Pay for rides with this fitness tracker

Pay for rides with this fitness tracker
Among other functions, the new Vivosmart HR will urge you to move when you have been sitting for too long.
PHOTO: Garmin

The Garmin Vivosmart HR with ez-link is what its name implies.

It is still the same Vivosmart HR wristband fitness tracker that was released last year.

It has the exact same design with a small 160 x 68 pixels touchscreen that has an always-on display with backlight.

A single button sits just below the display. It comes with a watch-like clasp that provides a secure fit on the wrist.

But on one side of the fitness tracker is an etched ez-link logo. This ez-link version has a contactless chip - same as the ones in ez-link cards - integrated into the wristband.

Thus, you can use this fitness tracker to tap and pay for your rides on the MRT train or bus - just like using an ez-link card. In addition, it can be used at up to 30,000 ez-link payment locations around the island.

The default screen shows the time and date, so it doubles as a watch too. Swipe on the display to cycle through different status panels that show date and time, heart rate, distance travelled, steps taken, flights of stairs climbed and calories burnt.

Pressing the button takes you to another menu, which lets you cycle through options such as ez-link, run, sync and settings. Tap on ez-link to see your remaining balance.

Out of the box, there is no stored value in the fitness tracker. To top up, place it on the card reader of a General Ticket Machine like you usually do with your ez-link card. Then top up the balance using cash or credit card as you normally do.

Similarly, when you board a bus or go through the MRT train station gantry, place your wrist with the Vivosmart HR near to the ez-link card reader to pay your fare. It is that simple.

I also tried using the My EZ-Link Android app with my Samsung Galaxy S7 edge to top up the balance on the Vivosmart HR. It worked without a hitch.

Unlike many ez-link charms that are nothing more than dolled-up ez-link cards, this Vivosmart HR will urge you to move when you have been sitting for too long. It has a Move bar. Once the bar is filled, it will alert you with an on-screen flash and vibration to get you moving.

It also sets your daily step target based on your previous day's effort. For instance, if you hit 3,000 steps today when your target is 5,000, it will set tomorrow's target at 4,000.

In terms of steps tracking, its readings closely matched those of my calibrated Fitbit Flex 2, differing by no more than 3 per cent.

But without GPS, the Vivosmart HR overestimated the distance I ran by nearly 20 per cent.

The Vivosmart HR's heart-rate monitor shows the resting heart rate as well as average heart rate for the day.

Readings differed by no more than four beats per minute from my Apple Watch Nike+.

The Vivosmart HR automatically detects and tracks sleep. It shows how long you are in deep and light sleep. It accurately tracked the time when I woke up in the middle of the night for a toilet break.

However, I discovered that when I placed it on the table, it registered that as sleep.

The battery life is as good as advertised - five days when connected to a smartphone. Yes, it will also display notifications when paired with a smartphone.

The Vivosmart HR is water-resistant to a depth of 50m. You can wear it while showering or swimming.

Verdict: If you are a daily commuter thinking of getting a fitness tracker, the Garmin Vivosmart HR with ez-link has to be the one to get.

It also sets your daily step target based on your previous day's effort. For instance, if you hit 3,000 steps today when your target is 5,000, it will set tomorrow's target at 4,000.

 

TECH SPECS

PRICE: $259, available end of next month

MATERIAL: Rubber wristband

CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 4.0

WEIGHT: 30g (regular size)

RATING

FEATURES: 4/5

DESIGN: 3/5

PERFORMANCE: 4/5

BATTERY LIFE: 4/5

VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

OVERALL: 4/5

 


This article was first published on Feb 15, 2017.
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