The Garmin Epix 2, which arrived in 2022, was essentially a Garmin Fenix 7 with an AMOLED display. From that moment it seemed inevitable that Garmin would bring the bright, smartwatch-style displays to its Forerunner range – and now two of the company’s best sports watches have been updated with AMOLED screens.
One is the Garmin Forerunner 265, which we have been able to test before the launch. The other is the Garmin Forerunner 965, which not only gets an AMOLED screen but also a new titanium bezel to mimic the upmarket feel of the Epix 2 and Fenix 7 watches.
Another new feature on the Forerunner 965 is running dynamics measured from the wrist, including ground contact time and stride length. Other than that there are no major new software features on the Forerunner 965 compared with the 955, which hopefully will remain in Garmin’s range as a cheaper option without the AMOLED screen and titanium bezel.
The new watch costs $599.99 in the US and £599.99 in the UK, while the Forerunner 955 Solar is $599.99/£549.99 and the standard 955 is $519.99/£479.99.
Battery life is a concern when AMOLED screens are involved, but Garmin suggests the Forerunner 965 will last up to 23 days in smartwatch mode and offer up to 31 hours of GPS tracking, which drops to 19 hours when using the multi-band GPS mode for more accuracy.
Those smartwatch stats are without the always-on screen activated in watch mode, and the battery will drop to seven days if you do turn that on. The Forerunner 955 is listed as offering 15 days in watch mode with its transflective memory-in-pixel display, and lasts 42 hours in GPS-only mode. In our testing the solar version of the watch usually managed around eight days when running daily using multi-band tracking.
If the Forerunner 965 can provide the same four- to five-day battery life as the Garmin Epix 2 when training regularly, that will be enough to make it an attractive proposition. It has all of Garmin’s best features – like map and insightful training analysis – plus the new screen and titanium bezel. It comes in cheaper than the Epix 2, which starts at $799.99.
The Forerunner 955 was already a fantastic, cheaper alternative to Garmin’s Fenix 7, Epix 2 and Enduro 2 watches – and with its new screen and classier bezel, the Forerunner 965 appears to be the stand-out pick for those who want Garmin’s mapping features but aren’t so concerned about battery life.
Get the Coach Newsletter
Sign up for workout ideas, training advice, reviews of the latest gear and more.
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.