Garmin Vivosmart HR Review – Best Holidays Tracker.
Every time I receive a fitness tracker or a smartwatch for review, I hope it would be a step closer to my idea of a perfect fitness tracker. I want a tracker that I can wear on my wrist for extended periods of time. A tracker that won’t need charging every three days. A device that does not need to be removed each time I go for a swim or take a shower. Also, if possible, to feature a heart-rate monitor and apps notifications. Am I asking too much?
To my surprise, the Garmin Vivosmart HR comes quite close to meeting all of my needs. It is a part fitness tracker, part smartwatch. As a fitness tracker, it covers all the bases. The new Garmin Vivosmart HR can measure daily activities like steps, floors climbed, heart rate and sleep.
All of the features above are also part of the Fitbit Charge HR, my favourite fitness tracker to date. However, the Garmin Vivosmart HR brings two extras to the table.
One. It can display all notifications from your phone, be that an iPhone or an Android. Two. It is waterproof. Not only in the shower but also if you go swimming. Still, these add-ons come with “a price.” The Vivosmart HR it is a bit bigger than the Charge HR and the Jawbone UP3.
However, the Vivosmart HR remains one of the best fitness trackers we have tried here. Without a doubt, a tracker worth considering. Without further delay, let’s start the review of the Garmin Vivosmart HR.
Garmin Vivosmart HR Review – Design And Features
The Garmin Vivosmart HR looks like a mixture of the Vivosmart band and the Vivofit 2. It has a touch display of 1.00 x 0.42-inch with a resolution of 160 x 68-pixels. On the front face of the Vivosmart HR, you’ll also find the only button of the tracker.
The Vivosmart HR has a flexible, silicone band that mimics a regular watch strap. The band makes it easy to adjust and fasten, so you can make it as loose or as tight as you want.
Underneath the Garmin Vivosmart HR are the optical heart-rate monitor and the four tiny nodes for charging.
Going back to the monochrome display, I want to point out how clear it is, even in direct sunlight. On top of that, the numbers that show the digital clock are big and easy to read.
The display has a bluish backlight that can be turned off in the Garmin mobile app. Speaking about the backlight, I wish it was much brighter. Anyhow, this is an issue that most Garmin fitness trackers have had for ages.
On the good side, the Garmin Vivosmart HR is water-resistant up to 5 ATM (50 meters). That is better than the Fitbit Charge HR, which is only splash-resistant.
Moving to the features, the main addition to the Vivosmart HR is the Garmin’s Elevate optical heart rate monitor. It is always on, learning your average heart rate over time. I also like the new broadcasting mode. It is a new feature that lets you share your pulse with other Garmin devices. Must be ANT+ devices, just like the VIRB action cam or the Edge cycling tracker.
In comparison to Charge HR, which lets you see only the incoming calls and SMS alerts, the Garmin Vivosmart HR displays all the notifications from your mobile.
That includes texts, calls, emails, calendar events, Facebook, Twitter, and more. If you want to decrease the number of notifications sent to the band, you’ll have to use the mobile app.
Another two notable features are: The “Music controls”. Lets you play, pause and skip between songs while you work out. You can also use them with Spotify, Deezer, and even iTunes. Moreover, “Find my phone.” Just tap the phone icon in settings, and the band should find your smartphone.
Garmin Vivosmart HR Review – Software
If you have used Garmin’s trackers before you’ll know that the Garmin Connected app has a flat, card-like format. Until now. Garmin has a new UI for its Connect app. Darker background and a new stylish look and easier to use.
The starting screen of the app has two circles that dominate the top of the screen. The role of the circles is to show your activity progress and how much sleep you had last night. Tapping on the circles, displays detailed information.
Below the circles you’ll find the tiles that show the recorded activities, the floors you’ve climbed, etc. You can also and pair the MyFitnessPal to the app and check the calories you’ve consumed.
Tapping the menu icon, will bring more stats, snapshots, a leaderboard, calendar and a news feed. If you are wondering, the snapshots are just quick-access pages that you can use to look at the stats that are most important to you.
If you want to change the band settings, you have to reach the Garmin Devices “submenu” where you have to select the Garmin Vivosmart HR. Once there, you can set the alarm, change the display’s orientation, turn on and off the inactivity alert, etc.
Also under the User Settings, you can change your daily goals. How many steps, floors, and intensity minutes, as well as basic information including your height and weight.
It might feel like these settings are buried in the app’s new design, making it hard to find them. But, once you know where they are, it is quite easy to change them.
Garmin Vivosmart HR Review – Battery Life
If you are wondering how the battery life compares with the Charge HR, then you’ll be happy to know that I was able to get six days out of my Vivosmart HR.
Charging the Garmin Vivosmart HR is easy and can be done through the USB cradle. Just attach it to the back of the tracker. It is not your usual USB charger thou’, so don’t lose it.
Garmin Vivosmart HR Review – Conclusion And Verdict
It is true that the Garmin Vivosmart HR is not as discreet as the Fitbit Charge HR or Jawbone Up3. It is a bit bigger and can be a bit of an eyesore for some of you. However, if you can ignore that, the device does an excellent job of tracking your heart rate and fitness activities.
Garmin Vivosmart HR is a cross between a smartwatch and a tracker. If you are not yet ready for a smartwatch, but you want notifications on your wrist, then the Vivosmart HR is the option for you.
Garmin Vivosmart HR Review – Gallery