Menu

Garmin Vivoactive Review

 |  Garmin  | 

The Garmin Vivoactive is a GPS tracking device that has the look and feel of a smart watch and is designed as a cross between Garmin’s mid-range watches such as the Forerunner 220 and the Vivofit models. But is the Garmin Vivoactive any good? Read on for our review of the Garmin Vivoactive.

Garmin Vivoactive Review

Overview
The Garmin Vivoactive is a fully-fledged smartwatch with built-in sports apps that you can wear every day to help you keep active. When it comes to design there isn’t a whole lot of flair to the Vivoactive; the face is flat and square and can be a little boring. It’s certainly not going to be the watch that turns heads, but a lot of people enjoy the low-key style of the watch. The strap allows you to spice things up a bit, but the watch can still be considered very plain.

Garmin Vivoactive Review

Garmin Vivoactive Multi-Sports Tracker

Screen
One great thing about the watch is the screen; it’s worth paying attention to. It has a 205 x 148-pixel LCD panel, something you won’t find on most watches. The screen is in color as well and is as clear as day even if you are out in the sunlight. It does, however, require a front light when you are in the dark. The watch can be set so that the light goes on when the screen is touched.

Garmin Vivoactive Stats

Garmin Vivoactive Stats

If you are only using the basic features of the watch, like the step counter than the watch will power for up to three weeks. When in GPS mode, the Vivoactive can provide up to 10 hours of battery life.

Interface, GPS, and Fitness
The Garmin Vivoactive is more of a fitness watch, not a smart watch. It’s pretty clear as soon as you dig deep into the interface. The menu is dominated by activity types such as GPS tracking displays showing different rates and different fields.

If you tap on one of those, you can see your vital stats such as how fast you are running or how far you have travelled. If you are running in a new area, it could take up to two minutes for the Vivoactive to zone in on your position using the GPS connection. You don’t have to worry about it losing the connection once it’s locked in, however.

Tracking is also always accurate, and it zones into your exact position on the map. When you sync to your phone, you will be able to see your exact movements during your running by using the Google Maps display.

If you are a big golfing enthusiast, then you can download courses through the Garmin Connect app. It will tell the watch the exact location of all the holes, which is pretty fun. You will always know how far away you are from the holes. It has a 38,000- course database so you can find courses from all over the world.

Are you looking to track exercise? This watch is great for tracking your workouts. The Garmin Vivoactive can track your heart rate during your exercises, something that a lot of watches won’t do.

Smart watch Apps and Features
There are many different watch faces to choose from whether you are looking for a stylish one or a simple one. There are even Tetris designs and a Pac-Man version.

Vivoactive can access a Connect IQ app store that will provide you with many different apps. Apps that are usually included on the Garmin Fenix 3 and the Forerunner 920XT. There are some apps that let you track your basketball or tennis scores, but it’s also not just sports. There are many utilities and game option as well.

garmin vivoactive review smart notifications

Garmin Vivoactive Smart Notifications

You can receive notifications such as WhatsApp and emails. It sends you brief snippets of the notifications, so you have some idea of what’s going on. It has been known to lose connection with your phone every now and then. It can flake on giving notifications if it disconnects to your phone leaving you stranded for a time. It has a lot to do with the lack of aggressiveness when it comes to Vivoactive checking the status of Bluetooth connections.

Garmin Vivoactive Positives

  • Ultra thin design makes it comfortable to wear as a daily watch
  • Built-in apps to suit runners, bikers, golfers, swimmers or daily activity
  • Smart notifications provides vibrate or display alerts for incoming calls, texts or emails
  • Battery life of up to 3 weeks in watch/activity tracking mode or up to 10 hours when in GPS mode
Related Post  Best Garmin Running Watches

Garmin Vivoactive Negatives

  • Screen can be quite hard to read, especially in dark areas but this can be solved by setting the option for the back light to always stay on or invert the contrast to make it clearer to read
  • Menu system is not intrusive compared to Garmin mainstream watches
  • No built in heart rate monitor

Specifications

Physical dimensions 1.72″ x 1.52″ x 0.32″ (43.8 x 38.5 x 8.0 mm)
Display size, WxH 1.13″ x 0.80″ (28.6 x 20.7 mm)
Display resolution, WxH 205 x 148 pixels
Color Display and touchscreen Yes
Weight Without bands: 18.0 g (0.63 oz); With bands: 38.0 g (1.34 oz)
Battery Rechargeable lithium-ion
Battery life Up to 3 weeks (10 hours in GPS mode)
Water rating 5 ATM
GPS-enabled Yes
GLONASS Yes
High-sensitivity receiver Yes
Smart notifications (displays email, text and other alerts when paired with your compatible phone) Yes
Vibration alert Yes
Music control Yes
Watch functions time, date, calendar, and alarm
Running Features Accelerometer (calculates distance for indoor workouts, without need for a foot pod)
Cycling Features Bike speed/cadence sensor
Golfing Features Measures shot distance (calculates exact yardage for shots from anywhere on course), Yardage to F/M/B (distance to front, middle and back of green), Yardage to layups/doglegs
Swimming Features Pool swim metrics (lengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories)
Activity Tracking Features Step counter, Auto goal (learns your activity level and assigns a daily step goal), Move bar (displays on device after a period of inactivity; walk for a couple of minutes to reset it), Sleep monitoring (monitors total sleep and periods of movement or restful sleep)

What’s in the Box
Watch only

  • Garmin Vivoactive watch
  • Charging/data clip
  • User manual

Bundle version

  • Garmin Vivoactive watch
  • Premium heart rate monitor
  • Charging/data clip
  • User manual

What Other People Say About the Garmin Vivoactive
Top of the range sports/activity tracker – If you are in the market for a very capable sports watch with smart functionality, then give this device a good look. By Dalesman

Great watch, very accurate high quality well recommendgreat watch, very accurate high quality well recommend. By Kamil

Fitness Tracker Smart Watch Hybrid- One of the most reliable around – Reliable gadget that provides useful information during a range of activities as well as day to day life and crucially, functions well independent of a synced phone due to its in built GPS. By Jimmy

Garmin VivoActive Video

Conclusion
If you are looking for a smart watch that is similar to the Apple Watch, then you probably want to avoid purchasing the Garmin Vivoactive. It has many apps, but it’s nowhere near as superior as some of the smart watches available. There are so much more platforms available on the Apple Watch that the Vivoactive can’t compete with.

However, if you live an active life, then the Garmin Vivoactive may be just what you’re looking for. It’s great for cyclists and runners who like to track their progress. It has an amazing GPS tracking system that is much better than the Forerunner 225 and The FitBit. It is a better fitness model than many of the high-end models, and yet the cost is a lot lower. You also have the benefit of the support from Connect IQ apps.

It’s not up to par in training features like models such as the Fenix 3 or the Forerunner 920XT, but it can certainly hold it’s own. It doesn’t have an integrated HR sensor like the Forerunner 225, which many people want in the gym but it’s so inexpensive that you could just buy a separate HR sensor.

There are pros and cons to any device out there, but if you are looking for an inexpensive model that you can use in the gym or on a run, then you can’t go wrong with the Garmin Vivoactive. It can stand on its own in the industry, and when it comes to fitness features, it has everything that you will need to maximize your workouts. It’s a winner in our books!

Where to Buy the Garmin Vivoactive
At the time of writing, the Garmin Vivoactive base model is currently available directly from Amazon for $149.99 or $190 for the heart rate monitor bundle, which includes free shipping.

Do you own the Garmin Vivoactive? Share your comments or questions with us below.