Garmin Forerunner 255 vs Fenix 7: Key Differences & Selection Guide [2022]

This time we are comparing Garmin Forerunner 255 vs Fenix 7 smart watches and list the key differences between them. These watches are very popular and it could be compelling for you to find out which one is better. Basically, the Forerunner 255 is an entry-level running watch, whereas, the Fenix 7 is an outdoor version. However, the Forerunner 255 has tons of premium features and sensors which is also available on the Fenix 7.

So, you might want to go with the Forerunner 255 instead of Fenix 7 since the Fenix 7 is less affordable.

Garmin Forerunner 255 vs Fenix 7 Main Differences

Here is the table we have put together to help you better understand Garmin Forerunner 255 vs Fenix 7 comparison:

Comparison of#Forerunner 255Garmin Fenix 7
Our Selection forBest Entry Level Running WatchBest All-Around and Outdoor Smart Watch
Latest Price TagRates on Amazon
41 mm / 46 mm
Rates on Amazon
Fenix 7
Fenix 7 Solar
Fenix 7 Solar Sapphire
Bezel MaterialPolymer-fiber reinforcedStainless steel (Fenix 7 Standard)
Stainless steel (Fenix 7 Solar)
Titanium (Fenix 7 Solar Sapphire)
Lens MaterialCorning® Gorilla® Glass 3Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX
Power Glass™
Sapphire Solar
QuickFit™ watch band compatible22-mm for Case Size 45.6-mm
18-mm for Case Size 41-mm
20-mm for Case Size 42
22-mm for Case Size 47
26-mm for Case Size 51
Physical size41 x 41 x 12.4 (mm)
45.6 x 45.6 x 12.9 (mm)
42 x 42 x 14.1 mm
47 x 47 x 14.5 mm
51 x 51 x 14.9 mm
Display resolution
218 x 218 pixels (41-mm diameter)
260 x 260 pixels (45.6-mm diameter)
240 x 240 pixels (42-mm diameter)
260 x 260 pixels (47-mm diameter)
280 x 280 pixels (51-mm diameter)
Battery lifeFor Case Size 45.6 mm
Smartwatch mode: Up to 14 days
GPS-Only GNSS mode: Up to 30 hours
All-Systems GNSS mode: Up to 25 hours
All-Systems GNSS mode plus Multi-Band: Up to 16 hours
For Case Size 47 mm Non-Solar
In Smartwatch Mode: approx. 18 days.
GPS Only: approx. 57 days.
All Satellite Systems: approx. 40 hours.
All Satellite Systems and Music: approx. 10 hours.
Max Battery GPS: approx. 136 hours.
Expedition GPS: approx. 40 days.
In Battery Saver Mode: approx. 173 days.
(Solar Model has an Extended Battery-life, check out the Battery-life review in this post)
Water Resistance5 ATM10 ATM
ConnectivityBluetooth®, ANT+®Bluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi®
Smartphone Music ControlYesYes
Music storageOn 255 Music OnlyUp to 2000 Songs
Memory4 GBStandard and Solar 16 GB, Sapphire Solar 32 GB
Highlighted Sensors & FeaturesMuti-Frequncy Positioning
Barometric Altimeter
Heart Rate Monitor
GPS & GLONASS & GALILEO
Accelerometer
Pulse Ox Blood Oxygen
Compass
Thermometer
Gyroscope
HRV Status
Multi-Frequency Positioning (Only on Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar)
Barometric Altimeter
Heart Rate Monitor
GPS & GLONASS & GALILEO
Accelerometer
Pulse Ox Blood Oxygen
Compass
Thermometer
Gyroscope
HRV Status
Touch Screen
Preloaded Topographical Maps (Only on Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar)
LiveTrack & Incident DetectionYesYes
Training Load & StatusYesYes
Point-to-point navigation
Bread crumb trail in real time
Back to start
YesYes

So, the main differences between the Garmin Forerunner 255 and Fenix 7 are about the available case size, glass and bezel materials, water resistance ratings, battery life, weight, music storage. Also, we will be talking about some minor factors that are different in between them.

Similar Article: Garmin Forerunner 955 vs Fenix 7 (Solar & Sapphire Solar)

Forerunner 255 vs Fenix 7 / Solar / Sapphire Solar: Key Differences

Here, we have listed the key differences between Forerunner 255 and Fenix 7 as much as we can:

  • The Fenix 7 has a touch screen in addition to its buttons, however, the Forerunner 255 comes with only buttons.
  • The second notable difference between them is the case size options available. Garmin Forerunner 255 comes with two different case size option such as 41-mm and 45.5-mm in diameters. On the other hand, Fenix 7 has three case size options which are 42, 47 and 51-mm. Of course, their prize tags increase according to their diameter.
  • The standard models of Forerunner 255 and Fenix 7 has Corning Gorilla Glass lens material on them. However, the Fenix 7 has Solar option available. Those models have Power Glass Solar Charging Lens on them which offer extended battery-life. In addition to the Solar options, only Fenix 7 offer the model with the Sapphire Crystal Glass. So, the Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar model has a scratch resistant glass which is made of Sapphire. Therefore, it is more durable than the Forerunner 255. However, all these options add up to the price of Fenix 7 which makes it very expensive in comparison to the Forerunner 255.
  • Considering the durability, the bezel material of Forerunner 255 is made of reinforced fiber polymer. On the other hand, the Fenix 7 and Solar have stainless steel bezel material. The high-end Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar has a bezel materiel of Titanium. So that the all-Fenix model has sturdier construction in comparison to the Forerunner 255.
  • The display type is the same for both which is sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel. The screen resolution changes with the case size you select. You can check out the table in the first heading to learn more about it.
  • The Forerunner 255 has 5 ATM (50 meters) water resistance rate, on the other hand, all the Fenix 7 has 10 ATM (100 meters) water resistance ratings. But we still think that this is an overkill, if you are not a professional technical deep diver.
  • The Fenix 7 can store music up to 2000 songs. However, the on-device music storage in the Forerunner 255 is optional. You need to get the Forerunner 255 Music to store music in device. The Forerunner 255 Music can store up to 500 songs.
  • The available memory for data recording on the Fenix 7 is more than the Forerunner 255. For instance, the Forerunner 255 has 4-GB memory. On the other hand, Fenix 7 and Fenix 7 Solar have 16-GB. In addition, if you get the Sapphire Solar edition of Fenix 7, you will have 32-GB memory.
  • When it comes to the activity tracking and smartwatch features, both Forerunner 255 and Fenix 7 offers almost the same. They have the same sensors and features that we present in the table under the first heading. However, some premium features such as multi-frequency positioning is only included in the Forerunner 255 and Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar. So, you are not going to be able to get these with the Fenix 7 Standard and Solar only models.
  • About the battery-life, it is so clear that the Fenix 7 is better than the Forerunner 255. The Fenix line has a better batter-life than the Forerunner 255. You can check out the section below related to their battery-life expectations.

Glass and Bezel Material Compared

The first noticeable difference between these watches is the Glass and Bezel Materials. The Forerunner 255 has a glass made of Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3. However, the Fenix 7 has the Glass DX variant. The Corning Gorilla Glass DX is highly durable and resistant to scratches, but not 100% resistant to scratches.

The Fenix 7 has also a solar variant which has solar panels on it. Its Power Glass produces some electricity through its solar panels. On the other hand, there is no solar option available on the Forerunner 255.

About the Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar, its glass is made of Sapphire Crystal and almost impossible to scratch it. But it cost a lot, you need to pay a lot more compared to Forerunner 255.

Battery-Life for Garmin Forerunner 255 vs Fenix 7

When it comes to battery-life, Fenix 7 does better than the Forerunner 255. We have compared the battery-life expectancy of Forerunner 255 with the Fenix 7 / Solar / Sapphire Solar in the table below:

Comparing the #Garmin Forerunner 255 PerformanceGarmin Fenix 7 / Solar / Sapphire Solar
Battery lifeFor Case Size 45.6 mm
Smartwatch mode: Up to 14 days
GPS-Only GNSS mode: Up to 30 hours
All-Systems GNSS mode: Up to 25 hours
All-Systems GNSS mode plus Multi-Band: Up to 16 hours
Smartwatch: Up to 18 days/22 days with solar*
Battery Saver Watch Mode: Up to 57 days/173 days with solar*
GPS Only: Up to 57 hours/73 hours with solar**
All Satellite Systems: Up to 40 hours/48 hours with solar*
All Satellite Systems + Multi-band: Up to 23 hours/26 hours with solar**
All Satellite Systems + Music: Up to 10 hours
Max Battery GPS: Up to 136 hours/289 hours with solar**
Expedition GPS: Up to 40 days/74 days with solar*

*Solar charging, assuming all-day wear with 3 hours per day outside in 50,000 lux conditions
**Solar charging, assuming use in 50,000 lux conditions

To be honest, we like to listen to music and activate the GPS mode while running. Therefore, we are charging their battery at the end of each day. So, unless you’re on an expedition or desperately need 40 days of battery life, it doesn’t make sense to choose the Fenix ​​series over Forerunner 255.

Smartphone Music Play & Music Storage

The music storage in the Forerunner 255 is optional. If you want to play song while your phone is not with you, you need to get the Forerunner 255 Music edition which can store music up to 500. On the other hand, the music storage function in the Fenix 7 line is there by default and it can store up to 2000 songs.

As long as your phone with you, both devices can control the smartphone for music play.

Bottom-line for Garmin Forerunner 255 vs Fenix 7 Comparison

Our verdict for the Garmin Forerunner 255 vs Fenix 7 comparison is that we will never give up the Forerunner 255 for the Fenix ​​7. Simply saying, the Forerunner 255 is way cheaper than Fenix 7, Fenix 7 Solar or Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar.

Most of the premium features and sensors of the Fenix 7 are also included in the Forerunner 255.

However, you might want to go with the Fenix 7, if you need more battery-life or a rugged outdoor watch.

Some of the features that comes with Fenix 7 line are over-rated. You should consider, do you really need 10 ATM water resistance, battery life which can last to 40 for expedition, and insanely strong glass material (only on Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar). Personally, we never needed these additional stuffs.

We still prefer our Forerunner 255 over the Fenix 7. But when all these overrated features and functions of Fenix 7 add up, it may make sense for you.

Here is the links that you can check the latest rates on Amazon:

References:

Garmin Forerunner 255 support and how to use video:

Introduction to Garmin Forerunner 255 and its user manual: https://www8.garmin.com/manuals/webhelp/GUID-676967A0-1B23-4384-9BC9-76F3D643F1C8/EN-US/Forerunner_255_OM_EN-US.pdf

Garmin Fenix 7 support and how to use video:

Introduction to Garmin Fenix 7 and its user manual: https://www8.garmin.com/manuals/webhelp/GUID-C001C335-A8EC-4A41-AB0E-BAC434259F92/EN-US/fenix_7_Series_OM_EN-US.pdf