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We go over the features that makes the Forerunner 255/255S the best running smartwatch with music

What makes the Garmin Forerunner 255 the best running watch with music? In this smartwatch review, we're thoroughly answering that question and, along with our runner friend Dave at Chase the Summit, we're highlighting all the features that make up this top GPS watch for runners and make it a perfect wearable for your wrist!

Our Criteria for Best Running Watch with Music:

    • On-watch music storage
    • Loaded with runner-specific features
    • Health and wellness monitoring
    • Accuracy, accuracy, accuracy
    • Battery life for several runs in GPS
    • Affordable as far as Garmin watches go


Want to know more about the Forerunner family of watches? Check out this article. Or jump over to our Running Watch Collection on!

Garmin Forerunner 255 Review

Table of Contents

Why Shop for Your Running Watch?

Garmin Watches Galore!

Garmin knows smartwatches for running. Whether you're hyper-focused on training, loves to mix it up and stay active, or are just beginning life as a runner, PlayBetter's got a Garmin GPS watch for your wrist!

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The Best Running Watch with Music — Garmin Forerunner 255/255S

The Forerunner 255/255S Music is the most robust and accurate running watch you'll find at this price point.

For $399.00, you can leave your phone at home with up to 500 songs stored on-watch. Just download all your must-have workout tunes from your Spotify, Deezer, or Amazon account and you're good to go. And if you want, you can still control the music on your smartphone with your watch.

500 songs not enough? The Forerunner 955 (starting at $499.99) and the fēnix 7 (starting at $699.99) offer up to 2,000 songs on-watch.

That takes care of the music end of things, but what about the running watch and smartwatch side of the Forerunner 255? This GPS watch for runners offers VO2 Max, Race Predictor, and Recovery Advisor like the Forerunner 55. Beyond that you get running features like Training Status, Training Load, and estimated VO2 Max on trail runs, as well as navigation.

Get smart notifications, calendar event reminders, and a weather widget on your Forerunner 255. Keep reading to get more details on these features and more below!

Forerunner 255 Running-Specific Features

The Forerunner 255 offers many upgraded running-specific features you'll find in the FR 955 and even the fēnix 7 series and epix (Gen 2).

Morning report summarizes your sleep, HRV status and daily workout suggestion in one place as soon as you wake up.

Get ready for your next race with training tips, personalized daily suggested workouts, and completion time predictions based on course details, weather, and performance

View your entire week of daily suggested workouts, which adapt after every run to match your performance and recovery.

HRV status tracks your heart rate variability while you sleep, giving you greater insight into your overall wellness, recovery and training performance.

Garmin Forerunner 255/255S battery life is improved—with twice as many days in smartwatch mode as the Forerunner 245.

Multi-band satellite tracking on GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo networks gives you superior accuracy for how far and how fast you’ve run—even in challenging environments.

The Garmin Forerunner 255/255S Music is now available in 2 sizes: 46 mm and 41 mm.

Forerunner 255 Health and Wellness Features

Health monitoring on the Forerunner 255/255 running watch with music includes:

    • Wrist-based heart rate (constant, every second)
    • Daily resting heart rate
    • Abnormal heart rate alerts (high and low)
    • Pulse Ox blood oxygen saturation (spot-check and optionally in sleep)
    • Fitness age in the Garmin Connect app ™ which reinterprets your VO2 Max score in terms of age to make it more relatable by estimating the body’s age using chronological age, activity, resting heart rate, and either body fat % or BMI.
    • Body Battery™ energy monitor which allows you to track your body’s energy levels so you can find the best times for activity and rest.
    • All-day stress
    • Relaxation breathing timer
    • Advanced sleep monitoring
    • Hydration (in the Garmin Connect app)
    • Women's health (in the Garmin Connect app)

Garmin Forerunner 255 Music GPS Accuracy

Garmin began it's GPS technology upgrade this year with the realease of the fēnix 7 series, followed by other high-end watches like the epix (Gen 2) and tactix 7.

So, it was a sweet surprise when they put this advanced feature in the new, mid-range Forerunner!

What does this mean? Your running GPS watch will access several satellites at the same time, strengthening your connection with them and, therefore, the accuracy of your tracking and positioning.

In his Forerunner 255 review, our partner Dave at Chase the Summit points out that Garmin's GPS-only mode, which he's put to the test many times, has become very reliable.

If you are in heavy tree cover, in a canyon, next to a mountain, or running through the heart of a skyscrappered city, Garmin's multi-band GPS could make all the difference in accurately tracking your run!

Forerunner 255/255 Running Watch with Music Battery Life

The Forerunner 255 Music running watch battery lfe is twice as much as with the former 245. In smartwatch mode, count on up to 14 days of power with the FR 255 and 12 days with the FR 255S.

Impressively, you will get up to 26–30 hours of juice in GPS mode—that can translate to more than a week's worth of runs along with regular smartwatch use.

When it comes to GPS mode with music, battery life goes down considerably to only up to 5.5–6.5 hours. But compared to other watches at this price point, it's still pretty impressive and will get you several runs before you have to recharge.

If you want more battery life in GPS with music mode, the Garmin Forerunner 955 and fēnix 7 lineup offer even more juice, especially with solar-charging options. These Garmin watches are a bit larger, and with increase in size you get increase in battery. The Forerunner 255 is a smaller, lightweight running watch that will get you several runs with your favorite tunes right from your wrist.

Is the Forerunner 255/255S the Most Affordable Garmin Running Watch?

As you can see, the Garmin Forerunner 255 GPS running watch with music is loaded with running-specific features, activity profiles, GPS tracking for running, biking, and swimming, navigation, and GPS and heart rate accuracy. You won't get half of that with the Forerunner 55 ($200), which is a brilliant watch for both beginning runners and runners of all levels who want a simpler user experience.

The Forerunner 255/255S without music is $350. For only $50 more, you can store you running playlist on your watch and leave your phone behind. Runners training for marathons and triathlons will opt for the even more advanced features of the Forerunner 955, fēnix 7 series, and Enduro 2 Garmin watches, for which you will pay hundreds of dollars more, but will also get more battery life, music storage, and full-color topo maps for better navigation.

When it comes down to it, most runners who want music on-watch and robust running features in a lightweight, stylish smartwatch, will find the Forerunner 255 series to be the best running watch for the price.

The PlayBetter Bottom Line on the Forerunner 255/255S Music

Do we recommend the Garmin Forerunner 255/255S running watch with music?


The Forerunner 255/255S Music is perfect for you if:

You want to run with music and without you phone

500 songs on-watch is enough

You want more running-specific features than
the Forerunner 55, but are fine without the added extras
of the more expensive Forerunners and Garmin watches.

Prefer a lightweight running watch that doesn't
feel bulky on your wrist.

You have a mid-range budget.

Want battery life for several runs.

Want that accurate Garmin GPS and
Elevate heart rate monitor.



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