• Amazon.com

Hands-on with the new Garmin Vivoactive GPS smartwatch, and the Garmin Vivofit2


Garmin has announced a metric crapton of products today, but it’s the Vivoactive that I’m probably most excited about.  Or, at least, it’s the device I feel has the most potential and the widest possible appeal.  But, perhaps I’m getting ahead of you a bit.

The Vivoactive is Garmin’s first true smartwatch – but unlike so many other entrants out there, this one will actually appeal to athletes.  To begin, it contains GPS.  And while that might sound obvious for athletic devices these days, it’s actually not that common on smart watches.  Nor is the 50m waterproofing that’s also found on the Vivoactive.  And in this case, they actually want you to swim with it – since it includes pool swim tracking.  Which is a derivative of the same swim tracking found in the Garmin Swim and other multisport GPS devices from Garmin.

But the Vivoactive isn’t the only thing released in the Vivo lineup today.  They also made some minor updates to the Vivofit, revamping it with the next version: Vivofit2.  These tweaks include vibration alerts and a backlight, as well as a host of colorful bands.  There are now more colored bands to choose from than devices I could possibly wear on either of my arms concurrently.

And finally, Garmin is starting rollout of Connect IQ today.  This begins first with watch faces and data fields (today), but will soon be expanded to full blown apps (soonish).  I’ll dive into this more a bit later in the week in a separate post.  But Connect IQ is targeted at the Garmin Epix GPS watch, Vivoactive GPS watch, Fenix3 GPS watch, and the previously announced FR920XT GPS watch.

(Note: Garmin has also announced other products today including the Garmin Epix watch and the Garmin Fenix3.)

The Vivoactive:


First up is the Vivoactive, this is Garmin’s new ultra-slim smartwatch.  Think of it as part traditional smartwatch, part activity tracker, and part fitness GPS watch – all rolled into one.  Oh, with a side of golfing added in for good measure.

The watch contains a touch screen as well as one physical button on each side, with a further two dedicated touch-sensitive button-ish areas below the touch screen.

We’ll start with Garmin’s strongest area which is fitness tracking.  The Vivoactive contains three base sport modes – swimming, cycling, and running.  Within each of those modes it’ll track your speed, distance, time and sensor data such as heart rate or cadence.


Of course my first thought when noticing the swim mode is that this might just make for a perfect replacement for my aging Garmin Swim watch.  And to a large degree, that’s true.  It’ll record swim metrics like laps, time, and lengths, as well as show you your current pace just like Garmin’s other pool swim tracking watches.


Where you see some slight differences though is in some of the more advanced swim capabilities like the interval rest timer and drill mode found on the other Garmin swim devices.  These functions aren’t currently available on the Vivoactive, which I think is a bit of a mistake.  I suspect the addition of those functions would convert a lot of people that have the Garmin Swim still in their swim bags, especially with the Bluetooth Smart uploading of completed workouts via your phone straight to sites like Training Peaks and Sport Tracks that have detailed swim analysis modules.

Moving on from swimming to cycling, the unit will leverage the internal GPS chip to capture speed and distance data and display that within your data pages.


These data pages are fully customizable – another nice bump up from something like the budget Edge 200 or Forerunner 15 which have historically lacked much data page configuration.  Here you can tweak data pages and select any of the data metrics shown on each page as you want.



And remember that since it supports Connect IQ, you can add in basically any data field on this planet that a 3rd party company might make.

Before we leave cycling note that it supports the ANT+ speed and cadence sensors natively, but that with Connect IQ someone could relatively easily extend it to record power meter data too.

Next, if headed outside running it’ll use the GPS chip there as well to track your run pace and distance just like any other Garmin GPS device.  Indoors it can go GPS-less by using the internal accelerometer to track pace and distance, such as if running on a treadmill.


Like with most of Garmin’s other running and fitness watches, you’ve got options like Auto Pause and Auto Lap included.


Moving away from swim/bike/run, the Vivoactive tracks your daily steps just like the rest of the Vivo line.  This includes steps/distance/calories and sleep, all against a daily step goal and the usual Garmin inactivity bar and vibration reminders.

The watch maintains connectivity to your smart phone via Bluetooth Smart, which allows it to also receive smartphone notifications from the notification centers on both iOS and Android.  So you can get text message or missed call notifications, or just Words with Friends updates.  Whatever floats your boat.

The same goes for workouts, which are uploaded automatically to Garmin Connect using Bluetooth Smart – and then can be configured to further automatically sync to services like Strava and MyFitnessPal.


In addition to the smartphone notification functions, the watch can also trigger a ‘Find my Phone’ function, like the Vivosmart has.  This will help you find your phone deep in the couch cushions.


Now there’s one last feature that hasn’t been seen before on Garmin’s fitness devices, which is golfing (for us endurance sports folks, it’s apparently a sport played with some sort of metal stick and small white dimpled ball).  This feature set has always been separate in the Garmin Approach series of GPS devices.  Now however, the base functions are contained within the Vivoactive.

On the watch you can connect via your phone and download any of some 38,000 golf courses worldwide.  From there the Vivoactive will leverage its GPS capabities to tell you how far to the green (front/middle/back), as well as keep score for golfers.  Regrettably, it does not appear to cover my favorite miniature golf courses – nor provide guidance on the always challenging windmill hole.  Perhaps someday.


Finally, I’ll dig into Connect IQ in a dedicated post later this week – but we’re already starting to see some of the apps that both Garmin and 3rd parties have developed.  Below is one that Garmin has put together called Tempo that is focused on calendaring.  It can also let folks know when you’re still completing those last few intervals out on a run and will be a few minutes late for that meeting.


And Accuweather is working away on an app with weather and related information for cities both local and afar:


But again, we’ll dive into that a bit later this week in my larger Connect IQ post.

Before we move onto the Vivofit2 though, here’s a quick video walkthrough I shot showing how the watch works.  Keep in mind it’s still at the beta stage – so there are still some unfinished aspects in there.

Note that the Vivoactive gets 10-hours of battery life with the GPS on, and 3 weeks with the unit in regular standby mode (GPS-off).  Of course, how much you use the backlight and apps will no doubt drain the battery faster.

With that – onto the Vivofit2!

The Vivofit2:


Next up is the Vivofit2.  Don’t worry, this section will be much shorter than the Vivoactive section.

The Vivofit2 has received a handful of minor updates, mostly hardware related.  These manifest itself in the following ways:

1) Addition of backlight to display
2) Addition of audible alerts for the move bar
3) Addition of activity timer (no need for heart rate strap like previous)
4) Now does all day automatic sync (to your phone)
5) Addition of vibration alerts for your phone on behalf of the move bar

The first four are pretty self-explanatory, whereas the 5th one simply means that you can have the ‘Move’ alerts vibrate on your phone, as opposed to on the band itself.

But really the biggest changes in the Vivofit2 are on the outside.  It’s here that the Vivofit2 has had the biggest overhaul.  First is that they’ve changed up the clasp on the band, which should improve its ability to stay shut.



Next you’ll see that when compared to the Vivofit1 (left) that the pod design is entirely different now.  The two pods are not compatible with each other’s bands.  So bands and pods from Vivofit(1) shall not mate with bands and pods with Vivofit2.


On the front side, the screens look nearly identical (of course the Vivofit2 has a backlight whereas the original doesn’t).  But you do see a slight change in the button location and texture of the button.


Before we get into the wonderful and whacky world of bands, here’s a quick comparison between the Vivosmart (top), the Vivofit2 (middle), and original Vivofit (bottom).


Now we’ll go ahead and blingify.

First up is the Vivofit2 ‘Style Collection’, which is a series of stainless steel and leather bands.  These come in a boatload of different styles as seen over the next three photos.  This is as close to fashion photography as you’ll find on this blog (well, baring when it happens outside my house window).


Here’s a close look at the backs of these:



Then we’ve got the not-so-swanky but slightly more ‘fun’ Vivofit & Vivofit2 straps.  The below straps are part of partnership with designer Jonathan Adler.  According to Wikipedia he also makes pots.

Unlike the Style Collection above, the below bands will be available for both the Vivofit and Vivofit2.  Shown in my photos below are the Vivofit variants.


The Jonathan Adler designed straps will be sold in three-color packs for $40.



Finally, there are also a bunch of other Vivofit2 bands that Garmin is coming out with.  These are available for a three-pack for $25. The pre-defined colored blends are as follows:

‘Neutral’ pack: Black, slate, white
‘Downtown’ pack: Burgundy, slate, navy
’Active’ pack: Red, blue, green
’Serenity’ pack: Mint, cloud, lilac
’Energy’ pack: Canary, pink, violet

And here’s a shot from Garmin with all the colors in one gigantic group photo:


Ok…that’s enough color and fashion for one blog post around these parts.

A few initial thoughts:


While the $249US Vivoactive is an astoundingly full featured watch as-is, it’s the potential of expandability with Garmin Connect IQ that really takes the cake.  In the vast majority of cases, you’re really not limited to what Garmin has decided to include within the watch since over the next little while you’ll be able to just tap into the Connect IQ store to find an app that fills in the gaps for you.

On the Vivofit2 side, while the small feature adds are certainly welcomed, I do wonder how well Garmin will continue to do at the higher $129 (or $139 with a Jonathan Adler band) price point.  Over the last few months there have been more and more options out there, especially the Fitbit Charge HR for only $20 more (and that includes optical heart rate).  I would have expected to see a bit more on the software side from Garmin here to make up for that, such as improved calorie calculations (a pain point I hear from readers on often).  Still, I expect the new Vivofit2 hardware little tweaks may cover the gap for some of the hardware features people have been asking for.

As you might guess though – my excitement in the Vivo-related announcements mostly rests with Vivoactive.  Of course since my time with the Vivosmart has been somewhat limited, I don’t know how it might perform when it comes to aspects like water on the screen or GPS tracking performance (it did find GPS reception quite quick in NYC though for me, which is good).  The same goes with the touch screen in scenarios such as the pool.  These are all areas I’ll be tackling within my in-depth review once I have a final production unit and final software.


Note: You can pre-order the Vivoactive and Vivofit2 through Clever Training today (all variants and models), as well as various accessory bands.  The units will ship as soon as Garmin starts shipping, which is currently slated for Q1 2015.

Welcome to CES 2015! Don’t forget to check out all my CES 2015 coverage, as well as my continual updates throughout the day on Twitter.  It’s gonna be a crazy busy week!

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  1. Felix

    And I thought I told you something new when I saw the product page on Garmin.de pop up today. ;)

    • Hazel small

      Does anyone know if the vivo fit records pace per mile while running and displays at each mile or km split ?

  2. Want!
    Does the watch currently allow multi-sport activities, and is it robust enough to be a contender to the 920?
    Great review, as always.

    • No multisport activities allowed, so not at the moment a direct competitor to FR920XT/Fenix3/Epix. I don’t believe that Connect IQ can be leveraged in that manner to tie activities together unfortunately.

    • Resa

      I was wondering, can you upload training plans to the Vivoactive like you can on the Forerunner 220?

    • Al Griffin

      Ok, so not a direct competitor, but for those of us who like different activities but not necessarily needing to move fluidly between them, any major reasons to fork over the extra money for the 920?

    • Chris

      I’d like to know that as well!

    • No, Training Plans are not supported on the Vivoactive (because custom workouts are not supported).

    • Teri

      Does the Vivoactive require a phone or data plan to use GPS? I’m concerned about usage if I’m in a remote area with no phone service. Will the GPS continue to work?

    • Matt B

      The Vivoactive does not require a phone or data plan in order to use GPS. It has a GPS chipset built into it.

    • brian

      hi, i have a question. i am highly interested in this vivoactive watch but have a couple of questions. will this have a weight lifting mode?. is their a boxing mode?. i would love this watch but need to know if their is a mode for weight lifting, boxing because i will be training in those specific fields including swimming wich is another reason why i want this device.

  3. It’s a real shame Garmin doesn’t have LED HR monitor technology at the moment, add this to a Vivo Garmin and I’d be sold on it!

    • Chris

      Agreed. If the Vivoactive had an optical HRM I’d pre-order one today.

    • Tim R

      Keep in mind that LED HR monitors in their current state are inaccurate at higher BPMs or if you are moving at all. link to cnet.com

    • I had a Basis and a Fitbit Charge HR, both were incredibly in accurate returned them both. LED based HRM technology just isn’t there yet. I rely on my Polar H7 chest strap during workouts and use Digifit to track my stats. Works like a champ!

    • Tim – It fully depends on which sensor is being used. Some are great, some suck.

    • David Stanfield

      I disagree. This was done using mio link. Same ride done a few days prior with a chest strap returned the same max and average BPM, with no crazy spikes.

    • Frank G2

      Looks like only the jawbone UP3and maybe the ampstrip are not using optical sensors-that right?

    • Mark Powers

      Based on a review here on DC Rainmaker (link to dcrainmaker.com) I ordered a Scosche optical HR monitor that straps to the forearm or upper arm and connects via Bluetooth HR and ANT+. I’ve used it with Endomondo on iPhone and my ancient Garmin Forerunner 305 with excellent results. I would recommend passing on the Garmin HR and hooking up the Scosche. Both the Vivoactive and Scosche optical can be had on clever training with discount thanks to DC Rainmaker!

    • François Trout

      Same for me, I know that Optical HR is less accurate, but I would use the Vivo to track daily activity and night sleep. (I have my Edge for cycling workouts). (If I was a serious runner, I would use a Forerunner not the Vivo).

      We should not debate about this, why not the best of both world? An integrated HR sensor and the ability to couple Ant+ HR monitor, if the coupled monitor is connected, then the integrated sensor would be

  4. Pete

    so in your opinion alllll things considered…whats the best fitness band to buy now/close from now?

  5. MartinF

    Any thoughts on battery life for these.

    I own a Vivofit and so does the rest of the family. I said in a past post for the Vivosmart that Garmin needed to get creative with fashion, like Fitbit, and here you have it. Smart move, and the wife is already very interested.

    One the VivoActive, I only wish they had an MP3 player for a potential Motoactv replacement.

    • MartinF

      Went to Garmin’s website and they say the Vivofit 2 still has 1+ year battery life and the Vivoactive has 10 hrs in GPS mode or up to 3 weeks in watch/activity mode.

  6. Jen B

    Does this support a footpod? Does it have an interval timer?

    • Yes to footpod. Validating on interval timer (pretty sure it’s no).

    • Michael Falk

      On the Danish Garmin site it says “Du kan opsætte vibrationsalarmer for puls¹, tempo og løb/gang-intervaller.”
      “You can set up vibration alerts for heart rate¹, pace and run / walk intervals.”
      although when you look at the listed functions intervals are not cheked. Strange.

  7. Greg

    What’s the vivofit2 battery life with all the new features?

  8. Randall

    On a previous review, you mentioned that some other watches could do sleep tracking with HR, while the Garmin couldn’t.

    I looked at the product page on Garmin.com as well, but it doesn’t state in the specs, so I’m wondering if you know!

  9. Greg

    I think the active is too similiar to android wear and Apple watch for the same price. When they create more apps for wear, though they already have golf shot, running apps and such, I don’t get how the active will survive even with connect+. Android supports hrm straps, can read blte bike sensors and has many more functionality than this. I guess time will tell. Wear and Apple have 100x the dev base

    • The Apple Watch doesn’t have GPS, so for no, Garmin survives just fine.

      As for Android Wear, some do have GPS, but apps aren’t yet at the level to really be competitive with watches at this level (they are however more competitive at entry level running watches).

    • Tadej

      Android Wear is far off to be considered as an activity gadget, since the OS takes too much resources for anything else, it’s basically an older mobile SOC in there. Most of the apps and use cases are gimmicks, apart from the displaying of notifications, which is being done everywhere now anyway.

      I believe that sport watch makers can create a better all sports watch with smart capabilities faster then software/hardware/mobile companies can make theirs with proper sport tracking ability.

    • Greg

      Tadej…I assume you have a wear watch to back this up? There are lots of new apps in development that easily replace any entry level garmin and devices like this.

      I have a sony smartwatch 3, which has internal GPS offline, offline music support and from what I can tell does 80% of what the active does (with regards to fitness) at the same price…but can also
      – read my gmail
      – respond to texts
      – play music
      – load offline maps
      – turn by turn navigation
      – set appointements, reminders, record audio
      – provide geo compass
      – provide weather and custom watchfaces
      – Act as a trusted device for android

      The new beta apps out there for sony can handle running, walking, etc…with
      – Custom fields (6 per screen, 5 screens)
      – HRM support via BLTE devices
      – Auto upload to strava/runkeeper/etc…
      – Segments

      I get like 5-6 hours of battery with GPS on and 3 days otherwise as a watch/notification manager.

      The Sony watch has replaced my Garmin 602, my old 301, vivofit, etc… I had all of those and sold them for the Sony, which at this point does everything I need for a serious runner, but also plays music offline and has normal wear features.

      Go to the forums and youll see that once you try it, most runners (and bikers) have sold their garmins in favor of the sony watch once they started to use it.

      Plus, it has wifi, NFC, compass, etc…that will also become enabled in future updates.

      Now…it is android only, so the apple folks will be screwed, especially as their watch wont have GPS or offline music. However, android folks should really take a look. Especially because garmin and their android support sux big time unless you have a galaxy phone. Notifications have never worked the edge 1000 or others with moto phones.

    • Chelsea

      OK, so I am thinking about getting one of these two watches (the vivoactive or the Sony) for my birthday. I am not looking for the super in depth sport tracking, basically just speed, pace, time, HR. But I do want basic functionality across all three tri sports.

      It sounds like you have been impressed with your Sony so far, my question for you is, have you used it swimming at all? I like that the garmin, at least hypothetically, can provide basic swim data.

      It looks like some of the features you mentioned for the Sony may be available with apps on the Garmin, like watch faces and setting appointments, but I do like the idea of getting turn by turn navigation on your watch. That is huge. How functional is that? Does it use google maps, or a proprietary mapping app?

      Thanks for posting so much info for this, you have given me some help in my research for sure.

    • Greg S

      Turn by turn requires your phone nearby as it uses google maps (good for biking, not soo much for running), though I am hoping (and hearing) that nokias here app may get offline wear support soon. It works now via a crazy bootleg process, so theres hope! The smartwatch has 4gb of memory for music, maps, whatever, so its just apps holding this back (not the hardware).

      The garmin apps will be hacks made to suit a certain software, while the appointments, gmail on wear will be directly made by google for google (seamless integration). Plus the watchfaces on android wear are amazing compared to garmin (just due to the tech). My watchface has time, steps, 3 day weather forecast, high lows, outside temp all with pretty animated pictures in a professional form

      As for swim…Nothing really aside from a stopwatch or GPS. It wont do strokes, laps, etc…it has the same hardware to do it as the garmin, but the developers have been focusing on the running/biking for now. Plus, the sony is really the only waterproof of the wear watches with GPS as well, but once the 2nd gen wear devices (moto, lg, etc…) come out with GPS (guaranteed), it will open up the app market.

      To me, wear is just getting started and later in 2015 I think they (with help of apple) will slow make many of these garmin watches obsolete.

      I use mine for running and it replaced my 620 for everything I need. I have an edge 1000 for the bike, so the sony gives me music and a gps watch in pne that is always being upgraded by google.

      The sony has wifi and nfc built in as well, though android wear does not work with them yet. You can see that its still in its infancy, but I think will really take off this year. Plus sony just announced new bands for the watch coming soon (metal and 24mm band adapter)!

    • Gunnar

      I hear ya that the Sony SW 3 is getting close (I used to be a Sony Xperia guy and used the SW2).

      But 5-6 hours of battery life is not enough for serious athletes. Also, I doubt you will see apps developed to have the ability to use a power meter with the Sony SW3. With. Garmin Connect IQ we are likely to see that.

      The final kicker is the swim feature for the Vivoactive that the Sony SW3 doesn’t have.

    • Jacqui

      Greg – I have been debating between the Sony and the Garmin Vivoactive. Can you tell me what forums I should go to to learn more about the Sony? Also, how accurate have you found the GPS to be? I have heard varying opinions of the GPS on the Sony. Thanks!


      El s Sony SmartWatch 3 no tiene HRM, no marca las pulsaciones del corazón, el GPS dura solamente 40 minutos, no se puede comparar con el garmin.
      El sony es reloj inteligente, no vale para hacer deporte.

  10. Rohan

    Interesting that it’s called the Vivoactive – looks like it could have been the MOTOACTV2 if Moto had continued.

    • Rick

      This was my initial thought also… A bit slimmer, perhaps more durable, and addressing the inability to tackle moisture (minus the ability to serve as an MP3 player also), it seems form and function is very much the MOTOACTV. With the Augmented Smartwatch Pro app for Android that allows for pushing and notifications from phone, I believe my MOTOACTV does all of these already.

  11. Grazza

    The one big Garmin announcement I was hoping for was a Garmin Virb 2. Is anything likely to be announced on that this week – or is it going to happen at all? I’m trying to avoid the temptation of a cheap Virb Elite if a new model is likely to come out soon!

  12. Matthias

    Maybe I just missed it but I cannot see any pricing information for the Vivoactive?

  13. David

    Do you know if they have fixed the problem with the Vivo series constantly needed to be re-paired with android phones over bluetooth? I’d like a Vivoactive for myself, but after seeing how useless my wife’s Vivosmart is because the connectivity issues, I am not sure I’d throw down the money.

    • sirolf

      It’s your lucky day! Today Garmin updated the firmware for the Vivosmart (2.90) and also the Android app (2.7.2). On the Garmin forums I read reports from users stating that these updates fixed the bluetooth reconnect issue.

    • In talking with them about it today, the change on the Vivosmart for Android is pretty significant. It’s a major shift in how they communicate between the device and the app – and they believe it’ll help quite a bit for Android users.

    • Steven Knapp

      Hopefully similar improvements for other devices on Android?

  14. Juan

    Did I missed the battery life on the VivoActive? Thank you!

  15. Tadej

    Does the Vivoactive use the ANT+ HRM strap or BT (or even both, since you said it connects to power meters and cadence sensors too) ?

  16. Daniel Churco

    Do any of the new sport watches (Viviactive / Fenix 3) from Garmin support Bluetooth MP3 for music while working out. I think all these watches have great features, but with out the music part, I’m still stuck putting my motoactv on the other wrist so I can listen to music when running/training.

    • Greg

      Get the sony smarwatch 3…does music, offline GPS, notifications, running, etc…

      Try ghostracer beta…amazzzing app. Now supports HRM support via Mio Link, custom fields, summary pages, etc…

    • Neil

      Can you point me towards a good resource for the Sony watch ? I’ve googled, but nothing seems to be running specific. I use a forerunner 220, but like the idea of a smartwatch that could replace it.

    • Greg

      Here is one community on the running app I use

      link to plus.google.com


      link to forum.xda-developers.com

      and a review that is decent

      link to zdnet.com

    • Daniel Churco

      Does it do Swimming and Biking. I didn’t think it had ANT+ either. I was looking at it, but it is not quite where the Suunto Ambit 2 that I have now can do. I think if Garmin or Suunto can throw in MP3 and bluetooth audio, it would be Golden

    • Greg

      Swim – not yet really…but its waterproof for it

      Bike – It can do offline (no phone) with bluetooth sensors (no ant+), or it can be used as a display for apps like strava that work with Ant+ devices. Think of it as a phone screen in that second scenario.

      Its not really “tri” ready by any means, especially with its 5-6 hour GPS battery life. I would say its a better fit for runners (especially those who like music via headphones) and bikers who want to use it as their screen with their phone in the saddle pack

  17. Neil

    This looks really interesting. I have been waiting for a smartwatch that contains GPS and could act as a forerunner replacement. It seems crazy to me to buy a smartwatch AND a GPS watch when there is no reason a device couldn’t do both. I’m not fussed about steps etc.
    Could you see this as a replacement for a forerunner 220? With Connect IQ support, there shouldn’t be anything functional that it cant do – assuming it can sync customer workouts etc with Garmin Connect. 10 hours battery time on GPS matches the 220, and the support for both BTLE and ANT+ is there. The clincher though will be in GPS accuracy.
    Unfortunately I cant decide if I love the look of it, or totally hate it!

  18. Leroy

    Is the vivoactive a 220 and/or 620 replacement? Or does it lack anything (intervals/workouts/run dynamics..?) functionality compared to them? And can that functionality come with just software updates – whether garmin or 3rd party?


    • A FR220 replacement, somewhat. The lack of structured workout options like you noted is the challenge. It could definitely come via 3rd parties.

    • Erik Arnström

      I’ve had the FR220 for a year without using structured workouts, so I guess I would be fine without. How would you judge the durability/ruggedness of the two watches? It seems the Vivoactive would look a bit out of place on a long trail run…

    • Deb

      I had the same question – I had an old Forerunner 110…thought I lost it…bought a 220 and the two things I liked about it was the BT connection to phone (no manual upload after a workout) and the ability to set it up for run/walk alerts. I just found my old 110, and have a friend who wants to buy my 220…and have been wanting a step counter as well…but didn’t want to wear a step counter AND use the 220…wanted to simplify…sounds like this watch will do the trick? Am I missing anything? Does this smart watch do vibrating walk/run alerts? IF so, I’m totally sold with this being the simplifying replacement device…

    • aminox

      Deb, not sure how precise metrics matter for your lifestyle/exercise, but inability to set GPS to 1-second ticks might mean slightly off (or way off, depending on route curviness) pace/distance metrics. If you’re ok with that trade off, then it sounds like this might be a good fit for you.

  19. Micah

    I’d love to know how well the touchscreen works with wet sweaty hands. I’m interested in this watch but still have nightmares about the wonky touch bezel on the 405.

  20. BobV190

    It’s a shame that all of these watches always seem to be always missing at least one feature that would otherwise make them perfect. For the Vivoactive … it is optical heart rate monitoring. Not so much for during runs and rides (i don’t mind a chest strap during exercise), but more for the other 22 hours of the day. I find that data very useful especially to gauge recovery and to more accurately track calorie expenditures, etc.

    The competition also lacks something …

    The Basis Peak lacks GPS, HR accuracy suspect at times
    The Fitbit Surge lacks the water resistance necessary for exercise
    The Apple Watch lacks GPS, waterproofing and battery life (so we are told)
    Android Wear watches lack all of the above in various combinations.

    Someone will eventually get it right I guess.

    • Chris

      Agreed! So far the Surge looks the best, but their closed ecosystem is a real turnoff.

    • Greg

      Sony smartwatch 3 has your waterproofing (I swim with it all the time), offline GPS (great for running), HRM support (via new apps as of end of december) via BLTE, offline music, and has 5-6 hours with GPS on and 2-3 days otherwise.

    • BobV190

      Still no optical HR on the SmartWatch 3 (for non workout tracking), plus I personally am too invested in iOS to switch to an Android device.

      Also, I understand there is a lack of true running apps for Androidwear that support the GPS on the watch.

      Again … someone “almost” got it right.

    • Neil

      I don’t get why people want on-watch HR. The last thing I want in the winter is to have to wear my watch against my skin. My Mio sits under clothes, with the forerunner on top and my wrist warm!

    • Greg

      Amen…I use a mio link, which is 10x more accurate than any in watch HRM because its designed for close skin contact and a good seal unlike normal watches, which are more for comfort and viewing.

      Look up the app called “ghostracer” in beta. Exports directly to strava (others to come), but it reads my mio link for BPM, does offline GPS (pace, distance, averages, time, HRM, segments, etc…). It is a true running app and the dev is only getting started. It has replaced my garmin 602 as my watch to run. Plus I dont need a stupid phone to listen to music!

    • BobV190

      I don’t have a problem wearing the watch against my wrist in the winter time .. so that isn’t an issue for me.

      Also, you still don’t have 24hr HR tracking using the Mio Link, like you get with the Basis Peak and the Fitbit Surge, so again the Sony SW3 + Mio Link combination still doesn’t check all of the boxes.

    • Bachoo

      What is the garmin 602??

    • Neil

      Looks very interesting – but from the XDA thread it looks like the beta is having similar issues to those that Garmin have faced. For example, crazy instant pace that needs smoothing etc. I will happily hack about with rooting my phone and running custom android ROMs (I’ve even gone so far as to build my own kernel to give eth0 support), but I wont risk my running stats with a beta tool! Those stats are just waaay too sacred! :)

    • Greg

      620…typing too fast

    • Greg

      I hear you…but its pretty good at this point. I have been working with the dev since the start and I think it is 98% of the way there. All it did at the start was record distance and time…and over 1.5 months now does soo much more with HRM support, custom screen field builder, auto uploads, etc…

      He seems to have fixed the smoothing issues, added a GPS lock at the start and such.

      While the pace on his display may be a little off at times, the upload to strava is perfect and spot on with the latest update (last night). I run 20-30 miles a week using this app.

    • Neil

      I think I’ve found it fatal showstopping flaw – no ANT+ :(
      I backed the runscribe kickstarter, so when that arrives will need ANT+ in order to be able to use my Mio and runscribe at the same time. Boo.

    • Greg

      That is neat! I know someone else was doing a insole like device, but I like this better.

      Yes…no ant+, so for older devices you are screwed. But most newer devices have bluetooth which means you in luck. Plus, most poeple bike with their phones (unlike running with a phone) and my moto x supports ant+ so I use that for biking if needed.

    • Frank

      I’ve just started using Cardiio (a free iPhone app) to record my RHR immediately upon waking up every morning to gauge recovery. I’ve found this works very well. You don’t really need your HR for the other 22 hours of the day if this is what you are after.

      It seems to me that the Optical HRM that work well all have 8 hour or less battery limitations. The ones that run for days don’t work.

  21. papayou

    No problem at all for me on connectivity between vivosmart and android phone (samsung note 3)
    paired on unboxing and still paired 2 month later

    going out of range of blutooth cause no issue when the phone get back in range
    same with on/off of the phone / band

  22. Doug

    Has Garmin given any indication of supporting gym activities such as weight training (my interest), Pilates, Yoga or even tennis, basketball etc…

    There is a lot of re-hashing on the Swim/Bike/Run but not a lot of new areas covered by these trackers. Wahoo’s TICKR X seems going in the right direction however.

    Could ConnectIQ tackle that sort of information?

  23. Luis R Defreitas

    Hi Ray,

    Why do u think the price is $250?!?!?

    it seems to have the same functions as other garmins so why only $250?

  24. Mark

    Thoughts on how the Garmin Vivoactive GPS compares to the Forerunner 220 as a running watch? They are the same price, and regarding running appear to be equal. Why would someone purchase the 220 over the new Vivoactive GPS?

    • Bachoo

      Ray can answer better but I get the feeling from reading is that the “run” portion on the active is an app on the watch. It doesn’t seem to be as rebust as the 220. However, I would assume an app could be (all ready is) developed to add more running specific features.

    • Eric Hanneken

      The vivoactive seems to support interval training (The product page says so, although the screen in the nearby photo displays only heart rate data.), but I don’t see any mention of support for custom workouts. It’s not clear that the vivoactive supports foot pods, either.

    • Eric Hanneken

      Here is the complete comparison between the vivoactive and the Forerunner 220, using the tool on Garmin’s web site. (Oddly, the vivoactive does not have a check mark for “interval training.”) I’ll stick with my 220.

    • It does support the footpod. I’m getting clarity on interval workouts since seeing some conflicts there.

    • Gunnar

      Is there any chance Garmin can limit what apps are developed for certain devices? What I mean is, if developers can get advanced swim metrics, advanced power meter data, navigation similar to the fenix3 for the Vivoactive then why buy the twice as expensive fenix 3?

    • Mark

      Ray – any idea on accuracy vs. 220? I really don’t care about Interval/Virtual training, but rather if this is as good of a GPS running watch in terms of GPS ability.

    • I’ve confirmed again it does not support interval training or any form of structured workouts.

    • JD

      Is there any chance that a 3rd party app would add that support? For example something that might interact with TrainingPeaks? Or has the way Garmin has set up the apps locked you out from being able to add something that substantial?

    • Yup, they absolutely could. I expect to see that.

    • casebase

      I’m new to the Garmin eco-system as I’m currently using Runkeeper and iSmoothRun on my iPhone. I’m looking to step up a gear with running now though. I’ve seen I can create an interval workout on garminconnect. Given your previous post would I be right in thinking that it will not be possible to upload this to the vivoactive?
      Amazing website by the way. Really appreciate it.

    • Frank

      Just double checking. Under Accessories > Fitness Sensors on the Garmin US website it only shows two HRMs and the Speed Sensor. No foot pod.

    • And you assume the Garmin.com site to be correct? ;)

      From the e-mail sent to me from product group, I just double checked, sensors supported natively are: “HRM, Speed, Cadence, VIRB remote, Tempe, Footpod”

    • Frank


      Looks like every sensor they have. Looking forward to your full reviews on both this and the f3 but I’m not sure why. I’m kind of finally getting comfortable with my Vivosmart fenix 2 combo.

  25. Tien

    A couple of questions on the Vivofit2.

    1.) How thick is it compared to Vivofit and Vivosmart (i.e. how far out does it measure from your wrist at it’s thickest)? 2.) Does it have vibration alarm to quietly wake me up in the morning (like Vivosmart)?

    I chose the Vivosmart because it’s sleeker and has illuminated screen & vibration alarm, but the smart notifications are not customizable enough for me… Vivofit2 may sufficiently fit the bill. Plus, I can change out the bands. I’m so worried about tearing my Vivosmart band.

    • Lew

      I believe the Garmin product page provides the dimensions and features, you may wish to look there. I don’t think the vivofit2 vibrates itself, just that it can trigger your phone to vibrate.

  26. andy from embsay

    Love the look of the Vivosmart watch – will it control a Virb? That and a HRM would be the complete package.

  27. Been looking at fitness bands for a while to compliment my 910XT and have been wondering about upgrading to 920XT but now this adds to the confusion. The Vivosmart certainly looks interesting, but is it as robust as the 910XT and does it do all that the 910XT does?

    Also, can it sync to Garmin Connect via ANT+ as well as syncing via Bluetooth Smart? I only have an iPhone 4 so the bluetooth aspect wouldn’t be supported, but if it’ll sync via ANT+ as my 910XT does then that’s fine… I need ANT+ for TrainerRoad compatibility as well.


  28. Matt B


    Couple Vivoactive questions:

    1) Any word on whether it can be charged while an activity is running? I know they specifically noted that on the Fenix 3, but that could be HUGE for this watch.

    2) Any word on 1sec recording and/or what GPS chipset it using (same/similar to 220/620?)?


  29. andy from embsay

    Sorry – meant does the Vivoactive (watch) control the Virb?

  30. Charles

    Any chance of Garmin releasing a quick release kit for the Vivoactive? That will really put the icing on the cake for cyclists.

    • wjc

      Along these same lines, is there anything to prevent someone using Connect IQ to develop an app that would basically make this a Garmin Edge 500 replacement?

    • No plans at this point for quick release kit.

      No issue at all with making an Edge 500 replacement app. Though, there are some inherent limitations that might cause problems at the more complex side of that. But realistically the Vivoactive basically sits somewhere between an Edge 200 and an Edge 500 already for non power meter users.

  31. andy from embsay

    Answered my own question: the Vivoactive can control your Virb. Looks like I’m selling my 920XT then…

  32. Midpackbiped

    Ray – what’s the comfort level of this thing while running? Not sure square vs rounded edges would feel great on a 50K. Opinion?

  33. Tomasz

    Can Vivoactive be used as the standalone device without Smarphone ?
    Do I need to have a smartphone to upload the activities ?

  34. Gunnar

    Just to be clear, regarding connect IQ and the vivoactive…..if there is an app developed say for a power meter and the Tempe sensor, you can not only display that data, but it will show up through the .FIT file as viewable data on Garmin Connect?

    • Yes, correct. Right now Connect IQ apps get a single ‘spare’ ANT+ channel to work with.

    • I’d just like to say that I’ve loved reading your blog over the years, but now I’m afraid you’re drinking way too much of Garmin’s kool-aid.

      I’ve been looking into this as I got given one as a gift recently, while I think it’s great I’m a little annoyed that it doesn’t support power meters. With a background in software development I decided to have a look at what’s involved.

      Problem is, you can write some custom code to pick up a power meter but you cannot write any of its data to a FIT file, therefore your statement ” but that with Connect IQ someone could relatively easily extend it to *record* power meter data too.” is incorrect as, if you cannot write the data to a fit file, then you are not recording.

      Further to this, you cannot plug the power data into the built in power fields, you have to create your own, and since there is not interface for configuring data fields, you cannot choose which power meter the fields derive from.

      But, you could write an app that shows power, which I guess would be OK but it means that you still need to have another device on hand to record your ride with power. Anyway that’s what I’m working on at the moment.

      I think the product has been segmented in a similar way to the Edge 200 – Garmin’s marketing team must have stepped in at some point and order the power meter functionality be disabled. The edge 200 vs 500 thing makes sense as they both have similar shape and function so you can pay a bit extra for ANT support but there is no equivalent to the vivoactive that supports power.

      Due to my location (australia) I cannot get in touch with anyone from Garmin who can give me a definitive answer on whether power will ever be supported in this watch. I can only hope it gets released in a further update.

      In my opinion Garmin are cutting out a whole segment of their market by dropping the feature. And Connect IQ does not live up to expectations in what it can do to fill in the gap.

    • I think you’re forgetting timelines a bit here.

      When I posted this the first week of January, Connect IQ apps weren’t actually available yet to the general public (not for some weeks later). As such, we didn’t really find out all the limitations that we’re seeing now.

      So stuff like lack of ability to record data to the FIT file, which as I’ve noted in random places since then is really a deal killer for Connect IQ. That also encompasses things like connecting to an ANT+ devices and writing that data to the .FIT file. Or, the fact that you can’t easily ‘extend’ existing apps – but have to re-write the whole thing.

      On power meters in Connect IQ, it’s one of the natively supported ANT+ types – so you can certainly write an app to connect to the power meters, you just run into the issues noted in the previous paragraphs.

      As for power meters in the Vivoactive – no, I certainly wouldn’t expect it. Garmin has never promised it. And ultimately there are many other Garmin devices that can connect to power meters that are likely a better fit for cyclists.

      If Connect IQ gets ‘fixed’ in the way they promised it’d work way back in September, then yes, it’d be totally possible for someone to write an app to record that data on teh Vivoactive.

    • Michael

      I use a Garmin Vivoactive as a normal watch and as my recording device for activities without a bike. I also use it for biking activities as a spare device since my well trusted Garmin Edge800 does the job as a guide, recording and pacing device when needed. But it would still be nice to use the Vivoactive as a backup device for biking activities with power data. Also if I did multisport activities such as Triathlon the Vivoactive would be an excelent device to record all my data since I can wear it all the time. I know there are more expensive “tri” devices but as an entry level device that does not look to big as a normal watch the Vivoactive will be hard to beat.

  35. LT

    Will the Vivoactive connect to a HRM in the lap swim mode? What is the minimum pool length?

    • No HR strap. Will populate min pool lengths tonight – just getting final verification there.

    • LT

      I have been having great success using a Vivosmart/Scosche Rhythm + to track heart rate in the pool. I have my 910xt on the other wrist to track laps and dynamics. I would like to find a way to combine the two in one device. I know the Suunto Ambit 3 offers heart rate in the pool, but obviously I am already committed to the Garmin family.

  36. Raynald

    Hi Ray,

    I own the Forerunner 620 and totally love it! Will the Vivoactive provide Running Dynamic informations like the FR620 does?

    Thank you!

  37. amadeus303

    Really like the features, but the aesthetic design leaves a lot to be desired… I own plenty of Garmin watches/devices because I value function over form, but man… it’d sure be nice to wear something that looks nice to boot too!

  38. Neil Rosser

    Ray you do have the product pics, but it would be nice to see the VivoActive shown on your (or someone’s) wrist, then perhaps also some comparison shots with other units also on wrists. Sorta like the comparison pics you usually do when you lay out similar devices across a log or all on their sides, etc…

    Just hard to get a true size perspective on how it would look on the arm. (seems kinda large, with the square corners as was mentioned above)…..

    • Bachoo

      Do a google image search. It shows up on a wrist shot.

    • Neil Rosser

      hmm yeah I did that, and man those square corners really makes it look fugly, to me. Would have given it some serious consideration otherwise….too bad Garmin can’t get the design aesthetics that Polar has recently been employing. Really like their new stuff.

    • Yeah, I’ll upload some of my wrist. I thought I had uploaded some, but apparently not.

  39. Mike Edwards

    Does the Vivoactive use FirstBeat for calorie calculations? (I can’t see it anywhere, but I believe the vivosmart/fit don’t)

  40. Greg

    Love the idea of the VivoActive. Makes so much sense. Finally a product that’s a little head of the game in practicality.

    So Ray…you get overwhelmed with all the gadgets you may have to review?!

  41. Travis Atkinson

    Ray, so with the Vivoactive is the watch mode always on or does it go black and activate with wrist movement. Also as far as the Vivofit 2, how is the backlight?

    • It’s activated with button press. I double-check if there’s something planned for auto light activation.

    • Travis Atkinson

      Okay thanks, it’s kind of a bummer but I’m used to it, coming from my MotoActv… still wish one of these devices would come with Music storage and playback support. Oh well, I’ll probably get it anyway. :-)

  42. Myria

    The Vivoactive seems like the closest competitor to the MotoActv there’s been, but still dreadfully short of what the MotoActv could do. Weird, years later and still nothing on the market tops the MotoActv? That’s just… sad.

    I continue to be puzzled that fitness device manufacturers have apparently never heard of gym rats. As a bodybuilder the MotoActv offered me a lot of data and functionality. The Vicoactive, on the other hand, doesn’t even seem to have a ‘general’ category like the FR70 I’m currently using does.

    Seems very weird to me that the lifter/gym rat market is being completely ignored (well, aside from depressing disasters like the Amiigo /sigh) when by and large we’re as rabid about metrics as any other sector of the fitness nut demographic.

  43. Neil V.

    Thanks so much for the write-up. Any insight as to whether this supports Livetrack (i.e., for family to track someone out on a ride) or if that could be added via connect IQ? Thanks again.

  44. Gunnar

    Ok, the more I read about the Vivoactive (and fenix3 and epix), the more I’m liking the vivoactive. With connect IQ, the Vivoactive should be able to eventually offer everything I need in a watch (the possible exception being multi sport mode). But I should be able to add power metrics and Tempe pod support (?).

    For the 1 or 2 triathlons I do a year, this watch should work: Stow it in the swim cap for the swim and manually start and stop, re-start as needed for the additional bike/run portions. A bit slower then a dedicated tri watch, but reasonable enough for a back of the pack age grouper.

  45. Casey Manion

    I would like a this watch with 4GB of storage and BT to headphone capabilities. I want to run with music – no wires. I use the Jaybird Bluebuds X (link to jaybirdsport.com) with Decibullz inserts (link to decibullz.com) – the headphones never fall out. So now I need a small ipod (which hasn’t been updated in 4 years) or watch. Some of the forums are saying the Apple Watch will have BT to headphone (no phone) capabilities; we’ll see.

  46. Dirk

    It is sad that the Motoactv still holds up against all activity smartwatches on the market. For instance, it supports offline maps which seems to be missing here.

  47. Dressel

    Great hands-on posts today.
    Small typo. In your comparison photo of the bands, the vivofit2 is in the middle instead of the original vivofit as it says above.

  48. Phil Q

    Hello! How about your thoughts on a quick comparison between the new Vivoactive and the FR220 and/or Polar M400? I’ve been trying to decide between the two and now this new product :-) Thanks!!!

    • Yeah, I’ll wait for the dust to settle this week and then tackle something.

    • Mike S

      Yes, I just noticed you haven’t reviewed the Sony Smartwatch. Any plans to do so? It would be a great comparison.

    • Phil

      Thanks Ray. Do you also think the Vivoactive is capable of monitoring HIIT training either by itself or 3rd party apps? I’d love to be able to use this in the gym for other workouts as well outside of run/bike/swim if possible.

    • Marek P

      yes, that was my request as well :) comparison between M400 and Vivo… :)
      as i’m wondering if it is worth to pay more for the auto swim (pool size/strokes that M400 misses) capabilities, or having less activity data as i understand in comparison to Polar

  49. rburbridge

    Vivoactive is compelling to me. I currently use the 310xt for running/cycling tracking. I also have an Approach S3 that I use for golfing. So anytime I can consolidate down devices and arguably gain features is a win. I’m curious for more details about the golfing aspect. The draw of the dedicated device like the Approach was that there was no reliance on a smartphone, it sounds like this device is a hybrid of perhaps pulling the hole/course info down and the GPS on the watch showing your location.

    Thanks for the info!

  50. Man, I got really excited when I saw this. This would be perfect except for one thing, why didn’t they include a HR sensor? I so wish garmin would. :(

    I had the fitbit surge for one day and returned it, felt it was limited as a smart watch and the band was impossible with long sleeves or with a coat on. The Peak was ok, but no cycling and very limited in activities. And the apple watch won’t track sleep and you can barely get it wet and have to charge it every night…to high maintenance. this was perfect :/

    This really sounded like a winner for me. :( why garmin, why did you not include a HR sensor. sad!

    • Matt B

      You can use a HR strap as well. I know it’s not as comfortable or “easy”, but it A) is significantly more accurate than optical HR; and B) results in much longer battery life (for the watch).

    • Correct and understand that. But being person born with a congenital heart defect, I do have more of an interest in continual HR. Also, I believe the HR helps give better sleep data. I had the Peak for a week and was very impressed with the sleep data of deep sleep, REM and light sleep with restlessness.

    • Because Garmin doesn’t believe that optical HR technology is accuracy enough for the sheer volume of units that Garmin ships. A Mio or TomTom can get away with a 1-5% person-not-working-on-optical failure rate. Garmin can’t.

    • Thanks Ray, that makes sense. So, in your opinion, will optical HR technology ever be accurate enough, or is the strap really the best way to go and I should make my decision based on other features and continue using the trap technology.

    • BobV190

      Understood. I still think it would make sense for all of these companies that are making fitness/smart watches to have both. Have an optical sensor for non-workout times, and allow connection to a chest strap for runs, rides, etc.

      I think there is a value in the 23/7 monitoring to gauge recovery, sleep, caloric expenditures, etc., but also agree that the optical technology is spotty at best during exercise, but having the option to pair a chest strap to the watch would take care of that.

    • James

      Completely agree. If this had optical HR I’d be all over it. If this had the ability to get real-time calorie burn, it could take over the market. It would be just about perfect. Garmin has fallen behind the times.

  51. Peter N

    I just got the 920XT and can still return it. I am trying to (quickly) determine if the vívoactive will work for me.

    I do maybe 2-3 triathlons per year, so multisport is not a deal breaking feature for me. Just to understand what “multisport” capable is: ability to track swim, bike, and then run without having to specifically start each activity. Basically, it sounds like with multisport capability, you get your T1 and T2 times and save a few button presses.

    Any other major differences between the vívoactive and 920XT?

  52. I would love to see a comparison chart with the vivoactive and 920xt myself.

    I would like to stay in the garmin ecosystem, for I have an Edge 1000 and the virb elite. I really wanted wrist HR on this.

    Right now, I am thinking this is the only option for me, since there isn’t one wrist HR device that has the rest of the features I need, daily tracking, sleep, multi sports and water proof. I can live without the GPS since I have the edge and the virb.

    any suggestions?

  53. Eric

    Somewhat off topic: any word on if Garmin will announce new/updated Virbs?

  54. David

    Do we know if the touch screen is resistive or capacitive?

  55. Rupert Hawkes

    I too would love to see a comparison chart with the vivoactive and 910 and 920.

    For example can the vivoactive capture elevation and route data to be plotted in garmin connect post run?

    Can the screen be customed to show say just DISTANCE and HR, then just DISTANCE, PACE and TIME OF DAY like the 910?


    • You can click on the link just below the chart and then make a comparison chart with the Vivoactive and FR920XT and FR910XT.

      You can customize the screens with that data just like the FR910XT.

  56. Doug

    I have a Garmin Edge 500 and use the HR belt. Will that work with the vivoactive?

  57. Devon Q

    My initial thought is that this product is for a more casual user, for instance someone who needs smart notifications, wants to track their daily activity, but also may train for a 5K/swim/cycle/golf a bit in their spare time. Obviously, we are a bit out from release and in-depth testing but it just seems to try and do too much at once for those that are trying to compare/replace with a Forerunner which has custom workouts plans, running dynamics, etc.

  58. Shaun

    How do you download apps/watch faces and other things to the 920xt from Connect IQ?

  59. Nicholas

    First the Vivoactive looks pretty great unless you remember how well most touchscreen work with sweaty hands. I saw multiple tap attempts and slow responses within the video above. I suspect Garmin might add some more value to the 220 by finally releasing cycling for it. Then you have a choice of buttons and deeper training options or more sports but less details on them between the two.

    I really wonder how Garmin is going to tread the line properly here with regard to differentiation of products, obviously in part to get more money but also with regard to expectations. There are already dozens of people here speculating an app will provide what Garmin won’t in terms of watch functionality. Obviously Garmin is choosing not to add some functionality because otherwise people won’t want to buy more expensive watches. It seems like a tightrope and I wonder how well they will walk it. What will happen if a third-party wants to introduce and app that gives recovery, their variation on running dynamics, etc.? Will Garmin deny the app access to their watches? Interesting times ahead.

    • Peter N


      I watched the video. It looks like there is a physical button to start and stop the activity. And the other button is used for back screen illumination. Does that mean that the pause or rest feature (if supported) will be one of the soft keys on the touch screen. I frequently use the “back” button on the 920XT to initiate a rest and then resume during swimming workouts, when my fingers and the screen are wet.

      Any speculation on how pausing will work with the vivoactive? Did you test that functionality out?


    • Lew

      Peter – this is why people want to know if the touchscreen is capacitive (like a phone) or resistive (like the Garmin 610). Resistive touchscreens don’t care about water and work the same whether wet or dry.

  60. Sarah

    It is so interesting that I have been researching watches that track multiple sports and I thought I decided on one today (Forerunner 920xt) and then I get an email from Garmin about Vivoactive. Now what do I do?. I am mainly concern about the swimming function, the 920, you can do indoor and outdoor swims, you can also do customized pool lengths, is this something that is available on the Vivoactive?

  61. Raul Freitas

    Ray, congrats on a great start for this CES coverage…
    Typo: at the end of another post I guess you wanted to refer to drain the battery instead of train the battery… (too much training in your mind, I guess)
    As for Garmin, all I’m waiting is a new better entry level cycling computer to replace the ancient 500 and/or a better screen/true upgrade (I.e. new product) to replace the 510. I feel I’m not alone in this need… They are begging to have some competitor disrupt this market that is currently theirs…
    Now I’m sure it’s not coming soon…

  62. Jose

    Hi Ray, how do you find this against the polar v800? I know that the vivoactive lacks many functions, is it to bad the swimming on this one?

  63. Mark C

    Sold! I love the watch, one slight problem though. The wife! I just picked up the fr15 which I love. Now I have to sell her on a new watch. Hmmm I see a storm coming.

  64. Rob Montgomery

    On the Vivoactive, does the walk icon on the main screen mean Garmin FINALLY added walking as an activity you can choose and have it correctly map automatically as a walking activity on GC? Or does that walking icon simply take you to your step stats for the day?

    I’m so tired of having my walks map to GC as runs or “other” then having GC sync with all my sites and having to go to each one to edit the activity type. I just wish Garmin would make walking a “built-in” option like running, cycling, and swimming, especially on the more “casual” watches such as this one.

    • Bryan Kirk

      I second that Rob! I do a mix of running, run/walk, and speedwalking. A dedicated “walk” activity would be so nice. Like you, I have been used for years to do the “edits” post download in GC and then on Strava.

  65. Megazine

    I’m surprised nobody asked this. Does this watch constantly stay on to show time? Or do we have to touch screen to show time. This would be a deal breaker for me.

  66. mfthriller

    What about athlete tracking while out on training run/ride/swim??

  67. Bibo

    The vivoactive looks similar to the Sony SWR3 but with usefull software on it. If it supports footpod and gps is no crap i will buy one.

  68. ESF

    What do you think about this watch compared to the Suunto Ambit 2S? Do you think that the Garmin will have a big advantage with future apps?

  69. Rupert Hawkes

    Hi Ray, thanks for replying. Does it capture elevation and route data so you can plot that in connect like the 910? It does seem like it could be a good replacement for the 910 and vivofit for me I as I don’t multi sports and don’t need the more complex training aspects of the 910.

    Its a shame Garmin haven’t listed the data fields or a manual yet.

  70. Nico

    I currently swim with a pool mate pro. What I love is the vibration alert each 200m (or 8 pool lengths – number adjustable).
    1. Is such vibration possible on vivoactive?
    2. The “drill” mode seems indeed interesting and should be easy to implement.
    3. By the way, Garmin should really focus on editing swims on GC. Painful!
    The watch is worth a try but these 3 items are an absolute requirement.

  71. Clint

    Do any of these new smart watch/activity monitors support bluetooth HRM? They all seem to support sync over bluetooth but I haven’t noticed any that support BTLE sensors.

  72. Ray – as always, such a great intro to these new products. One minor typo I spotted in the last paragraph. You say your time with the vivosmart was limited, but I think you mean vivoactive.

    I think they should have named them the other way around. smart for smart watch and active for their advanced fitness band.

  73. Sid


    Does anyone know if this has all the running features of a 310XT such as virtual pacer, custom workouts etc?


    • rupert

      It has virtual partner but not custom workouts according to the Garmin comparison thingy…

    • Matt B

      The Garmin comparison thing is not 100% accurate (from what I’ve seen). Often times they rename/rebrand a specific attribute and it doesn’t get crossed correctly.

  74. Amanda

    I know this maybe way early to ask and way ahead of the game but any idea on when you’ll have a full review. I know it just came out, so i don’t expect it soon and i don’t know if you already answered this question. Oh and I know this may not be a big factor for everyone else, but being a petite women I was wondering if you could post some picture of the girl wearing it. I know this isn’t always a huge concern but it helps sometimes.

  75. Luke

    Ray, do you know if it possible to write a Connect IQ app to use a garmin watch (920 or VA, most likely) to capture running info (cadence, vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc) from a non garmin HRM. I really like the looks of the new Wahoo HRM and am very tempted to buy it for post-run strength workouts/guidance. However, I don’t want to sacrifice the running dynamics of the garmin HRM (which I actually use).

  76. Nicholas

    Ray has anyone asked Garmin directly for comment on ConnectIQ apps that provide a deeper functionality than their native apps provide on the watch? People are commenting about the possibility of a triathlon app or a running app with their variation of running dynamics. If an app includes a functionality Garmin has reserved for more expensive watches, will Garmin allow it in the store and onto the watches?

    • Yes, Garmin has no issues with that and fully expects folks do to that. I talked to them about the power meter scenario yesterday in fact, whereby they expect someone to develop power meter support for Vivoactive, despite it not being there in the base unit.

  77. SaltyDub

    Thank, Ray, for preview. Looking fwd to full writeup.
    I think the Vivoactive may just be the ticket for people like me. I do 1-2 tri’s a year, 5-6 activities per week including swims/runs/cycling, and want daily activty tracking (sleep too). I am not so serious about my training that I need tri mode, advanced intervals, power meter capability, more detailed metrics, etc. I now have Tomtom Multisport (non cardio) and am content with it but it’s missing daily activity.

  78. Sean Murray

    Ray, as others have mentioned, I’m curious to know whether the screen is capacitive or resistive. Also, on a related note, I’d like to know what the screen is made out of. Specifically whether it’s glass or plastic.

  79. Matt Longacre

    Thanks for keeping us so updated!

    When should we expect to see an in-depth review of the Surge? I care about heart rate, but don’t need it to be perfect (just close for good approximation). I wanted to see your view on how effective all its functions were.

  80. Andy


    Will the vivoactive have support for livetrack?

  81. wilderaz

    Will Clever Training offer a 10% discount on the Vivoactive?

  82. Melissa

    Any idea what pool lengths the VivoActive covers? One of the lanes at my nearby pool is 20 yards. I know the 910 didn’t go this low, so I was waiting to buy the 920 — wondering now if I can just go with the VivoActive instead (I have an old 310 that I can use for triathlons and a 610 I use specifically for running).

  83. Srinivas

    I know 3 week battery life is with GPS turned off. So does that mean it has 3 week battery life with bluetooth and notifications turned ON?

    Ray could you please confirm. Thanks in advance.

  84. Alex Casings

    I was planning to upgrade my Cateye to an Edge 510 soon, with expectations to add an Apple Watch in the Spring.
    Any early opinion on whether the Vivoactive would be a good 2 for 1?
    New rider, so power meter isn’t on my immediate to have lists.
    Of course spending $250 vs combined $700+ is a win.

  85. JD

    Ray, I see that the VivoActiv supports GLONASS (link to buy.garmin.com). Given that, do you feel that the GPS accuracy on the activ might outstrip the 220/620 since they do not support it? I’ve heard that the 920XT that supports GLONASS seems to do better in challenging conditions than the 220 and 620 do.


  86. Andrew

    I’d like to see a watch that displays real-time elevation gained – as many of my workouts are based upon an elevation goal rather than a time/distance.

    Will this watch be capable? Or does any wearable you know of provide this?

    I really like the low profile wearability of this watch, it may actually fit the bill. Something nothing else has offered yet for my outdoor activities.

    • Andrew

      Bump! Any thoughts on Elevation Tracking with this watch?
      Thx in advance!

    • hollie

      Bump. does the vivoactive have ELEVATION capabilities? it would be absurd to have a watch of this caliber missing such an important function. I would buy one right now if there is indeed an elevation function.

      also, Can music be added to the watch?

  87. SurlyWill

    I’m curious if the VivoActive works with Livetrack.

  88. Greg

    Hey Ray,

    I apologize if this isn’t a good question…with Connect IQ apps can they operate only on watch. I’m thinking there is no other way to get info unless connected to phone. The accuweather app looks to require a phone connection. Just curious how independent the watch can be.

    • Totally depends on the app. Some require the phone, and others are free-form with no phone required/used. The Accuweather for example will cache some data so if the phone isn’t there, it still opens.

  89. Gary

    I’m feeling a little annoyed with Garmin. Have bought a FR15 and Swim in the last 6 months. Vivoctive would do both plus a fair bit more that I use for them for.


  90. Tom

    I see that the only major difference between the Vivoactive and FR220’s running features is the lack of structured workouts. Do you think that this is a feature that Garmin could easily add with a later software update? If so, is that something they would do?

  91. P Wood

    Am I correct that the Vivoactive does not support Bluetooth HRMs such as the Polar HR7?

  92. Andy d

    How do you take a lap using only two hard buttons, given that the left one is for the light?

  93. Tim

    I couldn’t agree more about wishing this was a more full-on replacement for the trusty Garmin Swim!

    I love the size of the Swim, no need to charge the device, and the usability (drill logging and rest timer included). The one miss is the BT activity transfer…

    If the vivoactive included all of the swim metrics / modes… and potentially had a multi-week battery life (without using GPS) I’d buy one to replace the Swim.

    For now I’ll continue rocking the Garmin Swim… even my 920 hasn’t fully replaced it merely due to size and cost (I’m always worried I’ll destroy my screen on a lane rope)

  94. massysett

    I’m not at all interested in buying this. It needs more hardware buttons; I still have the Garmin with the touch bezel and that thing is a disaster. The screen looks washed out in bright sun. It looks too complicated to futz with while running.

    But I’m glad it’s coming out because it’s only $249. Hopefully this will induce them to cut the price on the more boring devices with hardware buttons and simple LCD screens.

  95. Douglas

    Will I be able to use my Suunto Dual HRM belt & Suunto Footpod Mini with the Vivoactive?

  96. Ray, do you see this as a potentially viable multisport watch? I currently have a 910XT, which is great, but I’m doing duathlon now (no more tri, dropping swimming), and I like the idea of the new tech without the $500 price tag. I don’t care about transition times, so I don’t need a true multisport mode like the others have. Thoughts?

    • Peter N


      Take a look at Ray’s reply #145. Since the Vivoactive does not have an Open Water swim mode (not sure why other than Garmin does not want this product to compete with the 920xt and fenix line), this would make it a good candidate for duathlon. The only issue I see, and other posts have questioned, is what type of touch screen does it use. If it uses capacitive (not good with wet fingers or in water) then it could be problematic if stop and start activities while you are sweaty. The other type of screen is resistive, which is used on other Garmin products (e.g. 610).


    • Peter, thanks for the clarification! Not a big fan of touch screens on fitness devices…I’ll be curious to hear Ray’s full review.

  97. Byron rieer

    VivoActive questions regarding golf

    1) Does it do shot tracking similar to the S6 or G8… that is hit the ball, press the start icon, go to ball, press the stop button and pick a club. Club and distance hits by hole are thus recorded.
    2) Does the scorekeeping get uploaded to Garmin Connect as it does with the S6 or G8. What about club tracking?
    3) Do I have to download a course EVERY time I play a course. If I download a course today and play it again tomorrow do I have to download the course again?

    • rburbridge

      I’ve been researching the same thing. With the built in app we will be limited to distance and tracking the score (how many shots on each hole). There could conceivably be an app that adds the other functionality. I looked at the developer kit because adding more detailed score tracking (putts, fairway, etc.) would be useful and I assumed easy. The way it stands today each app is independent. So I couldn’t just add to the built in golf app to add this functionality, you would need to replace the built in app functionality and add to it, so not a trivial task.

  98. Jim M

    Hi Ray, do you know when you might have a review on the Epson Runsense SF-810? You said you would have a review on this product line in December but I did a search on your website and could not find it. Today on Mashable gave some positive comments about the watches, and on BusinessWire according to Epson:

    “Long battery life (20 hours for SF-810 with GPS and HR sensors on) 30 hours for SF-710 and SF-510 with GPS on) ”

    This is exactly the watch I have been looking for, long battery life, GPS, and optical HR all in one watch. Not sure if it supports touchscreen or not. I prefer a touchscreen watch (I currently am using a Garmin 620). Sorry in advance I am not trying to go off topic here.


  99. Tony Gonzalez

    Hello Ray,
    Does the vivoActive support Ant+ body composition scales (Tanita BC-1000 plus)? Then sync measurements to Garmin Connect via Bluetooth Smart?

    • Not natively, but I expect to see it via Connect IQ.

    • Tony Gonzalez

      Thanks Ray! Seems like Connect IQ will be able to open many doors of functionality. Very exciting!
      Great work as always =)

    • Andrew Chalkley

      Hi all…..any news or ETA of any software to integrate Vivoactive to BC1000 scales yet?

      Just bought a VA thinking it would link to scales….any scales and record weights but just setting up and it cannot see BC1000.

      Is this functionality available now? Is it likely to be anytime soon? Or is there any other scales that could be purchased that would work with the VA?

      VA looks good but this lack of functionality seems suprising. Thanks in advance

  100. Mark

    Thanks for your reviews, they’ve been really helpful when sorting out my watches

    One thing you didn’t show on here, which you have done on all the Forerunners I’ve looked at, is the method of charging the vivoactive. Does it have the usual Garmin clip with pins?

    Was your three weeks of battery from what you observed, or just Garmin’s text (because I noticed on your Forerunner 920XT review that you apparently got drastically different life).

    I’m currently on a Forerunner 10, but am taking part in my first triathlon, so was looking to upgrade to a watch that supports all three events (plus, I’m a software dev, so I’m into the ConnectIQ option)


  101. Michael

    Hi, I would like to know, if vibration alert to get up in the morning without disturbing my wife?

    • Peter N

      On the FR920xt, the alarm status was “on” or “off”. There was no way to independently set vibration or beeping. There was only one alarm and you could only set the time. My Timex IM watch has more alarms with better options (e.g. day, weed day, weed ends, etc.).

      But perhaps someone would create an ConnectIQ app that had a more programmable alarm.

    • Michael

      Thanks for clarification Peter!

    • John

      On the fenix2, you have a huge range of alarm options, including just vibrate. I like it because it is a nice way to wake up, and doesn’t wake wife/kids. I’d say the new garmins would have same thing.

  102. Andy from Embsay

    Ray – I see Clever Training have the Vivoactive available for pre-order – I assume they will ship to the UK, but what’s the implications for warranty and support? I’m really keen to get my hands on one, and even if I end up paying VAT/duty etc the price may be lower than the UK, so if it gets me one sooner then I may order one from there – but I wouldn’t want to be without support.

  103. Christopher

    Nice looking watch – It is a shame for the lack of programmed workouts.

    Can this device record R-R/HRV in the fit file like the Forerunners?


  104. Rudy

    This might just make for a perfect replacement for my *sunken* Garmin Swim watch :-/

  105. Frank

    Garmin need to make 2014’s products—and Garmin Connect—work as specified and advertised. If it cannot do that, this new wave of products don’t have a prayer. Eventually, the Emperor of Kansas is going to be busted for public nudity.

  106. Perizene

    I took a quick look at the <a href="link to developer.garmin.com; title="Connect IQ SDK documentation" and something worries me regarding power meters and the “spare” ANT+ channel:
    “The ANT Generic interface is not available to watch faces, widgets or data fields.

    At first glance my understanding of this is that only “background” apps will have access to the power meter. They will be able to receive it and write it to the .fit file, but if the interface is not available to data fields does that mean that we will not have on-screen power info, even with 3rd-party apps?

  107. Matt E


    Will the VivoActive act like BT hub sending realtime HR data to iOS apps like iSmoothRun (since the HR is ANT+)?

  108. Matt E


    Will the VivoActive act like BT hub sending realtime HR data to iOS apps like iSmoothRun (since the HR is ANT+) ?

  109. Frank

    Garmin Connect—the shared platform for all of these marvelous new fitness devices—is, at best, half functional this morning and is still asking for our patience in a box at the top of the screen. A box that has been there for several days now.

    Is anyone embarrassed?


  110. wilderaz

    Some reviewers have noted the Vivoactive’s display quality and responsiveness are marginal. What was your impression and might this change with release of the final software?

    • The display quality didn’t seem a problem at all to me, on par with most other smart watches.

      The responsiveness was mixed, but they also told me that they’re still working on it. I saw it improve a fair bit since I initially tested a unit a month ago, and now. So, add in another 45-60 days and it’ll probably be solid.

  111. Geoffrey

    I wear the FR620 day-to-day, now want to use an activity tracker displaying the time, so that my FR620 is used only to run.

    My questions:
    1. Does Vivofit or Vivosmart show the time of the day?
    2. How do you mix usage of something like the Vivoactive with an FR620 on a day to day basis?
    I can wear something like a Vivosmart or Vivofit all day and then wear the FR620 to run, but I won’t wear both the Vivoactive be the 620 when I run…

  112. Geoffrey

    I wear the FR620 day-to-day, now want to use an activity tracker displaying the time, so that my FR620 is used only to run.

    My questions:
    1. Does Vivofit or Vivosmart show the time of the day?
    2. How do you mix usage of something like the Vivoactive with an FR620 on a day to day basis?
    I can wear something like a Vivosmart or Vivofit all day and then wear the FR620 to run, but I won’t wear both the Vivoactive be the 620 when I run…

  113. Geoffrey

    1. Does Vivofit or Vivosmart show the time of the day?
    2. How do you mix usage of something like the Vivoactive with an FR620 on a day to day basis?
    I can wear something like a Vivosmart or Vivofit all day and then wear the FR620 to run, but I won’t wear both the Vivoactive be the 620 when I run…

    • Andy from Embsay

      Why would you not run with the Vivoactive? That’s the whole attraction for me – because it has GPS i can wear it every day, get notifications etc and also use it for running. I don’t need to plan workouts etc, as I generally “just run” or use a track for reps etc.

      Still not sure whether i want a Fenix3 instead of as or as well as a Vivoactive!

  114. Robert

    Hey, so just some quick questions.
    Can it handle cycling with the GPS. Will it link up if I have a cadence device on my bike as well as using a heart rate strap?
    Sorry, last question at the moment, any idea as to if it will support activities such as stationary spinning, or other actives like treadmill running, or any indoor exercises like yoga, or weight lifting?

    • Andy

      Yes the watch will connect to ANT+ speed and cadence sensors as well as ANT+ HR monitors.

      With the foot pod it should handle treadmill with no problem.

  115. Siimon

    Vivoactive seem a great watch. If it would have also SIM card it would be excellent. Is there any hope in the closer future to see smartwatch with SIM card in it? It’s annoying to carry phone during all workouts, but for security reasons would be good to have phone with.

    • Andy from Embsay

      You don’t have to carry a phone with the Vivoactive as it has a GPS chip – or do you mean for messages etc?

    • Siimon

      Yes, I mean for calling, to keep in touch with family e.g. I know there are some very bulky watches with SIM card, but they aren’t sport watches. Would be nice to have sportsmartwatch with SIM card.

  116. Jim

    It’s interesting that with the FR15, Garmin put it in the “running” sub forum on link to forums.garmin.com, and I think people didn’t really know that it did the 24×7 activity tracking. And though the vivoactive was just announced, it’s a sub-forum under “Health and Fitness”. It’s almost like the FR15 was kind of a test for a fitness tracker with GPS.

  117. Craig

    Interested in getting a GPS watch, primarily for running so I can leave my phone behind, and had it narrowed down to the M400 until I saw this. I like the dimensions. It looks like I’d be able to wear it more easily during the day under a long sleeve cuff.

    My main concern is the screen lag. From your video it appears as if it is not very responsive.

    Looking forward to your full review so I can get a better comparison to the M400. Do you have an ETA on when it will be posted?

    • For the Vivoactive it’ll be about 3-4 weeks after I have a final hardware unit with final software. Maybe a touch less. To set expectations, it’s sounding like Vivoactive will be closer to the end of Q1 than the beginning (whereas the F3 is sooner rather than later).

      I wouldn’t over-think the screen responsiveness of the Vivoactive yet – wait until the software is finalized. They’ve done a good amount of work for example in the last 3-4 weeks.

  118. Harish Lakshman

    Ray – As always, love your reviews. Just ordered the Vivofit 2 on Clever Training. And am loving my 920xt thanks to you!

  119. Andrew

    (Sorry for multiple posts, I’m really hoping for replies)
    I’m looking for thoughts about elevation accuracy/tracking with this device.
    With ‘app’ developing would this watch potentially display real time elevation gained, or would the lack of barometric to pressure sensor make it much more difficult?
    I’m looking for that wearable ‘outdoorsy workouts’ (hike, Mtn bike, trl run, BC snowshoe/Ski) watch I can wear daily. The fenix/ambit are just too clunky still for my average size…

  120. Greg

    Just for clarification, does the display remain on during normal daily use such as displaying the time and tracking steps or does it go completely black? Is the back light button used just to see the display in low light conditions? I hope it is always on so that I do not have to press a button just to see the time. It seems like it would be but I just want to be sure!

  121. Scott

    Enjoyed the article and video. Quick question, if you are running and you want a split on an interval that is not your auto lap, is the back light button also the split button? It only looked like there was the start/stop button and the back light button. Thanks

  122. LGreen

    Ray, Any chance you have info on the minimum pool length for the Vivoactive (or Fenix 3 for that matter)? I would love to get a swim tracking watch like the Vivoactive but not until there’s one made that will also track shorter pools!!! I have a basic 20ft x 40ft backyard pool. While I swim at a local school’s indoor 25y pool in the offseason, I swim a lot in my backyard pool in the summer – it’s great for quick 1/2 mile swims. Thanks.

  123. seth frankel

    Just want to confirm- it seems Vivoactive does NOT support Open Water swim tracking. Is that correct?

    • Greg


      That is my understanding. I wonder if Open Water swim tracking can be added at some point….

    • seth frankel

      Not sure. As has been suggested before it seems if someone is willing to develop something for IQ, it may be possible. Separate discussion, but always though the Tom Tom Multisport would be a nice option if it would also include Open Water swim.

    • That’s correct, it’s NOT supported. Someone might be able to write an App for it, but it would be very difficult without having the exact GPS accuracy information, as Connect IQ only provides a bad/ok/good type GPS accuracy information system right now.

  124. Flo

    Does it measure the cadans while you are running? To have the speed indoor or when you are running on a treadmill. Love this on the Forerunner 220!


  125. Mark

    Thanks for the review Ray! I was wondering if the vivoactive can do manual splits like the forerunner series watches. I only see two buttons and most watches that do manual splitting have three.

    • Jim

      Actually, it would be really nice if at some point there was a chart of the “running” functionality of the vivoactive vs a FR220 and FR15. It might be too early to do this, as I imagine things are still in a state of flux.

      mark, it could be that with the vivoactive having a touch screen, some of the “button functions” on FRs could be “swipes” on the display (such as forward and back on screens)

    • Yes, manual laps are still there.

      I’ve got a gallery to post here shortly, but, you can use the comparison charts right now for the Vivoactive vs any other Garmin (see sidebar for comparison link) to show you all of the running features.

  126. Jim

    Non sport or activity tracking suggestion that maybe Ray can pass on to Garmin! With the vivoactive, it’s meant to be worn as a watch all day. And most watches have an alarm (maybe more than one). But they also have the option to make that alarm something like “once”,”monday thru friday”, or “every day”.

    For example, the FR15 has an alarm, but it’s only “once”, so you need to turn it back on every day, if it’s an “every day” type alarm. That’s one thing I like about the Polar M400 over the FR15 – with polar, you can set the alarm to repeat.

    Again, not sports related, but something that could make this a bit more “user friendly” when it’s used as a watch.

  127. I’m interested in the vivoactive for three main reasons:
    1. it automatically changes time when entering a new time zone. I travel a lot and I will love his feature. The Polar M400 didn’t have this feature
    2. The pedometer shows the distance traveled (miles) along with the steps. The Polar M400 only updated the distance later on.
    3. Great battery life. I would not want a smartwatch that only lasted 1-3 days. Too much of a hassle.
    And then, the smartwatch notifications are an added benefit as well (Polar M400 and most others don’t include this).
    Question: Does anyone know of a sport/smartwatch that does or will do the above three better than vivoactive?

    • 1) Yes, it has a setting to do this automatically based on your phone.
      2) Yes, it shows distance as an option (all Garmin devices do with the activity tracker option)
      3) Too early to tell to be honest.
      4) As for your last question, the Garmin FR920XT does this today without any issue, it just doesn’t have as pretty a screen as the Vivoactive.

    • Thanks for your comments. They say the vivoactive battery lasts three weeks. Have you found that to be untrue? (or perhaps you just haven’t had the time to fully test the battery yet). Also, could you send me the comparison chart link. I couldn’t find it on the sidebar. Thanks, Joel

    • Yeah, it’s too early for the battery testing (both hardware and software).

  128. Angie Jacin

    Does anyone know the size dimensions of the face and sizing info for the band? I have an extremely tiny wrist.

  129. Angie Jacin

    Can I use my polar heart rate strap with the vivoactive?

  130. SurlyWill

    Needs a kayak (paddle) sports mode.

  131. Greg

    Hi Ray! Can you please tell me if the display of the Vivoactive stays on during daily activity tracking and watch use or does it go completely black? I would assume that it stays on but I just want to be sure. It would be a pain to activate it just to see the time.

    Thanks for all of the comprehensive reviews!

  132. Bill

    I have a edge 500, wish it had The wireless upload ability of the 510. The vivoactive would seem to get me that for less then the cost of 510 plus a smart watch.. So what’s the catch? Has to be missing something major. I don’t see a barometric altimeter listed anywhere in the specs? What happens when I upload to starva or garmin connect? Is the elevation flat? Or nonexistent?

    • Ger

      Has it multisport capabilities at all or could it be adapted to be used for Tri? I don’t need all the stuff on the Felix or 920 and have an 800 for the bike this seems like a good option

    • No barometric altimeter. When you upload to Strava or GC you’ll get GPS-based altitude, which is generally OK, but not perfect. However, those sites also will override the altitude with even better satellite based ‘known’ altitudes.

      For multisport, no, it does not at this time. Someone could write an app there however.

  133. Tine

    Thank you for the extended article.
    You made me by my first garmin 910xt and now i m interested in the vivoactive.

    A few questions i’m not quite sure about:

    – Can the vivoactive do autopauses in swimming mode?
    – Does the vivoactive needs gps while it is counting steps?

    Thank you for your answer

  134. Bill

    Will the vivoactive support more then one bike profile? Would hope at least 3?

  135. Jared

    Long time lurker of the site posting for the first time here!

    Since it seems you’re the only lucky fella with the Vivofit 2 I was wondering if you could tell me if there is a setting to keep the backlight on indefinitely. Or, as I think someone else in the comments asked, if there is an auto-on function for when the wrist is rotated.

    I ask because the spin classes I take are in near total dark. I’ve been hunting high and low for a device that connects to my Scosche Rhythm+ that can provide me with my HR value as my workout progresses. The only thing out there are the higher end GPS watches with “always on” options for their backlights.

  136. Hi, I’ve got a question for you. I’m a Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instrucotr. Mainly using Tabata Interval Training. A Very high intensity interval training. So I need a very accurate heart rate monitor. I’ve had a Polar FT7 , FT4 and the Bluetooth only strap ( I don’t remember Polar’s name for it). I also have a Body Media Link Armband. So I do like the idea of tracking all my daily activity and sleep. Calories burned during my workouts,and everything that entails with accuracy is probably my highest priority. Second priorty would be being able to pause the music from my watch (via bluetooth on my phone) during my classes. Third would be GPS tracking when biking with my family. I would also love the capability to track my strength workouts. So the Wahoo chest strap interests me as well.
    Given this information what device or combination of devices is most accurate and suited to getting me the data I am looking for?

    Thank you very much for your time! I really have enjoyed looking through your reviews!

  137. Hi, I’ve got a question for you. I’m a Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instrucotr. Mainly using Tabata Interval Training. A Very high intensity interval training. So I need a very accurate heart rate monitor. I’ve had a Polar FT7 , FT4 and the Bluetooth only strap ( I don’t remember Polar’s name for it). I also have a Body Media Link Armband. So I do like the idea of tracking all my daily activity and sleep. Calories burned during my workouts,and everything that entails with accuracy is probably my highest priority. Second priorty would be being able to pause the music from my watch (via bluetooth on my phone) during my classes. Third would be GPS tracking when biking with my family. I would also love the capability to track my strength workouts. So the Wahoo chest strap interests me as well.
    Given this information what device or combination of devices is most accurate and suited to getting me the data I am looking for?
    Thank you very much for your time! I really have enjoyed looking through your reviews!

    • Given all those things, I’d say that the Vivo series is the best bet right now as far as a one-size fits all device. I’d probably look at the Vivoactive specifically.

    • Thank you! That’s kind of what I was thinking but I need to get it with the HR strap correct? The HR strap I have currently is a Polar and if I remember correctly you said it wasn’t compatible. Aslo would the Wahoo strap be of any benefit at all? Or really only useful during lifting sessions if I want to record my reps?

      I really appreciate your help. I understand you are a Triathlete and what I do doesn’t exactly align with those areas but your reviews are very thorough.

    • Thank you! That’s kind of what I was thinking but I need to get it with the HR strap correct? The HR strap I have currently is a Polar and if I remember correctly you said it wasn’t compatible. Aslo would the Wahoo strap be of any benefit at all? Or really only useful during lifting sessions if I want to record my reps?
      I really appreciate your help. I understand you are a Triathlete and what I do doesn’t exactly align with those areas but your reviews are very thorough.

    • Thank you! That’s kind of what I was thinking but I need to get it with the HR strap correct? The HR strap I have currently is a Polar and if I remember correctly you said it wasn’t compatible. Aslo would the Wahoo strap be of any benefit at all? Or really only useful during lifting sessions if I want to record my reps? I really appreciate your help. I understand you are a Triathlete and what I do doesn’t exactly align with those areas but your reviews are very thorough.

    • Edgar

      I will look at the Polar F80, that coil certainly fit your needs.


  138. Kom

    I have the V800 for biking and some running. How is the vivoactive comparable to it?


    • Trevor

      I was fighting over the same decision just last week. Look forward to Ray’s reply.

      I went with v800 when amazon had it on for $300US over the weekend. I could have easily went with the vivoactive though.

    • It’s really an entirely different beast (both of them are). If you’re a triathlete, then the V800 might be better – since there’s no multisport mode on the Vivoactive.

      However, if you don’t do all three sports at once, then the Vivoactive would make more sense and it’s generally quite a bit more capable.

    • Kom

      Based on what I read, I’ll swap my V800 for this puppy. Looks more suited for what I really need…

      Thanks for the review Ray!

  139. Matt Collins

    Does the vívoactive come with a band or is it extra. Thanks.

  140. Ken

    Has anyone used this for tracking indoor activities that are not associated with a treadmill. example fitness classes, basketball, or weight lifting. I am looking at combining one product to track heart rate fitness info when I am in the Gym and the traditional Garmin running/biking outdoor fitness activities.


  141. Humphrey

    When are you planning on reviewing this?

  142. Hey Ray, I’ve been testing the FitBit Surge HR and am actually pretty surprised at the data quality. As you know, it has multiple sport modes built-in including things called: workout, weights, hike, elliptical, spinning, yoga, and run. Oddly it’s missing cycling. But the smart thing about that is that it has those indoor modes such as weights and the indoor/outdoor modes such as workout.

    It seems to me that Garmin missed an obvious sport setting in the VivoActive for “workout” (i.e. strength training as opposed to run, cycle, swim, hike, or…golf). Seems like sort of a no-brainer sport mode that should be there but isn’t. Probably a vestige of where Garmin is coming from, where as the activity trackers are coming from the run/walk/workout world.

    Is that something you think is patchable with a ConnectIQ app? Or think Garmin will clue in to the fact that it’s missing?

    • Wendy

      Troy – I too have the Surge, and am impressed. I am torn with whether I want to trade this in for the VivoActive or not… I think I will miss the optical HR, and I also like the weights, etc. My question with the VivoActive is regarding sleep monitoring. Will the Active’s sleep monitoring be more like it was when I had the VivoSmart? One day a device will do all we want and more, and for less than $300… but until then, Im just enjoying trying them all out! :)

  143. David

    I’m unfamiliar with Garmin calorie calculation issues. Can someone enlighten me? I’m in the market for a new device and have been primarily a Polar guy forever.

  144. Frank

    Every device seems to do it differently. My edge is way high. My fenix 2 is a little low. My Vivofit and Vivosmart have been around 33% too low. But hey, its all just a guess anyway.

  145. Chris

    Ray, awesome write up – as always! Was wondering: you mentioned swim metrics, but what about stroke identification? Garmin’s chart seems to suggest it has everything but that. I ask because when swimming, I don’t just use a crawl – i tend to mix it up some – and there actually is a decent calorie expenditure difference between strokes (I also like to compare how fast i was at X distance at X stroke across different points in time). Also, my wife and I will be in Paris in early March – will definitely stop by the cupcakery one day and hope to get a chance to say hello!

  146. Chris

    One more quick question: in looking at the feature comparison charts on Garmin’s website, I noticed that every watch I compared to was listed as having a “high sensitivity receiver,” though this was not listed for the Vivoactive. I see that the Vivoactive has GLONASS, but what might the lack of this “high sensitivity” reciever mean? Might this cause difficulty with trail runs?

  147. Andrew G

    I am very excited about this watch. Sorry if I missed it but have they discussed plans for third party apps like Spotify? All of my music runs through Spotify so the ability to work with that app would be huge.

  148. Elmo

    I’m a 15 year old. I want a sports fitness watch for cycling running and swimming.. Could you please recommend the best watch to suite my needs. Thanks heaps

  149. Tb

    Does the hrm support cadence for running like the 920 xt? Thanks

  150. Kartik

    Hi Ray,
    Hello from Melbourne, Australia. Long-time reader of your blog and a big fan. I play tennis (recreationally) and focus on HIIT, cycling with a view to improving my performance on the tennis court. I have a cheap FR60 (which I’m looking to replace) + a Garmin footpod and a Garmin Speed/Cadence sensor on my bike. Can I buy me a new HRM strap with the new Vivoactive and get it to pair with my cadence/sensor + footpod and use it to measure/track everything that I wish to do? The need to pair with a cadence sensor was necessarily making me move up to a 620, which I believe is an overkill for my requirements. Does the Vivoactive solve my problem? Should I be evaluating something else?
    P.S. I was superexcited about the launch of the Fitbit Surge till I read your review about HR measurement accuracy. -disappointing-
    P.P.S. I hate golf, so this feature on the Vivoactive is useless to me. Can I delete/hide this icon/functionality?

    • Yup. I’d agree that the Vivoactive solves your problem. It supports both of those sensor types.

      Hmm, not sure on hiding/deleting. But I think you’d be able to drag it to some far away page you’d never see.

  151. Woods

    Which watch is better; The Garmin Vivoactive GPS smartwatch or the TomTom multisport watch..?

  152. Klaas

    Did you do some GPS accuracy testing on the Vivoactive? The Garmin site states it has GLONASS support, but no high-sensivity GPS receiver. How would the accuracy and fix time be, compared to my Edge 800? I always used to believe the Edge had better GPX than a smartphone, but recently found out that my Nexus phone actually has more reliable GPS tracking.

    Furthermore, the (Dutch) Garmin site says the Vivoactive doesn’t have an accelerometer, whereas you say it does. Can you clarify on that?

    • I’ll be doing GPS accuracy testing once on a final production unit with final software. The challenge with folks doing accuracy testing on beta devices (and beta software) is that it often gives incorrect results – or results that won’t match the product. Then folks get all bent out of shape and make decisions that may or may not be accurate.

      As for the Garmin Dutch site…it’s wrong. ;) Don’t worry, that’s pretty normal for Garmin.com sites to be wrong on specs. It has an accelerometer, as that’s how you measure steps, swimming (as well as treadmill use, cadence outdoors, etc…).

  153. Woods

    Where can I buy the vivoactive from? I’ve searched everywhere and still can’t find it… I live in Australia. Thanks

  154. JimW

    For the same price which, which do you hold in higher regard; the Garmin Vivoactive or the Fitbit Surge. I’ve been reviewing the specs for both and am not sure which the better buy.

    • The Vivoactive looks like it should be a better watch in every way…except not having an optical HR sensor. While the Fitbit Surge’s optical sensor isn’t terribly great for sports, it is pretty good for 24×7 heart rate monitoring (outside of workouts). Whereas the Vivoactive requires a chest strap.

      Of course, as I noted in the post there are things I wasn’t able to test – such as how it handles water on the display/etc…

  155. She

    Does the Vivoactive ‘Run’ feature provide an option for intervals?

  156. She

    Does the Vivoactive Run feature provide an option for intervals?

  157. After inquiring on status of all recently announced products, here’s where things stand from their standpoint:

    Fenix3: On target for delivery in Q1-2015, likely late Feb/Early March.
    Epix: The very edge of Q1-2015, potentially just into April.
    Vivofit2: Estimated late February.
    Vivoactive: Estimated Mid to late March.
    Vivo Signature bands: Estimated mid to late March.

    (As a reminder: Here’s the order of events that has to happen for any Garmin product to be shipped: link to dcrainmaker.com)

    Thanks all!

  158. Kom

    Thanks Ray!
    V800 is out, vivoactive is on the radar…

    I think it’ll be better suited for what I am doing.

  159. Joshua

    Ray, I am currently without any running watch which is fine as I’ve been sidelined for a week after surgery with another week plus of rehab to go. I intend to buy something to get me thru until either the vivoactive starts shipping and has a final review and some consumer feedback, or until a light at the end of the 620 replacement tunnel is visible, ie the 630, hopefully late in 2015. One would think it has to be on par with all of the huge advancements we’ve seen in garmin’s product line recently, if not beyond. Would it be a waste to purchase a fr15 which is on sale via CT and Amazon, and then either pickup a vivoactive or perhaps even wait for a 620 replacement? Needs are 5k thru 26.2 races.

    • It depends. If you’re essentially just buying a FR15 to bridge the next 45 days, then it’s probably a waste. Personally I’d just use a free app on your phone and upload into an account of your choosing (such as Garmin Connect), so that later all the data just flows together.

  160. SaltyDub

    Hi Ray.
    1. will it be possible to get vo2max through a connect iq app or otherwise on the vivoactive?
    2. do you have any thoughts on how valuable vo2max estimations are for gauging overall fitness?
    3. are you experiencing any problems with the touchscreen, e.g. false laps? can the screen be locked?

    • 1) I don’t know if HRV/RR information is exposed to Connect IQ or not (a developer might now)
      2) I generally don’t think it’s all that useful to be honest. Most trained athletes won’t see much of a shift in that number. Now recovery information could be valuable, but even that is often suspect.
      3) Too early to say, I don’t currently have a final production unit.

  161. acousticbiker

    Anyone get an email from CT on preorder status / estimated ship date?

  162. Andrew

    Hey Ray, please could you let us know how start stop and works with only one dedicated button (the other being for the light and turning the unit off – I assume?) .

  163. Andrew

    Apologies Ray, I forgot to mention taking a lap, as start and stop you demonstrated in your video. Is it perhaps a tap on the screen or a short, as opposed to long press.
    Button use will obviously be preferable to using touch screen in water – so hopefully the screen will be locked in swim mode ? Andy

  164. kom

    Any idea how this watch could stack up against the Apple watch?


    • David Stanfield

      the I watch is a joke put in the context of this watch.

    • David Stanfield

      the I watch is a fail put in the context of this watch.

    • Jeremy

      Given the following assumptions: (1) Garmin activity tracking could use some work, so I’ve heard, (2) the Apple Watch will have a 24/7 heart rate monitor, and (3) Apple has proven that it puts more into experience and making sure everything works than Garmin and other brands, I foresee:

      The Vivoactive will be much better for exercise activities and the Apple Watch will be better for activity tracking and everything else (i.e. “the other 23 hours” when you’re not working out). For that reason, I’m thinking of getting both.

      There is a chance the Apple Watch will be bad at everything out of the gate and take a few years to get things right and leave the others in the dust, as Ray has suggested. But I think they’ll get a few things right off the bat. At least enough to make the Vivoactive interface seem clunky by comparison.

  165. iZ

    Hey!! Great review!!
    I’m wondering if the Vivoactive have Heart Rate zones, that would vibrate or beep when reaching certain levels??
    I just got the Scosche Rythm+ HRM after reading your review and I’m very satisfied with it!

  166. Will

    With the vivoactive will there be an option to track workouts?
    Like to also see exercises displayed on watch face and have hr recorded during workouts as well

  167. Andy

    Hey Ray,

    I am still trying to find out how to take a lap on the vivoactive.

  168. Graeme Cowling

    Hi Ray

    I don’t actually see a downside to this watch.

  169. Peter

    Hi, Does the Vivoactive GPS smartwatch allow you to download training plans from the Garmin website? similar to the 220?
    Thanks for the great reviews

  170. Kevin

    Hey Ray,

    I’m a collegiate track/cross-country runner and I am currently trying to decide between the vivoactive and the FR220. I think the functionality of the FR220 will fit my needs, but the Vivoactive looks promising. However the Vivoactive looks a little less durable and would it be able to take manual laps without a dedicated “lap button”?


  171. Jim

    Ray, have you heard anything from Garmin as to how the big issues with the western US ports (nothing coming in or going out, it seems) may impact the date for the availability of the new Garmin stuff?

  172. Michael N

    Do you know if the Vivoactive will have any navigation/trail GPS functionality such as way points, track-back, or at least a coordinates display/ Or have they left all that out to avoid encroaching on the Tactix, Fenix, etc.?

    Those features are just firmware. And it’s likely firmware that’s already largely written and debugged for other Garmin products. So it’s something Garmin could essentially add for free that would be much more difficult for many of their fitness tracker competitors–i.e. it could give the Vivoactive another competitive edge. I’ll be sad if they decided to handicap the product purely for marketing reasons.

    • Jim

      I’m thinking if the vivoactive doesn’t display your GPS location out of the box, that my first “Connect IQ” app would to add GPS location as a data field. If I don’t do it, I’m guessing someone else might!

    • Michael N

      We can hope Garmin doesn’t restrict the Vivoactive’s Connect IQ API in ways that would prevent adding functionality from their more expensive products. In the comparison table there’s a “YES” under “BACK TO START” for the Vivoactive so perhaps it has at least some navigational ability out of the box.

      If Garmin is smart they’ll let anyone develop apps restricted only by the hardware capabilities of the device–not artificial software restrictions. For example, Apple for many years limited Bluetooth connectivity to only certain devices and protocols until they realized it was causing a significant number of customers to choose Android devices.

    • It has the Back to Start functionality out of the box.

      I’m not aware of any blocks at this point on a per device basis.

  173. Edwin Aerts


    I am interested in the Garmin Vivoactive as cheaper alternative to the Fenix 3.
    Is there in the meantime an altimeter app available for the Vivoactive via third parties (because not yet available through Garmin connect IQ)?
    Is Garmin planning to bring out such an app?
    Thanks for answering.


    • Michael N

      The Vivoactive doesn’t have a barometric altimeter and GPS-only altimeters are notoriously inaccurate–especially if you’re somewhere with buildings, trees, mountains, etc. restricting access to some of the satellites. It also appears, so far at least, that Garmin has intentionally left out most of the navigation features in the Fenix/Tactix. According to the comparison table, it doesn’t even support way points. We don’t yet know what sort of GPS Connect IQ apps might be possible.

      The Vivoactive is half the price of the Fenix 3 and it looks like Garmin is artificially restricting the Vivoactive’s GPS abilities to force anyone wanting those features to buy one of their much more expensive products. If that’s true, given the size, color touch screen, and fitness capabilities of the Vivoactive, that’s sad.

    • The Vivoactive supports Connect IQ apps, including hiking ones like the navigational ones I’ve previewed here: link to dcrainmaker.com

      The Vivoactive also has built-in basic navigation support. So essentially, all one can say is that it simply doesn’t have a barometric altimeter. Which, at $250US, I’m not aware of any mainstream GPS watches that do. Let alone ones with the Vivoactive’s capabilities.

  174. Dror kis

    I saw in the full comparison table that it has an external and internal temp sensor what does that mean ?

  175. Dror kis

    OK Ray thank you .

  176. Whats the width of the strap on vivoactive? I want to use it with natostrap.

  177. Syd

    Hey, thank you for this great review. Up until today, I’ve had the Fitbit Surge as my first activity tracker. I am sending the Surge back due to a pretty bad rash and the optical heart rate monitor being utter crap. I was wondering if you could answer a few questions about the Vivoactive for me.

    – When you get a unit (earlier you mentioned in another comment that you don’t have one right now), could you take a picture of it on your wrist and your girl’s? I have the same size wrist as you (again, read it somewhere else on your website) but am a pretty short female. The Surge looks awesome on my wrist and I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on it which leads me to my second question.

    -Can you post a comparison picture of different devices? A Surge being on there would be great since I know that looks awesome on me.

    – Will the vivoactive work well with the Polar H7? I’ve been looking into getting a chest strap and that seems like the best one out right now. Should I get the Garmin chest strap or is there another I can get?

    – Will there be a general workout option? I focus quite a bit on weight lifting and would love to be able to see how many calories I burn from lifting.

    -is there a silent alarm feature? Vibration notifications are definitely awesome.

    -is the sleep mode automatic?

    Thank you for your time reviewing these products, as someone very fresh to being active, your reviews and insight has made this a much easier process.

    • Ilan

      About the HRM, have a look at the Scosche Rythm+. I read the review here and bought one myself. It works really well and provides 4 readings per second. And is specially good if you don’t want a chest strap or a wrist band.

  178. Andrew

    This may be a far fetched question, but any idea if the vivoactive will have support for ‘workouts’ setup in garmin connect for running. (e.g. workouts based on HR zones) ? Thanks a ton

  179. Rob

    Ray – how many data fields can be displayed on one screen when running with vivoactive? Can you display 4 different data fields on one screen?

  180. Jim

    The user’s guide for the vivoactive is now online at garmin.com, under “support” for the VA. GC Mobile was also updated with one of the items in the change log being “vivoactive support”

  181. Andrew

    Hi Ray,
    So a lap is taken on the bottom left soft button. Please could you report back on how well this works with sweaty hands or in the pool, as the effectiveness of the touchscreen in these situations will make or break the Vivoactive as a serious sports watch and not just an activity tracker with sports capabilities.

  182. Iñaki


    does it support outdoor swimming tracking vis GPS?

  183. Emma

    Can you turn the alarm off on the Vivofit ?

  184. julienfr38

    Hello Ray,

    Do you know when the watch will be released ?
    Sometime Garmin says on twitter Q1 or Q2 2015 …

    Thanks !

  185. Nathan

    Hey Ray! Great site! Curious to know if you know what heart rate strap the Vivoactive will be bundled with? The classic or the soft strap? Thanks!

  186. I paddle a kayak/ocean ski. I need to load interval training schedule, see speed, measure HR, Plot speed and HR on a chat at home and calc distance travelled. Obviously waterproof. Most important is that I don’t have good eyes and can’t see dials easily. Would this watch be suitable?

  187. aminox

    Hi DC,

    One question about the Vivoactive Watch: every device I’ve used with a touch-screen becomes borderline useless when your hands are sweaty or wet. Did you try it using it the screen while wet or sweating? What was your experience like?

    • I don’t have a final production unit, and wasn’t able to use it in wet conditions. It’s one of my primary concerns that we’ll have to wait until I have a unit (likely later this month).

    • aminox


      As per this site: link to wareable.com it mentions capacitive buttons. If the touchscreen is also capacitive, it will render the watch nearly useless in wet conditions, unfortunately. I’m waiting on official word from Garmin, but if confirmed, it’ll be pretty disappointing.

    • Per me talking with the team directly, it’s designed to be waterfriendly and functional (remember, it’s a swim watch too!). But, as much as I’d like to believe the team designing it, I still want to validate that functionality directly.

      Also note that many tech folks still mistakenly believe that capacitive screens mean they can’t be used with water. That changed about 18 months ago with new display types.

    • aminox

      Right on. If and when you get your prod copy and test it out, post comments. I’m really interested to see how that works out.

    • Steve

      Besides wet conditions…..For those of us who live in cold weather climates will this capacitive touch button be an issue with gloves when doing intervals?

    • aminox

      Very good point, Steve. I’m really hoping it’ll be pressure-based and not pure capacitance, but I’m half-way expecting it to be a dud :(

    • Steve

      If you have to touch a certain part of the screen without gloves to mark a lap I consider this a degrade compared to using a hard button. When you’re running intervals you’re not really in a frame of mind to be hunting on a touch screen to mark the lap, you just want to hit a button without looking. They should consider using the activity button or enable a “shake” of the wrist to activate the next lap. MotoActv had this as s feature for some functions. Starting to get concerned VivoActive may not be what I had hoped for in running watch. Still no details on how many data fields are displayed on one screen or if you have to toggle between two.

    • aminox

      Steve and DC, someone from Garmin just got back to me and yes, confirmed both the “soft” buttons and the touch screen are capacitive. My hope is quickly dwindling.

    • Again guys, that term doesn’t mean anything in that context these days. Garmin makes plenty of touchscreen devices that people have no issues with gloves, water, or anything else these days. See: Edge 1000/810/800/705/510, and the Forerunner 620, plus all the outdoor/etc variants of those same devices.

      For example, when I asked Garmin last about this, they noted: “the Edge 1000 does have a capacitive touch display to improve readability which has been specially tuned to work with gloves and in damp conditions.”

      Which, is true. After some initial display teething pains all is pretty much good there now.

    • aminox

      DC this just came from someone in the technical team:

      “The vivoactive software is designed to disregard water as input on touch screen. This means if a lot of water hitting the touch screen and you try to swipe it may not respond well. I personally tested this on a vivoactive for you. With running water over the watch I had a hard time swiping to different page. […] Trying to swipe under water would be difficult. ”


    • No doubt, but how often do you use running water with your devices? Again, just not seeing that as an issue on the Edge 1000.

      Now, for swimming we’ll have to see on arrangement/use of buttons.

    • aminox

      Where I live rains torrentially quite frequently. Getting completely drenched is not unusual in my runs — specially summer. Yes, the swimming aspect will be the proof in the pudding.

    • aminox

      Sorry I couldn’t resist, so I followed up with technical team. For swimming, they said they’ve made up for the potential screen issues (on this particular watch) by offloading laps, intervals and # of strokes to the accelerometer. They insist you shouldn’t need to touch the screen other than before/after the activity. We’ll see I’m truly curious if the watch delivers in this case.

    • Turn The Damn Cranks

      Ray — Saw below that you are going to get your production version next week. Any chance for a quick post shortly thereafter about how it performs when wet? I can’t be the only person waiting to place an order with Clever Training depending upon your take on this issue.


  188. Gil

    Read both reviews on the Fitbit Surge and Garmin Vivoactive….

    I know the Surge review came out prior to the Vivoactive….Now that both have been reviewed…

    If you had a choice of either one, which one would you pick Ray?

    My activities:
    Running outdoor and treadmill
    I do HR training ( I do use a chest strap)

    • It’s honestly too soon to know on the Vivoactive.

    • Gil

      The release date is set for April, correct?

    • Jim

      It seems to be “before April”, as Garmin is still saying 1Q, and some vendors are now giving date like 3/20 (REI). People are starting to get the Fenix 3 and VF2, and Garmin seems to have updated their mobile apps, as well as Garmin Express…

    • Gil

      Well – I made my decision ….Went with the Surge…since I’m not going to use it in the water, it really would be the best choice for me…The only question I have about the Surge is this…
      I know you can start a run with the Fitbit app and the Surge…If I set my run using the watch, do I need to use the app also? I also noticed the GPS was off between the Fitbit app and the Runkeeper app…

  189. len ellis

    Ray –

    would the vivoactive change your view on the 620 as best gps running watch? $50 rebate now available on it, and that makes me think the 630 is right around the corner. trying to decide on a pure running watch. vivoactive does not support v02max estimate either, right?


  190. Jen B

    I might have missed this, but can you change the layout of the data fields and pages? Or are you stuck to 3 metrics lined up with the largest font one in the middle? I’d ideally like to have more than one page with two bigger font metrics per page or something like that.

  191. Lee

    Hi, Do you think it is possible that through the connect IQ we could see an app for the Vivoactive where we could get turn by turn directions for a running route? Cant wait to be able to trade in my Vivosmart and 610 and only have 1 device when I run or bike.

  192. Just as a heads up on Vivofit2 shipments, the first units have started to arrive. Clever Training just got their first shipment in today, which can be seen here: link to twitter.com

    These are headed back out today to the first pre-orders for the unit.

    Vivoactive is of course still pending Garmin release (likely not till the end of the month, or the first week of April).

    • Neil

      Garmin Australia have just posted on FB that the Vivoactive has arrived here.
      link to facebook.com
      Do you have a final production version under review and does it fit your ladies wrist OK?

    • Interesting, but no, I do not have a final production version. When I talked to the lead Fitness PR person on Monday in person at MWC, they were still thinking about the first week of April for public release.

      I’ve just shot over a quick note to get a bit of clarity.

    • Ok, got some clarity here. As much clarity as mud can be.

      Essentially, they’re officially unofficially shipping. Seriously, I can’t figure this wording out, and I’m kinda sick of getting poor communications on shipping from them on their spring products. Essentially they are sending units out to retailers starting now. My Vivoactive (and Vivofit2) trial/demo unit will leave tomorrow from Kansas, and arrive in my forwarding box on Monday, and then be here in Europe by Wednesday, assuming to customs hold-ups.

      I expect by next week we’ll get clarity on where the arrivals for consumers stands. Or, perhaps just like the Vivofit2 they’ll just randomly show up. Sigh…

    • Neil

      Thanks Ray. Looking forward to the full review but I’m time constrained as I’m buying as a birthday gift so may just have to take a punt based on your initial thoughts.
      Does it fit your lovely wife’s wrist OK?

    • She hasn’t tried it on, but I expect it will. One of the Garmin folks I know is roughly the same size as The Girl, and she wears it without any issues.

      Likely late next week I’ll publish some various YouTube videos with initial thoughts. I’m in the Middle East most of next week until Friday, so even if it arrives Weds to me, I won’t be able to touch it till Friday.

    • aminox

      I’m truly torn between the VivoActive and Fenix3. I guess, I’ll get whichever one gets to amazon first — that’s where I’ve got a gift card saved for this expense :)

    • Neil

      Thanks again.

  193. MarkleMcD

    What to do? I planned on getting the Polar M400 because I have found that the Garmin HR monitor function stinks. But the Vivoactive looks amazing in other other aspects and would cost about the same since I already have a HR strap. And golf functionality!

    • Neil

      MarkieMcD: I have the M400 and it’s nice but despite the extra cost, I’ll be buying my wife one of these….

    • MarkleMcD

      Biggest thing I’m wondering about is what fields can I use while running. I like a page with Total Distance, Total Time, Lap Pace and then another with Lap Time, Lap Distance, Lap Pace and HR. Hoping it has those fields.

    • Bachoo

      No vibration alert on the M400. If that is important.

  194. Simon

    Just wondering if the vivoactive will have any sort of heart recovery time (i.e. bpm after one minute of pressing end like some of the higher end garmins), or fitness test functionality. I would like to know if all the unicycling I am doing is actually making we fitter, or just tiring me out :)

    • It’s not planned to.

    • Simon

      Thanks for the response. Been looking through all your reviews (awesome job btw), I am looking for a watch that does all day activity tracking, but also includes a fitness test, or better yet a recovery rate test along with a cycling mode (I doubt any watch is going to support unicycling). I don’t run as it is a big asthma trigger for me, but do lift weights, so an HR calorie mode or similar would be required too. Is the M400 from polar (or the V800) the only one that does that right now?

    • So the Vivoactive does do calorie-based HR, so that’s still there.

  195. Andy


    This might sound like a long shot and I’m not sure exactly how it would work, but is there any chance that the vivoactive will eventually connect with Edge units. This could could be combined for multi sport users using the watch for the swim then using the edge for bike and finishing with the watch for the run. If they all connected to create one file and use the differences in time for T1 and T2 without having to push any additional buttons.

    Hope that makes sense just had that idea in my head.

    • Unfortunately I’d say it’s pretty unlikely. Mostly because even today the simple act of using two Garmin devices still results in some oddities on Garmin Connect. Let alone trying to have those devices do some sort of communications together in realtime. :/

  196. Jamesy

    Ray thanks so much for all you are doing here.

    Do you know if the vivoactive would continue to accept HR via mio link while in swimming mode, or does Garmin pro-actively turn this off?

    • Garmin’s been proactively turning it off, though, there’s no reason a Connect IQ app couldn’t actually. My understanding is that Connect IQ does have access to the swimming functionality (they left it open to enable an app to build out swim workouts).

      I’ll test it next week when I get the unit in.

  197. Kandis

    WIll I be able to wear this for HIIT workouts, weight lifting, and Indoor machines? I know there is not a button for this such as on the surge but if I was wearing the HR strap would I still be able to get my HR and calorie burn?

  198. Gil

    DC – any change you could do a side by side comparison test with the final release of Vivoactive against Garmin’s Surge…durability and other fun features…


    this will be my birthday gift…the winner finds a home in California…

  199. i have one of those already – Motorola Motoactv.

    • Gunnar

      The Motoactv. So close to being great. I’m still wondering how they managed the mapping on that device. I had one for a bit and really found the mapping useful. Too bad the only mapping now on devices are the Leikr and the VERY expensive Epix.

  200. aminox

    I just realized the Fenix 3 starts at $500?!? Did they bump the price? If so, I’m going to have to settle with the vivoactive whether it sucks when the screen is wet or not. :(

    • Always been that price. I suspect given that the V800 and Ambit3 were at those prices (retail/MSRP). Those prices for those watches have a slipped a bit in recent months as demand has fallen (especially with the FR920XT), thus, I suspect Garmin reasons that they could charge it and folks will buy it.

    • aminox

      Not a price bump. Damn. I just realizing it now. Sigh. $400 was going to be pushing it, $500, it’s out of my league, likely.

    • aminox

      Yup. my bad. I must’ve misread the expected MSRP. I know that’s an excellent watch that will last me a long time, but sheesh $500+ for an Smart GPS watch is hard to justify unless you do any or several of those sports of those sports professionally. $400 was a stretch for me already, but rationalized it would be a gift/reward for my running the last couple years. $500, I’m going to have to work my sales skills and sell the idea to my wife :D