• Amazon.com

First look at Garmin’s new Vivosmart activity tracker


Today at IFA, the giant consumer-electronics focused show in Berlin, Garmin announced their latest activity monitor, the Vivosmart.  This unit builds upon the Vivofit that was released earlier this year with additional features and tighter smartphone integration.

I had a chance recently to play with the unit for a short bit of time, so I can offer some initial first thoughts.  Over the course of the fall I’ll pickup a unit and give it a more detailed review as usual.

For those in a bit of a hurry, here’s the core run down of the new things added above and beyond the existing Vivofit:

– Inclusion of a touch display
– Addition of cycling speed sensor support
– Addition of smartphone notifications (iOS and Android)
– Addition of ‘find my phone’ function
– Addition of Garmin VIRB action camera control
– Addition of phone music control
– Addition of vibration alerts

Now, all this functionality does come at a price – specifically, battery.  The unit gets reduced from a year’s worth of battery to about a week’s worth.  Which is pretty consistent with other bands in the industry that have similar displays and functionality.

With that brief introduction over, let’s dive into all the major new features.

The Touch Display, Waterproofing, Vibration alerts:

The most noticeable change from the existing Vivofit is the display.  The Vivosmart uses an OLED display that can be used to display just about anything textual or stick-man graphics that you can think of.


At the same time, said display is also a touch screen.  You’ll swipe left and right to change the display, and then can tap on a given icon on the display to select a given function.


The display is off, unless touched.  Additionally, if your raise your hand up as if you were going to look at the unit (like a watch), it’ll automatically turn on.

In addition to the display, the unit now contains the ability to generate vibration alerts.  These can be used for notifications, as well as configuring a sleep alarm.  This means you can now use the unit to be woken up from, without disturbing someone else.

Despite the OLED display, the unit is still waterproofed to 50 meters, so you don’t have to worry about killing it in the shower or the swimming pool.

Of course, such a screen isn’t without its downsides, most notably – battery.  As mentioned earlier, this drops the battery life of the unit from what was about 1-year on the Vivofit, down to about 7 days on the Vivosmart.  This puts it in the same ballpark as some of the other units in this class like the Fuelband and Polar Loop.


To charge it, you’ll use this included clamp charge that gives the Vivosmart a bit of a bear hug.


Smartphone Notifications, Music Control, Find your Phone:

Next, the Vivosmart, as the name implies, includes smartphone integration.  Previously, with Vivofit that was basically just limited to synchronizing your daily steps and other activities via Bluetooth Smart to your iOS or Android phone.

Now, that functionality on Vivosmart has been expanded significantly to act much like a smart watch.  To start, you can configure notifications from either iOS or Android.  The most common types of notifications would be that of text/e-mail messages, calls and calendar reminders.


You can scroll through these messages – even the contents of them – by swiping and tapping the display.


These notifications utilize the standard mechanisms on each platform, so they can be generated from anything from ‘standard’ stuff like missed calls and text messages, to more pressing issues like Angry Birds notifications.



And, unlike in the past, this functionality will be available from launch on both Android and iOS (previously Android lagged a bit).

Next, you’ve got the ability to find your phone.  You can tap a button on the unit, which will trigger the phone to ring.  At the same time, the band will show a little proximity bar graph of sorts, that shows you how far you are from the phone.


I played around with the find your phone feature a little bit and was fairly impressed with the little distance bar and the rough accuracy of it as I went further away from the phone.

Finally, we’ve got music control.  You can use the app to trigger basic start/stop and next/back track functions, as well as to adjust volume.


This functionality all uses the native platform controls, so it will effectively work with most applications that leverage that (for example, Spotify).

Addition of cycling sensor support:

While the existing Vivofit can connect to any ANT+ heart rate strap, the new Vivosmart can also connect to ANT+ cycling speed sensors.


The idea behind this is that folks who go out for a ride can get those activities more accurately recorded.  In this mode the unit will still generate an activity file just like before – but it’ll also include speed and distance (and be marked as cycling).  Previously if you went cycling with the product you just had a heart rate file.

Once paired, the unit will also show speed on the band itself.


(Update: Below section changed, after further clarification from different folks at Garmin.)

The unit will connect to both an ANT+ speed-only sensor, as well as an ANT+ speed/cadence combo sensor.  In the case of the combo sensor, it won’t use the cadence channel (won’t save/display it), but will still use the speed side of things.

Garmin VIRB support:


In what is probably the biggest surprise of the unit, Garmin has added the ability to control the VIRB action camera.  You’ll swipe to get to the VIRB menu, which then connects to the VIRB in the same manner as their remote control would (or some watches).

Once connected you’ll have two simple options.  To the right you can take a photo:


And to the left you can start recording a video:


To stop the recording, you’ll simply press the same video button again.  The whole thing worked quite well in my brief testing.

As usual, the data is recorded all within the VIRB, so there isn’t any additional dependencies on the Vivosmart.  And of course if you had a heart rate monitor paired, you’d pair that to the VIRB as well (since the strap can support multiple devices connecting to it).  The Vivosmart can control either the VIRB (regular) or VIRB Elite.

The Vivosmart Basics:

I recognize that some folks have never seen or heard of the original Vivofit, so just to recap very briefly in that department, the unit carries through all those existing features into the new Vivosmart.

For example, you still retain the inactivity bar graph.  It’s just no longer in red, but does display how long you’ve been inactive for.  Now though with the vibration alerts, it’ll also buzz you to get you moving.


The unit will still display calories burned, and is easily accessible by just swiping left or right on the display – just like before (except it was a button tap then).


Like every other activity monitor on earth, it’ll display the current number of steps, as well as your distance (i.e. miles).


It’ll show you steps remaining until your goal, but that’s now combined with your actual goal number as well.  On the Vivo series, the goal is dynamic and is changed each day depending on the previous few days of trending.


And the unit does include sleep tracking as well, though like the Vivofit that needs to be manually enabled/displayed when you go to sleep and wake up.


Finally, while in an activity (which is a separate mode to specifically track exercise) you’ll get both your current heart rate and your heart rate zone (as defined on Garmin Connect).  Previously the display showed the same, but it was all condensed together so sometimes a bit confusing.


That rounds up all the basics, of course, I’ll dive more into things down the road in a typical in-depth review.

Some initial thoughts:


Overall I think the feature set is pretty cool here.  I love the idea of adding the cycling speed sensor support, as that bridges that gap a bit for some people.  And the smartphone notifications seem well done, I’m glad they used the standard notification center there and didn’t do any limiting to specific functions/apps (i.e. just text messages).

The waterproofing to 50-meters is very solid, and is a rarity in the notification-connected world.  Most other devices that have flirted with notifications have far lower waterproofing levels.

Looking at the VIRB support, that’s definitely cool, but I wonder how much crossover there really is between people that buy the Vivosmart and people that buy the Garmin VIRB.  I would have thought adding VIRB support to the Garmin FR220 and FR620 would have netted a far bigger Venn diagram, and would be more likely to drive sales of both products.  So it’s not so much a knock on the Vivosmart’s inclusion of it, as it is the lack of support for it in the running products (outside of the Fenix line).


Of course, the new display does take a pretty big hit on the battery.  And while playing with it, I felt the display wasn’t super-crisp, almost a bit hazy.  I’m sure I’d get used to it, but it’s not that super-sharp screen on the Vivofit (even if it does have far more information).

Now I may come to not mind it – which is something I’ll touch on within my full in-depth review sometime this fall.

The Vivosmart will be available in about two weeks, exclusively at BestBuy.com until November.  Pricing is $169US without a heart rate monitor, and $199US with a heart rate monitor.  The unit will come in two sizes (the bands are not changeable like Vivofit), small and large.  And will come in five colors: Berry, blue, black, purple, and slate.  For clarity, I asked about the berry type. It’s a strawberry color with ‘undertones of pink’.  So…check.

Thanks for reading!  Feel free to drop any questions below and I’d be happy to try and get answers to them.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
If you would like a profile picture, simply register at Gravatar, which works here on DCR and across the web.

Click here to Subscribe without commenting

Add a picture



  1. John-Pierre Cornelissen

    Those are some nice but strange additions. I’d say it would be more beneficial if it could do it’s own heart rate monitoring without the need of a strap and also if it could recognize by itself when you sleep and wake-up. And I’d need Windows Phone support. I guess I have to wait again for the next version…

    • not sure that garmin are going to proceed with wrist based hr monitoring. maybe DC knows but I heard not in the near future. not sure where windows phone is going…I have one..i like it…but lots of redundancies at nokia doesn’t really help with app developers commitments to the windows platform IMHO

    • Simon Willard

      I was kind of hoping the 910 xt would have an upgrade to wrist-based hrm. Could this be paired with a Fenix 2 or 910 xt to provide HR during swim sections? I read in your TomTom Cardio review that you thought there may be a software upgrade to allow hrm during swimming, which would make the TomTom a no-brainer for me, however I generally like Garmin products. I’ve found my FR205 to be really reliable.

    • Just to be clear, the Vivismart still requires a heart rate strap be worn to get heart rate.

    • Chet

      Can it pair with the mio link to display heart rate?

    • Yes, I use the Vivosmart with the Mio Link. Garmin just released a software update that is supposed to fix intermittent connectivity issues between the Vivosmart and HR monitors. That is currently my only issue with the Mio + Vivosmart solution.

    • Apeks74

      Nice product but I guess I still need that third arm for 910, Activity Tracker, and Optical HRM.

    • Bluerain

      Hi, I just bought the garmin vivosmart and I don’t understand the gesture wake-up feature. My device only wakes up when I tap it twice and I can’t get it to wake up with any gestures. Do I have to manually turn this feature on or is my device faulty?

    • Bernardo

      You have tu turn it on, with Garmin Conect App on the phone or in Garmin Connect Web Page on device setting.

    • Jennifer McArver

      How do you turn on the wake up gestures using the Garmin Connect App?

    • Frank

      I don’t know what you mean. By default gestures are enabled and—as far as I know—cannot be disabled. They are limited to swiping from screen to screen, tap and tap and hold. If you mean waking up the display with a wrist movement, seclect Vivosmart under devices; click on the Settings tab. Under Device Settings you will find “Auto-On Display”. Set that to “Always”. Then scroll to the bottom of that page and click on SAVE. Finally, sync your band.

      Finding out what type of wrist movement turns on the display is a little hit and miss. Start out using the same natural movement you would normally use to look at a watch.

    • Jeff Elmer

      I am thinking about ordering a VS but want to understand how it will sync with my Garmin 620 that I use for running. How can I ensure it doesn’t double count my running? Thanks for the help.

    • Julie

      Jeff: Did you ever try the Vivosmart with your 620? It doesn’t double count, but I’ve found some other quirks. . . I’ve been using both, along with the Fitbit Flex and a Mio hart rate monitor (just during runs – and yes, I look ridic!) to try to figure out some combination that will work for me. Latest I’ve heard from Garmin is that both Vivosmart and the 620 can be linked to the Garmin Connect app, but not at the same time. . . so that means my Vivosmart stays linked, and every time I finish a run or spin class, I have to reconnect my 620 to the app on my phone. Garmin suggested synching one via my phone and the other via my computer, but that didn’t see so practical. I’ve also tried jawbone UP 24 and Shine, but I keep going back to Fitbit. . .it drives me nuts when my 620 and Vivosmart will record a run when I run in the deep end of the pool, but because I can’t wear my Fitbit in the pool, it takes away the calories I “earned” as if it doesn’t believe I actually did the exercise. I can deactivate the negative calorie part, but that keeps me motivated. Have you or anyone else out there found some combinations that work well?

      Good luck!

    • Frank

      Julie, sounds like you have a unique situation. I’m suprised anything counts steps while running in the deep end of the pool.

      I use a Vivosmart, a fenix 2, and and Edge 705. The VS is on 24/7 unless it is charging. I sync the fenix and the edge by cable. Occasionally, I’ll turn bluetooth off on the VS and sync the fenix via my iPhone. They are both recognized by GC connect but can only actually be connected to your phone one at a time.

      Unless I am running some kind of bench marking experiment I NEVER record the same Activity on any two or three devices at once. It will blow up your calorie counts and a lot of other things. I know because, more often than not, I am running some kind of experiment and my history is in perpetual disarray. If you do not record activities on your VS, Garmin will take care of netting out VS calories earned at the same time as intentional exercise recorded on one of their other devices.

      Hope this answers your questions.

  2. Nicklesmn

    Hi Ray, great stuff as always. Any initial thoughts on visibility in a darkened room? And is the display brightness adjustable in an way? Thanks for all the great info!

    • The display brightness did appear to be adjustable from what I saw. I wasn’t in a dark room, but it was actually fairly good there with lower light, so I wouldn’t at all be concerned there.

    • Jim

      How is the display in bright sunlight? The vivofit is easy to read in the sunlight (it’s LCD), but the oled devices I’ve seen need you to get in the shade to read them.

    • The photos were almost all taken outside on a sunny day.

    • Jim

      But with the vivofit, I could read it in the brightest sun, and I wonder if the photos really show what’s it’s like to the naked eye in full sun. (the LCD on the vivofit get’s EASIER to read as it gets brighter,,,,,,Oled to me, seems to get harder to read when it gets brighter outside (Fitbit One, Withings Pulse, etc)

  3. Claudio MV

    I like the idea of a smartband…. while a smartwatch is interesting, it also makes you give up your standard watch (unless you like looking ridiculous with a watch on each wrist… even when not running!), which means that 1) if the battery runs out you don’t even have the time of day any more and 2) you can’t match your watch with your clothes, or your mood, or your activities of the day…
    So wearing a band (which can easily coexist with a watch) to get smartphone notifications sounds like a pretty good idea (plus you get the activity tracking of course).
    I’ll put this in my Christmas list I think…

  4. Hi, a question about the display. Is the display ment to be allways on or do you have to switch it on in what ever kind of way? If you have to turn it on, what kind of way do you have to do it (push the touchscreen, gesture…)


    • It supports gesture-wake-up (which reminds me, I meant to add that). So if you go to raise your hands up, it wakes up. There are a few other units on the market that do the same.

      The display did turn off automatically for me.

    • Andrew

      Hi DC,

      About the auto-on…. I have to shake my arm like my hand is on fire. Is there any way to adjust the sensitivity of auto-on, so I can get it to turn on without causing injury?


    • Fran

      is there a way to turn that off. I move my hand and arms alot and I’m afraid it would kill my battery life. I see it randomly turn on when i’m driving or just sitting there.

  5. Paul Waye

    How would all this work out if I run with my Forerunner 620 and bike with my Edge 810?
    At the moment I connect my phone to the 620 before running (and a bluetooth headphone), and similarily with the Edge 810 when biking.

    Will I also be able to still have the devices still connecting at the same time as this health tracker?
    Are they going to be doubling everything up on Garmin Connect?

    • Yes, you’ll see them in Garmin Connect. It would show double-activities if you recorded them separately, but it doesn’t show double calories on Garmin Connect for day total. I believe there is still an issue with duplicate calories on MyFitnessPal from duplicate activities though.

    • Frank Young

      They fixed the MFP VF Activity calorie duplication problem a few days ago.

  6. David

    One minor correction Ray. You have the following line:
    I love the idea of adding the cycling cadence sensor support,
    I believe you meant cycling speed sensor support.
    Looks like an interesting device. This may push me to get an activity tracker.

  7. Tim

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think they ever came through with auto activity merging and their ‘modern’ site is still really lacking.

    My vivofit itself has been ok, but I can’t possibly consider buying another from GRMN until they get moving on their ‘promised’ future enhancements to software services.

    And the price tag… Coming in higher than anyone else. I suppose that’s also expected from garmin knowing their norm.

    • That’s been addressed, activities from ‘higher end’ devices (i.e. Edge or Forerunner) will trump Vivofit/Vivosmart calories.

    • Tim

      Calories… But what about syncing to strava and the like? I feel like I saw my wife’s strava all weird when she used the vivofit with her 610. Maybe it’s a sync dream… 🙂

    • Steven M Knapp

      Activities from Vivofit (and VIRB) sync across to Strava and TP as well. I see Vivofit activities as “Walks” in TP.

      I set my VIRB to not sync to my connect account for this reason. I don’t use the activity feature on the vivofit much for this same reason.

  8. Would be nice if Garmin had a trade up to the new Vivo discount as I purchased a Vivofit 6 months ago.

    • Matt

      Garmin does offer a upgrade program for any device which you would be able to use towards a new device. However they do exclude new devices from this offer for around 90 days.

    • jose

      Hello Matt
      Where I can found more information about the upgrade program for garmin ? I was trying to find something but not luck here.

  9. moosetender

    From the pictures, looks smaller than the vivofit. I like using the vivofit, but it lacks any style. Going to check out the vívosmart when it is available.

  10. Mark Randall

    Looks like a nice little device which fixes the vast majority of people’s gripes with the vivofit, at the cost of battery. I’d be delighted if they’d ported the speed sensor stuff back to the fit, as that is the only addition the smart adds that I really care about – dreams are free.

    @Paul/Tim – Connect has been working for me for a while now, Edge/FR trumps Vivo. At least as long as you only have one Activity at any given time, the noise from activity/steps appears to be ignored for the duration.

  11. Flobble

    Any idea whether the alarms still work if the phone is not in range? Not everyone walks around with their phone in their pocket. Notifications re text messages, emails etc clearly need the connection to be active, but it would be great if the alarms were cached locally.

  12. Nathan Simpson

    I have been hanging out for the new FitBit device and now they better hurry up or this could be the device for me.

  13. Harald

    did they change the wristband clamp?

    i finally lost my vivofit after 1.995.952 steps – although additionally “secured” with two O-rings

    • It looked to be the same there, I didn’t see any noticeable changes in the clamp.

    • David

      It includes a “vivokeeper”. Is that new?

    • When you do the full review, please address this. I found the clamp to be horrible, too, particularly since I never removed the Vivo, but frequently found it coming undone by itself. Lost my original and decided if the clamp didn’t get changed, I’d likely lose the next one, too.

    • I addressed this in my originally Vivofit review. Not once did it fall off for me, and, I suspect on the whole we aren’t seeing widespread issues either (unlike the Fitbit Force had, for me and just about every other human).

      Of course, if I do see issues with the band of the Vivosmart in testing I’ll note it. But I won’t make up failures just because others see an issue. It’s ultimately about my experience with a device.

    • Tiffany

      I also had problems with the clasp despite the keeper on it. I lost my watch after 1 week of owning it. I called Garmin and they acknowledged this is a common issue with this clasp (as seen with the vivotracker) so they have 1 time replacement with the tracker. They added the keeper to the smart but I lost mine even with the keeper on it. Loved the watch for the week I had it but reluctant to get another if I am going to lose it again.

    • Frank Young

      Tiffany, I am a little confused by your message. The Vivofit originally came with no keeper and it was fairly common for people to lose them. They since offered a free keeper for the Vivofit that is held in place by the prongs on the clasp and is quite secure.

      The Vivosmart has had a keeper since day one. That keeper is so secure that it is a pain to get off eeven intentionally. It is nearly impossible for me to conceive of anyone loosing a Vivosmart unless it simply was not fastened properly in the first place.

      I am presuming that you were using the term Vivotracker to refer to the Vivofit as there is no product by that name.

    • Tiffany Vines

      Yes, sorry, I meant the vivosmart (not sure why I was calling it the tracker.) I am glad your keeper worked fine. I, however, did not have the same experience, and yes it was installed correctly. I have very small wrists so I wonder if that might be the difference. The keeper would consistently slide off the clasp.

  14. Will R

    100% agree with the addition of VIRB support on the 220 and 620. Still holding my breath Garmin will release an update allowing my 620 to control the VIRB, hopefully we’ll see something soon.
    For the Vivosmart, this looks like a really neat activity tracker with a bunch of features others on the market are lacking to some extent. I was a first generation jawbone user through work, and couldn’t really get into it.

  15. Henry

    Nice work Ray. Just wanted to know whether Garmin is able to harmonise the data coming from the activity tracker and the sports watch aka the double counting calorie problem …..

    That would be the final gap as an end-to-end 7/24 tracking concept.

  16. MartinF

    I like the vibration alert, the phone alerts, and the locate your phone feature, but that’s it. The cycling is cool, but how many people are going to have that sensor that don’t already have a better computer or watch to go with it? The people that would use it are people who cycle at the gym or those who just get a little exercise on the bike. I’m not sure if they benefit from this at all? I bought my Vivofit back in March. I love not having to charge it and wouldn’t want to for these few features.

    One big item I think we’ll see more of is interchangeable bands. Designers are jumping in and making bands that integrate with the Fitbit stuff. The Vivofit doesn’t have any designers yet, but they can easily start. They can’t do it here.

    I guess it’s another option, but I think they needed to add vibration to a new Vivofit and and alarm and before introducing this.

    • Mark Randall

      The cycling addition will be good for casual cycling, I can’t imagine it’ll be great in the gym.

      I have a FR for running/swimming, an Edge for significant cycling, and a Vivofit for the general everyday activity surrounding this. I don’t really want to get out my Edge for the 10min cycle to/from work twice a day. Getting this on an everyday activity monitor would work for me, much like others who have a few minutes walk on their commute between train / carpark / etc.

  17. michael gross

    If you already have the speed/cadence sensor can you simple add the speed only while leaving the speed cadence for other devices or will they interfere?

    • Rohan

      They won’t interfere (there’s always been the chance of having someone else with a different sensor next to you), but this approach could cause problems with display devices that automatically connect to any found sensors during discovery and fail if there are multiple.

  18. Rohan

    Ray what actually is the bike sensor support here? You finish off saying you love the idea of adding the cycling cadence sensor support, but only mention speed sensors earlier. Are both recorded?

    Is the weeks battery life while staying connected with a smartphone?


    • Sorry, was a typo, they just support speed-only sensor, not cadence.

      My understanding is the 7 days of battery is connected to the phone. Obviously, if you’re getting e-mail messages at the rate I do, and had configured vibration alerts for it, then it probably won’t last 7 days. By the same token, I’d probably throw it out the window if I had to get a vibration alert every time an e-mail came in…

    • Turn The Damn Cranks

      This is the part that strikes me as inane. By all accounts, and certainly from what I’ve seen on the road, the GC-10 is far more common than an ANT+ speed-only sensor. Why in the world wouldn’t Garmin program this bugger to work with the GC-10? Is there something about the joint speed-cadence standard that makes this an unreasonable request?

    • Rohan

      The latest info is that they support speed from speed-only and combo sensors, but no cadence. Seeing as “activity monitor” basically means “step tracker”, i’m surprised cadence didn’t come first – I would expect each crank revolution on my commute to count towards my step goal for that day, or I wouldn’t have the extra motivation to ride to work (basically the core reason for wearing an activity monitor).

      Ray, if you are subscribed to email alerts for new comments on all of your posts then the vibration alert would probably cause it to set fire before you got a chance to throw it out the window…

    • I do get e-mail alerts for every comment…I just don’t dare turn on vibration alerts.

  19. Nigel Pond

    I hope the firmware is more stable than the Vivofit’s – I’ve sent two back to Garmin for replacement already.

  20. Chris

    So not supporting cadence is a deal breaker for me. I saw this as the perfect spin bike computer to use at the gym. But I would be much more interested in cadence than speed on a spin bike. I hope they add support for Garmins new cadence sensor.

  21. Slightly annoyed to see this as I have had my Vivofit for precisely 2 days!

    I think that for what I want though the vivofit is still the way to go – I don’t want another gadget that requires another charging dock on my bedside table.
    I will be getting a Moto 360 for my other wrist and that will have all the smartphone notifications I need.
    I also have an Edge 1000 for cycling so that doesn’t interest me.

    • It’s funny, I’m actually in the same boat. For what I want, I think I’d prefer the original Vivofit purely due to the battery life. My logic is the same for cycling.

    • Jared

      I like that this would cover “casual” cycling – like going to the store, running errands etc, stuff that I don’t use my Edge 800 for.

    • Steven M Knapp

      I’m finding myself surprised how the battery life of the vivofit is overshadowed by sync issues. Everything on the Fitbit just “Works” for me, more so with Fitbit/Connect connected via MFP. Except for needing to charge it every few days and it not showing the time.

    • Andreas

      Battery life is key for me as well. Will stay with Vivofit.

    • Paul

      I love my vivofit, mainly due to the simplicity and battery life. Like you I have other devices for “proper sport” (FR220 and Edge 810). I hope they continue to sell vivofit for when I break this one!!

    • Jim

      I’m sure they will keep selling the vivofit, as the VivoSmart is actually the thrid activity tracker by Garmin this years. There is the vivofit, which is basic in may ways, but has things like a 1y battery life, an always on display, and an optional HRM.

      Then there is the Forerunner 15 (for some reason Garmin puts this in running GPS watches and not health and wellness on their site, but is really both). It’s like a combo vivofit and FR10. It does what the vivofit does, but adds GPS and an optional shoe pod moinitor, in the form of a sports watch, with an always on display, a backlight, and local alarms. BTW, I started with the vivofit, but have been using a FR15 since the first day I could get one, and it works VERY well for what I do.

      With the vivosmart, they are addressing a different user. First of all is the access to the sensor when cycling. My understanding is that it may not work for stationary bikes, but plenty of people ride on the streets. Also, the whole “notification” thing. Some people really, really want this (for me, I ask why a need the band on my wrist to buzz when the phone in my pocket buzzes, but that is just me 🙂 ) When it comes to the “smartphone functions”, it may be much cheaper than the iWatch or googlewatch, and provide the functions people are really looking for on their wrist (Ok, I admit, I would probably use the “adjust music volume” if I had that on my wrist… 😮 )

      So, three models for different markets. I wouldn’t be surprised if they now come out with something like a “VivoFore!” for golphers and a “VivoSplash” for swimmers

    • I think the sync thing might be more phone/user specific, be it a certain version, etc… I will agree that FitBit seems flawless, whereas for me, Jawbone is horrible. It has the memory of a gnat. Withings is quite good too.

    • Steven M Knapp

      “I think the sync thing might be more phone/user specific, be it a certain version, etc..” – Agree 100%, and have offered to send detailed logs to Garmin. They replied suggesting I look at vivosmart.

      Fitbit also, in my opinion, does a better job syncing in the cloud and to the device. Garmin has improved here I’ll admit, but many months after launch.

    • Can you elaborate on the Jawbone UP24 sync issues? I was leaning toward it since I see it on sale for $120. I am intrigued by the Sleep Tracking & it’s App over this one and the Smart Notification. Much thanks.

    • For me, the app simply forgets about it’s band friend every once in a while, perhaps once every 7-14 days, depending on things. I have to re-pair it to the app.

    • Frank Young

      Aaron, I got my GF the UP24 nine months ago primarily because she is very appearance oriented and it is the most attractive of the wrist based activity trackers IMHO. Secondarily, I got it because she like the idea of the vibrating move alerts.

      Within a few weeks, she had dispensed with the move alerts (hated them in practice). The first two failed. Just got the second warranty replacement yesterday.

      The only way to “read” the device is via your phone and the iPhone sync with GF’s 5 is slow and temperamental. She is sticking with it for the looks but much preferred the functionality of my recently sidelined Vivofit while we were waiting for her replacement UP24.

      The Jawbone does a better job of the sleep thing than the Garmin devices but the VIvoXXX’s run rings around it in almost every other respect.

  22. Jared

    Scratching my head of the lack of support for their own speed/cadence combo sensor, even if it only used the speed data. And also agree w/ the comment above that this could be a great spin bike option with cadence support. Garmin is so weird. They do some things so right, and other things its like they didn’t even think about it.

    • FYI/Update:

      I just heard from different folks at Garmin, who let me know there was some slight confusion in the answers I had previously got on the speed/cadence combo thing (it was an issue I had asked for clarification on earlier). The device will indeed connect to combo sensors, it just won’t use/save the cadence channel. So for that, it’ll grab the speed channel only.

    • Jared

      Cool. Thanks for the feedback.

    • Turn The Damn Cranks

      Oops! Ignore my earlier comment. 🙂

    • Mike A

      Ray already confirmed, but I just wanted to add that this is how it works on my bike with a Stages PM, Edge 500 on my bars, and a 910XT on my wrist. When I’m on the trainer, the speed comes from my GSC10 sensor and the cadence comes from my Stages PM. Both the Edge 500 and 910XT treat the GSC10 as a speed-only sensor.

    • Paul S

      Hmm, that’s not what someone who appears to be from Garmin says here today. According to that post, it only works with the stand alone speed sensor. The person in the post before that tried and failed to get a GSC-10 working with Vivosmart.

    • Yeah, I think there’s some general confusion within Garmin there – but the note I got directly from the lead of Vivosmart was that it does indeed support the combo sensor. I’ll try it out here in a few…

    • Ok, I just tried it. Seems to work fine for me.

      Here’s a photo of it: link to dcrainmaker.com

      In my case I was using the Bontrager Speed/Cadence combo sensor instead of the GSC-10, but it’s an identical sensor from an ANT+ profile perspective.

    • Paul S

      That’s good. That particular comment was disappeared from the forum, so I guess the official answer has changed to match reality.

    • Frank Young

      Alrighty. I,m 5,810 km from my bike at the moment but we are slated t be reunited on Saturday.

      Just to be sure, what is the pairing drill? Scroll to the spedo on my band, be sure the GSC-10 is awake and wait for them to pair or long tap to menu, tap the running figure and wait for HRM and S& C to pair or either?

    • Yup, correct. I went ahead and rolled my wheel a bit while I was doing it. So the Speed sensor logo on the Vivosmart was flashing, and then it went to stay lit once it found my Speed/Cadence sensor.

    • Frank Young

      Alrighty, I’ll try it when I get back to California.

      A couple of interesting developments today: 1) the HRM-RUN paired with the Vivosmart with no problem; and 2) the fenix 2 now refuses to pair with my phone whether Bluetooth is turned off on the VS or not.

      I think it is time for a troop of Kansas code monkeys to go to Bluetooth School. First we had the problem with the VF refusing to syncif there was a classic BT device operating nearby. Now, the VS and fenix are showing up like classic Bluetooth devices under devices whether the mobile app is active or not. None of my fitbit devices ever showed up there. Neither did my Polar Loop for that matter. I didn’t think ANY BLE devices are supposed to show up there? My understanding is that all BLE devices must be supported by an app. The device talks to the app and the app talks to the phone whereas classic bluetooth talks directly to the phone without any app necessarily beinng involved in brokering the “conversation”.

      By the way, Fitbit and Vivosmart are sharing my iOS 7 phone without any obvious conflicts or problems.

    • BLE devices can actually surface via the Bluetooth Control panel. Most don’t, but some do.

    • Frank Young

      Thanks. Good to know. So it really is a limitation of the mobile app that keeps other Garmin devices from playing nice with the Vivosmart? In the spirit of the philosophy that the VivoXXXX line compliments other Garmin, sport specific devices, they really should find a way to place nice together.

    • Definitely the mobile app. I’ll poke and find out why.

    • Frank Young

      I just remembered that you cannot pair two Fitbit devices to their app at the same time. Of course, since all that Fitbit currently makes is activity trackers, there is really no practical reason to wear more than one at a time.

    • David

      “there is really no practical reason to wear more than one at a time.”

      Unless you are Ray.

    • Frank Young

      I can confirm that the GSC-10 will pair with the Vivosmart. Took nearly a minute to pair holding them very close together.

      I hope that team Garmin takes notice of my Max Speed of 2,677.3 km/h. Maybe I am not all washed up at 58 after all! link to connect.garmin.com.

  23. goodboyr

    Interesting that Garmin enabled alerts from most apps through this device, whereas the Edge 1000 only has text and missed call alerts. More evidence that the left and right hands within Garmin don’t communicate. One would expect integration, consistency and a common road map for devices supported by Garmin Connect Mobile.

  24. Scott E

    Some of the text seems extremely small in the pictures, and would appear to be hard to read when being active or viewing in sunlight, thoughts?

    With so much functionality, it is unclear how many swipes and presses are required to navigate the menus. Did you find the user interface easy to navigate, or did you need the operating manual diagrams to make your way around?

    • On the swippage, I found that pretty easy actually. I wasn’t running though at the same time. For the text, the clarity is really my own concern about the unit at first glance (no pun intended).

  25. Laqu

    Garmin is so close in this one. If only it would link to ismoothrun for those of us who don’t have a 220 and run with out phone.

    I landed up getting a pebble (which does all this) and throwingy vivofit in my spibelt in runs when I’m wearing the pebble. Which I only use for runs.

    If this connected to ismoothrun if reace my vivofit in a heartbeat as the pebble is huge

  26. Tom

    Thanks for review.

    Pretty cool features if someone wants to buy this as their sole workout/fitness tracking device. On the other hand (pun not intended at first), I only have two wrists and really cannot justify having so many gadgets around that need to be sync’d, charged, adjusted, etc. This is why I like the direction of the V800 and Ambit3 — a do-it-all (bluetooth enabled) device.

    Just curious, what was the max distance of the find my iphone?

  27. Mitz

    Hi does this have a digital compass at all so I know if I’m heading north for example? Do any wearable wristbands have this feature? Thanks

  28. Avery

    Thanks for a great review! Question about visibility/display of the sensor – I do the majority of my running early early outside (like 4:00 am early) – do you think the display would be halfway readable when outside at that time? I don’t live in a large town; street lights are few and far between so something halfway readable would be a big benefit.


  29. Dustin

    Does it still have the same crappy band that is always coming undone? For the price I don’t want to loose it from an accidental release.

  30. Erica M

    Thanks for the review! Would love to see a comparison of the Garmin Vivosmart and Timex Move x20.

  31. Eric Lofgren

    Ray didn’t love the screen, but I think it looks very cool. Very sci-fi. We’re coming to a point where hardware is capable of doing whatever the designers and programmers want. And a plain rubber band that magically turns into a touch-screen computer without any visible screen is, I think, pretty awesome.

    Another example is the “smart watches” coming out this year that, at least from press photos, are visually indistinguishable from a high-end mechanical wristwatch.

  32. Gary P

    For those of us with Windows Phones or Blackberries the original vivifit could sync via ANT+, does the vivosmart sync via the charging lead?
    Could you keep a weeks worth of activities in it and then sync and charge weekly?

  33. Jade

    Hi Ray!

    I was wondering, would the screen turn ON all the time or does it turn OFF almost all of the time?

    Also, the feature set as far as I know are somewhat the same with the timex move x20. Which one is better?

  34. Nicky

    Hi Ray,

    Seeing they added the cycling sensor support is a great thing. But as I use fenix2 and edge800 for my cycling and running and currently using Vivofit just to record my daily acitivity level. Until now Vivofit wasn’t able to record cycling as an activity, unless I put it somewhere on my leg while cycling. Now I’m wondering with the Vivosmart connecting to the cycling sensor, will it recognize cycling actually as an activity, or will it only make a file as the vivofit does with HR-sensor? If it would recognize, it could be a reason to change over to the Vivosmart. (Will the cycling activity show in the daily activity chart in other words?)

  35. Jim

    Does the vivosmart still sync with ant+ as well as BT Smart (like the vivofit)?

  36. Alberto

    Hi from the pics it looks like the device has already some scratches on it! What about the scratches/dust resistance? Does it measure the height/altitude in any way? Thanks!

    • I don’t know what the owner did with it prior to me showing up, so it’s hard to say if the scratches are justified (it was his that he was wearing 24×7). So hard to say if he the scratches were because he hit something scratch-worthy of note. Fear not, it’s something I’ll test on my unit starting Tuesday.

      No height/altitude measurement.

    • Alberto

      Ok! Thank you for the answer!!
      So the unit will calcuate the same calories if i walk on a flat road or if i’m sweating walking on a hill???

    • Yes, it uses HR to determine calories, assuming it’s used (the strap).

  37. Gabe

    What is the advantage of counting steps? Do you count that towards your calorie loss?

    I suppose another metric to record wouldn’t hurt lol

  38. Joe

    Really like the Virb control. I’ll be able to simply tap my wrist while catching surfing footage vs reaching for the Virb. How secure is the band?

    • It seems as secure as the first generation to me. For what I think is a small portion of the population, that might not be secure enough for general use. For me and what I suspect is a large portion of the population, the existing band was fine.

      That said, I don’t think either population would use said band while surfing. Pretty sure it’d get lost. For surfing, what about just grabbing the VIRB remote instead? Waterproof and all.

  39. Jeremy

    Hi Ray, by chance did you ask if any of the “software” features like the bike speed sensors being applied to the Vivofit? It would be great if I could continue using the device I prefer more for my overall activity tracking. With fitness trackers that last a week I find that the novelty wears off after a time whereas my Vivofit hasn’t left my side since launch but I would like my activity to be more accurately tracked when I bike.

  40. Wulong

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for the nice article about Vivosmart. I wonder how often is the heart rate monitor data be captured by this little guy. It is 15sec interval for Vivofit, which is sub-optimal to me from accurate tracking prospective. It’d be nice if Vivosmart is able to support more frequent HRM data collection or even make that configurable. Actually I have same question for Mio Fuse and Epson’s PS-500.

  41. Gunnar

    I know you’ve done some reviews of smart watches in the past and commented on the ability to track activities, but it certainly hasn’t been a priority (rightfully so since no one has come out with a decent competitor to Suunto, Polar, Garmin etc.,) but do you think you might change your emphasis on reviews to include smart watches since they latest offerings this fall seem to more sport related?

    • I continue to watch the smart watch arena for players that are relevant to the sports world. I pretty much buy and have one of all of the major (and even minor) players out there. I rarely mention them unless they are truly interesting though. So many of them are ‘me too’ products. I have piles of crappy smart watches, even from as recent as just a few weeks ago.

      For example, I posted on the Samsung units a bit, and I suspect I’ll poke a bit at the new Gear S too. If/when I find something that is half-descent for sports, I’ll definitely note as such in a full post.

  42. Allen B

    Does this do any tracking of swimming lengths? That’d be cool. How does this compare to the Misfit Shine?

  43. Spiros

    Once more they don’t support scales like Tanita. I believe this is a must feature for an activity monitor which suppose to motivate you and track your health.

    • Alex

      I’ve found Garmin Connect is automatically receiving weight from MyFitnessPal, if you have those linked, and then also pushing it to Strava. In my case I also have Withings linked with MFP, so weights are automatically pushed through to GC via MFP. That’s all using native syncing methods provided by Withings and Garmin; no 3rd party service getting in the way. I imagine it’d be the same if you have an Aria and link Fitbit with MFP, but I haven’t witnessed it so I cannot say with certainty. What I do not know, yet, is if GC then automatically pushes the value back to devices, but I’ll check my Edge 510 and FR 620 over a BT or WIFI sync (for the 620). If not, it’s something Garmin should implement on their sync (as well as training zones). I’ll take a look next weigh in when the number changes enough, since the devices round to the nearest kilo on their displays.

  44. Brett

    It also has horizontal and vertical views!
    Meaning the display can go vertical as well as the original horizontal(vivofit). This is especially nice when viewing time like a normal watch, except now you don’t have to twist your wrist. *This has to be set up in Connect then synced to the band to apply.

  45. Mark

    Anyone who already has a Vivofit knows all too well that Garmin using the same band makes the Vivosmart a non-starter. It boggles the mind that there actually exists anywhere in the world a designer bad enough to have created the Vivofit band.

    • Jim

      I’s not the same band, as the band on the vivoSmart can’t be replaced….. (that to me raises a red flag, as bands do get damaged!)

  46. Nigel Pond

    If you look at the pics above it appears to have a different band from the vivofit – single round holes rather than slots, but it’s hard to tell whether it would be any more secure.

  47. Oscar P

    You know how often I have to call my wife’s phone because she can’t find it at home? This is a life saver! Her Christmas present it is!

  48. Nigel Bunt

    Hi I really want to know if I own vivofit or smart and the fenix 2 and went on a run and used let’s say 500 calories then connected it to myfitnesspal does it add them together and give a false reading like 1000 cal because both devices recorded the session? Or does it know it’s the same session?

    • Frank Young

      Nigel, the answer to your MFP calorie duplication question as of just the last couple of days is no. That is true whether your Vivofit creates a simultaneous Activity or not.

      Did I ever mention that I NEVER take my Vivofit off? Weekly charging is a non-starter for me.

  49. Chris

    Does anyone else have problems with Garmin’s charging clamps? I have two Forerunners and charging has always been a pain for me. Plugging the unit in either 1) charges it without a problem; 2) turns the unit on and fails to charge it at all; 3) ‘kills’ the watch making me have to do a hard restart (hold some combination of power, mode, reset, enter, etc.) to turn it on. Now this uses a similar clamp. Can’t think of anything more frustrating than a core function of the product not working reliably. Syncing the watches to my computer isn’t as foolproof as I would like either.

    This does look like a neat product but not sure I can bite on another Garmin watch.

    • Which specific Forerunners?

    • Simon

      I do have the same charging problem withy my Fenix2, it sometimes deplete during charge, most of the time charged perfect when powered off but in this way, no indicator showing the charging status. 910XT’s charging system is more reliable!

    • Chris

      Old one wasn’t the clip type, it was the 205. I had two Forerunner 205s and they both were not foolproof with the charging. They also occasionally caused the BSOD when plugged into the computer to transfer data. Now I have the 310XT which has a different charging clip but same poor reliability. I have just gotten in the habit of checking it often to make sure it is charging. The clip for the Fenix looks like it might be better. There is nothing more frustrating than getting ready to go out for a run and realizing that your watch doesn’t have any battery despite being on the charger for 24 hours.

    • I haven’t heard of any charging issues with the Fenix/Fenix2 series, the clip is rather secure and strong. Whereas the FR310XT/910XT/405/410 had a very finicky connector in my opinion.

    • Alex

      Always, but today while charging I noticed that the watch started vibrating every few seconds just as it does when it’s about to hit the timeout and go into sleep/low power mode. The display doesn’t show the countdown as it has the charge level on it instead. As soon as the timeout vibrations hit zero, my PC threw up a “unknown USB device” error and the FR620 just continued to show the same charge level (82%) for another 20 minutes before I did the hard reset thing, and it fired up showing 100%. Previously I didn’t tie it to the count down because I didn’t have vibration alerts enabled, nor extended timeout which is why it lasted a lot longer before freezing today.
      So it appears it still charges, but freezes after the watch times out and goes into low power mode and then requires a hard reset.
      However, it also appears this is only the case if it’s USB connected (as in data link and power). I’ve previously left the watch on a random USB charger that is power only, like a phone charger with a USB port, and it was on there for an hour and when I unplugged it, it switched back to the main screen and wasn’t frozen.

    • alan

      My 210 was a nightmare (often killed the device for hours), the 610 is a dream.

  50. Henry

    About the touch screen. Will it turn on when you swim? Please look into this in your detail review. My Loop battery sucks if I swim with it. Basically the screen turn on with every stoke and after 30 min swim the battery drop to zero! This is a major design problem with the touchscreen on Loop in my opinion. I hope Garmin don’t shoot itself like Polar on this.

    • Scott

      I swam with my vivosmart this morning and from what I can tell the display will only turn on when I tap it and isn’t turning on from just being under water.

      As expected it doesn’t do swim metrics however it does record more movement then when I’m merely sitting which is perfectly fine with me since that is better then a non-waterproof fitness monitor (such as the fitbit) typically did/does.

      I really like the addition of the vibration alarm however would also like more flexibility in setting alarms.

      It would be nice to see garmin share their “step” data so that I can sync/compete with users on different platforms such as Fitbit since for example my mom, along with several cousins, use fitbit activity trackers.

  51. Would be great if the next version can utilise the gps within the paired smartphone to enable a interval training feature

    • Jim

      THIS! Android Wear is getting an update which will allow devices to use the phones GPS for activities. I have a Samsung Gear Fit which uses the phones GPS for cycling, but not running. I want a fitness tracker that sends notifications (call,s txt, email, etc.), count steps, measures HR, and uses GPS to map my runs. The VS is SO CLOSE. Maybe Garmin can add GPS support with a firmware release. Seriously though, what is a Garmin without GPS!

  52. Daniel

    Thanks for the preview. Is it possible to sync the vivosmart to the garmin connect app while offline?

  53. Dan

    How ’bout a pic of it on your wrist, please.

  54. Eli

    Hoping this functionality gets built into the 910xt replacement which makes sense going by the FR15 adding fitness tracking and to better compete with Polar’s multisport watch. Guessing the 910 replacement will replace the running functionality with the newer stuff in the 620 too so wonder if there will be anything else new or if the functionality is easy to guess

  55. aufruf

    Still waiting on one of these devices supporting swim metrics (counting swim laps) …

  56. Prexxxa

    Hi, is there The Smart wake up alarm?

  57. Mike


    Thanks for the review, I really like the look of this. Just one q – its waterproof to 50m, but does it do anything to track your swimming? I had a nice little app on my Pebble that tracked distance and gave you a summary at the end, but then the dev pulled the app from the store and I can’t find anything similar.


  58. Manos

    Ray we all wait for your review regarding the rumored i watch 🙂

    • Mark

      Even if the iWatch is announced on Sep 9, it’s still unlikely that anyone will be reviewing it soon. Best guesses are that, even if announced next week, the iWatch won’t actually be released until 2015.

  59. Darwin

    Everyone rising new products out to get them out before Apple announces whatever they will announce next tuesday.

  60. Elliot

    Can the Vivosmart track “deep sleep” vs “light sleep” like the UP24?

  61. Neil Rosser

    As usual an excellent review. Ray what are your overall thoughts on this device compared to the Loop? I’ve used many bands (Up, FitBit, and now Loop for almost a year) and really like the Loop a lot. It’s been rock solid and a tank for me, so far. Let us know your general opinions on Vivosmart vs the Loop.

    Thanks as always.

    • It’s a bit too soon to say. I’ll have a unit with me on Tuesday to start playing with longer term. I agree, the Loop is very solid, and good at being a very specific Vivofit competitor. However, I’d say that the Vivosmart on paper is a more agile unit than the Loop, but then again, it’s also $40+ more.

  62. Long Run Nick

    My data geek body metric obsession continues. Pre-ordered this AM from Best Buy. Just received an e-mail from them advising available today. Should have in a couple days. Not sure where I will wear it. Have the Basis(which I really like) and my Pebble. Wearing 2 watches gets some stares. I tell folks I am a DC Rainmaker wanna be:). Liked my Vivofit, but this seems pretty neat and my give the 2 watch look a break. I use and love my Garmin 620- for my 40-50 mile a week runs. Also a little OCD- total miles run since 4/76–80,497 miles!! Not bad for a a 71 year old fart.
    Ray, again, thanks for all you do. My children and grandchildren are worried there will be no inheritance. I tell them look at all the tech gear they will get.

  63. Alex

    I’m not a fan of wrist based activity trackers, because my activity is my own personal thing so a discrete device I shove in my pocket would be ideal (after all, this is why jeans surely have coin pockets), but I do like the idea of unifying into one vendor for simplicity since syncing between them is a pain in the rear. The clip concept did just have me take my Fitbit diving, which it didn’t enjoy, so time for a replacement. A rubber/plastic thing on my wrist also looks completely out of place at work, and those I see with them at a professional level just remind me of the same type of people that still use belt holsters for phones, and keep a bluetooth earpiece in their ear for phone calls, even when they’re not on a call 🙂

    Question is, can the vivosmart be shoved in a pocket, or the vivofit since it can be removed from the band, and still be somewhat accurate, or do they depend on the motion of a swinging arm?

    Even better would be if Garmin were to release a clip type of activity tracker, but I guess we’ll never know of their plans until 60 seconds after they actually announce it and it hits the nerd news wires unless you, Ray, have spotted something somewhere while visiting or talking to Garmin that may result in you suggesting that there’s a better time to go shopping in a couple of months (since it was probably spotted lying right next to one of those pesky NDAs).

    • Garmin already announced a clip-on variant, the Vivoki. Unfortunately, it’s mostly just for corporate partnerships and can’t be bought by consumers.

      Most of the wrist based ones do work fairly well in ones pocket though.

    • Jim

      Why are you worried about it being discrete? I’ve been in front of company BOD’s in an expensive suit and shoes, yet wearing a sports watch or tracker. The only reaction I ever had from my company or the customers was during breaks, where some of the customers would comment on my watch and ask what kind of workouts/running/etc I did and how it was working! It wasn’t bad, as it opened up conversations.

      You should not try to hide what you are doing, as in reality, many people see a tracker on your arm as a positive!

    • Jim

      Actually, with wrist based trackers with buttons, carrying them in a pocket can cause some interesting button presses! :&

    • Fwiw, I haven’t had too much of an issue with the Vivofit nor Jawbone UP24 or Misfit and strange button presses in a pocket. Obviously, I’m sure something could happen, but been pretty lucky on the days I did that without any issues.

    • Alex

      Awesome, and thank you for taking the time to respond.

    • Scott Buchanan

      Jim, depends on what business your in. I’m sure if your a designer for an uber chic advertising agency in Manhattan or London then a red Vivofit would be a de rigueur accessory for your Hugo Boss/Ralph Lauren suit. Speaking as a boss within a financial services company then its a complete no no. An unseen black Vivofit above the cuff would be o.k.

      I made a similar comment to the OP a while back regarding Garmin’s impassioned homage to brutalist Soviet architecture that is the Fenix design language and if future models would be more understated or at least toned down. If I remember correctly I got called vain/stupid or some such. I’d like a single ‘go to’ unit for all my activities ie. running/swimming/cycling when traveling but the Fenix is completely unwearable with a suit and I’m talking the quality end of Ermenegildo Zegna. It also ruins the cuffs of any shirt if worn for any length of time which is not good at £275/$400 a pop.

      Anyway, the VivoSmart isn’t for me as having to charge it sounds like a PITA which isn’t compensated for by any must have new features. Would like to see a sleep tracker than was more than a wiggly line on a screen.

  64. Alex

    Because that’s what I choose for myself. My fitness, my thing. I don’t wear a t-shirt with what I weighed in at that morning either. Don’t care if others do; it’s my personal preference. I also prefer running alone and cycling alone, with the occasional charity event to provide a carrot on a stick to push me further. Not interested in talking about it, sitting in coffee shops in full cycle gear like I’m sponsored by everyone. What’s positive to me is meeting my own goals, not validation and lip service from strangers. I also work in an industry where there’s a certain element that lead a less than healthy lifestyle (late night programming, too much pizza, etc). Some do get a chip on their shoulder and take it as a judgement when someone flouts the fact they make an effort, when they don’t. To not accept the fact it may make some uncomfortable, and only accept those that tell you what you want to hear would be hypocritical, so since the point is personal goals and well-being, and not public statements, I wish to be discrete. I wish to be prompted to get up when I’ve been sitting too long, not when someone else has walked more than me; that’s stupid. Garmin were generally a very solo driven platform as it is, and only started the whole sharing in earnest when activity trackers came along.

    Point of the question was, are Garmin looking at this style of tracker, or do the existing ones work when used in a pocket. I’ve spent a lot of time looking around for anyone that has and posted their findings about it, but so far just drawn up blanks.

  65. Steve_Jobs

    “The unit will come in two sizes (the bands are not changeable like Vivosmart)”

    You mean the vivofit, right? Sorry about being pedantic, love your work.

  66. Rob

    I’m loving the UP24 but would like the screen and phone notifications.
    Does the Vivosmart have multiple alarms line the UP24?
    How do you think they compare?

  67. Neil Rosser

    One of the main things I really like about my Loop is the display – the size and vibrancy of the red text. Vivosmart seems more dim and obviously smaller – Ray can you comment on the comparative readability of the two? Thanks.

    • It’s complicated there. I think the Loop will likely have better readability in dark conditions from the wrist while running, but I think for non-running/cycling applications the Vivosmart will be better. That’s because the text is much bigger on the Loop than on Vivosmart, which is ideal for sports, but conversely a bit clumsy for desk-type settings.

  68. MAGNUS

    I just bought the vivofit about four weeks ago. I am happy with the device but one of my biggest downsides, at least for me, is that I no longer wear my fenix2. I justified the purchase due to the fact I could wear it daily as a regular watch. Now that I have the vivofit I feel really awkward about wearing both simultaneously. I like the idea of the the smart going blank/dark when not looking at it directly. I could stand to wear it on my right wrist without the funny looks of wearing two watches. This is in addition to the smart features as well. The $40 price difference is worth the extra feature set, for me anyway. I’m still within my window to return the vivofit so I may just do that.

    As always, great post Ray.

    • Scott Buchanan

      Obvious question would be why did you buy the Fenix2 and has the need for it disappeared? The Vivofit and the Fenix2 are two completely separate devices that fulfil 2 completely separate needs unless you only bought the Fenix2 to tell the time 😉

    • MAGNUS

      I use my fenix2 for tri specific activities, and still do so, but feel awkward wearing it along with the vivofit…. I didn’t mean it replaced the watch completely.

  69. Denis

    Thanks for the review Ray! Will you please have a look at weather the vivosmart tracks your heart rate during sleep? Also, as I read it in the comments. Would the vivosmart track decent when worn let’s say at the ankle like e.g. the flyfit? Thanks in advance!

  70. Morten

    Thanks for all your reviews. just hoping Garmin will not walk away from their Vivofit concept ever,
    Super nice the Vivosmart is and looking great too, but the Vivofit is right for me and I hope a lot of people like me. To me an activity tracker is just always there. No charging required, no vibrating when inactive. ( I know I know, but I am at the movies) The red inactivitybar is great and the 1 year + and rather anonymous tracker. And not being disturbed by mails and so on when you are on the trail etc. DC Tell the folks at Garmin that they are on to something great with Vivofit. And there other products but never skip the Vivofit concept. Best simple tracker ever 🙂

  71. Michelle

    What is the lifetime of a rechargeable battery like this?

    • It’s always hard to say, but I’ve yet to hear of anyone seeing battery discharge issues on any of the activity trackers. In most cases, you’re looking at somewhere between 500 and 1,000 charge cycles (so a week each time) before you start to see degradation. But again, it really depends on the exact model battery used. And even with degradation, it’s not a light-switch effect of turning off immediately. Rather, it might be a loss of 5-10% initially.

  72. Morten

    Hope not they will as you say. Just felt a really great product had entered the fitness tracker arena and then feared that competition from others with more features would ruin that. looking at Garmins website also signals that the 2 products will live side by side ,,, hopefully 🙂

  73. Paul

    We should let Garmin know we love vivofit, please don’t change it 🙂

    • Rob

      Doesn’t look like they are changing the Vivofit, but for me, the vivofit wasn’t what I wanted. The Vivosmart’s added features is exactly what i’m looking for. Fingers crossed that it works as well as the Up24

  74. Jessica S.

    Hey there! Did you compare the calorie tracking output with the HRM? Between the Vivofit and my 910XT, I would often have a HUGE difference between the two (with Vivofit coming in far over). This had me return my Vivofit, so was wondering if this was updated?

    • That’s because the Vivofit uses a different calorie algorithm than the FR910XT. The Vivofit, Vivosmart, and FR15 all use a more ‘basic’ version that’s homegrown within Garmin. Whereas the FR910XT uses the FirstBeat algorithms that’s licensed from a 3rd party company. For what I’d guess would be 90% of the people, it’s usually a wash. But, for some, there’s wide discrepancies.

  75. Tonya

    Hi Ray,
    Thanks so much for your review. The question I have is, does it sync like the VIvofit? Meaning must you physically press it to sync or will it sync automatically like the Fitbit products?

    Thank You

  76. jaydub

    Ray in the product compare chart, the Vivosmart battery shows “1 year” not “7 days” as it should. Thanks!

  77. Lapattack

    How does this charge? USB or mains power? Thanks!

  78. Brian

    I haven’t seen any notes or comments about strap durability. Since it appears the device is all one unit (i.e. no separate, removable “pod” like the Fitbit), are there any concerns at all about the strap wearing out? A broken strap would make for an inoperable unit it appears if that’s the case.

    I know I’ve gone through 2 straps already with my Fitbit Flex, and in just 10mo of use.

  79. Justus

    Vivofit is still the winner. So nice to have a device that 1) does not need charged every week or more, 2) syncs flawlessly, never any issue, 3) is secure on my wrist, good job on Design Garmin, 4) Is readable in bright sunlight.
    The charging is the big one. Number one complaint about every Garmin GPS watch I have ever owned.

    • Rob

      …And to me, coming from a FitBit and a Jawbone, charging is really not an issue. Log in for work, plug tracker in, by the time i’m finished checking email, device is fully charged. Once, maybe twice per week. The added features in the Vivosmart are a huge seller for me

    • Jim

      I agree, that charging isn’t really an issue for me. I have the FR15, and when I take a shower, I plug it it to sync and charge, or if I’m doing something at the computer for a while, I’ll plug it in to sync.

  80. Joshua

    I was wondering a bit more about the cycling speed sensor connection, specifically for commuting. From what you say, the Vivosmart will display current speed, but does either the watch or the Garmin Connect app track things like average speed, distance, ride time, etc.?

    I’m wondering whether this will give me at least as much information as a basic cycling computer. Speed vs. time (or any other information) would be great for tracking my commute.


  81. Alex

    Got mine. Not impressed with notifications set up. No way to customize them. Only what you have in Notification center in iOS. So it is either all or nothing.
    It is smaller that VF. Slightly more cumbersome to use due to multiple menus. No physical button . But screen has customizable orientation.

  82. Long Run Nick

    Received my Vivo Smart this afternoon. I have had the Vivofit since debut in March. Never had issue 1 with the VVF. I really like the VVS. Smaller than the VVF. Neat. Very EZ set up. Like the auto sync. Everything seems to work as advertised. Bought for the “smart watch” application. I will be honest, I just like tech toys.
    Giving my Pebble a break and now down to 2 wrist wearables:Basis Carbon Black and the VVS.
    I am very fortunate to be 71 and still very active. 40-50 miles of running a week. Over 80,500 miles and counting since April, 1976!! Remember, there is no finish line:)

  83. Alex

    Got mine. Not impressed with notifications set up. No way to customize them. Only what you have in Notification center in iOS. So it is either all or nothing.
    It is smaller that VF. Slightly more cumbersome to use due to multiple menus. No physical button . But screen has customizable orientation.

    • Tonya

      Sorry to hear that Alex. This is what I am afraid of but willing to take a chance. Nick says great things so I’ll have to check it out.

      Did you all have to order it from Bestbuy?

    • Are you on iOS or Android? I haven’t played with the iOS variant (tomorrow), but on Android I thought you could select anything from the notification center.

    • Long Run Nick

      Pre ordered from BEST buy on 9/5- stated availability 16 Sep. that eve status changed to ready to ship. Expedited shipping(of course:). As mentioned received this PM. I don’t get that many notifications to have to customize. Try it- you may like it. If not, BB has a great return policy.

  84. Rob

    First 5 minutes with the Vivosmart.
    Size is great, not much bigger than the Jawbone. Fit is excellent. Comes with a ‘keeper’ in case the band comes unclipped.
    Screen is easy to navigate. Sun has set here so will test outside visibility tomorrow.
    Charging clip easy to use.
    Software allows you to rotate the display based in how/which arm you wear
    It on.
    Some negatives-alerts appear to be all or nothing (could be a software fix later). Only one alarm, big negative for me, again could be software fix.
    Will test sleep tracking tonight and will be running in the AM so will wear both garmin and jawbone to compare. More to come.

    Ray, based on your Garmin experience, could we see these type of software updates (alerts and alarms)?

    • We’ve seen the Vivo team add/tweak a number of things on the Vivofit, and far more on the website/app. Given the Vivosmart offers a much more ‘capable’ platform in terms of flexibility, I’d imagine the world is their oyster there.

    • Rob

      The alarm does have a snooze feature, which is nice

    • Mike A

      Rob – can you use the Vivosmart to set a wake-up vibration? I use a cheap vibration alarm that I clip at my waist when I sleep so I don’t wake up the wifey when I have to get up and train.

  85. Przemek

    The only thing that I miss is smart alarm – without it for me is useless (that is on 1 place on my list – what smartband should have), but if garmin would add that in future in software update – I would buy it without hesitation.

    • Smart alarm might be overrated. I noticed that once I set into routine at a certain location/timezone, my sleep/wakeup times aren’t changing, i.e. my sleep comes to me 23:07-23:09 almost guaranteed, if I am in the bed by that time. Then, it is pretty easy to calculate sleep cycles, cause they are 90 minutes long. in my case, best wake up time will be several minutes before (23:07+7:30) or (23:07+9:00), my alarm is then either 6:33 or 8:03

    • Przemek

      Thanks for the information, but I need automatic solution. Every night counting is not comfortable. Besides, I don’t know when I will exactly fall asleep..
      So, I will wait for maybe some software update…

  86. Love your reviews Ray, and I love my Fenix2 – bought for ultras after perusing your site.

    Vivosmart looks great, but I’d really like to see a sleep alarm a la jawbone, that does a silent alarm when in light sleep. I’ll probably buy one when they get to the UK.
    As per a previous poster, I don’t want to wear my Fenix all day – it murders a jacket sleeve – and I don’t give a cr4p about how many steps I’ve done, but I do want a watch that will tell the time and track my sleep with a bit of style.

    I suspect there’s a new segment just waiting to be exploited – the watch the the ultra/ tri-athlete wears when (s)he’s in a business suit.

    Tell them, willya?

  87. Rob

    Good Morning Ray,
    Just went for my first run with the Vivosmart and my 620. I cannot have both devices connected to my iPhone 5s at the same time. I have to disconnect one in order to connect the other. Can you test this? Are you aware of any issues connecting multiple garmin devices?

    • Przemek

      I thought that this is not possible, but I found this article:
      link to solveyourtech.com
      It is interesting, because I would like also in near future connect simultaneously smartwatch and smartband.

    • Rob

      I’m also seeing a big discrepancy between the data in Garmin connect. there are 2 entries for today, one from the 620 and one from the Vivosmart. Assuming this is normal? The numbers are way off. Also the data it sent to Strava is not right either.

    • Rob

      Thanks. I already had 2 devices connected, the vivosmart and my BT headphones. It wasn’t until I disconnected the vivosmart that the 620 would connect. I’ll try again.

    • Rob

      I submitted a support request with Garmin. I’ve tried re-syncing both devices with no luck. Only allowing me one at a time.

    • Przemek

      Let me(us) know if you succeed:) I am very interested in connection between iphone and vivosmart and my car speakers, and maybe fenix2 or other “smartwatch” simultaneously .

    • Frank Young

      Hi Rob. I am guessing that your inability to sync two devices at once is related to the Bluetoothh LE spec. This is not a problem with “classic” Bluetooth. BLE only allows a “slave” (sensor) to communicate with one “master” (phone) at a time. I first encountered this problem when using a BLE heart rate sensor with a Polar Loop and Runkeeper on my iPhone. The HR strap would only pair with one at a time. Sometimes custody would change in the middle of an Activity. To stop this epic struggle, I had to either turn off Bluetooth on the phone or put the Loop in flight mode depending on which device I wanted the HR strap to talk to. You can pair classic headphones and one BLE device to an iPhone at one time. Just not multiple BLE devices like the 620 and Vivosmart.

    • Rob

      Thanks Frank,
      That helps a lot. But now I’m puzzled why Garmin wouldn’t have thought of that. I have to imagine there are a lot of users out there with multiple Garmin devices. Guess i’ll have to turn BT off on the Vivosmart before I turn on the 620

  88. Rob

    Another question/issue for you Ray.
    My Vivosmart doesn’t seem to be auto-syncing. I looked at the app and it said last sync was 2 hours ago. I had to manually sync from the device. Thought this would be syncing ‘continuously’. Any thoughts?

  89. Julie

    In the product comparison calculator, it shows that the VivoSmart does not monitor heart rate, but in the review article it says that you an wear the chest strap to get heart rate. Which is the correct one?

  90. Rob

    I received the following from Garmin Support:
    Totally agree with you on the need for more alarm options. That is feedback that we passed along to the Garmin Connect Mobile team
    Not sure about connecting more than one device via BLE. Perhaps something the Garmin Connect Mobile can look into
    With regards to the Move! bar. The first bar filled is one hour of inactivity, each subsequent bar is 15 additional minutes of inactivity. Getting up and walking 100-200 steps will reset the move bar.

    • Rob

      One more reply from Garmin:
      So the auto-sync feature is supposed to take place at strategic times such as when you meet your auto-goal or when you have taken several hundred steps, or even when you complete a bike ride or run. To test this see what happens after about an hour after completing your goal for the day. If it does not auto-sync at that point then we will need to investigate.

    • Rob

      Another update on the Garmin forums.
      this will be addressed in a software update that will be pushed out within a couple weeks. It will sync when you open the app.

  91. Frank Young

    I watched the whole Apple Watch announcement this morning and then ordered my Vivosmart. I still think I will prefer the Vivofit if only because I don’t like charging an activity tracker but I had to have the experience first hand.

    It looks like the Apple Watch is going to have to be charged every day. It has some pretty slick features but cannot do anything exercise oriented that I cannot do with a Scosche Rhythm + and a Vivofit.

  92. Long Run Nick

    A little update on the VVS. Early morning running–dark screen is super. Daytime sunlight not real good. Like Ray pointed out seems a little hazy.
    Step count way too liberal. I realize these things are ball park- but the VVS reflects upwards of 1,000 steps while showering shaving and moving around just a little.
    Run steps on both are relatively close. Compared to my Basis Carbon Black for wearing today. Taking off 1,000 steps for shower,etc., did not wear Basis in the shower. VVS reflects 2500+ steps MORE than my Basis. Testing will continue.
    I feel for folks getting into fitness and thinking they are getting 10,000 steps. Lots of arm movement sets the VVS reflecting a lot of steps. Having used the VVF for nearly 6 months it has always been more generous than the Misfit device and the Basis. Actually the basis seems to be pretty close to actual steps. I know the VVF always over estimated miles–a 8 mile run would show over 11 miles. Thanks for letting me ramble.

    • Frank Young

      Long Run. It is a well documented quirk of the Vivofit that it loves a good shower. I would expect no less from the Vivosmart. All of these devices have their own personalities. My Basis 2014 (both of them) reported multiple episodes of cardiac arrest every night.

      As for your 8 mile run showing as 11, that is easy to fix. Just dial back your running stride length back by about 28% in the device settings.

  93. David

    I don’t care about “notifications” but I would LOVE if it vibrated for an incoming call or a wake alarm… will it do those things, or do I need to enable ALL notifications which would be brutal… thanks…

    • David

      sorry… i’m on iOS

    • Rob

      Alarms are separate from notifications. But calls are part of notifications. I’m really hoping they allow ‘smart’ notifications soon.

    • David

      I was looking forward to the Apple Watch today and I was very impressed, to me it is the best device of its kind… BUT really looking at how I would use it I realize just how overkill it is. The idea I would read/respond to messages, email… look at yelp reviews, check sports scores, look at maps seems insane when I have a beautiful iPhone 6 in my pocket a seconds grab away. The more I think about it what I really want on my wrist is a subtle fitness device much like our “bands” of the last few years but that does ever increasing amounts of data gathering (HR etc.) plus gives me “smart” notifications of what my phone is doing in my pocket and if I should take it out such as when it rings showing me caller ID etc.

      The Apple Watch is impressive as heck but I still don’t understand why for 90% of what it does I wouldn’t just pull my phone out and have a far better experience.

    • Rob

      Completely agree.

    • Jim

      Apple lovers are a bit of a cult. Apple could announce “iPoop” to make sure your dog did it’s business every day, and people would line up around the block to get one… 🙂

  94. David

    well I am a cult Apple guy, the Apple Watch looks nice but I realize after years of fitness bands what I really want is still a fitness BAND but with excellent and reliable notification of incoming calls (+caller ID) and perhaps some snazzy options to show texts etc. from select contacts. I realize looking at the Apple Watch while seeing “Yelp” and “ESPN” etc. on the watch is really neat, why would I want that experience when I have my iPhone 6 with a nice big screen in my pocket ready to go?

    • Tonya

      I totally agree with you David.

    • Marva

      I’m not a cult apple guy, but I love apple technology. I have been using my square ipod nano for years now as my goto fitness device… tracking and music. But when I purchased the Samsung Gear Neo (and returned it) I realized that I was not interested in a smart watch that could do fitness tracking. I think the vivosmart will work for me because it is a fitness tracker that can be a smart watch.

      I think I’d love an apple watch as the ultimate replacement for my ancient ipod nano. But I don’t want to switch back to iphone to get it.

  95. Frank Young

    Still waiting for the email from Best Buy telling me I can pick mine up. It’s looking like the earliest estimate (Friday) will hold.

    • I got mine yesterday so your estimation of Friday is probably good. So far, I am enjoying it. I have a FR for my runs and long hikes where I want more information but I am enjoying having a much smaller device to record my daily activities. I have to say, the text notifications was sort of annoying (especially at night). It seems like they should not go through when your are in “sleep mode.” I’m glad I could figure out how to turn those off.

  96. Long Run Nick

    Thanks Frank Young, dialing back seems to work. The VVF bad the VVS seemed to be pretty close regarding steps. The Basis is about 2k behind today. VVF 21594/VVS 21493 and the Basis 19,197- didn’t wear in my shower routine so add about 1,000 steps:). The steps include a 9 mile run/ warm up and cool down walk and walking my dog!
    Your thoughts on showering with the Basis. Thanks. Nick

  97. Tonya

    I love reading all the comments. I’m thinking that I may just wait either for a new Fitbit device or just not have one at all. I still have my VF and it doesn’t want to sync at times either with my laptop or app. I just got this VF last month too. It seems it could be a software issue cause the VS appears to have some issues too. I know that at times new devices have to be tested by the public to get things working right but since Garmin has a new baby, out with old and in with the new.

    • Nick

      So true, Garmins products are always problematic at their release. Always the public has to report the bugs and faults. After a few months of their release become stable….
      Sad but true

  98. Dan

    I can’t figure out how to activate the display when raising my hand up like you mentioned. Any way to specifically set that up?

    • Long Run Nick

      Dan, it is not so much raising your arm up as it is turning your wrist like you would if you were checking the time on a wrist watch. Hopefully that makes some sense. Mine seems to work very well.

    • RC


      There is a setting under the device in Garmin Connect to set this action.

  99. Rob

    with regard to customizing the notifications on iOS, according to an admin on the Garman forums: Unfortunately this is a limitation of iOS. It is an all or nothing approach where you have to either turn that screen off or on for notifications on vivosmart. Android allows the customization of what notifications you want displayed on vivosmart under the settings of the app.

    If that’s the case, it’s a failure IMO

    • David

      total failure for me, I can’t buy a product that will alarm on every single “notification” or none at all. it may well be an iOS limitation but in that case I won’t be buying the vivosmart either because all in all the vivofit is a superior product when you can’t use notifications.

    • Gabe

      alerts on the watch are overrated IMO

      i turned them off on my fenix2.

      my iphone is sitting on my desk…….

    • David

      I work in a loud environment and often miss the sound and vibration of my iPhone. I would LOVE my iPhone to cause my fitness band to vibrate on an incoming call, caller ID would be even better. i don’t want other notifications.

  100. Ron Gonzalez

    I have a number of Garmin devices including HR Monitor etc. I recently purchased a Polar BlueHR 7. I am trying to decide which phone to get, the iPhone 6 without ANT+ support built in or a newer Samsung Note 4 or Edge with built in ANT+ and blue tooth. If I went the iphone 6 route and purchased a vivosmart, would an Garmin HR talk to vivosmart (in timed activity) and then this data transfer into vivosmart and on into Garmin Connect? Now I am having to use iCardio with Polar HR which syncs with MyFitnessPal which then Syncs to Garmin Connect, I would like to eliminate the three hops and go directly to Garmin with vivosmart. Any thoughts or suggestions.

  101. Frank Young

    Ron, the Garmin devices only talk to phones over BLE. They communicate with all other sensors over Ant+. If you pair a Garmin HRM and or Speed Only or Speed and Cadence sensor to your Vivosmart, it will capture all of that sensor data and send it to Garmin Connect via BLE on which ever Phone you decide to buy.

    The H7 is a nice HR sensor. I have one I got to go with a Polar Loop I no longer use. It will pair up just fine with newer iPhones and Androids but not with any Garmin devices that I know of. Again, I think Garmin devices ONLY use BLE to pass information back and forth with phones. All fitness sensors (HR, Foot Pod, Speed/cadence, and tempe) are still Ant+.

    • Ron Gonzalez

      Thanks Frank, You have confirmed what I was thinking. It’s too bad that Garmin has not gone the route of either a dedicated BLE HR to work with all it’s sensors / Applications or like Wahoo with its BLE HR (TICKR) that can talk both BLE and ANT+. We are no longer buying products, we are buying into ecosystems but no one ecosystems seems to meet all needs, at least not yet.

    • Rob

      I understand that currently BLE will only allow one connection at a time to my 5S, either the VS or my 620. I turned off the BT on the VS but my 620 would not reconnect. I had to go thru the whole ‘pair your device’ process again. Is this normal

      Not sure I can keep a product that causes all this headache. Come on Garmin!

    • Just to be clear, this is a Garmin Connect Mobile app limitation, and not an iOS/chipset/platform limitation.

    • Rob

      Thanks! I’m glad to hear that. I’ve opened a support ticket with Garmin.

  102. Frank Young

    I see that the Vivosmart does not ship with an Ant+ stick like the Vivofit did. Does this mean that the only way to sync it is via BLE phone? Maybe it syncs over it’s charge cable as well?.

    It’s amazing how Garmin has chosen to zig zag around on these issues. My Vivofit (least expensive device) does not need to be charged and syncs via both Ant+ and BLE. My FR 410 is charged over a proprietary USB cable but only syncs via Ant+. My Edge 705 will only charge AND sync via it’s standard mini-USB tether. My Fenix2 will only charge via its proprietary USB cable but will sync over that or BLE (kind of sort of if you have an hour to spare). Vivosmart?

  103. Sylvester Jakubowski

    Any else got the ship notification? Mine is ready for pickup at best buy. Will post thoughts after a few days.

    • szyMarek

      Gdzie odbierasz? Masz odbiór w punkcie czy zamawiałeś 3-5dniową dostawę? Będę w Chicago od soboty do środy i szukam punktu, gdzie mogę odebrać. Czarny/szary duży.

    • Sylvester Jakubowski

      I ordered 9/6/2014 and it showed up at the store 9/10/2014, ordered through the web as a Canadian, I pick it up Saturday. They might be in stock in local stores next week, or you can try to order via the website for store pickup. Powodzenia.

    • Sylvester Jakubowski

      Impressions after 6 hours with the device:

      Pairing sucks. Especially trying to do it with a Fenix 2 at the same time (also new to me today) one or the other drop and they panic and lose history and everything. Once you get it going and don’t try to connect any other devices, it works well.

      The notifications are great (do not work at all on the fenix 2, grrrr), the band itself is comfortable if bigger than I thought it would be. It sticks up about 1cm from your wrist.

      The display is great and I really really like the whole concept of the device, it seems to work well.

      ANT+ pairing for the heart rate monitor (from the fenix bundle) was a PITA, just suddenly started working after a while no feedback, nothing earlier, compared to instant with my Nexus 5 (ant+ drivers installed) and the fenix 2.

      The display customization options are great, the only thing I would change is to allow them to be in custom order, but the default one is pretty good.

      I cannot figure out the auto wake display with wrist movement, sometime it works, sometime it doesn’t.

      The screen is hard to wake and 2 taps sometimes works, sometimes I am tapping away a few times to get it going.

      I can’t see an option to disable the MOVE alarm.

      Compared to the fitbit Aria (or any apple device), the initial setup is not a breeze, the whole concept of having to connect the sometimes finicky clamp to the device to set it up originally isn’t ideal. Not an issue after you get it going, but you can’t originally setup the device without access to usb power.

      I think Garmin came up with a winner, just needs some minor tweaks.

    • Sylvester Jakubowski

      Updating the Fenix from 3.50 to 3.90 fixed the notifications issue.

  104. Frank Young

    I aliamuru yangu mnamo Septemba 9 kwa pock hadi saa Best Buy kuhifadhi katika eneo Easy Bay ya San Francisco. Original upatikanaji makisio ilikuwa Ijumaa. Mimi bado taarifa kwamba ni hapa.

  105. Long Run Nick

    Hey Frank Young, you never responded to my question concerning showering with the BASIS posted on 9/10. Thanks in advance. Nick

  106. Frank Young

    Hi LRN. I didn’t respond because I don’t remember whether I ever actually did it or not. My Basis story is long and comical. It actually entailed a visit to Basis headquarters here in SF for an anatomical inspection, interview, and new device. I can see you love yours but I have absolutely nothing favorable I can say about the thing.

    BTW you are a bit of a hero to me. I just started running about a year ago with the goal of being “young” until the day I drop dead. Looks like you are on the same track. Just a little further down it. I’m reassured to know that it works :).

  107. Gary F

    I am having trouble connecting my garmin “original” HR strap to the Vivosmart. Connected ‘automatically’ to my Vivofit. The heart just blinks, but no display of HR or zone. Any idea about pairing the two, or any issues with this?

  108. Doalvares

    Thank you for sharing your initial thoughts. Waiting for the complete review. In my opinión, sleep tracking was the weakest feature in Vívofit. At the end, it was just a bit more than a chronometer. Has this been improved in this model? I really wished they implemented a batter sleep tracking mode/features as Sony’s Smartband or Jawbone.

  109. jim

    Apologies if this has been answered. I use an edge 510 on my bike. If i wear the vivosmart during a ride, will it auto sync to speed and HR or will i have to tell it to do that. Basically right now, I just keep my fitbit flex on, can i do that with the vivosmart and it’ll “just go for a ride” Also, how does this sync with a PC, does it come with a usb dongle like fitbit or do i need to plug it in like the edge 510?

  110. Tonya

    Can I ask for who chose store pick-up or shipping, which was quicker?

    • Frank Young

      Tonya, I orderd mine (Large Black no HRM) on the 9th for store pick-up in SF East Bay. Originally estimated to be available today (Friday, Sep. 12) but no confirmatory email yet. It is still early here.

      It looks like the people who have already got them ordered much earlier and had them shipped direct. My guess is that these pre-orders soaked up all of Garmin’s first delivery to Best Buy and nothing has shown up in any store yet but that is just a guess.

      I’ll probably go have a look in a store after my morning ride.

    • Long Run Nick

      Tonya, per previous post, I pre-ordered on 9/5 and with expedited shipping received on 9/7, a Sunday, no less. So the old adage, the early runner gets the VVS applies.:)

    • Tonya

      Thanks Nice and Frank. I actually found it in my local Best Buy but it as only in the bundle. So I had to get that cause that was all they had and even though I am a bit skeptical, I wanted to test it out.

  111. Long Run Nick

    Oh Frank Young, it can’t be your years, can it? Appreciate the reply, but what often happens with electronic communication, you failed to answer my question about showering with the Basis. Your hero, Nick:)

  112. Frank Young

    Tonya, if you didn’t already have an Ant+ HRM, you kind of needed the bundle to test it out well. I already have four Ant+ HR sensors and will try to avoid any temptation to add to my collection.

    Nick, I only have 58 years so far. I think I said that I don’t recall showering with my Basis. If I did, I am sure I never noted a step count for that particular activity.

    • Tonya

      I tell you it is much cheaper to buy as a bundle. I actually had the soft strapped HRM by Garmin but I couldn’t get it fit properly. This one looks uncomfortable but whateva 😉

    • Tonya

      Oh boy, I can’t get it to pair with my Macbook Air.

    • Tonya

      I was able to pair it with my Nexus 5. Why is it in the videos the display shows as blue? I do like that color much better.

      Anyone else on Mac and have issues with pairing it?

    • Tonya

      Well I have had the pleasure of trying out the Vivosmart. Garmin needs to take cues from Fitbit. The auto sync doesn’t work for me, nor can I get it pair with my Laptop. It could have been a really nice band but Garmin seems to release without product testing. The app could be better too. I do love the backlight, size and fit but it will be returning it today.

    • Rob

      Curious why you are trying to pair it with a laptop?

    • Tonya

      To use with Garmin Express. I figured out how to pair it through the app but I was trying to go through my desktop for setup.

    • Paul S

      Occasionally people ask about that on the forums about other devices. I have no sympathy for those who have mass storage devices with Bluetooth but are simply too lazy to plug in, because Bluetooth is short range and you have to be near the computer anyway. But here there’s a point. I just looked at the Vivosmart manual, and as far as I can tell the only way you can sync it is with BLE. But what if your phone doesn’t have BLE but your computer does? And there are people still who have computers but don’t have smartphones (I was one until 10 months ago).

    • Just to be clear, on a desktop/laptop you’ll use the sync cable to sync, not Bluetooth. Press the screen for three seconds to enable the Vivosmart to go into a USB sync mode, which then chats with Garmin Express.

    • Tonya

      Yes and it would not pair. Its back at BestBuy now. I tried yet another Garmin tracker IMO that falls short.

    • Can you elaborate when you say it wouldn’t pair? There’s no pairing involved with USB, that’s why I ask. Did the computer show a new device? Did the Vivosmart show the USB icon on the screen (+ battery charging icon)?

    • Tonya

      Yes the VS showed the USB icon on its screen and it showed on my Mac as an external drive. It saw it but kept searching like it wasn’t there. I even still have issues with my VF sometimes not syncing with Garmin Express. I truly believe its Garmin though.

      Thanks for trying to help me out. 🙂

    • Frank Young

      Tonya, It sounds to me like you did not have Garmin Express running on your Mac. That is an essential part of the Garmin Anything personal computer connection and the Vivosmart will only talk to the most recent versions which is

      Have only had my Vivosmart for 24 hours after six months with the Vivofit. I didn’t want to like it but I have to admit that I kind of do.

    • Tonya

      I did Frank cause I also used it with my VF. I did like some things about it but not pairing with my laptop and sometimes receiving notifications and sometimes not, makes me upset that I’d invest $170 just for the band not to working properly.

    • Frank Young

      I had problems first try: link to forums.garmin.com but as soon as I updated Outlook Express to the most current version, all of those problems disappeared.

      Sorry you had a bad experience. Hope you find something that suits your needs.

    • Tonya

      Thanks Frank. I hope I find something too.

  113. Tonya

    I also saw the worst reviews for the SoleusGO, had anyone tried that one? (Not sure if I asked already)

  114. Sylvester Jakubowski

    Is there a bug tracker for garmin? I would like to submit a few tickets.

  115. Fredric

    Some questions to the early (VS) adopters out there: How does the music control work with the audible app on iOS? Would be very nice if the previous / next would sync up with the 30 seconds rew / ff feature in the newest version of the audible app.

    Also, after a call does the music call resume controlling audible without one having to open the app in the foreground?

    I have had the Vivofit since it came out and a really like it except for two major issues:
    1) Misreads driving in my car for steps (a 75 mile drive adds several thousand steps)
    2) Display is illegible in the dark

    Also, what is the working range for notifications?


    • RC

      I just bought the Vivosmart and I really like it. However, I noticed right away that it did count steps while driving!

      I wanted to ask other readers and the author of this great site for any suggestions on things that can be done to reduce, or ideally eliminate step counts while driving. On other sites and posts, I have read the following:

      • Use custom Step Length (tried this without much luck at 2.5 Feet per Step)
      • Tried putting Vivosmart into Sleep Mode (still counted steps while driving)
      • Noticed Fitbit allows you to create an activity for driving to remove the steps (similar feature?)
      • Read about an Android app for FitBit to track and remove drive times (similar app?)

      I was also wondering if the author of this site had another review, or article that describes things that can be done to reduce, or ideally eliminate step counts while driving??? Also, do any of the other fitness bands provide a better solution for handling step counts while driving, or is this a problem with all fitness bands?

      I have submitted a support issue to Garmin to request their opinion on how to handle step counts while driving. I should hear back from them in the next few days. It is my opinion that all the unique features of the Vivismart are cool and fancy, but I strongly believe that a product is only as good as it accomplishes is core features. In the case of a fitness band, counting steps accurately (not when driving) is the most important core feature. The other features are not the core features!

    • RC

      I learned I an take off the vivosmart and set it on the dash or seat and it would count driving steps! This is great for being more accurate in counting my steps.

      Also, taking off the vivosmart in the shower would prevent counting steps in the shower, but since I take steps to turn and wash and scrub my body, I think it makes sense to count these steps since I get my activity tracking from a GPS watch, not my vivosmart.

  116. jeff birr

    had my vivosmart a couple of days and noticed two things. when i get up in the morning, without wearing it over night, i already have 500 or so calories. does it not reset to zero and begin counting only when activity starts? secondly, there is no volume control for music. paired to an iphone 5s. have pause, forward, and back. any help would be appreciated.

    • Fredric

      The simple answer is that you have burned 500 calories just be being alive from midnight to your waking time and that is what the Vivosmart is showing. When you for instance take a walk, this burn rate will be increased. If you use a heart rate monitor it will adjust rate with HR (AFAIK).

  117. jeff birr

    thanks for the quick response–makes sense. any idea about the volume control not being visable?

  118. Rob

    What can you tell us about Garmin Tech Support. I’ve submitted a hand full of tickets regarding the Vivosmart, if and when I get a response, they don’t understand what i’m talking about and their responses are written very poorly. Is the support in US?

    • Hmm, I know phone support is based on whatever country you’re in. I don’t know if they sub-out the first level of e-mail support elsewhere. So for phone support, if in the US you get directed to folks in Kansas. If in Europe it depends a bit on country, but mostly the UK. If in Aus/NZ it’s local (and horrible).

      That said, that’s a core reason I recommend you call (since it guarantees it), and it also gets you immediate answers. In most cases when calling US Garmin support you rarely get put on hold, so it’s kinda easy.

      It also costs Garmin more money, so things that get phone calls are more likely to get fixed quicker.

    • Rob

      Thanks! I’ll call tomorrow with my list

  119. Rob

    I had a good connectivity day with my VS and 610.
    It was a run day, so after I woke up and took the VS out of sleep mode, I made sure it synced and then turned BT off on the VS. Turned on my 620, it connected quickly. Did my run (620 auto syncs), then turned the 620 off. Turned BT back on on the VS and fairly quickly, it was connected and syncing.

    Yes it’s a pain, but it worked

  120. RC

    When I use the Paired Music Controls with Spotify, the play and volume controls work, but when I press the next track or previous track controls, the music stops playing. How do I get all the controls to work with Spotify?

    Does anyone have the same issue or a solution?

    • RC

      This is with Android 4.4.

    • RC

      It turned out to be an issue with Spotify. I tried Google Play Music and it works perfect. Plus, Google Play music works like the best of Spotify and Pandora! It also allows you to go back to the previous track(s)! Also, Google Play Music is a few cents less a month that Spotify Premium.

      I did contact Spotify Support before I cancelled my premium account in preference to Google Play Music since they told me they would send it off to the dev team too look into it. When I replied asking when I could expect a reply from the dev team, there was no response.

  121. RC

    Every time the Vivosmart loses its pairing like when I walk too far away from my phone (Android 4.4), I have to re-pair the Vivosmart from Garmin Connect all over again. The phone and Vivosmart won’t just reestablish the pairing like all other Bluetooth devices do. How do I get my Vivosmart to keep its pairing information even when I lose the pairing temporarily?

    Does anyone have the same issue or have a solution?

    • Frank Young

      I know this is not much help to you RC but my iOS7 iPhone 5s drops the connection when it should, reconnects as soon as possible, reconnects when I turn my phone back on and reconnects when I turn Bluetooth back on on the band. This is at least one part of my Vivofit experience that has been flawless so far.

    • Frank Young

      Sorry, I meant VivoSMART.

    • RC

      It is helpful.

      It tells me that maybe there is something I can do to get mine working right!


  122. MAGNUS

    Just got the VS and really liking it. Much better than the VF. I like the screen and smart notifications. I will say it is extremely difficult to read in bright sunlight but aside from that I really like the device. Unlike most of the comments regarding the ability to select and deselect certain apps from notifications this is not an issue for me. I have a ton of apps but do not enable most apps in Notification Center. I only allow a handful of apps so this is not an issue for and works exactly as I hoped.

    One question I do have, I paired my VS with HRM but was unsure how to stop or end the activity. With the VF I was able to press the button to “turn off” the HRM however I was unable to figure out how to do so this morning. I simply removed the HRM and the VS eventually disconnected. I tried syncing the tacker with garmin app but the activity did not seem to save/transfer. Any ideas if the activity was lost or how I’m supposed to end the activity?

    Thanks in advance.

  123. Frank Young

    Hi Magnus. You are right about bright sunlight. I had to shade mine with my other hand to read it in the bright Caribbean sun on Tuesday.

    To start an activity yu have to press and hold on the face of the band. You will see a little running man icon. Touching that will bring up a screen with go back, heart, spedo, and play icons. If your HR and Speed sensors are not present, those icons will be flashing. Pushing the play triangle will bring you to another screen with a timer and a play/pause icon. Pressing that icon will begin the activity. You will see the counter counting up as well as distance. You pause or stop that activity by tapping the play/pause icon again. Then you will be presented with options to save, resume, or trash the activity.

  124. Ami

    Any word on when they will bundle the other colors with the heart rate monitor? Does it work with the polar heart rate monitor by chance?

  125. spryde

    I just bought a Vivosmart. I am coming from a Force that I really, really like. The Vivosmart itself is quite awesome with the notifications and the music controls. The downside is the Garmin Connect Mobile App. It doesn’t seem to want to sync my steps with MyFitnessPal. My Forerunner 220 syncs exercises but the step tracking doesn’t integrate as well as Fitbit does. I hope this can be solved relatively easily and soon.

    • Did you setup the sync with MyFitnessPal using Garmin Connect online first?

    • spryde

      I actually had the sync setup previously as I have the FR220. Calorie projection data is finally showing up but the nice step progress bar is not present on the MFP app as it was previously with the Fitbit integration. It seems MFP does not recognize Garmin as a source of step data (they show Fitbit, Jawbone, Misfit, Lumo, and the Pacer app as sources.

      Partially my fault for not recognizing this is a MFP limitation at this time.

  126. Frank Young

    Just for the record, I started getting a low battery indication just three days after a full charge. There have been about three hours of HR linkage during that time period. Otherwise, nothing special.

    • Sylvester Jakubowski

      Mine is dead after 2 days of BT sync and notifications from the phone.

    • Rob

      I’m not using the HRM or notifications and the battery is great. I charged it yesterday, just for fun.

    • Fwiw, mine is still alive after 5 days of fairly active BT notifications and activity, plus about 90 minutes of HR activity. Of course, I’m sure within about 90 seconds of me posting this it’ll chirp a low battery warning.

    • Frank Young

      And, after a full charge on the 18th, I got a low battery icon on the afternoon of the 21st. It was completely dead a few hours later at midnight. Charging overnight,

    • Fwiw Part 2: I got almost exactly 8.5 days before it ran out of battery. I had charged it until 11PM last Saturday, and it lasted until 2:43PM Monday (the following week). As noted, Bluetooth Smart alerts on the entire time from Monday onwards (two days after I opened it up), along with about 90 minutes of HR activity.

      (In case your curious, unit simply bought at Best Buy, not some sort of media loaner unit)

  127. Long Run Nick

    Possible charging solution. I got in the habit years ago of charging my running watch each morning after completing my run. I have started to do the same with my VVSmart- added benefit, it does away with the foolish 1,000 + steps of showering/ wiping down the shower /shaving and all my primping. I would do the same with my Basis Carbon Steel but the charger is kind of wonky and normally charge every3-4 days. Geez, OCD Rules!

  128. Jmac

    Any idea if this monitors distance on a tredmil without the use of a foot pod like the forerunner 220 and 620? Or if it is compatible with the forerunner footpod?

    • David

      it does measure distance without a footpod (and won’t link to a footpod even if you have it) but that distance is a rough estimate. like many 620 users have found, without a food pod the internal accelerometer in your wrist isn’t the greatest. think of it as a rough guess that keeps you honest as to your “activity level” day to day but not the perfect tool to measure accurately individual workouts.

    • FWIW – In a workout tonight the FR620 was 5.42 miles and the Vivosmart 5.44 miles. Which, is mindbogglingly close. I wouldn’t expect to see that normally.

    • Long Run Nick

      Agree. If you customize your stride length it is right on. If your running watch measures cadence it is EZ to set it pretty close.

  129. Martin

    How’s the sleep tracking/monitoring on this thing? And how’s that part of the app? As good as on the Jawbone up24? Thanks in advance.

  130. spryde

    Day 1: I think it is overestimating calorie burn (typical day for me with 10k steps and a 5 mile run on top of that is ~3k, it said 4.3k). It’s also adding a lot more steps during a drive than I would expect it too, even on the lovely Michigan roads we have. My Force registered between 50-150 steps on my drive to work. The VS registered 300.

    Both are fixable via software algorithm update. The question is will they and if so, when?

  131. With the new app you can make changes to the step length .
    see setting in app: bit.ly/XusODb

  132. spryde

    Yeah, I’ve done that. Overall distance is pretty accurate. It calculated the same distance my FR220 did on my ~5 mile run yesterday.

    Calorie calculations need some tweaking 🙂

  133. Leah

    How did you get it to work with spotify? My samsung galaxy opens up Svoice with music controls.

    • Fwiw, in my case on iOS7 it did sorta control Spotify. It seemed to be able to pause it, but skip track wasn’t working very well. Now on iOS8, it doesn’t seem to control it at all.

  134. Rob

    So angry at myself. Plugged in the VS to charge as I was preparing for my run. Walked out the door and left it on the charger. Is there any way to manually add an activity? I ran with my 620 so I know my distance but can’t find a way to add it to the VS dashboard. 9.1 miles is a lot of steps 😉

  135. NJ

    Does anyone know if vivosmart and its bundled HRM are capable of working in water? I know vivosmart is waterproof and I am assuming so is their HRM (the battery door has an O-ring), but do they communicate in water? Can you use this to keep track of your heart rate while swimming?

  136. Stuart

    does the vivosmart work with elyptical machine workouts?

    • Frank Young

      Stuart, Yes, but only if your link it to an HRM and make a record of your elliptical work-out. Same goes for virtually any other kind of work-out on the planet. You will get a fairly accurate calorie expenditure but its anybody’s guess about steps. I really don’t like elliptical machines (or the gyms they live in) so you will have to find out if it counts steps on your own :).

  137. Chet

    Can it pair with the mio link to display heart rate?

  138. spryde

    After a few days it’s settled down and is calculating most things correctly (still had a mysterious 400 calories show up for exercise this AM) but it’s working it’s way down as I don’t move (yay office jobs…). If MFP only allowed it as a step source I would confidently say it is a worthy replacement for a Force without reservation.

    • Frank Young

      Give it six months spryde. Just about the same time as it is obsoleted by the next new, new thing they will get all of the bugs put to bed on your old, new thing :).

      It’s up to you to stay a generation behind. I can’t seem do it with Garmin but will wait for the next iPhone with an “S” in it’s model number.

    • Frank Young

      BTW, I got 8,000 calories, no speed, and no distance for a relaxing 6 hour sailboat ride in SF Bay yesterday. Go figure :). link to connect.garmin.com.

  139. Ethan Kavanagh


    Nice review. Can the inactivity alarm be turned off? Im currently still in schoola nd some classes last longer than an hour so i cannot keep asking to go to the toilet every time it tells me ive been sitting in class for longer than an hour.


    • Frank Young

      I don’t think so Ethan but the inactivity alerts are meant to be a gentile suggestion not some kind of mandatory call to action.

      Besides, if you ignore it for two hours, it won’t bother you again until you clear it :).

    • Sylvester Jakubowski

      Yes it can, turn off the MOVE screen in the app.

  140. Frank Young

    Thanks Sylvester, that is good to know. Some people will hate it. I had my GF’s UP24 set up to buzz her into action. That only lasted about a week :).

    I have another issue that has been touched on before but in a different way. Ever since I got my Vivosmart, I have been unable to sync either my fenix 2 nor my Vivofit over bluetooth. When I try to sync the fenix, it says it is connected on the face of the watch and under iOS8 bluetooth settings (as does the Vivosmart) but it will not sync no matter how long you let it sit. In the Garmin Connect iPhone app, the Vivosmart shows a live bluetooth connection. Turning bluetooth off on the Vivosmart does cause it to disconnect under both iOS8 bluetooth settings and the GC App but the fenix and Vivofit still refuse to communicate with the iPhone app and show as not connected.

    I also find it odd that, while iOS and/or the app happily push notifications to the band in real time, automatic syncing of the band to the iPhone app happens infrequently. Seems kind of pointless to build that kind of handicap in on purpose. Perhaps it takes a lot more power to transmit to the phone than to receive?

    • Rob

      You can only have one of the devices connected at a time. The Garmin app only allows one BLE device to connect. When I run, I have to turn BT off on my Vivosmart so I can connect my 620.

    • Frank Young

      I remember that. In fact you are the one that first made me aware of that limitation. Question is, if I turn BLE off on my VS, why can I not then sync my f2 via my phone?

    • Rob

      If I turn BT off on my VS, I have no issues syncing my 620

    • Frank Young

      The mystery deepens ….

      The f2 is not capable of full-time BT connection. Some kind of hardware limitation. So, it is fundamentally different from the 620 but different in a way that, intuitivly, would make you think it is capable of playing nice with others.

      Seems not.

  141. Rob

    New firmware was released today. I installed it by plugging into my Mac and syncing with Garmin Connect.

    Improved first touch responsiveness
    Improved upload and download experiences with mobile devices
    Improved Heart Rate Monitor connectivity
    Various other minor improvements

  142. Frank Young

    I’m getting slower. Must be because I am getting older. Max speed on today’s ride (according to the Vivosmart) was only 1,298.5 kph.

    The VS reported total distance of 45.18km (due to the supersonic sprint at the beginning) compared to 42.07 to 42.20 for the other four devices aboard all of which reported max speeds of about 36.5 kph. Note that all of these devices except my iPhone where connected to the same Garmin GSC-10 speed and cadence sensor as the frisky Vivosmart.

  143. Greg

    Will Garmin fix the issue with doubling mileages if I log with both a 910XT and a VivoSmart? Right now my mileage gets doubled for the week if I sync from both devices. Calories also seem to be vastly inconsistent while riding between the two units. It seems to be better tracking for running.
    6.2 mile run was 608 calories on the 910xt and 649 on the VivoSmart and measured 6.6 miles with the default stride length.

    3.7 mile bike ride with my daughter got 145 calories on the 910xt and 197 on the VivoSmart
    9.7 mile ride at lunch registered 394 calories on the 910xt but a whopping 570 calories on the VivoSmart

    For today VivoSmart has be at around 23 miles (6.6+3.7+9.7+whatever I walked) while Garmin Connect shows 39.6 miles total for the day in exercises.

    • Frank Young

      Greg, I’ve never really paid much attention to distances. With the Vivofit, it took them nearly six months but Garmin finally got around to eliminating duplicate calories.

      Unless I am running one of my mad experiments, I consider my Vivofit or Vivosmart to be the device that monitors my activity that is not intentional exercise. For that reason I never take it off except to charge it and I never use these devices to record intentional exercise other than strength training. That solves a lot of the duplication issues both in Garmin Connect and when things get synced up with MyFitnessPal.

      As for the calories being “right”—who is to say? On Tuesday, I rode 42 Km wearing four Garmin devices and using Runkeeper on my iPhone. Activity Duration was 103 minutes, average speed was 24.5 kph and average heart rate was 134 bpm. I am a 72 kg, 58 year old male. All four Garmin devices were paired with HR and S&C sensors. Here is what I got:

      Vivosmart___________ 1,301
      Edge 705____________1,481
      fenix 2________________935
      Forerunner 410_________972
      HR Based Calculator___1,365

      The fenix and Forerunner estimates are based on the First Beat model (as is your 910XT). The METS value of 10 calories per kg per hour was taken from code 01040 in the 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities. The HR based calculator used was this one: link to shapesense.com.

      Clearly, this is an inexact science. Past comparisons that also included Polar and Fitbit devices generated a similar spread of values.

    • Greg


      Thanks for your $0.02. It sounds like you’re a gadget freak like myself. I’m actually surprised that there is such a high variance in calories between all the devices, especially between ones from the same manufacturer, you would think they would use the same model across the board.

      I’m also wearing a Loop at the same time and like on today’s lunch ride the VivoSmart reported 655 calories the loop measured 569. On this morning’s 6.1 mile run the Vivosmart estimated 649 calories while the Loop said it was 736 calories. So the VivoSmart underestimates running calories and overestimates cycling calories relative to the Loop as well as relative to the 910XT. I think it has to do with the fact that somehow the Vivosmart uses the speed/distance data from these runs/rides to estimate calories while the Loop and the 910xt uses strictly HR and other individual’s physical data (sex/age/weight/hrmax) to determine caloric expenditure.

      However on today’s lunch ride the uploaded data from the Vivosmart doubled what the actual distance was. I rode 11.3 miles and in Garmin connect it shows up as a 22.67 mile ride and 51 minutes but on the VivoSmart the distance is correct, meaning it says I’m at 19.74 miles for the day which is about right if you figure my 6.1 mile morning run and the 11.3 mile bike ride plus whatever distance I walked around and the actual ride was only 45 minuets or so.

      Note that the HR chart is only 34:41 long which is another mystery as to why.

      link to connect.garmin.com

    • Greg

      Question: Does the VivoSmart measure proper calories and distances on a bike if I just wear the HR strap and use the speed sensor but not record the activity within VivoSmart? If yes, then I don’t really care about it logging the data into Connect and I’d actually prefer that it didn’t.

    • Frank Young

      I THINK that the VS will not pay any attention to the HRM (in terms of caloric expenditure) unless you are recording an activity. I THINK the VS will not recognize that you are biking unless you connect it to a speed sensor. The Vivofit gave you squat for biking unless you wore the HRM and recorded it as an activity. On the other hand, simply wearing the HRM and pairing it with he Vivofit started an activity so the two concepts were inseparable. It would appear that the Vivosmart will monitor the HRM and Speed Sensor without recording an activity. Question is—will it give you calorie expenditure credit for it?

      Again, I would rather use dedicated device to measure intentional exercise but—now that you have me wondering about this—I just have to find out. Why don’t we each run a little experiment and see if our observations agree?

    • Frank Young

      I took a 27 km ride (as measured by iPhone 5s and Runkeeper) in 65 minutes. Brought along no HR sensors. Displayed speed from my GSC-10 on my Vivosmart. Did NOT record an activity.

      Immediately before my ride I had 2,903 steps and 1,061 calories. Immediately after I had 3,795 steps and 1,806 calories.

      In a nutshell, it worked and worked beautifully. The 745 gross calories it gave me for the ride matched up very neatly with the 759 awarded by Runkeeper. My Garminized BMR is 1,857 or roughly 83 calories for the 64 minute period. It certainly didn’t give me 662 calories for taking 892 steps during that hour.

      Unless you beat me to it, I will repeat the experiment with HR Sensor on and GSC-10 disabled. It will be kind of cool if it works both ways.

    • Greg

      Frank, thanks for the update! I’m still stuck at work so no chance of testing much if anything. My earliest possibility will be tomorrow morning when I head for a run with a HR strap, I might select to record the activity and delete it at the end.

      BTW what did the mileage/km say on the unit for the day? Did it include the 27km ride in the total distance?

      If it does all that without recording then that would be splendid! We’d get credit for it in the VivoSmart but we can still use a more sophisticated Garmin unit to log the workout into Connect.

    • Frank Young

      I had 2.72 km before the ride and 26.97 immediately after so the distance did get recorded. (Runkeeper recorded 26.81 so VS was 2.56 km short or RK was that much long.)

      I don’t think you will be able to tell anything by running. The reason for that is that the VivoXXX “knows” when you are running and gives you a pretty accurate calorie expenditure credit whether you are wearing the HRM or not and whether you are recording an activity or not.

      The really cool thing about the speed sensor working outside of an activity is that people like daily bike commuters will get the credit they deserve without even having to think about it and without having to wear a HRM. When I finally get to a gym end of next week, I’ll try some vigorous strength straining sessions with an HRM and without creating an activity to see what happens. I’m optimistic that it will work as well as the bike/spedo only combo.

      Speaking of next week, I am making a cross country move this weekend so I am probably done with Mad Fitness Science until around this time next week :). I sure am going to miss this Bay Area weather :).

    • Jimothy

      Just a quick noob question then Frank – if one wears the Vivosmart with no HRM and goes for a run, will it show up as an activity in GC or will it just give you more credit for the calories etc because it sensed that you were doing more strenuous movement?

      I’d quite like to get the VS and HRM but am wondering if I’ll bother to put on the HRM each time.

      In fact, I’m still really torn between the VS and the Polar Loop, but that’s a discussion all on its own!

      Thanks in advance.

    • Frank Young

      Jimothy, most activity monitors including the Vivofit, Vovosmart, Loop, and Fitbit sense when you are running and give you appropriate calorie credit for that without a heart rate strap. The Vivofit (if you switch Auto Activity Detection (AAD) on will record an Activity in GC if you run more or less continuously for long enough (I think 30 minutes). It (like the Loop) will also record an Activity any time you pair the HR strap no matter what you are doing for as long as you ;leave it on (or until midnight). With the Vivosmart, you just start and end an Activity at the touch of a button whether or not you have any sensors active. Of course, if you are kayaking for instance without a HR monitor, you will not get much calorie credit. Ditto for biking without a speed sensor or HRM.

      I’ve had the Loop for nearly a year and it has spent the last two months in a drawer. There is NO CONTEST between the Loop and either Garmin tracker. Picking between Vivofit and Vivosmart might be a tough decision but you should go with oe or the other.

      What do you do for exercise? Are smart notifications from your phone important to you? Do you use MyFitnessPal?

    • Jimothy

      Thanks for the personal reply Frank.

      Well, I’m a bit of a newcomer to fitness. I’ve just started doing a couple of runs a week (from sitting on my arse all day working at home) – I also like to cycle but not enough to bother with a cadence/speed sensor. I don’t have any data history with any product or MFP, so integration into MFP doesn’t bother me.

      Things I like about the Loop:
      * It looks really nice – I want this device to replace my wrist watch.
      * I like the fact that it breaks down your activity into four levels of activeness and shows you when these were.
      * The display looks nicer than the Vivos I think (at least the Loop and VS are lit up, as opposed to that of the VF).
      * Minutes of certain levels of activity remaining to your daily goal is a nice touch.
      * The H7 HRM looks better than the one that comes with the Vivos (I don’t have a HRM as yet).
      * The clasp is super secure (though reports say the Vivosmart stays on fairly well).
      * The heart rate zone training of the Beat app looks right up my alley.

      Things I like about the Vivosmart:
      * Vibrating inactivity alert – that would get me moving around I think.
      * Phone alerts are cool – I think the idea is nifty although not sure how much I’d use it. It’s hard to know until you’ve tried it! Sitting at my desk most of the day my phone vibrates when I get an email anyway..
      * (does the VS display the actual text of emails / texts, or just alert you that you’ve received one?)
      * The idea of purposely telling it that I’m going out for a run, instead of it guessing. Although, I think I’d put on the HRM whenever I go out for a run or a cycle, which would initiate an activity in both trackers.
      * Sleep tracking looks mildly better.
      * Adaptive daily step goal.
      * Seeing how many steps past your goal you’ve gone.
      * Garmin Connect looks to be a bit sketchy at times.

      One thing I’m really interested in is wearing the HRM at night to see what some nights of sleep are like. The Loop seems to just stop all activities at midnight though.. Thing is, I might just do this for like three nights and then never bother again.

      I’d like to get something that gets me off my arse and moving around. I’m pretty sure you’d recommend a Vivo, but I just love the aesthetics of the Loop! Dang it..

      Here’s some interesting news – Garmin’s just opened up an SDK for 3rd party devs to create apps that sit on Garmin devices. I don’t think this will apply to any existing products though: link to gizmag.com

      Crikey, sorry for the long post! I’m really bad at making decisions :/ I’m also a bit skint at the moment, so probably won’t be getting anything until Christmas time.

      Thanks in advance.

  144. Tonya

    I wanted to say that I returned my 1st VS but I have been unable to find another device that suit my needs. Well I decided to give another try and low and behold….wow what a difference. It syncs and automatically. I have only had it for an hour. It did a software update and it works well. Of course its only been an hour but I can see the immediate improvement.

    I have said that Garmin releases devices too early before they are completely ready but they have given other Companies competition with the device (VS) and (VF) being waterproof. They seem to be responding quickly to the complaints this time around. Hopefully that continues and this device really excels.

  145. MAGNUS

    Ive been fairly lucky on that I haven’t really experienced any issues win my VS, however I updated my device yesterday evening, and today it’s reporting a huge calorie expenditure (17,000).

    I did track one gym session and then go out for a run but I only paired my hrm during the gym session. The activity correctly shows my calorie expenditure for my workout but I’m unable to see where the other 17,000+ calories.

  146. Frank Young

    Magnus, I am at a total loss on your 1,700 calorie day. I got an absurd 8,446 from my fenix 2 for sitting on my but on a sailboat for six hours last weekend but I’ve yet to see those kind of wild values from my Vivosmart.

    To burn 17,000 calories, a 100 kg giant would have to run 117 miles at a 6:00 pace.

    • MAGNUS

      So there’s definitely an issue with my VS. Yesterday’s total calorie expenditure was just over 22k. Today I worked form home and hardly moved; at last sync I was just at 2,600 steps for the day. But my total calorie expenditure is now at 40,700+. I sync’d about two minutes later and it increased another 30 calories. Guess I need to look at how to restore the settings and/or reboot the device.

      Anyone else experience any issues after updating to the latest firmware release?

    • MAGNUS

      I called Garmin a few days ago and they offered to replace my device. As my first contact with Garmin I was quite happy that they were quick to offer a replacement however I did not like that it was up to me to ship the device before they could send my replacement. I feel that due to the device being only a few weeks old they should have offered to ship my replacement first and then allow me to return the “faulty” unit.

      Anyway, today I get an automated email that mentioned what I experienced was intact due to a firmware issue. Now I’m even more upset that I’m having to wait for Garmin to receive my original device and then allow another 5-7 days to receive my replacement.

  147. David McClain

    Can the electronics be taken out of the band like the Fitbit? I ask because I work in a building where nothing can be worn on the wrist, and I walk a lot. With the FitBit, I take the electronic part out and place it in a shoe pod.

  148. andyw

    I currently have a Garmin 310XT and love it, I know there are a lot of other watches out there but have not really kept up with them since my 310 works fine for what I do…run and occasionally triathlons. I’ve thought about expanding my fitness gadgets to an activity tracker but just like when I researched my 310 I’m overwhelmed with options. However this site helped me a ton.

    What do you all think the best over all activity tracker is out there? I love the VF and VS for the fact it has the activity alerts and displays your steps (hence why I don’t like the FitBit Flex) I also like the fact its Garmin and i would have my 310 data and VF/VS in one spot. The only flaw I see in the VF that I don’t like is the style is bulky for my small wrist and the VS is a little expensive for me. Are there any other watches that I haven’t really discovered yet that would: show steps, move alert, and decent style. As far as data being in one place I guess could use the iOS Health App when they get the bugs worked out this week.

  149. Mike

    Can the Clever Training discount code of “DCR10WHP” be used when purchasing the Vivosmart or 920XT? Their website states that the coupon code is not valid. Please advise.

  150. Amanda

    I was wondering if it syncs with any garmin HR monitor or only the ones you buy specifically for them. I haven’t found the best directions on how to link them.

  151. Chris

    Hi there – thanks for the informative review. Just had a few questions about the Vivosmart that I couldn’t find answers to.

    1) Is it possible to turn off the Move Bar reminder alarm?

    2) Does the Fitness Activity timer have the ability to pause and resume?

    3) If I enable the display while a Fitness Activity is running, will it immediately return to the Activity timer, or do I have to hold the display each time?

    If you’re able to help with these questions, that’d be much appreciated. Many thanks!

    • Frank Young

      Hi Chris,

      1. I haven’t tested it myself but am told that disabling the move bar display will also disable the reminder. I like the reminder.

      2. Yes. Very straightforward.

      3. You can set the VS to always show the last screen displayed. You can also set it to come on when you raise your wrist either always or only when an activity is running. Short answer—yes.

  152. Why, Garmin, why no ANT+ sync? It is present and works like a charm on the vivofit.

    I have a Windows Phone so app sync is not an option. Having to plug the vivosmart on the charging cradle to sync is sooo annoying.


  153. vi na

    Hi Ray,
    Does the Vivosmart have the RR capability so that Garmin Connect can then determine the Training effect of the activity?

    • Sharon

      I have a couple of questions before I take the plunge to buy the VivoSmart.

      If you want to track your heart rate during a workout, do you have to wear the separate heart rate monitor? Does the device track your heart rate without wearing the separate strap?

      Also, if running laps, is there a way to time each lap?

      Thank you for great information, all the comments were very useful!

    • 1) Yes, you must wear a HR monitor. It does not contain an optical sensor for HR sensing.

      2) No method for laps.


  154. Hi
    i just stumbled across your Website while exploring the Features of the vivosmart band which seems to cover a lot of things I would like to have.
    I am searching for a fitnesstracker that is able to track Biking (without but ok also with a sensor) and give some credit for Swimming activities either.
    Can you tell me if it can track any Swimming activities and which bike sensor will work with the device? thanks for some Infos on that.
    Kind regards

    • No, the Vivosmart won’t really track swimming. Some folks have reported some success with it giving rough credit, but nothing scientific or really potentially accurate. It’s more just a coincidence that it happens to work in the pool for some.

    • Sharon

      I have a couple of questions before I take the plunge to buy the VivoSmart.

      If you want to track your heart rate during a workout, do you have to wear the separate heart rate monitor? Does the device track your heart rate without wearing the separate strap?

      Also, if running laps, is there a way to time each lap?

      Thank you for great information, all the comments were very useful!

    • Yes, the device requires a HR strap to get HR during an activity. No method to time laps.


    • Sharon

      Thank you for your reply. I bought the Vivosmart yesterday along with a BLUE HR heart rate monitor (as it was the only one they had in the store and also the Garmin ones I have seen online are more expensive) and I have been unable to get the Vivosmart to detect my heart rate when I am wearing the strap. I read through the Vivosmart user manual but I need some help please?

      Should the Vivosmart be able to work with any brand heart rate monitor or only with Garmin products? And if so, how do I pair it up?

      Thank you for your help DC Rainmaker!

    • Unfortunately the Blue HR is a Bluetooth Smart strap, and the Vivosmart only works with ANT+ HR straps (Garmin or otherwise). Most local running/cycling shops will have straps in stock if you need one on short order.

  155. antonio

    will it be possible to pair the vivosmart with the Forerunner 620’s HRM while running and while the HRM is connected to the 620 itself ? Or, on the other hand, is it possible to pair 2 devices with a single HRM ?
    If I buy the vivosmart with its own heart rate monitor, I will need to use 2 different HR monitors: the premium 620’s HRM while exercising (which smells a lot, so I won’t use it during normal working hours) and another one for the rest of the day. I suppose I will need to pair those 2 each time I change them, right?

  156. Jeff

    I’ve been wearing the vivosmart and pairing it with the Wahoo kickr to record cycling and gym workouts. It’s very helpful to be able to consolidate so much information in one place — daily fitness information about sleep and steps together with logging information about specific cycling routes and gym times. And the notifications are proving to be surprisingly helpful in the gym — just a quick look at the watch to see if an incoming call or text is really worth hopping off a machine and pulling the phone out to reply.

    But the weak link here is the Garmin Connect app. Unless I’m missing something, the app doesn’t provide much by way of real-time information. I can get heart-rate and speed information on the vivosmart directly, but only one-at-a-time with a swipe between the two, which is a bit cumbersome while road cycling. If I want that information on one screen, or if I want mapping information as I ride, the Garmin Connect app won’t provide it. I’m finding that I still need to pair with Cyclemeter or the Wahoo Fitness app. Am I missing something? Has Garmin indicated whether they’ll add that anytime soon?

    • I’m not aware of any plans to add that, though, I do agree that there should be stronger ties between Vivosmart and the phone (for example, using the phone’s GPS for cycling tracks, just like free apps).

      I don’t know of any other pure fitness activity monitors that concurrently display metrics on a phone in realtime during a workout.

    • Jeff

      Thanks. It’s not that I want the vivosmart to transmit display metrics to my phone in realtime during a workout, it’s that I want the Garmin Connect iOS app to provide at least the basics in recording and displaying cycling or running metrics that can be had in apps like Cyclemeter or Wahoo Fitness. Until it can, or until Garmin allows vivosmart to integrate more fully with a third-party app like Wahoo Fitness, users are stuck with two separate apps — the Garmin Connect to control vivosmart’s settings and to sync and display some vivosmart metrics that don’t convey to Health Kit, and an app like Cyclemeter to display the basic data that users expect from this type of software, but which Garmin seems unwilling to execute.

      It is possible to use the Wahoo Fitness iOS app to share data over to Garmin Connect, which is helpful. So I’m using Garmin Connect to collect activity that I initiate from the vivofit in some instances (e.g., walking the dog, yoga) and from Wahoo Fitness in others (e.g., cycling, hiking). But the one time I went for a long ride using both my vivofit and the Wahoo Fitness iOS app simultaneously, all the activities in the Garmin Connect website were wiped out when both devices synced over, after first having appeared as duplicate sets. So then it becomes necessary always to keep straight whether you’re recording an activity solely with the vivosmart or solely using the Wahoo Fitness app — and the Wahoo Fitness app ends up becoming only a partial repository of activities.

      Hopefully Garmin will clean up the Garmin Connect website and begin building in some basic functionality to their iOS app. But some of these basic observations have been languishing for a couple years in the vivosmart and Garmin Connect areas of the user forums, so no point in hoping for anything soon.

    • Hmm, I’m confused though – becaues it does show attributes like pace, speed, distance heart rate, etc… In fact, it shows everything except the GPS location. Are you opening the activity and then using the little buttons at the top to switch tabs?

      That said, it shouldn’t wipe out duplicate sets. I’ve got gazillions of duplicate sets in Garmin Connect for workouts. Typically 3-6 different devices uploading to Garmin Connect for each workout, including ones with the Vivosmart.

    • Jeff

      I should have been more specific about which Garmin Connect I was referring to. It was the website version of Garmin Connect where a duplicate set of Activities appeared, complete with duplicate menu items along the left side of the screen, followed by all Activities being erased. They still appear on the Calendar view on the Garmin Connect website, and they still appear on the iOS Garmin Connect app.

      On the iOS Connect app, yes pace, speed, distance, etc are shown, but only *after* I’ve finished the activity and synced it back to the app, not in real-time. True, heart rate info and distance are available in real-time on the vivosmart itself, but Speed is only available with a cadence sensor, and none of the information is available on the Connect app itself. So I end up having to use an app from Cyclemeter/Wahoo parallel with the Connect app because the latter lacks such basic functionality.

  157. As always, thanks for the great review, Ray. I’ve been testing these devices myself, and I agree that the hard core users are going for the true fitness watches and those devices. What I think the Vivosmart brings to the table is a different appeal to a new core user– the smart watch folks who aren’t yet ready to spend $300 on a true app running device, and maybe want more fitness, and less gimmick. For the price I think the Vivosmart is the best tracker on the market today, personally.

    As alway, I did my own comparison (Garmin Vivosmart vs Misfine Shine vs Fitbit Flex) here:
    link to arijaycomet.com

    My results are a bit more “this versus that”— not just the straight review that Ray does here on his site. But if anyone is reading this thread of posts an trying to make a decision on a new tracker, check out my comparison review if you enjoy. Ciao! – Ari

  158. JoeriB

    Would there be coming any Ant+/BLE bridge functionality to the Vivosmart ? I don’t see any activity tracker (with a screen) that can do that right now. I understand the Mio Velo would do something like that, but then again I don’t see much use in an activity tracker without a screen. At least if I buy one and it replaces my watch, I should be able to see the date/time on it.

  159. ANTONIO

    any news about the availability in Italy? we can’t buy it yet 🙁

  160. JakiChan

    If this device supported ANT+ gym equipment I’d order one in a flash. Spin bikes that support ANT+ are pretty common around here.

  161. Sylvester Jakubowski

    Anyone know what was in the 2.50 update? It updated overnight and can’t seem to find a changelog, I also can’t seem to get it to pair to my phone now…

  162. Sandi Fehrer

    i just got a Vivosmart and i paired it with my iPhone 5 without any problems but when i go for a walk and start an “activity” it doesn’t show a map of my walk/hike when done. What am i doing wrong? Can someone give me some ideas? Thanks!

    • Paul S

      Vivosmart doesn’t have a GPS, so Garmin Connect won’t show a map. If you want a map, you’ll need a Garmin device with a GPS, like the Forerunner 15.

    • Frank Young

      Or you can just run Runkeeper on your phone. The track won’t show up in Garmin Connect but will be stored in Runkeeper.

    • Matt

      It is not a gps device so it does not know where you have walked, only roughly how far.

  163. Vincent

    I got my vivosmart last Friday and paired with my iphone 4s. It works good. But it has two issues.

    1st: Every time when I shake my hands or wrist, the device’s OLED display will auto on. (I had set NEVER for display on when raise wrist on the Garmin Connect). I have no idea how to stop this. It is really annoying.

    2nd: It seems that vivosmart does not support volume control and it cannot control Pandora on iOS device. I hope software update can fix this issue.

  164. I got mine yesterday and have stopped using my Fitbit Force already. It generally works well. It seems well designed and well built.

    A few odd things I have noticed already…

    I use an Edge 510 for tracking my rides, but if I track my ride with Vivosmart as well, Garmin Connect records the two as two different workouts and doubles up the calories I have burnt!

    For cyclists with Garmin Edge units, instead of tracking heart-rate and speed, it would be much better to track cadence and count it all as steps! My Fitbit Force somehow tracked my pedaling with 20-30% of accuracy, so on the days I spent 1/3 of the day on the bike I didn’t fail meeting my daily 10,000 step goal.

    Only one silent alarm can be set. Fitbit offers much better flexibility. I had Fitbit wake me up at different times of days of weekday as well as weekend (eg. gym days on weekday much earlier, Satday ride again differnet hour, Sunday no alam etc.). Not possible with Vivosmart! But it should be a simple update really.

    Garmin should really use a service like uservoice.com to get its customers’ feedback on developing new features (so I don’t have to come here to provide feedback!) 🙂

    • Chris

      I too dumped fitbit, and I have same gripes as you plus one. I use FitBit Aria Scale for weight tracking,because of this my Vivosmart steps are not pulled into other Aps such as MFP or MMF or EDMNDO.

      Some one let me know if you have a work around for this

  165. Carlos

    I got my Vivosmart three weeks ago. Worked fine but a week ago I did a firmware update and suddenly the battery life decreased from 6 days to roughly 30 hours! Am I the only one with this issue? Do I have to return it or ask for replacement? Also, the same firmware update has several bugs. Maybe that’s why it consumes twice the charge.

  166. Kate

    I like everything about the Vivosmart except having to wear the uncomfortable chest strap for heart rate. Any input on fitness tracker bands that can track heart rate without the chest strap?

  167. Chris

    Does it only link with the included USB cable and your smart phone for down load (if you dont have other Garmin devices) I bought a Ant+ dongle for my laptop and was heartbroken when it did not work.

    I work in a secure environment and can not have a smart phone…

  168. Rafa

    Hi Ray,
    I have a question more related with “practicity” of the vivosmart. I use the Garmin 310XT for running and cycling, along with the HR sensor and Speed/Cadence combo sensor in the bike. If I buy one of this vivosmart units, Could it replace the functions of the 310XT? or Would you rather use both when going for a run or while cycling?

    • Honestly, if you have the FR310XT today for running/cycling I think you’ll find the Vivosmart is a bit of a significant step down for running/cycling. I’d likely just continue using that over the Vivosmart, and just use the Vivosmart as your daily activity tracker.

  169. mal Duffy

    hi my wife bought the vivosmart, she also has 620. Problem is she sits at a desk all day typing , the movement in her arm counts as steps. Really a false sense of achievement because your not really moving is there a sensitivity adjustment. She just racked up 500 this morning on the drive into work, she talks with her hands not an accurate assessment of exercise

    • For the most part, wrist based activity trackers will track oddities like this across the board. Some are better than other, but I find in general it all kinda evens out in the wash when I look at different devices. Some are better in one area, but less so in another. For example one might do a better job at the desk, but less in a bumpy car ride.

    • Roadstr

      So does the VivoSmart give inactivity alerts while working at the computer for her? I can report that the Garmin M400 does for me. I work at home, and the M400 does tell me to move. But, the size, although comfortable, is not something I want to sleep with. The VivoSmart is also something I am interested in because I need to keep ontop of email and SMS messages.

  170. Sander

    I own a Fenix 2. I think it is rather heavy to wear on daily basis, especially when holding up my arms for longer periods of time over a keyboard when internetting many hours. I have no problem with the weight when sporting. Usually I don’t wear my Fenix 2 untill I have to go outside of my house. I am noticing I am wearing it less and less, I always carry my smartphone anyway. I am a runner getting into trailrunning and I like the running metrics especially the cadence of the Fenix 2.

    I am thinking of purchasing a Vivosmart as my daily watch and using the Fenix 2 only for sports.

    Do you think that’s a bit overkill or too much overlap? I am drawn to the simplicity and lightness of it. Then again for the same price I could get an Sony Smartband Talk to go with my Sony Xperia Z3 compact and even talk through the bracelet, or buy even the Microsoft Band for little more, with so much more functionality, however that’s silly if one already owns a superior Fenix 2 for sports. However the Vivomarts out does the other options in term of days it goes on a charge. And I do like the music control.

    What’s your take on this Ray? What would you recommend for my use?

    • Frank

      Sander, That is what I do. Vivosmart 24/7. Fenix 2 for all intentional outdoor exercise. I rarely just wear it when not exercising. Works for me. Vivifit was an even better activity tracker because it did not require charging but I like the vibration and a few other feautres of the Vivosmart enough to make it worth charging once a week.

  171. Marva Solomon

    My Vivosmart just won’t stay connected to my phone. It’s gotten very old and the novelty has worn off in regards to re-pairing it multiple times so I can sync my workouts. The heartrate monitor also flakes out occasionally. I’ve got great information on the band but it’s tedious to re-pair all the time. I haven’t been able to get it to sync using the usb cable with my mac and the garmin express app on the laptop.


  172. Roadstr

    This is what Garmin posted in response to false steps, “If the vívosmart is up-to-date and still exhibiting issues with Bluetooth connectivity, please contact our support department so we can log a case and investigate. Contact info and hours can be located at link to garmin.com.”

    And the tricky part Garmin responded, “We’ve worked very hard to program the vívosmart to reduce extra “steps” as much as possible. Still, the accelerometer in the band can be tricked by arm movements that resemble the same movement you’d get while walking or running.”

    I get inactivity alerts while working at the keyboard with the Polar m400 and yes, it is loud enough in my office for me to move before I get an inactivity hit, no vibration. To be fair I have seen a few steps because of scratching my head or writing… but it’s not so easily tricked. The downside is it’s bigger, but it has GPS. No app for it yet though and that is why I am here… size and app. But, linking to the app and false positive steps is not good.

  173. alfredo

    With the vivofit when I wanted to record a gym session I would put the HRM on and navigate to the heart rate screen and i t would begin an activity. I have the vivosmart and I know that by putting the HRM on and holding down the screen and going to the running icon it does the same function, beginning an activity and recording data. My question pertaining to the vivosmart is what happens if I put a HRM on and just swipe to the heart rate screen without manually starting an activity? Will it create an activity like the vivofit? Or is that page just so you can monitor your heart rate without logging data?

    • Frank

      Alfredo, If you only monitor the HRM, it will NOT record an activity but it WILL use the heart rate data in its caloric consumption calculations.

  174. Julian

    Yo le estoy encontrando los siguientes fallos, el otro día pasando una bayeta a un cristal, me contó cientos de pasos, creo que le falta corregir los pasos desde la APP. Otro fallo que da es que se desconecta del Bluetooth con mucha facilidad, llevando el móvil en el bolsillo y para volver a desconectar hay que meter el PIN. También la duración de la batería, no dura 2 dias.

  175. ben curll

    wasn’t able to read through all the comments/questions….you mentioned support for it to automatically detect cycling activity with the speed/cadence sensor. does the same run true for a running foot pod? or will the device be able to recognize when you are running?

  176. Frank

    Ben, the only external sensors the Vivosmart is capable of playing with are speed and cadence sensors and Ant+ heart rate monitors.

    It does automatically know when you are running and awards you with an appropriate calorie burn for that activity. However, unless you tell it to, it will not record and Activity related to your run. If you do begin and save an activity on the band, it will show up in Garmin Connect. You may have to tell it what you are doing after the fact. It recorded a recent strength training activity of mine as “Running” but it was there and it was easy enough for me to correct the type of activity.

    • Ben Curll

      ok, so you are able to tell it when you are beginning an activity. I’m not worried about it getting the correct activity, as you can edit those on the website. is there a way to get it to get the run splits though? I’m guessing no since its not a running watch, but doesn’t hurt to ask…

    • Frank

      Ben, I don’t believe the VS will do splits. It could as it understands elapsed time and estimates distance from a combination of steps and your stride length settings but it has no manual or auto-lap setting that I have stumbled across. I have not played with pausing and restarting an activity. Maybe that marks the record somehow.

      There is, however, an unexpected benefit that I have been curious about and tested earlier today. You don’t need an external sensor at all to create an activity. I ran six 10:00 minute miles on a treadmill hooked up to a fenix2, HRM-RUN, and endlessly tweaked foot pod. That run—shown here link to connect.garmin.com 748 calories expended over 6.08 miles over 59:48. Then I ended the activity on the fenix, took off the HRM-RUN and did another 20 minutes at the same pace while the Vivosmart recorded that activity. 2.08 miles, 20:01 minutes, 223 calories expended. That activity is here: link to connect.garmin.com. Pretty amazing for a $170 gadget no?

    • ben curll

      thats awesome. so you don’t need the footpod for it to record distance indoors while running?

    • Frank

      Right. The Vivosmart is not foot pod compatible. Also, because it has no GPS capabilities, it neither knows nor cares whether it is indoors or out. You tell it your walking and running stride length. It counts your steps, decides when you are walking or running and does the math.

      What makes this a little bit remarkable is that both the Vivofit and Polar Loop require pairing with a HRM to record an activity. In fairness, you can do the same trick with a Fitbit though the current crop of those are not HR capable.

  177. Roadstr

    How is the band holding up as far as not being easily scratched or dinged? Is the caller ID and text immediate notifications, you hear a ring or ding and you look at the VS and see who is calling or the message… that’s what I mean by immediate…. any issues with that?

  178. Carletta

    So, I currently own Garmin 910Xt. based on what I’ve read, I will continue using it for multi sport activities (swimming, biking, running/walking). Furthermore, it seems unless I’m interested in getting email/text notifications, the vivofit is actually better for me in terms of activity tracking over the vivosmart bc I don’t seem to need those ‘extras’ for the activity tracking. That said, am I missing something ?

    • Sander

      I was thinking the same thing Carletta.

      However, the Vivosmart is smaller. I am hoping for a successor of the Vivofit that is as small or smaller than the Vivosmart but keeps the vibration alerts for being too idle and functions as a watch that tells the time and/or date visually at a display. That would fit my need perfectly. With the better plastic/ silicone and with the year battery life.

      Is there anything like that coming Ray?

      Does anyone else have a recommendation? I am already into Garmin Connect now via my Fenix-2.

    • Frank

      I have both. If you don’t care about vibe-alerts, i-notification, cycling, low light viewing, or appearance, Vivofit is a far better activity tracker. Unfortunately, I care about a few of those other features and am therefore stuck with charging the stupid VS one or twice a week while my faithful Vivofit lays patiently on my desk waiting to go out and play.

  179. Hello!
    Fabulous review.
    Quick question – will the VS pair with the Garmin HRM-Run monitor/strap? I am hoping to purchase either a 620 or 920XT in the future – so would like to have a HR monitor that is compatible with both devices….
    Having said that – can I purchase the HRM-Run strap separately (before I purchase either 620/920XT)?
    MAny thanks 🙂