If you are looking for a “no frills” basic activity tracking device, this Garmin Vivosmart HR is the device I would recommend.
I purchased this activity tracker over the summer of 2017 to track heart rate, steps, and some other basic data. This device does those things very well. Up to this point I was only using my iPhone for run, hiking, walking activities, but I found that there seemed to be no single solution for what I was looking for. I still use my iPhone and Nike+ Run Club to track my running activity and mapping my runs, however, adding the Garmin Vivosmart HR gave me some much needed insight where the Nike+ app fails to provide.
The Garmin device I have is generation 2, and Garmin has since released generation 3, which has a few new tracking elements and a new band design; otherwise is essentially the same device. The Garmin Vivosmart HR 2 & 3 standard DO NOT have GPS tracking, however, the Garmin Vivosmart HR+ indicates that it does have GPS integration (not sure what “Integration” means exactly).
Some of my favorite highlights of the device:
- Very good battery life; I have had it last up to a week. If you turn off the Bluetooth on the device when not in use, you will extend the battery life quite
- Touch screen for easy navigation on the device
- Heart rate tracking is very good and I would say is quite reliable
- Band is very solid with an easy fit. Resists sweat and odor very well
- Custom stride settings – Since this does not have GPS, it is using Pedometer technology to track activity. The custom stride allowed me to almost duplicate my distance and pace with my iPhone using GPS and Nike+RC app. That way all my data is highly accurate.
- Very quick Bluetooth connection between device and phone
- The Garmin Connect app is packed full of useful data elements and statistics for just about any activity you might be doing. The only exception for the Vivosmart 2 vs. the Vivosmart 3 is weights and reps – the Vivosmart 2 does not track that and the 3 does. I do not track reps, so that was not a big deal to me.
My least favorite features:
- Garmin Connect will talk to other software, so you can integrate your Garmin device data into other apps. The Nike+ app was somewhat limited and I have since turned that feature off. For running activity, the Garmin Connect just uploaded a separate run into Nike+ app for the same run. Easily deleted but not really useful so I revoked permission.
- All the alerts, notifications, alarms are turned on by default – not a big deal but it seems like it took me a week to find them all and turn them off
The Fitbit Charge 2 and Fitbit Alta seem to be comparable devices, however, were also listed at higher prices on Amazon when I created this review. I have never used a Fitbit device, however, friends tell me it is a good device but not as friendly for runners as the Garming – I cannot verify that. It appears that the Fibit is a more purchased device based on review volume, but the Fitbit devices are getting nearly the same ranking as the Garmin Vivosmart HR.
The Garmin Vivosmart Hr currently has 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon with about 3,000 reviews. The Fitbit Charge also had 4 out of 5 stars with about 7,000 reviews.
There you have it folks. If you are in the market for a very good activity tracking device, give the Garmin devices a try. I like this Vivosmart HR for what I wanted out of a device.
I am providing a link to the Garmin Vivosmart HR through Amazon.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review – Be fit
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