Garmin Forerunner 965 vs Forerunner 255

Forerunner 965 is Garmin’s smartwatch offering for runners. It was released in March 2023. Forerunner 255 was released in 2022.

What are the main features and capabilities of Forerunner 965 and 255? We look at the main features of both watches below.

Main differences between Forerunner 965 and Forerunner 255

  • Forerunner 965 is priced at $599.99 and Forerunner 255 is priced at $349.99.
  • Forerunner 965 has an AMOLED display and Forerunner 255 uses a MIP or memory-in-pixel screen.
  • Forerunner 965 has a better display lens.
  • Forerunner 965 is broader than Forerunner 255.
  • Forerunner 965 offers better battery backup.
  • Forerunner 965 supports Golf while the Forerunner 255 does not have Golf.
  • Forerunner 255 does not have any music capability. Forerunner 965 has full music compatibility.
  • Forerunner 965 has additional profiles for cycling, swimming, training, running, and outdoor recreation.
  • Forerunner 965 has additional wireless connectivity of Wi-Fi. Both watches have ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity.

There is a substantial difference between the features and capabilities of Forerunner 965 and 255. We evaluate these differences in detail below.

Garmin Forerunner 965 close up of display


Forerunner 255 costs $349.99 and Forerunner 965 has been released at a price point of $599.99. Forerunner 965 is almost 70% more expensive than the Forerunner 255.

If cost is one of the deciding criteria, you may like to get a Forerunner 255. It does offer basic tracking features for runners.

Forerunner 965 is designed for advanced or serious runners.


Forerunner 965 has an AMOLED display and a DX coated Corning Gorilla Glass 3. These two features are very significant. We tell you why the Forerunner 965’s display is a generation ahead of the Forerunner 255.

The AMOLED display of Forerunner 965 brings two direct advantages:

  • Forerunner 965 has a display resolution of 454 x 454 pixels. The improvement in display resolution is made possible by the availability of an AMOLED display. In comparison, Forerunner 255 has a display resolution of 260 x 260 pixels.
  • Always-on-display or AOD is supported on Forerunner 965 because of AMOLED display.

DX coated Corning Gorilla Glass 3 is a 3rd generation Gorilla glass with a special anti-reflective coating. The anti-reflective coating helps in improving the readability of the display screen, especially during days of bright sunshine.

AMOLED display and DX coating must be considered as two major differentiators between the Forerunner 965 and Forerunner 255.

Apart from these display differences, you may also need to be aware of the following:

  • Forerunner 965 has an ambient light sensor, while Forerunner 255 does not have it.
  • Forerunner 965 has a touchscreen feature. Forerunner 255 lacks the touchscreen feature.

Both watches have a color display.

Physical specifications

Forerunner 965 is a broader watch than Forerunner 255. There are marginal differences in the watch size of both variants. The detailed specifications are shared below.

SpecificationsForerunner 965Forerunner 255
Watch dimensions47.2 x 47.2 x 13.2 mm45.6 x 45.6 x 12.9 mm
Display diameter1.4″ or 35.4 mm1.3″ or 33 mm
Thickness13.2 mm12.9 mm
Weight53 g49 g
Device storage53 g49 g
Band size22 mm22 mm
Band materialSiliconeSilicone
BezelTitaniumFiber-enforced polymer
Watch bodyFiber-enforced polymerFiber-enforced polymer
Recommended wrist circumference135-205 mm130-205 mm

The bezel material of Forerunner 965 is made of titanium. A titanium finish gives a premium look to the Forerunner 965.

Garmin Forerunner 255 smartwatch


Forerunner 965 offers an extended battery backup. It is designed to ensure that serious runners are never out of charge on trail runs or hiking tours.

Forerunner 255 does offer a decent backup, especially when it comes to battery backup and performance on various GPS modes.

The actual stated battery backups on different watch modes are shared hereunder.

Watch modeForerunner 965 backupForerunner 255 backup
Smartwatch modeup to 23 daysup to 14 days
GPS mode without musicup to 31 hoursup to 30 hours
All systems GNSS with multi-band GPS up to 19 hoursup to 16 hours

The stated difference in battery backup on GPS modes is marginal. Therefore, we believe that battery capacity is not a major differentiator between the Forerunner 965 and Forerunner 255 smartwatches.

In any case, a fully drained-out battery can be fully charged within 2 hours. So, you are back in business pretty quickly with both watches.


Forerunner 965 has full-fledged music features. This would allow the following ways by which you can manage music:

  • You can store music locally on the device storage of the Forerunner 965
  • You can control the music on the watch directly.
  • You can also control music on the paired smartphone from the Forerunner 965

Forerunner 255 lacks music features. If you are interested in a Forerunner 255 with music capability, you may be better off choosing the Forerunner 255 Music edition smartwatch.

Safety features

Forerunner 965 offers a couple of additional safety measures. These measures have been designed to keep in touch with the watch owner when he or she is in a remote area.

  • Spectator messaging – Spectator messaging is a feature that allows your LiveTrack followers to send you audio and text messages during your run activity. It will use the network of a paired smartphone to receive messages.
  • Group LiveTrack – The GroupTrack feature allows you to keep track of other connections in your group using LiveTrack directly on the screen. All members of the group must be your connections in your Garmin Connect account.

Spectator messaging and Group LiveTrack are unavailable on Forerunner 255.

Final verdict

If budget is not a constraint, the Forerunner 965 is a preferred watch for the following reasons:

  1. AMOLED display
  2. DX coated Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  3. Much better device storage of 32 GB
  4. Golf support and compatibility with Garmin Golf
  5. Spectator messaging and Group LiveTrack safety features
  6. Full-fledged music feature on Forerunner 965

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