Garmin has finally released the long-awaited Forerunner 955 – a top-tier multisports watch with a price tag to match. It's doubtless one of the best GPS watches available right now, but at $499.99 / £479.99 for the standard edition, or $599.99 / £549.99 for the solar edition, it's a big investment.
Cash is tight for a lot of us right now, so if you want to upgrade your sports watch but can't run to the 955, we've picked out some other great options to consider. These are all watches we've used ourselves and would be happy to recommend to our friends and family.
1. Amazfit T-Rex Pro
A premium outdoor sports watch that's superb value for money
Amazfit makes some superb sports watches that are surprisingly affordable thanks to its policy of making as many components as possible in-house rather than buying them in. Just a few days ago it unveiled the new Amazfit T-Rex 2, which we're currently testing at Advnture, but last year's T-Rex Pro is also excellent and gives you a tremendous amount for your money.
Unlike Garmin's Forerunner watches, it has an OLED screen, which is super bright, crisp, and easy to read. Its GPS accuracy is impressive, heart rate monitoring is responsive, and all your stats are displayed clearly both on the watch face and in the companion app. Nothing in the app is left ambiguous; unlike some watchmakers, Amazfit explains exactly what every figure means, and you can drill down for more detail.
The main disadvantage is that there's no turn-by-turn navigation, but if you know where you're going and want a solidly built watch that'll track all your workout and recovery metrics, you'll be hard pressed to find a better one for the price.
2. Coros Pace 2
A feather-light sports watch packed with fitness tracking tools
The Coros Pace 2 is around the same price as the Amazfit T-Rex Pro, but while the T-Rex is a seriously rugged beast built to handle the knocks and drops of life outdoors, the Pace 2 is so light you'll forget you're wearing it (particularly with the woven nylon band attached).
Despite that, the Pace 2 is a heavyweight where it counts. It supports the three major satellite navigation systems, helping it establish a lock quickly and pinpoint your location accurately even in locales with heavy tree cover or cliffs that may present a challenge for GPS alone. That's very rare for a watch in this price band, and makes it a worthy rival to the Forerunner 955 for budget-conscious athletes.
It's particularly well suited to runners, with some very smart features like cadence and automatic stride length detection, plus an 'AI trainer' tool that helps you see whether you've recovered sufficiently from your last workout and are ready to head out into the great outdoors on fresh legs.
3. Polar Grit X
Super tough, powerful, and now much cheaper than you'd expect
The Polar Grit X is a premium outdoor watch, but it's almost always available at a steep discount, making it a great affordable alternative to the Forerunner 955. We've rounded up today's best deals for you below, and the prices will update automatically each day, so check back again soon if you can't see a tempting offer right now.
The Grit X is built like a tank (albeit an unusually lightweight and attractive one), and is ideally suited to trail running, hiking, climbing, and other adventure sports. Like the Garmin Forerunner 955, it provides training suggestions in response to your past activities and performance, and offers in-depth recovery insights to help you strike the right balance of work and rest.
It even offers Komoot route guidance, allowing you to sync routes and follow them from your wrist. Extremely handy.
4. Suunto 5 Peak
A gorgeous watch that's superb for route planning and navigation
Finnish company Suunto makes some superb GPS watches, and even its more affordable devices like the Suunto 5 Peak are a joy to use. This watch's mapping and navigation tools stood out most when I reviewed it for Advnture's sister site TechRadar, and its heatmaps make plotting and following new courses a breeze. If you want to stick to well used routes, avoid (or seek out) hills, stay somewhere quieter, or reach your destination as quickly as possible, this watch and its smartphone companion app will make it a breeze.
It has a lightweight build, but looks smart thanks to a thin metal bezel around the edge of the case that lends it a less utilitarian look than many other sports watches in this price bracket.
Like the Garmin Forerunner 955, it can give workout suggestions to help you stick to a balanced training plan, and gathers an impressive raft of biometric data to guide your work and recovery. The only downside is that not all these metrics are clearly explained in the app, and you might need to search for a beginner's guide to personal training to make sense of some figures.
5. Garmin Forerunner 945
The Forerunner 955's predecessor still has a lot to offer
It's not exactly 'cheap', but the Forerunner 945 has dropped in price steadily since its launch in 2019, and now that it's been superseded, we're likely to see some even steeper discounts. Despite its age, it's still an excellent watch that's packed with tools for tracking a multitude of sports and helping you smash your goals.
There's no solar version available, but battery life is impressive nonetheless, and its GPS accuracy is superb. You don't get the multi-band satellite positioning you do with the 955, but it holds up very well even in tricky wooded areas.
If it's still a bit too expensive, you might be able to find a great deal by browsing eBay for second-hand 945. There's likely to be a influx of watches as owners upgrade theirs to the latest model, so you'll have plenty to choose from. Just make sure you read the full description to be sure you're bidding on a watch in good working order, and check the seller's feedback score.
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.