Garmin Forerunner 255 Music review: Swap touch for fitness

Garmin Forerunner 255 Music review: Swap touch for fitness

Trying out the Garmin Forerunner 255 Music for the primary time is curious—as a result of it’s a must to navigate by means of options and menus through 5 buttons. Garmin does with no touchscreen and thus achieves an ultra-long battery lifetime of as much as 14 days. How properly the Forerunner 255 Music performs and what it’s a must to do with out may be learn on this NextPit evaluation.


  • All-around profitable health smartwatch idea
  • Very good battery lifetime of as much as 14 days
  • Music characteristic convinces in apply
  • Diverse evaluation information within the Garmin app
  • Compatibility with a number of sensors and Garmin equipment


  • Operating idea over heads awkward
  • Neither ECG nor blood strain measurement is feasible
  • Few sensible capabilities
  • No wi-fi charging, proprietary charging cable

Short conclusion & purchase

If you place a variety of worth on health when buying a smartwatch, the Garmin Forerunner 255 Music is a very good selection. Thanks to versatile monitoring capabilities, GPS, and the connection to the Garmin ecosystem, you get a very complete file of your important information. The disadvantages embody a sophisticated operation with no touchscreen, an equally sophisticated Garmin app, and a scarcity of wi-fi charging.

If you need to purchase the Forerunner 255 Music, it’s a must to funds $399.99 in response to the advisable retail worth. This makes it significantly dearer than its predecessor and 40 {dollars} dearer than the variant with out the music playback possibility. You can learn the way a lot the value has dropped for the reason that launch within the worth comparability component under.


Design and operation

The Garmin Forerunner 255 Music is offered in an ordinary variant with a case measurement of 45 millimeters and in a smaller S model with a diameter of 41 millimeters. The normal mannequin we examined includes a 1.3-inch MIP show that exhibits monitoring data, menus and extra. It is operated through 5 buttons which might be recessed underneath a bezel made from fiber-reinforced polymer.

Garmin Forerunner mit Armband.
The Forerunner 255 Music does not have a premium look, but it surely has a high-quality end / © NextPit

What I preferred:

  • High-quality workmanship.

What I disliked:

  • Awkward operation.
  • Display is just not at all times simple to learn.

Forget what you beforehand knew about smartwatch operation! Because Garmin defies all conventions in its Forerunner collection and does with no touchscreen. Instead, the 1.3-inch show makes use of a expertise that could be a bit paying homage to e-ink and has the good title “MIP”. Memory-in-pixel shows are extraordinarily energy-efficient, can show colours, and present content material sufficiently easily. As a disadvantage, the shows don’t emit any mild, which suggests it’s a must to activate the backlight through a button within the night hours.

You can activate the backlight in each menu through the higher button on the left. And so we already come to an issue with the Forerunner 255 Music. It is operated through three buttons on the left facet and two on the fitting. There’s a quick introduction if you put the smartwatch on, and then you definitely’re just about left by yourself.

Garmin Forerunner 255 Music Display.
The show of the Forerunner 255 Music is just not a touchscreen. / © NextPit

On the house display screen, you activate the sunshine on the left and navigate up and down by means of data screens. On the fitting, you activate varied exercises through the higher display screen and the decrease button loses its perform as a “again button”. Holding down the sunshine button takes you to a fast menu, which you need to use to entry Garmin Pay, the settings, or the connection to your cellphone, for instance. The center button takes you to a different settings menu and the underside one to the music management.

Once you might have memorized that, you possibly can overlook all that once more if you begin a exercise. Because right here the “up” button abruptly takes you to the music management. Inconsistencies like which might be widespread in Garmin’s menu system, which makes the operation actually sophisticated and awkward.

Knöpfe Garmin Forerunner 255 Music.
The smartwatch is just operated through the buttons. / © NextPit

Since Garmin restricts the likelihood to make settings through the app, it’s a must to battle with advanced controls. Despite a sure studying curve, the operation is rarely actually enjoyable. Especially since different smartwatches supply intuitive setting choices with options like rotating bezels or 3D crowns, which might additionally work independently of a touchscreen.

However, what Garmin does properly in its virtually $399 watch is the workmanship. With Gorilla Glass 3, high-quality polymer, and 5 ATM water safety, the Forerunner seems to be prefer it was made of 1 piece. I didn’t fear in any respect in regards to the watch swallowing water within the bathe.

Operating system: Garmin’s personal manner

Garmin makes use of its personal working system on the Forerunner 255 Music. It comes with two companion apps to your smartphone and the proprietary fee answer Garmin Pay.

What I preferred:

  • Great information within the Garmin Connect app.
  • Lots of free content material within the IQ app.

What I disliked:

  • Connect app is sort of chaotic.

Even in 2022, Garmin depends on proprietary software program options for its health gadgets. Curiously, there is no such thing as a actual title for the OS—the smartwatch solely exhibits me model quantity 12.27. The proprietary answer signifies that the software program is exactly tailored to the 1.3-inch show and button operation.

Ladeanimation Garmin.
Garmin’s personal working system is detailed and fairly in lots of locations / © Garmin

However, if you wish to use the smartwatch’s full vary of capabilities, it’s a must to set up two apps—Garmin Connect and Garmin IQ. While you possibly can modify some settings and look at the quite a few health information within the first one, the second takes care of app administration.

The number of obtainable apps—aside from watch faces—is just not actually intensive. However, you would not have to plan for extra prices for the set up of apps and new watch faces. The most variety of installable apps on the 255 Music is 15, and the remaining 4 gigabytes of storage are reserved to your music.

Sensors & Fitness

Garmin equips its Forerunner 255 Music with a coronary heart fee monitor, a pulse oximeter for measuring the blood oxygen content material, a temperature gauge in addition to an altimeter, GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and a movement sensor. NFC, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi are additionally on board. Although the characteristic set may be very lush, some capabilities are disregarded in comparison with different fashions.

Unterseite Garmin Forerunner 255 Music.
The sensors and charging port are on the underside. / © NextPit

What I preferred:

  • Very complete and seamless health monitoring.
  • Precise dual-band GPS.
  • WLAN and Bluetooth for connecting headphones.
  • Connectivity to Huawei equipment.

What I disliked:

  • Other producers supply blood strain measurement in addition to digital ECG.
  • Automatic monitoring probably not dependable.
  • Annoying alarms whereas operating.

Garmin as soon as once more exhibits itself to be a nerd in the case of health monitoring. I’m not fairly as skilled as ex-fitness coach Stefan, however I run commonly and have already lugged numerous health trackers and smartwatches by means of Berlin. In apply, the Forerunner 255 Music shines with uncomplicated dealing with throughout sports activities, a variety of options for a lot of totally different sports activities, and detailed information.

You begin your required exercise through the higher proper button. For biking, jogging, and different sports activities, a bar exhibits you whether or not the GPS sign is enough for monitoring your route. By default, Garmin notifies you with a shrill alarm through related headphones that you’ve got accomplished one other kilometer. In the settings, you may as well choose which data the watch ought to announce to you. This is a bonus over watches that recite an eternally lengthy monologue with pointless data each kilometer.

Thanks to the built-in GPS, you possibly can go away your smartphone at dwelling. Dual-band GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo be sure that your pace, route, and altitude data are dependable and exact. Auto-laps, interval coaching, coaching plan creation, morning studies, restoration time suggestions, digital races, and different health options (more on the Garmin homepage) spherical out the bundle. If you are actually severe about your every day train, you are in good arms.

Garmin Forerunner 255 Music Armband.
The wristband is straightforward and secures the watch reliably on the wrist / © NextPit

What Garmin might do higher on this regard are the auto-training begins. While multi-workouts will let you monitor a number of sports activities in succession, for instance in triathlons, the auto-training is fairly unintelligent. When biking, for instance, the run monitoring commonly jumped on.

However, Garmin concentrates on health options and does with out the well being capabilities that different producers supply. You will not discover a tough measurement of the blood strain or the recording of a digital ECG within the Forerunner 255 Music regardless of the upscale price ticket. Here it’s a must to attain for the Galaxy Watch 5 (Pro), the Apple Watch Series 8, or the Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro.

This fitness-first focus is supported by the truth that Garmin presents an in depth ecosystem of extra sensors for stride size, extra detailed coronary heart fee measurement, stability, and rather more. It’s a singular promoting level that you could take full benefit of with the Forerunner 255 Music.

Garmin Forerunner 255 Music App Screenshot
The Garmin app is a bit complicated, however presents nice evaluation information! / © NextPit

After sports activities, the smartwatch helps you with suggestions and details about your restoration phases. The Forerunner 255 Music calculates your sports activities age and physique battery out of your restoration section, your sleep rating, a 100-point scale that evaluates varied sleep information, and different information. Since the “Eat, Sleep, Workout, Repeat” mantras propagated in social media may be fairly dangerous, these capabilities give you essential assist for a wholesome every day routine.

I notably like Garmin’s sleep monitoring with its detailed data on sleep phases, wakefulness and restlessness, and data on blood oxygen ranges. However, the 45-millimeter watch takes fairly a little bit of getting used to whereas sleeping.

Battery and sensible options

Garmin makes up for the compromises that it’s a must to settle for when utilizing the machine with no touchscreen with battery life. According to the producer—and likewise in apply—the Forerunner 255 Music lasts as much as 14 days. You should do with out wi-fi charging, and there may be additionally a fairly cumbersome proprietary charging cable. Garmin presents a bit too little by way of sensible options.

What I disliked:

  • Very good battery life.
  • Solid charging time.
  • Cool, if a bit cumbersome, music characteristic.

What I disliked:

  • No wi-fi charging.
  • Unattractive charging cable.
  • Too few sensible choices.

Garmin additionally focuses on health in the case of the battery and sensible options. Because with a socket independence of as much as 14 days, you possibly can take pleasure in a carefree life-style that isn’t obtainable in different smartwatches. The Forerunner 255 Music will not be a burden in your wrist that it’s a must to handle each night. This is one purpose why I personally do with no smartwatch in on a regular basis life.

Ladekabel der Forerunner 255 Music von Garmin.
The charging adapter of the Forerunner 255 Music is backward appropriate—however a bit old style. / © NextPit

With everlasting coronary heart fee and blood oxygen measurement, night sleep monitoring, and a few exercises, the runtime drops to 10 days. Still an excellent worth, which provides you a very full file of your important and health information after a couple of months of use. However, the dearth of wi-fi charging and the fairly inelegant proprietary charging answer are annoying for a $400 smartwatch.

Where different producers use magnets that persist with the smartwatch, it’s a must to plug a cable into the again right here. You can take this over from earlier gaming smartwatches, however the USB-A port on the different finish appears a bit antiquated in 2022.

Music mannequin notably impartial throughout sports activities

The Music mannequin we examined provides inner music storage and compatibility for varied streaming apps for an additional $40 in comparison with the essential model. For this check, I needed to subscribe to a premium subscription at Spotify to get music on the watch. Alternatively, you may as well use Deezer, Amazon Music, and another much less in style companies. Or you possibly can switch music out of your PC to the watch through the charging cable—when you nonetheless have digital music in your onerous drive in 2022. The music is then performed again through related Bluetooth headphones.

The different sensible options look a bit meager. Curiously, there is no such thing as a music management for related smartphones—and you can’t reply to notifications. Garmin additionally advertises turn-by-turn navigation, however the GarminIQ app solely presents unknown navigation apps apart from Komoot, that are far inferior to suppliers like Google or Apple.

You can even use Garmin Pay with a appropriate bank card. Otherwise, the app retailer solely presents watch faces, sensible dwelling apps from Sonos and Samsung, and apps from impartial builders. Other smartwatches supply extra right here.

Final verdict

At a worth of slightly below 400 {dollars} (€400), Garmin presents the Forerunner 255 Music as an alternative choice to the Apple Watch, Galaxy Watch, Pixel Watch, and others. However, after a couple of weeks on the wrist, it turns into more and more clear that Garmin goes its personal manner. We must reward the corporate’s braveness to actually design a health smartwatch as a health gadget.

The monitoring options, the design, the sensible capabilities—all the things is designed to accompany a sporty every day routine. With an ultra-long battery life, an always-on show, exact GPS, intensive evaluation information, and an ecosystem of health equipment, solely Garmin itself truly presents alternate options to the Forerunner 255 Music. For instance, the predecessor Forerunner 245 Music, presents a much less exact GPS and slightly below half the battery life.

What’s actually annoying in regards to the Forerunner 255 Music is the cumbersome operation with no touchscreen or artistic enter choices like bezels or 3D crowns. The newest Forerunner mannequin additionally lags behind by way of sensible options, particularly music management and notification response choices.

Garmin also needs to implement wi-fi charging within the subsequent mannequin, however in any other case, there are hardly any drawbacks if you wish to afford a $400 health smartwatch. Impressive!

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