Surprise leak suggests Garmin Forerunner 265 is already in the works

Garmin Forerunner 255 GPS watch
Garmin's naming conventions mean the 265 would be a successor to the 255, shown here (Image credit: Future)

Freshly leaked photos suggest that a Garmin Forerunner 256 watch is already in the works, just months after the Forerunner 255 hit the shelves. Garmin typically leaves a two or three-year gap between Forerunner launches, so it's very surprising that a device complete with case and band has been spotted already. 

The leak comes from the5krunner, a site known for snapping up early hints about forthcoming Garmin devices, and the images (which you can check out in the original story) were supplied by an anonymous but trusted source. 

The pictures show a Garmin watch with a white resin case, with the words 'Garmin Forerunner 256S' on the back, implying that this watch will come in at least two sizes. 

Using error level analysis (ELA) tools, which check for parts of an image with different compression levels, nothing immediately jumps out other than the black box the5krunner has placed over the watch's serial number to protect the leaker's identity. However, this doesn't mean it's necessarily the real deal.

It would be quite possible to snap a pic showing the back of a Forerunner 955, cut out and rotate the 9 to create a 6 in the same font, though the curved text of 'Forerunner' seems to be new. This watch also appears to have an AMOLED display rather than the memory-in-pixel screen of the Forerunner 255 (the image on the screen is much brighter and more colorful).

Don't hold your breath...

The5krunner suggests that this might be a new version of the 255 with an updated screen, but personally I don't think this is too likely. Previously, when Garmin has released an updated version of a watch, it's kept the same basic name - like the Forerunner 945 LTE or the Venu 2 Plus. It's not given the device a whole new name.

Even if this is an early hardware design for the 265, I still wouldn't expect to see the finished watch launch for another two years. Product development takes a long time, so it's definitely possible that engineers and designers are working on a next-gen watch that's not due to hit wearers' wrists for a long time yet.

Cat Ellis

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.