Garmin Forerunner 255 vs Vivoactive 4

Garmin Forerunner 255 was released in June 2022 while Vivoactive 4 has been around since September 2019. Forerunner 255, therefore, is a relatively newer variant of the Garmin smartwatch.

We look at the features, functions, and capabilities of the Forerunner 255 and Vivoactive 4 smartwatches below.

Main differences

The most significant differences between the Forerunner 255 and Vivoactive 4 are shared below.

  • Forerunner 255 has multi-band GPS while the Vivoactive 4 lacks this feature.
  • Forerunner 255 has better device storage or internal memory than Vivoactive 4.
  • Forerunner 255 also provides longer battery backup than the Vivoactive 4.
  • Vivoactive 4 has a touchscreen feature while the Forerunner 255 lacks it.
  • To take temperature readings on Vivoactive 4, you will need to buy the tempe sensor separately. That will set you back by $39.99. Forerunner 255 has an in-built temperature sensor for wrist-based temperature readings.
  • Forerunner 255 does not support Wi-Fi connectivity.
  • Forerunner 255 has a considerably higher number of profiles for running, swimming, outdoor recreation, and cycling.
  • Forerunner 255 has a full suite of training and planning features for runners.

We review these differences and other features of both smartwatches below.

Display specifications

Forerunner 255 and Vivoactive 4 smartwatches come with the third-generation Corning Gorilla Glass on the display screen.

Both watches have the MIP or memory-in-pixel display technology.

You will not find many remarkable differences in the display specifications of the Forerunenr 255 and Vivoactive 4 smartwatches.

We look at all the display specifications of Forerunner 255 and Vivoactive 4 below.

Display specificationsForerunner 255Vivoactive 4
Display lensCorning Gorilla Glass 3Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Display size1.3″ or 33 mm1.3″ or 33 mm
Display typeMIP (Memory in pixel)MIP (Memory in pixel)
Display resolution260 x 260 pixels260 x 260 pixels
Pixel density283 ppi283 ppi
Color displayYesYes
LED FlashlightNoNo
Ambient light sensorNoNo

The touchscreen feature is missing on Forerunner 255. All other display specifications of Forerunner 255 and Vivoactive 4 are identical.

Garmin Forerunner 255 for runners

Physical specifications

There are some significant differences between the Forerunner 255 and Vivoactive 4 in terms of hardware specifications. Some of these include device storage and wireless connectivity.

We look at the physical specifications in a side-by-side comparison below.

SpecificationsForerunner 255Vivoactive 4
Watch size45.6 x 45.6 x 12.9 mm45.1 x 45.1 x 12.8 mm
Thickness12.9 mm12.8 mm
Watch weight49 g50.5 g
Watch bodyFiber-enforced polymerFiber-enforced polymer
BezelFiber-enforced polymerStainless steel
Band materialSiliconeSilicone
Band size22 mm22 mm
Recommended wrist circumference130-205 mm135-200 mm
Device storage4 GB200 hours of activity data
Water rating5 ATM (50 meters)5 ATM (50 meters)
Swimming profilePool Swimming, Open Water SwimmingPool Swimming
Wireless ConnectivityANT+, BluetoothANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
NFCGarmin PayGarmin Pay
Barometric AltimeterYesYes
ThermometerYesYes (tempe sensor needed)
Garmin Elevate Heart sensorYesYes
Pulse Ox SpO2 sensorYesYes
Find my phoneYesYes
Find my watchYesYes
Sunrise/sunset timesYesYes
GPS time syncYesYes
Body battery scoreYesYes
iOS compatibleYesYes
Android compatibleYesYes

Forerunner 255 has 4 GB device storage and an in-built temperature sensor. it also has an additional swimming profile for open water swimming.

Vivoactive 4 has a stainless steel bezel.


Forerunner 255 and Vivoactive 4 support GPS networks comprising GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo.

However, Forerunner 255 offers more reliable GPS performance than the Vivoactive 4 smartwatch.

One of the most important differences between the Forerunner 255 and Vivoactive 4 is the multi-frequency positioning sensor in Forerunner 255.

The multi-frequency positioning sensor allows Forerunner 255 to support multi-band GPS.

Multi-band GPS is a useful feature for improving the reliability and accuracy of GPS data. With multi-band GPS, you can get GPS data from multiple satellites at the same time.

Multi-band GPS also causes a substantial battery drain. To offset that, Garmin has integrated SatIQ technology in Forerunner 255.

SatIQ is an intelligent technology. It will automatically turn on or turn off the multi-band GPS mode on the Forerunner 255 smartwatch.

If the GPS signal is weak, SatIQ will automatically turn on the multi-band GPS mode. If the GPS signal is of good quality or strength, SatIQ will turn off the multi-band GPS technology and use the simple GPS mode instead.

If you are curious about how the SatIQ technology works, consider reading this document shared by Garmin. It explains the SatIQ technology in a clear and concise way.

The combination of multi-band GPS and SatIQ technology in Forerunner 255 ensures better GPS performance and accuracy than Vivoactive 4 smartwatch.

Garmin Vivoactive 4 smartwatch


Forerunner 255 offers limited music functionality while the Vivoactive 4 offers full support for music features.

With a Forerunner 255, you can control music on the paired smartphone. There is no possibility of storing music files on the watch storage.

On a Vivoactive 4, you can store music files on the watch. So, Vivoactive 4 allows you full music functionality.

On the Vivoactive 4, you can support the following music features:

  • You can manage music on the paired smartphone.
  • You can store music on the watch.
  • You can manage music on the smartwatch.

If you like the Forerunner 255 and need full music functionality, you can get the Forerunner 255 music edition. It is as good as the Forerunner 255 smartwatch bundled with music features.

Vivoactive 4 has full music support while the Forerunner 255 offers limited music functionality.


Forerunner 255 is designed for runners. It is, therefore, made to provide longer battery backup than contemporary watches.

In comparison with Vivoactive 4, Forerunner 255 offers better battery backup. We look at the battery backup offered by Forerunner 255 and Vivoactive 4 in different watch modes below.

Watch modeForerunner 255Vivoactive 4
Smartwatch modeUp to 14 daysUp to 8 days
GPS mode without musicUp to 30 hoursUp to 18 hours
GPS mode with musicMusic not availableUp to 6 hours
All-Systems GNSS mode Up to 25 hoursNot available
All-Systems GNSS mode plus Multi-Band Up to 16 hoursMulti-band not available

Forerunner 255 offers better or longer battery backup than Vivoactive 4. Additionally, Forerunner 255 has the ‘Battery saver mode’ while the Vivoactive 4 lacks it.

Miscellaneous differences

There are quite a few miscellaneous differences between the Forerunner 255 and Vivoactive 4. We list these features in brief below.

  • Forerunner 255 supports HIIT workouts and on-screen workout muscle maps.
  • Vivoactive 4 offers cardio workouts.
  • Forerunner 255 offers additional running profiles for Outdoor Track Running, Trail Running, Virtual Running, Ultra Running.
  • Forerunner 255 has an additional profile for hiking.
  • Forerunner 255 has additional cycling profiles for Mountain Biking, eBiking, eMountain Biking.
  • Forerunner 255 can send incident detection alerts on the phone. It also supports Live Event sharing on Android phones.


Forerunner 255 comes at a list price of $349.99 and Vivoactive 4 also uses the same list price. However, both watches go on sale from time to time.

Final verdict

Between Forerunenr 255 and Vivoactive 4, the Forerunner 255 looks better on account of the following features:

  • Multi-band GPS
  • SatIQ technology
  • Longer battery life

Forerunner 255 is suitable for runners and athletes.

For generic smartwatch use, Vivoactive 4 is a pretty decent watch and one of the highest-selling smartwatches of Garmin.

It all boils down to the use case scenario for Forerunner 255 and Vivoactive 4 smartwatch.

Suggested reading

You may like to read more smartwatch comparison studies shared in the pages below:

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 4.7 / 5. Vote count: 3

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?