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?

Design

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.