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First look at the new Garmin Vivosmart HR with optical sensor


Update! See my in-depth review of the Vivosmart HR – now located just one click away here!

Today Garmin rolled out their latest wearable, the Vivosmart HR.  This new wrist-bound device takes the Vivosmart band that they announced slightly over a year ago, and adds in an optical sensor.  Along the way it got a fancy new crisp display and a few new features.

The Vivosmart line isn’t new, and actually started last year with the original Vivosmart, which blended the activity tracking features of the Vivofit with many of the smartphone connected features of newer devices, like notifications.

Now it’s important to note the device name and what each one looks like, especially if purchasing.  That’s because many retailers used ‘Vivosmart HR’ as the name of the product last year when they included the bundled heart rate (HR) strap.  In theory, the official product name then should have been something like “Vivosmart with old-school bundled HR strap”, but alas, it was shortened to ‘Vivosmart HR’ by some retailers.  Whereas this year, the Vivosmart HR is truly an optical HR sensor inside the Vivosmart.  So, for comparison purposes, here’s the two units side by side:


To the left is the Vivosmart HR, to the right is the old Vivosmart not-HR.  If you see anything looking like the right, it’s not the new unit.  And for fun, here’s the Vivofit with the Vivosmart HR:


And just for fun, here’s two shots of the front/back as worn on my wrist:

IMG_9990 IMG_9992

Phew. Let’s get onto the device itself.

What’s new:


Since time’s limited (I’ve got 57 minutes until announcement!), and thankfully the feature-set is pretty similar to last year, we’re going to cook right into bulleted points of what’s new.  And then I’ll go through each new item later in the post.  Here’s what’s new/different on the Vivosmart HR:

– Internal optical HR sensor
– 24×7 heart rate recording (continual resting HR, and average resting HR)
– Counts stairs (flights of stairs)
– Displays intensity minutes (against a goal of 150min/week)
– Backlit display
– Slightly reduced battery life – 5 days instead of 7 days on original Vivosmart
– Rebroadcasting of your HR over ANT+ (so other devices can pick it up)
– Does NOT connect to ANT+ cycling sensors (like the original Vivosmart did)
– Does NOT connect to external ANT+ HR strap (like the original Vivosmart did)

It still does all the same jazz as last year such as:

– Tracking steps, daily distance walked, calories burned
– Inactivity alerts & Move Bar
– Tracks workouts separately
– Time alarm
– Smartphone Notifications (i.e. e-mail, text, Twitter, etc…)
– Music Controls
– Find your phone option
– Vibration alerts

But did I hear you say you wanted a quick preview video of the device, complete with new and old features? No problem, here’s a rundown of everything in just a few minutes:

Now, just to be super-clear, the Vivosmart HR does NOT have GPS within it.  It also can’t pair to your phone for GPS data (sorta a disappointment).  So for distance it uses your stride length, which you can tweak if you know it (or use a treadmill to figure it out).  This will help increase accuracy. Additionally, for cyclists, it can pair to an ANT+ Speed sensor to get speed/distance while cycling – just like the original Vivosmart. Update…apparently not – that was pulled.  As was also the ability to connect to a separate strap.


Of course, the big news is indeed that new optical sensor developed internally by Garmin (not licensed).  Which, btw, Garmin is officially branding as ‘Elevate’.  So, the Vivosmart HR has Elevate technology in it.  Or, to the rest of us, it has an optical sensor.  I’ll decide whether or not it earns the name Elevate if it actually works in my forthcoming testing.


In non-workout mode you’ll see a data page on the display when you swipe to the side that shows you your current HR, as well as your average resting HR.  In my case, I haven’t quite been wearing it long enough for the average HR to show up.  I assume by this afternoon it will, in which case I’ll update the photo below.


The HR tracking is done continuously, 24×7, in addition to HR tracking during a specific workout using the optical sensor.  While this is the second Garmin product in a week to include the in-house optical sensor, I don’t expect to see it rolled out to additional products this year, but likely more into new products next year sometime once it’s optimized a bit more.

As for the sensor accuracy? I don’t know yet. I haven’t run with a final production unit yet, though I have run with a prototype unit.  As with the FR235 last week, I’m going to withhold judgment on the optical sensor until I’ve had at least a few runs with it.  However, given it’s new and unproven, I’m going to say the same as last week: All optical sensors are guilty of sucking until proven otherwise.

To be clear, there are many great optical sensors out there.  But those sensors had to prove they were accurate.  Garmin will have to do the same – for both workouts and 24×7 HR data.

Note that the 24×7 optical HR data is then recorded to Garmin Connect via the Garmin Connect Mobile app (or to your desktop via Garmin Express).  On the mobile app side it uses Bluetooth Smart to connect to the device, on iOS and Android.  You can pair that via the settings menu:


As alluded to earlier, this is the first Garmin unit to display stairs climbed.  It does this utilizing an internal barometric altimeter.  You’ll then see the goal flights of stairs listed, next to how many you’ve actually done:


In addition to stairs, Garmin adds in ‘Intensity Minutes’, which is basically a fancy way of saying ‘Workout Minutes’.  Except, it sounds intense.  The goal here being to get you to 150 intense minutes per week, with the unit tracking this on a weekly basis rather than a daily basis.


This 150-minute suggestion of course comes from a multitude of health organizations that recommend 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week.  So Garmin totaled it up and called it done.

Initial Thoughts:


At $149USD, it’s actually fairly well priced.  It’s roughly in the same ballpark as the Fitbit Charge HR in terms of price and base features, but the Vivosmart HR includes a far better display, far better waterproofing (50m vs none) and way better workout tracking.  By almost every metric the Vivosmart HR is more capable than the Charge HR (except perhaps battery life).


The real proof will be in whether or not the optical sensor is accurate.  In the case of Fitbit that answer is ‘Sorta…it depends’.  So hopefully Garmin’s accuracy will, Elevate, above that bar (yes, I went there).


Note that the Vivosmart HR is available in three colors – a black, deep purple, and dark blue.  Quite honestly you can’t tell the difference between them from more than a few feet away.  However most notable is that the Vivosmart HR will only be available to Best Buy exclusively from November 1st to January 1st.  This means that other retailers can’t carry it.  On the flip side, it means that in theory it’s available to pickup this Sunday at a Best Buy store near you.  Why is that notable?  Because it’s going to be interesting to see if the optical sensor is ready for prime-time.  That was likely a hard-set date, versus one where Garmin could say push back until ready.  Maybe they’re already ready.  We’ll see.

With that – thanks for reading, and feel free to drop any questions down below – I’ll try and get them answered.

Heads up! You can now pre-order the Vivosmart HR from Clever Training.  Doing so supports the site, and makes you awesome.  Also, you can use your DCR-Clever Training VIP benefits, as described here.  Here’s the link:

Garmin Vivosmart HR (all colors & sizes)

Do remember though that Best Buy does have an exclusive 60-day period ending January 1st, 2016. Thus all shipments will occur starting in January.

Thanks for the support, it helps the blog here!


  1. Nick Ward

    this has almost got me excited. wonder what this means for the vivoactive… HR coming to that soo too? ;)

    • Mr Nacho

      I’d almost say it’s a matter if when at this point.

    • Hemant Sharma

      Is Vivoactive HR in pipeline? Any idea Ray?

    • John Sadler

      Haha, I was just thinking that. I’d love it, but just bought my vivoactive 6 months ago, and need to upgrade it already?! Man Garmin just keeps sucking the money out of me with all of these new product upgrades/releases!

    • John Sadler

      To explain that a bit more, I had purchased the Vivosmart for xmas 2014. It was great, but didn’t quite have everything I was looking for. Then a month or so later, the Vivoactive was announced then released. I had to have it as I really wanted the GPS functionality and the run/bike/swim features. Plus being a developer, I liked the idea of tinkering with ConnectIQ. I’m extremely happy with this smartwatch but built in HR would be a huge plus so I can scrap that strap!

      One question though if I were to upgrade, will the HRM be able to be read by my Garmin Edge 510 or will I have to record my ride on both the Vivoactive & Edge?

    • Mike Richie

      The Vivoactive would seem to be the perfect device to get the heart rate upgrade except that it has the swim component. I’m sure Garmin won’t want everyone complaining about the HR not working or working poorly while swimming. And if Garmin has already figured out how to make it work why would they have released the new HR-Tri and HR-Swim straps? That being said, the Vivoactive with HR (that wourked with swimming) and the addition of workouts and maybe simple courses would be the perfect watch for me and I suspect many others!

    • Julien G

      Could not agree more. I would definitely upgrade the vivosmart to get HR. Especially interested in how my resting HR changes.

    • Ras0710

      I couldn;t agree more. I have a Fitbit Charge HR, and want to upgrade. Was thinking of the Microsoft Band 2 but not waterproof. I think the Vivoactive with OHR would be great. Couple that with HRV that would be awesome.

    • Sal Abatemarco

      I want to really like this band because of the HR monitor. But I cant…. The display never turns off. I wear my watch on my other wrist and because the band display never turns off I look like an idiot with 2 “watches” on. I don’t understand why there isnt an option to turn on and off the display to your preference. Very frustrating…I will stay with my Vivo Smart.

    • Ruben

      Vivoactive with Optical HRM + 1-sec GPS recording would blast any competition out of the water.

  2. Josh

    If one will own a 235 (for running and cycling) and chooses to switch back and forth between it and the new vivosmart hr (for wear during the rest of the day), would there be any potential of the step count on one device picking up where the other left off? This is a gap I’d love to see disappear at some point.

    • Adam


      In the Garmin Mobile app (3.0), the Activity Tracker help section says “An activity tracker can only be used by one person at a time, not shared between friends or spouses. Connect will syn with multiple activity trackers and allows you to use the appropriate device for your daily activity. If there is a conflict in merging data, Garmin Connect will use your preferred activity tracker”.

      A moderator on the Garmin forums says that this information was a mistake, but it sure looks like Garmin is working on some kind of merge across devices.

    • Josh

      Adam, thanks for that super quick reply. I did just order one of these online at bestbuy.com as it would be really interesting to finish off a 15 mile training run, then while the 235 is charging, have the vivosmart pick up where the 235 left off in terms of step count. And Ray thanks for your quick look and work as always.

    • Joe C

      What I always understood is that when you want to switch devices, sync the current one to update your data and activities. Disconnect that one from your phone, then connect the new one. You can have more than one device registered on Garmin Connect but only one can be “connected” at a time. That would mean if you’re using your computer, you would need to also do the sync but maybe needing to do it later if you’re away. Each device has it’s own data timeline and shouldn’t overlap with a follow up sync anyway. Unless you’re wearing both at the same time…

    • Lee

      Joe C, in theory you are 110% correct. Unfortunately the step count on Garmin Connect will not increase with any steps on the new device until you reach that step total.
      So if your Vivoactive or Forerunner (that is also a activity tracker) for a run and get 15000 steps then you get home and wear your vivosmart/fit whatever, your daily step total will not increae until you go over 15k with the Vivo.

      This seams like such a simple fix for Garmin, not sure why they are dragging there heals with it.

    • Oleg

      I think it is hardware limitation, Bluetooth low power phone adapter will work with one device only, like one to one connection.
      So, if I connect my edge 520 I will be no able to receive notifications on vivo smart and opposite. When connected with vivosmart I will not have live track with edge.

    • Steven Knapp

      And this hint:
      link to twitter.com

    • It’s a backend limitation, not a BLE one. Technically the app actually supports multiple devices today. It’s that behind the scenes they don’t support multiple accounts of the day’s step tracking.

      I just shot over a note to get clarification on when that fix will hit. As Steven noted, it’s been something they’ve been working on since earlier this year. It’s not an easy nut to crack in terms of de-duplication. The edge cases are really more the challenge (and that’s what people beat companies like Garmin over the head when they get wrong).

    • Mike Richie

      Shouldn’t really be that hard. You could store both sets of data in your database and make the selection when displaying the data. Then if you need to change the code for improperly handled edge cases, you could modify it as necessary. The only issue then would be aggregation, but actually that could be done on the fly as well. Calculations that were stored for performance reasons in the past are now regularly recalculated (and cached, but not stored in the database).

    • Pawel

      It will great to have an automatic pickup of right data. Imagine you run with Fenix, but at the same time you still have Vivosmart on your palm. I simply get used to wear activity tracker all the time. As it is now, it will result in counting activity twice.

    • Bill

      What are the chances this has been added or is about to be?

  3. Greg Siemon

    I’m guessing it no longer has a touch screen.

  4. Adam

    Can this rebroadcast HR over ANT+ like the FR235?

    It would be cool if you could use it as a daily activity tracker AND a wrist-based replacement for a chest strap to hook up to other devices during activities.

    • Sylvester Jakubowski

      Curious about rebroadcasting HR as well, seems quite a bit bigger than my vivosmart today.

    • I’ll get clarification on that. May take a few hours.

    • Mike S

      ^^ This! All I want is a device to continually monitor my activity and HR but also re-broadcast my HR (accurately!) to my Edge when I’m riding/racing! This seems to basically be the Holy Grail!!

    • Adam

      Also want to know this.
      Can this replace heartrate chest strap that is paired with my Edge500.
      Hate the chest strap.

    • jason k

      According to the Garmin website “You can even use your vívosmart HR as a heart rate strap on your wrist when paired with other compatible Garmin devices”….of course accuracy will be the million dollar question?

    • Matt

      “You can even use your vívosmart HR as a heart rate strap on your wrist when paired with other compatible Garmin devices.”

      Sounds like it rebroadcasts.

      link to buy.garmin.com

    • Francis Paulin

      This + 50m waterproofing is exciting! If it works while swimming, I’ll be very tempted buy this instead of the new swimming specific HR-straps.

    • Judith

      Tried using a mio link in the pool – it was very hit & miss whether it worked or not (and this was just looking at the coloured lights – not expecting it to sync with anything). Water flow definitely interfers with the optical HR – so I wouldn’t get too excited about this….

    • Sylvester Jakubowski

      It would be pretty cool of them to do the store & forward from the Vivosmart HR like the HRM-SWIM.

    • anders majland

      I’ve used a the mio link with the original vivofit more than a few times. The mio link has to be pretty tight and next to vivofit and have had most succes when first turning the mio link on after entering the water. But in the pool i have had like a 80% success rate in logging heartrate but sometimes i have had dropouts and/our obvious wrong. OW with a wetsuits covering both the vivofit and mio link the succes rate is over 95%

    • Howard Olsen

      Yes, It can rebroadcast. I just bought one and have confirmed that my Edge 510 picks up the HR. I am questioning it’s accuracy though. It’s giving me an average resting heart rate of 42. I dont think so, Furthermore, when I swipe from clock to HR reading, the indicator shows me that the senor is looking for a reading and displays a very low (like 48) HR reading; then the indicator stops flashing and my HR displays at 62. It’s as though the unit goes to sleep when the HR screen is not active. I’m certain I’m getting artificially low averages and readings. It will be interesting to get this thing out for my first ride to compare the HR reading with Previous averages recorded by my MIO Link (which is perfect – but doesnt have a batery indicator – so I keep draining it. I have a feeling this VivoSmart HR is going to get returned.

  5. Bart

    Is the Vivosmart HR able to broadcast the HR on ANT+ and/or Bluetooth Smart?

  6. Emiliano

    This looks awesome. Shame about the GPS. Ray, are you thinking of doing a fitness tracker showdown? Really wonder how the new Microsoft Band compares to this.

  7. Adam

    But Ray! What about the new scale! ;-)

    • Adam

      Yes, I’m more interested in those than the Vivosmart HR to be honest.

      The cynic in me suspects that most of the touted metrics (body fat, muscle mass, bone mass(?!)) will be complete nonsense, but as long as the weight measurement and Wifi connectivity is good they could be useful.

      I’ve been looking at the Withings offerings for a while, but having to sync the data from the Withings site → MyFitnessPal → Garmin Connect → Elsewhere seems like a chain of data transfer waiting to be cut off!

    • Jason

      I’ve been using the Withings since January (2015) and had flawless, instand data transfer to Garmin, TrainingPeaks, MyFitnessPal, and others. Very good API and no issues at all.

  8. David Lusty

    Poor Polar, they were so very nearly out ahead…

    I’ve gotta say, even though it costs more, the Polar looks like a nicer device from the pics and I think between looks and availability in brick and mortar shops is where the choice will be made for these devices. The ability to pick it up and look at it in a real shop will make or break it for the…lets call them the yoga-lattes market…as will the device looking nice. Oh, and it has to be cheaper than the Apple watch.

    • Polar has a device on the way to me. I think it may arrive today, at worst tomorrow. All usually depends on how much customs likes me. If I get it today or tomorrow, I’ll do a short post like this on it as well by the end of the week.

    • David Lusty

      I’d actually forgotten the Polar pics were all marketing ones. It’ll be interesting to see if the screen is as nice in real photos when you get a unit, although admittedly my main interest will be to see the potential for a replacement Polar Tri watch in January. I’m assuming there are no new high end Garmin toys until late 2016 and I want a new toy! Guessing future products is way more fun than going for a run :)

  9. Jiri

    Does it support smart alarms based on a sleep cycle?

  10. mykd83

    Is one of the new products lined up for posting this week, the Microsoft Band 2? I always like to get your reviews on things before I buy them, because everything is so thorough, which is why I held off on the original Band. Now everyone else is bringing out tempting products, and I don’t know what to do!

    • I ordered one to my US forwarding address, and will need to wait for it to make it’s way over here (I’m not sure if there’s a local place that actually has them in stock in Paris). I think I’ll be forwarding a package set over tomorrow, for arrival by end of the week.

    • mykd83

      So no advance testing or anything like with the other devices, just a “buy it when it comes out” and then have a look? :-(

      I don’t think it’s released until mid November

    • Yup, correct. It’s supposed to ship Oct 30th, which upon looking at my calendar is actually Friday, so probably will have to wait till next week’s shipment.

    • mykd83

      UK release is November 19th, US is October 30th – that gives you at least a week to get something up on the site for me ;-P

  11. Tom

    What about swimming? Can it track HR under water and strokes and distance in pool etc?

  12. John

    Can it display HR and stopwatch simultaneously? Thanks DC.

  13. Nick Ward

    Any word on UK availability? If Bestbuy has exclusivity until the new year, I’m assuming we cant buy it over here until then?

    • In theory for Europe folks it should be available online from today actually, according to the Euro folks I’ve talked to. :)

    • Nick Ward

      any idea where… lol? I can only find it listed on Bestbuy :s

      not that I’m desperate to buy one – I’m holding onto my vivoactive for now – in the hopes Garmin release a VA2 with HR ;)

    • Hmm, in theory the Europe sites should show it. Perhaps they’re trying to even out after the Garmin.com UK site soft-launched the FR230/FR630 a month early on accident. ;)

    • David Lusty

      Normally there is a UK partner with exclusivity for a while – the 920XT was only at Wiggle for a while, and I think Cotswold or Snow and Rock for the F3, Sweatshop for one of the running ones a while ago. No idea how you’d find out who got it other than lots of Google-Fu

    • DavidR

      Runners Need have the launch exclusive on the 630 so maybe they are teachers pet with Garmin at the moment.

  14. Dustin

    Wow…. the price is actually reasonable. I may actually look at this.

  15. jason k

    From the Garmin website “You can even use your vívosmart HR as a heart rate strap on your wrist when paired with other compatible Garmin devices”….now the million dollar question is, accuracy?

  16. Oleg

    I was thinking about new Polar A360, which gives more battery life, looks slimmer and can utilize Polar Fit rest/load graph to see if not overloading, which not available on GC. Would be nice to compare both devices

    • smileman

      The Polar A360 actually looks significantly wider to me than the Vivosmart HR.

      However, is the Vivosmart taller than the A360 (meaning rises higher off the wrist)? The Vivosmart HR certainly looks A LOT taller than the original Vivosmart (a concern for me).

      The big shortcoming with the Polar A360, of course, is that it doesn’t offer 24/7 HR, and it costs $50 more than the Vivosmart HR. But the A360 has a color screen.

      I was sort hoping that Garmin would try to improve the Vivosmart without increasing the device’s size/footprint/weight. While I’m excited about the possibilities around 24/7 HR, and the barometer is definitely welcome, I really liked the original Vivosmart’s form factor.

      So Garmin, if you’re listening, the Vivosmart HR is a welcome product but maybe still try to also improve on the original Vivosmart while keeping that same size/form factor. Small and discreet is good!

    • Oleg

      As I understood Polar offers 24/7 Herat rate monitoring.
      It also not clear whether Garmin has color screen or not.
      One thing for Garmin- you have everything in Garmin connect , no need to play with both sites, although Garmin could add body strain/overload graphs there.

    • Garmin does not have a color screen on the Vivosmart HR. Just black/white.

  17. BartMan

    What is the screen made of? Is this glass (i.e. Gorilla Glass) or is it just plastic? Judging by pictures – seems easy to scratch…

  18. Jon Niehof

    Now that Garmin’s doing their own optical HR, any word on their optical sensors doing HRV metrics? Since they use that for the VO2 max estimation and other big selling points of their watches, it would seem a no-brainer.

  19. Chris Watson

    Well, in the Garmin shop, I can see that they have launched the Vivosmart HR charging cable. Wow, I am so excited!

  20. Sebastian J.

    I know this might be off-topic, but since Garmin now introduces direct HR sensors into their wearables do you think there might be a fenix 4 coming next spring with that feature?
    That would follow recent years cycles and seems like an obvious iteration to me.

    • Jay

      I doubt that an OHR would be built into a fenix 4. It would most likely need the HRM-Run like the FR630 since that sensor can provide running dynamics that you can’t get otherwise.

  21. So… Let’s say Person X has a Garmin Fenix 2 watch that they use to track runs. How would the Vivosmart HR and the Fenix coexist? Trouble pairing both with the app? Would it duplicate running data? Can heart rate overlay onto run data from Fenix? So many questions…

    • You can pair multiple Garmin devices to the GCM app. However, if you record on multiple devices it will create duplicate activities (one of which you could delete).

      You could instead just pair the Fenix2 to the HR sensor of the Vivosmart HR. I’m going to assume Garmin.com as official enough that the capability exists. I had heard it unofficially, but since it wasn’t clarified in the press release and I forgot to follow-up I didn’t want to state something that wasn’t yet there.

  22. Joe McG

    Thanks for the quick look Ray! Good price, hoping the heart rate signal rebroadcasts to other Garmin devices and its accurate.

  23. Pavel

    Could you check, does this device support non-ASCII symbols in notifications (Hebrew, Cyrillic etc)?

  24. Jeremy

    Don’t know if you have an idea for this yet, but how long does it take to Charge? I’m trying to figure which I want more, this or the Forerunner 235 and my main kick is that the Forerunner can charge without being taken off. I see the charge ports are at the bottom and that has me thinking that it means I need to take it off to charge and I’m a stickler gathering my data to the point that I don’t want to ever take the watch off. If it charges fairly quick, like an hour or two, then I don’t think it will bug me but 4 or 5 hours will bug me.

  25. Cortney

    Does devices track sleep automatically or do you need to set them to sleep mode? I can’t seem to figure that out.

  26. Stewart

    Have Garmin removed the ANT+ sensors?

    On the Garmin HR product page, there is no mention of being able to use bike speed sensors. This is mentioned on the specs for Vivosmart but not HR.

    • Apparently they have. I just got confirmation on that. I had wondered the same thing this afternoon, but wasn’t quite sure since sometimes there’s firmware mismatches during the beta process. But yes, no cycling sensors. Also getting some minor conflicting information on the ability to pair the Vivosmart HR to an ANT+ HR strap (apparently removed, but also apparently not, trying to get clarity).

    • Ok, further confirmation. The final production units will NOT pair to external HR straps. They will broadcast ANT+ HR, but not allow you to connect an existing strap. Sorta a weird decision.

    • Craig

      So are you saying that the Vivosmart HR can replace a chest strap and broadcast HR to a Edge device via ANT+? If so we are back to the question of how well that will work in practice.

    • Stewart

      So – by the sounds of it – the device is capable of receiving Ant+ signals but disabled by software – not a hardware limitation?

  27. Marco

    I was expecting the Polar one to be 24/7 HRM… i’ve always been a Polar guy but this just might be the one Garmin product i get. Thanks for the early preview!

  28. Richard Owen

    The line between fitness band and smartwatch is becoming blurred now and I prefer discrete solutions. I have had the original Vivosmart for a few months now and I like the slim, unobtrusive nature of it. The display only comes on when you need it so it looks just like a band. This is much chunkier and too watch-like for me.

    My TomTom Spark (which is ace BTW) does activity tracking and will soon have smartphone notifications so I’m more likely to step back and use a simple activity tracker on the days I don’t want to wear a sports watch.

    • smileman

      “The line between fitness band and smartwatch is becoming blurred now and I prefer discrete solutions. I have had the original Vivosmart for a few months now and I like the slim, unobtrusive nature of it. The display only comes on when you need it so it looks just like a band. This is much chunkier and too watch-like for me.”

      Ditto. Hopefully the Vivosmart HR lets you turn off the display so that it isn’t always on?

    • Richard M

      I mean, don’t you guys hope that eventually we won’t be able to tell the two apart? Less devices! And by hope, I mean we will, in probably 2 years or less at this rate. Think Apple Watch 3 basically.

    • Stephen

      Actually I don’t want the two to merge. I like wearing a real watch. I want the smallest least intrusive “band” I can get for my opposite wrist. I would prefer something with no screen. The UP3 is just about perfect design for me but the lack of waterproofing and the questionable accuracy of the heart rate and delay on 24/7 heart rate data threw me. I tried a charge HR but blew it up in less than a week. This has potential but the size increase is a disappointment for me.

  29. Wow, I’m so torn on this right now. I have a vívofit which I love and a fenix 2 that I also love. While the smart is pretty cool I am a huge fan of the fit’s year long battery.

    I have to assume a fenix 4 might include a built optical hrm but I think for now I’ll wait and see how accurate this is. I might be willing to sacrifice battery life for hr functions. I’m not sure that I care about my hr outside of training though.

    • After thinking on this some more I realized why this is a great solution for me. Integrated optical straps aren’t great for triathlon since I’d want the watch off my wrist on a course longer than Olympic and training rides in general. This eliminates the need I’d still have of the chest strap.

      Still not sure about the battery life but I’ll think about it at least. Might make a great Hanukkah gift ;)

  30. David

    I’m also interested in rebroadcasting the HR. Generally, I record with my phone using the Wahoo Fitness (WF) app so if it (WF) could pick up the data over Bluetooth, I could push it where ever I want when I’m done the workout. This would be especially nice when commuting to work and don’t want to bother with a strap.

  31. Jeremy

    I guess I will ask, since Garmin has branded their own HR as Elevate, will you be putting up a review on how good it is later?

    • Yup, it’ll be part of my in-depth review. Since the properties of each device will likely impact accuracy, I’ll do it on a case by case basis.

      For example, I’d expect that the thinner band on the Vivosmart HR may impact accuracy compared to the FR235, which reduces light coverage.

    • Mike Richie

      Ray, I strongly suspect there is huge interest in this and the FR 235 for the Garmin HR solution (Elevate) that this would influence many purchasing choices depending on how accurate the Garmin solution is. So, as I assume you have a production Vivosmart (if not a FR235) could you give us some updates on HR accuracy during running and biking as soon as you get some data – at least whether it works as expected or is a total fail like so many of the optical readers from the non fitness companies. Some idea of whether this might work underwater would be great as well. Thanks for all you do on this btw.

    • Yup. I suspect I’ll have a Vivosmart HR very shortly (final production model with final production firmware). The unit I had today was a final production unit but not final production software. I suppose for Garmin, hell or high water you’ll be able to walk into a Best Buy on Sunday and get units.

      As for the FR235, I’d be really surprised if that’s sooner rather than later, but on a number of factors I’m hearing. But that’s just a guess.

    • Mike Richie

      Actually Best Buy is reporting Wednesday delivery as the release day if you go to preorder. Maybe the stores will be different though.

  32. midpackbiped

    This addresses every issue from the vivosmart without bloating it too badly. Look forward to driving around the DMV on Sunday to find one! My goal is to post a review on Elevate HR on midpackgear.com faster than Ray.

  33. Justus Stull

    Sorry if I missed this above. Is the screen always on? I have a vivosmart and the display is not great. The worst part of it is the screen turning off to conserve battery.

  34. David

    Hey Ray, any chance you can get a photo of what this looks like on “The Girl’s” wrist?

    • Eeks, sorry. I gave back the devices already. But I’ll probably have one early next week. The only challenge would have been that there are multiple sizes – so I only had one size (not small).

  35. David

    Has Garmin been able to have Garmin Connect assign TWO devices to activity tracking yet? They didn’t as of a few months ago.

    I ask because now with the Garmin FR 235 and Vivosmart HR you could see a scenario where you can wear the 235 for exercise and the VS HR for the rest of the time but would hope the step count, sleep data etc. could be unified somehow across the devices and across to 3rd parties like MyFitnessPal.

    Fitbit DOES do this now with devices like Surge and Charge HR.


    How long have you been wearing it now?
    Can you determine the accuracy of the HR as of yet?
    Or is it still too soon?

    Will you be updating the article once more data is available and you’ve worn it long enough?

    • Just super-limited, hence why it’s not a review. As noted I don’t know the accuracy yet since my photography time and running time were on two totally different devices a long ways apart.

      My hope is that I’ll get a production device early next week and be able to test it. I don’t know if I’ll do a full in-depth review, or how the update will go. But they’ll be something.

      As seen in the first paragraph, Garmin has released a crap-ton of devices. For me in the review side, it’s kinda been a 1 step forward, 2 steps back in keeping up (and there are plenty of other non-Garmin devices that are just as interesting).

    • Mike Richie

      But I’m sure I read somewhere that you are superman.

  37. Ray – will they only have one vivosmart unit? Just the HR? Or will there be a non hr model (like the current model)? And if they will maintain a non-hr model, is that going to get updated, too?

    • My understanding is only the one model. I think they look at the Vivofit2 as filling the gap at the lower end (to compete with the Fitbit Charge non-HR).

  38. Alex

    Wow, I was on the fence for a dual ANT+/BTLE optical HR sensor but this seems like a good alternative (via ANT+ rebroadcast). Lots of extra features for a reasonable price compared to a bare sensor. Will wait and see… (underwater HR? HR “buffer” à la garmin swim strap? practical use with a 920xt and/or edge520, etc…)

  39. Mike Hensen

    Ray thanks for all the work, looking forward to the full report, must say it looks interesting

  40. Greg

    Quick question: Will it keep a log of the 24/7 HR data like Fitbit does or will it only store your resting HR? I personally like the Charge HR, it is fantastic in terms of sleep tracking and HR tracking for the day but this device seems to be a step above it with notifications.

    I thought the Polar A360 was going to be a great device with built in optical but with the additional option to connect a strap. But when I learned that tit does not do 24/7 HR tracking it kind of bummed me out about it so this one from Garmin is a welcome unit if it indeed does do optical as well as HR strap for intense workouts. My Fitbit Charge HR really sucks when it comes to HR recording during hockey games but overall it does well everywhere else with the occasional misreading of my running cadence for my HR. Oh, and my Fitbit Charge HR never lasted me 7 days, it goes dead within 5 and I have constant BLE and notifications turned off. It’ll be interesting how long this unit actually lasts on a charge. I’m thinkinig about picking one up for my kid this weekend.

  41. Tommy Haywood

    Such a shame it can’t rebroadcast over Bluetooth so you can record gps and HR from your smartphone

  42. Lee

    Are the calories burned based on the 24×7 hr? This would be great to give someone a better idea of what their calorie expenditure is (knowing full well you cannot get 100% accuracy).

  43. Jessica

    I am wondering what is the width of the strap. The current Vivosmart is approx. .9″W, which is a great size for a women’s wrist. This one looks wider. I had an issue with how wide the Fitbit Charge HR is and ended up returning it for the Vivosmart. Can you post the width? The Garmin website only has the display dimensions.

    • smileman

      Also interested in this, as well as the height of the Vivosmart HR.

      The Vivosmart HR looks a lot taller than the Fitbit HR, Polar A360, and original Vivosmart too, which is a concern because it will affect how shirt cuffs interact with it.

  44. Philip

    Hi Ray,
    How come it could broadcast the HR in ANT for 5 days 24/7 whereas the other devices (like the Mio Fuse I have) bearly broadcast during 5-7hours? (and that’s the reason I don’t use it anymore…).
    And what would be the distance it would broadcast in ANT+? (With the Mio Fuse I have to wear the 920xt at the same wrist, and doesn’t work fine with the edge500 due to the distance between them).

    • Remains to be seen on broadcast distance (or actually, how it will broadcast in terms of 24×7 or only when enabled).

      But, to the core of the question, it really comes down to different optical sensors with different design properties. One might also want to keep in mind that the sensors that have done 24×7 activity tracking have historically sucked (using that broadly) when it comes to Fitness. So some of it’s power drain profiles, and also the type of components used.

  45. SA

    Anything new in the works on the Forerunner or Fenix line going to be announced soon/ released this year?

    • There were three new Forerunner watches announced last week. The Fenix3 was also just this year, so I wouldn’t expect anything this year either there.

  46. lorra466


  47. PhilSH

    Can I use this like a Mio Velo or Mio / Fuse with my Edge 1000 instead of a chest strap?

    Say it is Ant+

    Will data stay in my edge?


  48. Eric

    Hi Ray – Great review as always, and very timely. I’ve really been considering a HR fitness band to compliment my Garmin watch. I had been considering the Polar A360, but am happy Garmin has introduced this today (even if the Polar has a better display.

    Question – on the Garmin site, it shows the Heart Rate screen in vertical mode. Can all of the screens be vertically oriented, or only HR? Is this a setting or does it automatically orient itself? Thanks!

  49. Hello Ray. I’ve enjoyed your reviews and your backstory. I’m probably a little bit different demographic from many on this forum. Mid-40’s, three kids, still playing soccer in an adult league, not a triathlete (skill set or interest). Bought the original Vivosmart last Spring. Paired it with the Scosche optical HR monitor and have enjoyed incorporating into workouts and soccer games. Thought I’d move to the 235 until the Vivosmart HR announcement today. Hard to tell from your pics, but the protrusion of the optical sensor mechanism of the Vivosmart HR looks slightly more pronouned than the Fitbit in your photo. That might be the ultimate response to the limited surface area of the backside compared to wider fitness bands. I’ll be picking one up at Best Buy on Sunday if they are in stock and will compare with my current setup. Appreciate your time and detail in evaluating these new releases. My wife is a really gifted personal trainer. Would love to recommend your recommendations to her and in turn to her clients who are wanting to make life-altering changes to their health habits.

    • Thanks Mark, I appreciate it!

      On the protrusion, it’s smaller than it looks. Only because one is in front of the other. Here’s a photo of the other way around (I didn’t use this one because it wasn’t as sharp).

    • David

      People need to keep in mind the protrusion is actually intended to limit light. You either get a rubber ring a la 225 or you get something like this which will effectively dig into your wrist. This is likely why Garmin went to this type of strap also so you could put it on tight enough to dig into your wrist. I wish they would have left left the HRM strap up to us who have come to love Scorsche Rhythm +. It’s by far the best HRM and could have easily been paired with a new and improved VS2. We didn’t need this feature, in all likelihood it will disappoint because it will only work with the device worn uncomfortably tight.

  50. Hi DC, thanks for this update. now the Polar’s and Garmin’s have their own optical HR sensors it gets really interesting. Do you think there will be place for chestbelt HR measurement in 5 years, perhaps it is more reliable in measurement?

    • No, I think 5 years from now it’s going to be a hard press for HR-only via chest strap. Instead, I think we’ll see additional metrics that may be more difficult to measure in the wrist that end up in a chest strap or something like it.

    • David

      Someone needs to make a peel and stick chest strap. I can’t believe they don’t do this already. There was a kickstarter company doing it and after blowing away their funding goal they actually dropped the product because they were bought out by a medical company. The reason the current chest straps are hated so much is because of the strap. Eliminate that and the crowds will come back.

  51. Karel

    Thanks for the (p)review.
    Can the strap be replaced when it tears? (the strap of my vivosmart is torn at the moment and I think it can’t be replaced separately from the display/unit)

  52. Gary B

    Very interested. Upgraded the wife from Vivofit to Fitbit Charge HR and the screen takes too long to come on to display the time. She is a teacher and needs time to be available in an instant, this would do that and so much more.

    Any word on international release? More specifically Australia?

  53. Julien G

    Does anyone have a good method for measuring 24/7 HR right now with a traditional Bluetooth or ANT HR strap ?
    I would be keen to measure and upload to Garmin Connect.

  54. Michy

    Easy question: can the HR monitoring be turned off? In this case, does the battery life improve compared to previous Vivosmart?

  55. blake mulder

    the garmin webpage shows the ant+ symbol at the bottom – confusing? is it or isnt it ant+ enabled

    • It does ANT+ transmission (of the optical HR symbol). Just not picking up of other ANT+ sensors.

    • Greg

      Wait a minute! I thought you said it broadcasts the optical HR via ANT+ and you also said that it will connect to bicycle speed sensors AND chest straps. Sounds like it both transmits and receives ANT+.

    • Unfortunately, I updated the post (and somewhere up in the comments too) that it doesn’t connect to ANT+ sensors after all.

      Apparently that was a change that was in the almost-production unit I had, but not in the production unit (for the HR sensor). Really too bad, and honestly an odd change. :(

      But yes, it does broadcast ANT+, just can’t connect to ANT+ sensors.

    • Greg

      Actually that makes it a total deal breaker for me. It’s a real shame. I thought it was going to be the ideal unit to record 24/7 HR via optical and still record accurate HR data for workouts with a strap but that is not the case. Like I said, the Fitbit Charge HR does an OK job with cycling and running but it fails miserably when it comes to ice hockey. I still might pick one up just to have all my data tied into the Garmin conglomerate but I really like Fitbit’s measurements too.

      On an unrelated subject, the comment notifications don’t work.

    • David

      This was the response I was looking for and now I’m cancelling my pre-order. You can notify Garmin that this was a very stupid thing to do.

    • Nick

      Using vivosmart HR with edge 810 for cycling. I can only get my HR to rebroadcast for about 3 seconds before my 810 drops the broadcast. Should my 810 be able to receive the ant+ broadcast? How do I get it to work? What is the setup?

  56. Pete C

    Hi Ray,
    Would be interested to hear your thoughts on where the Garmin sleep offering is now, and how you see it comparing with what else is out there, particularly the Fitbit/withings/jawbones of this world. Will they use the HR as a way of improving it?

    Would love to see sleep devices as a section of winter recommendations even? I appreciate love is quite a strong word there….

    Great work as ever, and as soon as you have a European partner site, I’ll order everything through that!


  57. David Fregoli

    Nice preview, Ray, any word on how rugged it is?
    I’d love to pair it with the edge for my mtbiking efforts but I’m worried a watch might be too exposed for the trail/downhill riding I do.

    • It seems more rugged than it looks. Having the plastic should help. Ultimately I’d suspect if you took a blow to your wrist hard enough to damage the unit, your wrist is probably in a bad spot as well.

    • Rafal

      I have tried optical hrm on Mio Fuse for mtb and my experience is pretty bad, during impacts on downhill sections it was moving down to my wrist and accuracy was very bad then. I have tried to use it on inside of my forearm, but also without success. Probably because I have skinny arms, mostly just bones and skin. Maybe with bigger watch like garmin 235 situation will be different and it will be more stable with better accuracy but for now I’m just using chest strap. Ray any comments from you regarding MTB and optical HRM on a watch, do you think it will ever work?

    • Yeah, it’s likely more to do with the skinniness of arms than not. I have actually done mountain biking with an optical sensor with pretty good success.

      Still, like any technology we’ll see improvements. Optical is an area that we’ll see lots of improvements very quickly. We’re going through a phase right now where there’s a lot of options on the market ranging from horrible to great. I think if we fast forward 2 years, it’ll really be more a case of dial-tone. It’ll be a commodity and the baseline will just work.

    • Hendrik

      I can also confirm that optical HRM works for mountain biking, very well actually (in my case). In fact I am using a Mio Fuse since its launch date (december 2014) and have done many MTB rides with it, without glitches. The Fuse does need to be tightened well for this (but still comfortable) as otherwise it will indeed slide down the wrist upon impacts. Since I wear the Fuse all day every day in a more loose way when not working out, I do notice the device sliding down my wrist when riding my bike (vigorously) around town over cobble stones. Again here, tightening the wristband completely solves this, even with high impacts.
      The same can not be said for swimming for example. Even when tightening the wristband of the Fuse to less comfortable levels, the HR measurements mostly seem out of whack. The problem with swimming is not the movement of the device but seems to be a film of water interfering with a proper measurement of the sensor.
      I have also had other troubles with the Fuse, related to the touchscreen buttons becoming unresponsive. Luckily the Mio customer service is very responsive, I am waiting for a warranty replacement after sending in my device.

  58. Ray I think an interesting number I’d like to find out is how long the Vivosmart is capable of running as a HRM connected to another device. I think this could be an interesting option for triathletes like me who prefer to wear a fitness band (I refuse to give up wearing my nice watches for a smartwatch) but this would need to be able to have a continual ANT+ connection for about 14 hours for me to feel like it could last me through an Ironman. Any chance of getting Garmin to comment on the battery life in that scenario?

  59. Francois

    Can it broadcast HR signal through Bluetooth, or just ANT+?
    If it can receive GPS from a phone, maybe the phone can get HR from the band (for a phone with BLE but not ANT+ support).

  60. Ryan

    Is there any option to show seconds on the time screen? Need this for work.

  61. Dan Thompson

    Looking at Garmin’s web site, it seems that they might be selling the charging cord separately. The “In the Box” tab on their site includes a “Charging/data clip”, but the “Charging Cable” is shown as a $24.99 “compatible product”. Sure hope Garmin just forgot to list the cable in the “In the Box” tab.

  62. Jan

    With what frequency is the 24/7 HR data stored? Once a minute?

  63. Iestyn

    The main thing for me will be integration with HealthKit on iOS. I’ve downloaded Garmin connect and there is no toggle to share sleep data and heart rate info. Can you confirm that this will only be available inside the Garmin app and not shared?
    Thanks for all your work on the site.

    • Tommy Haywood

      I don’t see any healthkit options whatsoever?

    • I sent over a note last night asking about Sleep/Resting HR data to Apple Health.

      It does send over data today for: “Active Energy”, Steps, Walking + Running Distance

    • Tommy Haywood

      I’m probably being dumb, but I can’t see any way to add Garmin as a source to HealthKit anywhere in the connect app. I only have the edge 1000 so maybe that’s why?

    • Iestyn

      Garmin just answered me on Twitter link to twitter.com no go at the moment. Shame. No sale here.

      HealthKit in the app is in Settings / 3rd Party

  64. ian robathan

    I have the Mio Velo and a Vivoactive at the moment for HR and pretty satisfied with it so can not see me changing. However if the Vivosmart HR is just £120 for a day to day with continual HR tracking this could swing it for me.

  65. Amaya

    interesting. I have the vivosmart original and would upgrade if the HRM is comparable (not a fan of the straps – especially when slapping the ground on a burpee and it digging into my ribs lol – I’m not that graceful!)

    dying to see a comparison. Had they used the Mio sensor I would already had one on pre-order. However am yet to be convinced on the in house solution.

  66. Tony

    I’m ready to shift back to Garmin from Polar as soon as I can. This one looks promising and I’ve had the Vivofit & Vivosmart in the past and liked them. I’m tired of Polar overpromising and under-delivering with their ‘coming soon’ software updates that never materialize or are multiple months behind as they release new gadgets (& lower priced ones) with past promised features incorporated.

  67. Sam

    On Garmin’s site they show two sizes, L and XL. Was the unit you had the XL?

  68. Jeff Harless

    Does garmin deal with optical data differently than chest strap data? In other words, are they viewable in garmin connect as separate fields? It seems to me that this would be the most accurate way to manage this as pulse rate is not exactly the same as ekg rate. However I can imagine a situation where this would be ignored in terms of simplicity of display. On the other hand I know that I have frequently seen bad data from chest straps and so potentially having 2 data sources being recorded at once could give a user a better chance of recording an accurate heart rate in the event that 1 sensor suffering from artifact interference.

  69. Bernd

    Hi Ray,
    I own a Forerunner 920XT. If I would buy a vivoactive HR, do the steps accumulate of both devices in GCM and is the accumulation synchronized back to both watches?

    Further question: do you see a chance of getting smart alarms during sleep cycle? I love this feature on my cheap Mi band…

    • No, not today. Going forward they’ll be enabling the ability to utilize two devices and have it consolidate step counts, but that’s not here today and they haven’t released a timeframe for it. And even once that happens, it’s not clear if it’ll ‘backport’ the steps from one device to another (versus just online).

      As for sleep cycles, I think it’s a natural evolution. They did a bunch of good sleep enhancements over the last 4-6 months. But that was web-focused display stuff of sleep.

      Doing it on existing devices means they’d have to draw a line in the sand on which devices to add that functionality, since it would require a firmware update. There’s a ton of Garmin devices that support sleep now (dozens), so it would be unclear where they’d draw the line. I’d take a guess that’d be something they’d just rollout in whatever new device they decide to add it to.

    • Travis

      We are really looking forward to the in-depth review, especially as it pertains to accuracy for HR, vertical gained but mostly sleep data! Please share as much comparison as possible on the sleep metrics as compared to Fitbit Charge HR. Thank you for the amazing work you do Ray!

    • Steven Knapp

      I hope they enable the “backporting” of both steps and calories burned. Also keep the goals in sync. Fitbit has been doing this for years, and honestly in this age of cloud/connected devices it just makes sense.

    • Wayne

      The sleep tracking on this device is horrible, every single morning I have to correct the data. I’m on my third band so clearly this is a software issue.

  70. Markus

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for all of your fast and in depth (p)reviews.
    I’m wondering if the Vivosmart HR will provide any extra functionality compared to be wearing a FR235 24/7?

  71. Tommy Haywood

    Hi Ray,

    I appreciate you haven’t had much time with device yet but I wondered if you have any thoughts on how this will handle cycling. I have the Edge 1000 which I use to record my rides and I also wear the Fitbit Charge HR. The Fitbit is not clever enough to know that I’m on a bike and not to record steps\stairs, even though i sync Strava to Fitbit so that my activities and calories are on there. Its very frustrating and as i commute on a bike, it makes the step tracking pointless! Do you know if Garmin will handle this scenario better?

    P.S. Thanks for all your great reviews!

    • Cycling is definitely one of the key scenarios I’ll be spending time on. It’s also one of the toughest for optical sensors (worn on the wrist) to get right. But given Garmin is aiming (and touted in the press release) the pairing to the Edge specifically, it’s something I’m going to cover as part of my in-depth review.

      Hopefully I’ll have a final production unit next week to start that evaluation.

    • Tommy Haywood

      Great. Thanks for the reply. I look forward to you in depth review. I think i’ll be dropping £120 on this anyway. The rebroadcasting and alerts alone make it better then the Fitbit. Its just a shame it won’t rebroadcast over BTLE. You can’t have it all i suppose.

  72. Joshua Williams

    So I am curious, with all the new fitness trackers I notice Jawbone is absent from your reviews. Do you not like the UP line or is it just not in the same ball park as these new ones coming out? Just was curious, thanks!

    Love the Site!

    • I think it comes down to just not ‘getting’ the Jawbone lineup. To me, I like seeing my current steps on my wrist. I think it provided motivation. When you have just a band with no real detail…you lose a lot of that.

      People often talk about all this ‘big data’ type analytic that Jawbone does…but honestly, I don’t get it. They don’t really do anything more than anyone else. It’s just they have better PR relationships with some of the big tech sites…

    • Frank

      The UP line definitely has an edge over all of the others in one area: APPEARANCE. My GF is a very beautiful, fashion conscious lady. There is no way in hell I could get her to wear anything Garmin, Fitbit or Polar makes so it is Jawbone or nothing. Having said that, there is plenty not to like about the UP. To DC’s point no display is a big drawback and the iPhone synch is slow and sometimes uncertain. They also break. In a little over a year, they replaced her UP24 twice, then replaced the third one with an UP2 and then replaced that one with the UP2 with the “lightweight” (read reliable) band. Customer service has been first rate but I could have done with a lot less of it. Having said that, I am on my fourth Vivosmart and it looks like this one will be joining its three predecessors in a few days.

    • Martin Törnsten

      I agree with DC here. For me a device like this is for 70-90% motivation during tracking, and only 10-30% in depth analysis afterwards.

  73. Pete

    I’m nervous my phone won’t pair with this and get confused with Bluetooth technology – if I can pair my FR220 should I also be able to pair the Vivosmart HR?

    Thanks for the write up.

  74. Nathan Budd

    I tweeted Garmin Support and asked them if this will broadcast to other Garmin devices, including the Edge 1000.

    Their response was:
    “The heart rate data will only broadcast on the band. It can be uploaded to Garmin Connect after the activity.

    Original tweet:
    link to twitter.com

    • That individual is confused. As noted in the marketing and elsewhere, it broadcasts over ANT+ to other devices (and will be present at launch next week). I had about a 60 minute phone conversation that touched on it numerous times with them yesterday.

    • Nathan Budd

      Thanks for clarifying. I thought that sounded odd when I read it…

  75. Ryan Menze

    Question regarding optical HRM technology. You made the comment that optical HRM will be a commodity technology. Are the issues you currently see a hardware or software issue?

    • In general with companies it’s a blend of hardware and software. Algorithms have to mature from players who don’t have years of experience (i.e. like Mio/Philips, Valencell and others do). For some major companies (i.e. Garmin, Polar, etc…), they’ll be able to make those leaps faster and play catch-up quicker. Whereas for smaller players they’ll lean on 3rd parties.

      Some of those third parties (again, a Valencell) will assist these smaller players, yet other companies may cut costs and go to lower-tier 3rd parties (i.e. typical OEM’s that don’t much care about quality). So it’s those companies that will take more time to tune algorithms, since it will require their customers to lean on them to clean up accuracy.

  76. Adam

    BestBuy has these in stock at my local store. Took it up to purchase but they wouldn’t sell it to me. Kinda sucks seeing at Garmin Connect Mobile is ready to add the Vivosmart HR. Guess I’ll have to go back on Sunday.

  77. Christina

    Do you know if it has an on/off option, and how would it work?? I am not allowed to have bluetooth devices on at work.

    • Yes, you can turn on/off Bluetooth through the setting menu.

      That said, for most classified spaces Bluetooth on a device is treated the same as a mobile phone – which is that it shouldn’t be taken into the space at all (any non-approved wireless communications). That’s because once in the space you can’t 100% control what happens with it, either due to the wearer or a 3rd party having control over the device with malicious intent. Oddly enough, the Fitbit security exploit of last week is the precise example of why such devices aren’t typically permitted into classified environments.

    • Christina

      Thanks! Does this mean the device as a whole can’t be turned off? Just bluetooth only?

  78. Andrew

    Not a fan of the Best Buy exclusive.

    Oh bother, life continues.

  79. Adam

    Super bummed they removed the ANT+ accessory compatibility. :-(

    Was actually hoping they would expand it to the foot pod. Not move backwards and remove it.

    • David

      I second this concern and it’s the reason I’m out as a potential buyer. An absolute minimum should have been footpod pairing.

  80. Eric

    Question – on the Garmin site, it shows the Heart Rate screen in vertical mode. Can all of the screens be vertically oriented, or only HR? Is this a setting or does it automatically orient itself? Thanks!

    • David I

      ther are 2 settings that affect this:
      * left or right wrist
      * landscape or portrait
      Together these set the 4 possible rotations for all screens except text messages and the setup/menu screens. These always show in landscape orientation. There is no auto-rotate.

  81. harry

    dos the vivosmart hr have sleep tracking or not?

  82. Pawel

    It will interesting to see in depth review. What worries me is simple accuracy (steps, sleep). I had one of first Vivosmart’s and it was annoying to see good progress with steps driving a car and sitting in the train. I quit device then and now I use Fitbit Charge HR, step accuracy is very good, sleep extremely good, and HR goes pretty well when compared with strap I’m using with Fenix. Still I will be interested to have Garmin just for one reason, I’m tired with 4 applications I use now to deal with the data (Runtastic, Garmin, Fitbit, MyFitnessPal.

    One more question is display is on all time? Does not make sense to me as it will one more thing I will look after even I don’t need it!

  83. John

    would you commend on how tough the plastic screen is? will it scratch easily like the fitbit hr? would you recommend a screen protector?

    i just bought a fitbit hr 1 week ago. considering taking it back for this band’s waterproof feature. would you recommend?

    • Pawel

      For me only reason to consider Vivosmart HR is to have same supplier for both trackers I use (band+spart watch – Fenix in my case), I’m totally happy with performance of Fitbit!

    • Jay

      Take it back. I also bought the Fitbit Charge HR. It stopped working after the third time in the pool with simple swimming strokes. Looking forward to purchasing the vívosmart HR on Sunday. Garmin has confirmed it will be fine in the pool.

    • Ryan


      Not sure why you would expect the Charge HR to work with swimming when the specs on fitbit’s site say

      Water Resistance
      Charge HR is sweat, rain and splash proof. However, the device is not swim proof or showerproof. With any wearable device, it’s best for your skin if the band stays dry and clean.

    • Pawel

      I use charge HR for several months and I newer take it off for shower, but I will not risk swimming.

  84. James

    The owner’s manual has been posted:

    link to static.garmin.com

  85. Baekgu

    Sooo… Honestly, the real make or break for me for both this band and the FR235 is if they can notify you of alarms going off. Like if I set a timer or an alarm on my phone and then turn it to silent, will the band (or watch) then notify me of the alarm going off (and allow me to turn it off)?

    What really bugs me about so many of these watches is they aren’t actually /watches/. They don’t have basic multiple alarm settings or a countdown timer(s), some don’t even have a chrono. I’d love to replace my current real watch with a fitness watch but until they give more actual watch functions… I’m majorly on the fence.

  86. Austinbet

    Is sleep monitoring automatic or do you have to manually set it? Jawbones up2 & 3, are now automatic. Would be nice if Garmin had the same feature

  87. Frank

    I walked into a Best Buy last Thursday and could have bought nor then but only Blue or Purple. I decided to wait for a review of Elevate instead. I’m actually pretty happy with my current Vivosmart/fenix2 set up.

    Speaking of that set up, I wear my Vivosmart 24/7 and the Felix only for intentional exercise. The current Garmin Connect application has no problem sorting this out.

  88. GSam

    Sorry, if anyone asked this question before (two many comments to read to find answer). The Garmin website shows this with different display orientation (HR display). Does this mean the display orientation can be changed for all displays?

    • GSam

      got my answer from posted link to manual (reply#213) … fyi, it allows you to chg orientation .. portrait or landscape. Device menu and notifications always display in landscape mode.

  89. In stock and for sale, Tenleytown DC. Essentially same form as vivofit, soft comfortable band. Should accommodate up to 7.25 in wrist in large.

    Nice screen.
    Backlit when touched.
    Hr seems steady and non fiddly.
    Weather screen available.
    Connect has nice hr data. High, low, avg – by day, week, etc.

    midpackgear.com review by tonight at 10et

  90. Ping me with any qs. @midpackbiped on twitter.
    It’s a supercharged chargeable Vivofit hr!

  91. Long Run Nick

    Picked one up at BB Tallahassee,FL this afternoon. They had to get them out of the warehouse. They had 2 blue- reg and 10 black reg. Posted on Garmin Forum. I picked it up to test out Garmin’s Elevate HR sensor. Have pre ordered 235 thru Ray and Clever Training.
    Being lazy, ran 10 this AM. HR seems accurate for me. Will test with an 8 miler tomorrow.

  92. Neil

    Thinking of this for HR monitoring instead of the Tom Tom Spark. Will it Bluetooth to the Garmin Forerunner 220? My plan is to get a Fenix three when I get back into triathlons. I’m having my aortic valve replaced in a couple of weeks and I’m looking for HR tracking that won’t require a chest strap. Already planning my return to activity!

    Thanks DC for this site. It is immensely informative!

    • David

      Get the Scorsche Rhythm + strap. Nothing comes close to this. I’ve tested it with several chest straps and it is not only beat for beat as accurate it may actually be more responsive to HR changes (quicker). The only minor downside is it doesn’t have a battery strength indicator on it, but the app you use will tell you how much is left. I always pair it with my Fenix 2, was going to do the same with the VS HR, until Garmin messed up and eliminated that option.

    • 6co

      Agreed. Scosche it top top!
      But how what app do you pair it with? I could never find a way to know how much battery is left and just do the mental math using 6 hrs max usable battery….

  93. Joe

    Picked one up today at BB. Unfortunately, it didn’t fit my wrist and I would not consider myself extra large. It fit my 140 lbs wife well. I am going to have to wait for the large wrist version

  94. Tony

    Took my Polar A300 back to REI this morning and picked this one up at BB in Portland (no taxes, yay!). It might be slightly taller than the A300, but like the original Vivosmart, I wear this on the inside of my wrist (no issues with the HR monitoring so far) so it’s not really noticeable. Overall, smaller footprint than the A300. I prefer the inside of the wrist so everything is easier to read by just a slight turn of the hand. You can adjust orientation in the app settings (I’m a lefty) and then just flip it around.
    I haven’t read the manual, etc but it was fairly easy to set up through the iOS app (iPhone 6s) and on my Mac through the website. Updated to the latest software with no issues. I’m not sure how the ‘weather’ page works…what it needs to get the info, where it gets it, etc. I did see weather data once, but most of the time it’s telling me there’ s ‘no app connection available’…might need the Connect app open. If I can’t figure out the immediate weather, I’ve got bigger issues though (and I prefer other weather apps if I need to know), so no big deal.
    I was disappointed with Polar’s continued delays in bringing smart notifications and really missed them from the original Vivosmart, so it’s nice to have them back. My phone spends about 95% on silent and not always in my pocket, so having that discreet notice needs to be standard issue. So far, it works just fine.
    As far as data…we’ll see. I’m not expecting pinpoint accuracy as long as there’s reasonable precision. I would anticipate it will get better over time. This should hold me through my upcoming deployment and give time for the second version of the Apple Watch to come out…

    • Long Run Nick

      Tony, where did you see weather data? No mention in the manual, Garmin connect or DCR. Weather data is part of the new Forerunner watches. I have yet to see anything about weather in the 8 hours I have had the VVSHR. Help me out.

    • Tony

      I think it was mentioned in the 2.40 software update when I plugged it in to the computer & used Garmin Connect to update. It’s a simple temp, high/low temp, & precip %, & general icon. Right now it has a little cloud with rain in the upper right corner along with the other data. I’m not sure what ‘app’ it’s sourcing that data from though (it’s not the stock iOS weather app).

    • Long Run Nick

      Thanks. I had updated to 2.40 BT and just fully charged. Guess what, the weather now appears.(:

  95. I picked up the vivosmart HR today. The screen seems really dim, even the backlight. So dim that I’m considering returning it. I can’t find any setting that allows you to adjust brightness like the original vivosmart. Do I possibly have a defective unit?

    • Johnny Row

      Mark, from the on-line manual,
      “at any time tap or swipe the touchscreen to turn on the backlight.”

    • Johnny Row

      Oops I see you said, even the backlight is dim. Couldn’t see a way to delete my original reply.

    • Thanks Johnny. That’s my question. Is the backlight on other users as dim as mine?

    • Adam

      Yes, the backlight is very dim on mine as well, but I find that you can still easily read it in the dark when activated.

    • Rick

      Emailed Garmin on the very dim backlight issue.

      Thank you for contacting Garmin International. I’ll be happy to assist. I’m sorry to hear about this issue. Based off the type of screen the Vivosmart HR has you can’t adjust the brightness of the screen.

    • Rick

      I did return mine for this very issue. The thing that made me try this device over others is to be able to see a quick text message along with all the activity tracking. Walking out to my car at dusk, feel the vibration but can’t make out what the notification was. Shouldn’t need a flashlight to see a $200 device.
      Pretty sure I’m going to try the Polar A360 next, going to wait for some reviews on the screen.

    • Carl Farrington

      wish i had seen this post first, i purchased yesterday at BB and will be returning tomorrow because you cannot see it. In all the ads and images of this device it appears as if you could see it and including the display models. It is virtually useless if you cannot see it and for Garmin to try to enter new markets like this without evaluating the fact that the device cannot be seen by the average person is amazing to me. At the very least Garmin should have warned customers before they spend hours of their time that Warning This device is hard to see” . Never give a newbie another chance….

  96. John David Lauren Blake Branum

    Picked up one this morning at BB. Easy transition coming from the first gen vivofit. My initial thoughts are mostly positive but a few things I personally would like to know that I haven’t been able to find anywhere is:
    1) how frequently is it measuring my resting heart rate? Is it similar to the Apple Watch in that it only records a reading if it doesn’t detect any movement(so it truly is your resting hr)?
    2) how far back does your avg resting hr go? Is it for the day? Week? Forever? Mine’s been at 53 since a few mins after I put it on and hasn’t changed all day.

  97. Adam

    Wore the Vivosmart HR band during my CrossFit workout this morning and also had on a TickrX to compare afterwards. Vivosmart HR was a total fail for me for heart rate. Even when resting in between some of the rounds, the HR would never “catch up” to what the TickrX was showing while trying to sit still. Syncing afterwards, and Garmin Connect didn’t even credit me with any kind of intensity minutes and the max that the VS HR got to was 145bpm. Doing three rounds of rope climbs and thrusters, and I can tell you that wasn’t my max, which TickrX said was 183bpm.

    As you can’t pair a chest strap with the band, I’ll have to decide what to do. I love the all day HR tracking. Display is easy to read and the overall profile is pretty small for the device. There does seem to be some issues in GC online, as it’s saying my average resting heart rate is 6…yeah, but no.

    At least the new Polar A360 you can pair a chest strap with. Might have to go that route, even if it means giving up the all day HR tracking.

    • Adam

      Also looks like MFP integration is FUBAR’ed too. And the fact that I’ve turned off smart phone notifications, yet the Vivosmart HR still buzzes when I get them on my phone. Garmin’s QA and user testing really is poor. Love the hardware, but the software side of things is maddening!

    • John

      do you think this is a bug where it can be fixed or would you think about returning it? i am looking to pick one up, but not if it doesn’t work well

    • Tommy Haywood

      Darn! Looks like i’ll wait until DC puts his review up. Hopefully before the UK launch in a couple of weeks :)

    • Adam

      Not sure if the HR data is a bug or whether or not it can be refined. To be fair to the Vivosmart HR, the same issues exists with the FitBit Charge HR for me. Any kind of high intensity exercise where there is a lot of movement just is not accurate. I understand it’s a limitation of the optical technology, but with newer releases of these products, I have hope. :-)

    • John

      which one do you prefer Adam, fitbit charge HR or vivosmart hr, now that you have both?

    • Nothing like my experience on a 5K treadmill run.. Broacasting the HR to my Garmin 920XT captured accurate (slightly lagging) HRM info, and credited me with exactly accurate intensity minutes.

      I wrote in up on the blog: link to midpackgear.com

    • Adam

      Midpackbiped, yes any steady movement like running/jogging/walking will work fine. You get into things where you are constantly moving direction with your arms and it’s game over, at least for me.

    • Will

      The Scosche HRM works very well for me worn on my bicep during intense exercise with lots of movement.

      I wish Garmin would enable inbound HRM connections to the VSHR.

    • Frank

      With Garmin Early Adopter = Use Tester so, in effect, you are denigrating your own contribution to the cause :).

      I personally think your contribution to this first in man trial has been pretty thorough and well articulated. Thanks to you, I am $150 richer and richly entertained instead of thoroughly pissed off.

    • kpcski

      I actually think that this heart rate accuracy is more an issue with SAMPLE RATE and sampling being interrupted. The Vivosmart HR can be very accurate, when it is working during sport, it just has a tendency to stop sampling properly at times.

  98. Marc

    Big mistake not having allowed pairing to a HR chest strap for more intense exercise. Any chance they add this feature in the future? Would it require hardware or software update?

  99. Marc

    Thanks Ray! Is there a product strategy behind this decision or it is just to save battery life? Hope they change their mind and allow pairing to an external HR monitor… it would make a big difference in my decision!

    • I don’t know. I’ll try and get clarification, as it’s such a weird decision with no upside.

    • David

      Please get them to reverse this decision Ray. If I could at least get fotpod pairing I’d be in. It seems that this will be one of the most common complaints. If the hardware is there Garmin should let the user decide how to use it. These restrictions are so Apple-like. LET THE USER USE THE DEVICE TO IT’S FULL POTENTIAL.

    • Kyle

      If I had to guess, this was a design decision to make the holiday release. I wouldn’t doubt if the option doesn’t get patched in within the coming months. They may have entered a “feature lock” status in order to crunch all the bugs for release and weren’t able to get this feature in before that time. It’s quite common with hardware/software development (look at Win10 for an obvious example, half of the roadmap features got pushed to post-release so they could make the deadline).

      If I recall, they patched some features in on the original Vivosmart post release.

  100. Dave

    I must have missed it somewhere, but BB only shows the regular size option in stock right now. Is there a release date for the x-large model?

  101. Long Run Nick

    Ran 8 miles this AM w/VVSHR. 82 and high humidity, a nice Fall day in N FL. HR seemed a little high(heat/ humidity a factor+ I hadn’t recovered from my 10 miler yesterday). I stopped at a water fountain and some how I deleted over 5 miles of the run. Ray will never hire me to test devices. Overall, not bad.
    Oh, it was interesting that my stairs climbed reflected 20, when I had actually descended 1 set of stairs. My route has about 10 minor hills and some gentle rolling areas. Gave me a lot of credit.
    I do realize that this device is not really for folks that run 40-50 miles a week.
    Resting HR seemed seemed pretty close. Steps pretty close to my 920. No issues with screen visibility, actually pretty good- even for 72 year old eyes. Band is comfortable and didn’t need to have it uncomfortable tight. Nick

  102. I played a soccer game (over–30 league) yesterday wearing the VVSHR. As a courtesy to not knocking other players in the head with the band, I wore a wristband (sweatband) over the VVSHR. Could that have also indirectly helped with light leakage to the optical sensors? Maybe a tip for the Crossfit users? Seemed to work well for me.

  103. John Branum

    Just finished up a group cardio/strength HIIT class. Tabata style rowing erg, push ups, pull ups, planks, etc. Heart rate was a complete fail for me. said my average HR was 76 and my max was 116. I know for a fact that after the rowing my HR was at least 160+ from doing a manual check at the wrist. I’ve also tried a Scosche Rhythm+ for the same class and had very similar results. It seems like optical sensors are just not meant for high/varying intensity activity where there is a lot of different types of movements(varying blood flow to sensor location?). On the other hand, cardio activities that are fairly constant in their intensity seem to be fine.

    For me this is a tough one. Garmin seriously needs to re-enable pairing of a chest strap. Maybe they’re looking at it from the mindset that if they allow the use of a chest strap they are kind of admitting how wildly inaccurate the HR monitor is in some situations and are afraid that will be perceived negatively by those that don’t want to use a chest strap.

    • Johnny Row

      Scosche Rhythm+ uses one of the 2 types sensors (other Mio) that I think are supposed to be good for hi intensity.

    • John Branum

      Well, it didn’t work for me, lol.

    • Jeremy

      So I got mine last night and proceeded to do a intense Yoga routine. For myself it worked rather well in comparison to my vivofit 2 with hr monitor. I also biked with it on and it did a very good job at tracking my routine. The only thing I noted was a release update that went into effect for me. Did you update before or after your workout?

    • Will

      I got Scosche to work very well on my lower inner bicep using the larger strap.

      Have had mixed results at the wrist.

  104. Nate

    I picked up a vivosmart HR last night to upgrade from my original vivofit. The interface is simple and nice.-I like the ability to see phone notifications and control the play/pause/next/back on my phone’s music player, something that has never worked correctly with my connected bluetooth headphones…

    But it seems to have a problem. I was thinking it would show me continuous HR data throughout the day. So far I don’t think it is doing that, and I’m not sure if I have to change a setting or what.

    My vivosmart HR updated to the 2.4 software update this morning, and I’m not sure if it was doing this prior to the update. Basically, to get 24/7 records, I’d expect that anytime I glance underneath the sensor, I’d see the green LEDs lit. Most of the time they are not.

    If I swipe left to right on the screen from the default clock screen to the HR screen, then the green LEDs come on and it starts determining my heart rate, but shortly after, it switches back to the clock screen and the lights are off when I look a few minutes later.

    Is this the expected behavior? Do I need to turn on the ant+ broadcasting and leave it on? Or perhaps a bug in the firmware?

    • Long Run Nick

      Hey Nate, suggestion set the default to Heart Rate. You can swipe to different screens. After 10-15 seconds the default( in your case Heart Rate) will be back and remain. That solution might get me an”atta boy” from Ray.

    • Nate

      Thanks LR Nick- I gave that suggestion a try, and the green LEDs still don’t stay on, despite the device always switching back to the HR screen. Is this the behavior that other early adopters are seeing?

    • Justus Stull

      From A moderator on the Garmin Forums regarding HR sample rate

      “By design this device will sample your heart rate multiple times an hour throughout the day and will increase in frequency when the accelerometer detects activity. You won’t receive an HR graph with continuous 24/7 HR data due to battery life. I don’t have any numbers on the frequency of these samples but not seeing the light on continuously is normal.”

      I observed exactly what you have, HR Sensors turn off on inactivity. When I swipe over to the HR screen they turn on and it updates. So I will often see numbers that are off upon swipe over. The Heart will blink (which per the garmin manual describes as “searching for signal”) and then it will become steady and HR will adjust to the same rate I am measuring with a polar strap hooked up to my phone.

      If I turn on an activity or the ant+ broadcast the sensor stays on. Not sure what this will do to battery life yet.

      When sensor is on it is a little delayed, but almost identical to the Polar strap reading.

      I wish Garmin would allow users to choose to turn on the sensor always with the caveat of decreased battery life. With just a few settings on this device battery life should be pretty quantifiable for various settings (unlike my original Fenix which is all over the place).

    • Justus Stull

      More Playing around …

      It appears to do a fair job of predicting when to turn on for activity to sense elevation in Heart rate. The weaker side of the algorithm from my observations is the lowering of Heart Rate after some activity like walking. My data from overnight also showed a few hours of my heart rate at 50 beats over the rest of the night. The rest of the night was what I expected. Seems like the sensor got stuck on the elevated number and because of no activity did not turn on for a check for many hours. Perhaps the fix for Garmin is to check not only on activity but also inactivity on the accelerometer. Since this is brand new I would guess they will address this in a firmware update.

      Looking forward to an in depth from Ray and see if he has the same behavior and if he can effect change within the firmware!

  105. frank

    Thanks to all of you early adopters for sharing your experiences. I have been so hot and bothered to run out and buy one of these things that it has been making me crazy. You have reminded me that most Garmin fitness products don’t really function like they are supposed to until about the time they are discontinued.

    Still, I’ll look forward to Ray’s full review. The idea of 24/7 HR (especially as it relates to resting heart rate) is very appealing.

    Until then, I’ll stick with my f2 and HRM-RUN for intentional exercise, Vivosmart for activity monitoring and the Cardio app on my iPhone for resting heart rate. Not elegant but it is all finally working—most of the time :).

  106. John David Lauren Blake Branum

    It would also be nice if it shared all its heart rate data it collects all day with the iPhone’s health app. Hopefully that will be included in a future update.

  107. Adam

    Completed a second CrossFit workout and HR still looks horrible. At least I broke into the 150s bpm this time. :-D

    Syncing data between the VSHR and Garmin Connect has serious issues. Supposedly my devices says I have 13 intensity minutes, but those never sync over. Such a mess.

  108. More tips and tricks about how I’ve worn the band to get the best HR results: link to midpackgear.com

  109. Marc

    Anyone knows how Garmin Connect will deal with the consolidation of heart rate / calories data when you use simultaneously the VSHR and an Edge with a HR chest strap (while cycling)?

    How to prevent double counting?

    • Frank

      I would hope that, if you do not record the ride as an activity on the VSHR, GC will award you calories only for the Edge activity. After all, it knows when the Edge activity began and ended.

      Garmin’s philosophy on this subject was once that a “superior” device would always trump an activity tracker whether or not you recorded the same activity on both. They never promised to wipe out either if you recorded the same activity on two superior devices like, for instance an Edge and a fenix. They actually implemented this with respect to the Vivofit. It also worked with the Vivosmart but in that case it only worked if you did not record the same activity on both devices. I never bitched about this as there is really no point in recording a single activity on both devices anyway unless you were bench marking them against each other.

      I am guessing they carried the Vivosmart implementation into the VSHR. If that is right, recording your ride as an activity on both devices will result in calorie expenditure duplication so don’t do it. Better yet, do do it and let us all know what happens.

    • Will

      My experience with the original VS is that the superior device will trump. I have a 920XT and VS and the 920XT would trump the VS every time.

      My (very very negative) experience with both the VS and VSHR is that logging an activity with Heart Rate data in either one of them causes double counting (for the Activity PLUS Walking Active Calories.)

      I’m working with Garmin to look into this.

  110. JoeFitz

    I don’t want to complain too much about a brand new release, but man are there issues right now. It has my resting pulse nailed down pretty accurately (~45), but aside from that it is scattered all over the place. I’ll be sitting at my desk and check it and it will show 110 and then quickly drop only to be 95 two minutes later when I check again. The graph is an indecipherable mess because it jumps around so much. I have worn a Charge HR in the past and it was much more consistent. I’m pretty sure this jumpiness is also driving up my calorie tracking since it thinks I’m working hard than I am. My Vivosmart 1 was consistently within 100 calories or so of my Fenix 3 when I would wear them both all day. In the last few days, the Vivosmart HR has finished several hundred calories above the Fenix 3.

    I did an 8 mile run this morning with HRM-Run/Fenix 3 as well and while the Vivosmart HR (not in activity mode) was generally trending with the strap, it would often times be off by 10 BPM or more (which is an unacceptable amount for my purposes).

    Lastly and not unexpected this early in the release, software interaction is a mess. In Garmin Connect, it didn’t double count the steps from my run, but I’m pretty sure it looked at the “intensity minutes” and gave me burned calories accordingly since right now its giving me 600 calories burned for the 2,000 very easy steps I have done outside my run. Also like mentioned above by another poster, my average resting pulse is showing online as 6 BPM.

    I’m thinking about stealing my Vivofit 1 back from my wife while she isn’t looking, but barring that, I’m going to turn the HR monitor off until a firmware update hopefully addresses some things.

  111. Rand

    Purchased the Vivosmart HR yesterday from Best Buy. I have been looking for a device to do everything and thought this might be it. It seems it has a lot of potential but the HR monitor and the display so far are the weakness so far.

    The display is disappointing, I normally ride a stationary bike in the basement first thing in the morning and the room lights are turned down, needless to say I have to use my smartphone to shine on the display to see it, or I may have to brreak down and turn on the lights(don’t like the lights too bright first thing in the morning).

    In terms of the HR, it seems all over the place during the day, but it does seem accurate during exercise.
    I have a Basis Peak on my other wrist and the two HR monitors from each device usually don’t match until I start exercising then they seem close. My exercise consists of cycling and walking since the knees are shot to be able to run anymore so nothing to demanding here. I will probably hold on to both devices for 45 days(Best Buy Elite Plus return policy) to see what firmware updates occur.

    Devices I have been through so far:
    Microsoft Band-device died and would no longer work only lasted two months
    Garmin Vivoactive-worked well but need HR strap and display was hard to see in dim room
    Polar M400-no vibrate mode, need HR strap and at my age hard to hear the beep for inactivity

    Considering the new Polar A360 and have been seriously thinking about using a combination of devices, one on each wrist so I would look like a watch salesman. If I did go with two devices I would consider are the Adidas Fit Smart on one wrist since I love there web software and they recently added activity tracking and an Android Wear device on the other.

    Seems like so many of these devices have some of the features I want but not all, or the ones that do seem incomplete or the interface software is bad.

    Perfect device for me would be:
    Display easy to see in the dark and in daylight
    Smart Notifications with vibration
    HR monitor
    Activity tracking
    Vibration alert for inactivity
    Exercise tracking for Indoor cycliing and treadmill and outdoor cycling and walking
    GPS or ability to use GPS from phone
    Strong phone software and website for viewing data and some social challenges

    • Evan

      I’m curious about your concern regarding the display (and darkness of it)…

      I had a Vivosmart that I really liked, but one thing I actually really disliked was that even on the lowest brightness setting, sometimes it was too bright (and on the highest brightness setting, it was still difficult to see in sunlight).

      I have the Vivosmart HR and love the visibility in sunlight (and the fact that the display is always on). In a darker room, when the backlight turns on it isn’t super bright, but I’ve found it bright enough in any setting to see the display.

      One bug I have noticed is that although the Garmin Connect app has a setting for “Auto-On Display” – I think they just took that from the original Vivosmart and didn’t update it. The display on the Vivosmart HR is Always-On regardless, so this setting should control the backlight but it doesn’t – no matter what you set it to, the VSHR always reacts the same. Display always on, backlight on when you tap it or interact with it.

      I assume your backlight is coming on but you still feel it’s too dark, or is your backlight not coming on at all?

  112. Rand

    I was trying to read my heart rate on the display and was having a hard time seeing it. The display is reversed with a white background and dark text and I had a difficult time seeing this. I thought that I read somewhere that if you were in workout mode the display backlight was always on. I don’t recall if I touched the display to activate the backlight but I will try this again.

    Thanks for the advice I will try again.

    • Evan

      In my experience, the backlight is not always on when working out…I think the menu option I mentioned before causes confusion (Display always on during activity) – it does shift to the dark text on light background, but it doesn’t seem to keep the backlight on. From what I can tell, you can’t force the backlight to be on all the time, meaning you do have to tap it every time you want to see it.

      Seems like maybe a software bug that will hopefully get patched so you have some control over when the backlight is and is not on, but it’s annoying for the moment.

    • Rand

      Thanks for the help. The backlight does only come on when touched or swiped and I can see it. Wish it was a tad bit brighter though. Here is the setting that was throwing me off thinking it would come on during activity tracking but it doesn’t really do anything.

    • Evan

      Yup, that’s the setting I was thinking of – definitely confusing as it works as intended for the VS but not the VSHR. Seems more like lazy programming and they forgot to modify it for the Vivosmart HR.

      I also agree the backlight is a little dim. Good for battery, not so good for the eyes!

  113. Will

    Encountered a significant issue.

    When I use the Vivosmart HR to log an intense 1000 calorie activity, I get 2000 Active Calories: 1000 listed as Fitness Equipment plus ANOTHER thousand listed as Walking.

    The additional Walking Active Calories appear about 20 minutes after syncing, leading me to believe that this is a backend issue. Please note that I have hundreds of Activities logged over a variety of Garmin, Fitbit, and Apple devices; this is a very critical bug and I’m well-versed in BMR, etc.

    Ray, can you test for and highlight this in your upcoming HR testing?

    It’s really messing with my MFP integrated calorie counting!

  114. Joel

    Pasted blow is an email correspondence I had with Garmin. I had pictures attached that probably will not come through with this post. I did attach one picture that the this thread would let me post showing the HR screen because I requested Garmin add horizontal lines to show the actual HR.

    Reply to Garmin -OK. I will insert some screen shots to try to show what I am talking about. Also, if you scroll down to the email you sent me, I will answer your questions. Thank you for your help in this matter. I really want to like this new Vivosmart HR, but if the connect app is quirky, I may have to take it back to Best Buy for a refund.

    Picture showing that the band shows 10 floors

    Picture showing connect App showing only 9 floors after multiple syncs. The app was 1 floor behind the band all day yesterday as well.

    “My Day” screen showing 258 active calories at 1035 hrs

    “Calories” screen showing 352 active calories for Nov 3 at 1035 hrs

    “Calorie Detail” screen showing 323 active calories at 1035 hrs.

    As you can see from the above screenshots that were taken at the same time, I have 3 different numbers for the same data.

    On a side note, as of 1637 hrs today, I show between 531 and 623 active calories today. I earned 157 active calories on the Elliptical Trainer this morning. I have been sitting on the couch for the rest of the day. Seems to me like I should not have near as many active calories after the elliptical workout while sitting on the couch.

    As a second side note, I will look at the app much more often than the website. When I look at all day heart rate data on the app, it would be nice to also have horizontal lines on the chart showing the heart rate. The squiggly lines don’t do much good if I can’t tell approximately what the HR is.

    Once again, thank you for your help. Please see your email below for answers to your questions.


    From: Product.Support@garmin.com [mailto:Product.Support@garmin.com]
    Sent: Tuesday, November 03, 2015 3:59 PM
    Subject: Re: mismatch Information

    Dear Joel,

    Thank you for contacting Garmin International.
    I am sorry you have not provided enough information for me to best troubleshoot your issue.
    Please provide the following information:
    • What model phone? Samsung GS6
    • What version Android on the phone? 5.1.1
    • What version of Garmin Connect Mobile on the phone? (maybe?)
    • What model Garmin Device? Vivosmart HR
    • What is the version of software on the Garmin Device? 2.40
    • Does the information display correctly in Garmin Connect on the computer? Calories on the website do not exactly match the app. Stair counts on app and website say 9, but band says 10.
    • Please explain in detail what is happening, include any error messages you may see. See above
    • Please provide screen shots if possible. See above
    • What troubleshooting have you tried? Emailed You
    The more details you provide the better I can troubleshoot your issue.

    With Best Regards,
    Customer Care – Mobile Team
    Garmin International
    913-440-8280 (fax) Att: Stephanie 8996381

    Additional solutions may be found at link to garmin.com

    >> Original Message …
    >> To: Product.support@garmin.com
    >> Subject: mismatch Information
    >> Sent: 11/02/2015 12:59 PM
    >>Escalate EmailEscalation from KANA On Demand Self Service

    Subject: mismatch Information
    Description: There seems to be errors in Garmin Connect mobile App for Android. For example, My active calorie detail shows one number, but on the weekly view the number is always just a bit higher (50 calories maybe.) I have the new Vivosmart HR. My band shows Ive climbed 22 floors, but the app only shows 21 after multiple syncs.
    MarketName: Mobile Apps and Navigation
    ProductGroup: Phone Applications
    Product: Garmin Connect Mobile
    Serial Number:
    User ID:
    Name: Joel
    First Name: Joel
    Last Name:
    Phone Number:
    Country: United States
    Locale: en-US
    BrowserVersion: 11.0
    BrowserType: Internet Explorer

  115. John Branum

    Looks like we all actually get an extended trial period ;)

    From Best Buy’s website:
    For your convenience, we offer an extended return and exchange policy during the holiday season. Purchases made between November 1, 2015, and December 31, 2015, have an extended return period through January 15, 2016.

  116. It’s not a perfect device, but definitely better than Charge HR for me.

    It seems Garmin does these releases quietly, uses the exclusive period to make adjustments to the fw, and by the time the January wide release rolls around has knocked the bugs out of the pillows.

    Still, this is the first optical hr device I’m not returning.

  117. John David Lauren Blake Branum

    The latest bug I’m experiencing is trouble syncing with the Garmin connect app on my iPhone. When I first got the VSHR it would automatically sync with the connect app whenever I opened it. Now it doesn’t sync automatically and when I tried to manually sync from that device it acts like it is syncing and even get a confirmation that the data was sent but it never shows up in Garmin connect.

  118. Mark

    What is the estimated battery life while in HR broadcast mode?

  119. Thomas Haywood

    So do you have to turn broadcast mode on each time you get on the bike to use with the edge? How easy is that?

    • mjrendon

      Yes, you have to manually enter and exit broadcast mode on the Vivosmart HR. When broadcast mode is active, the Vivosmart screen is locked to the heart rate so that you can not check other screen.

      To activate with the latest SW version, press menu button, swipe to setup icon, 5 swipes to broadcast setup, tap to enable.

      Hope this helps.

    • Thomas Haywood

      Sounds waaaay to long winded

    • Mike Richie

      Sounds way easier than putting on a heart rate strap ?

  120. Wayne

    Anyone else having issues with sleep recording? 3 nights in a row and its screwed up sleep every time. It tells me I’m sleeping despite being out and very active. First night I was cheering at the World Series, said I was sleeping, second night I was moving luggage, doing housework even hit my goal during this period, it said I was sleeping, 3rd night had it charging then put it on, it read it’s time on the charger as sleep.

    • Rand

      Mine does the same thing, I got up yesterday morning at 5:15 and did a bike ride, when I was done it logged the bike ride but overlapped it with the sleep. I thought it had something to do with the user settings where you set a bed time and wake time, my wake time was at 6am so I changed it to 5:15am and today it did the same thing and overlapped my ride with my sleep.

    • John Branum

      Same problem here.

    • Evan

      I’ve only slept with it two nights, both nights going to bed about an hour after my “User Set” time and waking up maybe half an hour later than my “User set” time – both times it did a good job of determining when I actually went to sleep (even though I was laying in bed watching TV before sleeping) and when I woke up (even though I stayed in bed and tried to sleep in longer, to no avail).

      I had the Vivosmart previously – seems about as accurate as that diid at auto detecting sleep so far, and that was pretty good…

    • Frank

      Perhaps your answer lies here: link to forums.garmin.com

  121. Ben

    Does anyone know if you can broadcast the HR to Strava? Or only to Garmin devices like the Edge? Has anyone tried? Can somebody try for me and let me know? I’d very much appreciate it!

    So far it sounds like the Vivosmart HR optical HR sensor is suffering the same issues as the Fitbit Charge HR. I have the Charge HR and have been looking for something to replace it since the HR is so wildly unreliable during intense workouts. Hopefully Garmin will be much more responsive to fixes than Fitbit has been. There is currently a 63-page forum on Fitbit.com on this issue and Fitbit still hasn’t responded.

    Garmin: Please please please make it possible to use a chest strap HRM with the Vivosmart HR!!!

    • Rand

      I believe you can only broadcast to ANT+ compatible software, correct me if I am wrong. Got it to work with Endomondo, MapMyFitness so far, but I believe Strava requires Bluetooth, I was not successful to get it to work with it.

    • Brad

      I think you can pair Endomondo and Strava, so you could record on Endomondo and should be able to see it on Strava. There are also 3rd parting sync apps that batch the data.

    • Michael

      Hi Ben,

      I just got off the phone to Garmin support as Inal considering replacing my uncomfortable Microsoft Band 2 with a VSHR. The answer is that while it can transmit HR via ANT+, it will not broadcast via Bluetooth LE (even though notifications and sync are via BTLE), so if you wish to use it wit Strava, Wahoo, or other phone app, you’re limited to those phones which support ANT+ such as high end Samsung Galaxy phones (I have done this with my previous S5 Galaxy and other ANT+ accessories but I have gone back to iOS now). I don’t know if Windows phone supports ANT+.

    • No, Windows Phone doesn’t support ANT+.

  122. Doug

    Picked up 2 vivosmart HR’s on release day (Sunday) for myself and my wife and am returning them today. Way too many bugs for me to even consider keeping.

    – Garmin Connect doesn’t sync with Apple Health correctly. Shows the same mileage but completely messes up the step count sometimes double counting and even triple counting data into the app or in the case of my wife’s simply eliminating some data.
    – Wife’s mileage is way off even set to default stride distance. She did 10,000 steps the other day and it registered 1.2 miles.
    -HR is a complete mess, erratic, inconsistent, trouble keeping a solid reading, etc.
    – There are 2 places on Garmin Connect app that you can input custom stride length. When you input it in one place it completely messes it up when you check it in the other.
    – Vivosmart shows I climbed 5 flights of stairs (which was accurate) but when synced with Garmin connect it shows 11 flights.

    I don’t have time to ensure everyday that all the data is correct and if the data isn’t correct then there is no point in having the wristband.

    • Matt

      Doug – It actually sounds like most of the issues you’re having are related to Apple Health. Did you happen to have your phone on you while doing both of the activities (doubling steps, doubling flights of stairs)? If so, and you had Apple Health to record your steps/flights of stairs, it could easily be double counting it (which is just a configuration error for Apple Health, not Garmin necessarily).

      As for HR inconsistencies, those are probably legitimate (or due tightness – or lack there – of the strap).

    • Tony

      Someone had a good thought about that on the Garmin forums…Apple Health allows apps to read the data so they’re not doubling up, but it appears that even though it shows Garmin Connect able to read, it’s not doing that, hence the reason it’s adding to what your iPhone (& other apps) are writing.

      There was also mention of the RunGap app for iPhone that seems to help minimize (not eliminate) a lot of the data gaps & is also smart enough to recognize data duplication & ignores one of them.

      The VS-HR, as pretty much all tech, isn’t without it’s fault & bugs, but for the price, it’s not terrible. Hopefully with bug reports rolling in to Garmin, they’ll address them sooner rather than later.

    • Doug

      That would be logical but no. I turned off my iphone as a health tracker where the only data being written was the garmin. You can actually going into the data points on the Apple Health app and I was able to see where the data had been double and triple written, or in my wife’s case missing. It got the distance correct but totally messed up the steps. I also understand that I shouldn’t fault Garmin for possible Apple issues, but the HR being completely eratic and the fact that Garmin’s own Connect app often wouldn’t show the same info that was being synced from the vivosmart doesn’t give me a reason to keep it. The issue with custom stride length getting messed up and also my wife’s unit showing a little over 1 mile with 10,000+ steps on the default stride length is frustrating.

    • I too am having distance undercount issues. 40% of expected distance on a walk this am despite custom length.

      My experience is it always takes Garmin a bit to get new devices up to speed after release. Not an excuse, just my experience. It took a couple of mos for the Vivosmart classic to be bug free.

  123. Long Run Nick

    Impressed with HR matching my 920 HRM Run on an 8.5 mi. run this AM. I did NOT use broadcast. Matched almost beat for beat for the whole run. Even the distance finished 8.49 VVHR. 920 showed 8.50. Early on in the run, the distance was off by over 1/10 of a mile. As I picked up to my normal training pace it smoothed out and as I hit the 8 mile mark both devices alerted within a second or two of each other. Steps were within 100. Not too shabby.
    I bought this device to check out Garmin’s Elevate HR sensor. So far impressed. I have preordered the 235 thru DCR and Clever Training. If that works as well, I am sold on it.
    I apologize for listing the following street credentials. Have run for nearly 40 years averaging over 40 miles a week(83,2xx miles) and was an early adopter to HR training when the word Polar to most was associated with Artic Bears.
    The calorie stuff never interested me.I have found with myself, and lots of folks I have coached over the years, that if you,consistently run 40-50 miles a week the caloric intake is not something you have to meticulously monitor. Thanks for letting me share/ and brag. Nick

    • Justus Stull

      fully agree with HR data. The Vivosmart HR lines up almost perfectly with a test run of the original Fenix and chest strap combo. I also tested broadcast and that worked as advertised, no issues. The device is not without issues, but so far I have seen no Hardware issues and am very impressed with the HR sensor.

  124. Adam

    There is an issue with syncing activities to GC. Went for a 2 mile run today and GC shows no steps for this run, although my overall step count is accurate. Seems GC is trying to do some kind of combination, but is screwing it up royally. The “My Day” snapshot shows the incorrect steps, but clicking into the detailed step view of the day shows the correct amount. Hoping Garmin fixes this fast.

    • Long Run Nick

      Adam, did the 2 mile run show up as an activity on GC?

    • Adam

      Yes, it does show up as an activity. Looks like it’s taking GC a few hours to consolidate activities and daily steps. Total steps did start to catch up, but it’s not instantaneous.

    • Frank

      Part of this might be a GC 3.XX problem. My plain old VS is taking 2-3 synchs to get current after the app “UPGRADE”. Fenix2 quit syncing over the phone altogether after the update.

    • Adam, Mark, Frank:

      Just curious as to what platform you are running your mobile connect on? I am using the latest Android version on a Note 4 and am having no such issues as you mention. It sounds to me like a lot of the issues are on the Garmin data post processing side and maybe not within the vivosmart HR. The only real issues I have seen are my custom step lengths getting wiped out (garmin connect issue?) and the device not turning on HR to capture declining HR after a period of elevated HR.

    • Frank

      iOS 9.1 on iPhone 5S; GC Mobile 3.1, VS 3.60, fenix2 4.50.

      I went through a LOOOONG session with customer support on Tuesday evening. They had me delete the app, delete the Activity and GPX folders from the fenix2, hard reset the phone and reinstall the app (in that exact order). That resolved the fenix2 sync issues but the VS (nonHR) sync issues remain. Both the app and VS will say a sync was successful but steps will be way light. Two or three more sync’s (or perhaps just the passage of time) eventually gets everything in sync.

      The fenix2 sync slowness issues (15-20 minutes for a 1 hour activity) have been long standing. The VS issues began with the spiffy new mobile app and remain today.

  125. Will

    Garmin Support asked me to create a new dummy account and record an exercise using my new VSHR to investigate double counting.

    I created a new account and played a 2 hour full court game. The following is the result. ABSOLUTELY the VSHR is double counting steps from logged Activities PLUS step / HR data the device detects during the activity.

  126. Mark

    Even after customizing step measuring on the VSHR, the step count remains wildly overinflated. (The morning’s 1st trip to the restroom & letting the dog out generates 82 steps on Vivoactive – previously calibrated with a foot pod & gps. But, the same trip is 320 steps on VSHR!)

    Thus, I switched back to the VA as my activity tracker. But, I still wore the VSHR to bed hoping that my resting HR data would be captured and synced with GC. After a couple of syncs, the overnight HR data is not appearing in GC along side the sleep tracking from the VA.

    With the above in mind, I assume that the VSHR has to be selected in GC as the chosen activity tracker for any non-workout mode HR data to be saved/synced.

    • Will

      I wouldn’t rely on such a small sample to be definitive. I would wear both for at least a couple days. All wrist-based trackers make trade-offs, and it could be that the two align closely over an entire day of hits-and-misses.

  127. Battery Life

    Fully Charged on Monday morning after purchase. Battery indicator turned on this morning on my way to work ~70 hours after initial charge. In this time I did the following:
    * Played with the device a ton, probably 2 to 3 times more touches, swipes, hr checks than how I used my original vivosmart and the vivofit before it.
    * ~ 10 minute HR broadcast test to a Fenix
    * 2 Runs recorded as activities with HR on for a total of 2:10
    * ~ 40,000 steps including the above runs
    * ~ 30 flights of stairs recorded

    Though this is far short of Garmins 5 day claim, I feel that all the new toy playing likely is the cause of this.

    I am curious as to how long the device will record HR in activity mode as well as broadcast HR. My feeling is that HR, and the back-light is the real drain on the battery given that the vivofit will run for a full year on its disposable battery.

    When I bought this best buy also had the vivoactive on sale for $200. This was very tempting, but I stuck to my want for an optical HR monitor. My new debate is if I will return this and purchase a 235 when it comes out or stick with it.

  128. jay d

    PIck up the vivosmart hr at bestbuy on monday and not disappointed. Ran for 3+ miles with broadcasting to fr620 and tested with a polar rs800. both showed same hr readings although I noticed that the vivosmart starts the heart rate readings low and the polar starts high, but after 5 minutes both come up with the same reading. After the workout the vivosmart heart rate remains high for at 30 minutes while polar shows the hr going to normal resting rate slowly. I compared the vivosmart with hospital grade heart monitor by GE and the vivosmart is just off by 4-5beats. It must be the green lights on the vivosmart turning on and off. I havent noticed anything unusual with garmin connect but still testing it and comparing the results. The sleep mode doesnt seem to be accurate and it thinks I sleep at 8pm even when I set it to 11pm. The only problem I have is not getting any weather update on the vivosmart. So any techie around here, I can use some step by step help.

    • Try turning on the GPS on your phone. Mine did not show weather until I did this. You do not have to leave it on. I believe it will use your current location and if no gps is present it will use the last location (just my guess, how I would program it :-)

    • jay d

      Thanks that finally worked. I just hate turning that gps on coz it drains the phone’s battery and it is a bother to turn it on and off.

  129. Joel

    I asked Garmin exactly when and how HR is measured while not in activity mode. Below is their response:

    Thank you for contacting Garmin International. I would be happy to help with this.
    The Vivosmart HR samples the user’s Heart Rate once every 10 minutes, and it increases in frequency as it recognizes motion. Also the Heart Rate is sampled right away when visit the HR page by swiping through the widget loop. The larger number is your last known HR reading. The Heart icon will flash until it locks onto your current HR at which point the icon will be solid.

    • Thomas Haywood

      Interesting. My Fitbit is always on recording HR. I would expect the battery to be much much better then?

    • Joel

      It doesn’t even seem to do it every 10 minutes. There are some times it goes 20, 30, 60 minutes between readings. Kind of random.

  130. Joel

    I am having a terrible time getting correct info on GC. It would be one thing if the band just wasn’t sensing certain things, but when the info is on the band, it should match exactly to GC after a sync, but it doesn’t. I will allow an auto sync, then I will do a manual sync. After this the band and GC info still will not match. Hope they fix these bugs soon before I have to take this back.

  131. Rand

    I just got off the phone with Garmin since I realized I was just pointing out bugs to this site and not directly to Garmin who is the one who should know about the bugs. They were very receptive to hearing about the issues and thankful that they were being reported. But then I was not confrontational in communicating the issues to them since I have faith they will work them out.

    Items I pointed out to them were:

    -Floors climbed don’t match between the band and Garmin Connect, band is always higher

    -Activity minutes don’t match between the band and Garmin Connect, band is always higher

    -Starting the activity timer does not get reflected in the intensity minutes, I normally do a 30 minute bike ride on a stationary bike and this does not show up in the intensity minutes. It only appears to show minutes from normal step tracking when heart rate is elevated. So in 3 days it shows 32 minutes but I have 3 30minute bike rides in there.

    -Sleep tracking shows me still being asleep while I am riding my bike, I know I am tired but I think I am awake

    -Under device setting the auto on setting is deceiving, it makes you think you can turn of the display or that maybe it should control the backlight.

    If you find other bugs I encourage you to contact Garmin.

    • Ben

      Strange, my stair count is higher on Garmin Connect than it is on my band. Don’t know where it’s getting its info from.

    • Rand

      Weird, the first two days I had it I got the fireworks going off for hitting the goal and for doubling the goal on stairs. Device said 22 the first day and 21 the second day but on GC it said 18 and 17. Right now device says 14 and GC on phone says 13.

    • Ben

      Earlier I was at 5 on the band, 8 on GC. Just went down and up a few flights, now I’m 10 on the band and 13 on GC.

      Either way… Garmin is f’ing something up.

  132. Pawel

    All above brings me to the point that I will stop to consider Vivosmart HR as my next band, several reasons for that:

    – product is apparently tested on those who are trusting Garmin and just burning to buy new product, that is wrong approach from Garmin!

    – HR does not work that good

    – backlight/display is not perfect

    I will stay than with Fitbit HR: accurate, good design, simple but very clear display, no disturbing notifications just calls (which actually is good feature).

  133. Ben

    Picked one up at Best Buy today. I’ve been following along with these comments and figured I’d give it a shot. I’ll give it a couple weeks and see what happens. Worst case Ontario (TPB reference, anyone?), I take it back and continue using my Fitbit Charge HR until something better comes out or Garmin fixes all the bugs.

    First thoughts based on wearing it for 2 hours and other comments here:

    – Don’t know what everyone’s gripe is with the display. It looks fine to me. I can see it perfectly in bright daylight. I think you guys might need to get your eyes checked.

    – It’s more comfortable than the Fitbit CHR and the always on screen is a big plus for me. I always hated when the CHR wouldn’t come on automatically when I wanted to check the time. I always felt like an idiot standing there and raising my wrist to my face 4 times to try and get the screen to turn on.

    – I’m going to wear both trackers (see pic) for my next few workouts/runs/bike rides to see how the data compares.

    – When the VSHR is actually checking your HR, it seems more accurate and timely than the CHR… at least at rest and with regular walking.

    – Really hoping it doesn’t suffer the same issues as the Charge HR with being horribly inaccurate with high-intensity exercise.

    • Evan

      If you read through the comments, the issue isn’t the display is hard to see in daylight – just the opposite, it’s fantastic in bright light\sunlight (compared to say, the original Vivosmart which, even at it’s brightest, could be a struggle to see in bright sunlight.

      The issue is seeing the screen in darkness – the backlight is somewhat weak, which to some extent is a benefit (if it comes on at night in bed or during a movie, you aren’t distracting anyone)…

      But if you’re out running at night or working out in a dark room, even with the back light it might be a little difficult to read (particularly if you’ve just looked at a bright like like a car shining it’s headlights at you and your eyes are having to readjust).

      The display\backlight is by no means a deal breaker and I’d opt for the VSHR great day time\okay night time display over the Vivosmart’s terrible day time\good night time but maybe too bright display.

  134. Maverick777


    I appreciate this will not show lengths or distance completed whilst swimming. But will it register it as an activity, that I have done some exercise whilst swimming?


    • Gary

      This is what Garmin said.

      Thank you for contacting Garmin Europe.

      I am happy to assist.

      The device is designed to track steps through the built in accelerometer, which is calculated through movement.

      If you were to use this device when swimming then the motion will be picked up from the device, however you will not be able to select that this is a different activity.

  135. Gunnar

    I have a Best Buy gift certificate burning a hole in my wallet and I see its in stock down the road at my local Best Buy.

    I would like to try it out, but the fact they don’t have GPS Integration with a phone and got rid of cycling sensors is a deal killer.

    Why would they do that?

    • Frank

      I think they would do that because it is really meant to be an activity tracker. They want you to buy other devices and use a chest strap HRM for serious, intentional exercise. Apart from being a profit maximization strategy for Garmin, it also just makes sense. A really good running watch is probably going to be a less than ideal activity tracker and a really good activity tracker is likely to be a crappy running watch. I think it is great that Garmin has at least made an effort at having its various devices play well together. It is the main thing that has kept me in their camp.

    • I think that is spot on, it is an activity tracker with a solid optical HR monitor for running (at least for my n=1 experiment) . I replaced my vivosmart to get the HR. For me this is now my running watch as my main focus is HR training and I HATE chest straps. I have gotten the distance calibrated to within a few percent error to GPS, so that is fine with me. Simplify things, no more chest strap, no more waiting for GPS to fix, no more $500 devices. I will still use my fenix on long and mountain runs, but no need to have a record of my tracks on the day to day routes that I have run a thousand times. The fact that it will broadcast HR data to my fenix is icing on the cake.

    • Adam

      While I see your point here, I do feel there is a segment of users (such as myself) who just want a device that is small and comfortable to wear all day and also able to track all their various activities. The VSHR already has ANT+ in the hardware. So, it just seems silly to me to arbitrarily limit the functionality. I do admire their other products and wore a Forerunner of various iterations for years. But now I just don’t need that accuracy and I don’t want to wear a large “watch” all day. Anyway, I for one am hoping that it is something they can just re-enable in firmware and do so down the road.

  136. Jeremy D. Huntsinger

    Hey all,

    So been keeping an eye on the post going on here and myself have been going through the ups and downs of using the Vivosmart HR. That said I will say I found that making sure the watch is a bit snug does wonders for the optical heart rate sensor. Now I did this in a fully lit room and didn’t have any band covering up the watch, just went from a 7 notch (comfortable) to an 8 notch on the band.

    Vivofit 2 (with HR strap)
    link to connect.garmin.com

    Vivosmart HR
    link to connect.garmin.com

    Now was it perfect, no but it was more detailed and beyond the slow startup for calibration and the middle portion where things slow down it went well. I think those two parts I mentioned can get hammered out in software updates but I’m solidly happy with these results. It has been great for the bike ride as well, doesn’t even need to be snug there. Just the HIIT workouts.

    This is something I was hoping to find out because last night I did an Insanity routine and it barely registered my HR above 100. Going to try some other intense activities and see how the results match previous workouts.

  137. Wayne

    Ray if you have a direct ear to Garmin can you please talk to them about these issues
    1-Sleep Tracking doesn’t work correctly
    2-Add a way to manually activate & also wake up from sleep tracking mode(it would help for naps also)
    3-Allow the band to connect to an external heart rate tracker ANT+ or Bluetooth

    • Jessie

      Does it automatically go into sleep mode or do you have to set it? Debating this vs vivosmart without hr or jawbone up2

    • Wayne

      It goes into sleep mode automatically, there is no way to manually put it into sleep mode. They need a manual way as it would help with sleep and naps.

  138. Nelson Davis

    Been using a Jawbone UP 3 for the past 6 months, but when I saw that the Garmin Vivosmart hadd HR had HR capability, I bought one. After reading comments here, I think that I will return it!

    HR tracking has always been important for me. I have used the: Accurex Plus, the A5, the F6, the RS100, the M52, the FS1, the RS 800CX, and FT-60 all by Polar. I even tried Non Polar a Cardio Champ by Sensor Dynamics. Longest used were the RS-100 and the FT-60 (still use the RS-100 consistently!

    • Just to be clear though, you haven’t tried the Vivosmart HR yet?

    • Nelson Davis

      No, I have not used it ! My plan is to return it unopened since there were so many comments on the HR function being less effective than claimed. Did I read in the comments that the unit only gave the HR every 10 minutes? I hope I misunderstood that! At age 80, I could have my HR go much too high and return to reasonable all within a 10 minute span!! Thanks for your comment!

    • Steven Knapp

      HR sampling they said was based on movement. So when you’re not moving it doesn’t burn battery checking your HR. It *should* sample more often as you start moving around.

      Also it was stated that the HR samples constantly when you’re displaying it, in an activity, or broadcasting it via ANT+. So if you’re trying to see how your HR reacts to something specific those might be good options as well.

  139. Tony

    Well, after a few hours shy of 5 days, the battery finally gave out. I don’t do broadcasting, but there was plenty of ‘new tech’ play, notifications, activities, ~ 13k step/day, treadmill runs, and just general activity tracking usage. I fully charged it during initial set up and haven’t taken it off once during the past 5 days. So I think their 5 day battery life claim will be fairly spot on for my usage. I’m satisfied with that considering their were several opportunities throughout the week I could’ve topped off the charge while studying, etc.

    After letting it drain all the way, it only took about an hour to get back to a full charge…again, I’m good with that.

    Now if Garmin can just figure out their Connect app for iOS…

  140. Long Run Nick

    I have done 4 runs(8,8.5,6 and 7.3) with both the VVSHR and 920xt with HRM Run chest strap- non broadcast mode.
    I am very impressed with the accuracy of the Elevate HR sensor. It tracks almost exactly to the beat of my tried and true HRM Run strap. My HR average for both devices has matched. As I run, I am almost amazed that the HR readings are exact most of the time. When they differ it is by 1-2 beats.
    The stair thing measures hills I run up and down closer than the stairs in our house.
    Steps are pretty close. I had calibrated long ago, on older devices and it seems to follow pretty close.
    I end up with 2 activities in GC, but one shows my 920 data- auto titled and the VVHRS shows the data as untitled. I have pretty much always ignored calories.
    I have mentioned in previous posts that I bought this to test the Elevate HR sensor, as I have preordered the FR 235. I mostly run- 40-50 miles a week and am looking forward to running w/o a HR strap and hope the 235 HR works as well.
    Again, I realize this device is not focused for runaholics like myself. The smart notifications work great, I like it better than my 920 for those. Screen is quite readable, even for my aging(72 years) eyes. Running in the dark, I use a headlamp and have the device set to show HR as my default screen, and have no issues with readability.
    I am not concerned with double entries on GC. For over 39 1/2 years I have kept track manually, and have a drawer full of calendars and manual, non software spreadsheets.
    Currently at 83,2xx miles. Who needs GC?

  141. Ben

    Well, I’m somewhat disappointed/confused with my first tracked exercise on the vivosmart HR. I went for a quick bike ride to prep for a race tomorrow and wore both the VSHR and the Fitbit Charge HR on the same wrist. I realize that neither of these bands are meant for tracking biking. I just like to get the HR data from them. Lots of mixed feelings here…

    The VSHR seemed to do a MUCH better job tracking HR. It gave me an average of 124bpm with a max of 159 bpm. The Charge HR on the other hand, gave me an average of 93bpm and a peak of 140. So… way different.

    Interesting tid-bit: the Fitbit seems to track a bunch more “steps” while biking that the VSHR. Before the ride my step totals between the two were only about 100 off with the Fitbit being the higher number. After my ride, they were over 3000 off. VSHR at around 7000 and CHR at 10,300. Just thought that was strange.

    What REALLY bums me out is that neither the VSHR or Garmin Connect gave me any “intensity” minutes for the workout! I rode for 30+ minutes with an average HR of 124 and I got nothing. That’s pretty bogus.

    I love the smart notifications and the UX of the Vivosmart HR, but am unimpressed with its abilities outside of basic step and “life” tracking. I’ll give it another week, but I think this thing might be going back to Best Buy.

    • Ben I didn’t get intensity minutes the first time I biked, the second time I did. I did more intervals the second time. 30/min ride, 121avg, 148 max got me 55 intensity minutes.

  142. Jessie

    Hi, so I’m just wondering is the best buy version different than the one that will be on the dcr website?

  143. Denis

    Hey Ray!

    Thanks for the first information! I have one question.
    Do you think that the vivosmart hr is nearly equivalent in terms of sleep analysis to the Basis Peak?

    Thank you in advance!

    • In terms of straight sleep data (i.e. deep/etc…), they are fairly equal. Where Basis has an edge there though is the other temp/skin/etc related metrics, which Garmin lacks.

  144. Johnny Row

    Any guesstimate of when we might get a better indication of the accuracy of ‘Elevate”, particularly during workout?

  145. Rick

    The backlight is just too dark with no way to make it brighter. I had to return mine to Best buy. The notifications are useless if you can’t see them in medium to low light conditions. Really wanted to like this tracker, hit a sweet spot with features and price. Absolute deal breaker if you can’t see the display.

  146. Dennis

    Ben… the only thing that may be the issue for not giving you “intensity” minutes is not because your heart rate was bpm were higher, but the movement of the tracker itself maybe the indicator to the software that the activity is of a higher intensity. Just a guess as I just got mine.

    • Ben

      I can’t imagine that movement is the key factor for “intensity minutes.” Besides, there’s a whole bunch of movement during a mountain bike ride. My fitbit always registers a bazillion steps during my bike rides. (A feature many people have asked fitbit for is a “track bike ride” options that stops counting steps.)

      Anyway… I did a regular workout today at the gym and it registered 36 “intensity minutes” for me. So, I guess it’s working okay?

  147. Some experiences re intensity minutes
    link to midpackgear.com

  148. JB

    Does the VSHR pair with the fenix 2 for broadcasting HR? I have tried pairing mine several times, but the fenix will time out on the search and go back to the time screen. I was hoping I could use the VSHR for heart rate during my runs and get rid of the chest strap, but that’s not an option yet.

    • Frank

      When the f2 displays “Searching”, it is looking for the HRM it was paired with last. Interrupt this search by pressing the Start button. Then scroll down two entries to “New Search” and press the Start button again.

    • JB

      Thank you Frank!! It worked!

    • Frank

      You are welcome. I only knew the answer because I made the same not so stupid mistake myself a year or so ago only to be enlightened by another DCRainmaker reader.

  149. Dan Hunter

    Has anyone tested it to see how accurate tracking is if you put it in your pocket, on ankle or even if it fits around bicep?
    I ask because I am not allowed to wear a watch at work but I don’t want to lose 8 hours of data per day. Cheers

    • Frank

      The Vivofits and Vivosmarts I have had all work fine in your pocket or even dangling from a belt loop. You would have to do something in the way of a band extender to get it to fasten around your biceps or ankle and I kind of doubt it would register steps reliably attached to a lower extremity anyway though I vaguely remember some discussion about people cycling with vivofits in their socks.

    • Dan Hunter

      Thanks for the info Frank I think I’ll be sneaking this into my pocket at work!

  150. Kelly

    Curious about screen durability. Will the acrylic screen scratch/wear easily do you think? I’m getting visions of a super cloudy screen down the road, with it being worn every day. I have a farm and work with horses and am a bit nervous about exposing it to the constant hay/horse, sleeves up and down, etc. Has anyone had previous experience with screens such as this? Is there a protective film I can/should? put over it, similar to a cell phone screen protector? I’m also hoping that it constantly rubbing on sleeves and such won’t keep turning on the screen. :/ Is there a screen lock in place? I couldn’t find reference to one in the manual online. Still waiting to receive mine from Best Buy. Thanks for any assistance.

  151. Jessie

    So in the video you ray says you can pair it to a hr strap but above I thought it states you cant…just looking for clarifaction on this…

    Also I assume this tracker can’t be taken out to switch the band out? Thank you!

    • At that point in the video I also overlaid the video with gigantic text that says you can’t do so ;). The band I had in the video was pre-production and apparently that feature has been removed.

  152. Dennis

    I’m giving the VSHR a go. MFP connects, but the data does not show in GC.
    My walk today was 2 miles. I changed the 150 min / wk minutes to 200 and on the device it says 33/200 33 of the 200 is used, but not on the web site (0/200). Both, GC site and VSHR were sync’d.
    The VSHR shows .66 miles walked during the 33 min 2 mi walk. Setting for steps was 2′ stride (40′ at 20 steps). The web site agrees with the distance.
    So a few kinks, but I like the device.

  153. RJ Abella

    Does anyone have the XL version? I went to BB and bought one and it fits, but I’m on the 6th hole from the end and the slider that holds the extra is right on the end. I’m curious if the XL would be a bigger fit, but also don’t want a lot of extra strap just hanging

  154. RJ Abella

    Here is what it looks like on my wrist. It feels fine, but worries that down the road I might need a longer strap?

  155. RJ Abella

    Also, sorry to bombard the thread but I’m a beach volleyball coach. If you all were in my position would you leave this on during practice and play or take it off? Practice itself is a workout sometimes and I’d hate to lose that data, but also I’d hate to lose the tracker overall

  156. James

    Picked one up over the weekend in Aus and from my few days with it so far I’m impressed. I’m surprised at the amount of vitriol in these forums, to my mind Garmin have pretty much nailed all the features an activity tracker is designed for. Many seem to be comparing it to a miracle device that merges lots of different functions and intended uses into one sleek device that somehow also has amazing battery life and is cheap :)

    For me, I wanted something that could track my daily activity with a degree of accuracy (both in terms of sufficient number of datapoints to be an accurate representation of my activity, and in terms of the accuracy of those datapoints). I do not want high intensity workout tracking, there are much better devices for that (in my case an Edge 500 with HR strap and cadence sensor). I wanted something that had reasonable battery life, tracked my activity, and could replace my watch because I didn’t want to wear a second band to see the time.

    The VSHR looks great in my opinion, although I think it’s more masculine looking than the original VS my wife wears so perhaps that could be a factor for women. I’ve found it comfortable and the screen is perfect in all the conditions I’ve used it in so far (including dimly lit rooms, the backlight is definitely not too bright but I’ve found it fine).

    The HR monitoring is obviously the main interest for me and it seems to be very accurate, as long as it’s firmly against the skin. When doing a test on an indoor trainer it was under-reading until I moved it up slightly to the more fleshy part but obviously different sports and hand positions can affect this. When not on the trainer I’ve found it works fine lower down on my wrist where it sits naturally, although the protrusion of the wrist bones there (especially the ulna) could mean it doesn’t read as well when it’s low on the wrist for some people. As mentioned, I’m not using it to track my exercise, I’m using it to track my general activity, and as such my primary interest was incidental exercise (eg walking up a hill on the way to work), and resting heart rate. In both cases it’s done a great job and the readings are consistent with my expectations and other HR data. When I tested leaving starting an activity and leaving it on the heart rate screen it tracked exactly with my strap right up to 186bpm (at which point I stopped). As expected that created a duplicate activity on GC, but I won’t normally do that I’ll just leave the watch on default tracking.

    The algorithm controlling when to take a heart rate reading seems pretty conservative, overnight I’ve seen gaps between readings of almost two hours, but then at the same time I’m asleep so it’s not like my heart rate is changing. It seems to use the motion tracker to decide when to read, if I’m being active it’s every few minutes, but if I’m sitting on the bus or the couch it’s once an hour (until I get off the bus and my activity means another reading). That seems like an excellent way to handle it, but I’d like to see a user setting to make it more aggressive and see what it did to battery life. I’d be prepared to lose a day in runtime if it meant readings every minute or more during activity and every 5 minutes at other times.

    The notifications work well so far (which I’m quite glad about because the watch it replaced was a Pebble which did notifications exceptionally well). The weather feature hasn’t worked for me yet, it’s always waiting for data despite enabling location on my phone but I’m not particularly interested in looking at the weather on my watch anyway. The only annoying issue I’ve had so far is the same problem others have mentioned where my watch tells me I’ve climbed 12 flights of stairs today, while GC says only 9 (both app and website).

    Anyway, there’s my two cents worth.

  157. Pax

    James – Excellent feedback on the device – you nailed the definition of the device.

    Very well put on the vitriol and I love the: “Many seem to be comparing it to a miracle device that merges lots of different functions and intended uses into one sleek device that somehow also has amazing battery life.”

    To me this is the natural evolution – a small wrist strap, time piece, combined with a health centric heart tracker and a method to get notifications without needing to grap the smartphone all the time. I expect to replace this within 20 months, as new wrist measurement ideas emerge, and with the supercomputer of the 80s in my pocket doubling in processing power every year or two.

    I also keep getting a laugh, on the expectation by a few, that Ray should be promptly responding to messages – especially for those that don’t have time to read the full reviews or to use their browser’s search function for the comments.

  158. Dennis

    Just to be clear. There is no need for an external HR strap, this records just fine. One my wrist, where my watch feels natural with the strap just above my palm, it accurately detects my pulse. It nailed active minutes and allows changing weekly active minutes.. The only thing is distance accuracy.
    Congrats to Garmin… This is a major, major product in usage along with the website. I consider it a beta release pending MFP connection and tracking distance which maybe my error in usage. Very nice Garmin, thank you and thanks Ray for your pre-review.

    • Adam

      Disagree. For any kind of movement other than walking/riding where you need to move your wrists, the VSHR completely fails a getting an accurate heart rate. It would be nice if Garmin added the ability to pair a chest strap with the device.

    • tom jones

      HR sensor works great for me. Greatly exceeded my expectations. This thing is a winner.

    • Jeremy

      So if you asked me after my first attempt at an Insanity Max 30 workout I would have agreed. That said I fixed the problem by going up one notch. Tightening it down it came within a few beats of my HR strap readings. It did drop out during a section where the HR has a gradual drop in the BPM reading but it picked up when things picked up.

      Is it perfect? No. Is it worth the cost? For me yes, now I’m not worrying about having another device on my bike rides to work, and also getting more data when I’m rested. Plus while the battery life isn’t where I would like it I’m more than willing to support this version and looking forward to newer models down the line.

  159. James, Pax, and Dennis are spot on. For a Garmin device that was release a week ago this thing works great. The HR sensor is spot on. Do any optical HR sensors work when you do high intensity intervals? What is the point of monitoring HR when doing this? Go hard, recover, go hard. If you need a HR monitor to tell you that you are going hard then you are not actually going hard. If you do not like the feature set then don’t buy it. Use your dollars to effect change. There is nothing wrong with specialization within a product, especially when a company does it well. Most people would rather have something that does a few things very well (HR monitoring and activity tracking in this case) than something that tries to do everything and executes nothing well.

  160. Tom Jones

    James, Pax, and Dennis are spot on. For a Garmin device that was release a week ago this thing works great. The HR sensor is spot on. Do any optical HR sensors work when you do high intensity intervals? What is the point of monitoring HR when doing this? Go hard, recover, go hard. If you need a HR monitor to tell you that you are going hard then you are not actually going hard. If you do not like the feature set then don’t buy it. Use your dollars to effect change. There is nothing wrong with specialization within a product, especially when a company does it well. Most people would rather have something that does a few things very well (HR monitoring and activity tracking in this case) than something that tries to do everything and executes nothing well.

  161. Rand

    After having this item for a week, I would have to say I love this device. Initially I said the display was not bright enough, and although I wish it was a little brighter I am satisfied with the backlight in a poorly lit room. And I love the fact the display is easy to read in sunlight. Also changed the orientation of the display to vertical and it just seems easier to see as well.

    Heart rate monitor seems to be very good, matches up with my Mio Fuse and Garmin chest strap. I do make the strap a little tighter while exercising.

    Yes there are a few bugs still in regards to floor tracking, sleeping and intensity minutes which I am sure will get worked out in future firmware releases.

    For a $150 device I am more than satisfied with it and would highly recommend it, to me it rivals more expensive devices.

  162. Ben

    I’m taking mine back today. Overall, I think it’s a great device for people who run and want general fitness tracking. I like the functionality and the optical HR sensor seems to be much more accurate than my Charge HR. I didn’t think I’d like the smart notifications as much as I do, but the vertical orientation of the screen is quite annoying when checking them.

    My biggest issues are with the Garmin Connect app and the GC community (or lack thereof). I constantly have to repair my VSHR with my iphone (6 Plus) as it seems to have severe difficulty reconnecting on its own when I go out of range of my phone. There’s no connection to facebook/twitter/contacts, so it’s almost impossible to find friends to connect with unless you know they have Garmin product and are using their actual name. The app overall seems clunky and poorly designed. It seems like it’s designed to make you buy other Garmin products to fill out the rest of your stats. Can’t get Strava rides to sync to it, no phone GPS tracking within the app… my list goes on.

    I’m not writing off this device completely, I’m just going to return it and wait to see if Garmin corrects some its shortcomings (especially the GC app) in the near future. Who knows, maybe I’ll buy it again in a couple months.

    At this point, I think I’m just going to save up for the next Vivoactive (hopefully with built-in HRM) or whatever Fitbit’s next round of trackers ends up being.

  163. Long Run Nick

    Have run 55 miles(7 runs), I am impressed with the accuracy of the Elevate sensor compared to my 920HRM Run chest strap. Average HR has been spot on for the 7 runs.
    Anxiously awaiting my preorder thru DCR and Clever Training of the FR235. Good job Garmin.

  164. Will

    For those of you having success with the heart rate tracking during exercise:

    1) Can you comment on any placement/tightness or other adjustments you make?
    2) can anyone comment on whether there has been success in non-running/non-cycling exercises? I’m thinking weights, hiit, crossfit, p90x, circuit training. I’m having problems getting mine to maintain accurate high heart readings during intense circuit training with a variety of placements. I’ll look down, and it will be disappointingly low (i.e. 80 when I’m clearly at least 145.)

  165. Cher

    I see the vivosmart HR come in Regular and extra large but what do these sizes correlate to in inches of wrist circumference?

  166. Jason

    I bought the vivosmart HR last week and am not sure how it can track your bike or swim activities. Do you have to use the run option to have the monitor track the activity? Any suggestions/clarification would be appreciated. I’m using it to supplement my garmin 910. Thanks

  167. Really thinking of getting one these to compliment by Garmin 620 and chest strap.

    Main checklist
    -Record 24×7 heart rate – seems capable?
    -Use VSHR when doing weights workout instead of firing up 620/HRM-RUN combo
    -Auto send across weights workout from Garmin Connect to Strava as runs from 620 do now – does this work?

    Unit not out until November 30th in the UK according to Amazon. :(

  168. Johnny Row

    For those of you who are having success with this during intense exercise, have you previously tried other trackers (i.e. Fitbit charge HR), and how did this compare? While anxiously awaiting DCR’s more detailed findings, I’m trying to figure out for the people who are finding this tracks heart rate well, if they are somehow body types for whom wrist monitors just work well, or if this really is an improvement over some other wrist HRMs such as Fitbit.

    • Kelly

      I’ve never used any other activity specific trackers so I can’t compare to that, but you can see my detailed review below regarding my HR results. Overall it was spot on with my FR220+schoche rhythm optical sensor. Was shocked, and very pleased. Did some Insanity Max 30 with it. Haven’t been able to take it on a run, but my theory is that if it can track within a couple calories/beats/everything else of my FR+scoche during this particular workout, then a run will be a breeze for it. Speculation of course until tested. Based on what I’ve seen so far, I would feel comfortable using it for treadmill, indoor workouts, high intensity workouts, etc. if I didn’t have need for the FR GPS and other features.

  169. JoeFitz

    It’s just killing me because sometimes it tracks spot on with my HRM-RUN and other times it is wildly all over the place. Aside from all the (expected launch) software issues, I really do like the unit, but there is no way I could trust it to replace the chest strap yet. I wear it tight and in the same place every time, but sometimes it decides it wants to lock on and other times not. I will say that when it does lock in, the average has been either spot on or within 1 BPM compared to the strap over various 45-90 minute runs.

  170. Oriol Jiménez

    I have a doubt and I couldn’t find after reading all comments here and on the original vivofit review.

    Has garmin already implemented the normalization data logic on garmin connect?
    Two key scenarios (for me):
    – I’m running with a forerunner (without activity monitor)+hrm strap, and the VSHR. Will I have duplicated calories?
    – I go for a MTB ride with a garmin edge, on a MTB ride the VSHR will capture a lot of fake steps, will garmin connect remove those steps after I sync my garmin edge?

    On a slightly related note: when the VSHR is on broadcast mode (sending HR data to another device) will still be counting steps, flights, and storing HR on the VSHR itself?

    Depending on the answers I may prefer to left the VSHR at home, or turning it off when on some of those scenarios.

    Thanks a lot for your time! (and sorry for my poor english)

  171. Kelly

    After a few days with this, I am overall pleasantly surprised. I haven’t gone for a run yet for testing, but did test it against my forerunner + scoche rhythm sensor for a 40 minute high intensity interval type workout and the heart rate was consistent with the scoche throughout. My scoche has a lag in signal to my FR, so the Vivosmart was actually more real-time in this case. Both results had the HR min and max, calories, etc. very very close. I was pleased with the result. Can’t wait to take it on a run. I’m still going to use my scoche+FR for workouts but I want to see how it performs just for kicks.

    It’s pretty bulky and ugly on my wrist but here on my homestead I’m not into fashion so I don’t really care about that.

    The sleep info it provided was very appealing to my geeky heart. Of course this is all new to me, as I’ve never had an activity tracker before. I have a need to track my sleep cycles so this will be very handy. I find that the HR data was spot on with resting HR that I manually have been calculating for years. Even though it’s said that it doesn’t contain the detail that other devices have, I find it suits my needs of knowing movement and cycles and HR.

    My only complaint is that the sensor is bruising my wrist. Yes, I have loosened it up as much as I can while still getting a decent connection. The way it sits on my wrist, it leans into my bone. This holds it in place which is great, but it is starting to really bother me. I move it up and down the arm and it does the same thing eventually. Looser it is, the more it leans and presses into my wrist. The tighter it is, it doesn’t move as much into my bone but is then causing irritation from being too snug. Can’t win lol. Wish it wasn’t a raised sensor and was smooth like the new FR. I had to switch wrists overnight just to give it a break. Any suggestions are welcome, though I’m not sure there’s anything I can do about it.

    Just my $0.02 fwiw. Great product overall. Been waiting for this for a long time, as a loyal Garmin user. Ideally I would love to replace my FR220 with the new one with activity tracking and HR so I wouldn’t need two devices, but needless to say, it’s not financially in the cards right now.

    • Kelly

      Just for clarity, I do not have an overly “fleshy wrist” so to speak. Just normal.

    • Have you tried wearing it on the inside of your wrist? Would this make any difference?

    • Kelly

      After wearing this everyday, I seem to have gotten used to the irritation. Maybe it was because I hadn’t worn anything on my wrist in many years except for workouts. I loosen overnight and tighten for workouts with little irritation now. Happy with that because I really do like it.

  172. Mark

    All activity trackers from Fitbit and Garmin at the moment have one flaw. That is when riding my bike, they still count steps (in error due to movements/vibrations). I had a vivoactive and returned it as it even counted steps in bike mode. This made it useless for me. I commute by bike, so most my steps were achieve on the ride to work, this just made the vivoactive a watch.

    Have garmin addressed this on the vivosmart HR?

    I really want to get one, but might have to carry it in a pocket or backpack when riding my bike in the hope it won’t miss-count steps.

  173. Staph

    I really hope that the display doesn’t bail out on me because I just purchased a vivosmart and within 3 months the pixels began to fade away. Kinda sucks

    • Tom Jones

      Happened to mine too after 4 or 5 months. Garmin is in the process or replacing it under warranty. Give them a call, the will take care of it.

    • Staph

      Thank you for the feedback Tom. I have like 6 vivosmart which are showing the exact same issue. I am in contact with the support but haven’t heard back from them as such.

  174. kibi

    Thanks for nice review!

    Vívosmart® HR doesn’t count rate inside of water for swimming – it’s clear.
    Is it possible to get heart rate when my arm will be out of water in swimming pool in this case?

    Please provide more information about Swimming pool and vívosmart® HR. There is nothing about it in the review :-(
    just comments of users below.

    • It doesn’t have a swimming mode, and I don’t know if anyone has tried it yet in the pool (I haven’t had the chance to try it in the pool, perhaps tomorrow).

      That said, I wouldn’t expect roaring success in the pool.

    • I have a Fitbit Charge HR, I use it for my crossfit, running, cycling (in place), boxing, walking.
      I swim A LOT, after learning that you could use the Vivosmart HR in the water, I’m thinking about getting one :)

      Please let me know when you have swam with your Vivosmart HR in the pool.
      If you do, could you let me know if the HR is accurate? and if the strokes would count as “steps”? I would also like to know if the calorie burn is accurate.

  175. Fred

    Will you test VS charge HR and scosche?. I would like to know if get the HR better than Charge HR and diary calories.
    Is it possible pair with scosche?.
    For now, Do you believe the scosche is the best no chest belt for hr precision?.

    • Yes, part of my testing will be comparing against the Scoshe. You cannot pair a VSHR to anything, Scosche or otherwise.

      Right now I still believe the Scosche is the best optical HR sensor on the market. I haven’t seen any product do a better job across all activity types (or be as flexible).

    • Will

      Had the Charge HR. It was much worser than the VSHR. They both stink in many common gym settings, and do their best work in running workouts.

      Scosche is the best that I’ve owned (I’ve owned ChargeHR, VSHR, Mio Alpha Gen 1) but it’s only for exercise. Even then, I still wear it around my inner bicep during weight training or it gets wonky (similar to the others.)

  176. Kelly

    Regarding the Move Bar, it’s making me a little crazy. It just registered my couple flights of stairs, plus walking around the house and then as soon as I get upstairs it tells me to move! So I have been all around my house and it’s still not registering that I’m moving. Driving me a little batty. I really hope this feature works itself out. I have a FR235 on order, which I’m going to compare activity-wise and if it is better/satisfactory, then I’m going to return the Vivosmart and keep the FR, replacing my 220. Anyone else having issues with the move bar/notification?

    • Kelly – it takes about 75 continuous steps to clear the move bar when its halfway full, about 150 steps when its all full. Walking inside across the house or up and down the stairs might not do it. Its more like, for me, walking a city block in Washington, DC.

    • Kelly

      Oh wow! Thank you for your reply. So that covers the resetting of the move bar part.. now just to figure out why on earth it told me to move (twice now) after being on my feet, continuously walking to and from barn, etc. ?! I remember coming up from the root cellar last night after walking upstairs with several pounds of meat and produce in my hands, little winded and it had the nerve to tell me to move! ha. I’m thinking it will probably work itself out and might just be buggy. It obviously wouldn’t make or break it for me considering that getting up and moving isn’t really an issue for me, just step and approx calorie and HR info for curiosity’s sake.

  177. Flavio


    Can I use the vivosmart to track my work at the gym and weight work?

    Today I’m using Garmin FR 15 but I want just a smartband with heart rate.

    This is the best option or have another choice.

    Regards from Brazil,


  178. Arnost Lobel

    Seriously lagging behind its potential.

    I bought this new Vivofit HR based on the device’s two major – for me – features: a) sport activity timing/tracking, and b) wrist-based HR monitoring. While the former is as good as one would expect from a Garmin sport watch, the HR monitoring is but a joke. It may very well work fine for folks whose HR does not leave the comfortable 60 to 90 bpm range, but for of the serious athlete who frequently exercise within all five HR zones the Vivofit is as useful as a silicone wristband – pretty darn useless. It also seems that the more variations there is during an activity, the more inaccurate the device is. I tested it in one quite hard and hilly bike ride during which I got very close to my max HR (almost 190) for about a minute, and the Vivofit showed me that I was actually not working so hard – HR about 150 or less. Totally unreliable! (I have screenshots to show if there is an interest.) I tested it at the gym (inaccurate), at the pool (showed 58 bpm average – laughable), on a bike trainer, and a few bike rides. It only came close with its HR for the indoor trainer session and it was probably only because I kept the pace as steady as I could; even then there were many spikes and drops in the reported HR. I returned the device after a week of testing it, since I do not care for any of the other features (steps and stairs counting, sleep tracking, music controls, messages, etc. – all that.) and I do not believe I’ll try another wrist-based HR and activity monitor for about next two years.

  179. GSam

    Based on what appears to be the majority of experiences with this, I see no reason to try the VS HR until such time it becomes VS HR 2.

    • Arnost Lobel

      I am with you on that. However, perhaps it may work for some folks. I admit I am rather puzzled by some of the favorable reviews. I’ve realized that I did not include some information about myself that may be useful to those who want to make an informed decision about purchasing this Vivofit. I am a male, white, but not pale. I have hairs on my forearms; not too thick, but not just a few either. I do not think it matter much for the HR accuracy, however; I tried wearing it on both sides of my wrist with the same results. Also, I made sure I weared the band pretty tight all the time, especially in the pool.

  180. Cheryl Spencer

    Loving everything so far except weather…still shows “waiting for data”. Location services is on for weather apps, GC, latest software, full, battery…ideas, anyone??

    • Howard Olsen

      I thought you may find this interesting. I just sent this comment to Garmin Support; the whole thread is below:

      I just made a discovery that seems to fix my problem. Using connect, I changed the settings for default screen from “Clock” to “Heartrate” and now the device is sending consistent HR data and seems to be correct. Like I said before. It’s like when the device is in the clock screen or any screen other than HR, the HR sensors go to sleep – therefore the inaccurate readings.
      Me to Garmin:
      I just bought this but I am questioning it’s accuracy. It’s giving me an average resting heart rate of 42. I’ve been wearing 2 days. I dont think so, Furthermore, when I swipe from clock to HR reading, the indicator shows me that the senor is looking for a reading and displays a very low (like 50 or 48) HR reading; then the indicator stops flashing and my HR displays at 62. It’s like the HR sensor goes to sleep. I’m certain that I’m getting artificially low averages and readings. It will be interesting to get this thing out for my first ride to compare the HR reading from the VivoSmart with Previous averages recorded by my MIO Link. The MIO is very accurate and unfortunately I have a feeling this VivoSmart is going to be returned. I’ll give it a week. Any Comments?
      Garmin to Me:
      Thank you for contacting Garmin International, I’ll be happy to help. I’m sorry to hear that you are having issues with the vivosmart HR’s heart rate data. I do have a few questions.
      What is the software version on the device?
      How much lower is the heart rate data than your average?
      Please advise, we look forward to hearing from you.
      Me to Garmin:

      My Software has been updated to 2.50
      I’m not sure what my resting heart rate would be but it must be above 40 at least in the mid 50s. I’m 50 years old and not super fit. I would say I am of average fitness.
      Let me tell you what happened today.
      I went to the gym and did a 45 minute high intensity spin class. I was about 10 minutes into the work out and the heart rate read out was 66 – there’s no way, I know my body and was at minimum 110 t 120 bpm. When I was 20 minutes into the work out I checked again, swiped to the HR screen and the first thing I saw was a flashing HR icon. It took a few seconds then the flashing stopped and the readout came to the screen and showed me 70, then is started going down 68, 67, 66 …. At that point my actual HR must have been somewhere around 140. The screen went to sleep, I swiped back and then it showed me 168. Then back to 70 about a minute later.
      There’s no way this is accurate. I finished my spin class then hit the weight room, did a bunch of sit ups, squats and did some reps with weights. When it was all done I had been I the gym for 90+ minutes and as of right now as I write this the VivoSmart HR shows me 0 of 150 intensity minutes. I don’t trust this device at all. Is it this device which is flawed or is it a problem for the product in general?
      Garmin to Me:
      Thank you for contacting Garmin International. I would be happy to help. The optical heart rate sensor on your vivosmart HR uses light to penetrate your skin and estimate your heart rate. This allows you to get heart rate information without the need for an external sensor. To ensure best possible accuracy, follow the below guidelines.
      For best heart rate accuracy:
      • Ensure wrist is clean and dry
      • Ensure snug fit on wrist
      • Wear watch on outside of wrist, away from wrist bone
      • Avoid wearing it over dark tattoos
      • Ensure green lights are functioning

      Please let us know if you need further assistance.
      Me To Garmin:
      Thank you for your considered email but you didn’t really tell me anything.
      • My wrist is clean and dry
      • The Device is snugly fit on my wrist
      • I am wearing watch snugly above the wrist bone
      • I don’t have any tattoos
      • Green lights are functioning
      I don’t mean to be offensive but I’m not an idiot. You simply cut and pasted the info from your FAQ page. I also have a Mio Link which is an optical wrist worn HRM and is perfectly accurate and my Garmin Edge 510 cycle computer picks up . I bought the Vivo smart because the Mio unit doesn’t have a display; it is only a transmitting device which is fine but the Mio product is has short battery life, and with no display, I never know how much battery is left before it drains.

      I was hoping this VivoSmart HR would address that. So I have come to the conclusion as one of two possibilities:
      1. I either have a faulty unit or
      2. This product wasn’t ready for release (similar to the way Microsoft releases operating systems)

      I have written in to support because I’m looking for support. Do you stand behind this product? I have written a detailed account of the behavior of my device and I want to know if it is normal and I’m going to return it, or if I can get a replacement. I want to love this thing, that’s why I bought it. I just can’t trust it because it hasn’t given me any accurate readings and after several works outs now, tells me I have had no intensity minutes.

      I’ll appreciate your response. Perhaps you’d like to escalate this.
      I haven’t heard any further will post the results of my new test with HR set as the default screen.

    • Arnost Lobel

      Howard, thanks for posting your experience. It matches mine exactly. I too wanted to love it. Like someone mentioned already, it would be a dream comes true. Alas, I do not believe the HR monitoring for this generation of optical devices from Garmin is ready for prime time. I assume others’ mileage may vary, but for all my testing the HR “accuracy” was way off for any serious use (by serious I mean an athlete that gets involved in actual sport activities.)

    • Howard Olsen

      Just got this back from Garmin – (after posting my review on Best Buy Site)
      Please allow me to clarify on a few points you’ve made.

      The average heart rate displayed on the vívosmart HR is based on a rolling average of the last seven days of activity. While we understand the desire to have your heart rate sampled more frequently, too much will severely lower the expected battery life of the device.

      The optical heart rate sensor samples your heart rate infrequently during periods of low activity. The sample rate increases with the detection of increased activity. The highest frequency of heart rate sampling you can achieve is by recording an individual activity using the timer function on the device. To do this, tap the button, select the “Runner” icon and tap the button again to begin recording. When finished, tap the button a final time and tap the “Save” icon to save the activity to your device. The heart rate and calorie burn from that activity will be applied to your daily total and it can even be synced to your Garmin Connect account for viewing later.

      For more precision in regards to your recorded Intensity Minutes, please make sure your heart rate zones have been entered and are synced to the device. You can do this from the device settings on the Garmin Connect website or mobile app. For more information on Intensity Minutes, please see the following link: link to support.garmin.com{85ed4ff0-8ec2-11e5-4cfe-000000000000}&kbName=garmin

      We apologize for any confusion you’ve experienced. If you have any more questions, please contact us at 1-800-800-1020 and we’d be happy to provide one-on-one assistance over the phone.

      Thank you again for your feedback! -LB

  181. Justus

    I must dissent. For me HR sensor is fully acurate to my garmin hr strap as well as nailing my resting heart rate. The 2.5 update seemed to fix the issue where it would not sense a decrease in hr upon rest. Garmin did a good job bringing a fairly mature product to market. The issues I have are minor and by no means make me want to return. I say you have a faulty unt and would exchange it.

  182. I have to say, my experience has been rather good with the Vivosmart HR, which I bought on the 1st of November. I am used to Garmin’s buggy software having used their GPS watches for years but I particularly notice that the synching via Bluetooth works much better than with my Fenix 2, for example. Regarding the HR monitoring I have noticed that

    – during an activity it tracks very well with my chest strap (over on my fromrusttoironman blog you can see a direct comparison of the two graphs). When running I tend to tighten the strap one notch but during the day it doesn’t need to be so tight.
    – my resting heart rate is very consistent from one day to the next (although their are some light bugs on the webiste which seem to calculate the average over several days wrongly – giving 5 bpm!). The first couple of days after the NY Marathon it reported a slightly but noticeably higher resting heart rate, as it did this Sunday, when I felt more tired than usual (OK, this is more subjective). The typical level (37 bpm) is in line with a Holter (24 hour ECG) I wore a couple of years ago. This corresponds to a minimum heart rate which I usually attain at some point in the middle of the night, so it is difficult to check empirically (when I have been sitting still for a while and look at the display, my heart rate tends to be between 40-45).
    – during the day it goes up and down as you might expect, but always within a credible range.

    Regarding counting steps, it is surprisingly good at knowing when I am actually moving, even if it is on a treadmill. It is about as far off the treadmill speed as my Fenix 2 (up to +/-10%) but it is good enough for a measure of activity as far as I am concerned. I haven’t checked it against a known distance outside but I don’t think it is a substitute for a GPS watch anyway.

    The smart phone alerts work instantly with my phone and my wrist typically buzzing at the same time and I like having the weather available.

    The only minor gripe is that my Samsung Grand 2 occasionally loses contact and I have to turn off and on the Bluetooth on the phone to re-establish it. I’m not sure whether this is an issue with the phone or the tracker but I suspect it is the latter.

    I wear the device on the inside of my right wrist because it is easier to read, more discreet (I don’t want just anyone knowing my heart rate!) and less likely to get scratched (although it seems fairly resistant so far).

    Ah, I should say that the battery life leaves something to be desired. As I keep it on when I run, it goes into a continuous heart rate monitoring mode which I think is a greater drain on the battery. I am getting about 3 days of life out of it as a result (versus the claimed 5).

  183. Stewart

    The HR sadly seems to be highly inaccurate. I’ve been testing against my current Mio Link. The Vivosmart HR is far constantly higher, than what the Mio link reports.

    I’ve tried wearing the VSHR in various places on my forearm but to no avail.

    People are buying this to substitute their existing HR monitor will be very disappointed.

    Elevate isn’t ready for prime time yet unfortunately. Maybe in another generation of sensors.. but this initial version just doesn’t cut it. Very disappointed.

    • Tom Jones

      My experience could not be more different than yours. With extensive testing against a strap, manual pulse checks, and many years of HR training (I can predict where it is during exercise fairly well) my elevate sensor is spot on and more than ready for prime time. Given Garmin’s new product track record I was very very surprised by this.

      Reading all these comments it is clear that it works great for some and not so great for others. You will have to do an experiment of 1 to see if it works for you or not.

    • Stewart

      What position on your arm do you wear the VSHR?

    • Tom Jones

      Depends. I have found the trade off of accuracy is comfort. So if I am running I have been pairing it to a fenix. In this configuration I wear it pretty high on my left wrist. High enough that it will not hit buttons on the fenix. This requires fairly tight strap, but not really noticeable and much better than a heart rate chest strap. Just measured, this is about 2 inches above where my hand starts. In normal day to day wear It is slightly lower than this. The little bone knob on my wrist protrudes out pretty far, so I am wearing it above this. I have found it also works ok below, but maybe not as well. If I am on top of this bone knob I get poorer results, which I expect. I also tried turning it around and wearing the sensor down where you would naturally check your pulse manually. This did not yield great results.
      The one thing that I wonder about is how skin tone effects the sensor. I have pretty fair skin and very bleach blond arm hair. I would think this is best case scenario for an optical sensor like this to work. There must be other external factors to the accuracy of the sensor as the comments here show polar opposite ends of the spectrum, either love it or hate it.
      Wish you luck and let me know if you have any other questions. I have had this thing since release and know it pretty well at this point.

  184. Well, just returned the VSHR to Best Buy. Final straw? Updated to software v2.5 just released, tightened the band firmly, dry conditions, did a 30 minute workout that normally burns 370-390 calories with appropriate heart rates. I even tried a tip shared in these comments to make HR the default display setting. And I kid you not, following one of the cardio sets, this thing says my HR is 39, and when I finish, I burned 91 calories. The screen in dim light is flawed, and the HR monitor is grossly flawed. After many efforts to accommodate the device’s weaknesses (including wearing a wristband over it to block out even more light), they can have this paperweight back. Garmin should be absolutely embarrassed.

    • It does seem as though the HR monitor works well for some and not for others. Out of interest, was your workout a running workout or something else? If it wasn’t running, did you press the button to tell it you were doing a workout? My understanding is that it only goes into continuous HR monitoring mode if it detects walking / running movement or if you explicitly tell it you are doing a workout. If it only samples your HR every so often then the calorie count could be way off. Still, you’d still expect it to notice your efforts over a half hour period…

  185. joanna

    All pretty fascinating stuff here. Thanks for posting. I’m a garmin fan with the FR620 and Edge 810 as well as an original Vivo fit. I was really keen to get a hold of one of these as I fancied a new activity tracker and thought it would be great to have the hr function to see me wearing a chest strap all the time. It’s fine when out for a serious training session but for commutes and just when the mood takes you its something else to think about. It’s a shame the VSHR doesn’t have the ANT+ capability set up to connect to an EDGE and may be a bit of a deal breaker for me. Can I ask whether the broadcast function actually links to your activity or is it just something that just displays on your device but isn’t used for any particular calculation specific to the activity? I could suffer a shorter time between charges if the former is the case.

    • Arnost Lobel


      Id does have the ANT+ connectivity. I tested it with Edge 800 and it worked fine (beside the HR be wrong). I used a setup during which I let the VFHR broadcast HR (like it was a chest strap) and had the Edge doing its normal work. I started my activity (a ride) with the Edge only. the VFHR did just the HR broadcast. I guess my Edge did not know the difference.

      I have not tried simultaneous broadcasting and activity recording on the VFHR, however. I figured that if I need to broadcast I’d record my activity with the device I am broadcasting to. And if have it not broadcasting, I record the activity directly with VFHR. That was my plan anyway; I already returned it.

    • Tom Jones

      I broadcast ant+ to my fenix instead of wearing a chest strap. I have had an issue where the broadcast ends, but the device still displays it is broadcasting. I cannot be sure this was not user error or from the band being under a shirt and the shirt messing with the touch screen. When the band is broadcasting the fenix picks it up and uses the data the same way as the chest strap. All the fenix knows is that it is getting an ant+ hr data stream from a device.

      I am sure this will drain battery, but I do believe that it does not have a big effect. I have gone 4 days between charges with 6 hours of broadcast HR and all the other features turned all for 16+ hours a day. At night I shut off the bluetooth on my phone and on the device.

    • Randall S. Wise

      Same problem to my FR220. It says it’s broadcasting, but nothing being read by the 220.

  186. Max Payne

    Used it swimming and it actually kept my heart rate in the water. It seemed fairly accurate. I think Garmin might finally be getting their syncing with the app straightened out too. I’m impressed and, surprised. I was expecting to hate this.
    I tried the Fit Bit HR and it would not keep my HR above about 120. Ive yet to use the Garmin to run yet but I hope it works for that too.

  187. Brian T

    Will this actually monitor your heartrate while swimming? I’ve come across a lot of specs and reviews which say OK for swimming, but you find out that means it won’t be damaged in the water, but it doesn’t actually work while swimming! Help appreciated…

    • Arnost Lobel

      Brian, it will unfortunately remain for you to find out. It is supposed to track you HR when swimming. I tried it and it indeed recorded HR. However, the HR tracking never worked for me regardless of the nature of my activity (biking, swimming, weight training), thus I was not very surprised finding that HR from my swim was as inaccurate as from other activities. Concretely – I swam for about 20 plus minutes at medium intensity breast stroke. I was not winded, but I was not relaxed either. I estimated my HR somewhere in the proximity of 120 – 130 bpm on average. the VFHR recorded average below 60 bpm, with drops down to 30’s – so you get the picture. However, if you read posts of others here and elsewhere you’ll find the gamut of experiences is very broad. For many, including myself, it practically does not work at all (as HR goes), while other report their recorded HR was reasonably accurate. Thus again, I am afraid you will not know unless you try.

  188. Dan

    How much taller is the garmin?
    Is everyone basically writing off the charge HR’s HR feature?

    • Johnny Row

      Dan, re the Fitbit Charge HR, I had one and it was good for all-day HR tracking except during moderately intense exercise. From the Fitbit forum, the experiences were a lot like these here, i.e. for exercise some found it great, some got it to work by adjusting position, tightness, which arm, and other just couldn’t get it to work well. I had one and returned it for not tracking HR well during intense exercise. However, after having since discovered there is no good optical device for all day plus exercise HR tracking, I just ordered another Charge HR, just for 23 hr a day HR tracking with reasonably good battery life. I trust calorie usage from HR much more than just from steps. For now, I will continue using a chest strap for exercise and maybe add a Scosche or Mio for exercise later.

      It sucks that having typed this whole answer once and submitted it, it was lost completely for having forgotten to enter name and email. It should at least keep the msg so I don’t have to retype it.

    • Dan

      Thanks for double typing this response! I like the 23/24 mentality.

    • FYI I have a mio and like it enough but I did find sometimes it was a bit testy and the app for my phone was glitchy and didn’t work properly most times. That said I was easily able to pair it with iSmoothRun, wahoo and RunKeeper. I think sometimes women might have different opinions when it comes to HR straps because sports bras can cause them to shift and move. I did where my Mio with my old clunky Garmin and found it to be about as accurate as when I wore the HR strap paired with my wahoo app. SO I don’t think the Mio is 100% all the time especially in training moments BUT the averages were nearly identical so I wonder more if it is a display issue more than a recording issue.

      I’m looking more for something that I can use to replace the (totally nightmare product) Jawbone Up and the various versions of that. I actually like the display on the Garmin more than the FitBit, though I’ve only seen pics of the Garmin, I have seen the FB in person. If I forget my Mio or it isn’t charged or being glitchy I can always fall back on the Garmin for workouts which is a plus.

  189. Randall S. Wise

    Used one for a week. The HR reading is wildly inaccurate. During a strength training session I notice it reads 74 bpm, but I do a pulse check and I’m twice that. Also, when I tried to broadcast to my FR220, it dropped off constantly. I tested, tried and compared during that week and the same inconsistent results, over and over.

  190. David Michaud

    I’m prefacing all of my comments by letting you know I’m the most demanding customer I know. I have no tolerance for sub-par products that cost us so much year after year. With that said, here are my 2 cents worth:

    Setting: 10KM treadmill run, 1% incline, 12km/hr with 1KM at 15km/hr.
    Point of comparison: Fenix 2 paired with Scorsche Rhythm +
    Garmin VSHR: left wrist about 1cm above my wrist bone, very snug but not tight (left an impression on skin, but didn’t cut off circulation).
    Scorsche is on the left arm top of forearm before elbow.

    Heart rate performance: almost identical to Fenix2, always within +/- 1-2bpm. The only exception was when I stopped and my heart rate fell very quickly from 150 to 120, the VSHR actually went erratic, reading 20 beats off but this literally last about 3 seconds and then it was back to within 1-2bpm of the Fenix. I think it not be as “responsive” as the Scorsche (at least when HR is decreasing quickly–it’s fine for the increase).

    So far I’d give the HR sensor a 9/10.

    Distance estimate: Treadmill, 10.1km, Fenix 2 (built in accelerometer) 11.37km, VSHR 10.23km

    I didn’t bother checking caloric estimate because I didn’t input anything because it wasn’t pairing with my Samsung Note 4 so I just basically pressed run and started using it. I’m sure caloric est. will be fine as long as it uses the HR data.

    Shower after the run: the screen jumps all over the place when wet–haven’t checked if there is a screen lockout but this is crazy–I hate this actually, it was going to every screen randomly and who knows what could accidentally start/stop delete, etc..

    A few stair climbs, up one flight of stairs, 0 counted on VSHR, then I repeated and it counted for 2 climbs so the barometer might not be instantaneous. I’m not convinced stair climbing is really that necessary.

    MAJOR SHORTCOMINGS: the heart rate on 24/7 or not at all is an example of short sightedness on Garmin’s part. They should have included a long-press HRM on/off toggle using the hard button. There is no clinical value in knowing your all day HR. What is important clinically is your heart during sleep, upon awakening, during exercise and possibly most importantly how long your heart rate takes to return to pre-exercise levels when you stop. These metrics are valuable, 24hr heart rate is meaningless and just a battery drain. I hate having to go through settings to get to HR to toggle on and off though.

    Another shortcoming (maybe) is no screen lock out feature, swimmers and people who run in the rain or simply sweet a lot know exactly why this sucks.

    Lastly, no ANT+ connectivity. So Garmin sells me an $80 foot pod, a $125 dollar chest strap and then a $200 activity tracker (with ANT+) but won’t let me connect these devices! For this reason alone I am returning this device to Bestbuy.

    PS. The screen sensitivity is darn near too sensitive for an activity tracker. I find it annoying that the screen changes all the time when I simply graze it accidentally.

    If I had to choose between this and the last version I’d go with the original. It’s smaller and didn’t try to be more than what an activity tracker needs to be. It had issues, but overall I prefer it to this version.

    All of this said, I still love Garmin products and will likely buy the Garmin FR230 and happily pair that with the best optical sensor out there–the Scorsche Rhythm +.

  191. Adam

    Posted this in the Garmin VSHR forum as well.

    Latest workout included a 400m warmup run, and then some wallballs and air sqauts. The main workout was shuttle sprints (arm movement!, air squats (arm movement!), and dumbbell clean and jerks (arm movement!). It was a CrossFit partner WOD where we took turns during the workout. Basically it was a min of hard word, min of rest. Here are the results for the entire session. The main 15 min AMRAP (as many rounds as possible), was towards the end where you can see the 7 rounds I completed with my partner.

    link to connect.garmin.com

    Number of Intensity Minutes? ZERO. Please Garmin, seriously think about how you measure intensity minutes.

    Same workout with the Polar A360 strapped to the other arm. You notice that that A360 seemed to keep up in the changes to heart rate MUCH better than the VSHR.

    link to flow.polar.com

    Whereas the VSHR couldn’t get into the 160bpm, the A360 easily could and keep up with the changes in the type of workout (sprint to weight lifting).

    My goal is not to bash any one product, but just provide the data that I’m seeing. To me the A360 seemed to provide better accuracy during this type of workout.

  192. hikergram

    I started with the Jawbone UP24 and tested it’s accuracy by manually counting my steps for 30 min walk – it was within 2 steps. (sleep tracing was pretty accurate too). I wanted to be able to see results without syncing (and using data) and needed a watch so I bought the fitbit charge HR. The only thing that worked on the fitbit was the watch (but hard to read in sunlight and without glasses) and notifications. The steps were over by 30% on average. I finally quite wearing it & returned it because I had no faith in the readings. I bought the garmin vivosmart HR hoping it would be better. I love the display, swiping, and notifications but the steps are even more exaggerated. Yesterday, I had over 13,000 steps on the vivosmart & 3600 on the jawbone (was driving a lot of the day). The technology for wrist trackers is there because the jawbone is accurate but I bought the vivosmart so I wouldn’t have to wear a device & a tracker (exactly what I am doing now for comparison). Any ideas on how to get it to stop over-counting steps? HR is the same as the fitbit so I already know not to rely on that and in a workout, I already know approximately how many steps/ distance I get. I want to know how many steps I get doing regular daily activities.

    • Antonio

      it’s the software that make the difference.. I had a Jawbone up24 and I loved it.. and then it died.
      MotionX, the company that developed the SW for the band is well known to be one of the excellence in the sector.. I do agree that Jawbone currently is the most accurate.. and Garmin.. atm the less..

  193. Wayne

    So been catching up on the comments as I have returned two separate VHRs as this device is not ready for prime time. I do have faith that once it works as promised & adds the ability to connect to an external HR strap the device will be great. It’s funny how many people make statements about what others should want/need in a tracker & also saying “clinically”. If you are not a trained high level medial professional; really? Even if you are, that’s why we make rounds & have M&M, because clinically people will have different opinions. The device doesn’t work for everyone so let people use this as a place to vent and trade ideas.

  194. seb

    Anyone knows if there’s a way to merge Garmin’s activity/sleep data with a food log?
    I don’t see it possible with a garmin device on Cronometer or MyFitnesspal, Fitbit seems to be more open to food tracking.

  195. Alexander

    I’m following the discussion from the beginning. Regarding the registration of the heart rate the reactions are mixed. I would like to share my very positive experience so far. Yesterday I went to my local gym for a short treadmill run. I used my new Vivosmart HR and a Forerunner 15 with chest strap.

    Below you can see the results. Pretty impressive I think. (see image)

    After my run I did some weightlifting and as expected these results do not match!

    Vivosmart HR:
    Max 129
    Average: 101

    Forerunner 15 with chest:
    Max: 151
    Average: 118

    I think you have to use this device while performing sports activities where you heartrate won’t fluctuate much.

    • Alexander

      Below you can see the results. Pretty impressive I think. (see image)

      –> I mean above you can see the results (image).

      The results below are during weightlifting.

  196. I was originally going to ask for the FitBit Charge HR for xmas but now that I’ve read several reviews I’m leaning towards Garmin. Seems like it has more to offer in terms of functionality and tracking. In the Garmin vs. FitBit game, Garmin wins??

  197. Frans

    Today trained on Zwift with Zwift recording my Garmin HR strap and my Edge 510 the Vivosmart HR in broadcast mode. In the image you can see the differences (strap in blue, Vivo in purple). Both strap and Vivo dropped a view hartbearts (luckily my heart didn’t do so as well ;) ) Overall you get the picture. Will do some more testing, but for now: it looks good and my rest pulse was around 50 and that is in line with what I measure myself. For the record: 180cm, 73kg, BMI of 22.5. So not much fat around my wrist and I have arteries that are good in sight, perhaps that is why it works well for me. I think I still prefer the strap for accurate readings while training, but the Vivosmart is a good alternative if you forget your HR strap, or prefer not to wear a strap.

    One strange thing though: after my Zwift session and putting out almost my FTP for one hour after a good warm-up it came with a message: ‘Move’ huh?! In one day I did, including a stiff morning walk, total of 148 minutes of exercise (150min week target) and it says ‘Move’ ?! Perhaps in measuring activity it is too rigid: I did a high intensity workout, went up more than 20 stairs had a nice stiff walk and still it is not enough? :P ah… well perhaps Garmin needs to fine tune that. For now: €149 well spent.

    btw: Ray… ‘we’re going to cook right into bulleted points of what’s new.’ ;)

  198. Mark I

    Took delivery of the Garmin Forerunner 235 yesterday from clevertraining after returning the faulty Vivosmart HR. I understand these are not the same devices, neither in terms of price point, size, nor feature set. However, they choose to do many of the same things, derive much of their capabilities from the same app (Connect), and I believe use the same now-in-house Garmin optical sensor. Quick comparative comments:

    1) With a whopping sample size of one 30 minute workout yesterday, 235 easily outperformed VHR in maintaining consistent and more accurate HR reading.
    2) Display backlight of 235 much better that VHR.
    3) So far I’m not bothered by the use of buttons rather than screen swipes to navigate. In fact, based on some VHR comments, this might be a preferable setup given wearing any long-sleeve clothing where the sleeve contacting the VHR causes inadvertent inputs to the VHR. The downside is some features, like changing custom watch face, are buried in several button pushes, where such a feature should be a more top-level selection in my opinion.
    4) 235 strap at least as comfortable as the VHR, if not moreso.

    I’ll have another 30 minute workout each day for the next several days to continue to compare the HR feature.

  199. Raja Ram Mummadavarapu

    It is not VIVOSMART not-htr old, it is vivofit one, since, no backlight.
    The third picture from top, as of today, 11/24.

  200. Tim

    I play badminton and wonder if the vivosmart HR can track heartrate and calories burned during play? Or is the optical sensor rather not suitable for racket sports?

    • RM

      would also like to know about this, specifically for tennis, but I guess it probably gets baffled by the impact of the racquet.

      Looking forward to the day when they release a wrist based wearable that can provide tracking info on your game.

    • Kiwi Paul

      Babolat have a new device out which sits in the strings and tracks racket movement. Not an activity tracker but interesting concept