Garmin Forerunner 955 is the latest forerunner watch. It was unveiled by Garmin in May 2022. It is priced at $499. For the price of a Forerunner 955, you do have a credible alternative in the Apple Watch 7. We review the Apple Watch 7 and compare it against the Garmin Forerunner 955 watch.
Operating System – Apple Watch 7 vs Forerunner 955
Apple Watch 7 can only work with iOS devices. In other words, you can pair an Apple Watch 7 with an iPhone or iPad. The Apple ecosystem does not integrate with the Android system. Both these mobile operating systems do not talk to each other. So, an Apple Watch 7 cannot pair with an Android Phone. For iPhone users, an Apple Watch will always be a trusted and reliable watch. Apple Watches are based on the watchOS operating system. It is a proprietary operating system of Apple. Garmin watches are based on the Garmin operating system.
Apple Watch 7 supports all iOS devices that run iOS version 15 or higher. This, effectively, implies that you can use an Apple Watch 7 with iPhone version 6S and higher.
Garmin Forerunner 955 can work well with an Android phone or an iPhone. All Garmin smartwatches are compatible with Android and Apple devices. Garmin makes use of the Garmin Connect app to integrate with the paired smartphone. And, Garmin Connect is available for Android phones through the Google Play Store. For the Apple phones, Garmin Connect is available through Apple’s app store.
Garmin Forerunner 955 is compatible with Android 7 and later versions. Forerunner 955 is also compatible with iOS devices that can run iOS 13 or later versions of the iOS. This means that the Forerunner 955 can work with iPhone 6S and later versions.
Battery – Apple Watch 7 vs Garmin Forerunner 955
Battery backup offered by Garmin Forerunner 955 is better than Apple Watch 7. An Apple Watch 7 comes with a rated battery backup of up to 24 hours. In most cases, you will need to charge an Apple Watch 7 every 15-18 hours. If you make use of GPS on the Apple Watch 7, the battery would drain faster. Daily charging is an essential ritual for the Apple Watch 7 users. The nice thing about Apple Watch 7 is the fast charging and wireless charging capabilities. On an Apple Watch 7, you can go from 0 to 80% battery capacity in 45 minutes of charging. Fast charging on Apple Watch 7, in a way, circumvents the poor battery life of an Apple Watch 7. To the extent, that most Apple Watch 7 users are fine with daily charging.
Garmin devices come with extended battery life. Garmin Forerunner 955 battery can last for 15 days on the smartwatch mode. If you use Forerunner 955 on GPS mode, the battery backup falls to 40 hours. Garmin watches have a battery drain rate of less than 0.25% an hour. In a day, you would be draining around 6-8% battery on a Forerunner 955. Since the Forerunner 955 is designed for runners, extended battery life is an essential part of the watch’s abilities.
If you have problems charging your watch daily, you may do well with a Garmin Forerunner 955.
Display Specifications – Apple Watch 7 vs Forerunner 955
Display characteristics of an Apple Watch 7 are better than a Garmin Forerunner 955. There are too many differences, and we list these below for a ready reference:
- Garmin Forerunner 955 continues to work with a MIP screen or memory-in-pixel screen. Apple Watch 7 has an OLED screen.
- The display resolution of the Garmin Forerunner 955 is 260 x 260 pixels. In comparison, an Apple Watch 7 has a display resolution of 396 x 484 pixels. Apple Watch 7 has a much better display resolution that is 3 times the resolution of a Forerunner 955.
- Garmin Forerunner 955 comes in round shape. Apple Watch 7 uses a more contemporary shape of a square watch.
- Apple Watch 7 has a bigger screen size of 1.9″ or 47 mm. A broad screen has been made possible by reducing the size of the bezel on the Apple Watch 7. Garmin Forerunner 955 has a display screen of 1.3″ or 33 mm. The difference in screen area is huge. Apple Watch 7 has a 40% bigger screen or display area than a Forerunner 955.
- Apple Watch 7 is significantly thinner than a Garmin Forerunner 955. Apple Watch 7 has a thickness of 10.7 mm and Forerunner 955 has a thickness of 14.4 mm. That is a difference of almost 30% between the thickness of both watches.
In terms of display specifications, an Apple Watch 7 has a more contemporary feel. It has a much better screen resolution and a bigger screen area too.
Heart Monitoring – Apple Watch 7 vs Forerunner 955
No Garmin watch can come close to an Apple Watch 7 in terms of health and heart monitoring.
- Apple Watch 7 has an in-built heart rate sensor that tracks heart rate on a perpetual basis. Forerunner 955 has a Garmin Elevate heart rate sensor that monitors heart rate on a continuous basis.
- Apple Watch 7 is very good at detecting Atrial Fibrillation or AFib. Garmin Forerunner 955 can send you abnormal heart rate alerts. However, it cannot give you an AFib warning. Apple Watches have saved innumerable lives due to the robust AFib feature. You can read more about how Apple Watches have been saving lives on this page.
- Apple Watches come with an ECG feature. It allows you to take on-demand ECGs and share them with medical practitioners. Apple Watch 4 and later versions have the ability to take ECG on demand. Apple Watch 7 also has an integrated ECG feature that has evolved over the previous generations of Apple Watches. Garmin Forerunner 955 cannot take an ECG as these watches do not have the ECG feature as yet. For seniors, an Apple Watch 7 may be more useful.
Wellness Tracking – Apple Watch 7 vs Forerunner 955
Apple Watch 7 and Garmin Forerunner 955 have the most wellness features available. Some of these features are listed below:
- Apple Watch 7 and Forerunner 955 can take readings of blood oxygenation levels. Both watches have integrated pulse oximeter sensors.
- Apple Watch 7 and Forerunner 955 can track sleep and share sleep quality details, including the calculations of deep sleep state or the REM sleep state.
- Both watches are good at detecting fatigue conditions. Garmin Forerunner 955 has a ‘Body Battery’ indicator. It is a number that represents your physical state. A higher reading of ‘Body Battery’ implies that your body is ready for physical activity. Body Battery scores are calculated between 0-100. A score higher than 60 indicates a restful state. A Body Battery score below 30 implies that your body needs rest as it is experiencing fatigue.
- Both watches can track menstrual health and cycles as part of the women’s health monitoring features.
- Forerunner 955 can, additionally, take skin-based temperature readings as it has an integrated thermometer functionality on the watch. Apple Watch 7 is unable to share body temperature readings as of now.
In terms of general wellness tracking, Apple Watch 7 and Garmin Forerunner 955 do a decent job of tracking and reporting essential parameters.
Incident detection – Apple Watch 7 vs Garmin Forerunner 955
Apple Watch 7 is good at detecting hard falls as part of the incident detection algorithm. The incident detection feature on Apple Watch has been put to test multiple times. Every time, it has been successful in detecting falls and taking subsequent action. When an Apple Watch 7 detects a hard fall, it tries to seek a response from the wearer of the watch. If the wearer does not respond, an Apple Watch 7 can do the following:
- it can share your GPS location with your emergency contacts. Emergency contacts are, generally, the family members, neighbors, or friends who could offer assistance to the wearer.
- Apple Watch 7 can also seek emergency support by calling emergency service numbers like 911. For emergency calls to go through, you will need Apple Watch cellular models. Or, your Apple Watch 7 needs to be close to the paired smartphone. Apple Watch can make emergency calls through the paired smartphone as well. It is obviously clear that the paired smartphone or iPhone must have a good cellular connection.
Garmin Forerunner 955 does have an incident detection feature. This feature can detect falls under special cases. If a hard fall is detected by the Forerunner 955, it can notify up to 3 emergency contacts. The emergency contacts need to be pre-defined on the watch. Forerunner 955 will send your GPS locational attributes to the emergency contacts. It will notify the emergency contacts with an SOS message, indicating that the wearer has taken a fall.
There is a unanimous opinion when it comes to the incident detection feature. Apple Watch 7 has the best incident detection feature and response mechanism. If you are looking for a smartwatch for elders, an Apple Watch 7 ought to be the most preferred choice.
Activity Tracking – Apple Watch 7 vs Forerunner 955
Garmin Forerunner 955 has extended capabilities to track multiple sports and running activities. This is one aspect of the Forerunner 955 that finds no match on the Apple Watch 7.
A Garmin Forerunner 955 has in-built activity tracking profiles for different sports and fitness activities listed below.
- Forerunner 955 has a cycling profile to track cycling activity.
- Forerunner 955 has an in-built Golf program.
- Forerunner 955 can be used by pro swimmers to track swimming activities.
- There are multiple outdoor recreation profiles on Garmin Forerunner 955. These can help track activities such as snowboarding, Pickleball, rowing, Tennis, Skiing, Hiking, etc.
- Forerunner 955 can use running profiles to track run activities at a granular level.
- Garmin Forerunner 955 has an in-built Gym profile or program to help you measure the performance of the various Gym activities.
Forerunner 955 can track multiple parameters of activities and fitness exercises. It can help you rate activity in terms of steps taken, intensity sessions in terms of intensity minutes, and also share details of heart rate variability as part of activity monitoring and tracking.
If your primary goal for taking a smartwatch is close control and monitoring of your activity or fitness data, Garmin Forerunner 955 should be a perfect choice. Apple Watch 7 does a decent job at basic activity tracking. But the sheer depth of activity tracking and reporting of the Garmin Forerunner 955 is beyond Apple Watch 7. This is the precise reason that we suggest Garmin Forerunner 955 for runners, triathletes, and swimmers.
Apple Watch 7 is suitable for people who:
- need a watch for all-around capabilities.
- need a watch for robust and proven heart rate and heart health tracking.
- need a watch for a proven incident detection response system.
- need a watch that has a contemporary appearance.
- need a watch that is slim.
A Garmin Forerunner 955 should be preferred over an Apple Watch 7 when you:
- need a watch with extended battery life
- need a watch that can work with an Android phone
- need a watch that can monitor and report activity data efficiently
- need a watch for runners, swimmers, and cyclists.
We hope this analysis would help you take an informed decision about your next smartwatch purchase. If you wish to read more content related to Apple Watch 7 and Garmin watches, please do have a look at the content given below.
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Rajesh Dhawan is a technology professional who loves to blog about smart wearables, Cloud computing and Microsoft technologies. He loves to break complex problems into manageable chunks of meaningful information.