Garmin Forerunner 255 Music Review: Beyond Recovery!



I grew up embracing my love of watches and more recently smartwatches. I remember the day I got my Casio F-91W, one of my first watches. I was fascinated by him. I wore it to school every day. Later I got into the watch industry in a big way—from spending all my savings on a Pebble Classic with its e-ink screen to buying my first Apple Watch with full fitness tracking, things have changed dramatically.

However, after using several smartwatches, including Asus’ ZenWatch 2, Samsung Galaxys from the world and even the first generation Fossil Q, one smartwatch brand has always eluded me – Garmin.

A fitness-centric watch that impresses. (Photo: News18/Shurya Sharma)

When Garmin called me to review the Forerunner 255 Music, I had to say yes. I went into my review period with an open mind. I’ve read about runners who swear by Garmins but I knew very little about the watch when I first unboxed it. It was surprising to discover that the Garmin Forerunner 255 Music does not have a touch screen. And to be honest, getting used to five-button navigation was inconvenient at first, but boy, I was on tour.

Hardware and design: no more kids

I have the largest 46mm Forerunner 255 Music variant of the watch which retails for Rs 42,990 in India. Garmin also offers the 41mm Forerunner 255S and 255S Music in India.

The Garmin Forerunner 255 Music features a 1.3-inch sunlight visible, memory-reflective pixel (MIP) display with a resolution of 160 x 160. Under bright sunlight, the screen remained easy to read, and I could go through my day and read notifications on the watch just fine.

Great visibility in sunlight. (Photo: News18/Shurya Sharma)

The only thing that caught my eye about the watch was its weight. Weighing in at just 49 grams, the feather-light 255 Music combined with the impressive breathability of the watch band, the watch remains comfortable for long periods, especially during sweat-filled workouts. Often times, I forget the watch was there.

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room – the five-button navigation system. During the first few days of testing, navigating through the various menus, workouts, and changing watch faces was tedious. However, within a few days, I got used to it. Using it has become second nature, and I understand why the lack of a touch screen might annoy a certain group of users. However, I have grown to appreciate what many would call an “old” way of using the watch.

Simply put, you need physical buttons when you’re out in the wild, running a marathon, diving, hiking, and doing the work. Need a guide? Watch Apple Watch Ultra; While it may not have gotten rid of the touchscreen, the inclusion of an Action Button solves a major problem many divers have had with the Apple Watch.

(Photo: News18/Shurya Sharma)

The construction is also wonderful. The housing looks like it’s built to last, which it should, given the physical abuse many Forerunner 255 owners will put up with.

Overall, when it comes to hardware and design, there are two simple hits that keep the Forerunner 255 Music from scoring the perfect score: the vibration motor. It’s not fun, and while I realize the Apple Watch may have spoiled me, the touches on the Garmin Forerunner 255 Music leave a lot to be desired.

A private charging solution is not perfect. (Photo: News18/Shurya Sharma)

The second laugh is charging it. The Garmin Forerunner does not feature wireless charging but does come with a special connector that plugs into the bottom of the watch. Although the lack of wireless charging is not a big deal, the special connector and its placement are there. After over a month of testing the watch and wearing it in all conditions – riding my bike, cleaning my car, workouts, and more, the charging port on the bottom of the watch is already full of dirt. Fortunately, it is easy to clean, but it has become a necessary part to keep the watch in good condition.


My expectations for the Garmin Forerunner 255 Music have changed quickly

So yes, the Garmin Forerunner 255 Music is more of a running/fitness watch with some smart features rather than a smartwatch with fitness features.

When I received the watch, I was already dealing with a long-term back injury I had at the gym about two years ago. The injury triggered again just days before I started using the Garmin Forerunner 255 Music. What followed was my self-discipline, and yes, the 255th major helped me.

For starters, I like the Forerunner 255 for its morning report feature. Every day, when you wake up, the watch presents you with key metrics like HRV (heart rate variability), training readiness and sleep data in a concise, easy to understand way. And yes, wearing the watch while sleeping is not as inconvenient as other bulky smartwatches. I have found the smartwatch to be comfortable to wear all day and every day.

Photo: News18 / Shaurya Sharma

I’m not a runner (Forerunner 255 target market), far from, but I do enjoy weightlifting. Thanks to the Garmin Forerunner 255 workout tracking, I can plan my workouts effectively. Starting an exercise activity is as simple as hitting the Start/Stop button at the top right and choosing your preferred activity. The immediately noticeable feature was the customizable workouts that I knew I only needed once I tried Garmin.

Everything is customizable – watch faces, glimpses and even the morning report.

In terms of fitness tracking, it’s hard to go wrong with Garmin. Fitness measures were reasonably accurate and reliable. The Garmin heart rate monitor is another accurate tool for measuring your heart rate and the activities you use. However, sleep tracking should be more accurate. Once I slept about 6 hours, between 12:30 AM and 6:30 AM, but the hour I thought I was sleeping until about 6:45 AM.

So yes, you can expect the Forerunner 255 Music to perform well for all your fitness needs. It has some “smart” features like notifications, alerts, and access to the Garmin Connect IQ Store, but don’t expect to answer text messages, answer calls, or any other smartwatch features you might have thought possible. Ergo, don’t buy the Garmin Forerunner 255 Music or probably most Garmin watches for being a smartwatch first, except for the Venu Sq series.

Battery life is pure magic

Garmin claims the Forerunner 255 Music lasts up to 14 days in smartwatch mode, up to 30 hours in GPS-only GNSS mode, and up to 6.5 hours in NSS mode with music.

It’s been over a month since I unpacked the watch, and since then, I’ve only had to charge it four times. I feel like I’m back to using a normal watch, with no worries of charging at the end of the day. Using the multi-band tracking mode does damage to battery life, but it’s not significant enough to worry about. Expect a week or more of frequent activity tracking with the Forerunner 255.

I am very impressed with the Forerunner 255 Music Battery. S-class, sure. But yes, keep the charging cord handy because if you lose it, no other charger in your house will be able to charge it.

Referee: Know your priorities because fitness here is king

Overall, I would highly recommend the Garmin Forerunner 255 Music to anyone looking to buy a fitness-focused smartwatch, but that’s the catch here. The watch is “fitness-centric”.

A great piece of fitness equipment. (Photo: News18/Shurya Sharma)

Simply put, don’t buy the Forerunner 255 expecting to replace the smartwatches like Apple Watches and Samsung Galaxys in the world. Instead, consider it an indispensable tool for your fitness and athletic needs.

For 42,990 rupees, you get an amazing multi-day battery life, accurate exercise tracking, and the best smartwatch that works for the money. Additionally, the tank-like build quality, ultra-lightweight comfortable wearing experience and excellent sunlight clarity make for a high-end experience that impresses as an all-in-one package. The Garmin Forerunner 255 Music earns a solid recommendation from us and yes, it’s far from refreshing!

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