Garmin Forerunner 945 vs 955 Review from our partner, Chase the Summit!
Garmin Forerunner 955/955 Solar Models, Colors, & Price
Need a quick argument for getting a Forerunner 955 over a FR945? How does more than one color option, new training tools, better price, and a solar-charging option sound?
The previous Garmin Forerunner 945 consists of 2 watches—1 black watch in the standard model and a blue one—but only if you purchase the tri-bundle. It features a 44.4 mm case with a 1.2" display and costs $599.99.
The Forerunner 955/955 Solar series offer 4 running watches—choose from black or white in the base model or black or white in the Solar option.
These new advanced Garmin running watches feature a larger 46.5 mm case with a 1.3" display but only weigh a few grams more than their predecessor. So, more features and display, but still lightweight and sleek on your wrist.
But here's the kicker: even though this Forerunner watch lineup is more advanced, the Forerunner 955 Solar is the same price as the original FR945—$599.99—and the base model comes in $100 under that! And we thought the price of everything was going up.
But is this new Forerunner 955 worth it? Read on to see all the new features Garmin stuffed into this GPS watch for runners and triathletes!
Garmin Forerunner 945 vs 955 Size & Weight Comparison
Garmin Forerunner running watches are known for their lightweight, minimalistic, clean design that runners want on their wrist.
We're happy to report that even though Garmin added a substantial amount of features to the Forerunner 955 and 955 Solar, they still retain that sleek design ideal for runners' and triathletes' wrists! This while even creating a larger GPS watch!
The Forerunner 955 has a 1.3" display, a 46.5 mm case, and weighs 52 g—superlight for a traithlon watch with this caliber of training tools.
The Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar also sports a 1.3" display, a 46.5 mm case, and weighs 53 g. Try to find a serious solar-charging runner's watch that's this light.
If you still want an advanced multisport watch that's a little smaller but doesn't have the latest Garmin training tools, the Forerunner 945 features a 1.2" display, 44.4 mm case, and weighs in at a lighter 49g. You'll likely be able to pick one up for a reduced price for a while!
Where did those extra grams on the Forerunner 955 come from, though? Read on to find out about more battery life, multi-band satellite tracking, new training tools, and much more!
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar vs 955 vs 945 vs 945 LTE
The Forerunner 955 Solar is powered by the sun and packed with everything a triathlete needs under it!
This triathlon and running watch brings the features that recently came out with the fēnix 7 Pro lineup—plus more runner-specific tools—in a smaller, lighter, less expensive package.
The only difference between the FR955 Solar and the base FR955 is price, of course, and the solar variable. So what does that get you over the Forerunner 955 and the 945?
The Forerunner 955 Solar will get you 5 more days in smartwatch mode, 2 more hours in multi-band GPS, and 7 more hours in GPS-only mode over the FR955 base model—which is more than enough battery life in a watch for ultra running and triathlons.
Over the Forerunner 945, the 955 Solar tacks on 6 days in smartwatch mode and 13 hours in GPS-only mode.
Forerunner 945 vs 955/955 Solar Training Tools
The Garmin Forerunner 955 has a massive amount of new features compared to the previous FR945, which itself was a pretty hardcore multisport watch! Here's what's on-wrist when you buy one on PlayBetter (with FREE 2-day shipping and a FREE 60-day return policy—no questions asked):
- Use the new, responsive touchscreen in addition to traditionally button operation.
- Get a daily training readiness score to know what kind of workout day it is.
- Customize your own morning report and get an outlook on your training, recovery, the weather, and more!
- The race widget gives you personalized information you need while you train for your next race.
- New HRV status offers a deeper understanding of your overall wellbeing while training.
- Track and manage your exertion with real-time stamina.
- Get superior accuracy for how far and how fast you’ve run—even in challenging environments—with new multi-band GPS.
- Running power-specific training zones.
- Built-in running power—just pair with your compatible sensor and go!
- New race calendar and race details/countdown widget.
- New race prediction widget.
- Acute load metric.
- The ability to redirect Emergency Assistance to a single person.
- Added data carousel within certain watch faces.
- Daily Health Snapshot
- Added "Up Ahead" feature to predefined markers like aide stations, climbs, etc.
- Added Race Predictor historical trendlines.
- Added Run/Walk/Stand graphing within a workout.
- Spectator Messaging with paired smartphone.
- New graphical charts as data fields.
- Configure watch activity profiles and data fields from your phone.
- Map Manager for adding maps to your wrist via Wi-Fi.
- Added Garmin SkiView and cross country ski trails.
- Swipe left on the touchscreen to create a lap.
- Training Load Focus syncs with your race calendar.
- Daily suggested workouts can now be tied to future calendar race events, auto sycing workouts for that distance/course.
- Uses the Garmin Elevate 4.0 Optical heart rate sensor.
- Improved Garmin 955/955 Solar battery life.
All the oldies but goodies on the Forerunner 945/945 LTE and the new Forerunner 955 GPS watches for running still apply!
- Always-on, full-color display that’s light on the wrist and easy to read even in direct sunlight.
- Customizable, including every bit of data.
- Garmin's full suite of health monitoring features like wrist-based heart rate, Pulse Ox, Advanced Sleep, Fitness Age, Body Battery, Women's Health, and more.
- Smart features like smart notifications, Garmin Pay, LiveTrack, Incident Detection, Assistance, and more.
- 30+ activity profiles, VO2 Max, Training Status, Training Load, Training Effect, Finish Time, Virtual Partner, PacePro, Race Predictor, Cadence, Running Dynamics with compatible accessory, and more!
The Forerunner 945 LTE is still the only Garmin watch that can provide spectator messaging (with LTE subscription) and Assistance Plus (with LTE subscription)—while you leave your phone at home!
Garmin Forerunner 945 vs 955/955 Solar Display
Garmin Forerunner 955/955 Solar gives you a larger display size, an ultrabright adjustable backlight, and new watch faces!
As we've gone over above, the display size of these new Forerunners is larger than the FR945—1.3" compared to 1.2".
In his review, Dave, a serious runner, says the backlight on the Forerunner 955 is likely the best he's seen.
The greatest change to the display, of course, is the touchscreen interface, which gives you more ways to interact with your watch. It's highly responsive, swiping quickly to where you want to go. And what's nice is that you can completely disable the touchscreen if you want. Always giving us options, those folks at Garmin!
Forerunner 945 vs 955/955 Solar Running Watches with Music
The Garmin Forerunner 955/955 Solar is the ultimate running watch with music!
Music on this Forerunner series is the same setup as for the previous FR945 with the same generous amount storage for your jams!
You can download directly to your watch from streaming services like Spotify, Amazon, and Deezer and load your wrist with up to 1,000 songs! That's right, leave your phone out of the equation if you want, when it comes to listening to your training tunes. Just pair your Bluetooth headphones to your Forerunner 955 and go!
You can also download music files from your computer.
Keep in mind, music does drain your running watch's power. If you're using music with multi-band tracking, you'll get only 8.5 hours whether you've got a FR955 base model or the Solar watch. You'll get more with GPS-only. Thankfully, these Garmin watches allow you to manage your power settings.
Garmin Forerunner 945 vs 955/955 Solar Maps & Navigation
The Garmin Forerunner 955/955 Solar running watch comes with built-in, full-color detailed mapping—including digital elevation data. And beyond the FR945, it allows you to download maps for any region for free!
The Forerunner 955 series also adds a new Up Ahead feature and Map Manager to the mix!
Move around the map using the upper right button, which allows you to zoom/pan/scroll or use the new highly responsive touchscreen. You can see the terrain around you, as well as navigate to points of interest or other places.
Plus, you can create Round-Trip Courses for both running and cycling that allow you to set a given distance and desired direction of travel. You can get three different courses using Trendline Popularity Routing data—with no internet connection required!
Finally, you can follow any downloaded courses as well, using Garmin’s smartphone course creator or any other downloaded GPS files. Following these routes, you’ll get instructions on when to turn and when you’re off-route.
Garmin Forerunner 945 vs 955/955 Solar GPS Accuracy
For the Holy Grail of positional tracking accuracy, Garmin has added multi-band satellite tracking to the Forerunner 955/955 Solar!
Surprisingly, this advanced feature has also been added to Garmin's mid-range running watch, the new Forerunner 255/255S!
What does this mean? Your running GPS watch will access a lot more satellites at once, buttressing your strength of connection with them and, therefore, the accuracy of your tracking.
In his reviews, Dave does point out that Garmin's GPS-only mode, which he's put to the test many times, has become very reliable over the years.
But if you are in heavy tree cover, in a canyon, next to a mountain, or running through the heart of a skyscrappered city, multi-band could make all the difference in accurately tracking your run!
Garmin Forerunner 945 Series vs 955/955 Solar Battery Life
The Garmin Forerunner 955 series of advanced running watches, puts more battery life on your wrist! Check it out!
Forerunner 945 Series Battery Life
- Smartwatch Mode: Up to 2 weeks
- GPS mode with music: Up to 10 hours
- GPS mode without music: Up to 36 hours
Garmin Forerunner 955/955 Solar Battery Life
- Smartwatch mode: Up to 15 days/20 days with solar*
- GPS-only mode without music: Up to 42 hours/49 hours with solar**
- All-Systems GNSS mode plus Multi-Band with music: Up to 8.5 hours
- All Systems GNSS mode plus Multi-Band without music: Up to 20 hours/22 hours with solar**
- Ultratrac mode: Up to 80 hours/110 hours with solar**
*Solar charging, assuming all-day wear with 3 hours per day outside in 50,000 lux conditions
** Solar charging, assuming use in 50,000 lux conditions
Forerunner 945 vs 955 Series Health Monitoring and Smart Features
In the realm of health monitoring smartwatches, where the Garmin brand reigns supreme, your Forerunner 955/955 Solar has the same robust features as the Forerunner 945, including wrist-based heart rate, Pulse Ox, advanced sleep, Fitness Age, Body Battery, Women's Health, and more!
Furthermore, the FR955 series features the new and improved Garmin Elevate 4.0 heart rate sensor.
As for smart features, the Forerunner 945 series offers on-watch notifications, Garmin Pay™ contactless payment, calendar, weather, and smartphone music control.