Gymrats Rejoice! The Ultimate Garmin Vívosport Review

By | October 26, 2017
Garmin Vivosport Review (Last Updated On: October 26, 2017)

Garmin has been slowly and steadily chipping away at Fitbit’s dominance in the wearable space.  The company has come out with a steady stream of devices that has the features and the functionality you would want in a fitness band or a smartwatch.

Meet the Garmin Vívosport 

The Garmin Vívosport is one of the latest fitness bands from the company.   

Design and construction 

The Garmin Vívosport looks like a Fitbit fitness tracker but with several holes and a buckle strap for a snug fit.  There are two sizes to choose from, which means that there is a Garmin Vívosport for wrists with circumferences of 4.8 inches to 8.5 inches.

That means that both men and women would be able to wear one comfortably.  The Garmin Vívosport measures 0.83 inches wide and less than half an inch thick. 

The Garmin Vívosport has a color touch display that is bright enough to see under direct sunlight and in the dark.  The screen measures 0.38 inches by 0.76 inches.  Display resolution is rated at 72 pixels by 144 pixels.

It uses a chemically strengthened glass for its display, making it durable against the bumps that normally come with daily use.  Meanwhile, the case is made from durable polymer and the strap is made of silicone.   

Time features 

As a smartwatch, the Vívosport does more than just tell the time and remind you of what the date is.  It accounts for daylight saving time and makes the appropriate adjustment, and it can also connect to the GPS satellite to give you a more accurate time.  Moreover, it acts as a timer, an alarm clock, and a stopwatch.

Battery  

The memory in pixel display helps save battery juice, which enables the battery to deliver up to seven days of operation on a full charge.  And if you turn on the onboard GPS, you can get up to eight hours of operation. 

Smart features 

Using Bluetooth Smart and ANT+, you can pair your iPhone, Windows Phone, and Android devices with your Garmin Vivosport.You can get notifications when you receive phone calls, text messages, or e-mails on your phone.  You can also get weather forecasts on your wrist and even control the music playing on your phone.  Moreover, you can use your Garmin Vívosport to find your phone, and vice versa.

Activity and fitness tracking 

 

With a range of sensors such as the wrist heart rate monitor, GPS, barometric altimeter, and accelerometer, the Garmin Vívosport can track your activity accurately.  You can use it to count your steps, the calories you burn, the flights of stairs you climb, and even the distance you travel.

The Vívosport will also encourage you to move by displaying a moving bar that you will only go away when you take a few minutes to walk around.  It will also automatically assign you a step goal based on your current activity level.  Moreover, the Vívosport will monitor your sleep and give you an idea on how restful it was.

Using the mobile app, the Vívosport will also estimate your real fitness age, which is a better indicator of your overall fitness than your chronological age.  And the Vívosport monitors your heart rate constantly, too, allowing you to get information on HR zones, alerts, and calories.  

Furthermore, the Vívosport has Garmin-exclusive features such as the TrueUp, which enables you to use multiple trackers with one Garmin Connect account.  This allows you to merge the data from all of these trackers so that you could view the accurate numbers on every tracker you own.

You also have the MoveIQ, which continuously monitors and automatically recognizes your activities. The Garmin Vívosport has enough space to store two weeks’ worth of activity and fitness tracking data before you need to sync it.  And yes, you can take it swimming! 

What you would like about the Garmin Vívosport 

If you are a gym rat, you would really love the Garmin Vivosport because it gives you an easy way to track your workouts.  Not only does it have preloaded gym profiles for strength and cardio training, but it also counts your reps automatically.  Similarly, for runners, the Vívosport has run profiles for indoor running and outdoor running that are already preloaded. 

Another plus for the Garmin Vívosport is that it can help you gain insights into your health with features such as auto pause, auto lap, GPS distance and speed, and VO2 max.  You can also customize the data pages so that you get easy access to the numbers that matter most to you.   

The Vívosport also monitors your stress levels and gives you a stress score, as well as tell you if you have low, medium, or high levels of stress.  And if you are stressed, you can relax with the Vívosport’s breathing and relaxation timer.   

You must be thinking that with all these features, the Vívosport would surely be difficult to use right?  Not really, because you could access everything by swiping or tapping on the color touchscreen.  There are no buttons to play with, so everything is very straightforward.

And you can use the Garmin mobile app to manage everything on your watch.  You can customize the watch face, the home widget, and even toggle the auto-on display. 

Garmin has also created a great mobile app for the Vívosport.  It allows you an easy access to your daily statistics, including heart rate, steps, intensity minutes, floors climbed, sleep, calorie intake, calories burned, and stress levels.  It will also show you your previous day’s statistics and show you if you were able to reach your goals for each activity.

You will also get a graph showing you your history.  And if you need more information on any activity, you can get that from the mobile app as well.  

What’s more, if you have friends who are also using Garmin devices, you can use the mobile app to connect with them and even to compete with them.  You get leaderboards showing if your friends are taking more steps than you are.  

What could be better 

 

For all its features, the Vívosport has a small screen, so you will really need to sync all your data with the mobile app to get a better view of your fitness stats.

You can get your numbers on the Vívosport, but the graphs are so small that you will have a difficult time making sense of it all if you do not get your smartphone out. The Vívosport allows you to change watch faces, but the choices available right now are quite limited.

Comparing all Garmin vívo-branded fitness bands 

The launch of vivosport brings the number of Vívo-branded fitness bands available for adults to four: the vívosport, vívosmart 3, vívofit 3, and vívosmart HR+.  How does one compare to the other, in general, the Garmin vívosport is the most expensive, selling for $200.  If you are looking for a fitness band that is only $100, get the vívofit 3.   

These fitness bands use a transflective and sunlight-visible memory-in-pixel display, except for the vívosmart 3 that has an OLED display.  The vívosmart HR+ has a slightly bigger screen than the rest, but only the Vívosport has a color display, which also has a longer battery life than the other.

Model  Vívosport  vívosmart 3 vívofit 3  vívosmart HR+
Price  $199.99 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) $139.99  (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) $99.9 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) $179.99 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)
Water rating  Swim  Swim  5 ATM  5 ATM 
Display type  Sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)  OLED  Sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)  Sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) 
Display size   0.38″ x 0.76″  0.38″ x 0.76″  0.39″ x 0.39″  1.00″ x 0.42″ 
Display resolution  72 x 144 pixels  64 x 128 pixels  64 x 64 pixels  160 x 68 pixels 
Color display  Yes  No  No  No 
Battery run time  GPS mode: Up to 8 hours 

Smartwatch mode: Up to 7 days 

Up to 5 days  Up to 1 year  GPS/HR mode: Up to 8 hours 

Smartwatch mode: Up to 5 days 

Clock features 

Both the Vívosport and vívosmart HR+ have a range of clock features such as alarm clock, timer, stopwatch, GPS time sync, and automatic DST.  The vívosmart 3 also has all these except for the GPS time sync.  The vívofit 3 on the other hand only has the alarm clock feature.

Model  Vívosport  vívosmart 3 vívofit 3  vívosmart HR+
Time/date  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Alarm clock  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Timer  Yes  Yes  No  Yes 
Stopwatch  Yes  Yes  No  Yes 
GPS Time Sync  Yes  No  No  Yes 
Automatic daylight saving time  Yes  Yes  No  Yes 

Sensors 

The vívosport has all the offered sensors by Garmin, including GPS, Elevate wrist heart rate monitor, barometric altimeter, accelerometer, and ambient light sensor.The vívosmart HR+ does not have the ambient light sensor, while vívosmart 3 does not have a GPS sensor.  Meanwhile the vívofit 3 only has an accelerometer. 

Model  Vívosport  vívosmart 3 vívofit 3  vívosmart HR+
GPS  Yes  No  No  Yes 
Barometric altimeter  Yes  Yes  No  Yes 
Ambient light sensor  Yes  Yes  No  No 
Garmin Elevate™ wrist heart rate monitor  Yes  Yes  No  Yes 
Accelerometer  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 

Activity tracking 

All Garmin Vívosport fitness brands can count your steps, monitor your sleep, count burned calories, count the distance you have traveled, and indicate your intensity minutes.  All four have a move bar and can automatically give you a daily step goal.

Model  Vívosport  vívosmart 3 vívofit 3  vívosmart HR+
Step counter  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Move bar  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Auto goal  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Sleep monitoring  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Calories burned  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Floors climbed  Yes  Yes  No  Yes 
Distance traveled  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Intensity minutes  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 
TrueUp  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Move IQ  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Fitness Age  Yes  Yes  No  No 

There are some differences, however.  The vívofit 3 can measure intensity minutes but in a rather limited way.  For one, it is able to detect moderate exercises.  Plus it cannot count the flight of stairs that you climb.

You should also consider how the vívofit 3 only has an accelerometer sensor, so when it comes to accuracy, you might find the other the vívo fitness bands more accurate also if you want to know about your fitness age, you should know that only vívosport and vívosmart 3 offer these features.

Other points of comparison 

All Garmin vívo-branded fitness bands work with iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices, and use Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ to connect with these devices.  All four can are also compatible with Garmin Connect.

Except for the Garmin vívofit 3, these fitness bands can also deliver smart notifications, weather forecasts, music control, Find my Watch, Find My Phone, and can act as a remote control for the VIRB camera. The vívofit 3 also does not feature heart rate features found on the other three.   

What makes the Vívosport worth its more expensive price tag? For one, it has the GPS-based distance, time and pace profile for runners, a feature that is found in vívosmart HR+.   Unique to the vívosport, however, are the automatic rep counting, the preloaded gym exercise profiles, and the preloaded biking profile. 

When it comes to fitness bands from Garmin, the Vívosport is currently the best.  It has all the company’s best technologies and features for a reasonable price.

It may not have some of the advanced features you see on smartwatches such as NFC-assisted cashless payments and the ability to add mobile apps, but if you are looking for a competent fitness band that can also tell time, then this is a great choice. 

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