Fitness Newbies, This Beginner-Friendly Smartwatch May Finally Motivate You to Work Out

We tested out the new Garmin Forerunner 55.

( Choosing personal devices—whether smartphones, audio devices, laptops, or what have you—can be a quite a tedious process, one that involves assessing your own specific needs, preferences, habits, and budget. If a smartwatch is what’s currently on your wish list, for example, you may be asking yourself some necessary questions like: How much am I willing to shell out for a fitness tracker? What specs and features will help me achieve my health goals? How will I incorporate the device into my daily routine. If you're a beginner when it comes to smartwatches and fitness, the Garmin Forerunner 55 is a model you may want to consider. Luckily, we got to try it out! Find out more about our experience with the watch below.

Here's everything you need to know about the new Garmin Forerunner 55 Smartwatch:

Fast Facts

Garmin Forerunner 55 in Black, Aqua, and Monterra Gray
Left to right: Garmin Forerunner 55 in Black, Aqua, and Monterra Gray

Price: P11,395
Where to buy: Available on the Kinetic website, Lazada, and Shopee. For physical stores, see a list of Garmin retailers.
Available colors: Black, Aqua, and Monterra Gray
Display size: 26.3 mm
Display resolution: 208 x 208 pixels
Battery life: Up to two weeks on smartwatch mode, up to 20 hours on GPS mode
Lens material: Glass
Strap material: Silicone

First Impressions

Monterra Gray Garmin Forerunner 55 side by side angle
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Our genuine first thought upon inspecting the Garmin Forerunner 55 up close was "wow, that's lightweight." Bulky or heavy devices will be an immediate no for many—especially when it comes to wearable devices like smartwatches—so right off the bat, the Forerunner 55's build would appeal to a wide range of users.

It sports a classic round display face, similar to the previous model in the watch series (the Forerunner 45). Looks-wise, the device keeps it mostly no-frills. Its silicone watch strap known as the Quick Release Band can be replaced with straps of varying colors, but maintains a pretty run-of-the-mill design, though it has end-to-end adjustment holes to fit a wide variety of wrist sizes. The 55's controls are limited to five butons situated around the display, each with simple, straight-to-the-point labels that make the interface easy to figure out right away.

Garmin Connect App

To use the device, you need to download the Garmin Connect App (available on the App Store and Google Play Store). The initial setup process was quick, seamless, and user-friendly. We downloaded the app and set up an account—the app pretty much took care of everything else. You'll be asked right away if you want to activate location services and watch notifications, so even on first use, the settings will be tailored to your liking. Plus, the Garmin Connect App and Forerunner 55 can sync to your phone's built-in health app, so any previous data you have about your fitness habits will be taken into consideration.

Black Garmin Forerunner 55
PHOTO BY Ashley Martelino

Display-wise, the watch's default setting shows a simple, always-on interface with the time, date, and battery light on screen. While on standby, the watchface is projected in low light, but you have the option to switch on a backlight if you ever need a brighter view of the screen. There is a default clockface already set, but you can quickly change it either with the built-in options or with free, downloadable wallpapers and widgets via the Connect IQ App (available on the App Store and Google Play Store).

It should be noted that the display face is neither the brightest or most high-resolution in the market and even not in this price range. It's also doesn't make use of touch-screen technology, but if you're not too picky, it does get the job done. Plus, we'd argue that the buton controls provide easy enough navigation not to mention, do away with having to use your adult-sized fingers to select menu options on a small screen.

Notable Features

The Basics

As you might expect, the watch has all the basic features of most digital watches including a time display, an alarm clock, and a stopwatch as well as the essentials you'd come to expect from every fitness tracker like a heart rate monitor and pedometer.

Health Trackers

Garmin Forerunner 55 health trackers
PHOTO BY Ashley Martelino

Aside from the basics, the Forerunner 55 can also measure respiration rate, fitness age, stress levels, sleep quality, and body battery (a comprehensive measure of your energy level based on heart rate, stress, and activity). You can also keep track of your daily hydration habits and monthly period using the Garmin Control app, so that the watch has a more comprehensive view of your health. Plus, it even has relaxation reminders to help you manage your stress as well as a progress bar to show you how far you are from reaching small goals like your step count—perfect for fitness newbies who need the extra motivation.


Garmin Forerunner 55 notification system
PHOTO BY Ashley Martelino

One of our favorite features of the Forerunner 55 has to be its notification system. When connected to your phone, it can display your mobile's notifications right on your watch screen whether texts, online messages, e-mails, social media alerts, and other important notifications. Where some smartwatches only offer a preview message or a portion of the full phone notification, the Forerunner 55 lets you scroll through even a long text or e-mail, so you can be updated on important reminders and tasks even when you don't have your phone in your hands. You can also connect the smartwatch to your phone's calendar app as well as its weather app.


Exercise Guidance

Garmin Forerunner 55 exercise guidance
PHOTO BY Ashley Martelino

The Forerunner 55 offers cool support features to help you keep track of your progress in various workouts including cycling, swimming, strangth training, yoga, pilates, walking, elliptical training, high-intensity interval training, and more. Some cool built-in features for runners include the LiveTrack function, which lets you share your real-time position and jogging route information with friends and family, the Track and Field function to monitor your distance and lap trajectory, and the Pacepro Speed Strategy function, which can help you plan out your route and running pace by analyzing elevation changes in the spaces you frequent. The Forerunner 55 also has daily training tips based on your physical condition, average recovery time, and recent exercise performances. That way, you can set realistic goals for yourself each time you work out. It also suggests personalized recovery times to ensure you can get an adequate amount of rest between workouts.


Conclusion: Should you buy the Garmin Forerunner 55?

If you're new to fitness, health, and keeping track of either using a smartwatch, the Garmin Forerunner 55 is a worthy investment. It's not intimidating in the sense that it will be difficult to use nor too basic that it doesn't warrant its price tag. It will provide invaluable guidance that can not only motivate you to work out, but also help you keep track of your progress, make your exercise regimen easier and more efficient, and help you maintain a healthier lifestyle. Trust us, we're total couch potatoes and even we got lots of use out of it.

For more information, log on to Garmin Philippines' Facebook page.

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