Garmin Forerunner 955 vs Fenix 7: Choosing the Right Running Watch

So you’re in the market for a running watch, and you’ve narrowed it down to the Garmin Forerunner 955 vs Fenix 7.

Maybe you want solar charging, maybe you don’t. But you know you want a high end watch with lots of bells and whistles, along with all the premium training metrics.

The two watches come from two different lines of Garmins – the Forerunners and the Fenix. But they’re remarkably similar.

So which GPS running watch should you choose? Let me break down their similarities and differences, and ultimately you’ll have to decide.

Price Points of the Forerunner 955 and the Fenix 7

The first and most basic comparison you ought to make between the two watches is how much they cost. And they’re pretty much the same.

Retail, the Garmin Forerunner 955 is $499.99. The solar version is $599.99. But depending on the particular options you choose, you can typically find one cheaper on Amazon.

The Garmin Fenix 7 also retails for $499.99, and there’s also a solar version available for $599.99. It hasn’t gone on discount on Amazon yet, but the longer the Fenix 7 Pro is available, the more likely that will be in the future.

At the end of the day, the watches retail for basically the same thing straight from Garmin. You’re more likely to find a discounted Forerunner at the moment, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Fenix caught up in the future.

In other words, price isn’t a big differentiating factor between the two watches.

Forerunner 955 vs Fenix 7: Feature Similarities

Before we get into the differences, let me emphasize the similarities between these two watches. Because they are both high end watches with many of the same features.

They both track your runs through GPS, giving you distance and time. They both use the same 4th generation Elevate heart rate sensor.

Both the Forerunner 955 and the Fenix 7 have access to advanced health metrics like Garmin Body Battery, heart rate variability, and sleep tracking. They also have the same performance metrics, like performance condition, training load, and training readiness.

Each watch can track multi-sport activities, making them appropriate for triathletes as well as runners. They also include the golfing features, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Both watches allow you to listen to music without your phone. They have full maps capabilities and you can set up your credit cards for Garmin Pay. If you’re into Strava or Garmin segments, you can save them to your watch and compete on them live.

The Forerunner 955 did come loaded with improved intervals, but this is coming to the Fenix 7 in an update.

In short, the watches are very similar. In terms of software features, they’re on par with each other.

Physical and Hardware Differences

Picture of a black Garmin Forerunner 955 watch.

But they’re not exactly the same.

If you look at the two watches, there are some apparent visual differences. The bezel is more prominent on the Fenix 7, and the markings around the edge are a little different. The color options are different, too, depending on which model you choose. This is all a matter of preference, but if none of the real differences are important to you, then you should probably just compare the styles and choose the one that looks “nicer” to you.

When it comes to size, the Fenix 7 Standard is slightly bigger (47mm) than the Forerunner 955 (46.5mm). But the Fenix 7 also comes in a small size, the Fenix 7S, which is only 42mm. This is closer in size to the Forerunner 255, but with all of the features of the 955 / Fenix 7. So if you want a small watch with the same features, advantage Fenix.

The two watches have basically the same screen – with 260px, MIP display and Gorilla Glass. But the Fenix comes with a stainless steel bezel instead of the polymer bezel of the Forerunner. Slightly more sturdy and hefty. Also, heavier – 79g for the Fenix vs 52g for the Forerunner. If build quality is a concern, advantage Fenix. If weight is a concern, advantage Forerunner.

In terms of memory, the Forerunner 955 has more – 32gb compared to 16gb for the Fenix. This may be important to heavy users of the music functionality.

But the battery on the Fenix is superior. Battery life will depend a lot on usage, but the Fenix is rated to last about 20% longer. Although this assumes you get the Fenix 7 Standard – the smaller 7S sacrifices some battery life for size, and it has about 30% less battery life than the Forerunner 955.

The Forerunner and Fenix each have a solar charging option, and they’re both the same $100 premium over the standard version. So no difference there.

A key distinguishing factor of the 955 is that it has multi-band GPS. In certain areas – like cities and dense forests – this can get you more accurate and responsive GPS. This comes standard on the newer Fenix 7 Pros, but not on the standard Fenix 7s. Advantage Forerunner.

One final difference. The Fenix 7 is rated for 10 ATM – 100 meters of depth – whereas the Forerunner 955 is only rated for 5 ATM – 50 meters of depth. I’m not a diver, and I don’t ever plan on being that far underwater. But if you are a diver, I suppose that could be a big difference. This again emphasizes the more solid build of the Fenix, compared to the Forerunner.

Garmin Forerunner 955 vs Fenix 7: Bottom Line

It’s hard to overstate how similar these two watches are. They come from two different lines of watches – and the Forerunner includes more basic watches like the entry level Forerunner 55 and the mid-tier Forerunner 255. So I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that the Forerunner 955 was “worse” than the Fenix 7.

But the top of the line Forerunner is a comparable watch to the Fenix 7. They have more or less all the same features, and in a few cases the Forerunner shipped with features that aren’t coming to the Fenix without an update.

The Fenix 7 has a few advantages. It has a more solid build, with the stainless steel bezel. The standard size has a longer battery life, and if you want to charge your watch less that’s a good choice. The Fenix 7 also has a small size, so if you want the same features without the heft, the Fenix 7S is your only choice.

The advantage of the Forerunner, though, is that it comes with multi-band GPS. For trail runners and/or city runners, this is important. It’s also lighter. Whether you want to trade the weight for the solidity is up to you, I guess.

If none of these differences matter to you, then just pick the one that looks nicer to you and fits your style. Because there are some minor aesthetic differences.

Really, you can’t go wrong with either one. But which one you choose is going to be up to you and your needs.

Check out the Garmin Forerunner 955 here.

And check out the Garmin Fenix 7 here.

It’s also worth noting that both the Forerunner 955 and the Fenix 7 are from the previous generation of watches. Kind of.

The Forerunner 965 is a slight upgrade over the 955, and you can read about their differences here. The Fenix 7 Pro is a slight upgrade over the Fenix 7 Standard, and you can read about their differences here.

I’m curious – what pushed you towards one watch over the other?

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