Garmin Forerunner 965 vs Forerunner 955 Solar

Forerunner 965 and Forerunner 955 Solar cost the same. So, the comparison between Forerunner 965 and 955 Solar is an interesting piece.

We look at the Forerunner 965 and pit it against the 955 Solar for serious runners.

Main differences between Forerunner 965 and 955 Solar

For our comparison study, we have concentrated on the primary or main features of both watches. From time to time, Garmin makes feature advancements. Some of these features are of small significance and hence we will ignore these in this study.

  • Forerunner 965 comes with an AMOLED display and 955 Solar has a MIP (Memory in pixel) screen.
  • The battery backup on Forerunner 965 is almost equal to the battery backup offered by Forerunner 955 Solar on solar charging.
  • Forerunner 965 is slightly bigger than the Forerunner 955 Solar
  • An ambient light sensor has been added to Forerunner 965
  • Both watches cost $599.99

We will look at these differences in detail hereunder.

Forerunner 965

Display

The main advancement on the Forerunner 965 has happened with the launch of the AMOLED display. AMOLED display gives a brighter screen with much better display clarity.

Due to AMOLED display, a Forerunner 965 goes beyond the Forerunner 955 Solar in the following ways:

  • Forerunner 965 has a display resolution of 454 x 454 pixels and the Forerunner 955 Solar has a display resolution of 260 x 260 pixels.
  • Always-on-display or AOD mode is supported by Forerunner 965. This has been made possible by the AMOLED display.

However, the AOD feature consumes a considerable amount of battery. So, we do suggest using the Always-on-display feature after considering the impact on battery life.

Apart from the AMOLED display, an ambient light sensor helps improve the user experience on the Forerunner 965.

Both watches have a touchscreen and color display.

Additionally, we would like to mention a word about the DX coated Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The DX coating on the Corning Gorilla Glass is an anti-reflective coating that improves screen brightness. A benefit of DX coating is an improved readability experience, especially under the sun.

Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar

Physical specifications

The Forerunner 965 smartwatch is slightly broader than the Forerunner 955 Solar. We look at the exact watch dimensions below.

Physical specificationsForerunner 965Hardware specifications
Watch dimensions47.2 x 47.2 x 13.2 mm46.5 x 46.5 x 14.4 mm
Display dimensions1.4″1.3″
Recommended wrist circumference135-205 mm130-220 mm
Display glassCorning Gorilla Glass 3 DXCorning Gorilla Glass 3 DX
Display typeAMOLEDMIP (Memory-in-pixel)
Bezel materialTitaniumFiber-enforced polymer
Watch body materialFiber-enforced polymerFiber-enforced polymer
Watch band size22 mm22 mm
Weight53 g53 g
Device storage32 GB32 GB

Pay special attention to the bezel material. The titanium bezel of the Forerunner 965 lends a premium look to the Forerunner 965 smartwatch.

Battery

In terms of battery backup, we believe that the Forerunner 965 is a better option than Forerunner 955 Solar.

The backup offered by Forerunner 965 is equal to or marginally lower than the backup offered by Forerunner 955 Solar. There are two reasons why we believe that the Forerunner 965 has a better battery:

  • Forerunner 955 Solar’s higher battery backup is made possible only if you use solar charging.
  • To effectively use solar charging, you need to expose the watch for at least 3 hours every day in the bright sunlight of 50000 lux or more brightness.

The Forerunner 965 offers decent battery life without the hassle of using solar charging.

On various watch modes, we compare the battery life of Forerunner 965 and 955 Solar below.

  • Smartwatch mode – Forerunner 965 can go up to 23 days. Forerunner 955 Solar can go up to 20 days on Solar charging and 15 days on regular charging.
  • GPS mode – Forerunner 965 can go up to 31 hours. Forerunner 955 Solar has a range of 42-49 hours.
  • All systems GNSS with multi-mode GPS and music – Forerunner 965 can go up to 8.5 hours and Forerunner 955 Solar can last for up to 8.5 hours

Effectively, the battery of Forerunner 965 offers decent backup without the need to get into solar charging hassles.

Final verdict

So, should you get a Forerunner 965 or 955 Solar?

I would love to pick the Forerunner 965 over the 955 Solar for the following reasons:

  • AMOLED display
  • A good extended battery life without the need to go solar
  • Titanium bezel (love it)
  • Personal satisfaction with owning the latest (March 2023) Forerunner smartwatch

Forerunner 955 Solar is a good watch, and there may be reasons for people to prefer it over the Forerunner 965. For some reason, I have never been a fan of solar charging on watches.

Solar charging on smartwatches seems to be a marketing ploy. In my personal opinion, solar charging on watches is not a practically usable feature for most people. This is because you need to be outdoors in bright sunshine for at least 3 hours to make use of the solar charging capability of the smartwatch.

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