Garmin VivoSmart – Sleek Activity Tracker

Wristband tracker and Smart Watch Hybrid.

After the successful release of their first wrist-worn activity band earlier this year, Garmin launched yet another cool product. Their second fitness band, the Garmin VivoSmart, has many of the advanced features the previous one had, like the inactivity reminder, but also some nice new ones like Smart Notifications which makes it look more like a smart watch than other fitness bands.

Also check out my updated article about Vivosmart HR. It’s with built-in heart rate sensor.

The main focus for fitness trackers like these is to track movement with motion sensors and give you feedback on how well you are doing. As with most other similar health monitoring devices, this one works best for tracking walking and running. But accompanied by an optional heart rate monitor this gadget is on top of my list when it comes to functionality and design. This health monitor is designed to be worn both day and night and sleep monitoring is an essential part of the 24/7 activity recording. It records for up to seven days before it needs to recharge and can hold up to three weeks of data.

The VivoSmart is waterproof down to 50 meters so you don’t need to take it off when swimming and showering which I think is essential for these kinds of products.

=> Previous post: Withings Pulse O2 Activity Tracker<=

Garmin VivoSmart and optional and recommended Heart Rate Sensor

Garmin VivoSmart and optional, and recommended, Heart Rate Sensor

Design

The VivoSmart comes with a brand new, simple but stylish, design. The black single piece band is very lightweight and comfortable to wear with its smooth silicone finish. It has resemblance with Fitbit Flex and Jawbone Up24. There are no grooves and texture to gather dust and dirt in around the band.

When the device is off you don’t see a screen at all, but when tapping the surface, the letters light up on the OLED display. The small button the VivoFit has has been omitted and all interaction with the band is done by tapping or sliding your finger left and right over the display.

Garmin VivoSmart Fitness Band

Garmin VivoSmart Fitness Band

VivoSmart comes in two sizes, Small and Large. No Medium here, so be careful ordering the right size. Small is between 127-172 mm and large 155-221 mm. If you think you have a medium wrist you probably want the large one, but double check the measures. The basic outside color is black but you get different variants of the inside color like blue, grey and purple. I always think it’s strange when the designers choose to have different inside colors which are difficult to see when worn, like the Nike+ FuelBand SE, but on VivoSmart, at least some of the colours are visible on the side.

Some people have reported that the band can come unloose and fall off but a piece of plastic called the Vivokeeper, that follows in the package and is attached around the band, make sure that this is not possible. You probably won’t need to use this part, but if you are uncertain that the pegs on the clasp will hold your tough activity level this is a great extra backup. It’s your choice.

Neat Smart Notifications Function

When hooked up to your smart phone via Bluetooth, VivoSmart has a vibration alarm that let you know when you get text messages, calls, emails and calendar events like meetings. These messages also appear on the display and you can, for instance, call back.

This new function is called Smart Notification and I like how this exercise gadget takes the next step to be a useful tool for other things than just monitoring activity. It makes the gadget smarter and feels like a smart watch lite.

Move Bar Reminder

The inactivity reminder on the band lets you know by a vibration if you have been inactive for an hour. This is shown as a long streak on the Move Bar display. After that, it adds on a short bar every 15 minutes and gives you a new reminder after a new hour. To reset the bar just walk around a bit which is not difficult to do at all. It’s a great reminder to get up and be in motion which can easily be forgotten during a long work day in front of the PC for instance.

Remember that a healthy body is happy when it gets used. It’s proven that your body’s production of fat-burning enzymes decreases when you are still.

Health monitor that reminds you to move more

Health monitor that reminds you to move more

Cycling through the Display

Cycling through the OLED display on the fitness tracker with finger movements and tapping lets you see all the information and things it record. As you will notice this training gadget is filled with features.

Tap two times to get to the first screen:

  1. The first screen shows the time, day and date which is useful as you can wear it as a watch.
  2. The second screen shows you the Smart Notifications like Facebook messages, SMS and calls among other things.
  3. The third screen lets you control media on paired smartphones or tablets.
  4. This screen shows the distance.
  5. Calculated estimate on calories burned.
  6. Here you’ll see the Move Bar explained above.
  7. Displays the Smart Goals, also called AutoGoals. These are the number of steps the Garmin device automatically have chosen for you on the background of age and weight info you have set in the app. This will be adjusted after some time considered your activity level.
  8. The eight screen shows the steps you have taken.

To reach the following functions hold your finger on the display for a couple of seconds:

  1. A handy stop watch feature.
  2. Here you can activate sleep mode when going to bed.
  3. Brightness controls. Turn brightness down when you want to save batteries, but keep in mind that it will be even harder to see the screen in bright sunlight.
  4. Privacy settings for Smart Notifications on or off.
  5. A cool Find Your Phone feature that sends a tracking signal that makes your phone make a beep.
  6. The last screen is for the synchronization settings.

VivoSmart vs VivoFit

VivoSmart vs VivoFit

VivoSmart to the right versus VivoFit to the left

Time goes fast in the fitness tracker business these days. Even if Garmin VivoFit is not a year old yet, it almost feels like an old product already. But don’t look at it that way, it’s still a great product. But the sleek VivoSmart has a couple of more features and is naturally more expensive.

The main differences between the products are battery life. While VivoFit’s battery lasts for a year because of the reflective letter display with very low energy consumption and ordinary clock batteries, you’ll have to charge your VivoSmart.

The Move Bar which is always on display on VivoFit is accessed after cycling through a lot of screens on the VivoSmart.

Look out for my in-depth comparison article of these two products soon.

Software and Apps

The fitness band is wirelessly connected and configured through the free Garmin Connect app on iOS and Android. It’s the same app VivoFit utilises. Here you will find detailed statistics and graphs on your movements and be awarded badges when you reach your goals. You can sync with apps like My Fitness Pal to log food.

The gadget holds 3 weeks storage of data before it needs to be synced. If you use a heart rate sensor it holds 2 weeks of data.

A fun feature is that you can run segments of routes in your vicinity and compete with others. If you are you happy with your results, you can compare and share results with them via Livetrack on social media like Twitter and Facebook.

Battery

A charged battery last for between 6-7 days. Charging is done by placing the device into a charging clip, or cradle if you like, connect to a USB port.

There are a few tricks you can do to increase battery life like adjusting the brightness level, turn of vibration and turn off Bluetooth when you don’t need it.

Garmin VivoSmart colors

Garmin VivoSmart colors – Slate, Berry, Black, Blue and Purple

The Verdict

Even if the VivoSmart is a bit more expensive than it’s predecessor go for this one if you can afford it. You get a few more functions and I personally like the sleek design on this one better. As usual, I recommend using a heart rate monitor on running exercises with this gadget since it’s possible. It can be bought together with the gadget, or you can use heart rate sensors with ANT+ technology if you already have one.

 Pros +  Cons –
  • Waterproof to 50 m
  • Responsive interaction
  • Inactivity reminder
  • AutoGoals
  • Smart Notifications
  • Works with other ANT+ sensors (like bike sensors and VIBR)
  • Silent vibration alarm
  • Difficult to read display in bright sunlight
  • No elevation monitoring
  • The initial taps on the display will sometimes not register
  • No GPS
  • Little bit expensive

What’s In The Box?

  • VivoSmart activity band (Large OR Small, depends on what you bought)
  • Vivokeeper clip for better fastening
  • USB Charger clip
  • Manual

=> Read more about: Maximum Heart Rate and Training Zones <=

Where Can I Buy VivoSmart?

Purchase Product

US: Purchase this gadget on Amazon.com. Click buy button for latest price!

Purchase Product

UK: Purchase this gadget on Amazon.co.uk. Click buy button for latest price!

If you are in or close to the USA use the top link. If you are in or close to the United Kingdom, click the bottom link.

More Info or Questions

If you want more info before buying, check out more Amazon user reviews. Some other customers say that:

“Very cool product.” By Tracy Anderson

“Fantastic alternative to “smart watches”. Better for exercise, still pretty smart.” By S. Lewis

“This is the band that currently stands out above the rest.” By Nicholas Alexander Dragon “Lone Wolf” (St. Petersburg, Florida USA)

Do you have any questions or comments on my Garmin VivoSmart Activity Band review, do not hesitate to leave a comment below.

Technical Details

Here are the most common technical spesifications:

General Design:
Type Wristband
Weight 19 g
Dimension 21,8 cm x 2,54 cm x 1 cm
Size Small = 127-172 mm Large=155-221 mm
Materials Silicone plastic
Interaction Tapping and sliding your finger over the display
Interface OLED touch screen 128 x 16 pixels (3,44 cm x 0,35 cm)
Battery Type 1x Lithium ion battery
Battery Life 7 days
Charge Time 1-2 hours
Colors Black main colors – Inside colors Berry, Black, Blue, Purple and Slate
Water-Resistant Yes
Water-Proof (depth) WR50 (50 m)
Sensor Accelerometer
It Tracks:
Steps Taken Yes
Flight of Stairs -
Distance Yes
Activity time -
Calories Burned Yes
Sleep Duration and Quality Yes
Heart Rate Yes (with seperate HR sensor)
Pulse Oximeter -
24/7 (All day) Yes
Other features:
Inactivity/Idle Alert Yes
Time Yes
Silent Vibration Alarm Yes
Auto Goals Yes
Smart notification Yes
Music Control Yes
Trophies/Rewards Yes in App
Connectivity:
Wirelss or USB Wireless
Device Compatibility Windows, Android and iOS
Sync Method ANT+ and Bluetooth
Mobile App Garmin Connect Mobile
Web service Garmin Connect
Maintenace & FAQ:
Manufacturer Garmin
Manual (PDF) Link

10 Comments

Leave a Reply

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.