Garmin Forerunner 255 Music: I grew up embracing my love for watches and more recently, smartwatches. I remember the day I got the Casio F-91W, one of my first watches. I was fascinated by it. I wore it to school every day. Later, I got into watches big time – from spending all my savings on a Pebble Classic with its e-ink display to buying my first Apple Watch with full fitness tracking, things have changed drastically.
However, having used many smartwatches including Asus’ ZenWatch 2, Samsung Galaxys of the world and even the first-gen Fossil Q, one smartwatch brand has always eluded me – Garmin.
When Garmin reached out to me to review its Forerunner 255 Music, I had to say yes. I went into my review period with an open mind. I had read about runners who swear by their Garmins but knew very little about the watch when I first unboxed it.
It was surprising that the Garmin Forerunner 255 Music does not have a touchscreen. And to be honest, getting used to the five-button navigation was uncomfortable at first, but boy, oh boy, was I in for the ride.
HARDWARE AND DESIGN:
I have the larger 46mm Forerunner 255 Music variant of the watch which retails for Rs 42,990 in India. Garmin also offers a smaller Forerunner 255S and 255S Music in India, with a 41mm case size.
The Garmin Forerunner 255 Music features a 1.3-inch sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) display with a resolution of 160×160. Under a bright sun, the display was easy to read, and I could go about my day and read notifications on the watch.
One thing that stands out to me about the watch is its weight. At just 49g, the 255 Music is feather-light and the watch band’s excellent breathability keeps the watch comfortable for long periods of time, especially during sweaty workouts. Often, I forgot the watch was there.
Let’s address the elephant in the room – the five-button navigation system. In the initial few days of my testing, switching between different menus, workouts, and watch faces was tedious. However, I got used to it after a while.
Using it has become second nature, and I can understand why the lack of a touchscreen might annoy a certain group of users. However, I have come to appreciate what many would call an ‘antique’ way to use the watch.
Simply put, you need physical buttons when you’re out in the wild, running marathons, diving, hiking, and the like. Need proof? Check out the Apple Watch Ultra; While it doesn’t get rid of the touchscreen, the inclusion of an ‘action button’ solves a major problem many divers have with the Apple Watch.
The construction, too, is fantastic. The housing looks like it’s built to last, which it should, considering the physical abuse many Forerunner 255 owners will put it through.
Overall, when it comes to hardware and design, there are only two minor niggles that prevent the Forerunner 255 Music from scoring perfect points: its vibration motor. It’s not pleasant, and while I realize that the Apple Watch has spoiled me, the Garmin Forerunner 255 Music’s haptics leave a lot to be desired.
The second niggle is its charging. The Garmin Forerunner does not feature wireless charging but does come with a proprietary connector that plugs into the bottom of the watch. While the lack of wireless charging isn’t a big deal, the proprietary connector and its placement is. After more than a month of testing the watch, and wearing it in all kinds of situations – riding my bike, cleaning my car, working out and whatnot, the charging port on the bottom of the watch is already full of vibrations. Fortunately, it is easy to clean, but it has become a necessary part of keeping the watch in good condition.
MY EXPECTATIONS FROM THE GARMIN FORERUNNER 255 MUSIC CHANGED RAPIDLY
So yes, the Garmin Forerunner 255 Music is a running/fitness watch with few smart features rather than a smartwatch with fitness features.
When I got the watch, I was already dealing with a back injury sustained at the gym almost two years earlier. The injury started again just a few days before I started using the Garmin Forerunner 255 Music. What followed was me disciplining myself, and yes, the Forerunner 255 helped
For starters, I like the Pioneer 255 for its morning report feature. Every day, when you wake up, the watch presents you with essential metrics such as HRV (Heart Rate Variability), training readiness, and sleep data in a concise and easy-to-understand way. And yes, wearing the watch while sleeping is not as inconvenient as other bulky smartwatches. I found the smartwatch comfortable to wear all day, every day.
I’m not a runner (ForRunner 255’s target market), far from it, but I do enjoy lifting weights. Thanks to the Garmin Forerunner 255’s workout tracking, I can effectively plan my workouts. Starting a workout activity is as easy as pressing the Start/Stop button in the top right and selecting your favorite activity. An immediately noticeable feature is the customizable workouts I knew I needed once I experienced the Garmin.
Everything is customizable – watch faces, glances and even the morning report.
When it comes to fitness tracking, it’s hard to go wrong with a Garmin. Fitness metrics were accurate and reasonably reliable. Garmin’s Elevate Heart Rate Monitor is another precise tool for measuring heart rate and the activities that use it. However, sleep tracking needs to be more accurate. Once I slept for about 6 hours, between 12:30 AM and 6:30 AM, but the watch thought I was asleep until about 6:45 AM.
So yes, you can expect the Forerunner 255 Music to perform well for all your fitness needs. It has a few “smart” features like notifications, alerts, and access to the Garmin Connect IQ Store, but don’t expect to answer texts, answer calls, or any other smartwatch features you can possibly think of. So don’t buy the Garmin Forerunner 255 Music or, perhaps, most Garmin watches to be smartwatches, except perhaps the Venu Square series.
Garmin claims that 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 unboxed the watch, and since then, I’ve only had to charge it four times. It seems I’m back to using a regular watch with no charging worries at the end of the day. Using multi-band tracking mode does hurt battery life, but it’s not significant enough to worry about. Expect a week or more of frequent activity tracking using the Forerunner 255.
I’m very impressed with the Forerunner 255 Music’s battery. S-Tier, 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.
VERDICT: KNOW YOUR PRIORITIES BECAUSE, HERE, FITNESS IS KING
Overall, I would heartily recommend the Garmin Forerunner 255 Music to anyone looking to buy a fitness-focused smartwatch, but this is it. The watch is ‘fitness-centric’.
Simply put, don’t buy the Forerunner 255 expecting to replace smartwatches like the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy of the world. Instead, consider it an essential tool for your fitness and athletic needs.
At Rs 42,990, you get incredible multi-day battery life, accurate workout tracking and the best running smartwatch for the money. Plus, the tank-like build quality, extremely comfortable and lightweight wear experience, and excellent sunlight visibility make for a refined experience that impresses as an overall package. The Garmin Forerunner 255 Music earns a solid recommendation from us, and yes, it’s beyond refreshing!