Apple Watch 8 vs Forerunner 955

Apple Watch 8 released in September 2022. Forerunner 955 is the latest Forerunner series running watch that was released in June 2022. For an almost similar price point, Forerunner 955 and Apple Watch 8 belong to two different categories of smartwatches.

We look at the key aspects of Apple Watch 8 and Forerunner 955. However, it is clear that an Apple Watch 8 is a true smartwatch and Forerunner 955 is a true sports watch.

In this study, we have evaluated Apple Watch 8 and Forerunner 955 on the following criteria:

iOS vs Android

Apple Watch 8, expectedly, sticks to the iOS support. Android devices remain incompatible with Apple Watch 8. Android device owners cannot activate the Apple Watch 8. Apple Watch is compatible with all iOS powered devices that support iOS version 14 or later.

Forerunner 955 is a cross platform or cross mobile operating system smartwatch. Forerunner 955 is compatible with iOS 14 or higher version of the operating system. Forerunner 955 is also compatible with Android operating system version 7 or higher. As of writing this, we are on Android version 12. Android 13 is just round the corner.

Effectively, if you are looking for a watch that has cross-platform support for iOS and Android, a Forerunner 955 is the ideal watch.

Display

Apple Watch 8 has a considerably improved display in comparison with the Forerunner 955. Apple Watch 8 rides on the OLED display for a much improved display resolution, color clarity and depth of the display experience.

Forerunner 955 uses MIP or Memory-in-pixel screen. MIP screens help in prolonging battery life. But, they leave a lot to be desired as far as display resolution and display experience are concerned. Having said that, the target audience for Forerunner 955 is runners, triathletes and hikers. For its target audience, the MIP screen serves the cause very well.

We bring out some critical facts about the display of Apple Watch 8 and Forerunner 955 below:

  • Apple Watch 8 has a display resolution of 396 x 484 pixels on a 45 mm watch variant. Apple Watch 8 41 mm variant has a display resolution of 352 x 430 pixels.
  • Forerunner 955 has a display resolution of 260 x 260 pixels. Apple Watch 8’s display resolution has an almost 40 percent better score.

There are a few other points that you ought to be aware of in regards to display of Apple Watch 8 and Forerunner 955.

  • Apple Watch 8 has a bigger screen size than Forerunner 955. Apple Watch 7 embraced a very thin bezel approach to a modern design. The same design has been inherited by the Apple Watch 8. The screen size could be as big as 1.9″ on the Apple Watch 8. Forerunner 955 has a 1.3″ screen size.
  • Apple Watch 8 has a better display pixel density of 329 ppi or pixels per inch. Forerunner has a pixel density of 282 ppi.

All these specifications do point out that the Apple Watch 8 has a much better display experience for the watch owners. The Forerunner 955 is a practical watch for runners, and cannot match the display quality of an Apple Watch 8.

Battery

Garmin smartwatches are designed to provide extended battery life. Forerunner 955 is no different. Infact, the Forerunner 955 watches have an exceptional battery life.

  • On the smartwatch mode, Garmin Forerunner 955 smartwatch can last for up to 15 days.
  • On the GPS mode, a Forerunner 955 can last for up to 42 hours.

Apple Watch 8 comes with a battery life of 18 hours. So, you need to charge an Apple Watch 8 daily. It’s a daily ritual. The upside is that Apple Watch 8 can build up 40 percent battery levels in less than 45 minutes of charging.

On a side note, Apple Watch 8 supports wireless charging.

Multi-mode GPS

Multi-mode GPS sensors allow a watch to receive GPS data from multiple satellites within the same geo system. Apple Watch 8 supports GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, QZSS and BeiDou satellite systems on the L1 band.

Forerunner 955 is dual band as it can read GPS data on the L1 band and L2 band. Dual band frequency has been made possible by the introduction of a multi-frequency positioning sensor. Dual band GPS ensures higher accuracy of the geo-locational data. For runners, triathletes, and hikers, the reliability of multi-band GPS is a desired feature. For runners who are serious about measuring activity performance, dual band GPS of Forerunner 955 is a much-fancied feature.

Wireless Connectivity

Clearly, Garmin is the elite smartwatch or sports watch company. It provides users with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and ANT+ wireless connectivity. ANT+ is a wireless protocol that connects Forerunner 955 watches to an external ANT+ compatible receiver. Data collected by Forerunner 955 can be shared with an ANT+ receiver.

ANT+ connectivity allows you to broadcast heart rate data. With a compatible received, the heart rate data on Forerunner 955 can be sent to ANT+ compatible receiver devices. On a similar basis, ANT+ protocol is used by bikers for the bike radars that are fixed at the back of the bike.

Apple Watch 8 sticks to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. It does not offer the ANT+ wireless support.

Swimming

  • Apple Watch 8 has an IP68 dust protection rating. An IP68 rating means that the watch has the maximum possible ingress protection against dust and water.
  • Apple Watch 8 is equivalent to a 5 ATM rated watch. 5 ATM watches come with an assurance that the watch can sustain a depth pressure of 5 Atmospheres. A depth pressure of 5 Bars or 5 Atmospheres is seen at a depth of 50 meters or 165 feet below the water surface level.
  • Forerunner 955 has a water rating of 10 ATM. Forerunner 955 can take a pressure of 10 ATM or 10 Bars. Such levels of pressure can be experienced at depths of 100 meters or 330 feet below water surface level.
  • Forerunner 955 also comes with in-built profiles for pool swimming and open water swimming.

Forerunner 955 has a better water rating than an Apple Watch 8. But, Apple Watch 8 has a water lock feature. So, you are fine wearing an Apple Watch 8 for shallow water swimming or pool swimming.

It may be pertinent to mention over here that Apple Watch 8 and Garmin Forerunner 955 are not suitable for deep water activities, high speed sports activities and scuba diving. For diving, we recommend getting a DIVE rated watch.

Speaker and Mic

Apple Watch 8 has an in built speaker and microphone. This implies that you can hear music directly from an Apple Watch 8. At the same time, you can answer calls through an Apple Watch 8.

Forerunner 955 does not have a speaker. It cannot be used to answer calls. But, a Forerunner 955 can send in text message replies to compatible Android devices. The replies can be sent from one of the existing template messages.

ECG

Apple Watch 8 has a third generation optical heart sensor. Apple Watch 8 allows you to take ECG readings in supported countries. United States is compatible with Apple Watch 8 for the ECG feature. You can take on-demand ECG and share the output with a medical practitioner. Apple Watches have had a proven track record in terms of monitoring heart health.

Especially, the Atrial Fibrillation or the ‘AFib’ alerts of Apple Watches have saved lives of many people. You can read more about the cases who have vouched for Apple Watch’s heart monitoring and AFib alerts on this page.

Forerunner 955 does not support ECG feature. ECG is not a part of the Garmin operating system as of now.

Fall Detection

Apple Watches have a proven fall detection feature. For elders at home, Apple Watch 8 can bring in help in the event a fall is detected. Amidst the contemporary smartwatches, Apple Watches can be considered the best in detecting a hard fall. Upon detecting a fall, an Apple Watch 8 can send notification messages to the designated emergency contacts. Or, it can even notify the emergency services like the 911 if you have a cellular model of Apple Watch 8.

Forerunner 955 does have an incident detection feature that can work in special case scenarios. On a similar basis, it offers a safety feature LiveTrack. LiveTrack feature is useful for communicating with runners, triathletes or hikers.

The bottom line is that if you have an elder at home, Apple Watch 8 must be preferred over a Forerunner 955.

Table of Comparison

FeatureApple Watch 8Garmin Forerunner 955
iOS SupportYesYes
Android SupportNoYes
OLED/AMOLED DisplayYesNo
Always on Display (AOD)YesNo
Display LensApple’s proprietaryCorning Gorilla Glass 3
Solar VariantNoYes
Physical Size41 mm and 45 mm46 mm
Display Resolution396 x 484 pixels (45 mm variant)
352 x 430 pixels (41 mm variant)
260 x 260 pixels
Physical bodyAluminiumFiber-enforced polymer
SpeakerYesNo
MicrophoneYesNo
Water Rating5 ATM10 ATM
Diving CompatibleNoNo
Swimming PoolPool and open water
ECGYesNo
Fall DetectionYesYes
NFC PaymentsApple PayGarmin Pay
Ambient Light SensorYesNo
TouchscreenYesYes
Battery18 hours15 days (smartwatch mode)
Wireless ChargingYesNo
Device Storage32 GB32 GB
Heart Sensor3rd generation Optical SensorGarmin Elevate Sensor
Dual Band GPSNoYes
Weight38.8 g for 45 mm variant
32 g for 41 mm variant
52 g
Sleep MonitoringYesYes
GPSGPS, Galileo, GLONASS, BeiDou and QZSSGPS, Galileo, GLONASS
AccelerometerYesYes
GyroscopeYesYes
AltimeterYesYes
Wireless ConnectivityBluetooth, Wi-FiANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
Answer CallsYesNo
Sunrise/Sunset TimeNoYes
Cellular SupportYes, on specific Cellular variantsNo
MusicYesYes
NotificationsYesYes
WidgetsNoYes
GolfNoYes
Preloaded MapsNoYes
IP68 RatingYesNo

Summary

Apple Watch 8 is a complete smartwatch. I suggest getting an Apple Watch 8 if you already have an iPhone model that supports iOS 14 or higher. Plus, Apple Watch 8’s ECG and fall detection features are useful for elders.

Forerunner 955 is a runner’s delight. It has an extended battery backup that can see through a runner’s training regime easily.

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