Garmin Forerunner 55 vs 165 – Which is Better?

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Last Updated on March 17, 2024 by Senior Editor

When GPS watch is mentioned one of the names that comes up is Garmin, and in their arsenal is a long list of watches ranging from cheap ones like the Forerunner 55 to quite expensive ones like the Fenix 7 Pro Sapphire solar. The latest watch from Garmin is the entry-level Forerunner 165 which shares a lot in common with the cheaper Forerunner 55. While the Forerunner 55 succeeds the Forerunner 45 and has been around for quite a while, the recently released Forerunner 165 is a whole new model that falls in between the Forerunner 55 and 265.

PriceForerunner 55Forerunner 165Forerunner 165 Music

In this post, we’ll be comparing the difference between the $200 Forerunner 55 and $250 Forerunner 165. We will take a look at the designs, displays, activity tracking features and battery life to better understand the difference between these two.

Forerunner 55 vs 165
Main difference between Forerunner 55 and 165

In a few words, the Forerunner 165 is a more comprehensive watch than the Forerunner 55. While both watches are sturdily built, the Forerunner 165 with its bigger display lets you see more at a glance. It also has a more colorful AMOLED display and activity-tracking features. Though the Forerunner 55 has a longer battery life, thanks to its MIP display that is easier to read outdoors.

Forerunner 55 vs 165 Full Specifications Comparison

Product Info
Garmin Forerunner 55 features

Garmin Forerunner 55 Specifications - Features - Pros - Cons and Prices

Garmin Forerunner 165 full smartwatch specifications

Garmin Forerunner 165 Full Specifications, Features and Price

Price $179.99 $249.99
Device name Garmin Forerunner 55 Garmin Forerunner 165
Device type Fitness/Sport smartwatch Fitness/Sport smartwatch
Gender Unisex Unisex
Release date June, 2021 February, 2024
Predecessor Garmin Forerunner 45 None
Dimension 42 x 42 x 11.6 mm 43 x 43 x 11.6 mm
Weight 37 grams 39 grams
Shape Circular Circular
Case material Fiber-reinforced polymer Fiber-reinforced polymer
Strap material Silicone Silicone
Bezel material Fiber-reinforced polymer Fiber polymer
Strap size 20 mm 20 mm
Interchangeable strap 20mm, Yes 20mm, Yes
Screen protection Chemically strengthened glass Chemically strengthened glass
Water resistance Yes, 5ATM Yes, 5ATM
Durability test
Swim-proof Yes, recommended Yes, recommended
Color Black, White Berry case/lilac band (165 music), Black case/slate gray band, Black case/slate gray band (165 music), Mist-gray case/whitestone band, Mist-gray case/whitestone band (165 music), Turquoise case/aqua band (165 music)
Display size 1.04 inches 1.2 inches
Display type LCD, Memory-in-pixel (MIP), transflective AMOLED
Display resolution 208 x 208 pixels 390 x 390 px
Pixel density 282.8 PPI 459 PPI
Always on Yes Yes
Custom watch face Yes Yes
Input type (not touchscreen), 5 Physical buttons 5 Physical buttons, Touchscreen
Bluetooth ANT+, Bluetooth ANT+, Bluetooth
Bluetooth calling No No
NFC No Yes
Wi-Fi No Yes (Forerunner 165 Music)
Memory card slot No No
Technology None None
SIM type None None
SMS alert Yes Yes
Calls alert Yes Yes
Email alert Yes Yes
Event reminder Yes Yes
Third-party apps alert Yes Yes
Reply to Notifications - -
Audio No mp3/mp4
Bluetooth music No Yes
Loudspeaker No No
Microphone No No
Camera No No
Radio No No
Sensor(s) Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor, Barometric altimeter, Compass, Garmin Elevate heart rate sensor, Spo2 sensor, Thermometer
Blood oxygen No Yes
Blood Pressure No No
Calories Yes Yes
Distance Yes Yes
ECG tracking No No
Heart rate monitoring Yes Yes
Sleep tracking Yes Yes
Steps Yes Yes
Floors climbed No Yes
Stress Yes Yes
Fall detection Yes Yes
Menstrual cycle Yes Yes
VO2 Max Yes Yes
Swim-tracking Yes Yes
Underwater heart rate tracking Yes Yes
On-screen workout No No
Sport modes Yes Yes
Battery type non-removable Lithium-polymer non-removable Lithium-polymer
Battery capacity
Battery life GPS mode: Up to 20 hours, Smartwatch mode: Up to 2 weeks Smartwatch mode: Up to 11 days, Battery saver smartwatch mode: Up to 20 days
Charging type Charging dock Charging dock
Charging time 1-2 hours 1-2 hours
Solar charging No Yes
Chipset N/A
Operating system Proprietary OS Proprietary OS
Companion app Garmin Connect Garmin Connect
Compatibility Android 6.0+, iOS 13.0+ Android 7.0+, iOS 15.0+
Payment system None Garmin Pay
Voice command No No
Find my phone Yes Yes
Box content Charger, Garmin Forerunner 55, Manual, Straps Charger, Manual, Straps, Garmin Forerunner 165

Forerunner 55 vs 165 Features Reviewed


We start with the design, and in this regard, both watches have the same appearance. Apart from the slight difference in case size, it looks like Garmin used the same case of the Forerunner 55 for the 165. Both watches are 11.6mm thick and also have almost the same weight except that the Forerunner 55 weighs 2 grams less than the 165. Each of these two has a frame made of fiber-polymer paired with silicone straps. Meanwhile, a chemically strengthened glass protects the display on both watches. Each of these two is also rated 5ATM which means it is safe to wear any of these while swimming or taking a bath.

So as far as design is concerned, it is the same design quality for both the Forerunner 55 and 165. However, the 55 is slightly more compact.


Because the Forerunner 55 is slightly more compact, it has a smaller 1.04 inches display compared to the 1.2 inches of the Forerunner 165 which lets you see more at a glance. Apart from having a bigger display, the Forerunner 165 also has a more colorful AMOLED display. Though the tested and trusted transflective MIP display of the Forerunner 55 is a lot easier to read outdoors.

Activity Tracking Features

Another difference between the Forerunner 55 and 165 is the available activity tracking features, and in this regard, the 165 has a lot more features than the 55 which of course explains why it costs $50 more.

Unlike the Forerunner 55, the Forerunner 165 is able to count floors climbed and features a health snapshot that gives you an overview of vital health stats like blood oxygen and heart rate at a glance. Moreover, the Forerunner 165 can also detect naps and track your blood oxygen which isn’t possible with the Forerunner 55. There is also a compass in the 165 but not in the 55. Additionally, the 165 also features more sports profiles.

Nonetheless, like the 165, the Forerunner 55 will track your heart rate, calories, sleep, stress and steps. It also has an inbuilt GPS for outdoor activity tracking and features a couple of sports profiles.

Music Storage

The Forerunner 165 comes in two models; a music and a non-music version. The music version is equipped with a 4GB storage capacity and wifi that will allow you to download music to the watch which you can listen to offline. The supported music streaming services include Spotify, Deezer and Amazon Music.

Music StorageForerunner 55Forerunner 165Forerunner 165 Music
Music Storage

Meanwhile, like the Forerunner 55, the non-music version of the 165 doesn’t support onboard music storage.

Battery Life

Battery LifeForerunner 55Forerunner 165Forerunner 165 Music
Smartwatch ModeUp to 14 daysUp to 11 daysUp to 11 days
GPS ModeUp to 20 hoursUp to 17 hoursUp to 17 hours

Obviously, thanks to the MIP display and the smaller display size, the Forerunner 55 boasts a longer battery life than the 165. While you can get up to 14 days of battery life with the Forerunner 55, the 165 has up to 11 days of battery life. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to note that each of these two will allow you to go multiple days from a single charge.

Forerunner 55 vs 165: Which is Better?

Clearly, the Forerunner 165 is a better watch than the Forerunner 55. Although the 55 has a longer battery life, the 165 has more activity tracking features and I prefer the AMOLED display to the transflective MIP display of the Forerunner 55.

Moreover, considering that the Forerunner 55 is almost 3 years old and going by Garmin’s tradition, the 165 will likely get newer features which won’t come to the 55.

So in all, the Forerunner 165 is a more comprehensive watch and for me, it’s totally worth the extra $50 or $100 if you choose to go with the Forerunner 165 Music.