As a way to boost my motivation and get back into training, I took the plunge and upgraded to a Garmin 955. My Garmin 945 is now three years old, so I was pretty excited to see what the newest model could offer. I was a little wary of the purchase as the Garmin 955 was only released on June 1st 2022, and new Garmin releases can be a touch buggy!
The box was exactly what I’ve come to expect from Garmin watches! A picture of the front of the watch, with the left and right sides showing the watch from those angles.
Upon lifting the lid, I saw a familiar watch face. In reality, the Garmin 955 has a slightly larger screen (1.3” and 260×260 pixels) than the Garmin 945 (1.2” and 240×240 pixels). It is also 0.7mm thicker, but 0.5mm smaller in case size in both width and height. The differences equate to a 6 gram weight increase as the Garmin 955 weighs 56 grams, compared to 50 grams for the 945. As I removed the Garmin 955 from the box, I can’t say that I really noticed the difference in weight or dimensions.
Aside from the Garmin 955 being in pristine condition, the easiest way to tell it apart from the 945 was the colour of the buttons and the buckle. These are darker on the 945, but more of a silver colour on the Garmin 955. The solar version of the Garmin 955 does have darker features, which I personally prefer, but paying extra for the solar model just didn’t seem worth it to me. The battery life on the 945 was already great, even for a three year old watch, so the improvements on the base model Garmin 955 should serve me well. The solar model can add a few more hours of battery life, but that is based on getting three hours of solar power. I also wear my watch with the watch face facing inwards on the inside of my wrist, which would also limit the amount of sunlight it could catch.
The layout of the Garmin 955 is almost identical to that of the 945 and 935 before it. This meant that changing the settings was pretty straightforward for me as I have become pretty familiar with the menu layouts and options. The Garmin 955 does feature a touchscreen though, which is an added option for navigating the watch. It’s important to note that the use of the touchscreen is completely optional and is disabled on the activity profiles by default.
Adding my foot pod and external heart rate monitor was also really simple and surprisingly quick. It was definitely the quickest pairing of sensors of all of the watches that I’ve owned.
I had created a 5k course on the Garmin Connect app and sent it to my Garmin 955. This process was really quick and simple, but I’ll be looking to create a guide on using Garmin Connect in the future.
What surprised me straightaway was how quick the Garmin 955 picked up a GPS signal and was ready to go. Once I had walked to the start point of my created course, the Garmin 955 vibrated and popped up an “on course” message. I pressed the “start” button and off I went.
I flicked through the data screens and found the map screen. This showed a full colour map, with arrows showing the course direction. At the bottom it displayed the distance left until the next direction change. From this screen I could zoom in to see the upcoming section of the course. The next data screen showed me if I was off course and the distance left of the course. A data screen that I found really useful was the one that showed the distance left of the course, as well as a finish time predictor that updated based on my current pace.
A good thing to note is that the turn-by-turn navigation on the Garmin 955 works regardless of what data screen you are on at the time. This meant that I could be on my preferred first custom data screen, but still receive vibrations and pop-up directions at the bottom of the screen which directed me on any upcoming direction changes.
I removed the watch from charge at 95% at 3pm on Friday and right now (Monday 8pm) my watch reads 74%. This has been with me wearing the watch constantly (minus showers), a 44 minute run using maps, a 28 minute run, and a lot of messing with menus and reading the morning reports. I probably charged my Garmin 945 once a week, if not less, which I found perfectly acceptable. The Garmin 955 reportedly improves on the battery life of the 945, so it’ll be interesting to see if I notice the difference in real life usage.
I’m excited to test out the “training readiness” and “stamina” metrics, however I have to wait for these as the watch doesn’t know me well enough yet. You have to wear the watch constantly for a few weeks for it to learn about your training, HRV status, and recovery times.
The race predictor seems to be more accurate than on my Garmin 945. This improved accuracy may be due to the fact that it takes your current condition and training into account. At present, I have added the London Marathon 2022 to my event calendar. I can then see a countdown to this event on my watch and it gives me an estimated finish time. To compare, the Garmin 955 shows me an estimated 5k time of 32:37 compared to 28:05 on the 945. Marathon predictions come in at 6:01:43 on the Garmin 955 and 5:57:20 for the 945. I’ interested to see how these update with my training.
So far, I’m really impressed with the Garmin 955! I expected to like the added features and metrics, but I wasn’t expecting the experience to be so much quicker and smoother. The touchscreen is also something that I wasn’t particularly expecting to use often, but I have already found it useful for navigating the menus and when I wanted to zoom in on the map.
The Garmin 955 has been great so far, and it has given me the motivation to train that I was looking for. I’m looking forward to testing out the “stamina” and “training readiness” metrics, as well as exploring what else the watch has to offer.
I’ll be writing up a full Garmin 955 review in the coming weeks, once I’ve had a chance to really put the watch through its paces!