Garmin Vivosmart HR+ (Review)

Garmin Vivosmart HR+ (Review)

In most households, Garmin has made a name for itself as a great manufacturer of, among other things, GPS devices. It came as no surprise that on the advent of wearable tech they used that expertise in GPS and combined it with the rising fitness tracker trend.The Garmin Vivosmart HR+ isn’t their first fitness tracker, but is it their best?


Garmin Vivosmart HR+ fitness tracker
The Vivosmart HR+ not only sits wider on the wrist, but it is actually thicker too. For many, it is heavily reminiscent of a wristwatch rather than a light and thin fitness tracker. It seems that Garmin sought to create a modern take on the classic wristwatch while also having the functionality of a fitness tracker. It was a noble effort to pursue, but the design overall comes off less than eye-pleasing when compared to some of the stiffer competition out there.

The OLED screen is nothing particularly special. Aside from displaying numbers, goals, and notifications on a small screen, there is nothing really to set it apart. It is water resistant up to depths of 50 meters, but if you lose it in 50 meters of water, you probably aren’t going to be getting it back. Unfortunately, it is probably the supreme waterproofing that leads to the Garmin Vivosmart HR+ looking more like a GPS monitor for criminals around your wrist.

What does elevate it slightly is the old school buckle bracelet and the fact that it comes in two different sizes for small or large wrist sizes (in other words, men and women). The buckle and the ability to choose your wrist size allows for this to be one of the most comfortably fitting fitness trackers out there.

Which is not only a boon for your wrist, but a snug fit always provides better readings.

Features of the Garmin Vivosmart HR+

The design could be better, but what really counts is how it functions. Luckily, the Vivosmart HR+ functions excellently. It has everything you should expect from a high-end fitness tracker including a heart rate monitor, GPS, accelerometer, and a barometric altimeter.

The Vivosmart tracks all of this throughout the day and transfers it to the Garmin fitness app where you can essentially just view all your data. By default, the Vivosmart sets step goals for you based on how many you did the previous day, but you can change that inside the app. One feature that is oddly missing is the ability to sync with external heart rate monitors, something that most Garmin fitness trackers have. However, because it sits so snugly on the wrist, it likely gets the best reading out of all their models anyway.

With GPS included, the Vivosmart comes with a fairly accurate move bar that senses when you haven’t moved in a while and gently vibrates on your wrist. This can be disabled, but it is one of the finer features of high-end fitness trackers.

Finally, the Vivosmart comes with a battery life of around five days. While that is somewhat low, it meets the standard of fitness trackers that also include GPS, which is a notorious battery sink. Overall, the Garmin Vivosmart HR+ is a good pick if you are going for a high-end fitness tracker, but it does have a few hang ups. However, for runners in particular, because it can fit so soundly and gets great reads through a mixture of contact and quality GPS, this can be the best pick of the lot due to how well it endures rough motion.

Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band (Review)

Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band (Review)

With a brand name like Garmin behind it, one can expect a lot of quality behind the Vivofit. However, while this Swiss company made a name for itself making GPS devices, strangely enough, the GPS is oddly absent from the Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band. However, what they did put out is a model is something that focuses on the most valuable features that people want in a fitness tracker and makes sure to do them well.

Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band

If you like your fitness trackers in a minimalist design so that they can be inconspicuous on your wrist, the Vivofit is not that. If features a rather sturdy, but flexible rubber band  that only sets itself apart from those Live Strong bands only with the addition of a screen. However, while it is likely not to go unnoticed, it does disguise itself as a rather sleek-looking watch with its always-on LCD display where you can tap through the time, steps taken, and calories burned at the touch of a button.

With an adjustable strap that comes in a variety of colors, you can actually swap out the straps of the Vivofit, for different colors so you can keep your design feeling fresh. One great feature in the design is that while it looks like it would be heavier, the band is actually quite light.

However, the major selling point here is the waterproofing. While it features no dedicated swimming features, the Vivofit is a fitness tracker that you can keep 24/7. It is water resistant up to depths of 50 feet so no matter what you want to do with it on, you can do it.

Features of the Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band

There is little that is innovative about the Vivofit, but it does take the features that people have come to love in fitness trackers and makes them perform the very best that they can. Like other fitness trackers, it uses an accelerometer to sense motion, but it lacks GPS so its higher price tag is actually pretty surprising.

While you can still track elevation (where you will burn more calories), the Vivofit doesn’t come with a built in altimeter, but you have to manually enter it from other Garmin devices. It also doesn’t come with a heart rate monitor set up in the app, but it does have ANT Plus support so that if you want to use the Vivofit to track your heart rate in another app, you have the option to do so. The Vivofit also has some of the best sleep monitoring in a fitness tracker. It not only keeps track of when you rise and fall as well as how long you slept, but it gives you details on your quality of sleep as well.

One of the best features it does have is motivation. It features an inactivity bar on the screen that comes to the display when you have been inactive for an hour or more. The more you sit, the bigger it grows. Unfortunately it is pretty easy to ignore, but it does remind you to take a break every now and then. Its personalized goals feature is a bit of a better motivator. You set an initial step goal, and when you meet it, it ups the next day’s goal a little more so you can constantly keep pushing yourself to live a healthier and active life.

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