Garmin Vivosmart

Vivosmart is the newer, smarter successor to Garmin's first fitness tracker, Vivofit.

Other than tracking your fitness activities, Vivosmart can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth and display notifications.

The comfortable rubber wristband comes in an all-black version, or one with a black top, that has a dark blue, violet, grey or purple underside. Setting it up is easily done with your smartphone (Android or iOS) or computer.

With a computer, use the proprietary USB cable with a clamp to hold the Vivosmart.

Download the Garmin Express software (Mac or Windows) and follow on-screen instructions to pair the device. Otherwise, download the Garmin Connect app (Android and iOS) to your smartphone and pair it with the Vivosmart via Bluetooth.

Either way, you have to sign up for a Garmin account or log into an existing one. You will probably want to use the mobile app for the smart functions and timekeeping. Set aside the USB cable for charging the device.

At first glance, you cannot even see where its 128-by-16 pixel Oled display is until you double-tap the centre of the wristband. To wake the display, you often have to double-tap twice.

Swipe on the display to cycle through the different status panels, such as date and current time, notifications, distance travelled, steps taken and calories burned.

Tapping and holding the display with one finger takes you to another menu, which lets you cycle through options, such as run, sleep, sync, brightness and phone finder.

When synced to your smartphone via Bluetooth, Vivosmart gives both visual and vibration alerts for calls and texts, as well as WhatsApp and e-mail messages.

You can read a few lines of the messages from the display, but cannot use the tracker to reply to messages or answer calls.

By default, the Vivosmart's fitness function sets a target of 7,500 steps. This can be changed via the software or the app.

If you fail to meet the target, it drops to 7,300 the next day, then to 7,000 and so on. It will alert you with an on-screen flash and a vibration if you stay still for too long.

I found the Vivosmart to be overly generous. For example, while my trusty Nike+ FuelBand said I had taken 5,000 steps, Vivosmart awarded me 7,000 steps on the same day.

The device can track your sleep patterns, but you must set it manually to sleep mode and switch it off when you wake up. It shows only how much you move about while asleep, but not how deep your sleep is.

On the bright side, it is water-resistant to 50m. The battery life is excellent. As advertised, it lasts for seven days when connected to a smartphone.


Price: $269

Material: Rubber wristband

Water resistance: 50m

Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0

Weight: 19g


Features 4/5

Design 4/5

Performance 3/5

Value for money 4/5

Battery life 4/5

Overall 4/5

This article was first published on Jan 14, 2015.
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