American activity tracker and sports watch maker Garmin recently launched in India its Forerunner 55. Aimed at runners, this smartwatch is a successor to the company’s budget-oriented health and fitness tracker the Forerunner 45. Priced at Rs 20,990, the Forerunner 55 brings meaningful upgrades over the predecessor with regard to design, features and utility. So does it make a good upgrade? Let’s find out:
Design and build
The smartwatches in the Forerunner series look identical, albeit few changes here and there. That said, the Forerunner 55 does not bring any drastic design changes. There are in total of five physical buttons familiarly placed — three on the left side and two on the right. The Forerunner 55 has a 42mm plastic case with a 1.04-inch transflective display (208 × 208 pixels resolution) on the top, surrounded by thick bezels.
The watch’s transflective display lacks the brightness, thus, suffers from sunlight legibility issues. It takes some effort to read the display under direct sunlight. Nevertheless, the display shows phone’s notifications and call alerts (require pairing and supplementary app). You can also control your phone’s music on the Forerunner 55, the reason for mentioning this is not all Garmin watches support this so it’s a welcome feature. As for the sensors, they are all placed on the bottom side. This watch is 5ATM rated for water resistance – can withstand pressures equivalent to a depth of 50 meters.
The Forerunner 55 comes with silicone straps, which are flexible and comfortable to wear. Unlike the predecessor, the Forerunner 55’s straps are removable. Therefore, you can change the straps to suit your everyday attire. Adding to the convenience and comfort is the watch’s lightweight (37g) build. You can wear it all day long to track health and fitness, and at night to track your sleep, yet do not feel like you have tied anything extra to your wrist.
The Forerunner 55 comes with most features that one expects in a health and fitness smartwatch. It boasts a built-in GPS, heart-rate sensor, activity tracker, sleep tracker, stress monitoring, body battery indicator, sport modes, and so much more. Besides, it boasts the Garmin’s value-added features like the respiration rate tracker and hydration tracker that gives the Forerunner 55 edge over its peers and predecessor.
Being a smartwatch aimed at runners, the Forerunner 55 has tons of features to make one a better runner. For example, its PacePro feature lets runners select a distance and informs about the estimated finish time, among other metrics. This is interesting for those trying to improve their timing and looking for in-depth details of their run. Likewise, there are many other features related to running activity that makes it a solid companion for both new and intermittent runners.
One of the features I really liked is the Forerunner 55 ability to gauge the recovery time post a workout. After one of my runs, covering about 5 km, the watch showed a general timeframe of 36 hours rest time. Interestingly, the projection was spot on as I took about the same time to recover. This feature can be really useful for regular runners so that they do not put much strain on the body. Another feature I really found valuable is the race predictor, which examines your fitness level using data collected over time to predict your race time.
Though the Forerunner 55 covers most things right, it is not perfect as it omits some basic features. The watch lacks SpO2 monitoring and Altimeter. Tracking blood oxygen saturation levels has become crucial these days and it is a big miss if your smartwatch cannot do so.
Garmin says the Forerunner 55 lasts up to 2 weeks in smartwatch mode and up to 20 hours in GPS mode. In my experience, it lasted for over a week in smartwatch mode with regular notifications, alerts, and tracking enabled. If used specifically to track a run or other workouts, the battery can last for a few sessions.
If you are looking for a dedicated device for running, Garmin Forerunner 55 could just be it. Besides, this GPS-enabled smartwatch tracks pretty much everything. From anyone new to fitness to those looking to up their game, Garmin Forerunner 55 has everyone covered. However, the lack of SpO2 monitoring pulls it down by a few notches from being an all-round health and fitness smartwatch.