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Garmin Instinct vs Forerunner 55

Before we dive deeper here is a Garmin Instinct vs Forerunner 55 summarized table to help you distinguish between watches from the same brand.

Garmin Instinct vs Forerunner 55 Comparison Table

Display1.7”, AMOLED, Always-On1.08” AMOLED, not Always-on
Resolution128 x 128 px208 x 208 px
Companion AppGarmin Connect AppGarmin Connect App
SensorsGPS, Barometer, Accelerometer, Temperature Sensor, CadenceGPS, accelerometer, temperature sensor, compass, gyroscope,
Activity TrackingActivity reports, swimming Distances, steps taken, pace, sleep & stress, Calories BurnedRoutes, swimming, distances, activity reports, pace, calories burned, sleep, goal setting, elevation, exercise tagging
Mobile PaymentNoNo
CompatibilityiOS & AndroidiOS & Android
ConnectivityBluetooth v4.2, wireless sync, ANT+Bluetooth v5.0, external ANT+, Bluetooth ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart Cycling cadence sensors
Water Resistance100 meters50 meters
Battery LifeUp to 14 days (smartwatch mode) & 16 hours (GPS mode)Up to 14 days (smartwatch mode) & 20 hours (GPS mode)
 Check Price on AmazonCheck Price on Amazon

Design: Garmin Instinct vs Forerunner 55

Both Garmin Instinct and Forerunner 55 come with displays that will show your stats. The display on both activity trackers is AMOLED.

Neither of the watches is best for people in search of touchscreen wearables – Instinct and Forerunner 55 don’t come with touchscreen displays. Also, the display on Forerunner 55 is not always-on while that on Garmin Instinct is always on.

The display on Garmin Instinct is a bit bigger than the display on Forerunner 55. Garmin Instinct has a display of 1.7 inches while the Forerunner 55 has a display of 1.08 inches.

Although the display on Garmin Forerunner 55 is not big, it is super clean thanks to its 208 x 208 pixels with a pixel density of 294ppi.

Garmin Instinct, on the other hand, has a clear graphic of 128 x 128 pixels with a pixel density of 201ppi. The screen on both Garmin activity watches is sweat-resistant, dustproof, and water-resistant.

As luck would have it, Garmin Instinct comes with a branded damage-resistant glass (Corning Gorilla Glass) while the Forerunner 55 unluckily, doesn’t come with branded or any damage-resistant glass. With damage-resistant glass, the display on your watch can survive accidental drops.

Even though the Forerunner 55 doesn’t have damage-proof glass you can use a screen protector to secure it. You can find the FR 55 screen protector here.

The wrist bands on both fitness trackers are removable and hence replaceable. This feature is important to users who want to match daily outfits since the original band can be supplemented with straps of different colors.

Garmin Forerunner 55 is a little bit lighter than Garmin Instinct. That is, Instinct weighs 52g while Forerunner 55 weighs 37g.

The maximum operating temperature for Garmin Instinct is estimated to be 60°C and the lowest to be -20°C, we are yet to find the maximum operating temperature for Forerunner 55.

in addition, Garmin Instinct comes with the best water-resistance rating and Forerunner 55 comes with half the FR 55 resistance.

Garmin Instinct features a waterproof rating of 10ATM while the Forerunner 55 has a rating of 5ATM.

That implies that Instinct can withstand pressures of up to 100 meters below the water while Forerunner 55 can withstand pressures of up to 50 meters below water.

Sensors: Garmin Instinct vs Forerunner 55

Both Garmin watches come with GPS sensors. This feature is important on a fitness watch because it not only helps you track your location, it also helps authorities to track you in case there is an emergency while cycling, walking, or indulging in other outdoor activities.

Forerunner 55 comes with a SpO2 sensor that will be able to keep track of the level of oxygen in your blood.

Unfortunately, Garmin Instinct won’t be able to monitor your blood oxygen level because it lacks the SpO2 sensors. Luckily, each of these Garmin watches can detect your heart rate using onboard heart rate monitors.

The two Garmin wearables can measure linear acceleration and that’s with the help of the onboard accelerometer sensor.

You will find a built-in compass on Garmin Instinct but not on Garmin Forerunner 55. The sensor is important because it lets your watch work with navigational software.

In addition, we have the temperature sensors which are only available in Garmin Instinct and not on Forerunner 55. With this feature, you get to detect temperature changes on your skin.

You get a barometer sensor on Garmin Instinct but lack the same sensor on Garmin Forerunner 55. With this sensor, Garmin Instinct is able to measure changes in barometric pressure plus alert you on weather changes.

If you are a cyclist you will want to check Garmin Instinct, it has an onboard cadence sensor that calculates the number of pedal revolutions you make every minute.

Unluckily, Forerunner 55 doesn’t have a built-in cadence sensor to monitor your pedals but can connect to ANT+ devices externally to track your pedals while cycling.

Activity Tracking: Garmin Instinct vs Forerunner 55

Garmin Instinct and Forerunner 55 can monitor your sleep each night and provide you with sleep reports every morning.

Both Garmin watches come with built-in router trackers to monitor your routes. It is with this feature you get to add routes to maps.

Route tracking is the best feature to have on a fitness tracker in case you look forward to doing the same route over again or want to share it with other Garmin users.

Garmin Instinct and Garmin Forerunner 55 will be able to automatically monitor your activity and provide you with daily activity reports.

In addition, both Garmin activity trackers can count your steps, calculate your pace, and count the number of calories you have burned.

Apart from tracking the number of calories burned, Garmin Forerunner 55 goes ahead to track calorie intake. To add both Garmin bands can track water intake.

Garmin Forerunner 55 and Instinct are able to track your elevation hence they fall among smartwatches good for artisans or mountain climbers.

Users can set goals on either activity tracker. To add, Garmin Instinct features a Multi-sports mode while the Forerunner 55 doesn’t have the mode.

Luckily, both Garmin wearables have onboard stroke recognition to tell the type of swimming you are using in the pool.

They also feature an onboard stroke counter for swimming to count the number of strokes while swimming.

Connectivity: Garmin Instinct vs Forerunner 55

Talking of connectivity, Garmin Instinct and Garmin Forerunner 55 can connect to both Android and iOS devices.

It is so unfortunate that none of the above fitness trackers can connect to Wi-Fi networks and for that reason, they cannot make payments – don’t support NFC (Near-Field Communication).

Both Garmin fitness trackers sync wirelessly and automatically to compatible Bluetooth devices. The Bluetooth version on Forerunner 55 is v5.0 while that on Garmin Instinct is version v4.2.

Battery Life: Garmin Instinct vs Forerunner 55

You can juice up the Garmin Forerunner 55 battery wirelessly since it supports wireless charging. Too bad, Garmin Instinct does not support wireless charging.

Each activity watch comes with a battery level indicator that will keep you updated on how much power is left.

On a complete charge, the Forerunner 55 can serve for 14 days i.e. only on smartwatch mode. On GPS mode Forerunner can serve for 20 hours.

On the other hand, Garmin Instinct can also serve for 14 days on a complete charge and on smartwatch mode. When the watch is on GPS mode it can serve for 16 hours.

Finally, neither Garmin Forerunner 55 nor Garmin Instinct can convert light energy to power. In case you want a Garmin watch that can charge via solar consider the Garmin Instinct Solar.

Price: Garmin Instinct vs Forerunner 55

Both Garmin fitness watches come at slightly high prices. The Forerunner 55 comes at $200 while Garmin Instinct comes at $175.

Which Smartwatch should I Buy: Garmin Instinct or Forerunner 55?

Our pick would be the Forerunner 55. Although Forerunner 55 is a few bucks more expensive than Garmin Instinct it has got more to offer than its competitor.

Alternatively, you can use the features we provide (above) to find out which Garmin watches are fit for your wrist.

RELATED ARTICLE: Also find out how Garmin Instinct compares to Suunto Traverse Alpha!

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