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Garmin Instinct vs Forerunner 55: How Do They Compare?

Garmin Instinct and Forerunner 55 offer a range of features that include heart rate monitoring, sleep quality analysis, and more. For this, it can be challenging to determine which one is better. Today, we compare Forerunner 55 and Garmin Instinct to help you decide which one to buy.

Comparison Table: Garmin Instinct vs Forerunner 55

Here’s a quick comparison table to show the similarities and differences between the Garmin Instinct and Forerunner 55:

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)
 Buy on AmazonBuy on Amazon

Design: Garmin Instinct vs Forerunner 55

The Garmin Instinct and Forerunner 55 are two fitness trackers that feature AMOLED displays to show your stats. However, neither of these watches is suitable for people looking for touchscreen wearables as they do not have a touchscreen display. The display on Forerunner 55 is not always on, while the display on Garmin Instinct is always on. Moreover, the display on Garmin Instinct is slightly bigger than the display on Forerunner 55, with a size of 1.7 inches compared to the Forerunner 55’s 1.08 inches. 

The display on Garmin Forerunner 55 may be small, but it is super clean and has a resolution of 208 x 208 pixels with a pixel density of 294ppi. On the other hand, Garmin Instinct has a clear graphic of 128 x 128 pixels with a pixel density of 201ppi. Garmin activity watches have a sweat-resistant, dustproof, and water-resistant screen. 

Garmin Instinct comes with branded damage-resistant glass (Corning Gorilla Glass), while the Forerunner 55 does not have branded or any damage-resistant glass. With damage-resistant glass, the display on your watch can survive accidental drops. However, even though the Forerunner 55 doesn’t have damage-proof glass, you can use a screen protector to secure it. 

The wristbands on both fitness trackers are removable and hence replaceable. This feature is particularly important for users who want to match their daily outfits as they can supplement the original band with straps of different colors. Garmin Forerunner 55 is a little bit lighter than Garmin Instinct, with a weight of 37g compared to Instinct’s 52g. 

The maximum operating temperature for Garmin Instinct is estimated to be between -20°C to 60°C, and we are yet to find out the maximum operating temperature for Forerunner 55. In addition, the Garmin Instinct has a waterproof rating of 10 ATM (100 meters), while the Forerunner 55 has a rating of 5 ATM (50 meters). This means that the Instinct can withstand pressures of up to 100 meters below water, while Forerunner 55 can withstand pressures of up to 50 meters below water.

Sensors: Garmin Instinct vs Forerunner 55

Both Garmin watches have GPS sensors, which are crucial for tracking your location during various outdoor activities. In case of an emergency, GPS can also help authorities locate you. Forerunner 55 features a SpO2 sensor that monitors the oxygen level in your blood, while Garmin Instinct lacks this feature. However, both watches have onboard heart rate monitors to track your heart rate. They also come with an accelerometer sensor to measure linear acceleration.

Garmin Instinct has a built-in compass, but Forerunner 55 doesn’t. The compass is useful for navigational purposes. Additionally, only Garmin Instinct has a temperature sensor that can detect changes in your skin temperature. It also has a barometer sensor to measure changes in barometric pressure and alert you to weather changes.

If you are a cyclist, Garmin Instinct has another advantage: an onboard cadence sensor that calculates the number of pedal revolutions you make per minute. Unfortunately, Forerunner 55 doesn’t have a built-in cadence sensor, but it can connect to external ANT+ devices to track your pedals while cycling.

Activity Tracking

The Garmin Instinct and Forerunner 55 watches can monitor your sleep each night and provide sleep reports every morning. Both watches have built-in route trackers to monitor your routes and add them to maps. This feature is useful if you plan on doing the same route again or want to share it with other Garmin users. 

The Garmin Instinct and Forerunner 55 watches can automatically monitor your activity and provide daily activity reports. They can count your steps, calculate your pace, and track the number of calories burned

If you’re an artisan or mountain climber, you’ll be glad to know that the Garmin Forerunner 55 and Instinct can track your elevation. Both watches allow you to set goals and have onboard stroke recognition to identify the type of swimming you’re doing in the pool. They also have an onboard stroke counter to keep track of the number of strokes while swimming.

Lastly, the Garmin Instinct features a Multi-sports mode, while the Forerunner 55 does not have this mode.

Connectivity: Garmin Instinct vs Forerunner 55

Garmin Instinct and Garmin Forerunner 55 are capable of being connected to both iOS and Android devices. Unfortunately, neither fitness tracker can connect to Wi-Fi networks or support NFC (Near-Field Communication), meaning they cannot be used for making payments. However, both of these Garmin fitness trackers can sync wirelessly and automatically with compatible Bluetooth devices. The Bluetooth version on the Forerunner 55 is v5.0, while the Garmin Instinct has version v4.2.

Battery Life: Garmin Instinct vs Forerunner 55

The Garmin Forerunner 55 can be charged wirelessly, thanks to its wireless charging support. However, the Garmin Instinct does not support wireless charging. Both watches have a battery level indicator that shows how much power is left.

On a full charge, the Forerunner 55 can last for 14 days in smartwatch mode and up to 20 hours in GPS mode. Similarly, the Garmin Instinct can last for 14 days in smartwatch mode and up to 16 hours in GPS mode.

It’s important to note that neither watch can convert light energy to power. If you’re interested in a solar-powered Garmin watch, you may want to consider the Garmin Instinct Solar.

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

We recommend the Forerunner 55. Despite being slightly pricier than the Garmin Instinct, it offers more features than its competitor. You can also utilize the features listed above to determine which Garmin watches are suitable for your wrist.

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