Garmin Vivosmart HR Activity Tracker: Measure your daily activity with this device that helps you to set and maintain aerobic fitness goals. Vibration alerts let you receive call, text and e-mail notifications from your phone.
Best tracker I've owned
Posted by: Pmych from: on
I'm not an early adopter, but I've been waiting for this. After a lot of research I knew I wanted a unit that combined features of the Vivofit 2 and the Vivosmart (screen of the fit with the enhanced features of the smart). The Vivosmart HR finally gives me the best of both. I've been wearing my Vivosmart HR for a week and the only negative I experienced was Garmin Connect performing maintenance for just over a day. This, unfortunately, caused some temporary syncing issues. I feel bad for the reviewers who bought theirs during the outage because, based on the reviews during that time, they felt that was the whole experience. The day I brought mine home it took me all of 10 minutes to set it up and it has worked flawlessly ever since. The temporary sync issues were easily identified by checking the status of Garmin Connect online. They posted they were performing maintenance and had the system back up quickly.
Now, the specifics:
Screen visibility: I can see it just fine inside, outside, day or night. I have the backlight set to come on when I touch the screen so a simple tap in the dark lights it up. Bright enough to see but doesn't blind me.
Step count: Steps are as accurate as any tracker I've owned (Fitbit Flex, Fitbit One) if not better. And it seems to give fewer "false steps" from arm movement when not walking.
HR: I knew it wasn't going to be as accurate as a chest strap when I bought it. If you believe it's going to be, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed every time and have nothing but negative reviews. We're not living in the Star Trek universe and this will not give you a full body diagnostic scan. It's a $150 activity tracker. However, I tested my Vivo while wearing my ANT+ chest strap on the elliptical. A minute and a half in, the chest strap was reading 100 while the Vivosmart HR was still at 60. But at just under 2 minutes the Vivo ramped up to the correct HR and never varied by more than 3 beats per minute for the rest of my workout. So now I know there's a slight delay, but I can live with that. Two minutes doesn't throw my world into chaos.
Notifications: Flawless. I feel my phone vibrate and the Vivo starts vibrating immediately. At first I was upset that I was having to deal with every email that came in. But then I found where you can customize which notifications you get. No more emails, just messages and calls. Just the way I want it.
Battery: I got exactly 5 days, as advertised.
Music: In the device settings in the app you can choose which player you want to make default. It showed every player I have on my phone. I use Rocket Player so I chose Rocket Player. Now I can control play, pause, next and previous track. Easy.
Sleep: Again, this isn't a medical diagnostic tool. However, it has successfully tracked my sleep and wake times to within 15 minutes every night this week. One morning I woke up feeling like I hadn't slept well. I checked my stats and, guess what? It said I tossed and turned throughout the night. Interesting? Sure. Medically reliable? No. But again, I didn't buy it to track sleep apnea or restless leg or any other affliction. I bought it to give me trend data over time.
Summary: My Vivo HR does exactly what I want it to do, and it does it well. In a world of 1 star reviews because it didn't fly out of the box, strap itself to your wrist and instantly diagnose that heart murmur you never knew about, I felt inclined to leave my own practical experience after a week of use. I'm more than happy with my purchase and I'll recommend it to anyone with realistic expectations of a wrist-based tracker.
Now, if you'll excuse me, my Vivo just told me I've been sitting here too long and I need to "Move!"
284 out of 293 found this review helpful.
Best Non-GPS Fitness Smartwatch
Posted by: SaintAugustine from: on
I wanted to write a review on this because I feel like people who leave reviews of this product haven't given it a reasonable amount of time to become acquainted with using it, therefore unfairly bashing the product.
I am 38 year old female, 161lbs, Beachbody on Demand user [Challenge du Jour program (means blending of P90X, Insanity, Hammer and Chisel, etc workouts = 6 days per week, Sundays off.) I love workouts that burn over 350+ calories in 30+ minutes]. I surf. I do not run. If you are a runner, you'd probably want a watch with GPS. I am not a runner so I don't need that feature. Vivosmart HR was purchased from Best Buy.
I absolutely LOVE this watch! I used to have the vivosmart band + chest strap and found it to be extremely glitchy and a pain in the ---- to use the heart rate monitor during my workouts - as for the vivosmart band itself, I really liked it.
These activity monitoring watches take some time getting use to and understanding what the symbols mean - just like when you first get an iPhone or smartphone, at first you don't fully understand the flow of the buttons and apps until you have used it for at least 2 weeks. That's a smartphone...this is a smartwatch. With this Vivosmart HR watch, you should allow enough time to become acquainted with how it logs information your body sends it. This watch has a heart rate monitor built in AND is water resistant. I have used it to go surfing with and it works. It is secure and comfortable on your wrist. I could not live with a watch that was not water resistant. It would not work with my lifestyle.
I've bumped the screen a few times against hard surfaces and it hasn't scratched; a great feature for me because I am not delicate with my things. I like durable. It is quite streamlined though so it does look nice with a dress on.
Heart Rate Monitoring:
Your heart rate is read every few minutes while NOT in ACTIVITY MODE. This is to conserve the battery and because while you are not in an activity, usually your heart rate remains somewhat the same.
Before you start your killer workout :) ------> Tap the side button, tap the Running Man icon, tap the side button to start: Your Vivosmart HR is now in ACTIVITY MODE - While in ACTIVITY MODE, your watch will read your heart beat every few seconds and measure your calories burned + more. You can tell when it's in ACTIVITY MODE because the back-light will be on for the duration of your workout. While in this mode, you can swipe and choose the screen you would like to continuously view during your activity. I always like to keep mine on the heart rate monitor screen because I like to see how hard I'm working and if I can max out just a little more [I'm at 148bpm? Bah! Let's get to 170bpm! More squats!] When you have finished your workout -------> Tap the side button, then tap the little disk icon to SAVE your workout stats.
The heart rate monitoring on my wrist works great. I found that you don't have to wear it super tight for it to take an accurate reading. I wear mine 2 holes looser than what could be tightly flush around my wrist. The only time I find it to not function properly is if I haven't washed the watch with a mild dish [like Palmolive] detergent for a while (3-4days) - I take the watch off and wash it by hand in the kitchen sink. Makes sense because I am sweating a lot during those days and the screen should be freshly cleaned with more than just shower gel.
The Garmin Connect app:
Is great! Garmin has been doing a good job of making it better with each update. All I really care about is heart rate, intensity minutes, calories, and sleep data. All of the other features of the watch are quite accurate. I don't have stairs so I can't speak for the stairs, however the steps counter seems to nail it every time. This watch calculates calories burned throughout the day accurately.
Garmin Email Support:
Is AMAZING! When I first got my watch, every time I had a question, I would email Garmin and submit a form at https://support.garmin.com/support/sw/escalateForm, and a rep would ALWAYS get back to me by the next day. I asked them about the difference between heart rate monitoring between non-ACTIVITY MODE and ACTIVITY MODE (That's how I found out how to use it properly), what the screen is made out of, and other things, and each time a rep emailed me back with a full explanation (They actually READ each part of your email and answer it). :)
Other notable features:
The notifications are great to see on your wrist - I like the simplicity of it, to be able to read what your phone just buzzed from, move bar makes me laugh and works well when it "yells" at me to move.
Is impressive...usually last 4 days [that's all day + 4 ACTIVITY MODE workouts]. You charge it via USB cord - takes about an hour to fully charge so I don't even notice the battery life because I feel like it fully charges so fast that it doesn't even matter. I usually work out, see the low battery icon, plug it in, make my smoothie and take a shower, in less than an hour it's fully charged.
There are so many more awesome things I could mention but I wanted to stick with exactly what I use it for and enjoy.
118 out of 126 found this review helpful.
Great tracker, with wrist heart-rate monitor
Posted by: paac from: Texas on
Long review, but short story is that I like it.
I've been using a Garmin vivosmart HR for a week, comparing it to a Jawbone Up Move activity tracker (without heart rate monitor) and a Garmin Forerunner FR60 exercise watch (with chest-strap HRM). The Jawbone Up Move and the FR60 are entry-level models, but in many cases the data should be similar, so I wanted to see how they compare.
For smartphone, I use a Samsung Galaxy Note5 which I paired with both the vivosmart and the Jawbone (yes, you can do both at the same time).
Display: Nice, large screen compared to other tracker models in this price range. Sharp, reasonably large fonts. Backlight is adequate to read the screen in the dark. Display can be in portrait or landscape, which is very nice. I wish the screen were in color.
Comfort: No problem. I wear the vivosmart all day and night, except when I charge it. I wear it snug because I think that's better for heart rate accuracy, but it's light enough that I don't feel it's there. Unfortunately the band is not swappable.
Step tracking for walking or running: That is the easy part. All models agree within 5%. Even the Samsung Health and Google Fit apps on my phone give similar results. I didn't see a pattern where one model is consistently higher than the others.
Step tracking for indoor cycling: I do a lot of cycling, and this is where the Jawbone Up Move has a unique advantage. I put it in my pocket and it counts the spins. The vivosmart simply cannot do that because it goes on the wrist, although it estimates calories burned based on heart rate (see below).
Sleep tracking: The vivosmart has automatic sleep detection, but it errs on the high side, meaning it thinks you are sleeping even when it detects that you are still moving. When I took an early evening nap, it did catch me napping, so that part is good, but it tends to think I go to sleep before I actually do. I can edit the sleep start time to keep my sleep record accurate. It tracks both deep and light sleep, as well as movement during sleep. One bad thing is that it records only one sleep event per day, so if you sleep twice in one day, the second sleep will overwrite the first, without adding to it.
Calorie estimate: The vivosmart calculates calories burned based on heart rate (same as the Forerunner FR60), while I think the Jawbone Up Move does it based on steps and distance. This run is typical of what I get: vivosmart 185 calories, FR60 190, Jawbone 197, so agreement is fairly good.
Heart rate monitor: I seem to have gotten better results than many other reviewers. Over several days and exercises, I compared the vivosmart HR to the FR60 with chest strap HRM, which is usually the gold standard. The vivosmart was usually within 1-2 beats per minute from the FR60, sometimes lower, sometimes higher but very close. The charts are also similar, with the same peaks and valleys and "smoothness". I don't know if my success is due to the type of activity I do (running and indoor cycling) or due to the way I wear the vivosmart (I keep it snug so there is no light leak between the heart rate sensor and the skin). HRM was the main reason I went with this model, and it was a pleasant surprise.
Move reminder: The tracker vibrates if you don't move in one hour, except when you sleep. I like the fact that it is persistent. To clear the alert, you have to get up and walk around a bit. I don't know how many steps, but it's more than just standing up and sitting back down.
Stairs tracking: The vivosmart tracks how many times you use the stairs (going up and going down are counted separately). It under-counts by about 20%.
Battery: I went 4.5 days before recharging, and it still had about 20% battery life left. This was with always-on message notification and always-on HRM, so that agrees with Garmin's spec of 5 days. The battery meter is a bar, not a number. Recharging takes 1.5 hours from 20% to full.
Message notification: Very reliable, for calls, text and email. You can customize which notification you want on Android (not sure about iOS)..
Music control: Basic but it works well (play, pause, next song, last song).
Data sync: I have had no problem whatsoever in sync-ing to my phone (Samsung Note5). Sync is automatic and immediate every time I open the app on my phone. I also sync to a PC using Garmin Connect. What is strange is that while the phone and PC always agree, they have "rounding errors" from the vivosmart. For example the vivosmart may say that I have 260 intensity minutes, but the phone and PC will show 263 at the same time. This is not data lag because the difference will stay like that over many days.
Phone app: Data is detailed, perhaps too detailed. There are a lot of screens and menu options, so it takes a while to know where everything is. By comparison, the Jawbone app is simpler - the layout is cleaner but it doesn't seem to be as "technical" as the Garmin app. They are different, but I can't say that one is better than the other.
Overall, I am happy with the vivosmart HR, and fortunately I haven't experienced the HRM and data sync problems many other people have seen. For my wish list, I would put a color screen, a numerical battery meter, and interchangeable wrist bands (and GPS, without sacrificing battery life).
49 out of 49 found this review helpful.
Vivosmart HR hits the mark
Posted by: Crosstrainer from: on
Replaced Garmin 225 as it was not accurately reading my HR. Gave Garmin a 2nd shot when I saw their new Vivosmart HR as I had been happy with my previous Vivofit which died. I liked how Garmin developed their own optical HRM versus licensing it from Mio.
* Optical HRM, 5 stars
* Continuous Heart Rate 5 stars
* 5 ATM water resistant, 5 stars. Can't take the Fitbits in the shower. This is awesome
* Display is pretty poor unfortunately. With my poor vision, it's even tougher to see. But I do appreciate that the screen does not go to sleep and always shows the time or whatever you prefer. I can't even come close to seeing the email alerts without glasses which defeats the purpose of having alerts on a wearable. 2 stars.
* Bluetooth pairing and syncing, 5 stars.
* Watch style band, great! 5 Stars
* Activity Mode, running only. Nothing for other workouts. Not a huge deal since I just want aggregate data for my entire workout, which typically includes cardio and weights. I'm not just running. 3 stars.
* $149 price point. 5 Stars. I just can't spend $200+ on a tracker since they change so frequently. $99 seems too cheap on the other hand. If I want to replace every 12-18 months, I can't spend much more.
Overall, this deserves 4 stars. I'm happy to be able to workout without a chest strap, especially for travel as it's a pain to drag more gear and remember to pack it. Straps also get nasty and it's yet 1 more thing to clean and maintain.
143 out of 159 found this review helpful.
surprisingly good HR
Posted by: johnk from: on
My daughter (very athletic) and I (becoming more sedentary every year) bought the Fitbit Charge HR and the Garmin Vivosmart HR. We tried each for three days each. In the end, we returned the Charge HR for another Vivosmart HR. Here is my 7 day comparison of the two. Note: Keep in mind that our wrists are very thin so I am guessing that the HR monitor (of both watches) were possibly more accurate than usual.
Every day use:
Sleep monitoring was more fun to look at on the Vivosmart. It breaks down the sleep into deep sleep and light sleep. It was surprisingly accurate. On two days, I had 36-40 mins of "deep sleep." On the third day, I took a benadryl and the Vivosmart recorded 2:35 min of "deep sleep." I was very impressed. I also liked that you can edit the sleep/wake times to make it even more accurate.
Steps and distance are about the same for both.
Heartrate at rest. Both are comparable.
My daughter and I really liked the notifications sync on the Vivosmart with our iphones.
My daughter liked the alarm on the Charge HR better. The vibration was more noticeable in the Charge HR than the Vivosmart.
Syncing: The Vivosmart sync'ed to my iphone much faster than the Charge HR.
Mobile phone apps: Overall, I liked the look of the Garmin better than the Fitbit, except the presentation of the heartrate data which was easier to look at on the Fitbit app.
Display: Overall, liked being able to swipe the screen of the Vivosmart to switch windows, it was faster and more efficient that tapping or pressing the side button of the Charge HR.
Waterproof: I liked that the Vivosmart is more waterproof. I haven't tried it in the pool yet though.
It was during my run that I was really sold on the Vivosmart.
Heartrate while running (while wearing both the Vivosmart and Charge HR at the same time). I tightened the watches on my wrists to make sure they didn't move too much. That worked well for both. The Vivosmart and the charge were about 3-5 beats off at most times. The Vivosmart seemed to get to a more accurate rate earlier in the run. Through most of the run, both were really close. During the immediate cooldown, the Charge HR was more accurate but after 10 minutes they leveled off again.
Running mileage and estimated pace of the Vivosmart was surprisingly accurate and I liked that it was really easy to designate the start and end of the run.
The most important factor to me was that the display on the Vivosmart is on at all times during the run, which means I can glance at my watch to see the data without having to press or tap anything. It is what I am used to with my Timex Ironman watch. I liked being able to look at the stopwatch to know how long I have run and could quickly swipe the screen to get to the heartrate data and the distance traveled.
Overall, I think for the average person that wants a fitness tracker (for steps, calories, HR, sleep etc), both the Garmin Vivosmart HR and the Fitbit Charge HR are really good. For the more focused and motivated athlete, the Garmin Vivosmart HR is more versatile and more practical.
41 out of 41 found this review helpful.
Good tracker - better than Fitbit Charge HR
Posted by: Nell from: on
This is the class leading product. I view the Garmin Vivosmart HR as a direct competitor to the Fitbit Charge HR. It is a smart activity tracker with optical HR. It also serves as a watch and a simple notification screen to avoid needing to looking at the 80's super computer we carry in our pockets (smart phone).
My wife and daughter both have the Fitbit Charge HR, so I had the opportunity to test both products. The Garmin Vivosmart HR is superior in a variety of ways.
Heart Rate - There are two modes - activity mode and every day mode. The Heart Rate is accurate when it is in activity mode. I have done several cycling rides and compared the heart rate with a heart rate strap - and it was almost equal. In contrast the Fitbit - was not accurate when the heart varied. The second mode, the all day mode, is designed to test your heart every so often, the more activity it detects the more frequent it will test. This was accurate enough for me. FWIW it uses three Leds instead of two on other devices.
Battery - Since it tests the heart rate every 1-20 minutes depending on activity the battery lasts 3-5 days. In contrast to the Fitbit HRs we have, which need to be charged everyday.
Messages - I find this quite helpful - instead of having to pull the phone out my pocket or reach for it. I can sit in a meeting and see I got message (or a call), or reminder to finish the meeting. The vibration seemed just right for me, enough so I can feel it but quiet enough that others can't hear it (unless they are dead silent). The vibration was strong enough so that I would feel it while cycling hard. With an IPhone it will push notifications to the phone for those apps that you set up to receive messages on the IPhone - using the standard iOS.
Screen Size - The screen is good for what it is designed to do - much more usable than the Fitbit, in size and with touchscreen. But small enough so it fits on the wrist. With that said - it can't display a whole txt message with scrolling through it, but the first line or two are typically enough (in relatively small font).
Heart Rate Broadcast - This is more for cyclists, runners, triathletes etc... The VSMHR will broadcast the heart rate in ANT+ mode to other ANT+ devices - for example a Garmin 510 Cycling computer. So you can wear it all day and during workout pair it with your more advanced athletic tracker.
The Garmin software is good and improving – sometimes a bit awkward, make sure you get the most recent update for the device.
After looking at some other reviews some other comments:
- This is an activity tracker – not a $450 fitness watch – but it does offer 24/7 heart rate tracking
- In order to get good HR response, you need to use the workout mode
- The wrist strap needs to be snug to get good HR readings
- Don’t expect the accelerometer to detect the difference in activities – it can not tell the difference between walking, cycling, bowling, skiing or swimming – it is not currently designed to do so.
- All the activity trackers approximate your calorie usage, by tracking your heart rate and movement – You naturally use calories while you sleep, and much more during exercise – the longer and higher you heart rate – the more. These are approximations – don’t base your sugar intake based on these approximations
- You enter your typical sleep time once – as long as you go to sleep during that 6-8 hour window it tracks your sleep
- This does not have GPS built in (it is only $150)
- This is not the right activity tracker if you need precise heart rate updates on a minute by minute basis 24 hours a day (for health reasons)
39 out of 40 found this review helpful.
vivo smart HR vs Fitbit HR
Posted by: Ahmed from: on
Here is my detailed review since i owned fitbit HR and had to change it out due to severe skin irritation which was getting worse by time:
1. Feel and look
The vivosmart Hr is much more comfortable , initially i thought i needed a bigger size since i was used to having the fitbit loose..the vivosmart loose or tight is miuch more comfortable.
Firbit has much more user friendly mobile app , however the vivo smart you barely look at the app since all your info is accessible clearly on the watch itself touch screen is responsive and not over responsive so i barely look at the mob
I have note 5 and no issues with sync , it is not immediate streaming like the fit bit but sync well
4. Call notifications
This is a big plus for the vivosmart , with the fitbit i used to get the notification with a considerable delay , smtimes a min later after i finished a call i feel the vib , the vivosmart is way better in that sense
I think the fit bit does a better job , i dun like the fact tht i tell the watch when am sleeping to track it and wt if i have a nap also the sleep tracking is not very accurate i woke up and yet it was being counted , this is why i have given it 4
Looks to work well in the gyn and walking , i initially had the issue of heart rate dropping , there is a slight delay in comparison to fit bit , i believe the fit bit is better for hert rate monitoring whichever the way u wear it it works well
I did wear both to compare fit bit counted 14 floor when i used the elevator which is a big fall..the vivo smart misses a lot of the stairs however it does q good job segregating the descending ones and excludes them
Overal i prefer the garmin vivo smart hr ovee the fitbit hr
The touch screen , the time display which makes it a good watch to use..the notifications..
They need to work on the heart rate tracking maybe improve sampling rate and the sleep tracking by changing the algorithm or so , if these are fixed then this will def be a 5 ratee!
29 out of 32 found this review helpful.
Posted by: mzhuynh from: on
I purchased the Vivofit 2 with heart rate monitor strap not too long ago and my husband saw that this was coming out soon. Looked online for reviews for the new Vivosmart HR, but could not find much. I did find out that the heart rate monitor is integrated on the tracker which was something I originally wanted. So far the tracker is great. It's not as accurate for tracking your heart rate for intense work outs. I find that the heart rate strap is better for that. A plus is that you can pair the strap with the watch. I feel the fit of the tracker is a bit more comfortable than the Vivofit 2. You do have to charge the tracker which with the Vivofit 2 you didn't have to. I am having issues when syncing the tracker with the app. Sometimes I'll have to try and sync a few times before the app pulls up my most recent activity. I never had that issue with the Vivofit 2. It reads the time/date. I don't have the notifications turned on. I don't feel like I need that option. Overall I like this tracker.
47 out of 56 found this review helpful.
Best tracker on market
Posted by: Ngsuave023 from: on
I've owned 15+ trackers. This is the best one out there. Accurate HR, smart notifications, touchscreen, waterproof. Improving mobile app. I weightlift and do crossfit. So far the HR has been spot on for my intense workouts.
41 out of 48 found this review helpful.
Great hardware - needs software work
Posted by: Riley1992 from: on
Returned a Fitbit charge hr for this and I'm enjoying it so far (I've had it for about 5 days). The hardware itself is fantastic, doing much more than the Fitbit like all phone notifications, weather updates, music control (turned it off), move reminders, and waterproofing for the same price. Though subjective, I find it much more comfortable on my wrist. I do miss the Fitbit software platform as I had 25+ friends constantly using it and competing with them. So far social features are nil for me on the Garmin which is a bummer. The app definitely has some issues but it's worked great the last two days for me. They did just overhaul the entire UI so hopefully they will fix any bugs as time moves on. Overall, I'd recommend it if you're not heavily invested in Fitbits social platform.
P.S. I was reading a review down below about screen orientation being a pain in horizontal. I posted a pic to show that you can change the settings in the app so the screen is oriented in the vertical plane for easier viewing on your wrist (works perfect - except smartphone notification screen is still stuck on horizontal, hopefully changed in future updates)