Skip to content
Home » Electronics » GPS, Finders & Accessories » Sports & Handheld GPS » Running GPS Units » Review: Garmin Forerunner® 255, Slate Gray – Delivers impressive features and performance

Review: Garmin Forerunner® 255, Slate Gray – Delivers impressive features and performance

In-depth review of Garmin 4Runner 255’s upgraded features, multi-sport support and phone-based configurations... Read more

Review of Garmin Forerunner® 255, Slate Gray

Test of Garmin Forerunner® 255, Slate Gray

4.7/5 - (239 votes)

Cena: $699.99


  • Massive upgrade from previous model
  • Excellent multi-sport support
  • Impressive GPS accuracy
  • Extended battery life
  • Added Nightly HRV tracking
  • Useful Race widgets feature
  • Phone-based config for user convenience


  • Accuracy depends on usage duration
  • High-intensity workouts might affect HRV
  • Lacks advanced features of higher-end models
  • Bank restrictions on Garmin Pay
  • GPS multi-band not always working

“After spending an ample amount of time with Garmin 4Runner 255, I can confidently attest to its immensely impressive specifications, features, and, most importantly, performance. From multi-sport support to multi-band GPS accuracy, this watch goes beyond just being an upgrade, easily conquering the realms of activity and fitness tracking. The clever additions such as Race Widgets and phone-based configs genuinely demonstrate the thoughtful innovation Garmin has put into this new model. Nonetheless, as with any product, there is always room for improvement, and I look forward to seeing how Garmin continues to refine its offerings. All in all, Garmin 4Runner 255 delivers on its promise, making it a worthy watch to consider for every fitness enthusiast. “

Why trust Shaper Mint Review? Our analysts and reviewers specialists spend their days testing products and analyzing other users’ experiences to help you find a verified unbiased opinion on the product. See how we review


Brand Garmin
Model Name Forerunner 255
Style Non-Music
Color Slate Gray
Screen Size 1.3 Inches
Special Feature Morning Report; HRV Status; Built-In Sports Apps; Race Adaptive Training Plans; Daily Suggested Workouts; Triathlon and Multisport Profiles; Wrist-Based Running Dynamics; Wrist-Based Running Power, Recovery Time; PacePro™ Feature; Grade-Adjusted Pace; Wrist-Based Heart Rate; Body Battery™ Energy Monitoring; Improved Sleep Monitoring and Sleep Score; Pulse Ox Sensor
Shape Heart
Target Audience Unisex Adults
Age Range (Description) Adult
Compatible Devices Smartphone


Entering the world of Garmin’s latest offering, the 4Runner 255, feels like discovering a treasure trove of innovative features and breakthrough enhancements. I’ve had the privilege of exploring and testing this new member of Garmin’s lauded 4Runner series, and I am thrilled to bring you a comprehensive review of its key attributes and performance metrics.

The Exciting Unveil

When the Garmin 4Runner 255 unveiled itself, I was immediately struck by how much it promised. This wasn’t just any common sports watch. It seems to offer a rich blend of quality, tech-savvy features, and unparalleled versatility that promises to cater to a vast range of users. What got me all excited was that it isn’t just a running watch anymore – it has now transformed into a multi-sport wonder!

An Upgrade Like No Other

As an upgrade from the previous 245 model, the 4Runner 255 is nothing short of revolutionary. With an array of new features, it proudly exhibits a major leap over its predecessor. Throughout this review, I’ve been critical, taking nothing for granted. So, let’s jump right in, uncover the real deal behind the claims, and find out if this new and improved 4Runner truly holds its ground.

Overview of Garmin Forerunner® 255, Slate Gray


  • Garmin 4Runner 255 offers four different purchase options
  • Prices vary based on presence of music feature
  • Cost consistent across sizes

Various versions for the connoisseur

To start off with, the Garmin 4Runner 255 isn’t just a single monolithic model. It actually comes in two sizes and two versions, offering flexibility tailored to different needs and preferences. Essentially, you’re looking at four different purchase options – a small size and a large size, each available as a music or non-music edition. The fact that Garmin accommodates various customer preferences right off the bat definitely impressed me.

Please note: While the features are identical across all these versions, keep in mind that the size and the presence (or absence) of the music feature do influence the price. Your chosen combination should align with your budget and the specific features you prioritize.

Digging into the Price Point

Garmin set the price of the non-music edition at $349. If you’re an audiophile who can’t imagine a jog without a decent playlist, you might lean towards the music edition priced at $399. However, I’d suggest considering whether the addition of the music feature warrants a $50 jump in price for you personally.

It’s also worth mentioning that the sizes, whether large or small, come in at the same price. While a larger watch generally means a larger display (and often a larger battery), it can also mean a heftier, potentially more cumbersome device on your wrist. Consider the trade-offs wisely.


  • The different versions cater to a diverse audience, taking into account individualistic preferences and needs.
  • Regardless of size or music choices, each watch uniformly offers a host of features.
  • The larger size does not necessarily mean a higher price – the cost remains consistent across sizes but varies depending on the music feature.

Evaluating Garmin Forerunner® 255, Slate Gray

Features Galore

  • Garmin 4Runner 255 provides full multi-sport support
  • Includes cycling power meters and multi-band GPS features
  • Upgraded with impressive accuracy at competitive price

The Garmin 4Runner 255 is packed with features and upgrades that truly set it apart from its predecessors. From full multi-sport support to a cycling power meter and even multi-band GPS support, this watch has a lot to offer. Let’s take a closer look at these exciting features.

Full Multi-Sport Support

The first notable change is the full multi-sport support which comes with the Garmin 4Runner 255. Compared to the 245 model, this watch is no longer just a running watch. It’s become a full multi-sport watch. Whether you’re into swimming, biking, running, or hiking, this watch has got you covered. I’ve put the 4Runner 255 through its paces and found it to be versatile and reliable across different sporting activities.

Cycling Power Meters Support

Another groundbreaking feature is the Cycling Power Meters support. This was not available in the previous 245 generation. With the 4Runner 255, you can pair both a cycling power meter and an indoor trainer, providing a full triathlon experience. Given the similar price point with the instinct 2 series, this improvement offers remarkable value for money.

Multi-Band GPS Support

Perhaps the most impressive feature is the multi-band, or dual frequency GPS support. It’s considered the holy grail of GPS accuracy. And the good news is, with the 4Runner 255, Garmin is going all in on it. The feature, which was first introduced with the more expensive editions – the Fenix 7 and Epic Sapphire – is now available at an approachable price point of $349.

My experience with this GPS feature was remarkable. Even in a business district flanked with tall buildings, the GPS accuracy was astounding. It is important to note that this is a noticeable improvement from other watches such as the Coros Vertex 2 and the 945 LTE that didn’t hold a candle to the 255’s accuracy in these conditions.

In summary, the Garmin 4Runner 255 is a robust multi-sport watch packed with features that take it beyond its predecessor and counterparts at a competitive price point. It provides an eclectic mix of feature-rich elements, such as improved GPS, making it a potent tool for any sports enthusiast.

Scanning Garmin Forerunner® 255, Slate Gray

The Garmin 4Runner 255 vs. other models

  • Garmin 4Runner 255 showcases exceptional GPS accuracy.
  • 4Runner 255 offers multi-band GPS support.
  • Delivers tangible upgrades against other models.

The Garmin 4Runner 255, sporting a heap of features and improved specifications, makes for a strong contender in the market. But, how does it fare against other models? In this section, I’ll dive deeper into my hands-on experience comparing the innovative 4Runner 255 with different models, including Garmin’s own Instinct Series.

The accuracy of Garmin 4Runner 255 in comparison

The accuracy of a GPS watch is crucial, whether you’re tackling a triathlon or a sprint in the park. In my testing, the 4Runner 255 displayed exceptional GPS accuracy, holding its own against a variety of other models. It includes new multi-band GPS support, an impressive upgrade that I didn’t anticipate at this price point.

When lined up against watches like the 945 LTE, the Coros Vertex 2, and the Polar Pacer Pro, the Garmin 4Runner 255 stood out with its impressively clean GPS tracks. Even amidst towering buildings and sharp turns, the 4Runner 255 showcased near-perfect GPS tracking. Keep in mind that these features and capabilities might vary depending on usage, location, and other external factors.

How the Garmin 4Runner 255 stands against the Instinct Series

Garmin’s earlier Instinct 2 Series had already set a high bar with its multi-sport support. Yet, the 4Runner 255 takes it a notch higher. Beside the staple features, Garmin 4Runner 255 comes with the advantage of multi-band GPS support, a specification noticeably absent in the Instinct series.

Despite these differences, Garmin ensures that Instinct 2 users aren’t left in the cold. As per my observation, the company is planning to roll out various software features from the 4Runner 255 to the Instinct 2 series soon. So, Instinct 2 users can look forward to experiencing some key improvements in the near future.

In conclusion, while the decision between different models might come down to subjective factors such as size, battery life, and specific feature requirements, in an unbiased head-to-head comparison, the 4Runner 255 does offer some tangible upgrades.

Expose on Garmin Forerunner® 255, Slate Gray

Taking the Accuracy Test

  • Garmin 4Runner 255 provides accurate GPS tracking
  • Offers more precise altitude data with BeoMunch altimeter
  • Introduces Nightly HRV (Heart Rate Variability) tracking

As a thorough user and reviewer, taking the all-important accuracy test of any gadget is a must-do for me, especially when it comes to a revolutionary upgrade like the Garmin 4Runner 255. In every review, I strive to provide an unbiased and critical look at the device’s performance. So, join me as we delve into the accuracy tests of this new watch from Garmin.

The Holy Grail – Multi-band GPS Accuracy

One of the prime features I was eager to test was the multi-band or dual-frequency GPS support, which Garmin has pitched as the ‘Holy Grail’ of GPS accuracy. And I’ve got to say, I was genuinely pleasantly surprised!

In my tests, the 255 handled navigating between high-rise buildings and narrow streets in the business district remarkably well. The GPS tracking was precise, and the amazing bit was that it outperformed several other models ranging from the Chorus Vertex 2 to the Polar Pacer Pro and even Garmin’s 945 LTE.

Delving Deeper into the BeoMunch Altimeter

Next up, I tested the BeoMunch altimeter, another exciting feature offered by the 4Runner 255. It’s the first time we’ve seen this in a Forerunner watch, and I found it provided more accurate altitude data than the usual GPS-based estimates. Though it doesn’t support the Climb Pro feature yet, it’s still a significant advancement in this series.

Introduction of Nightly HRV tracking

The Garmin 4Runner 255 has also introduced the concept of Nightly HRV (Heart Rate Variability) tracking, which I was keen to try out. When testing, I initially focused on the daily data but soon realized the manufacturer’s emphasis on long-term trends.

While there were slight differences noted when wearing two different watches on either wrist, as expected, the trend line over a longer time period matched closely. Even though this might seem a bit complicated, Garmin’s focus is on longitudinally representing your body’s reaction to various factors such as fatigue, sleep, alcohol, and training.

My key takeaway from all these accuracy tests is that the Garmin 4Runner 255 delivers impressively on its core promise – accurate and detailed data tracking. This makes it not only a great gadget for runners but also a powerful tool for anyone keen on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Analyzing Garmin Forerunner® 255, Slate Gray

Let’s Discuss Features (Continued)

  • New Race Widgets enhance user-experience
  • Phone-based configurations simplify settings adjustment
  • “Up Ahead” feature aids in tracking progress

Continuing on the journey of discovering the new and improved Garmin 4Runner 255, I delved into some bonus features that contribute significantly to its charm and functionality. These prominently include the new Race Widgets, phone-based configurations, and of course, the essential Up Ahead feature.

Raving over the New Race Widgets

The integration of new race widgets in this piece serves as an excellent addition in making it highly user-friendly. This feature that I stumbled upon is conveniently segregated into two different sections, giving you all the necessary race details. The Race Calendar gives you an overview of your upcoming races, while the Race Itself relates high-level details about the event. What was interesting to note was that these races are automatically configured based on your Garmin Connect calendar, which was as user-friendly as I’d hoped.

However, it’s crucial to bear in mind, at the moment, Garmin supports only running and cycling events, meaning if an event isn’t classified under these, it won’t show up on your Race Calendar. While it’s a great feature to have, it could benefit from a wider variety of supported events.

Moving Smart with Phone-based Configurations

Another feature that spiked interest was the phone-based configuration for all the settings on the watch. It allowed me to configure every data page and field using my smartphone, instead of navigating through small buttons on the watch. It was a significant relief and added to the overall positive experience.

Looking Ahead with the “Up Ahead” Feature

While out exploring on courses, I found the “Up Ahead” feature quite handy. Previously introduced in the fenix 7, it shows any waypoints you’ve defined on your course in Garmin Connect, along with the precise distances to those waypoints. This feature was extremely beneficial and made tracking progress on the course remarkably easier. However, this would depend on whether users have accurately defined their waypoints in Garmin Connect.

All in all, the Garmin 4Runner 255 packs a powerful punch with an impressive array of features. While it surely has room for improvement, it scores pretty high on the utilitarian and user-friendly scale.

Expose on Garmin Forerunner® 255, Slate Gray

Powering up with Phenomenal Battery Life

  • Garmin 4Runner 255 has outstanding battery life
  • Standby mode lasts up to 14 days, GPS mode 30 hours
  • Charge time is speedy and efficient

One of the most impressive aspects of the new Garmin 4Runner 255 is undeniably its battery life. When it comes to fitness trackers and smartwatches, battery life is often a key consideration for many users. Let’s dig into my hands-on experience without any bias to evaluate how it precisely delivers on that front.

Standby Mode versus GPS Mode

To start with, let’s talk about the battery life in different usage scenarios. The Garmin 4Runner 255 boasts a standby watch mode battery life of up to 14 days. Now, in the world of smartwatches, it’s a number that genuinely stands out. Comparing this to the previous 4Runner 245, it represents a whopping 100% increase, pretty remarkable, right? But of course, it’s essential to understand that these figures are always given in ideal conditions, so your mileage may vary depending on your usage pattern.

Exploring the GPS mode

On the other hand, if you’re actively using the GPS, the battery life is quoted as up to 30 hours in the base GPS mode. This again, in my experience, depends on just how much you’re pushing the watch with other features.

Real-life Experience

In real-world testing, I found that the battery life to be indeed long-lasting. Of course, it’s essential to realize that the exact mileage you’ll get from a battery charge depends heavily on how the watch is used. Screen brightness, workout frequency, GPS usage, and other factors can all add up. However, for day-to-day use – tracking workouts, receiving notifications, and even occasionally making Garmin Pay payments – the battery seemed to stretch comfortably over many days.

Charge Time

Speaking of charging, as far as my experience goes, juice up time is also relatively speedy. So, when you’re in a pinch, a quick top-up can provide a sufficient boost to get you through a workout or two.


All in all, The Garmin 4Runner 255 certainly lives up to its promises when it comes to battery life. It makes the smartwatch particularly attractive to those into long-duration activities. While it would be nice to see solar charging capabilities or a power-saving mode — as found in some competing devices — the current battery performance is pretty respectable for the price point.

Summary: Garmin Forerunner® 255, Slate Gray

Concluding Thoughts

After spending a significant amount of time with the Garmin 4Runner 255, I must say that it genuinely impressed me with its vast range of features and improved performance. Let’s look at what stood out and what could use some further refining.

What Impressed Me

The Garmin 4Runner 255 excelled especially in its GPS accuracy. Regardless of the environment or conditions, it consistently provided precise tracking, whether amid towering buildings or under forest canopies. The added multi-sport functionality and cycling power meter support open up a new world for triathletes at an affordable price point. The watch interface is user-friendly, and the opportunity to configure settings from a phone is a real time-saver. Lastly, an improved battery life undoubtedly will please many users.

Areas to improve

While the Garmin 4Runner 255 showcases many commendable advancements, there’s always room for improvements. For instance, while it has a robust set of features, it was a tad overwhelming to get used to all the functionalities at once. The user interface, albeit friendly, could use a more intuitive touch to make it simpler for new users.

The Verdict

Despite a few areas of potential improvement, the Garmin 4Runner 255 is an attractive and mighty watch packed with features that are undoubtedly worth the investment. Its careful attention to athletes’ needs, remarkable tracking performance, and upgraded features set it apart in the tech market.

Overall, the Garmin 4Runner 255 offers much to savor, especially for serious sports and fitness enthusiasts. Whether it’s the reliable accuracy, extended battery life, intelligent features, improved user interface, or upgraded versions, there’s a lot to be excited about with the Garmin 4Runner 255. Bear in mind, though, that like everything else, it does have a learning curve, especially for those not familiar with Garmin products.

The key takeaway? The Garmin 4Runner 255 appears to deliver the right blend of sophistication, power, and precision that can keep pace with today’s demanding and discerning users. The Garmin 4Runner 255, in essence, offers a beautiful fusion of form and function, with a strong performance at its core.

Should you buy the Garmin Forerunner® 255, Slate Gray?

Buy it if…

You crave detailed workout stats

The Garmin 4Runner 255 offers a plethora of detailed workout stats including accuracy rates, HRV tracking, race statistics, load focus, and much more. It’s perfect if you want an in-depth analysis of your training.

You engage in multiple sporting activities

The watch is not just for running; it is a full multi-sport watch suitable for swimming, cycling, running, hiking and more – it even has a Triathlon mode. If you regularly switch between different activities, this equipment absolutely fits your lifestyle.

You want extraordinary GPS accuracy

The multi-band or dual-frequency GPS support introduced in the 4Runner 255 takes GPS accuracy to a whole new level. The watch perfectly locks onto GPS even in areas with tall buildings.

Don’t buy it if…

You prefer simpler settings

While detailed, the features and metrics may be overwhelming if you are new to fitness tracking. If you are not tech-savvy or prefer a more straight-forward fitness watch, this might not be the right fit.

You’re on a tight budget

Garmin 4Runner 255 with its myriad of features comes at a price. While the price is justified for the features and quality, it might not be affordable for those with a tight budget.

You don’t require an advanced fitness watch

If your fitness routine is simple and does not require detailed metrics, the advanced features of Garmin 4Runner 255 might be overkill. A simpler, less expensive fitness watch would suit you better.


Are there different versions of the Garmin 4Runner 255?
Yes, there are 4 different versions of the Garmin 4Runner 255. They come in two different sizes and both sizes have a music and non-music version.
What is the price of the Garmin 4Runner 255?
The larger version of the 4Runner 255 (non-music edition) is priced at 349. The music edition costs 399.
Does the Garmin 4Runner 255 support multi-sport?
Yes, the Garmin 4Runner 255 now supports full multi-sport including open water swimming and cycling.
How does the Garmin 4Runner 255 compare to other models in terms of accuracy?
The Garmin 4Runner 255 has improved accuracy features especially with the addition of the multi-band or dual frequency GPS support which provides precise location tracking.
What is the battery life on the Garmin 4Runner 255?
The Garmin 4Runner 255 provides up to 30 hours of battery life in base GPS mode and 14 days in standby watch mode.
Can I configure the Garmin 4Runner 255 with my phone?
Yes, all settings of the Garmin 4Runner 255 including every data field and page can be configured using your phone.
Does the Garmin 4Runner 255 have Garmin Pay feature?
Yes, the Garmin 4Runner 255 supports the Garmin Pay feature which allows for contactless payments.
Does the Garmin 4Runner 255 have Nightly HRV tracking?
Yes, the Garmin 4Runner 255 includes the addition of nightly HRV tracking.

About Samuel Park

Samuel ParkSamuel's diverse interests, from music to management, allow him to approach reviews with an open mind and a keen ear for detail.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *