Coros Pace 3 vs Garmin Forerunner 255: Which Is the Best Running Smartwatch for You?

Choosing the right running smartwatch can be a daunting task, especially with so many options available. In this article, we compare two popular models – the Coros Pace 3 and the Garmin Forerunner 255 – to help you decide which one is best suited to your needs.

Overview of Coros Pace 3

coros pace 3

The Coros Pace 3 has garnered attention for its sleek design and impressive set of features. Let’s dive into what makes this watch a strong contender:

  • Design and Build:
    • The Coros Pace 3 stands out with its super-light, sleek body, weighing only 30g with the nylon band, making it ideal for all-day and night wear in comfort​​.
    • It boasts an always-on 1.2″ transflective touchscreen display, offering a modern interface for users​​.
  • Battery Life:
    • One of the most notable features of the Pace 3 is its battery life, providing up to 20 days of regular use, 30 hours in Full GPS mode, and an astounding 60 hours in UltraMax mode​​.
    • Even with intensive use, including training runs and races, the battery only drops by a minimal percentage, demonstrating its longevity​​.
  • Features:
    • The watch comes equipped with 4GB of storage, ample for most users’ needs​​.
    • It supports a variety of workouts such as running, biking, swimming, and more, making it versatile for different athletic pursuits​​.
  • User Interface:
    • The Pace 3 utilizes a rotating crown for scrolling and selecting, along with an additional button for navigation, which users find intuitive and easy to use​​.
  • Price Point:
    • Priced at around £219, the Coros Pace 3 offers significant value for its features, making it a competitive option in the market​​​​.

Overview of Garmin Forerunner 255

garmin 255 on white background

The Garmin Forerunner 255 is known for its advanced features and strong ecosystem. Here’s an overview:

  • Design and Build:
    • The Forerunner 255 comes in two sizes (41 mm and 46 mm) to cater to different wrist sizes and preferences​​.
    • It features a sunlight-visible, transflective MIP display, offering clear visibility in various lighting conditions​​.
  • Battery Life:
    • While it offers up to 14 days of battery life, it’s noted for having a shorter lifespan compared to the Pace 3, especially in GPS-intensive uses​​​​.
  • Features:
    • The watch is now a full multisport triathlon watch, suitable for running, swimming, and biking, with Garmin’s high-end multi-band/dual-frequency GPS chipset for improved accuracy​​​​.
    • It includes HRV status and daily suggested workouts, providing detailed insights for training and recovery​​.
  • Software and Ecosystem:
    • The Forerunner 255 integrates well with Garmin’s ecosystem, offering features like music streaming and connectivity with other devices, enhancing the overall user experience​​.

In the next section, we will delve into a detailed comparison of these two models, looking closely at their battery performance, fitness tracking accuracy, user interface and usability, design and comfort, and their overall value for the price.

Detailed Comparison

Let’s compare the Coros Pace 3 and Garmin Forerunner 255 across several key features to see how they stack up against each other.

Battery Performance

  • Coros Pace 3: This watch shines in its battery performance, offering up to 20 days of regular use and 30 hours in full GPS mode. In UltraMax mode, it extends to an incredible 60 hours, making it ideal for long training sessions or races​​.
  • Garmin Forerunner 255: The Forerunner 255 offers up to 14 days of battery life in smartwatch mode, which is impressive but falls short of the Pace 3’s capacity. Its GPS mode battery life is also lesser compared to the Pace 3​​.

Fitness Tracking and Accuracy

  • Coros Pace 3: The Pace 3 is highly regarded for its accuracy in tracking various workouts, including running, biking, and swimming. It is appreciated for its lightweight design and comfort, making it almost unnoticeable during intense activities​​​​.
  • Garmin Forerunner 255: Garmin’s Forerunner 255 stands out with its multi-band GPS, offering improved accuracy. It is a full multisport triathlon watch, meaning it’s not just for running but also efficient in swimming and biking scenarios​​​​.

User Interface and Usability

  • Coros Pace 3: The watch uses a rotating crown and an additional button for navigation, which users find intuitive. Its touchscreen display is a new addition, aligning with current smartwatch trends​​​​.
  • Garmin Forerunner 255: Garmin’s interface is more traditional, lacking a touchscreen but offering a practical MIP display. Its UI is feature-rich, providing extensive data and metrics for serious athletes​​.

Design and Comfort

  • Coros Pace 3: Known for its super-light, sleek design, the Pace 3 is extremely comfortable for all-day wear. Its slim profile makes it suitable even for small wrists and doesn’t hinder movements even under a wetsuit​​​​.
  • Garmin Forerunner 255: The Forerunner 255 comes in two sizes, catering to different wrist sizes. However, some users have noted it as being slightly heavier and more noticeable during daily wear and sleep​​​​.

Price and Value

  • Coros Pace 3: Priced at around $229, it is more affordable than the Garmin Forerunner 255. It offers a comprehensive set of features at this price point, making it a great value-for-money option​​​​.
  • Garmin Forerunner 255: With a slightly higher price tag, the Forerunner 255 justifies its cost with a robust set of features, including its multisport capabilities and extensive Garmin ecosystem support​​​​.

Coros Pace 3 & Garmin Forerunner 255 Comparison Table

FeatureCoros Pace 3Garmin Forerunner 255
PriceApproximately £219 ($229)Approximately £249 ($259)
Battery Life (Regular)Up to 20 daysUp to 14 days
Battery Life (GPS Mode)30 hours (60 hours in UltraMax mode)Shorter than Pace 3
Design and ComfortLightweight, comfortable for all-day wearSlightly heavier, noticeable during sleep
User InterfaceTouchscreen with rotating crown and buttonNo touchscreen, practical MIP display
Fitness TrackingAccurate for multiple sportsMultisport capabilities, improved GPS accuracy
Ecosystem and FeaturesLimited ecosystem, but growingExtensive ecosystem, high-end software features

This comparison table gives a quick overview of how these two watches compare in key areas. In the next section, we will delve into the pros and cons of each model based on user feedback and reviews to give you a clearer picture of which watch might be the right choice for your running and multisport needs.

Pros and Cons

When choosing between the Coros Pace 3 and the Garmin Forerunner 255, understanding the strengths and limitations of each is crucial. Here’s a breakdown of their pros and cons:

Coros Pace 3


  • Outstanding Battery Life: The long-lasting battery is a major plus, especially for ultra-runners or those who dislike frequent charging​​.
  • Lightweight and Comfortable Design: Ideal for continuous wear, even during sleep, without causing any discomfort​​.
  • User-Friendly Interface: The touchscreen combined with a rotating crown offers an intuitive navigation experience​​.
  • Affordable: Offers a range of features at a more budget-friendly price​​.


  • Smaller Ecosystem: Lacks the extensive connectivity and ecosystem that Garmin offers.
  • Less Advanced Training Features: While it covers the basics, it may not satisfy athletes who need more advanced metrics.

Garmin Forerunner 255


  • Extensive Multisport Features: Well-suited for triathletes with its improved GPS accuracy and multisport tracking capabilities​​​​.
  • Robust Garmin Ecosystem: Offers seamless integration with a wide range of Garmin devices and third-party apps​​.
  • Advanced Training Insights: Includes features like HRV status and detailed workout analytics for serious athletes​​.
  • Music Streaming: The ability to stream music directly from the watch enhances the training experience for many users​​.


  • Higher Price Point: More expensive than the Coros Pace 3, which might be a deciding factor for budget-conscious buyers​​.
  • Heavier Design: Some users find it a bit more noticeable on the wrist, especially during sleep​​.
  • Battery Life: Although sufficient for most users, it falls short of the exceptional battery life offered by the Coros Pace 3​​.

Garmin and Coros User Experiences and Reviews

User Experiences and Reviews

When it comes to choosing between the Coros Pace 3 and the Garmin Forerunner 255, user experiences and reviews offer valuable insights into how each watch performs in real-world scenarios. Let’s delve deeper into what users have to say about these two models:

Coros Pace 3 User Feedback

  • Battery Performance: Users consistently praise the Pace 3 for its exceptional battery life. After a week of wearing the watch 24/7, including for sleep, with notifications enabled, and multiple training runs, users found that the battery only dropped by about 39%. This feature is particularly appreciated by long-distance runners and those who dislike frequent charging​​.
  • Design and Comfort: The lightweight and sleek design of the Pace 3 makes it a favorite for daily wear, including during sleep. Its comfortable build is suitable for all wrist sizes and does not interfere with movement, even under sports gear like wetsuits​​.
  • Interface and Usability: The rotating crown and touchscreen display have been noted for their ease of use and intuitive navigation. This combination of traditional and modern controls is seen as a positive aspect of the watch​​​​.
  • Affordability: The more affordable price point of the Pace 3 compared to the Forerunner 255 is a significant factor for many buyers. Users feel they are getting a high-quality watch with all the necessary features without breaking the bank​​.

Garmin Forerunner 255 User Feedback

  • Multisport Capabilities: The Forerunner 255 is highly regarded for its versatility as a full multisport triathlon watch. Triathletes and multisport athletes find its tracking capabilities for swimming, biking, and running to be accurate and reliable​​​​.
  • Ecosystem and Connectivity: Garmin’s extensive ecosystem, which includes music streaming and connectivity with other devices, is a major draw for many users. Athletes who already have other Garmin devices or are looking to build a connected fitness system find this feature particularly useful​​.
  • Advanced Training Features: Users appreciate the advanced training insights such as HRV status, detailed workout analytics, and morning reports that guide training. These features are seen as beneficial for serious athletes who want to closely monitor their performance and recovery​​.
  • Music Streaming: The ability to stream music directly from the watch is a notable advantage. Many users enjoy the convenience of having their music on the go without needing a separate device​​.
  • Battery Life and Design: While the Forerunner 255’s battery life is sufficient for most users, some have noted that it falls short compared to the Pace 3. Additionally, the slightly heavier design can be more noticeable during daily wear and sleep​​​​.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the choice between the Coros Pace 3 and Garmin Forerunner 255 depends largely on your specific needs and preferences. If you prioritize battery life, comfort, and a lower price, the Coros Pace 3 is an excellent choice. Conversely, if you seek advanced training features, a comprehensive ecosystem, and don’t mind the higher price, the Garmin Forerunner 255 could be the better option.

Remember, the best running smartwatch is the one that aligns with your personal training goals and lifestyle. Whether you’re an avid triathlete, a casual runner, or somewhere in between, both the Coros Pace 3 and Garmin Forerunner 255 have unique offerings that cater to a wide range of athletes.

Is COROS better than Garmin?

Whether COROS is better than Garmin depends on individual preferences and needs. COROS watches, like the Pace 3, are known for their exceptional battery life, lightweight design, and user-friendly interface, often at a more affordable price point. Garmin watches, such as the Forerunner 255, offer a robust ecosystem, advanced training features, and multisport capabilities. If you prioritise extended battery life and a simpler interface, you might prefer COROS. If you’re looking for advanced analytics and a wider range of features, Garmin could be the better choice.

Is Coros Pace 3 worth it?

The Coros Pace 3 is considered worth it by many users, especially those looking for a high-quality, affordable running watch. It offers a combination of long battery life, a lightweight and comfortable design, intuitive navigation, and essential fitness tracking features. For athletes and fitness enthusiasts who need a reliable and efficient watch for regular training without the need for extensive analytics, the Coros Pace 3 is a great option.

Are COROS watches accurate?

COROS watches are generally known for their accuracy, especially in terms of GPS tracking and heart rate monitoring. Users have reported that COROS watches, including the Pace 3, provide reliable data for various workouts, making them suitable for runners, cyclists, swimmers, and triathletes. However, like any fitness device, slight variations and occasional inaccuracies can occur.

Is Garmin 255 worth it?

The Garmin Forerunner 255 is considered worth it for many athletes and runners who are looking for a multifunctional, multisport watch with a range of advanced features. It offers enhanced GPS accuracy, detailed training analytics, and integration with the Garmin ecosystem, making it a solid choice for serious athletes. If you value these aspects and are willing to invest in a higher-end running watch, the Garmin Forerunner 255 can be a valuable tool for your training and fitness tracking.

Author - Mathew Stuckey

Mathew Stuckey is the founder of Ultramarathon Central, an online platform dedicated to supporting and inspiring ultra runners from all walks of life. With a passion for pushing the limits of what's possible, Mathew has taken on some of the toughest ultra events in the UK, including the Monster Triathlon.

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