The grey, black, and silver case measures 6.0-inches tall, 2.6-inches wide, 1.2-inches thick and with…
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The Garmin Vivosport does not have the design of a Fitbit or the high-tech vibe of a Samsung Gear. However, that is among the smallest fitness trackers which has full GPS/HR tracking and an altimeter. It brings max tracking power with reduced bulk.
Small for a complete GPS tracker
Good battery life
Fair heartrate accuracy
No swim modes
GPS could be slow to lock on
The Garmin Vivosport is an exercise band with the fitness credibility of a more substantial runner’s watch. It has GPS, it includes a heartrate sensor, it even comes with an altimeter and shares an iphone app with the Garmin Forerunner 935.
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That’s a large amount of top-end technology that’s being crammed into fitness band – but be warned. This might sound impressive, but Garmin has actually made a device exactly like this before. The Vivosport is quite like the Garmin Vivosmart HR+. So similar we’d to be extra careful to seek out the variations to be sure it’s the brand new model we have to recommend.
So what’s actually different here? Well, you get more battery, a slimmer band, a design that’s touch-focused and more high-end features like VO2 Max reading and stress testing. But does that produce the Vivosport a worthy upgrade?
Garmin Vivosport price and availability
Costs around £160/$160/AU$300
The Garmin Vivosport has gone out now and in the beginning it may seem to be expensive. It retailed at launch for about £160/$160/AU$300 online, that is a high price for a device that appears like a standard fitness band.
It isn’t one, of course. If a step tracker is all you have to, you might aswell save your valuable money and get yourself a Vivosmart 3 instead.
The Vivosport’s real rivals are bands just like the Fitbit Surge and Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro. In the event that you saw all three using one wrist, the Garmin’s initial appeal will be obvious: it’s small and unobtrusive for a tracker using its features.
Design and display
Dull but compact design
Reasonable color screen
We’ve used a small number of Garmin fitness bands that look nearly the same as the Garmin Vivosport during the last year or two. This shows the blueprint works, but also enables you to recognize how weak a visual identity these bands have in comparison to some of Fitbit’s.
The Vivosport is a dark grey rubbery band, where a tiny rectangle of screen sits, bordered by a strip of black. Unlike Samsung’s techy fitness bands, the screen doesn’t dominate leading. Also to our eyes, the Fitbit Alta looks more stylish.
Garmin didn’t make the Vivosport as a fashion statement. We hope it didn’t: this isn’t one.
However, there were some positive changes because the Vivosport’s predecessor, the Vivosmart HR+. The band is currently just a little slimmer, and the button below the screen has truly gone.
On top of that, the Vivosport display is color. The Vivosmart HR+’s is monochrome. A device such as this, which doesn’t have software as such, only has so many uses for color, nonetheless it certainly makes watch faces look more interesting, and injects just a little much-needed fun.
The display is of the type Garmin uses for almost most of its fitness devices. That is a 72 x 144 transflective memory-in-pixel screen. Beyond the imposing name, it includes a few important characteristics.
Well known, just displaying a graphic barely uses any power, letting the Vivosport display stay “on” 24/7 without killing the battery. In addition, it feeds off ambient light, only getting clearer as sunlight gets brighter.
In a dark room, the Vivosport looks invisible until you activate leading light with a wrist flick or screen tap. This light is stronger than in previous Vivo bands, but also offers a blue tone that skews the screen distinctly.
Next to the Samsung Gear Fit 2 the display isn’t all that pretty, nonetheless it certainly is immensely practical.
Tracks a variety of activities
No swim mode despite being waterproof
GPS and heartrate tracking generally work very well
Wear the Vivosport without starting any “activities” and it’ll play the part of basic fitness tracker perfectly. It’ll log your steps, your sleep and the amount of stairs you climb without fuss. Additionally, it may auto-log runs and longer walks (ten minutes and over) as separate entries in the companion app.
However, the upgrade to the Vivosport is about the activity menu you can by long-pressing on the clock face. This goes to the group of different sports the band supports.
The main are cycling, running and walking/hiking. Additionally, there are gym modes, however the only the one which records interesting data away from heart rate may be the rep counter, for the weight lifters and star jumpers out there.
There’s one glaring omission, swimming. As the band is water-resistant to 50m, there are no modes to count your lengths.
We tried the Vivosport in an area swimming pool using among the general indoor exercise tracking modes. It had a fairly ropey go at recording heartrate figures under water, but that’s whatever you get.
Performance is way better if you stick to its fortes, running and walking/hiking. You’ll get fully mapped routes of your runs that are, generally, very accurate.
We tested the Vivosport during several outdoor walks and jogs, and the only time the resulting map was wrong was whenever we forgot to stop the experience after returning home.
It then appeared as if an angry toddler had filled in the region around our flat with crayon, likely the consequence of the Vivosport desperately trying to needlessly complete the route since it begged for scraps of GPS signal indoors.
Talking about GPS, it’s generally very good. But on starting with the band, it seemed the Vivosport’s GPS was just a little problematic, because of lock-on speed instead of accuracy.
The first triangulation took almost 5 minutes, which is unusually lengthy. The next then took slightly below a minute: too much time for another stab. However, since that time the Vivosport appears to have bedded directly into its home, rarely taking lots of seconds to triangulate position.
The Vivosport’s heartrate sensor uses Garmin’s Elevate hardware, which takes readings every second when monitoring heartrate (this is frequent, if that’s not obvious).
It has since been augmented by abnormal heartrate readings, where you will be alerted if you review a specific threshold at rest. That is set to 100 bpm by default, but if you are know you’re just a little ‘beaty’ you can transform this.
On the treadmill the sensor’s results seem to be fairly good, if a few beats each and every minute greater than the readings of the electrical sensors of a high-end treadmill most of the time.
It responded reasonably well to intensive training, noting the drop in heartrate fairly well, and picking right up the subsequent upsurge in heartrate almost immediately.
This isn’t a chest strap-beater, nonetheless it will do the work. And the Vivosport is way better at