Garmin Forerunner 255 vs Fitbit Sense: Detailed Comparison

Fitbit and Garmin make two obvious rivals when it comes to fitness trackers and smartwatches. While Fitbit is targeting primarily health and wellness with its devices, Garmin takes a different angle by offering more comprehensive features for athletes and outdoor enthusiasts.

However, Garmin doesn’t compromise on health and wellness tracking, so its devices usually offer the best of both worlds.

The Garmin Forerunner 255 is the latest watch by the company, released this month after a 3-year long wait since Forerunner 245. It offers comprehensive tracking features for running, biking, swimming, and more. Plus, there are plenty of new health metrics included in this watch.

Fitbit Sense is considered the best Fitbit watch so far. It was released last year and offers health tracking features like stress management, skin temperature, and heart rate variability. Plus, there are also new fitness features like Active Zone Minutes and swim tracking.

You must have a brief introduction of both watches by now, let’s pit Garmin Forerunner 255 vs Fitbit Sense and see which one comes out on top.

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Garmin Forerunner 255 vs Fitbit Sense General Comparison Table:

Preview
Runner Up
Garmin Forerunner® 255S Music, Smaller GPS Running Smartwatch with Music, Advanced Insights, Long-Lasting Battery, Black
Winner
Fitbit Sense Advanced Smartwatch with Tools for Heart Health, Stress Management & Skin Temperature Trends, Carbon/Graphite, One Size (S & L Bands Included) (Renewed)
Product Name
Garmin Forerunner 255
Fitbit Sense
Predecessor
Garmin Forerunner 245, Garmin Forerunner 245 Music
Fitbit Versa 3
Models
40mm, 46mm | FR 245, FR 245 Music, FR 245S, FR 245S Music,
40mm
Release Date
June 2022
September 2020
Parent Company
Garmin
Fitbit (Now Owned by Google)
Operating System
Garmin OS
Fitbit OS
Compatibility
Android, IOS
iOS, Android Apple iOS 12.2 or higher. Android OS 7.0 or higher.
Competition
FR 955, Garmin Instinct 2, Fenix 7, Venu 2
Apple Watch 6, Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
Suitable For
Outdoor, sport & fitness
Health and Fitness
Sensors
GPS, GLONASS Galileo, Multi-Frequency Positioning, Garmin Elevate heart rate sensor, Barometric altimeter, Compass, Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Thermometer, Pulse OX blood oxygen saturation monitor
Multi-path optical heart rate sensor, multipurpose electrical sensors compatible with ECG app & EDA app, Red and infrared sensors for oxygen saturation (SpO2) monitoring, Gyroscope, Altimeter3-axis, accelerometer, Skin temperature sensor, Ambient light sensor
Runner Up
Preview
Garmin Forerunner® 255S Music, Smaller GPS Running Smartwatch with Music, Advanced Insights, Long-Lasting Battery, Black
Product Name
Garmin Forerunner 255
Predecessor
Garmin Forerunner 245, Garmin Forerunner 245 Music
Models
40mm, 46mm | FR 245, FR 245 Music, FR 245S, FR 245S Music,
Release Date
June 2022
Parent Company
Garmin
Operating System
Garmin OS
Compatibility
Android, IOS
Competition
FR 955, Garmin Instinct 2, Fenix 7, Venu 2
Suitable For
Outdoor, sport & fitness
Sensors
GPS, GLONASS Galileo, Multi-Frequency Positioning, Garmin Elevate heart rate sensor, Barometric altimeter, Compass, Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Thermometer, Pulse OX blood oxygen saturation monitor
Check Latest Price
Winner
Preview
Fitbit Sense Advanced Smartwatch with Tools for Heart Health, Stress Management & Skin Temperature Trends, Carbon/Graphite, One Size (S & L Bands Included) (Renewed)
Product Name
Fitbit Sense
Predecessor
Fitbit Versa 3
Models
40mm
Release Date
September 2020
Parent Company
Fitbit (Now Owned by Google)
Operating System
Fitbit OS
Compatibility
iOS, Android Apple iOS 12.2 or higher. Android OS 7.0 or higher.
Competition
Apple Watch 6, Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
Suitable For
Health and Fitness
Sensors
Multi-path optical heart rate sensor, multipurpose electrical sensors compatible with ECG app & EDA app, Red and infrared sensors for oxygen saturation (SpO2) monitoring, Gyroscope, Altimeter3-axis, accelerometer, Skin temperature sensor, Ambient light sensor
Check Latest Price

Garmin Forerunner 255 vs Fitbit Sense Comparison:

These watches differ greatly from design to functionality, so a detailed comparison is necessary to make the best decision.

Price:

The Garmin Forerunner 255 will cost you around $350, while the Fitbit sense is priced at around $300. However, Fitbit Sense’s price drops regularly by about $50-100 so there are good chances you can find it for a lower price.

There is a musical version of the Forerunner watch too, that would cost you an extra $50.

Here is a detailed list of pricing:

  1. Garmin Forerunner 255/255S: around $350
  2. Garmin Forerunner 255 Music: approx $400

Winner: Fitbit Sense

Design:

ProductGarmin Forerunner 255 Fitbit Sense
Dimensions, Weight46mm: 45.6 x 45.6 x 12.9 mm, 49g | 41mm: 41 x 41 x 12.4 mm, 39g40.48 mm x 40.48 mm, 12.35 mm | 40-42.5 g
Band Size45mm: 22mm | 41mm: 18mm20mm strap
Build materialssiliconealuminum case, stainless steel ring for ECG
ColorsTidal Blue, Slate Gray, Light Pink, Powder Gray,  Whitestone, Black


Sense: Carbon/Graphite stainless steel, Lunar White/Soft Gold stainless steel
Waterproofing5 ATM5 ATM (Water Resistance for up to 50m)

The Garmin Forerunner 255 has a traditional watch design with a circular face and a silicone strap. Its casing is made of fiber-reinforced polymer and the screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 the same screen protection as on the Fitbit watch. In addition to this, the watch has 5 physical buttons for navigation.

The Fitbit sense, on the other hand, has a more modern look with a square face and aluminum case. There is a haptic button on the side, but most of the navigation is done on the touchscreen display. In a head-to-head comparison, Fitbit Sense has more aesthetic appeal than Forerunner.

Winner: Fitbit Sense

Display:

ProductGarmin Forerunner 255 Fitbit Sense
Display Size46mm:1.3 inches | 41mm: 1.1 inches1.58-inch
Screen Type & Resolutionsunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) | 46mm: 260 x 260 pixels, 41mm:218 x 218 pixels (active area)AMOLED | 336 x 336 resolution
Pixel Per InchNot Specified339 PPI
Screen ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass 3Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Always-on DisplayYesYes
Rotating BezelNoNo

The Garmin Forerunner 255 Series watches have transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) displays, just like the predecessor 245 Series. This kind of display is suitable for outdoor use as it’s readable even in direct sunlight.

The Fitbit Sense has a 1.58-inch lush AMOLED touchscreen display with a resolution of 336 x 336 pixels. In the display department, Fitbit has more or less followed the Apple Watch where the user interface looks very attractive.

The Fitbit Sense display wins when it comes to visuals and attractiveness, but the transflective display of Forerunner is more practical as it can be read even in bright sunlight.

Winner: Fitbit Sense

Garmin Forerunner 255 vs Fitbit Sense Health and Fitness Comparison

ProductGarmin Forerunner 255 Fitbit Sense
Built-in GPSYes (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo)Yes (GPS, GLONASS)
Heart Rate TrackingYesYes
SleepYesYes
StressYesYes
Blood OxygenYesYes
ECGNoYes
Bioelectrical Impedance AnalysisNoNo
Steps, CaloriesYesYes
Menstrual cycleYesYes
Sport Mode32+20+
Sync Data With Strava, Apple HealthYesYes

Health Tracking:

As mentioned earlier, both watches have excellent health tracking features. Let’s see how they compare against each other.

Garmin offers almost all the health features of Fitbit. It can track heart rate, sleep, stress, respiratory rate, and more. However, there is one major health feature where it falls short and that’s ECG monitoring.

The ECG sensor on the Fitbit Sense allows it to take an electrocardiogram which can be used to detect atrial fibrillation (AFib). Fitbit has an FDA clearance for its ECG app which puts Forerunner 255 and even its bigger siblings like FR955 and Fenix 7 at a disadvantage.

In terms of accuracy, the data from Fitbit and Garmin watches is more or less the same.

Winner: Fitbit Sense

Fitness Tracking:

Both watches have excellent fitness tracking features, but there are some differences worth mentioning.

The Garmin Forerunner 255 has dedicated modes for running, cycling, swimming, and more. It is Garmin’s first mid-range watch for triathlons.

The powerful range of sensors (dual-frequency GPS, altimeter, accelerometer, compass, etc) is matched by comprehensive performance and recovery metrics. Our favorites are body battery, training readiness, and HRV status.

The Fitbit sense also has dedicated modes for different sports, but its main focus is on daily activity and fitness rather than multi-sport tracking.

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 255

Smart Features:

ProductGarmin Forerunner 255 Fitbit Sense
ConnectivityBluetooth, ANT+Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz), Bluetooth 5.0
Companion AppCONNECT IQFitbit
Storage4G & up to 500 songs4GB (2.5GB available for music storage)7 days of motion data, daily totals for the past 30 days
Notification AlertYesYes
Calendar, WeatherYesYes
Offline SpotifyYesNo
Timer & AlarmYesYes
Customizable Watch FacesYesYes
Voice AssistantNoYes (Google Assistant/ Amazon Alexa)
Music Storage, ControlYesNo
Third-Party AppsYesYes (Fitbit App)
Make calls, send texts & EmailsYes(Text response/reject phone call with text (Android only))Yes but with limitations (only when paired with Android)
Browse WebN/ANo
Contactless PaymentYes (Garmin Pay)Yes (Fitbit Pay)

Both watches can store music, show notifications, and make contactless payments (Garmin Pay and Fitbit Pay).

The Garmin Forerunner 255 can store up to 500 songs on the watch. You can create playlists from popular streaming services like iHeartRadio, Spotify, and Deezer. The Fitbit sense also allows you to store and play music on the watch.

However, Fitbit is also capable of making Bluetooth calls directly from the watch. This is not possible on any Forerunner watch so far as there is no speaker and mic onboard.

Also, you get two voice assistants from both Google and Amazon on the Fitbit watch,  whereas, on Garmin, you get none. If that is a must for you, Garmin Venu 2 Plus is a better pick than Forerunner 255.

Winner: Fitbit Sense

Battery Life:

ProductGarmin Forerunner 255Fitbit Sense
Battery PerformanceUp to  6.5 hours to 14 days (mixed usage)6 days max, 3-5 days with normal usage
Battery SizeNot SpecifiedNot specified
Charger TypeUSB charging cable.Magnetic doc
Fast ChargingNoYes, 1 day of battery life in 12 minutes

Garmin Watch offers almost double the performance of Fitbit in terms of battery life. Here is a breakdown of their battery performance.

Garmin Forerunner 255: Up to 30 hours in GPS mode and 14 days in smartwatch mode

Fitbit Sense: Up to 6+ days with 24/7 heart rate, 12 hours with continuous GPS.

However, Fitbit counters this with ‘Fast Charging’ support on the watch. You can get a full day’s charge in just 12 minutes.

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 255

Final Verdict: Garmin Forerunner 255 vs Fitbit Sense

The ultimate choice between these two comes down to your needs and preferences. If you are looking for a watch with comprehensive health tracking and attractive looks, and value for money, the Fitbit sense is a better pick.

On the other hand, if all you want is sports tracking with all the performance and training metrics that can help you take your game to the next level,  Forerunner 255 is our ultimate choice.

To pick one winner between the two is difficult for us as both watches are targeting a slightly different market.