At this point, everyone who's even remotely interested in the best Garmin watches has heard there are two new smartwatches coming out very shortly: the mid-range Garmin Forerunner 255 and high-end Garmin Forerunner 955 might appear online as soon as next week. However, as someone who's been using both the Garmin Forerunner 245 and Garmin Forerunner 945 for the last couple of years, I wonder if there is a need for an update?
Garmin has always been the finest purveyor of performance running watches, no wonder you'll find a Garmin wrapped around the wrist of most athletes in races. Garmins are reliable and chock-full of training features that can help you exercise and recover more efficiently.
Garmin's smartwatches are also famous for being massively overpowered. An average person might use around 10% of the features the premium Garmin Fenix 7X or the Garmin Epix (Gen 2) has to offer. The same goes for even the Forerunner 245 mentioned above: it's unlikely casual runners will ever fully utilise the watch, even now, three years after it was released.
Not to mention the Forerunner 945, which is ridiculously well-specced for a wearable mainly used for running (although the 945 is more of a triathlon watch, really). All Garmin watches are super precise both in terms of heart rate tracking accuracy but also positioning, despite not using the latest physical tech Garmin has to offer.
This begs the question: do we need a Forerunner 245 or 945 if their predecessors are still top-of-the-line smartwatches in their respective market segments? What features can Garmin possibly add to make people want to check out the new watches? Most importantly, will adding these features make the new iterations more expensive?
There are two things I really would like to see in the new watches, but I'm not sure if I will. One of them is an AMOLED screen; the Epix has one and one of my favourite fitness trackers, the Garmin Venu 2, also sports one of those. However, the Instinct 2 and even the Garmin Forerunner 55 still have memory in pixel displays, so who knows if either new watch will add this on.
The Forerunner 955 is also rumoured to have solar charging, which is equal measure good and bad news; I wouldn't mind longer battery life, but Garmin didn't add solar charging to the Epix because it didn't provide tangible user benefits on an AMOLED watch. So maybe the new Forerunners won't have AMOLED screens after all...
The other feature is the new Elevate V5 heart rate sensor which I'm 100% sure will be added to both watches, as well as dual-band multi-GNSS positioning (well, one would hope).
Do we need these new Garmin smartwatches? In all honesty, I don't care if we need them – I want them. I've been waiting years to see them, and I'm sure I will enjoy wearing them for training, recovery, sleeping, everything. Not everything in life needs to be about what we need; we don't need anything apart from water, some solid food and sleep.
I want the new Forerunners because new Garmin watch releases are always fun. You can pore over the stats and see what's changed. You can measure how accurate the sensors are, compared to the old version. You can argue with people whether the new version is better or not. You can be a child and get all giddy.
Bring on the new Forerunners. I'm ready.