Garmin Forerunner 255S Review (2023)

Looking for a triathlon watch? Let me give you the real scoop on the Garmin Forerunner 255S.

Released on June 1, 2022, this watch seems like a decent starter for newbies in triathlon training, but don’t let its compact size and multisport features fool you. I’ve seen many jump on this bandwagon, lured by its affordability and transflective display, but remember, it’s not all about the shiny features – it’s about what works best for you in the long, grueling hours of training and races.

And if you’re on a tight budget, check out my take on the Best Cheap Triathlon Watches to find alternative options that won’t break the bank.


What Can It Do?

Alright, let me give you the lowdown on the Garmin Forerunner 255S from my experience. This gadget is a jack-of-all-trades for triathletes. It tracks your swimming, biking, and running activities with finesse. The multi-band GPS is a real game-changer – accurate tracking even when you’re training in those pesky urban canyons.

But, it’s not all roses. While the barometric altimeter and compass are handy, they’re not exactly groundbreaking. The HRV status tracking is a neat feature, especially with the Morning Report, but sometimes it feels like information overload. And yeah, Garmin Pay is convenient, but honestly, how often are you going to use your watch to pay for stuff during a workout?

Garmin Forerunner 255S Triathlon Watch Review

You can check its price here


Is It Cheap or Expensive?

Talking about the price, the Garmin Forerunner 255S sits in a weird middle ground. It’s not wallet-breaking, but it’s not exactly a steal either. For a multisport watch with these features, it’s on the affordable side, but remember, you’re not getting the top-of-the-line stuff here.


Easy to Use?

Now, on usability – the 255S is pretty user-friendly. Its compact and light design is a godsend during long training sessions or races. The display is clear, even in bright sunlight, which is a big plus. However, I miss the touchscreen sometimes. Navigating with buttons feels a bit old-school in the era of touchscreens.


Triathlon Modes?

The triathlon modes are solid. The watch smoothly transitions between swimming, cycling, and running. This is critical for training and competitions. But, let’s be real – it’s pretty much what you’d expect from any triathlon watch in this price range.



Yes, it’s water-resistant up to 5 ATM. This means it’s good for both pool and open-water swims. In my experience, it’s reliable in the water, but don’t expect it to track your swim as accurately as dedicated swimming devices.


Reliable GPS?

The GPS tracking is a standout feature. Its multi-band support really helps in challenging environments. However, remember that using this mode eats up the battery faster. So, it’s a bit of a trade-off.


Heart Rate Monitor?

The heart rate monitoring is decent with its wrist-based technology. It’s not as accurate as a chest strap, but it’s good enough for a general idea of where your heart rate is at. The Elevate sensor tech is a nice touch, borrowed from their pricier models.


Long Battery?

Battery life is a mixed bag. 12 days in smartwatch mode sounds great, but if you’re using it intensively with GPS, expect much less. For a long race or a day of heavy training, the battery life is just about sufficient.


Quick Transitions?

So, let me tell you about the quick transitions on the Garmin Forerunner 255S. This feature is a big deal for triathletes like us. When you’re in the middle of a race, every second counts, and fumbling with your watch is the last thing you need. The Forerunner 255S nails this aspect. Switching between sports modes is a breeze, with transition times recorded separately. Honestly, it feels like Garmin designed this feature while picturing someone gasping for breath, transitioning from swim to bike. It’s that intuitive and user-friendly.


Custom Display?

Now, about the custom display. The Forerunner 255S isn’t a touchscreen, which some might see as a drawback. But hear me out, the physical buttons are actually a blessing in disguise during sweaty workouts or when you’re swimming. You can customize the display to show metrics like time, distance, and pace, which is crucial for tracking your performance. What’s more, this customization can be done directly on the watch or via the Garmin Connect app. This flexibility is great, especially for beginners who are still figuring out what metrics they want to monitor.


Data Sync?

Regarding data sync, the Forerunner 255S connects seamlessly with the Garmin Connect app. It’s like having a personal coach in your pocket. The app not only stores all your workout data but also provides detailed analysis and insights. This is where Garmin shines – their app ecosystem is top-notch. The sync process is straightforward and reliable, which is a huge relief. There’s nothing more annoying than finishing a hard workout and finding out your data didn’t save properly.



When it comes to alerts, while the Forerunner 255S doesn’t make a big song and dance about it, it’s pretty solid. You can expect alerts for pacing, heart rate zones, and training duration. These features are crucial for training effectively without overdoing it. Garmin has a way of integrating these alerts subtly yet effectively, ensuring you stay on track without constant, annoying beeps or vibrations.



About durability, the Forerunner 255S is built like a tank. It has a solid bezel, durable silicone strap, and Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It’s water-resistant up to 5 ATM, which means it can handle your sweaty runs and even your open-water swims. It’s built for the rough and tumble of triathlon training. In my experience, Garmin watches can take a beating and keep ticking – a crucial feature for any triathlon watch.


Sensor Ready?

Sensor compatibility is another strength of Garmin devices, and the Forerunner 255S is no exception. While the specifics weren’t detailed, based on Garmin’s history, it’s safe to assume that it supports a wide range of sensors. This is vital for when you start getting serious about your data. Heart rate monitors, cycling power meters – you name it, and the Forerunner 255S is likely ready to pair with it.


Would I Recommend It?

Now, would I recommend the Garmin Forerunner 255S? Absolutely, especially for beginners in triathlon training. It’s affordable for a multisport watch packed with features. It has everything you need to track your training and races effectively. The durability, ease of use, and data analysis capabilities make it a solid choice. However, always compare it with other models to make sure it aligns with your specific needs. A watch is a tool to aid your training, not the end-all, be-all.

Garmin Forerunner 255S Triathlon Watch Verdict

So, there you go. The Garmin Forerunner 255S is a decent choice for beginners in triathlon, but it’s not without its flaws. It’s a middle-of-the-road option – good enough to get the job done but not exactly a showstopper.

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