Garmin Vivofit – A Review

Hello and Happy Thursday! One more day and I leave on my TDF Retreat. So looking forward to getting away and meeting some fabulous women.

In my quest to find the “perfect” activity tracker, I am now testing the Garmin Vivofit. Garmin makes great GPS watches, GPS units, etc. so I wanted to see what they would do with an activity tracker.

Garmin Vivofit

Let’s do some pros and cons!

Garmin Vivofit Pros

Battery life – Unlike the Samsung Gear Fit which needs to be charged every 2 to 3 days, the Garmin Vivofit does not need to be charged. The batteries last for up to a year and are then user replaceable. HUGE advantage over all the other trackers out there.

Heart rate monitoring – There is an optional heart rate monitor strap, which I bought, that works seamlessly with the Vivofit. Put on the heart rate strap, press the button on the Vivofit til you see Heart, and voila! – heart rate monitoring. It will monitor your heart rate until you take the strap off. It is as easy as that.

Time to Move Bar – If you have been idle for too long, a red bar appears on the tracker. The more you are inactive, the longer the bar. To get it to go off, you just need to get up and move around (and trust me when I say a few steps won’t cut it). It would be nice to have some kind of vibration alert (see cons below).

Colorful Bands – The Vivofit comes in five different colors and the bands are interchangeable. While this is something Samsung SAID they were going to do with the Gear Fit, Garmin actually did it. The one shown in the photo above is purple.

Pricing – $170 with the heart rate strap, $130 without. This is cheaper than the Samsung Gear Fit and inline with other trackers. While it appears Garmin has the units on backorder, you can get them immediately from Amazon (where I bought mine).

Wireless Sync – You don’t have to hook up to your computer or phone for any reason. You can truly wear this tracker 24/7.

Clock – a must for me on my next fitness tracker is a clock. I want to be able to know what time it is WITHOUT carrying my phone around the gym.

Garmin Vivofit Cons

No backlight or vibrations – In order to make the batteries last up til a year, there are a few features that other trackers have that the Vivofit decided to skip. There is no backlight meaning it is hard to read in the dark. Even in our cardio theater where there are lights on the side and a HUGE movie screen, I had trouble seeing what time it is or my heart rate. There is also not a vibration alert for anything. To set the sleep function, I have to use my phone flashlight app to see what I am doing. A little inconvenient to say the least.

Phone & Computer App – Just like Samsung, Garmin fails in the app department (Fitbit would win this category for me). The Connect app on the phone works – but you can’t really see all your data. I still haven’t been able to get the Vivofit to sync with the app on my Macbook Pro and I have an email out to Garmin’s support. One big thing I can’t see – my heart rates from the different classes I took. I can see it while I am taking the class if I look at the Vivofit, but I can’t find where it is storing the data.

The jury is still out on this one. I am definitely trying it out over my weekend away, then I will make a decision.

Do you use an activity tracker? What features do you look for in one?

Have a healthy day!


9 Responses to “Garmin Vivofit – A Review”

    so much so I may be prying open the wallet ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Darn, I was really hoping there would be some sort of vibration function. I don’t often stare directly at my wrist, so I need some sort of alert!

  3. I bought the Vivofit last month and it doesn’t sync with EveryMove or Sparkpeople like my fitbit did. Other than that I like it a lot. Having the time on the activity band was important so I could eliminate wearing a watch.

  4. Sondra Bergen

    Did you ever get your Vivofit to work with your Macbook? I can’t seem to get it to work.

    • Glenneth

      i did – but i had to turn everything off bluetooth EXCEPT for the vivofit for it to work. it is highly annoying since i have mine setup with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse at my desk. but it finally did work once i did that.

      • Sondra Bergen

        I’m sad. I was so excited today when I bought mine. Not only does it sync with a very limited number of phones right now, but I really don’t think it will sync with my Mac. I think it words with iPhones and tablets but not with Mac computers. Weird. ๐Ÿ™

  5. Sondra Bergen

    I WILL try what you did, but I think that maybe the software update prevents support now.