Garmin have brought us such a vast range of fitness products and continue to do so. The Vivosmart HR is a brilliant addition to the range.
It has a range of features that make it stand up against other fitness trackers in this price range. You really get a lot of easy to use features for your money.
The tracker is designed to be worn 24/7, so it has to look good, as well as being wearable. On looking at it for the first time, it certainly does look quite big, and isn't as sleek as some others. However in saying that, it never felt uncomfortable and it never caught on anything.
It has a 5ATM waterproof rating, which basically means it is perfect for wearing in the shower or the pool. Giving you the opportunity to wear it, literally, all the time and for any activity.
The screen is an LCD touch screen which constantly remains “on”, but it dims to save the battery. It is lit by a backlight when you touch the screen. The screen is activated by swiping across with a finger to access the various screens, which each display different things. It is easy to see how many steps you have done, stairs you have climbed and your heart rate.
The band will vibrate every so often if you have been inactive for too long, which is a nice little reminder to get up and go. It has a Move bar on the screen, which essentially fills up and makes you move when it gets full.
The Vivosmart HR gives a clue in its name, in that it is quite smart. You can tell when you get a phone call or message, and you can also control music on it. It acts a little like a smart watch, giving it a good edge. Reading text messages on the screen is decent, with it being sharp and readable. It basically uses push notifications from your phone, so you can’t use it like a smart watch, but it is enough for you to keep an eye on your phone, without having your phone out.
The main aim of the tracker though, is of course, to track your fitness. And this it does very well. It keeps an accurate calorie count, as well as keeping a record of your weekly activity. You run it with the Garmin Connect app, which is easy to install and use across most platforms.
The app displays a range of charts and graphs and it can look a bit daunting to start with. But once you become familiar with it, it is pretty simple. It will take a bit of time, but once you get it, it is one of the better apps out there when it comes to detail and tracking. Connecting the Vivosmart HR was easy as well, I just followed the instructions.
The sleep tracking felt accurate too (along with steps, heart rate and calories). You can check this via the app, which gives you a weekly look at your sleep pattern. It is shown in graph form, making it really easy to read. Garmin have definitely made the Vivosmart HR better than some other sleep trackers on the market.
When it comes to tracking a particular activity, running for example, the watch has a function for this. It has a separate tracking mode and I found it to be a good way to track distance with a fair amount of accuracy. The lack of GPS means it will never be 100% accurate, but it does keep distances pretty close to true.
When it comes to battery life, Garmin say around 5 days, which is fairly true. It lasts a decent amount of time before charging. Keep an eye on it though because you don't want to lose charge half way through a workout!
Overall, the tracker is one of the most accurate I have tried. The wrist based heart monitor is probably the least accurate and I don't think it will replace a chest strap HR device anytime soon, but as a gauge, it works well. All of the other features work remarkably well, and whilst it isn't a smart watch, it is a step between those and other fitness trackers, making it a good go-between.