Yesterday, the much anticipated Garmin Forerunner 955 was launched. It is likely the best option for serious athletes, not only from Garmin but also for the entire industry.
If you are more bothered about the features and performance, this watch will be a better buy than the Fenix 7 series as it offers significantly better value for money.
The Garmin Forerunner 955, Fenix 7, and Epix Gen 2 are all very similar, essentially using the same platform with differences in aesthetics, battery and display.
For the Epix, you obviously have the AMOLED display, it lacks a solar option, and the battery isn’t as good as the Fenix 7. Beyond that, it is essentially a Fenix 7.
Features the Garmin Forerunner 955 has, but Fenix 7 doesn’t
The launch of the Garmin Forerunner 955 has introduced quite a lot of new features that are not on the Fenix 7.
Fenix 7 owners may feel upset about this, and potential buyers may think the Forerunner 955 is a superior watch. However, most of these features are software related and will be pushed to the Fenix 7 and Epix series via a firmware update.
These features include:
- Native running power – as in, you now have proper data fields and power-related workout settings. You will need to use a Garmin run pod or a Garmin chest strap with run dynamics.
- HRV Status – this is a new big feature, and it will HRV values constantly while you sleep, and then compare it against your 3-week baseline, up to a 90-day rolling window baseline. HRV is supposed to be a good indicator of your overall condition.
- Training Readiness – This uses the HRV data as well as sleep, recovery time, load and stress to decide on your overall readiness for training.
- Acute Training Load – I thought this was identical to the 7-day training load, but it is now improved to take into account the time between training. Running a marathon yesterday will have a higher impact on the acute load than me running one three or four days ago.
- Morning Report – I have written about this a few times now, and it is a basic summary you get in the morning, giving you your HRV, sleep data, and any plans.
- Race Calendar & Race Event Widgets
Garmin is expected to roll out all of these features shorty on the Fenix 7 series, Epix Gen 2 and also the Forerunner 945 LTE.
The Instinct 2 is also reported to get some of the features.
At the moment, there is no confirmation on if or what features the Fenix 6 series will get.
Garmin Forerunner 955 has multi-band GNSS
With all the software features being rolled out to the Fenix 7 series, this leaves just one important difference.
The Fenix 7 and Epix only have multi-band GNSS if you buy the sapphire model. The problem with that is the standard Fenix 7 is £600, whereas the sapphire model is £780.
Beyond that, the main differences between the watches are the overall aesthetics, battery life and display.
The Garmin Forerunner 955 has the same 1.3” display as the 47mm Fenix 7, with both watches having a 260 x 260-pixel resolution.
The Fenix 7 models below and above it have 1.2” and 1.4” displays with resolutions of 240 x 240 pixels and 280 x 280 pixels.
The Epix then has the 1.3” AMOLED display running at 416 x 416 pixels,
There are small battery differences to:
For the 47mm Fenix 7, you have:
- Smartwatch: Up to 18 days/22 days with solar
- GPS Only: Up to 57 hours/73 hours with solar
For the Forerunner 955, you have:
- Smartwatch mode: Up to 15 days/20 days with solar
- GPS-only mode without music: Up to 42 hours/49 hours with solar
For the Epix:
- Smartwatch: Up to 16 days (6 days always-on)
- GPS Only: Up to 42 hours (30 hours always-on)
Weight and Dimensions
A lot of serious athletes worry about the weight of the watch. It has never bothered me, but I am not an elite athlete.
For the 47mm Fenix 7 is is:
- 47 x 47 x 14.5 mm
- 79 g (case only: 56 g)
For the Forerunner 955:
- 46.5 x 46.5 x 14.4 (mm)
- 53 g
For the Epix:
- 47 x 47 x 14.5 mm
- 76 g (case only: 53 g)
With the Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar essentially being the same as the 47mm Fenix 7 Sapphire, you have to consider how much you value the overall aesthetics compared to the price:
- Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar is £550
- 47mm Fenix 7 Sapphire is £780
- Epix Sapphire is £1000
If you don’t care about the solar or having multi-band GNSS (on the Fenix/Epix) then the cheapest options are:
- Garmin Forerunner 955: £480
- 47mm Fenix 7: £600
- Epix: £800
Personally, if I were to buy a watch right now, I’d probably go with the Garmin Forerunner 955. I do love the Fenix, and I like the way it looks, but I am too tight-fisted to spend £120 extra just to have a prettier watch. I am not sure how useful multi-band GNSS would be to me, but the more features, the better.