Garmin Fenix 7 Vs Garmin Forerunner 955

Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar vs Garmin Forerunner 955
Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar, left, and Garmin Forerunner 955 (Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)

The Garmin Fenix 7 and Garmin Forerunner 955 are now frequently found in sales because they’re both older watches, having launched in 2022. Regardless of this, they remain among the best sports watches available. Since they are still up to date with Garmin’s top features, and cheaper than newer options like the Fenix 7 Pro and Forerunner 965, the Forerunner 955 and Fenix 7 offer better value for those eyeing up one of Garmin’s top devices.

Garmin Fenix 7 vs Garmin Forerunner 955: Price And Availability

The Garmin Fenix 7 range launched in January 2022 and contains watches in three sizes and a variety of designs that use different materials. The smallest watch is the Fenix 7S, the Fenix 7 is the standard model, and the largest watch is the Fenix 7X.

A steel, non-solar Fenix 7S or 7 costs $699.99 in the US and £559.99 in the UK, while the steel Fenix 7X is $899.99/£739.99 and has solar panels as standard. The sapphire solar models that have titanium bezels are more expensive at $899.99/£779.99 for the Fenix 7S or Fenix 7 and $999.99/£829.99 for the Fenix 7X.

The Garmin Forerunner 955 launched in April 2022 in one size only, though you do have the choice between non-solar and solar versions of the watch. The standard Forerunner 955 costs $499.99/479.99, and it’s $599.99/£549.99 for the solar version.

How I Tested These Watches

I tested the Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar and Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar for several weeks, using them to track my everyday activity and sleep alongside the workouts I did. My main sport is running and I’ve run hundreds of miles with both watches, as well as recording yoga and strength sessions, plus the occasional cycle ride. When testing the heart rate accuracy of the watches I compared their readings with those of a chest strap monitor.

Read my Garmin Fenix 7 review
Read my Garmin Forerunner 955 review


Garmin Fenix 7 vs Garmin Forerunner 955

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)

Design is the biggest difference between the Fenix 7 and Forerunner 955. The Fenix 7 is a larger, heavier device, though also more rugged, and comes in a range of sizes and colors, whereas the Forerunner 955 has one size and is either black or white.

There is a larger bezel on the Fenix 7, which is made from either steel or titanium, as is the back of the case. This increases the weight of the watch compared with the all-plastic Forerunner 955. The weight and screen size of the Fenix 7 changes with the size you opt for.

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DeviceCase SizeWeightScreen Size
Garmin Forerunner 95546.5mm52g standard/53g solar1.3in
Garmin Fenix 7S42mm63g steel/58g titanium1.2in
Garmin Fenix 747mm79g steel/73g titanium1.3in
Garmin Fenix 7X51mm96g steel/89g titanium1.4in

The Forerunner 955 has a 5ATM water resistance rating, while the Fenix 7 range is rated 10ATM, and in general the Fenix 7 is a more rugged, hard-wearing watch thanks to the metal bezel and case. Opt for a sapphire Fenix 7 and you also get a more scratch-resistant sapphire crystal screen, while the Forerunner 955 and steel Fenix 7 models all use Corning Gorilla Glass.

When choosing between the Fenix 7 models it’s worth noting that only the sapphire watches offer multi-band GPS tracking, which is more accurate than the modes available on the standard Fenix 7 watches. Multi-band GPS is available on the Forerunner 955 and 955 Solar.

The Garmin Fenix 7X also has a built-in flashlight, which is not available on the smaller Fenix 7 watches or the Forerunner 955, though there is a setting that allows you to use the screen as a flashlight.

GPS And HR Accuracy

Garmin’s multi-band GPS is the most accurate I’ve tested on watches from any brand, and if you opt for a model of the Fenix 7 with multi-band then you will see no difference in overall accuracy from the Forerunner 955. It’s not infallible, but you are getting the best GPS accuracy on the market.

If you opt for a steel Fenix 7 model without multi-band, then the all-systems-on GPS tracking is still good but less impressive, especially when running under tree cover or among high buildings. 

With regard to heart rate tracking accuracy, I didn’t see a notable difference between the Forerunner 955 and Fenix 7 during my testing. With both, I would pair an external chest strap or armband heart rate monitor to get more accurate results because while the optical sensors on the Fenix 7 and Forerunner 955 are OK most of the time, I often saw errors compared with a chest strap.

Battery Life

Garmin Fenix 7 next to Garmin Forerunner 955

(Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)

The Garmin Fenix 7 and 7X watches offer longer battery life than the Forerunner 955, though the difference is only likely to be noticeable if you opt for the larger Fenix 7X. In my testing, the Forerunner 955 solar lasted seven to eight days on a charge, running most days with the multi-band GPS mode enabled, whereas the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar lasted me two to three weeks in the same conditions.

With either watch the solar version will lengthen your time between charges, but only in the right conditions. In my testing, in the UK, where I spend most of my time indoors during the week, the solar versions of Garmin watches would not be worth the extra outlay. However, if you spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun they can extend your battery life considerably.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Garmin Forerunner 955Garmin Fenix 7SGarmin Fenix 7Garmin Fenix 7X
Smartwatch mode15 days/up to 20 days solar11 days/up to 14 days solar18 days/up to 22 days solar28 days/up to 37 days solar
GPS-only42 hours/up to 49 hours solar37 hours/up to 46 hours solar57 hours/up to 73 hours solar89 hours/up to 122 hours solar
All-systems-on GPS31 hours/up to 34 hours solar26 hours/up to 30 hours solar40 hours/up to 48 hours solar63 hours/up to 77 hours solar
All-systems-on GPS plus music10 hours7 hours10 hours16 hours
Multi-band GPS20 hours/up to 22 hours with music15 hours/up to 16 hours solar23 hours/up to 26 hours solar36 hours/up to 41 hours solar
Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.