Wearable Technology

Garmin Vivofit Review – Best Fitness Band By Garmin

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Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band 4

Keep moving and stay fit. That is what every fitness device manufacture tells you to do. It is quite a snappy catch but it’s a fact because the more you move by your feet, then better your health becomes. However the only problem you might have is motivation (the ability to do it continuously without losing focus and energy). Fitness trackers like Garmin Vivofit are tailored for so many purposes, for example; you get motivated and encouraged to work out on a daily basis, you get a chance to set daily goals and work towards achieving them (one step at a time), you also get a chance to monitor ypur sleeping patterns helping you know when you had a good / bad sleep.

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In this detailed review of Garmin Vivofit Fitness tracker I will tackle different things and these include; Pros / Cons / Features / Specs and comparison of Garmin Vivofit with other fitness trackers like Fitbit Charge / UP 24 by Jawbone & Fitbit Flex

 

PERFORMANCE: So far it has low rating compared to Fitbit Surge / Charge HR. This Garmin Vivofit has got a lot of buzz but I’m surprised it has poor customer rating of about 3.7 / 5. That is not cool for a fitness band, but I will dig deep into its features and also go through customer reviews to find out the reason why its rating is low. On the hand, Garmin has upgraded this model, hope it will do a better job than this one. The new model is called Vivofit 2.

 


 

WHAT IS IN THE BOX?

  • Vivofit Fitness Band
  • Two straps (big & small size) By default the watch has a big band but you can remove it and replace it with a small band. You don’t have to do any measurements, because the straps have enough holes for easy adjustment which is a brilliant idea.

 Garmin Vivofit Review

WHAT IT TRACKS:

  • Calories burned
  • Sleep
  • Monitors heart rate (but you have to pair it with heart rate monitor)
  • Calculates distance
  • Counts Steps

 

PROS:

  • Long battery life (lasts for 12 months)
  • Accurate results
  • Waterproof (good for swimmers but don’t go below 50 ft)
  • Great motivational tool (you don’t need a workout partner if you have Vivofit)
  • Works 24/7 (it can stay on for 12 months without switching it off)
  • Auto goal will create personalized daily goals for you basing how active you’re.(nice feature for lazy people)
  • The move bar will tell you when to move (hence improving on your blood flow & general fitness) – It wakes you up when your body becomes inactive for 1 hour.
  • Wirelessly syncs your data to smart devices. (no need of USB cables)
  • It pairs with a heart rate monitor to read your pulse & heart rate
  • Good display of data. (screen display size is 25.5 mm x 10 mm and the resolution is good)
  • Not heavy (0.89 oz) – 25.5 g feels comfortable on the wrist.
  • Vivofit band is very easy to set up – you don’t need a manual to learn how to use it.

 

CONS:

  • Its wristband is too plain and not comfortable compared to that of Fitbit Surge
  • Vivofit’s display screen has no back light. So when it gets dark you might not read results very well.
  • Defective wrist strap – It falls off easily and that is a great disappointment. Hope Vivofit 2 has a better clasp.
  • Trouble syncing yet in the description they say that it syncs very well
  • Does not read elliptical steps (wired)
  • Registers arm movements as steps taken. Not as accurate as they say, may be for some people it is.

 gallery 2

SUMMARY:

[box] Judging from its PROS, I give credit to Garmin Vivofit, its price has been slashed down by half so you can grab one and start tracking your activities and fitness level. However, Vivofit misses some crucial features which a premium activity tracker should have, let me hope Vivofit 2 has been well upgraded to meet our fitness needs.[/box]

Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band 2

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THE COMPETITION:

Much as I like Vivofit, it does not mean that it does not have some stiff competition out there. Actually it competes with Fitbit Surge, Fitbit Charge HR and Jawbone UP24. All these three models have value and they have some unique features you might not find on Vivofit. However, competition is healthy because we as consumers we get a chance to try out more than one brand and make a final decision by ourselves.

One the other hand, I will point out one major feature which Garmin Vivofit lacks, that is a heart rate monitor. I know you can connect Garmin Vivofit with an external heart rate monitor but that means you will have to spend more $30 +++ to buy a heart rate monitor, to me this isn’t good because SURGE / CHARGE HR come with an embedded heart rate monitor which works 24/7. But when it comes to comfort I might give Vivofit a credit, it fits just like a normal digital watch, at least it is better than Jawbone UP24.  

We have other brands like Polar Loop which was released before Garmin Vivofit and it costs less than Vivofit, these two models have similar features but their designs are not similar. If your budget is little bit fixed; you can opt for Polar Loop.

Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band 4

HARDWARE:

On the glance, Vivofit features two major parts and these include; the strap (shell) and the tracker. These two parts play different roles. For example, the strap is the one which enables you to wear the watch, it has many holes which allow in air to prevent sweating and at the same time you can use those holes to adjust the length of the strap. However, Vivofit’s strap if made out of cheap material, it does not feel too comfortable but its fine. Judging from Vivofit’s price tag, I don’t expect too much luxury from this product, what matters to me are results. It is a basic fitness tracker (good for beginners). In brief, this is what Vivofit does; count steps, calculate burned calories, sync data to mobile devices, sets goals, tracks sleep, calculated distance & time and so much more. 

Strap:- If style and comfort are very important to you, Garmin gives you an opportunity to change Vivofit’s straps any time you want. You cam buy a bundle of these straps in different colors & sizes, try them all until you get what you want. To me, this is a brilliant idea because I don’t have to be glued to a black strap all the time.  

Product Dimension:- 0.42 inches x 0.42 inches x 0.83 inches

 

GARMIN VIVOFIT vs FIBIT & POLAR LOOP:

GARMIN VIVOFIT vs FIBIT

  • It pairs very well with an Heart Rate Strap:- If you’re a road biker you will fall in love with this Vivofit tracker. I know it does not come with its own heart monitor but you can buy one and wear it as a strap. It can pair with any HR strap and help you know your pulse & hearT rate as you cycle. It can as well be used on a recumbent gym bike; all you have to do is to wear a heart monitor when riding a bike. Some fibit trackers lack this feature and this were Vivofit beats them.
  • Thicker band: – The clasp of Vivofit is a little bit thicker than that of Fitbit. This makes it heavier on the hand but it looks good. You can replace the clasp of Vivofit with your favorite color and size, so you don’t have to be glued to one style like Polar Loop.
  • Long battery life:- This is attributed by two small batteries which work for 12 months. I have already pointed out this point as a PRO but I didn’t go in details. These 2 small lithium batteries are not rechargeable like those of Fibit Surge / Charge HR, but they can work for 12 months. Once they are dead, you can replace them with new batteries which you can buy from AMAZON / GARMIN.COM. I know this might sound like a waste of money. Why use Vivofit which requires you to buy new batteries every after 12 months yet Fitbit’s battery is rechargeable. Here is my honest opinion; if you add up the time you spend charging that Fitbit tracker, a Vivofit user will have tracked more data than you. On average Fitbit’s battery can keep power for only 4-5 days, however, it gets charged fully within 1 hour, but that continuous charging can also kill the battery, so you might end up buying two battery cells in a year and I think that is more expensive than owning a Vivofit.
  • No interruption:- This point is related to the one I have mentioned above. I have to accept that Fitbit trackers are very good; however, you have to carry a USB charge with you all the time. So you will always get interrupted during the day to charge that Fitbit. It might not sound like too much work, but trust me, the day you forget that USB charge at home is when you will regret not having a Garmin Vivofit. Forgetting is human, it is caused by many factors but there’s one thing you can’t skip in a day without knowing and that is your fitness level. So, never get disrupted during a busy day, spend most of your time attending to the most important tusks at work / home and let Garmin Vivofit take care of your fitness concerns. It will even go with you to bed and track sleeping patterns. [wonderful]
  • Nice display:- The only way you can tell that Vivofit’s display is better than that of Fitbit Charge HR / Polar Loop is by owning any of those two competitors. I have a new Fitibit Charge HR, it has a continuous heart rate monitor and I like that feature because it does not require me to use a HR strap as Vivofit does. However, when it comes to reading data, I have to sync it to my smartphone / any portable device to read it well. Fitbit Charge HR has a very small screen and data is displayed in a sequential manner, so you have to be glued to the screen to wait for what will display (it’s a waste of time). On the other hand, Vivofit’s screen is big enough, you easily read data and at the same time it features a move bar to inspire you workout more and move the bar to its fullest. But when it gets dark, my favorite Vivofit gets hard to use because it has no back light. {dam}

 

A WORD TO GARMIN:- Please as you plan to release more fitness trackers, try to work on the back light issue. I will check out Vivofit 2 and see if it has this back-light problem fixed, if not, that will be bad for me and other Vivofit fans.

  • Better than Fitbit Flex One:- I want to conclude this comparison of Fitbit & Vivofit with this point. My girlfriend owns Flex One, it is quite affordable compared to my Vivofit. I tried to use it one day as a test but all I could see on the screen where dots. I was confused at first but later-on I figured out how to use it. It syncs with smart-phones easily better than Vivofit, however, it’s a clip-on tracker, very small and easy to lose. When it comes to battery life, Flex One has a very short battery life compared to Vivofit.

 

MY VERDICT:

When you own Garmin Vivofit, you will have the right fitness tracker with you. I know it has some cons here and there, but overall its the best fitness tracker on the market. Its price has been slashed down by half, you can use the rest of the money to buy a heart rate strap. However, I have checked out Garmin vívofit 2 Bundle with Heart Rate Monitor,  it’s price is $129. In my opinion, you would rather buy Vivofit 2 because that $129 covers the heart rate monitor as well and I think some upgrading has been done on Vivofit 2.

 Colors

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FULL DIGEST:

  • Perfect sleep tracker:- I have owned three different sleep trackers and these include Fitbit Charge HR, Fitbit Zip and Vivofit. I can’t complain because they have all performed as expected. However, I give Vivofit an A+ because it works flawlessly compared to the other two models which disengage from sleep mode late in the night and skip tracking some data while I’m asleep. The other thing I love about this tracker is that when I wake up in the morning, it assigns me with daily goals which gets me motivated right from the bed to the road.
  • Waterproof:- If you love swimming, you should buy Vivofit because it can work perfectly while in water. However, I’m not so sure about its depth capacity, but most fitness trackers stop at 50 meters which is pretty okay with me. The waterproof seal prevents swimming pool water from damaging the watch and it does not even affect its performance and this makes Garmin Vivofit the best fitness tracker for swimmers.
  • Less room for errors:- I will not give this fitness tracker 5/5 because all fitness trackers have pros & cons. It’s quite difficult to find a perfect activity tracker, I doubt if that is achievable no matter how expensive a tracker can be, it will have room for errors. However, this Vivofit has less room for errors, and most them are minor errors which you can bare with.
  • Exceptional:- I remember when fitness trackers hit the market, I was to excited to have one and I invested money in different models as some of them kept on disappointing me. If you work out on a daily basis, the last thing you will need to have is a non-performing activity tracker because every step it misses matters. A good fitness tracker should be in position to track steps, count calories burned, track sleeping patterns, set goals and motivate you every morning, have a good display and above all else, it has to be comfortable to wear. After owning Vivofit, I noticed that it had all these features, though it also has some issues, but overall its the best fitness tracker on the market.
  • Easy to read:- In my opinion, Vivofit is the best fitness tracker for beginners. It looks more like a normal digital watch, data displayed on the screen includes; time, steps taken, date, steps left to goal, distance covered and calories burned. It is very easy to navigate through data even though it has no back light which makes reading data in darkness a little bit difficult.
  • Accurate Pedometer:- Most activity trackers don’t have this feature yet it’s very crucial especially when you’re a biker. I have tried out different types of fitness bands, but most of them don’t do well with exercises which don’t associate with arm movement. Vivofit’s pedometer gives me accurate results. 
  • Garmin Connect App:- Data collected by this Vivofit can be synced to Garmin connect App, this is done wirelessly so don’t worry about USB cables, that is a thing of the past. Once data is synced to Garmin App, it is well organized in graphical format making it very easy to read. However, some users complain that syncing data takes a while, but on average, mine takes 15-20 seconds and that is pretty fine with me. Garmin’s mobile application is comprehensive, you can add & edit data as you want, create goals and at the same time share them with friends. The app can also be used to set sleeping time, this feature comes into play when you forget setting Vivofit into sleep mode, it ensures that each and every sleep is monitored even when you forget switching Vivofit tracker into sleep mode. Once you use this activity tracker, your lifestyle will change and you will be become more health conscious.

 Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band 1

VIVOVIFIT CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE:

– It Saves your Life:- I know this might sound ironic but it’s a fact. If you sit for a full hour without being active, Vivo fit’s red bar will appear on the screen and it keeps on growing as you stay in one position to alert you that something has to be done other wise your health is in trouble. The most interesting part about this move bar is that when you stand and take a step, the move bar goes back to zero and the more steps you the more it grows, this time to motivate you to move and stay fit. I did some research on effects of sitting for long and this is what I found on –  Webmd

  • Worse mental health
  • You get exposed to heart diseases and other related issues.
  • Your chances of getting disabled are high
  • Back pain issues
  • Weight problems
  • Blood clotting which results into death (people who exercise on a regular basis, you can also get this problem is you sit for so long)
  • Cancer
  • High blood pressure

 

Experts say that sitting and exercising are two different activities, each contributes to our health. So, as that 1 hour of jogging is very important to your health, it might not undo the 8 hours you spend sitting the all day.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO?

You have to walk for at least 10 – 15 minutes in each hour. Let’s say you work for 8 hours, make sure in each 1 hour, you walk for 10 – 15 minutes and also try to work while standing, this improves on your blood flow and reduces back pain. I know you might have issues remembering when to get off that desk and have a walk around your office / workplace; that is to why I recommend Garmin Vivofit activity tracker. It is engineered for that purpose; you will get a reminder to move every time you spend a full hour seated.

 gallery 1

HOW TO USE VIVOFIT FOR THE FIRST TIME?

After reading through customer reviews on Amazon, I noticed that many people have trouble installing and using Vivofit, if you get into the same trouble, use instructions below or download Garmin user manual here..:

  • Installation:- Your new fitness tracker can work even when not connected to Garmin connect website, it is just like a normal sports watch, however, it’s recommended to connect it on Garmin website, this will help you utilize all features on the website / App and the watch. You can sync your tracker with Garmin App using Bluetooth, this might take a while, but you have to get an account with Garmin before doing this. Once the device is detected, firmware / software will be updated automatically to improve on the performance of the tracker and that sounds brilliant. Some users say that there devices are never detected when they try to snyc for the first time. True this can happen, however what you have to do is to disable the syncing and re-add your Vivofit device in Garmin Connect Center, it will finally sync.
  • Screen Options:- Unlike most fitness trackers, Vivofit features only one button on the side, use this button to trigger events or navigate data recorded by the device. Keep on tapping the button until you get what you want. The screen is always on and you don’t have to worry about battery charging. What you leave on the screen will always be the default data displayed, but the device will keep on taking records for other activities. For example; if you tap the button and stop on calorie counts, that’s is the only data which will be displayed on the screen the all day, however, behind the scene, the device will keep on tracking distance, steps taken, time and so much more. So when you re-tap the button again, you will see more of this data displayed on the screen.

Please note:- You have to wear this wrist band on your wrist, that is the only way it can keep track of your daily activities and sleep.

  • Step Count: – I’m sure everyone can tell what this feature does. When you wear this fitness device on your wrist and make a movement, it will track and count steps in that movement. I have already told you that sitting for very long hours is harmful to your health. So you can set a daily goal (5000 steps), these can be achieved by moving in the office, climbing stairs, walking to a restaurant and so much more. However, as you do this, the step counter records and adds up all steps taken during the day. It resets its self to zero everyday but data collected is stored in Vivofit’s internal memory.
  • Goal:- I’m sure you might find it difficult to set daily goals. Garmin has simplified on daily goal setting. All you have to do is to enter some basic information in your Garmin account and the system will automatically set daily goals for you. These goals are set basing on information you provide to Garmin. So if you lie to them, you will get wrong suggestions which don’t fit your lifestyle.
  • Distance:- Once you get to this section, you will see how far you have walked. Data can be displayed in miles or kilometers. In my opinion, you should not check this section all the time, because you might think you have achieved enough. Some users when they see that they have walked 10 miles they celebrate and reward themselves (which is pretty good) but the mistake they make is to relax and give up on working out. What you have to know about our bodies is that 10 miles can’t make you fit and healthy for long, you have to keep on moving as long as you’re breathing. I’m sorry but there is no excuse for this. Walk or die, it is plain and simple.
  • Sleep:- Hold the button and get to this section. By default, Vivofit can’t know that you’re sleeping, so you have to set the watch to sleep mode when going to sleep. But you can as well automate this process because chances of forgetting that sleep mode feature are high. Go to Garmin Connect website and set the time you always go to sleep. Since the device syncs automatically to the website / mobile app, it will time its self and track your sleeping patterns even when you forget to manually set the watch to sleep mode.
  • Mobile Application:- Garmin has released two mobile apps, one is for iOS and the other is for Android phones. You can download iOS Garmin app via itunes and get that for Android phones via Google play. But information displayed on your mobile App is the same info displayed on Garmin Connect website.

 Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band 2

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

I have compiled a few questions from Fitness forums about Garmin Vivofit fitness bands and I will answer them all in this post. If you still have any question, I suggest you contact Garmin themselves; they have a very nice support team.

 

  • Does this device count calories burned?

Yes, it does count burned calories, you can see this data by tapping that button on the side of the device until you reach Calorie count section, here you will see total calories burned on that particular day. However, I suggest you sync this data to your mobile App because it’s better organized on the App than on the watch. Results will include both resting and active calories.

 

  • Does it work as a watch as well?

Yes. Vivofit is more than just an activity tracker; it works as a watch as well. It has all features a normal watch has. For example; you can tell time and date. Garmin Vivofit adjusts very well like a normal watch would do, so don’t worry about comfort. This is the kind of fitness tracker you should own.

 

  • I’m allergic to Metal, does it have any metal on the Clasp?

No. It has no metal, it’s all plastic. You will get no skin reaction and the clasp is made out of durable rubber so it lasts for long. On the other hand, you can change bands and opt for a nice color & size.

 

  • Does Vivofit track laps in the pool?

This tracker is waterproof, however, some users have reported that the only way it can track laps in a pool is when you wear a hear rate belt. In that case, it will track both the laps and heart rate. But the only Issue you might have is display; it has no back light so you might need to get out of water to read data very well.

 

  • Is it possible to pair it with smartphones?

This device uses Bluetooth technology which enables you to sync data across Bluetooth enabled devices wirelessly. You can easily pair it with a smartphone and read all your fitness & sleep data clearly using Garmin mobile App. Once data is synced to the App, its displayed inform of graphs making it very easy for you to read and compare results. It looks beautiful and motivating, give it a try and see what I’m talking about.

 

  • Is it possible to pair it with Garmin 310 heart rate monitor?

I’m not so sure about that because in description of this product, they say it pairs with Garmin ANT and all other heart rate monitors. So, I guess it can work with Garmin 310

 

  • Do we have to pay a monthly fee to use this device?

No, No, No….after buying this device; that will be the end of it. You can only spend money when replacing those two battery cells and that will take 12 months to happen. May be the other cost is optional; i.e. when you want to change bands. But other than that, all services are free including customer support and replacements.

 

  • Is it possible to sync Garmin Vivofit with a computer or laptop?

Yes it is possible, however, some desktop computers don’t have Bluetooth feature, so you might use a USB plug-in cable to pair your Vivofit with a computer. On the other hand, most laptops are Bluetooth enabled, which means you can sync Vivofit with your laptop or ipad.

 

  • Can Vivofit record steps while you’re driving or when using a treadmill?

Before answering this question, I want to make one point clear. Vivofit is an activity & sleep tracker. Much as driving is an activity in our world, that does not convert into a physical activity to Vivofit and truthfully, you don’t burn any fat while driving. So the answer is NO. But if you wear it while running on a treadmill, it will track each and every step you take and at the same time calculate burned calories.

 

  • Should I wear this device to a pool?

Yes, you should because it’s water proof. However, according to its description, you shouldn’t exceed 50 meters with this tracker on your hand, below that depth, it will not work, it might even get damaged because pressure builds up as you dive deeper.

 

  • What should I do when I see this message ”NOT SMART BLUETOOTH ENABLED” when I’m trying to pair Vivofit with a Smartphone?

I’m sure you will get confused when you see this message because in the description they say the device pairs smoothly with smartphones. True it does, but the process is a little bit different and it takes at least 30 seconds to pair them both. Now this is what you should do, go to Garmin Connect and download a mobile App for your smartphone, make sure you get the right app basing on your mobile’s operating system. Once the App is installed on your phone, start syncing your Vivofit with your smartphone, it will be discovered and the next time you need to move data from Vivofit to that particular phone everything will be smooth.

 

  • How is Vivofit different from Fitbit?

I’m sure many of you own fitbit trackers, they do a very good job but they need continuous charging which is a bit disturbing especially when you don’t want to miss a single hour of non tracked data (steps / distance / calories/ heart rate). When you own a Garmin Vivofit, the first thing you have to forget about is interruption because it does not require charging of any kind. The battery works 24/7 for 12 solid months without charging and that is what makes Vivofit exceptional and better than Fitbit.

 

  • Does it have a small / large band?

By default, this device comes with a large band, but in the box, you will also find a small band. You can change these bands any time you want to. Men like large bands yet ladies prefer smaller ones to large ones.

 

  • The band used to slip off, has this been fixed by Garmin?

Yes, this new Garmin comes with a lock which you can slide to lock the band after wearing it on the wrist. This lock prevents Vivofit from slipping off your wrist as it used to be in the past.

 

  • Does it count stairs climbed?

The least it can do is to calculate covered distance, steps climbed and time. It’s not that clever to know how many stairs you have climbed, but I think that would be an interesting feature.

 

  • Is the screen readable at night?

During day time, you will have no problem with the screen, but at night you might need aid of a touch because the screen has no back light, hence making it very difficult to read data displayed on the screen. I’m sure in the near future Garmin will fix this because it a very relevant feature.

 

  • How perfect / accurate is it when working out on an elliptical machine?

When you’re using an elliptical machine, your hand will be moving. Vivofit can track any hand / foot movement; so basically, it will give you accurate results. Please…..this is an assumption because I have to try it out myself.

 

  • Should I really invest in a heart tracker?

I guess this depends on what you want to track. If you’re so into accurate results especially when it comes to calories burned, I suggest you buy a heart rate monitor with this Vivofit.

 

  • And Last but not Least; Does Vivofit fit very well on small wrists?

Yes it does, you can adjust it easily without cutting the clasp and at the same time it comes with two bands. One is small and the other big.

 

MY FINAL WORD:

I love Garmin Vivofit and I plan to get Vivofit 2, I always recommend this fitness band to my workmates, friends and family members. It is truly the best & easy to use fitness tracker on the market

Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band 3

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Researcher and Blogger....at YOSAKI.com. I keep on testing different things until I get what works and what does not work.

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