Garmin Forerunner 55 test: the running watch gets a coach

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Regulars of Garmin watches will not be upset by this Forerunner 55. It is indeed presented as a clone of the previous model, but in 2022, no variation for small wrists: it will be necessary to be satisfied with a standard size of 42 mm of diameter. The model is nevertheless very comfortable on the wrist. Lightweight (37 g), the case is well finished, while the silicone strap does not irritate, even under water.

The side buttons of the Forerunner 55.

The side buttons of the Forerunner 55.

As often with sports watches, the transflective screen housed in this Forerunner 55 is content to be readable. With a diagonal of 1.04 inches, it displays in 208 x 208 px and only offers a limited range of colors. It will therefore not be the most pleasing to the eye, far from the Oled panel of the came 2 specifically. On the other hand, it is clear that whatever the light situation, the screen remains readable and not very subject to reflections.

The back of the Forerunner 55 case.

The back of the Forerunner 55 case.

The Forerunner 55 is certified waterproof to 5 ATM (50 m). Concretely, this means that it will be possible to swim with it. Surfing or jet-skiing, which would expose the case to strong changes in pressure, should be avoided.

Designed for sport, the Forerunner 55 features an interface that is both sober and efficient. The artifices of urban connected watches have no place here. Thus, the screen is not tactile, the navigation is carried out thanks to the five buttons surrounding the case. If their taming takes a little time, the essentials are quickly assimilated.

Let’s take a quick tour of the owner… The top left button toggles the display backlight on and off. Those who do not wish to have to press the button as soon as they receive a notification can activate an automatic mode, to be configured from the Garmin Connect smartphone app (iOS, Android), which turns on the panel as soon as a wrist rotation is recognized. Very relevant in everyday life, this function can prove to be a bit too sensitive in a place such as a cinema where its activation would quickly be noticed.

The different displays of the Forerunner 55.

The different displays of the Forerunner 55.

The two other buttons located on the left edge of the case allow you to scroll up or down the content displayed on the watch. From the home screen, they provide access to a fairly relevant summary of the day. We thus find there the number of steps taken, the heart rate, a summary of the physical activities of the week or the Body Battery indicator of the brand (estimate of the level of physical energy remaining).

Highlighted by the color of its base (green, blue, red or white depending on the model), the upper right button sends you straight to the menu for launching a physical activity. The “favorite” sports are then displayed at the top of the list. Pressing this button a second time starts a session. Meanwhile, the watch will offer the “suggestion of the day”. This is based on the history of outings to indicate to the user the best training in relation to his state of form. It is therefore important to record each session with the watch to enjoy it.

Garmin Forerunner 55 training suggestions.

Garmin Forerunner 55 training suggestions.

It is thanks to this personalized approach that the Forerunner 55 stands out. With the arrival of Garmin’s proprietary algorithms, in particular Garmin Coach, the watch is transformed into a real virtual trainer. His suggestions make it possible to maintain a coherent sports program without in-depth knowledge. After an intensive session, for example, the watch will tell the user to rest or to “take it easy”. She will also suggest slightly higher goals if the baseline session becomes too easy. After several weeks of use, Garmin Coach convinces and allows the tocante to exceed its status as a witness to our training. It becomes a useful tool for progressing and places this Forerunner 55 as a valuable ally in preparing for a race.

Beyond the sports functions, the Forerunner displays some general features. The notifications can be consulted without any problem of readability. Most apps are compatible. Only downside, they are not always announced. The content of the notification is sometimes displayed without indicating the source application, which can cause some confusion at times. It is also possible to control the music listened to via the smartphone, but impossible to store its tracks directly on the watch. Same, Garmin Pay and Garmin Golf are not compatible with this model.

Entry-level at Garmin requires, the Forerunner 55 does not carry as many sensors as a Fenix ​​or even a Venu 2. Thus, the GPS and the heart rate monitor are only accompanied by an accelerometer. Despite this limited equipment, the data collected is on the whole relevant.

The GPS, to begin with, is of excellent quality. Its tracking is always appropriate and remains much more precise than that of a smartphone. If it sometimes takes time – more than a minute – to identify the user, it is fortunately able to activate even after the start of recording.

Forerunner 55 running tracking.

Forerunner 55 running tracking.

The heart rate monitor is less encouraging. Faced with a split session where heart rate variations are numerous, the watch loses its footing. Its measured curves are completely unrealistic and far from what the Polar H10 chest strap informs us, which serves as our reference. Fortunately, the heart rate peaks and averages are consistent. During less intense training, the readings are good with a margin of error between 1 and 4% compared to our chest strap.

Small novelty of this Forerunner 55, it embeds swimming monitoring, a function that quickly becomes convincing. The lengths and movements are correctly recorded and analyzed, while the display in full effort evolves according to the phases of the session. If the watch vibrates well to indicate the passage of a stage (distance or time), it also displays the rest time between each length. Convenient for timing recovery.

Forerunner 55 swim tracking.

Forerunner 55 swim tracking.

Finally, sleep monitoring seems relevant. The watch displays results that are often close to reality and offers globally consistent analyses.

Regulars of Garmin watches will not be upset by this Forerunner 55. It is indeed presented as a clone of the previous model, but in 2022, no variation for small wrists: it will be necessary to be satisfied with a standard size of 42 mm of diameter. The model is…

Regulars of Garmin watches will not be upset by this Forerunner 55. It is indeed presented as a clone of the previous model, but in 2022, no variation for small wrists: it will be necessary to be satisfied with a standard size of 42 mm of diameter. The model is…

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