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

This time we are comparing Garmin Forerunner vs Fenix premium smart watches. These watches look so identical considering the smart watch features and it could be compelling for you to find out which one is better. Simply saying, we do prefer our Garmin Forerunner 955 over the Fenix 7 and its variants, and here is why! The Forerunner 955 does better than Fenix 7 in many aspects and offers almost everything that comes with the Fenix 7. Also, compared to the Forerunner 955, you have to pay a lot more to get some of the additional stuff that comes with the Fenix 7.

Garmin Forerunner 955 vs Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar Key Differences explained

Here is the table we have put together to help you better understand Garmin Forerunner 955 vs Fenix 7 comparison:

Comparison of#Forerunner 955Garmin Fenix 7
Our Selection forBest Running WatchBest All-Around and Outdoor Smart Watch
Latest Price TagRates on Amazon
Forerunner 955
Forerunner 955 Solar
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 DX
Power Glass Solar Charging Lens
Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX
Power Glass™
Sapphire Solar
QuickFit™ watch band compatible22-mm20-mm for Case Size 42
22-mm for Case Size 47
26-mm for Case Size 51
Physical size46.5 x 46.5 x 14.4 (mm)42 x 42 x 14.1 mm
47 x 47 x 14.5 mm
51 x 51 x 14.9 mm
Display resolution260 x 260 pixels240 x 240 pixels (42-mm diameter)
260 x 260 pixels (47-mm diameter)
280 x 280 pixels (51-mm diameter)
Battery lifeSmartwatch mode: Up to 15 days/20 days with solar*
GPS-only mode without music: Up to 42 hours/49 hours with solar*
All-Systems GNSS mode plus Multi-Band with music: Up to 8.5 hours
All Systems GNSS mode plus Multi-Band without music: Up to 20 hours/22 hours with solar*
Ultratrac mode: Up to 80 hours/110 hours with 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+®, Wi-Fi®Bluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi®
Music storageUp to 2000 SongsUp to 2000 Songs
Memory32 GBStandard and Solar 16 GB, Sapphire Solar 32 GB
Highlighted Sensors & FeaturesMulti-Frequency Positioning
Barometric Altimeter
Heart Rate Monitor
GPS & GLONASS & GALILEO
Accelerometer
Pulse Ox Blood Oxygen
Compass
Thermometer
Gyroscope
HRV Status
Touch Screen
Preloaded Topographical Maps
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)
Expert ReviewGarmin Forerunner 955 ReviewGarmin Fenix 7 vs Solar vs Sapphire Solar

So, the main differences between the Garmin Forerunner 955 and Fenix 7 are about the available case size, glass and bezel materials, water resistance ratings, battery life, weight. Also, we will be talking about some minor factors that are different in between them.

Similar Article: Garmin Forerunner 255 vs Fenix 7 Comparison

Forerunner 955 vs Fenix 7 / Solar / Sapphire solar: Key Differences

Here, we have listed the key differences between Forerunner 955 and Fenix 7 as much as we can:

  • Previously, the Forerunner models did not include touch screen. Although, this was on purpose it created a huge difference between the Forerunner and Fenix model in the past. However, the new released Forerunner 955 has a touch screen in addition to its 5-buttons (very helpful while running). So, one gap in between of Forerunner 955 and Fenix line has been closed.
  • The second notable difference between them is the case size options available. Garmin Forerunner 955 comes with only one case size option which has 46,5-mm 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 955 and Fenix 7 has Corning Gorilla Glass DX lens material on them. Also, both Forerunner 955 and 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 955. However, all these options add up to the price of Fenix 7 which makes it very expensive in comparison to the Forerunner 955.
  • Considering the durability, the bezel material of Forerunner 955 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 955. But they are still very expensive compared to the Forerunner 955.
  • The display resolution is the same for both which is 260 x 260 pixels (sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel)
  • The Forerunner 955 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.
  • Both Forerunner and Fenix can store music up to 2000 songs. However, about the memory for data recording, the Forerunner has 32 GB. But, Fenix 7 and Fenix 7 Solar have only 16 GB. You need to pay a lot more and get the Fenix Sapphire Solar to have 32 GB memory.
  • When it comes to the activity tracking and smartwatch features, both Forerunner 955 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, preloaded topographical maps are only included in the Forerunner 955 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 may be the only one factor which makes the Fenix 7 better than the Forerunner 955. The Fenix line has a better batter-life than the Forerunner 955. You can check out the section below related to their battery-life expectations.

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Glass and Bezel Material Compared

The first noticeable difference between these watches is the Glass and Bezel Materials. The Forerunner 955 has a glass made of Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX. This is the same for the glass of standard Fenix 7. The Corning Gorilla Glass DX is highly durable and resistant to scratches, but not 100% resistant to scratches. You can check out following video to learn more about Corning Gorilla Glass DX.

On the other hand, Forerunner 955 Solar and Fenix 7 Solar have Power Glass to produce some electricity through its solar panels.

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 almost $200 more compared to Forerunner 955 and Fenix 7.

Battery-life for Garmin Forerunner vs Fenix

When it comes to battery-life, the Forerunner vs Fenix comparison could be competitive. All of them are having great battery life up and does better than their competitors such as Apple Watch 7.

However, battery of Fenix 7 and its variants last slightly longer than the Forerunner 955. We have compared the battery-life expectancy of Forerunner 955 with the Fenix 7 / Solar / Sapphire Solar in the table below:

Comparing the #Garmin Forerunner 955 PerformanceGarmin Fenix 7 / Solar / Sapphire Solar
Battery lifeSmartwatch mode: Up to 15 days/20 days with solar*
GPS-only mode without music: Up to 42 hours/49 hours with solar*
All-Systems GNSS mode plus Multi-Band with music: Up to 8.5 hours
All Systems GNSS mode plus Multi-Band without music: Up to 20 hours/22 hours with solar*
Ultratrac mode: Up to 80 hours/110 hours with solar*
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 955.

Power/Battery Save Mode

This is an overrated function of the Fenix 7 and its variants. Basically, the Fenix 7 has some additional watch modes to save more power and extend the battery-life. A very similar thing is included in the Forerunner 955, but you need to deactivate the functions manually one by one to extend the battery life.

Bottom-life for Garmin Forerunner vs Fenix Comparison:

Our verdict for the Garmin Forerunner 955 vs Fenix 7 comparison is that we will never give up the Forerunner 955 for the Fenix ​​7. Simply saying, the Forerunner 955 is way cheaper than Fenix 7, Fenix 7 Solar or Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar.

Although their prices are pretty much similar, the Forerunner 955 does a better job than the standard Fenix 7. Since some features and sensors that comes with the Forerunner 955 are only available with the high-end Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar but not with the standard Fenix 7 or Fenix 7 Solar.

On the other hand, we found 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 955 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:

You may also wonder how Garmin Fenix 6 performs agains Apple Watch Series 7. We have compared Garmin Fenix 7 vs Apple Watch 7 side by side, if you would like to read further on this.