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?
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.
There is no question that the Fitbit is the most popular brand of fitness tracker. However, previous models of Fitbits are famously incompatible with water, which is pretty sad considering how they all look like they are waterproof. However, finally Fitbit rolled out a model that you can truly take anywhere with the Waterfi Fitbit Alta Waterproof, a model that combines the functionality of Fitbit with the waterproofing that it so badly needed.
When it comes to design, the Fitbit doesn’t change much from model to model. Like other Fitbit models, the Waterfi maintains that same sleek design that makes it look like a Live Strong bracelet to the untrained eye, but more easily distinguished by the little band that marks the display. Its interface is still simple with an OLED that shows the time and date, but it can also integrate with your smart phone to display call, text, and calendar alerts as well as shows how close you are to your goals for the day. However, it doesn’t display alerts from third-party apps.
Of course, with the Waterfi, you still get access to the great Fitbit app that has made the brand so popular. Within you can track your steps and calories burned as well as set personalized goals. The dashboard also lets you log meals, compare workouts, and connect with your other Fitbit wearing friends.
Finally, the biggest innovation in the Waterfi is its waterproofing. Older models of Fitbits flounder in even light water exposure, but this bad boy can survive up to 210 feet of water without missing a step. What’s more is that you can also switch out the bands of the Waterfi to different colors without compromising the waterproofing.
Fitbit has become the popular brand that it is now by proving a wide array of features that people didn’t know they wanted in a fitness tracker. While the Waterfi doesn’t have GPS like some other models, it does have essentially everything else that you could want.
You can track steps and calories burned right from your wrist, but the app lets you get even more in-depth. While the Waterfi doesn’t have any built-in motivation reminders, it does allow you to set personal goals so you can motivate yourself to reach them.
One of the nicest features is that the Waterfi not only knows when you enter periods of exercise, but it knows what type of exercise you are doing without having to do anything. It is mystifying in how it does it, but surprisingly accurate. The Waterfi also excels in tracking your sleep by monitoring how long you sleep and when you go to bed, but also how many times you wake up, even if you don’t realize it.
Finally, while the major selling point of the Waterfi is the waterproofing, it also features a rechargeable battery so you don’t have to worry about finding the right replacement battery down the line. The battery life lasts about five days before it needs to be put on the charger, which is a little less than usual, but still enough to get through the work week.
Long before Polar got into the fitness tracker game, they were making quality heart rate monitors for athletes, and after finally making the leap onto the bandwagon in 2002, it seems they have perfected the fitness tracker formula as well. Bringing their top of the line heart rate monitoring tech to their line of fitness trackers, this company hit it out of the park with the Polar A360 fitness tracker. This model not only brings the heart rate monitoring and other features that you love, but it does it in a beautiful full color interface that makes this fitness tracker look good when the screen is on.
The first thing that you will notice is that the Polar A360 sits wider on the wrist than many other fitness tracker models, but that is completely forgiven once that display comes to life. Some fitness trackers go for simplicity, but the Polar A360 truly makes data beautiful by providing it in an aesthetically pleasing way. Whether it is displaying calories burned or heart rate, it does it beautifully in a way so that the information is both easy to understand, but also a true pleasure to look at. Unfortunately, one small quirk is that when you are recording athletic activity, it doesn’t display the time so you will need something else to time exactly how long you are exercising for.
All of that beautiful data is also fully waterproof. While it is only waterproofed up to depths of 30 feet, that is still plenty so you can keep it on doing everything from taking a shower to going to the pool. The only real downside of the design is the lack of color options in the band. Yes, you still have five different color options, and all of them can be swapped out at any time, but that isn’t quite as many options as some other brands.
Features of the Polar A360 Fitness Tracker
So the display is not only waterproof as well as beautiful, but how does it function? As a brand known for its heart rate monitors, that is one function that you can expect to be top-notch in the Polar A360, and it does not disappoint. Even in the water, providing you keep a snug fit, the Polar A360 provides accurate readings and allows you to track your heart rate data over days as at a time. You can even get visual data on your heart rate put up right on the screen.
Alongside that, it also tracks steps, calories burned, your sleep activity, and your workouts 24/7. All of that can be used in the Polar Flow or Polar Beat app to push you towards optimum performance. While having two different apps seems like a pain, the Polar Flow is used to track your everyday performance while you can use the Polar Beat app as more of a sports and coaching app. You don’t need to use both, but you do have the option.
Another nice feature is that it comes built in with inactivity alerts and will actually start vibrating when you sit still for too long. While the vibration can be turned off, it can be an excellent motivator to get up from your desk. The Polar A360 also features smart phone notification integration, but it can actually be a little clunky to sync up. However, with all the other great features, if it had to stumble somewhere, that is probably the best place to do so.
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.
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.