The best smartwatches of 2023: Expert reviewed and tested


Tech specs: Display: 218 x 218 pixels, sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) | Battery life: Up to 12 days in smartwatch mode; up the 26 hours in GPS-only GNSS mode| Dimensions: 41 x 41 x 12.4mm | Weight: 39 g; 1.4 ounces | Water resistance: 5 ATM | LTE cellular option: No

Garmin is the industry leader in activity-tracking sensors, and the Garmin Forerunner smartwatch line is a prime example. Compared to the Apple Watch, the Forerunner 255 battery life is a game-changer, lasting up to 12 days in smartwatch mode and 26 hours in GPS mode. 

The activity sensors are the most advanced on the market — it would be easier to list the features it doesn’t have. With this device on your wrist, you’ll receive a morning report of your sleep, daily workout suggestions, recovery levels, advanced heart rate tracking, running metrics, and race time predictors. You can also easily switch between activities for triathlon and multisport training. The list of data it provides is endless.

It’s no surprise that many athletes choose Garmin to level up their training. Ultramarathoner and triathaloner Jess Baerg says she always goes back to Garmin, whether she’s training for an Ironman or casual marathon.

“I love the app and all the data it gives you. I love looking at numbers and stats, so it’s perfect for me. Battery life has gotten so much better, and they last forever,” said Baerg.

Before she retired from USD’s division 1 track team, Clark also used a Garmin Forerunner to track her runs. 

“I would 100% recommend a Garmin Forerunner! It has a better GPS, doesn’t need to sit flush to [the] skin (so you can wear a long sleeve and the watch over), and it has an easier-to-read watch face.”

Also: I compared the best Garmin watches

The Garmin Forerunner 255 is one of the most recent models, and it comes in two size options: 41 or 46 millimeters. It’s compatible with iPhone and Android, so you can enjoy contactless payments, notifications, and custom widgets just like with other smartwatches.

You can also opt for a Forerunner 255 Music, which allows you to download up to 500 songs and connect to headphones for phone-free listening. 

Review: The Garmin Forerunner 255 Music is a runner’s watch fit for the masses

It’s clear that Garmin has a unique fanbase among runners and athletes.

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