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Garmin’s new Vivoactive HR & Vivofit 3: Hands-on & First Run


Update June 2016: My in-depth review of the Vivoactive HR is now available.  Swing on over to that post for all the details!

On Friday Garmin announced their new Vivoactive HR & Vivofit 3.  As you’ll remember, my post was rather short and pretty limited in terms of content (just one pic!).  I promised that come around Sunday, I’d get some hands-on time with the units and then post back on my thoughts.

And sure enough, that happened.  I spent a few hours this afternoon with the new devices, including a 10K run.  And overall, I came away impressed – in particular with the new Vivoactive HR.  Let’s dive into things.

Oh, but first – the unit here is a beta unit. As such, there are both items in software and hardware that may and will differ from the final units.  For example on the exterior there are finishes & labeling that aren’t yet on these units, and on the software side there are things not yet implemented.  Release isn’t expected until the April or so timeframe.

The Basics:


There are two things that you’ll notice right away, one from the name, and the other just by looking at it.  This isn’t your grandfather’s Vivoactive.  Or even the one still on your wrist.  First off as the name (HR) implies, it has an optical HR sensor built into the back of it.  This uses Garmin’s internally developed ELEVATE sensor, the same sensor seen on the Forerunner 235, Fenix3 HR, and the Vivosmart HR.


Next, and most obvious is that the unit looks quite a bit different from the first Vivoactive.  That first unit was all about making it small.  Literally – that was the goal – to make the smallest GPS watch ever.  And, they succeeded there.  But size doesn’t always matter.  And in this case, they tweaked the form factor a bit and I think the end result is actually a cleaner feeling unit.


Of course, it is bigger, there’s no doubt about that.  And for some folks that will undoubtedly be a downside.  It’s thicker than the previous Vivoactive, but it is less wide.


In a lot of ways, it kinda feels like the Fitbit Surge from a form factor standpoint.  Sorta skinny-ish, but not quite as thick as the Surge (which gets thicker at one end).  Like the Surge, it also feels quite comfortable to wear.  Garmin has designed the watch band with pins to rotate inwards, allowing smaller wrists to wear it without that hard-plastic feel that some watch bands have.

Many have wondered about the display, and I’ve chatted with Garmin a bit more about that since Sunday.  Technically speaking, the underlying display is actually the same as the Vivoactive.  It’s simply just rotated sideways.


However, while it’s the same underlying display, they have tweaked some aspects to improve contrast.  Also remember that while the display may be the same, factors like the touch screen which sits atop the display have changed – and that actually does impact visual qualities of the display below it.  In this case, they changed the touch screen to a component that’s faster and more responsive, as well as improving the look of the display below it.  Additionally, they added an ambient light sensor, so that the display’s brightness will change dynamically based on lighting conditions.

Said differently: It just seems more crisp than the original Vivoactive.


Whether that’s due to the actual hardware changes, or instead simply a much cleaner user interface (UI), is somewhat hard to tell.  The new UI design of the Vivoactive HR makes it feel more like a FR920XT/Fenix3 (but simplified), and as such, it is visually cleaner than the original Vivoactive layout.  For example, here’s the unit next to a Fenix3 HR.  They look virtually identical from a contrast/crispness standpoint.


Of course, you’ll see plenty of shots of it on my wrist.  But what about a smaller wrist? I present you The Girl (aka, my lovely wife).  She’s 5’2″ tall with wrists that are 14cm (or 5.5 inches)..  Here’s a few shots on her wrists.  Note that the little clasp thing is the wrong clasp for this unit (beta, is oversized).  Also note that this is the larger unit and not the smaller one. It’s all they had on-hand, but I know many of you wanted some shots nonetheless.  The white watch you see is the older Vivoactive (original).

Now like the Vivoactive it contains all the Connect IQ app & daily activity tracking goodness of the past.  Except now you get the 24×7 HR tracking functionality, as well as tracking of intensity minutes.



Furthermore, they’ve added in the ability to count flights of stairs with a new internal barometric altimeter.  The stairs will show up right below the steps on the activity page:


And of course, they’ll show up in the Garmin Connect mobile app as well.

What’s that? You want a walk-through of all the features and how the touch screen works? Ok. Ask and you shall receive:

As you can see, the touch screen is pretty re-active, and the new user interface makes it a bit easier to navigate the watch and thus feels more reactive.

More Details:


Ok, so now that we’ve talked about some of the high-level changes, let’s dive into my list from Friday of what’s different at a more detailed level:

– Added Garmin Elevate optical HR sensor for workouts & 24/7 HR monitoring
– Added ability to re-broadcast the optical HR over ANT+ (so a Garmin Edge can see it)
– Added in floors climbed metric
– Added in Intensity Minutes
– Added in skiing/snowboard, paddle-board, and rowing apps
– Added in Auto Activity Detection (Running, Swimming, Cycling, Elliptical)
Added support for basic swim HR recording via HRM-SWIM & HRM-TRI straps (or not apparently)
– Added ambient light sensor, allowing display to change brightness automatically
– Added support for wrist-turn detection to turn on backlight
– Added dedicated physical lap button, versus touch-button in original Vivoactive
– Slight increases to processor and RAM, making it faster
– Does NOT support HR using internal optical sensor while swimming (with no plans to enable)
– Increases GPS battery life up to 13hrs from 8hrs in original Vivoactive
– But decreased to 8 days always-on 24×7 mode battery (with HR though) from 3 weeks (no HR previously)
– Support of Varia Radar & Varia lights (does actually support Varia Vision after all)

Now to dig into some of these more deeply.  First is that Garmin Elevate optical HR sensor.  That’s the same sensor found in previous units, and as such, expect performance to roughly be the same.  However, Garmin has seemingly made improvements since the FR235 & Vivosmart HR came out.  For example I’m seeing better performance now with the Elevate sensor on the Fenix3 HR than I did back in November/December with the other units.  I suspect some of those tweaks have also been ported into firmware updates for the FR235/Vivosmart HR already.


Like the Vivosmart HR/FR235/Fenix3HR, you can re-broadcast the signal from the Vivoactive HR to other devices. This allows you to then pick it up on another ANT+ device, such as a Garmin Edge computer.  Note that it doesn’t re-broadcast over Bluetooth Smart, just ANT+.

However, unlike the Vivosmart HR, you aren’t forced to use the optical HR sensor.  You can easily pair an ANT+ heart rate strap to the unit, or any other ANT+ sensor.


At present it supports the ANT+ Heart Rate straps, ANT+ Cycling Speed/Cadence sensors, ANT+ Running Footpod, and the ANT+ Tempe temperature sensor.  It does NOT support ANT+ power meters, however you can get ANT+ power meter support through some Connect IQ apps already (but you can’t record that data quite yet until the next Connect IQ software update is released).

When it comes to additional in-box activity modes/apps, you can choose from a huge listing of apps.  Pretty much everything you’d find on a Garmin FR920XT, except for openwater swimming.  You can also add activity modes at the bottom too (as long it isn’t openwater swimming).


Note that on the Vivoactive HR, the recording rate is set at 1-second during workouts (but variable in 24×7 mode) – this being an upgrade from the original Vivoactive.  Also note that while the Vivoactive HR does have a pool swimming mode, you can’t use the optical HR sensor during swimming to capture your heart rate.  Garmin has no plans to enable that either in the Vivoactive HR (it’s not currently enabled on the Fenix3 HR either).  While you can use the HRM-TRI and HRM-SWIM to capture HR data above water, it won’t do it below water.

Note that while using those straps though with the Vivoactive HR for running, you will NOT get Running Dynamics data.  The unit does not capture Running Dynamics, even if using an HRM-RUN or HRM-TRI strap.

The main reason is that it’s a simpler running watch.  The unit has three data pages, each of which can be customized with two or three pieces of information (but not one).


You can dive into the menus and select all assortment of metrics, which at a quick glance seem to be on par with those found on the FR230/235 watches.

Like many of the other newer Garmin running/multisport watches, you’ve now got new widgets related to your last workouts.  There is both a last workout widget, as well as a ‘My Day’ widget.



Meanwhile, unlike the other Garmin running watches – the Vivoactive HR is the first wearable to connect to Garmin’s Varia lineup.  This includes the Varia radar and Varia lights.  And (and this is a change from Friday), it WILL include the ability to connect to Varia Vision (that’s the heads up display).  I’ve asked for clarification on whether or not the Fenix3 or FR920XT will get such an update, given they are 2-3 times the price of the Vivoactive HR.

Finally, a few other random things that didn’t fit anywhere else:

– You can invert the color scheme from white on black, to black on white text (plus the dabs of color here and there)
– It can read from HRM-TRI/HRM-RUN straps, but does NOT recording Running Dynamics, just the baseline heart rate
– The barometric altimeter in the unit is used for both floor counting, as well as during sport/activity
– For starting/stopping, you’ll use the lower right button. For laps, you can enable the manual lap function (auto laps are the default). That then allows the left button to become your lap button (as seen below).
– You can do basic navigation, such as saving a point to the navigation menu, and then using simple electronic compass navigation to get back to it.


If I think of more random things, I’ll plop them in this section.

A Run With It:


Ok – so how about a quick run with it?  I got a chance to go for a 10K run with the unit along the waterfront later in the afternoon.  It’d be a simple out and back route, at a relatively constant pace.  The pace being constant because my running handler just got off a flight from the US about 2 hours prior, and I had run 13 miles just 2 hours prior.  Thus, neither of us were looking for an interval workout.

In any case, off we set out.  I was mostly interested in how the watch handled on pace and heart rate, as well as just general use like the touch screen and distance accuracy.


Now, there was only one itty bitty problem: As I was wearing a chest strap to visually compare readings to, the unit quietly paired itself to said strap.  A ‘feature’ I only noticed about 5 minute after our run ended.  To be fair, this feature has actually been on other units like the FR235 as well (but not the Fenix3 HR) – it’s just that normally on my test units I remember to pair and then disable the HR straps first so this doesn’t happen.

On the flip side, since it was a beta unit that’s likely 1-2 months away from release, I’m not going to fret too much. And further, we already know what the Garmin Elevate optical HR sensor acts like (and you’ll see much more of that recent data in a few days as part of my Garmin Fenix3 HR In-Depth Review).


So, as for pace accuracy – things seemed very stable there.  You can see that in this short running clip I put together.  Pace is on the bottom on two of the screens:

And the same goes for the touch screen, it worked well.  Each time it reacted without issue.  Granted, it was not raining out (thus not wet), so that’s always still a factor.  But Garmin has a pretty stable track record there of touch screens and wetness, so I’d be surprised if something changed.  But that’d be something I’d cover in my in-depth review (Which, is a good time to remind, this isn’t a review.  It’s simply a preview of just one run).


Afterwards, I got the usual post-run PR’s.  Since this was a ‘new’ unit, everything was a PR.  And then following that I got summary information about my run:



Overall, the unit felt pretty nice on the wrist, and easy to read.  It feels like an improvement over the Vivoactive – simply because of the new user interface.  But also because of the integrated optical HR sensor.

Comparison Charts:

I’ve added the Vivoactive HR to the DCR Comparison Tool/Database, allowing you to quickly compare it to other products – most notably the FR230/FR235 and original Vivoactive.  As for how you might choose between the FR230/235 and the Vivoactive HR?

Well, here’s a simplified primer:

You’d get the FR230 ($249) if: You didn’t care about optical HR (or 24×7 HR), but wanted more advanced running features like the custom workout creator, recovery time, downloading training plans, and four data fields (and more data pages).  Same goes for the Virtual Partner type features, which the Vivoactive HR lacks.
You’d get the FR235 ($329) if: You did care about optical HR (and 24×7 HR), and wanted all of the things I just listed for the FR230 section.  Remember that the FR235 is identical to the FR230, it just also has the optical HR sensor.
You’d get the Vivoactive HR ($249) if: You also wanted other sports –especially pool swimming, but also stand up paddle boarding, skiing or golf (all of which the FR230/235 lack).  If you don’t need more advanced run metrics as seen above on the FR230/235, or if you just want a simpler user interface.  You want the ‘Floors climbed’ metric really bad.

Obviously, there are lots of little quirks as to why someone might one one versus the other – but those are the main reasons.

Here’s the table.  Remember, you can create your own comparison table using the product comparison tool here.

Function/FeatureGarmin Vivoactive HRGarmin VivoactiveGarmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated May 14th, 2021 @ 3:16 pm New Window
Price$249$169 (on sale)$249$249
Product Announcement DateFeb 19th, 2016January 5th, 2015Oct 21st, 2015Oct 21st, 2015
Actual Availability/Shipping DateQ2 2016March 2015November 2015November 2015
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYesYes
Data TransferUSB, BLUETOOTH SMARTUSB, BLUETOOTH SMARTUSB, Bluetooth SmartUSB, Bluetooth Smart
Waterproofing50 meters50 meters50 Meters50 Meters
Battery Life (GPS)13 hours GPS on10 hours GPS on16 hoursUp to 16 hours
Recording IntervalSmart RecordingSmart Recording (Variable)1-second & Smart1-second & Smart
Backlight GreatnessGoodGoodGoodGood
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceYesYesYesYes
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)YesYesYesYes
MusicGarmin Vivoactive HRGarmin VivoactiveGarmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
Can control phone musicYesYesYesYes
Has music storage and playbackNoNoNoNo
ConnectivityGarmin Vivoactive HRGarmin VivoactiveGarmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
Bluetooth Smart to Phone UploadingYesYesYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)YesYesYesYes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)YesYesYesYes
Group trackingNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Vivoactive HRGarmin VivoactiveGarmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
Designed for cyclingYesYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableWith some Connect IQ apps (but cannot record data)With some Connect IQ apps (but cannot record data)WITH SOME CONNECT IQ APPS (BUT CANNOT RECORD DATA)WITH SOME CONNECT IQ APPS (BUT CANNOT RECORD DATA)
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesYesYesYes
Strava segments live on deviceNoNoNoNo
Crash detectionNo
RunningGarmin Vivoactive HRGarmin VivoactiveGarmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
Designed for runningYesYesYesYes
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoNoNoNo
VO2Max EstimationNoNoYesYes
Race PredictorNoNoYesYes
Recovery AdvisorNoNoYesYes
Run/Walk ModeYesYesYesYes
SwimmingGarmin Vivoactive HRGarmin VivoactiveGarmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
Designed for swimmingYesYesNo (protected though just fine)No (protected though just fine)
Openwater swimming modeNoNoN/AN/A
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingYesYesN/AN/A
Record HR underwaterNoNoN/AN/A
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)NoNoN/AN/A
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesYesN/AN/A
Indoor Drill ModeNoNoN/AN/A
Indoor auto-pause featureNoNoN/AN/A
Change pool sizeYesYesN/AN/A
Indoor Min/Max Pool Lengths17M/18Y TO 150Y/M17M/18Y TO 150Y/MN/AN/A
Ability to customize data fieldsYesYesN/AN/A
Captures per length data - indoorsYesYesN/AN/A
Indoor AlertsYesYesN/AN/A
TriathlonGarmin Vivoactive HRGarmin VivoactiveGarmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
Designed for triathlonNoNoNoNo
Multisport modeNoNoNoNo
WorkoutsGarmin Vivoactive HRGarmin VivoactiveGarmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
Create/Follow custom workoutsNoNoYesYes
On-unit interval FeatureNoNoYesYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoNoYesYes
FunctionsGarmin Vivoactive HRGarmin VivoactiveGarmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
Auto Start/StopYesYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureNoNoNoNo
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoNoNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)YesOnly on Garmin ConnectYesYes
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNo
Weather Display (live data)YesVia Connect IQ appYesYEs
NavigateGarmin Vivoactive HRGarmin VivoactiveGarmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)NoNoNoNo
Markers/Waypoint DirectionYes (to pre-saved spots)NoNoNo
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNoNo
Back to startYesYesYesYes
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoNoNoNo
SensorsGarmin Vivoactive HRGarmin VivoactiveGarmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
Altimeter TypeBarometricGPSGPSGPS
Compass TypeMagneticGPSN/AN/A
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyYesNoNoYEs
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYes (Can also broadcast ANT+ HR)YesYesYes
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlYesNoNoNO
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationYesNoNoNO
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNoNoNO
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNO
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)NoNoNo
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoNoNoNO
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoNoNoNO
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapablenOnoNoNO
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNoNoNO
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNO
Temp Recording (internal sensor)Sorta (Available only in Skiing/SUP)NoNoNO
Temp Recording (external sensor)YesYes (Tempe)YES (TEMPE)YES (TEMPE)
SoftwareGarmin Vivoactive HRGarmin VivoactiveGarmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
PC ApplicationGarmin Express - Windows/MacGarmin ExpressGarmin ExpressGarmin Express
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin Connect
Phone AppiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android/Windows Phone
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Vivoactive HRGarmin VivoactiveGarmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
DCRainmakerGarmin Vivoactive HRGarmin VivoactiveGarmin Forerunner 230Garmin Forerunner 235
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLink

Trying to compare other watches? Just swing over to the product comparison tool and create your own comparison charts there.

And the Vivofit 3:


Now it’s not that I’m trying to ignore the Vivofit 3, but rather, it’s just a much simpler device.  The functionality ultimately isn’t terribly different than the previous Vivofit 2, it’s just that it looks different.  As a recap, here’s what’s different from the Vivofit 2:

– Added in Auto Activity Detection (Running, Swimming, Cycling, Elliptical)
– Added in Intensity Minutes metric
– New square screen, includes new analog clock face, different UI designs
– New styled Vivofit 3 bands

And, here’s what stayed the same:

– Can still connect to ANT+ HR strap for non-swim activities
– Can still manually create a standalone workout activity

And here’s what went away:

– Not compatible with Vivofit1/Vivofit2 accessory bands

So, as you can see – it’s fairly straightforward. To look at some of these screens, we’ll just iterate through and press the button a few times.  For example, here’s the steps:


Then remaining (or overage in this case) for your step goal:


Followed by step distance:


And then calories:


No doubt the main difference here aside from the addition of intensity minutes, was the now-square screen, and the new band options.  Here’s what a few of those newer and more stylish band options look like:

IMG_7102 IMG_7103

The nice piece being that the unit keeps the same fairly low price of $99, making it pretty competitive in the marketplace today.



Phew – lots of details!

I think Garmin likely has a bit of a winner on their hands with respect to the Vivoactive HR.  Obviously, it’s too soon to know if there are any hidden bugs that cause issues that would be more apparent in a longer term review (which is probably a few months away).  But they seemed to have really cleaned up the Vivoactive HR compared to the original Vivoactive (which was still pretty good).  This feels like a more rounded watch that navigates easier with the front-facing buttons.

The price point is very strong at $249, especially compared to the Fitbit Surge in the same ballpark, or even the Fitbit Blaze that’s a bit cheaper at $199.  Additionally, I expect we’ll see the Apple Watch (Sport) back at $249 again soon – and for the athlete, this will likely be a far better option that’s more accurate and more well rounded given it has GPS on-board where the Apple Watch doesn’t.

Stay tuned for an in-depth review around the time the unit starts shipping.  As always, since this was just a few hours with the unit, it may very well suck when it comes to shipping.  Or, it may be even better.  That’s just the way first looks work with pre-production devices.

With that – thanks for reading!

April 25th 2016 Update with new video added!

I’ve now got a final production unit, here’s a quick un-boxing video along with some more on size comparisons between the Vivoactive (original) and the Fitbit Surge:

Finally! You can now order the new Vivoactive HR and Vivofit3 units from Clever Training. In doing so you support the site here, I appreciate it!

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  1. Adam

    REI is stating that they should receive and ship out the Vivoactive HR on April 13th. Looks like everywhere else is later April or May. Hoping to have it by the end of next week!

  2. Chris L

    Amazon UK allowing pre-orders and saying due to be released 14th April (subject to change).

    link to amazon.co.uk

    Fingers crossed

  3. Kate

    Hi can you please post pics of watch faces?
    Are there different settings for one’s wothba second hand? Also does it stay on all the time? Thanks

  4. Thomas Leong

    Hi Ray, just wondering if you still have to set the time on the vivoactive HR via phone connection? Or can it be set via GPS? That is one function that is painfully missed on the vivoactive and my wife hates it especially when traveling!

  5. Ed P.

    I found this interesting page on the Garmin website. This has to be confirmation the new Vivoactive HR has started shipping to dealers. The link is to a firmware update for the HR.
    link to www8.garmin.com
    I love my Vivoactive but I have a hard thing me reading the display at times. The cleaner looking display and addition of the HR it’s a no brainier for me to upgrade. The only question I have is why they are up to version 2.2 of the firmware and why there is an update when the watch hasn’t officially been released?

    • Garmin often does this as they get close, but it definitely doesn’t mean any units have shipped yet.

      This allows them to validate with beta testers that the production update mechanisms are functioning properly for the product (versus just manual updates which are normally used). Typically this is done a few weeks in advance of shipping, though there have been cases of it being far longer.

      But yes, all signs are pointing to units starting to ship over the next 2-3 weeks.

    • Erik

      I preordered in a shop in Belgium, called them to ask for an estimation on arrival date. They contacted Garmin, and shipping to shops might be on the 22nd, with arrival in the week after, and home deliveries probably 1st week of may.

    • Sid

      Erik in which store have you ordered ?

    • Ed P

      I broke down and made a pre-order at clevertraining.com I’ll post my thoughts when I receive it.

    • Jonathan

      When do you think you will receive your unit for the in-depth review and how long after will you be posting it?

  6. Ed P

    Thanks for the info. On one hand I’m hesitating on ordering the HR until after it comes out so I can try it on. The only downside I can see is the size compared to the original Vivoactive. I wear mine 24hrs a day. On the other hand the advantage of what appears to be a crisp and easier to read display has me tempted to make a preorder.

    • Steve

      I feel l same way. On the one hand this watch appears to be everything I want in a sports/running/activity watch but on the other hand I wonder would it be too bulky to wear 24/7?

  7. Isadore


    Though I pre-ordered the watch, I’m wondering if it’s overkill for my needs. I’m mainly interested in this watch due to HR accuracy (vs FitBit, Microsoft Band, etc) and auto-tracking. Because I don’t need the GPS, I’m wondering if the FitBit Blaze – which is appx $80 cheaper is a better watch for my needs. Here’s he question…

    Do you find Garmin products to be more accurate/quality than the competition? What about the Garmin Connect ecosystem… better than Polar Flow ecosystem (I recently purchased/returned the a360 due to clasp issues), etc. etc.

    Love to hear your thoughts.

  8. Rob L


    Excellent site, been quietly following your RSS for a few months now! Any news on that UK / EU based online store? Eager to pre-order the VA HR!


  9. Noah

    Hi Ray,
    For the downhill ski function does it count total vertical feet skied for the day?


  10. Noah

    Thanks for the reply!

  11. Tom

    Pre-ordered my one today. Shop is supposed to have them on 13.04 and I’ll get it on 14.04 (if lucky) or 15.04. Unless there will be a delivery delay of course.

    Thanks Ray for all the great advice!

    • Tom

      Ha, just read about Clever Training.
      They do not list Vivoactive HR yet – shame :-( although I did order my one already it is still not paid and I can cancel at any time.

      Do you know when will EU part of CT have it?

    • KB

      It’s been on there for quite a while: link to clevertraining.com

    • Tom

      Sorry, I was not clear – I had CT EU in mind.

    • KB

      OH, sorry, duh!

      I’m thinking I’m going to wait until it’s out. I’m concerned that it’s too big for my wrist (I’m about the size of The Girl and also since the Fenix 3 HR has an antenna issue in the hardware (shockingly) but from all I’ve read it seems that’s the case. So, once it’s out, I’ll see how the reviews go. Certainly has everything I’d want though!

  12. John Cesta

    I was wondering if the hr functions like the hr on the vivoactive or more like the basis which is terrific and literally runs unattended and always.

  13. Matt s

    Is there any more memory on the HR so that you can add more apps than on the 1st vivoactive?

    Is the vibration on the HR the same, or hopefully stronger, than on the 1st vivoactive?

  14. Pete

    in depht review … WHEN?!


  15. Tom

    Just got message from the shop that Garmin has delayed deliveries to the shops.
    It was supposed to be 13.04 now it is said 06.05 although it might happen sooner (Polish market).

    Any news from Clever Training EU – when will they have I and what will be the prace and delivery charge to Poland?

    • Karel

      In the Netherlands the same, pre-ordered this morning, expected delivery date changed this afternoon from 15-04 to 10-05.

  16. Jared

    REI is now saying the 29th for the preorders :(

    • Andrea

      BestBuy.ca hasn’t changed (yet) and still shows April 29.

    • Tom

      Amazon UK still shows 14.04

      Will I be able to use this watch to rollerblade (roller-skate)?

    • markE

      My order with Amazon Spain still shows delivery 19-25 April, but if you go directly to the product (as if ordering from scratch) it now says “Product not available.” Not looking good, seems like a worldwide issue. Although Amazon UK not caught up yet.

    • Kurt Breitenbucher

      REI had mine shipping to store by April 19th, now they cancelled my order and said the product is no longer available.

    • Ed P

      Kurt, that’s strange. I have mine ordered through Clever Training but you had me concerned. I called REI and inquired about availability. The Lady I was speaking with pulled up my REI account and built a dummy order. Her system showed an original arrival date of mid March revised to 4/29. There was no indication the product wasn’t coming in. I’d giv them a call if I were you.

    • ekutter

      REI has an interesting policy that after about 30 days, if the product still isn’t available, they’ll send you an e-mail notifying that they will cancel the order if you don’t respond. You can simply respond to that e-mail stating you want to continue waiting on back-order. Did you miss that first e-mail maybe?

      I suspect they have had too many issues where items that have been on back order longer end up getting returned more often. Regardless, it can be annoying.

  17. Steve

    You know there is a lot interest in the upcoming Vivoactive… Release date rumours flying about every which way. Wouldn’t it be nice if Garmin were to give their customers and potential customers some sort of an update as to when this product is expected out? Just saying.

    • To be fair, they have: Q2 2016 (so anytime between April and June). Within that spec, they’re on time and that guidance hasn’t changed.

      It’s just that it gets messy when retailers try and play the date game (sometimes with Garmin’s guidance, and sometimes not). Ideally, Garmin would stop giving retailers different dates from official dates. That’d kinda solve everything.

  18. Tommy

    My Amazon order did say arriving today. It just changed to 3rd of May

    • Ed P

      That confirms the date I was given when I called REI this week. They had the ETA as 4/29.

    • Tommy

      That was a UK Amazon order. Interesting that the original date I was given matched up exactly to the Connect app update rolling out which gives support for Move IQ for vivoactive HR

    • Ross

      Interesting. My Amazon order still says “Delivery date pending”.

  19. Steve

    You note on the apps list there is a “Cardio” setting, I have not seen this setting during my research, will it appear on the final model?
    Also if it does, what does the Cardio app do ?


  20. Felix

    The app got updated with Vivoactive HR Support. Sounds promising.

  21. Chris S

    Just had a response back from clevertraining.co.uk and they are saying the vivoactive HR wont be available to order until July(approx and subject to change)

    With regards to android notifications does anyone know how well these work on Garmins?
    Does it have the functionality to read messages/whatsapp/emails etc?

    • Phil

      My Amazon preorder for April 14th has just been changed to May 2nd.. could well slip further when it gets to May 1st but here’s hoping!

  22. Steve Hood

    I have an interesting question; interesting to me anyways :)

    I wonder if Garmin will someday accept pre-orders on “their” websites? Reason I ask is that when FitBit announced the Blaze.. FitBit took pre-orders on their corporate website a couple months before actual release.


  23. Martin

    I just spoke with garmin CS and they said the new vivoactive HR will be compatible with the varia vision. I saw an icon in the vivoactive HR manual for the vision and assumed it would be eventually. CS double checked with tech support and they confirmed the watch will ship with the software to connect and provide data to the display. He said it would be the first device outside of the Edge computer family to work. He said it is not on the compatibility list for the web site because it is not shipping yet. FYI for anyone interested in that functionality.

  24. Noel Biggins

    Just wondering if you are going to do a review of the accuracy of the HR in the Garmin Vivoactive HR.
    I am looking for a RELIABLE wrist-based hr monitor and haven’t found one yet, but the Vivoactive does look promising.

  25. Jason P

    Are you able to turn Bluetooth and WIFI off?

  26. Jack

    Great post. I’m actually new to fitness trackers/smart watches. The look and aesthetic of the Vivoactive HR really caught my eye when I began doing reading and research. I’m curious if this would be a good choice for me to track my running time/pace during a soccer match? I’m also thinking a GPS tracker would help me record where I’m most active on the pitch/field.

    Or do you think another, cheaper alternative could do those things too?

    Thanks in advance for any advice you could provide!

  27. Julian

    Here’s a little more information while we wait (im)patiently for our pre-orders. Garmin has posted the manual for the vívoactive HR: link to support.garmin.com

  28. David

    Hello Ray:
    Great write up. I currently have a Fitbit Charge but I am looking to upgrade my device to something with HR monitoring. Is there a way to disable move alerts on Garmin products? I feel like that might be a nuisance especially in my office setting where it’s very unpredictable and I can’t always move when I’d like.

  29. Jerry B

    How accurate is Vivoactive HR for measuring distance on an indoor track or TM? Sorry if you already answered this but I couldn’t find it. Thanks Ray !!

  30. Felix

    What bothers me is the rather extensive list “Maximizing Battery Life” in the manual with such feature-killing tips like “turn of wirst-based HR monitoring” and “turn off Bluetooth”. This does not bode well.

    My guess is that many users will soon miss the “old” Vivoactive battery-wise.

  31. Isadore


    I didn’t see anything about “Auto Activity Detection” in the manual. You mentioned this feature above, which is one the main reasons why I pre-purchased the unit.

    However the feature isn’t mentioned in the instructions (perhaps I missed it). Coupled with the ongoing problematic HR stats and intensity minutes, I might cancel my pre-order.

    Please advise. Thanks.

    • Isadore

      HR and intensity min issues, see link/discussion here: link to forums.garmin.com

      I know it’s a different unit, but I’d imagine the sensors are the same. Somewhat troubling, no?

    • Auto Activity Detection is technically a serverside/app thing, and not on-unit. Typically speaking Garmin doesn’t include those in the manual. As of my discussion with them a few days ago, it was still in.

      Looking at the link there for intensity minutes, I suspect you’ll see them continue to tweak sampling rates, solving that. Or, one could just leave it a few extra seconds and get the same result.

  32. noseat

    Questions after reading the manual, anyone know the answers?

    1-Can GPS coordinates be added manually to be used for navigation (either on the watch or in the app) or do you have to be at the location to save a location?
    2-How much storage space is available in “USB Mode”?
    3-Can auto lap be 1k when device is set to record in miles?
    4-Awesome it has an alarm clock. Is it beep only or can it be vibration?


    Strange the manual says “Avoid pressing the keys under water.”, but also says push the “-” to pause when swimming.

    • Mark E

      I was beginning to think I was a bit sad to be reading the manual back to back before even getting my hands on the kit. Glad to see I´m not the only one!

  33. Seva

    Hey, Ray!

    Any updates regarding the date Vivoactive HR coming to stores?

  34. Charles

    The golf apps on the previous version of Vivoactive is virtually useless. You have to download the course data before every round. More frustrating, when you switch to watch and read the time, you have to download the course data again when teturning to the golf apps. Wonder the new Vivoactive HR has eliminate this defect. Does Fennix 3 HR has the same problem?

    • John

      This is very disappointing, was hoping to eliminate having to use a Garmin golf watch S4 which has all the courses on it already. You just pick the one your standing on when you get ready to tee off.

  35. Joe M.

    Any idea what the mAh of the battery is in the Vivoactive HR compared to the Forerunner 235? Since it has the same GPS and same heart rate monitor, plus an altimeter, I don’t have much hope for decent battery life if it’s any smaller from what I’m reading in the Forerunner 235 forums.

    • I haven’t seen it listed anywhere. But keep in mind the mAh value isn’t useful by itself, because different devices burn at different rates.

      What is notable when I talked to them though is that they said they had more battery flexibility in the VAHR. One key area this immediately manifests itself in is the ability to keep broadcasting mode on, even while also in regular sport mode (unlike all other units).

  36. chillout

    Sorry for my English)) Say for different cyclist forerunner 230 (235) from vivoactive, it is better for fitness and bike for a beginner. They say that the optical sensor is worse for the bike?

    • Tommy

      For a beginner cyclist, go for something from the edge range instead of a watch in my opinion. Maybe the edge 520?

      If you want a do it all device, this will be fine but use a HR strap when cycyling

  37. chillout

    And further, recovery and VO2 max.how important they are? Swimming, golf, etc. not important. Biking and fitness are important. What’s in this case, better vívoactive Hr ог Forerunner 230 (235)

  38. matevz rozman

    Hi Ray
    I have the original Vivoactive. It is working fine just it has some different (not accurate)protocol to count calories.
    It counts nearly 40% less calories than my Edge 500 via HR and my Edge 510 via watts.
    I read on the forum that other people see the same not corect results with Vivoactive, but Garmins response is that it should be more accurate. No way because my 2 Edges count very close given HR or Power.
    We know Kj is pretty real…

    Do you know if they solve that with HR model?


    • The Edge 500 uses a Firstbeat calorie algorithm, whereas the Vivoactive uses a Garmin algorithm.

      I don’t know offhand which algorithm the VAHR will use, but since it doesn’t do VO2Max, I suspect it’ll be internal Garmin.

      Keep in mind that power of course is the most realistic way to measure it, but that requires a power meter.

    • Matevz

      Yes, I know that power is the most realistic. But in the winter I do lots of trail running/uphill walking and I made some trainings with all 3 my Garmins, for comparison. When Edges show 1000Kcal, Vivoactive is hardly at 600,….that’s bullshit.
      I also made comparison on the bike ride, with Quarq connected to Edge and Vivoactive connected to HR.
      2000Kj on 510 vs 1150Kcal on VA
      Too big difference,…activity tracker should be more accurate or it is fancy junk. Ok it measures TSS right, when uploaded to Training Peaks.

  39. Tim

    Got an email from the company where I pre-ordered in Belgium. Garmin Belux postponed the release AGAIN, until the end of may/begin june. Disappointed!

    • John

      That is very disappointing. I was originally supposed to have mine delivered by today. Now I have no idea when.

  40. Shelley Colpo

    Hi – I have been researching and researching to try and find out if the Vivoactive HR supports other workouts like a kickboxing class or HIIT training or a Barre class. I want something that will work for all of that and also GPS for running. I tried the Tom Tom Spark but returned it because I mistakenly believed it would work in “free workout” mode but it turns out you need a sensor for that, a sensor for spin class, etc. I am trying to decide between the Vivoactive HR and the Fitbit Surge right now.

    Any thoughts?

    • Roastman

      Like the Tomtom Spark, you would probably just use a gym mode or “other” type of workout mode. I think the gym mode on the Tomtom watch is designed not just for weights, but to capture most indoor workouts. I imagine it would be a struggle to have a specific workout program for every type of exercise that people will engage in. If all you are trying to do is capture your HR data and calories etc during the workout, the Garmin should be fine (but the Tomtom unit did that as well). I use the gym mode on the Tomtom unit all the time and use the freestyle mode for sports such as tennis. The new Garmin certainly looks pretty cool and luckily my wife has pre-ordered one for me, as she is a legend! It looks a little more “all-in-one” than the Tomtom, with the addition of golf etc. I like the Tomtom watches (have the Spark and the Golfer), but I am often wearing two watches. I have an Apple Watch as well, which complicates things!

    • Shelley Colpo

      The problem is the TomTom required separate sensors for the free gym mode…. something I didn’t realize beforehand. It doesn’t have a HRM so I guess that’s why.

    • Roastman

      The Tomtom unit has built-in accelerometer for the gym mode….. Does not require any external sensors?

    • Shelley

      didn’t work for me. When you get to the “go” screen, I would hit the right button and it would pop up and say “HRM Required” same for spinning class, it would say “cadence sensor required” and wouldn’t let me use the unit.

    • Roastman

      Did you have the unit with the internal HRM? mine (on gym mode) does not ask for any external sensors. The modes on my watch are: outdoor run, cycle, swim, treadmill, gym, indoor cycling (this may require additional sensors), freestyle (basically an outdoor “general” workout with GPS and HRM) and stopwatch mode. I assume the spinning class is the indoor cycle mode, which would require an extra sensor on basically any watch, if you are to capture your foot movement on the bike. It would not require an external HRM, if you are using a Tomtom watch with built-in HRM. You could just use “gym” mode, if you don’t care about capturing your cycling motion, but if you do want to capture your cycling rate you will need to get a sensor for any watch you use.

    • Shelley

      HI – no I guess that was my problem – mine did not have the internal HRM.

    • Roastman

      Ahhh – that makes a big difference. The internal HRM on the Tomtom is quite good. The only reason I got excited about my wife buying the new Garmin for me was the addition of golf and the phone notifications etc. While it will not replace all of the functions of my Apple Watch, it is far better as a fitness watch (built in GPS etc) and the Tomtom unit does not have golf. I really like my Apple Watch and the Tomtom devices, but switching between three devices is frustrating, especially when you are using activity tracking. It confuses the issue a bit! Apart from missing some of the Siri functions (I really like just pressing the watch to set reminders, alarms etc) and the call features. The Tomtom watch is good as a fitness watch, but misses golf and notifications etc. It is also not great as an activity tracker.

    • Shelley

      Right, it was totally my fault. I bought the wrong unit. All the research and reading I did and I missed a big detail lol I’m excited to get a new device that will track everything I want!

  41. Yves

    Guys, while reading these comments, I just – af few minutes ago – received a mail from my shop (Coolblue) my unit has been sent today…it wil be there tomorrow. (received tracking number). I preordered it begin april, first date mentioned was April 14th, then changed to May 10th, and now on the site it is mentioned April 24th, but mine is on it’s way ! Just found the link to the manual, so still time to study that before trying out my unit tomorrow !!

    • Mark E

      Wow thats great news! Now you´ll need to write the first beginners review and post photos of unpacking the unit :)

      Which country are you in? My Amazon Spain order still says expected delivery (sending) today 21st April, to be received in a few days.

    • Yves

      I am in Belgium. Will do so, but I will only be home from work @ 8pm tomorrow. So I hope the wife is there when de delivery arrives, if not I’ll only have it saturdaymorning.

    • Karen

      I can’t find the Vivoactive Hr on Amazon Spain, could you provide a link, lease?

    • MarkE

      hi Karen
      Here is the link but it probably won´t be of any use to you because it says product unavailable.
      link to amazon.es

      In fact, today I contacted Amazon Spain directly because my order was supposed to have been dispatched yesterday. They told me it hasn´t been sent because they don´t have it yet. I told them to cancel the order in that case and that they shouldn´t have been showing a dispatch date for the last month or so since I placed my order, which turned out to be false.

      I´ve preordered it now through AMazon UK which, even with the delivery to Spain, works out about the same price as if I bought it from Amazon Spain.

  42. Karel

    Coolblue is a webshop in the netherlands, mine still says 26th (also coolblue) but ordered 12th of April

    • Yves

      I ordered mine April 7th. So I guess yours will be on its way soon too…

    • Yves

      Just noticed that the expected day of arrival is next tuesday 26th…normally when they ship it is always the next day delivery…dunno why it takes a few days more now…but hey, I will survive the wait.

    • Andrea

      Bother… BestBuy.ca has changed their website to show available June 10…BUT my order still shows delivery April 29. I have asked for an update…

    • Karel

      Coolblue doesn’t know why you already got a send confirmation ;)

    • Yves

      Christel doesn’t know :-). But anyway, as I mentioned just before : delivery date is April 26th, so it makes sense…I’ll check the tracking code tomorrow to see if something has changed.

    • Karel

      Did your delivery date change again? Mine now says 13th of may.

    • Yves

      Nope, it didn’t change. I followed the tracking link today, the postman tried to deliver it, but nobody home. It will be available tomorrow morning in my local Post pickup point. So delivery date was today 22nd of April. But I’ll have to sleep one more night without…

    • John

      Looks like those of us in the US and A have a long, unknown wait ahead of us.

    • Kevin F

      Andrea .. I see you are likely Canadian. Me too .. can you let me know if you get your VAHR ? I noticed Best Buy is in June .. I hope I do not have to wait that long and i do not want to order it from overseas due to return / warranty issues. I already have my watch face design all done in preparation.

    • Kevin F

      Ugh .. I see it posted my comment in the wrong place. Maybe Ray can move it for me to below 631.

    • Andrea

      Will do! I have a pre order in with GPScentral as well. They have mid May listed.

    • Kevin F

      Thank you .. I will bookmark GPS Centrals site as that is closest to me and I have bought from them before.

    • Andrea

      Sadness… BestBuy.ca has just informed me that they won’t receive the Vivoactive HR until June :( I hope GPScentral is still on track for mid May.

      Does anyone have other Canadian retailers?

    • Kevin F

      I am still very committed to the VIvoactive HR .. and well I will wait but it would be nice to get it soon. I am willing to go to $329 as that seems to be the normal rate. Myself .. I may look at Sport Chek as they have a 60 day return policy but it would have to be pretty bad for me to do that. I am not willing to buy on the internet due to the return issues involved. But I am confident that Garmin has done their homework and even my Vivosmart HR I do not use probably 60% of the features. I expect the Vivoactive HR to be much the same case. Andrea if I find any other retailers .. I will let you know.

    • Andrew Clarke

      You could try your local bike store or running store or whatever. I talked to the local guy the other day and he’s a Garmin reseller. Most of these people probably get their Garmin stock from the same importer/distributor, so at that point it’s up to allocation. Plus it’s nice to support a local business.

      I made the mistake of suggesting to my wife that she could get this for my birthday present in June, so now I can’t buy it even when it does become available. However, the guy at the LBS said he’d likely be able to sell it to me for the same price as Best Buy or any other retailer, assuming he can actually get it.

    • Andrea

      My LBS is happy to bring the VivoactiveHR in for me, but it is a special order so I wouldn’t be able to return it if I find it too large. Have any Canadians found a brick and mortar store that expects to have them in any time soon so people can get a hands on before ordering?

  43. sofastimfurious

    Hi Ray,

    I would be using a lot of its cycling functions. Would like to know if HR and cadence would show up on the data fields, ala FR 910xt? thanks

    • Mike Richie

      HR as well as other HR fields like Avg. HR, HR Zone, HR %Max, etc., etc. It will show cadence and it’s related fields if you have an Ant+ cadence sensor. By the way, I like your user name ;>)

    • sofastimfurious

      Sorry late reply. Thanks! Was looking for a device to help with cycling training short of a powermeter have edge 200 already. Thinking the VAHR would work then.

  44. Trent

    The Australian Garmin site has a posing from a couple days ago for the vivoactice hr, it say’s it is dropping into stores this month. I’m not sure how this fairs for the rest of us but at least they’re giving us something.

    • Roastman

      According to Johnny Appleseed (Brisbane), they are likely to get the units late this month or early next month. Their website states due into store on 26/4. If they do arrive around that time, they are less than a kilometre from work, so I can collect the pre-order my wife has placed for me. They are big Garmin resellers (really good service), so they would most likely know what they are talking about.

  45. AJ

    This is great!

    I’ve been using my Basis Peak for everyday HR and steps and combining that with the Fenix 3 for running and some biking for the GPS mode. The Fenix 3 is a little unwieldy though imo and I don’t particularly like running with it every day, but chose it specifically because of the battery life and “charge on the go” ability for long 20+ hour ultramarathons, hikes, super long bike rides like the Total 200 or Dirty Kanza. I’ve avoided buying a more comfortable everyday running watch like a Forerunner because I don’t want to have that many devices to worry about (Peak for everyday, Fenix for longer stuff, Forerunner for regular runs).

    What I’ve really been looking for is a *watch* (not a band) that I can wear every day for heart rate and general health monitoring that has with decent battery life, doesn’t look/feel cheap/ugly (looking at you, Fitbit Surge), and has built-in GPS functionality for shorter every-day runs and impromptu casual bike rides where I don’t want to pull out my Fenix or Edge. Being in the Garmin ecosystem and having the flights of stairs climbed are huge bonuses.

    Anyways, that’s just a roundabout way of saying I just ordered one from Clever Training! Thanks for the awesome review, as always.

  46. ekutter

    Ray, do you have any info on the Garmin Approach X40 golf watch that was just announced? Looks like hardware wise it is identical to this except has extra memory built in to store data for 40,000 courses. It’s been hard to find details on whether the golf app in the VA HR will do everything the X40 does and whether the X40 has all the fitness features of the VA HR. It’s hard to tell how they compare if the only things you care about are running, golfing, and a general activity tracker.

    • Yes, I played with it a bit recently and have some photos I took around here somewhere. But yes, it’s basically a VSHR with GPS.

      The size is virtually identical to that of a VSHR, though a tiny tweak to the outer shell of the screen (but not the inner screen size). Purely cosmetic.

      Keep in mind that’s different than the VAHR, which is much more akin to a Fitbit Surge in style/size/etc.. Meaning that the VSHR & X40 are ‘bands’, whereas I’d classify the VAHR as a ‘watch’.

    • Oh, and just to clarify, I didn’t actually play with the watch features much on the X40, my curiosity was more around just the form factor/size/etc… It was more of an aside to a larger meeting we were having.

    • ekutter

      Thanks for the quick response and setting me straight. I was having a morning brainfart as I was thinking it was the same form factor as the Vivoactive HR, not the Vivosmart HR.

      In a sense, this gets even more interesting that they put a GPS and HR in a tracker the size of a Vivosmart HR. That’s pretty cool. If it can be used as a full running watch, this could be a game changer.

      Do you have any further info on what the running capabilities are? I assume it doesn’t have CIQ.

  47. Ed P

    I’m sure I won’t be the only one to report this. I just received an email from clever training. They should receive their first Vivoactive HR shipment later next week with more to come later in May. Sure hope I make the first shipment.

    • Albert

      Ed P – that’s great news. Unfortunately I did not receive an email from them. Do you recall when you placed the order? I placed mine on 4/10/2016 after returning a Fenix 3 HR I ordered from them (the OHR was DOA, and the size is simply too bulk to wear everyday with a cuffed shirt).

      Ray – I would also be very interested to hear about the running capabilities of X40. I have provided numerous feedback to Garmin hoping they would do a full featured golfing/running watch, since those are two of the activities I enjoy frequently.

    • Ed P

      I made my order on 4/6.

    • I’ll try and get a bit more detail on the modes of the X40.

      On the bright side, VAHR does have the golf mode, so that’s likely the better option.

      Also of note for those curious – a final production unit has arrived in my US forwarding box, which in turn is being processed for shipment today to me. In theory it means arrival on Tuesday here in Paris. But that assumes that A) The Houston flooding doesn’t further delay local shipping B) French customs doesn’t hose something up (as usual).

      Assuming I get it next week, I’d likely be 2-3 weeks till an in-depth review from that point.

      Have a good weekend all!

    • Albert

      Yay – I got my notification. Hopefully my pre-order of 4/10 made the cut for the first batch of Clevertraining’s VAHR allotment!

      Ray – Thank you for the quick response. I think one of the features that intrigued me is the X40’s “AutoShot” (ability to sense you hitting each shot and record it automatically) and “TrueSwing” (telling you your swing impact angle, allowing you to analyze your golf swing when you are in the driving range training).

      Clearly both of those features are using the accelerometer to detect the motion. So it’s simply matter of them willing to put it into their watch as a feature.

      I really wish Garmin is able to create a watch and give people the ability to add “SaaS” or one-time purchase option to the watches, so each user can utilize the specific watch to its fullest potential. This would also save us the hassle of carrying around a USB charging port brick and fewer devices around.

    • Julian

      Interesting. I ordered way back on Feb 22 and didn’t I receive that e-mail either. I did receive an e-mail from them yesterday offering to ship my other items from the same order, however.

    • Charles

      Albert – the golf apps on Vivoactive is clumsy. You have to download course data everytime you start a new round. Moreover, you can’t switch to other apps nor even read the time while you’re in the golf apps. Otherwise you have to download the course data again.

      Ray – do you know whether the golf apps on Vivoactive HR and Fenix 3 HR has the similar problem as above?

    • ekutter

      Have you tried it on the VA HR? According to the manual, you only need to download it the first time you play the course.

  48. Fab

    Vivoactive HR seems in stock on amazon.fr !

    I preordered it and should be mine on monday :)

  49. SC Sailor

    Hi, I keep searching around but to no avail. I am really wondering what functions the Vivoactive HR can control or monitor with the Varia Radar Tail Light? I would imagine that turning it on and off would be the minimum. But does it also provide the same feedback as the head control or the various Edge devices, that show relative distance and number of “targets”? Or maybe just a simple bleep (and vibration?) that there is oncoming traffic behind you? Thanks!

  50. Yves

    Well guys, I received mine…as I said, it did arrive yesterday, but as there was nobody home I had to pick it up at the post office today. Some pics of the unboxing, although there is not much to see, just the box, the watch, a charging cable and abag with a quick start manual (which I didn’t open).

    It looks good, fits good, connecting with Garmin connect on my OnePlus 2 was easy (already had an account for my Edge 500 and used a Vivosmart HR before which I didn’t like – not enough sports possibilities).

    So, first impression is really good, but the real use will show if it beats the expectations or not…

    • Yves

      Back of the box.

    • Yves

      Box with the VAHR in it.

    • Yves

      The charging cable.

    • Yves

      The watch on my wrist. As you see, I have pretty thin wrists. It is always hard to find a watch which suits them. I used a Vivosmart HR before, but prefer this one because it is wider. The Vivosmart HR looked too thick on my wrist, the Vivoactive HR is a bit more in proportion although it is bigger (IMHO). I used a 42mm Motorola 360 2nd gen too, and that was (sizewise) perfect for me. But unfortunately, that’s not a sportswatch…

    • Felix

      Great for you Yves that you received your VIHR today. Have fun with it.

      May I ask to take a sample shot showing the thickness on your wrist? Somehow I think I will not like it because it seems much thicker than the current Vivoactive.

      And please advise us of battery life after a day of heavy usage. I’m very interested about hearing that, too.

      Many thanks.

    • Yves

      Two more remarks :

      – someone in these comments asked if it is possible to wear the watch with the charger attached. Well, it is possible, but not very comfortable (just tried it). The HR-sensor doesn’t make contact with the skin, so that one you cannot use. If really necessary, is is possible though.

      – I just attached a screen protector, had it already here, bought on Ebay in a German shop (about €2,50 for 4 pieces).

    • Yves

      Just made 2 pics of the thickness vs the wrist – hope this answers your question.

      About the battery life, I think I’ll need a few days for that. Today I put it on around 10:30, installed it, installed a few watch faces, mowed the lawn :-), but no sportive activities planned. Tomorrow I go running, monday & tuesday cycling.

      When I took the watch out of the box, battery was charged about 80%. I’ll post when it is around 10%.

    • Yves

      And the second pic (sorry, put the first one in a reply to my own post, must be a few posts lower).

    • Felix

      Thanks for your photos Yves!
      It really is considerably thicker than the 1st gen Vivoactive. A shame really.
      Might make it more uncomfortable to wear together with a long sleeve shirt, I guess.

    • Yves

      You’re welcome. It feels really comfortable at the moment. Tomorrow I’ll do a run (long sleeves – pretty cold here), and for my rides on monday and tuesday it will be long sleeved too. I’ll post about that later. The watch is pretty rounded at the edges so I think it’ll be OK.

    • KB

      Damn, I think it’s way to big for my wrist. All the garmin watches are too large for a girls small write (at least for me)…I was hoping this one would work due to the shape but now am thinking maybe not. I’ll wait to see how DC’s in depth review looks and when I can see it in a store to try it on. Really loved all the functions – exactly what I was looking for (especially HR and GPS). Like the Mio Fuse but no GPS in the Mio products.

    • Karen

      The product descriptions say 1.3 cm thickness for the VAHR, 0.8 cm for the old VA, so the VAHR is notably thicker. My Forerunner 235 is 1.3 cm as well, though – no problems with long sleeves on my side.

    • KB

      Hi Karen, I had the FR225 for a while but ended up returning it. That was pretty big on my wrist too. I was looking at the FR235 too. You don’t feel it’s too huge on your wrist?

    • MarkE

      Thanks Yves for posting these, very useful! And congrats on being the first on this site on getting your hands on one!

    • Karen

      Hi, no, I like it and never get any negative comments. But I’m not a very petite woman (wrist 17.5 cm) and I like big watches. AFAIK Ray’s wife who is more slender has a FR 630 which is the same size as the 235, on the Fotos I remember it looked good on her in my opinion. It simply depends on your taste, I think.

    • KB

      I checked out The Girl’s preference gadgets too. My wrist may be like her size wrist. I like the look of the FR235. I was just reading the in depth review from DC and on Amazon – great reviews. I think I’d prefer a watch face rather than the VRHR look. I really want GPS and HR accuracy at the end of the day. It’s $319 on Amazon and $329 on CleverTraining…both have great customer service. I may just do it!

    • Adam

      Great pics Yves! Glad you like it so far.

      How is the vibration in the VAHR? I currently use the VSHR for morning alarms and it’s quite jarring. Do you think the VAHR has a nicer buzz?

    • Karen

      KB, the FR 235 is a great watch. At first I found it too dim, but after playing around with different watch faces and a white background I’m quite happy with it now. I like the round design a lot – not sure yet if the VAHR Is the better choice for me. I ordered it from Amazon France now, we’ll see.
      I found that the 235 in red and black looked smaller on the wrist than the black only version, maybe because of the outer red ring. You might check that out, too.

    • Yves

      About the buzz, I only have it buzzing for smart stuff, like emails and text messages coming in. It surely buzzes enough for that. But I doubt it would wake me up…If I think about it tonight, I’ll set the alarm to test, tomorrow I have to get up early for one of my sons who has a soccer match. But I’ll set my phone as a backup 5 minutes later !

      About the screen : it is readable, but it remains relatively dark, even in the highest backlight setting. Sure this is a choice to keep the battery life as long as possible. My Moto360 was way clearer, but I had to charge it everyday. So…it is a matter of choices. Will experiment with some watchfaces an colours for that. Not really an issue though.

    • Just as a minor aside, The Girl actually still uses a FR620 as her running watch. But it’s basically the same size of course.

      For her day to day watch she’s been using a Pebble Time Round.

    • Isaline

      I was hesitating between the vivoactive hr and forerunner 235. I am a woman, i have decided not to buy the vivoactive hr and have bought the forerunner 235 for the reasons:
      1) the size of the vivoactive Hr : 30,2 mm x 57 mm x 11,4 mm and forerunner 45 mm x 45 mm x 11,7 mm.
      I have the impression that vvhr is too big for my wrist and forerunner is just looking great on my wrist in the blue green color!
      2) the application for running is much more extended
      3) you can select to have only 1 field to show the info while for the vvhr you always have minimum 2fields.
      As my vision is not super, for me it is important for not to be obliged to wear glasses to see the screen
      4) I have downloaded the hike application which provides me info like altitude, way points. Really super.
      5) I love how we can visualize the heart rate zone on the fr235

      Regarding the heart rate accuracy , there is a delay on intensive exercises of more than 3minutes which is too important for spinning , to avoid this problem I have bought a Geonaute heart rate chest that I have paired with the fr235.
      I will use this for specific cases.

      Finally I have put a vikuiti film adqc27 to protect and reduce glare

      So all depends on what we are looking for what matters and what not.

    • chillout

      Please tell me if the same functions for cyclists in Forerunner 235 (230) and vívoactive. And yet, what do you think about vivofit?

    • KB

      Isaline, thank you so much for your post and picture. I love it and am going on to clever training now to order it!

    • KB

      I did buy the FR235 and LOVE IT! I bought the one with the light blue band (same as Isaline, as I liked the look on her wrist) and love the different watch faces. So far so good on the HR and GPS – great decision. I’m someone that gets bored and end up not liking the devices I buy and I haven’t had a single “I want to return it” thought!

  51. Russ

    Any idea if the VAHR bands are compatible with the FR920xt?

  52. Helena

    Can anyone who already has this watch confirm that the only auto lap option is by distance? I’m looking to replace my 310XT, but I really love the auto lap by GPS position option for races with multiple laps along a track. I find it really helpful to get average lap times of a whole lap. I don’t need any of the other fancy functions of the more expensive watches, so the VAHR looks perfect otherwise, but this is one feature I would really miss.

  53. Aaron K

    I just was checking on my pre-order and noticed Best Buy US has dropped the price on the VAHR to $229.99 on the pre-order. They still have an expected in stock date of 4/30/16 and delivery of 5/2/16.

    link to bestbuy.com

    I called customer service and they already credited me the difference on my pre-order.

  54. Roastman

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a screen protector for the Vivoactive HR? Something that does not impede functionality of the watch or reduce visibility, but still protects the face from damage? Any advice is appreciated! My watch should be here within a couple of days (if they arrive into Johnny Appleseed on time), so I will cut a protector from a phone to fit at the moment. I can then order something better.

    • Isaline

      Yes you can find this on

      Enter what you are looking for for instance “anti glare”
      Than you will find 3 tabs on the left side to select
      The product
      The brand
      The reference

    • Roastman

      Thanks for the response. Any suggestions on the type of film please? Are the matte anti-glare better than the standard films? Not sure what works best on a watch….

  55. SS76

    I decided to cancel my preorder and wait for the reviews. No need to be in such a hurry, just got excited. Great to see some getting their units and looking forward to their comments.

  56. Dan

    My Amazon.com order in the US was just updated to “preparing for shipment” and my card was charged. Usually this means it will ship today. I placed my order on February 21. I’m getting excited!

    • Aaron K

      Congrats! I’m waiting on my Best Buy order, I was debating them or Amazon, but went with BBY since they were both showing the same date and BBY dropped the price to $230 yesterday. Hopefully I get a notification from them soon that it will be on it’s way!

    • Steve

      Great! My order was 4/18 on amazon, but the order wasn’t updated yet. Race Sunday, fingers crossed.

    • Dan

      Shipped! My Amazon order shipped today and will arrive tomorrow. I just re-read Ray’s excellent preview above. Time to study up on the manual.

    • Amy

      Where do you live??

    • MarkE

      My order with Amazon France has just shipped, expected delivery here in Spain is Wednesday this week!!

    • Ed P

      The price was $230 on BB this morning but now it’s already back to regular price.

    • Aaron K

      That went up pretty quick, maybe it was a mistake but they price matched the web yesterday for me and lowered my pre-order. Hopefully they get their stock in soon, but either way I got in for the $230 price.

    • Dan

      I live in northern Ohio. The order shipped from Kenosha, Wisconsin. In a logistical leap of logic only Amazon could understand, my Vivosmart shipped with three jars of Teddy’s peanut butter.

    • John

      Thanks for the heads up on this on. I ordered mine on Best Buy last night for the $230 price.

    • Amy

      Oooh! I assumed you were referring to the Vivoactive HR, not the Vivosmart.

    • Dan

      My bad. I did mean Vivoactive HR. I typed Vivosmart by mistake but the device I’m getting tomorrow is the Vivoactive HR.

  57. For those curious, I’ve just uploaded an unboxing video here:

    link to youtube.com

    Also include a bit more on size comparisons between existing Vivoactive as well as the Fitbit Surge. Enjoy!

  58. Dan

    Does the Garmin Vivoactive GPS Multisport Heart Rate Monitor Watch track your elevation gain and current altitude in the same way it tracks distance and number of steps?

  59. Zack

    Has anyone heard anything about their REI preorder? Their customer service told me last week that I should receive the Vivoactive HR on April 29.

    • Glenn

      I spoke to REI customer service only a few minutes ago and was told they still had no timetable at all in the system! Frustrated to say the least. Would jump to Amazon, but using a gift card for purchase and don’t have any other big ticket items I would need from REI in the near future.

    • Nick

      You may want to try to talk to someone else (or maybe I’ve gotten bad information), but I was told that REI was going to receive/send out their shipment tomorrow (4/26). Maybe that’s changed since Thursday or Friday last week though.

    • Jennie

      I called REI this morning since I was told a few weeks ago that it would ship on 4/26. She told me that they aren’t expecting to ship until 5/5 now ?

    • Zack

      That’s bad news. :(

    • Zack

      REI has now moved the date on my preorder to the end of May. Thinking of canceling.

    • Zack

      REI has cancelled all preorders. Ugh!

      Amazon, Best Buy, or Clever Training? Which one would be the fastest if I order now?

    • Aaron K

      Best Buy just charged my card today and my order is now “Preparing for Shipping”! Looks like Monday will be the day for me barring something happening over the weekend.

    • Steve

      Hi Aaron,

      Curious. Is that the BestBuy in US?


    • Aaron K


      Yes, I forgot to mention that. It is Best Buy US. I placed my order on 4/20/16. Looks like they changed delivery times today though. If you order today with 2 day shipping you will get it on Tuesday, or expedited to get it on Monday. When I ordered mine it said Monday delivery.


    • Andrea

      My BestBuy Canada order was updated this morning to June 10…I cancelled the order… I now have my LBS checking into when they can get it.

    • Aaron K

      Best Buy US just sent me a confirmation my VAHR has shipped! Tracking # has been received but still too new to show up in the system. At least it’s on the way!

  60. andy

    looking forward to first impressions!

  61. Noel Biggins

    Hi Guys and girls
    Usually – living down under here in Australia, we are months behind the rest of the world getting things from O/S, such as fitness watches, etc.
    Now, however, miracle of miracles, I just got an email from Johhny Appleseed here in Australia saying they have received the Vivoactive HR and are ready to sell them here.
    I am about to jump in and buy one, but was really hoping to hear that Garmin might have just amped up the HR sensors a bit more for greater accuracy. There seems to be a bit of variability in the Forerunner 235 – which I believe runs the same HR as the Vivoactive, and was hoping someone might have some more recent info on this following Garmin’s recent firmware updates.

    • Roastman

      Hi Noel
      Picked mine up from Johnny Appleseed in Rocklea today (excellent service from them, as always). Apparently they are selling fast. I will try the unit tonight and test the accuracy of the HRM against my current devices. My Tomtom unit and Apple Watch are both quite accurate, although the sampling rate sometimes means there is a lag between the two, with consistent average heart rates recorded over the length of a run or workout. I will try the Garmin on a rowing machine, as the constant movement will give a good test of how well it holds the heart rate under adverse conditions.

    • Noel Biggins

      Hi Roastman
      That’s great – will wait with bated breath to hear back how you get on.

    • Roastman

      After some quick tests this afternoon, I am not sure what to think. Being a new unit, there will undoubtedly be some firmware glitches initially. Operation was simple, but I found some odd heart rate issues. When jogging on the treadmill, the Garmin closely matched my Tomtom Spark and Apple Watch (those two were worn on the same arm for the purpose of testing). When my heart rate got lower as I moved over to the rowing machine, the Garmin dramatically diverged from the other two watches. It would barely show above 100 beats per minute, while the other watches were moving up to around 125-130 beats. This seemed to be a consistent issue on the rower, but strangely even when working at low intensity on the treadmill, the heart rate reading on the Garmin was much lower than the other two units. I made an error on the rowing machine (used the outdoor rowing app, instead of the indoor rowing app), but that should not affect HRM accuracy. I will try this again tomorrow, perhaps with an outdoor run, to see how it works. The screen on the watch is not great. Contrast is quite poor, so I can only imagine how it will work in bright sunlight. The menu operations seem to be quite intuitive.

    • Ed P

      This is not good new as far as I’m concerned. The two issues you reported are the main reason I pre-ordered the Vivoactive HR.
      1. for a better screen, the original Vivoactive is almost unreadable to me in anything less than bright lighting. It also looked like the new screen layout allows for slightly larger text for workout stats. If the contrast is still an issue this may not be much of a gain.
      2. The addition of HRM. As a supplement to my chest strap so I could have the option of working out without the strap and monitor my HR during the day. I just turned 60 and after not running for many years I feel the need for accurate HR readings is important.
      I’m tempted to cancel my pre-order and wait until I can find one in a local store to check it out.

    • (I’m still TBD on the accuracy piece, so putting that aside for a moment)

      But when it comes to screen, I’m surprised you’re saying it’s low contrast. Mine seems pretty solid. Both indoors and outdoors, especially once in sport mode. Note that typically with screens like these they actually get better in sunlight, not worse.

    • Ed P

      Are you talking about the original or the new version. Not sure if it’s a contrast issue but I have trouble reading some of the screens at times on my Vivoactive. Especially if the watch face is at a slight angle. I’ve heard they have changed the film over the watch face and maybe the viewing angle has improved. The photos of the HR look much brighter, maybe contrast wasn’t the correct term.
      As far as the HR accuracy, I’m hoping the initial evaluation is either an anomaly or can be improved by a firmware update.

    • Isadore

      “As far as the HR accuracy, I’m hoping the initial evaluation is either an anomaly… ”

      A major concern of mine – curious to see if others report similar results.

    • For those curious on optical accuracy while cycling, here’s my ride from yesterday: link to analyze.dcrainmaker.com

      Basically, it’s about the same as I saw with the Fenix3 HR. See notes at the bottom of the analyze page.

    • Roastman

      I have found the screen easier to view with a white background, rather than the standard black finish. Please be aware I have not had much time with the watch, so I may be missing a setting somewhere…. My next step will be to rear the manual! In regard to the heart rate monitor, it seems to be fine when checking the heart rate manually (a swipe down starts the manual HRM screen), so this is not consistent with what happened during my workout. I suspect the incorrect readings at lower heart rate levels are either an abhorration, or just a temporary firmware glitch. The fact that it picked up the heart rate accurately while I was going a lot faster on the treadmill is a good sign and supports the fact the hardware itself is OK. I am quite confident that it is firmware related, but more tests will give a better idea. About to go for another run, so will be able to report back after that.

    • Andrea

      Is there any chance that people having difficulty with the screen are wearing polarized sunglasses?

    • Roastman

      Another run and some more feedback. To really test the Optical HRM, I did a series of walk/run intervals up and down hills. The performance was mixed:
      * When exerting myself, the HRM was accurate
      * When in the recovery phases, the HRM seemed to be wildly inaccurate. At one stage during a walk period, my heart rate went from 120 (had just come off a run) and jumped over 160 for a long period. This is either a firmware issue, or the optical HRM is too weak and really needs your blood flowing to function. This will be a killer for me, if a firmware update does not fix it
      * The screen outside is fantastic. Judging it indoors was not fair, as it reallyt comes to life outside in the sunlight. Inside, I am finding the black-on-white to be my preference and I have increased the backlight strength
      * GPS acquisition was fast. I deliberately stopped and started a new workout three times, to see how fast. Much faster than Tomtom. However, accuracy will be determined later, once I have compared the maps. The Tomtom device is very good with GPS and I have checked it against known distances. The Garmin unit got 100 mtrs behind veryt early in my longest run and stayed 100 mtrs behind for the whole run. I assume that even though the GPS symbol was green and locked, it may pay to pause a few seconds before starting the run. Once again, this may be a firmware glitch (or the Tomtom watch may have been out)

      For me, the biggest issue seems to be the optical HRM at lower BPM. If this is to be an all-round fitness watch, that needs to work well. I know serious athletes will use chest straps, but serious athletes are more likely to be buying far more expensive watches. I am hopeful firmware updates will smooth the heart rate issues, as it is very inaccurate at the moment. If Garmin made it easy to join a beta test program, I would be happy to do this while they improve the software, as I have other devices to test it against.

    • Kurt

      Any idea why the elevations are off by 10 meters?

    • Noel Biggins

      Hi Roastman
      If what you have found to date with the hr is how it is, then that is a great disappointment. Unfortunately your findings (so far) seem to echo those of a couple of other reviews I have read on other posts. I am really hoping that more extended testing by yourself will show that this is not the issue it might appear to be, and I – and many others – are waiting anxiously for Ray to do a comprehensive review/evaluation of the Vivoactive Hr, and with particular attention to the accuracy of the HR. In the meantime, I will wait and see what else you find.

    • Roastman

      I actually didn’t notice any issue with the elevations, but I will check. I think the GPS issue was purely as on my third run I needed to wait a little longer for it to have a perfect lock. As it came up green immediately, I assumed it had a perfect lock. It was identical to the Tomtom unit for the other runs and for the rest of that run

    • RE: Elevation offset by 10m

      Not sure. I didn’t set/specify elevations of either unit before hand, so it’s hard to know which one is absolutely correct without digging into a bit more (which I’ll do later).

    • Roastman

      I am pleased top report a dramatically improved result with the optical heart rate monitor today. One of my issues is the narrower width of this watch versus my other devices. I am accustomed to wearing the watch further up my arm than a normal watch, to ensure the HRM works. However, as this device is narrower than my Tomtom and Apple Watch, it needs to move further up the arm. It is a matter of millimetres, but it is critical. I tested it this morning against a chest strap and it was near perfect. Also, the treadmill calibration (I assume it automatically calibrated from my outdoor run) was also perfect. Apart from the barely detectable vibration for the basis interval function (which yoiu can lengthen, but not increase the strength), this is now my ideal device.

    • Roastman

      Please excuse my typing errors – I was so happy this improved that I hit “post” before proof reading!

    • Kevin F

      That is great news and what I found as well with the Vivosmart HR (same Elevate sensor). I had no issues with the HR on that model and look forward to getting my VivoactiveHR in a few weeks.

  62. Preston

    FYI – The watch is available in various outlets now in the UK. You can collect it from the majority of Argos stores, or request same-day delivery, plus it can be ordered for delivery on Very.


  63. Martin

    Can the unit be worn on the underside of the wrist as well and still accurately measure HR? I assume so since microsoft band is designed to be worn that way

    • Paul Sheraton

      I like this watch but I plan to use it for running how easy is it to stop the watch without a physical button?
      As when I sprint past that finish line I want to be able to easily stop the time!

    • Yes, it can be worn on the underside.

      Also, the lower right button is physical, and is used for start/stop. :)

    • Runner

      Curious about the stop button. On my original Vivoactive I have to press the stop button multiple times before it stops. Sometimes it takes up to 45 seconds to actually stop & this greatly affects my time & pace for my run numbers.
      Also, I don’t use my Vivoactive anymore unless it’s for running outside on a bright sunny day which is the only time I can read the screen. It’s useless to me indoors. If only i could read it as well as the Apple Watch which is so clear & crisp. But I don’t use the Apple wTch for anything sport/health fitness related.

    • Runner

      Curious about the stop button. On my original Vivoactive I have to press the stop button multiple times before it stops. Sometimes it takes up to 45 seconds to actually stop & this greatly affects my time & pace for my run numbers.

    • Dan

      I can’t speak to the original VA but I haven’t had any issues stopping activities with the VAHR. Just press the right button and within a few seconds it will give you the opportunity to save and show your summary data.

    • No issues with stop on the VAHR. Keep in mind it’s a physical button here (lower right). Zero problems thus far in that area for me.

  64. Ryan

    How does the navigation work? I heard you can save coordinates and navigate back to them later…

  65. Martin

    amazon in US just charged my cc and changed to “preparing for shipment”. I ordered on 2/22. Hopefully will ship today.

  66. Weston

    What happened to all of the comments from today? As soon as someone posted something negative they disappeared

    • Weston

      My mistake. The comments show up on my PC, but only show through April 20th on my phone. There goes my conspiracy theory.

  67. Andrew

    Does anyone know how long Clever Training’s queue is / how long they usually take to fulfill preorders? I preordered mine on 4/21 but if it’s going to take too long I might be better off buying elsewhere…

    • Julian

      Not sure how valuable this is, but I ordered on 2/23, and I was not in the very first batch (Someone posted on the Garmin Forum that he ordered on 4/19 – the day it was announced – and he received a shipping notice yesterday.) An e-mail communication I received from Clever Training this morning said, “Unfortunately until the shipment arrives from Garmin, I am unable to confirm whether your order will be fulfilled with this shipment or a subsequent shipment.”

      So they’re either unsure of how many they’ll be getting, where I am in the queue, or mostly likely, just keeping it all close to the vest, so as not to make promises they can’t keep.

    • Julian

      A correction – the person on the Garmin Forum ordered from Clever Training on February 19, not April 19.

    • Andrew

      Thanks Julian. I’ll probably end up giving them a week or two before buying locally elsewhere, as I have an upcoming race on May 21st that I’d want the VAHR for.

      If anybody else has experience with CT pre-orders/wait times, would love to hear your feedback!

    • Russ

      I asked CT about VAHR orders and they basically said the first units come in this week and they’ll begin shipping soon afterwards. They will not be able to fulfill all the orders since there will be a limited supply but they expect more units to arrive later in May. They also said they’ll send out weekly email updates if orders cannot be fulfilled after the first round of shipments.

  68. Yves

    So, a first impression about battery capacity, for what it’s worth. (Just for info for who’s interested)

    I unpacked the unit, turned it on an put it on my wrist on saturday, 10:30 AM. The battery was charged for 78%.

    Started using it right away, without further charging. Today, wednesday, at 10:30 AM the battery was at 3%. The use the last 4 days was 24/7 heart rate tracking, constant bluetooth connection and smart notifications for mail, sms, agenda, and some other apps, some more tweaking and playing with the settings as normal (seems normal with a new device), backlight on highest setting (5 out of 5).

    GPS tracking for two runs, (55′ and 1h20′), and some short rides (commuting), for a total of 1h51′. So total GPS tracking was a bit more than 4 hours during those 4 days.

    This makes me think that 8 days in watch mode is possible with full charge and no GPS use.

    I charged it today, after 30 minutes it went from 3% to 56%, after 60 minutes it was at 90%, and to charge the last 10% it needed 25 minutes more. But that is more to get the last 2 % in, after one hour and 15 minutes it got to 98%. So charging times are acceptable imo.

    For all the rest…I am still happy with it. Looking forward to the in-depth review for some comparisons, but for me it does what I need.

    • Felix

      Great. Thanks Yves for the detailed info.
      Seems pretty consistent again with what we know from the 1st gen Vivoactive.

    • onemanandtwodogs

      Well after Amazon UK still not having any stock until next week, i ordered it from Amazon France and it arrived as promised by UPS yesterday. I then found out that Argos already had it in stock , just 5 minutes walk from where i work!

      After unpacking it paired with Connect on my phone first time, quickly and easily. I found it very comfortable to sleep in and wear – the strap is softer than the VA. Good to see resting heart rate in the morning

      Anyway i went for an early morning 9 miler today with the VAHR on my left wrist and my VA connected to by HRM strap on my right wrist because i wanted to compare HR accuracy.

      First thing that i noticed when i started running was how clear the screen is. I usually wear reading glasses and sometimes struggled to read the VA and my older 910XT. This screen is crystal clear and is really responsive to scroll through.

      Then i noticed that my heart rate on the VAHR was about 10 to 15 beats less than the VA connected to my strap. I thought oh oh, its not picking up every beat. Then after a mile both readings were identical. I then realised that i was not getting those high incorrect readings that you often get with the HRM strap until it settles down. It is still early days but my initial conclusion after one run is that i think that the VAHR is actually more accurate than using the strap.

      I also like (as with the VA) that not having to use a foot pod for cadence is great as it gives you the actual cadence as opposed to the foot pod on one foot only showing half the number – its quite difficult multiplying a number by 2 ….

      At the end of the run, uploading to Connect was simple and gave the extra fields showing Heart rates, training effect, stairs and intensity.

      The one thing that i think that is down on the VA is the ease of charging. I found that the magnetic cradle of the VA was very easy. You have to clip the VAHR into its cradle

      However after less than 24 hours i am very pleased with the VAHR and if the other sports / activities recording are as as good as running its going to be the best wrist mounted device out there.

      Initially i th

    • Andy F

      Hi Onemanandtwodogs,

      You got me excited. I’m going to London Friday/Saturday but Argos says they can’t deliver for 4 days. Do you know if anyone else in the UK is carrying it? If not i’ll have to wait for the amazon france order. I ordered it on Sunday and won’t get it until the end of next week. :-( Thanks for your information on the heart rate as I think a lot of us are reading here to see how accurate it is.

    • onemanandtwodogs

      Hi Andy
      the very.com website shows it available and delivering in 2 days – it doesn’t appear on argos website any more?

      hope this helps

    • Skat

      Ray, could you confirm that the VAHR does not have a built-in compass? Your comparison charts show it at the moment as “GPS” but the manual (unlike FR235’s which you show as “N/A”) states there is a built-in 3-axis compass. Also, is the “Temp Recording (internal sensor)” still “TBD” for the VAHR?

    • Andy F

      thank you.

  69. Matthew B.

    First impressions of the VAHR:

    – Form factor is great — very interesting in that’s like the Fitbit Surge, but it’s watch band is fully articulating (and replaceable
    – Compared with the Fitbit Blaze, the screen is atrocious. A plus, though, is it’s on 24/7 — so sort of a wash?
    – Setup was super clunky — kept failing to pair, but then did actually pair
    – Compared with F3, UI seems a bit “newer” — like it asked if I wanted to add more widgets when going through the widget menu

    Only had it for a few minutes, will update as I use it more.

  70. Dan

    I received my unit from Amazon in the US yesterday. It paired with my Nexus 6 on the first try without issue. My first impression is that it looks like I strapped a phone to my wrist but it’s comfortable to wear and fits under a dress shirt sleeve without issue. My wife tried it on and it looked silly big on her wrist. She’s going to switch from her Vivosmart to the VSHR instead. The GPS got a fix in seconds indoors which I was very impressed with. It has a complicated series of menus and settings that only Garmin could love but it’s hard to deny the impressive features. I’m headed out for my first run with it and will report back later!

    • Steve

      Dan, what really matters to me is did you receive your jars of Teddy’s peanut butter and if so is it better than Skippy?

    • Amy

      I meant to ask you earlier, when did you order your watch from Amazon? Sorry to read that it’s too big for your wife’s wrist… that is one of my concerns.

      Also, hilarious comment about the peanut butter!! Ha!

    • Dan

      Ha! Yes, Steve, everything arrived intact and thankfully I didn’t have to dig my new fitness tracker out of a sticky mess of peanut butter. I won’t claim Teddy’s is better than Skippy but it seems healthier and my kids will eat it so that’s what passes for a win in my life these days.
      Amy, I ordered it on February 21 so I was probably one of the first. Obviously opinions will vary on the size but the ends of the VAHR stuck out a bit beyond the sides of my wife’s wrist so it was an easy call for her.

    • Mel

      Any chance you can take a photo of it on your wife’s wrist? The photo Ray has of ‘The Girl’ wearing it, I don’t think it looks too big. However, I am concerned about size and everyday wear. Other Garmin running watches are so large on my wrist and I would really like to wear this thing every day to replace my FitBit. I appreciate the great feedback so far! Thanks!!

    • Karen

      I got my unit today (from Amazon France, ordered on 4/23), and my first impression is really good. The features and the handling are great, and pairing went seamlessly. I’m not quite sure if I’m going to keep it, though – I find it a tad bulky. It’s not too big on my wrist actually (I’m 5′ 7” and not very slender), but it’s thicker than my FR 235. Similar to a Fitbit Surge, actually. Yes, according to the specs the thickness is the sameas in the FR 235, but the VAHR looks thicker. I’ll have to wait if I’m going to get used to it (I found the FR 235 quite big as well when I first bought it).

    • Dan

      Glad to help, Mel. Here’s a picture on my wife’s wrist. She’s 5’6″ and about 125 lbs.
      I was really happy with how the device worked on my run this afternoon. The display that seemed a bit washed out indoors is beautiful in sunlight. I could read it through my sunglasses with no problem. It got a GPS fix right away, the optical HR seemed right in line with my expectations and the resulting stats looked good. The battery has dropped by 21% in 24 hours with one 30 minute GPS run which is especially good considering I spent a lot of time messing with it today including lots of forced pairing and syncing as I tried (and eventually succeeded by dumb luck) to get Android Smart Lock to work.

    • Michael

      Can you tell us something about the GPS accuracy? Thanks in advance!

    • Lauren

      Thanks for the picture! Just curious if this is the regular size band or the XL?

    • Roastman

      GPS seems to be quite good so far. Only had one issue, but I think I may have started moving off a little too soon and GPS lock was not quite confirmed. Otherwise, absolutely perfect after three external runs.

    • Michael

      Thanks for reply!

    • Dan

      It’s the regular size. I think Ray said the only difference in the XL size is the length of the strap, not the size of the watch body. I’m 6’4″, 230 lbs and it looks big on me but it’s comfortable and I wear a long sleeve shirt at work so appearances are low on my priority list.

    • Mel

      Thank you so much! I think the watch looks great on her, but I can see how it is certainly a little bulky. I am not as petite as your wife, so hopefully it will work better for me, but I do have fairly small wrists. At this point, I think I may need to hold off on any pre-order and wait for the device in stores to try on. Again, great info!!!!

    • jwp

      Today my watch arrived, but the screen was pale. No bright colors. The text was hard to read. I’ve put it on brightness 5 and still pale. Very dissapointed. A great watch with alot of functions but the screen was but. Just send it back. Hope the new one is oke…

  71. MarkE

    Received mine from Amazon France today, having ordered it on Saturday (delivered to Spain). Will get unpacked tonight but only when kids have gone to bed – no sticky fingers all over it!

  72. Robert

    How does the accuracy of the VAHR’s accelerometer compare with that of Garmin’s footpod in measuring distance and pace?

    • SS76

      Thanks all for the observations. If any of you play soccer, interested in how the watch tracks movement with GPS on, and other metrics during a game.

    • Roastman

      I must say the accelerometer is amazing. After my first run outside, I did an interval run on my treadmill. The distance matched perfectly with my treadmill! I know the treadmill is accurate, as I originally checked it against my footpod on a previous watch. I am not sure how it would go during a sport like soccer (lots of moving sideways etc), but even a footpod will not accurately measure distance when you are side-stepping. I used it at tennis, but mainly to get an idea of calorie burn and exertion, rather than distance.

    • BPD

      I presume those of you who have received their VAHR’s have been purchasing “Regular” strap sized devices ?

      I’ve been waiting (impatiently) for the XL devices to become available. My wrist size is circa 19cm which means the Regular probably isn’t going to fit me.

      Good to see mostly positive feedback on the device thus far.

    • runian7

      link to youtu.be in comments he said he has 19cm wrist

  73. Tim

    Can someone tell me how to get email and text message notifications on the VAHR configured? I can’t find it.

  74. Tom

    does anyone know if all Smart/Connected features will work with Windows10 mobile or do I need iOS/Android device?
    What smart features are on the watch and is it useful at all in anyway?

  75. Ed P

    I noticed something on my original Vivoactive yesterday. Pardon me if this feature has always been available. I was changing the screens and noticed there are choices for 3 , 2 or even 1 line display. I don’t recal this option prior to my last watch update. Is it possible the firmware of the Vivoactive HR now allows for 1 line display? This option makes it much easier to read my display without my glasses and was one of the reasons I pre-ordered the Vivoactive HR.

  76. Steve Hood

    A Question to the lucky VAHR receivers.

    I own a Fitbit Blaze and I think it does a tremendous job at estimating Calories burned. I am currently running a daily 1000 calorie deficit in order to drop approx. 2 lbs. per week for next 10 weeks and so far so good. I use MyFitnessPal to input calories in, and MyFitnessPal synchs.over to FitBit. FitBit then estimates how many calories I can consume to remain my calorie usage range to drop weight.

    My question is does any VAHR owner have an opinion on how well the watch tracks calories?


    • Roastman

      So far, I believe it is under-estimating a fraction, but that is compared to my Tomtom and Apple Watch. Apparently it is not a precise science, so the Garmin device may use different factors to determine actual burn. It is close enough to the other two.

  77. Rob L

    So I picked up my VAHR and I’ve used it in the gym, running, indoor 5-aside football – all seems to be working fine, BUT…

    The heart rate widget is displaying the ‘wrong’ RHR… after sycing and everything being fully up to date Garmin Connect shows my RHR as 44 but the VAHR is saying 54 (even though it says the lowest recorded was 44)? The same happened yesterday (45 GC / 61 VAHR), and the day before (51 GC / 60 VAHR).

    Is this something to do with the fact it only displays the last 4 hours? If you tap on the widget it shows the last 7 days (only had it 3) with the ‘wrong’ RHRs plotted on the graph so I guess it isn’t. Also, not sure on Garmins stance on RHR but the lower RHRs were not recorded during sleep so I’ve ruled that out.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • I saw the same thing today as well, not sure what’s up there either. Fwiw, also showing 54…which…also makes no sense (since it’s concurrently showing 45 as my HR at this very second). I suspect it’s a bug. I’ve got it on my to-do list to figure out.

    • Rob L

      Strange… if you figure it out / speak to Garmin let me know! I’ve also emailed UK Support.

    • Kevin F

      I have seen this mentioned several times re the VIvosmart HR and yes it seems Garmin has an issue getting the RHR thing down. In my mind it is the absolute lowest HR of the day. I asked for Garmin to give us the option as to what we see .. ie Min, Average and Max but they seem to like average. But it is average of what ? It makes no sense. Myself I use a Beddit for continuous HR monitoring during sleep .. so I know what my RHR truly is. I do hope that Garmin fixes this as I am dumping my Vivosmart HR for just this reason.

    • Rob L

      I had an email from Garmin Support – either update the software or reset the device… seems like a pretty threadbare response.

      I haven’t actually got my cable with me at work so I can’t check for an update but I haven’t seen anything about one being released (current version 2.20)? I’m quite reluctant to hard reset because I’ve customised apps and data screens etc. especially when others are reporting the same issue – seems like a bug, not a unique problem to my unit.

      For what it’s worth – today it’s saying RHR 46bpm on my VAHR and 38 on GC.

  78. Zack

    Does anyone know the battery capacity of the Vivoactive HR? I plan to take mine on a backpacking trip as soon as I get it and will be using in GPS mode all day for 4-5 days. Need to figure out what size portable power pack to get.

    • Felix

      Interesting question. The only info I found about the original Vivoactive is 150mAh, which sounds about right for a device of that size. My guess is that the HR variant is in the same region. That should give you lots of juice for way more than a full week with even a small portable power pack (3000mAh).

      The question is, if you can make it through the days with GPS turned on all the time!?

    • Zack

      The original Vivoactive specs say 10 hrs with GPS while the HR ones says 13 hrs. So let’s assume the Vivoactive HR has a battery capacity of 1.3*150=195mAh.

      While Garmin specs say “up to 13 hrs”, it’s possible it won’t last the whole day with the GPS on. I could charge it a little while stopped for lunch.

      Let’s call that 1.5 charges a day. 195*1.5*5 equals less than 1500mAh. So a 3000mAh lipstick power pack should be good enough.

    • Nav

      Don’t mind me asking but, can you explain how did you do these calculations Zack? Thanks much.

    • Zack

      For battery capacity, since VAHR lasts 13 hrs compared to VA’s 10hrs, I used VA’s 150mAh and multiplied it by 13/10. So VAHR could have a capacity of 195mAh.

      For how much charge would be needed on my trip, 5 (# of days) * 1.5 (one full charge at night plus half charge at lunch) * 195 (VAHR battery capacity) equals 1462.5 mAh. Round it to 1500 mAh.

      Now we should also consider any losses in the portable power pack circuitry. If we assume 40% loss, then the mAh for the power pack should be 1462.5 (from our calculations above) divided by (100-40)%. That’s 2437.5 mAh for the power pack.

  79. Steve

    Audio Prompts\Alerts

    I wonder when on a run with a VAHR and if connected to your phone will Garmin Connect on the phone broadcast via Bluetooth audible status alerts to your headphones. IE> every 1km or every 5 minutes that sort of thing?

  80. andy

    got my VAHR this morning and straight went for a run with it. the device looks nice, feels nice, easy to operate, screen is easy to read, fits well and comfortable on my 17.5cm wrist. so lots of positives. however… i had VAHR on my left wrist, and Suunto Ambit2 with Schosche Rhythm+ on my right wrist and forearm respectively. The HR was pretty much identical on both devices for most of my 13km run but the distance was off from the start. i have 1km autolaps enabled on both VAHR and Suunto. after every km, VAHR was slower/lagging by roughly 20 metres. So Suunto would be at 1km, while VAHR at 0.980km, after 2km Suunto would be at 2.0km while VAHR would still be at 1.96km and so on. I was running at roughly 4:45-4:50min/km pace and from around 7km increased the pace towards 4:20-4:30 and VAHR started lagging even more. so at the finish my stats were showing:
    Ambit2 – total distance 13.11km, total time 1:00’17, avg speed 13.1km/h, avg pace 4:35min/km, avg HR – 146, total kcal 721
    VAHR – total distance 12.77km, total time 1:00’06, avg speed 12.8km/h, avg pace 4:42min/km, avg HR – 147, total kcal 688
    So according to Garmin I ran 340m less than according to Ambit2 (that’s roughly 1 and half minutes off for an hour’s run). I trust my Ambit2 because I tested it many times, compared to my Polar RC3 GPS numerous times and I would get identical distances (+/-20-40 metres or so).

    I will test more but if the distance is off by so much, it will be quite disappointing

    • skat

      Hi andy,

      Which GPS setting did you use? ON or GLONASS? Default is just ON but if you select GLONASS, it will use GPS together with GLONASS (better performance but reduced battery life).

    • andy

      hi skat,

      i had gps on but not glonass. on my next run i will try with glonass on

  81. Steve

    Hot off the press, a video review of the Vivoactive HR!
    link to youtube.com

  82. leah

    Hi. I have the original VA. Overall I have been very happy with it. I would love to hear some feedback for the VAHR in swim mode. Unfortunately I have had lots of problems with the VA swim mode add meters… granted I am not the most consistent type of swimmer as far as speed and technique goes, but I do frontcrawl most of the time.
    I would love to hear the accuracy of the swim metrics. Also interested in hearing feedback from someone who has both the VA and VAHR as far as size and whether there are any truly BIG differences apart from the HR built in. (Curious about accuracy from the Garmin HR strap&VA as compared to the the VAHR stats)

    • Karen

      I’ll keep testing my VAHR for a day or two, but so far I’m think I’ going to stick with the FR 235. The VAHR is a great device. But I find it too bulky – the FR 235 is slimmer and nicer to look at (like an acual watch). I like the extra exercise features on the FR 235 (customized workouts, goals, intervals, Vo2max and so on) and the fact that it has beeps instead of vibes only. I also like the option to keep the backlight on during a workout (very handy in the evening or indoors) which is missing on the VAHR. The extra workout apps on the VAHR are nice, but hey can be replaced by IQ apps (i.e. for swimming). The touchscreen of the VAHR is very good, but it is a bit glossier than the FR 235 screen which I therefore find easier to read. The extra fitness tracking widgets on the VAHR are also great, but for me they are actually too much – the same information can be found in the app and I don’ need it it all the time. The remaining extra features (floors climbed, intensity minutes) are not that important to me. Well, I’d like to keep the intensity minutes, but it’s not that big of an issue.
      One thing which is clearly superior in my eyes is the music handling on the VAHR, but well, that’s not too bad on the FR 235 either.

    • Andrea

      Now I’m really torn…I’ve been worried that the VAHR is going to be too big and look like I strapped my old 705 to my wrist. FR 235 is looking attractive other than the extra cost… My primary activities are cycling and hiking with my dog and I really wanted an activity tracker.

    • Karen

      I love the FR as an activity tracker. I had the Fitbit Carge HR before and I liked it, but the FR 235 is much better. Much more expensive of course…
      Maybe you should check out both devices in a store.

    • Helena

      Thanks for your comparison with the FR235 Karen! I now start to think I want that device, even though I don’t really need the intervals and VO2Max etc. Could you explain a bit more about how the VAHR works in the dark? If there’s no backlight on, do you have to press a button to see the screen, or rely on a finicky wrist motion detection? I do a lot of my workouts at night, so it sounds like this could be an issue. How do you like the FR235 screen now? I searched for backlight in this post and found your comment (at least I think it was yours) where you say that you were disappointed with the FR235 screen. Did you get used to it?

      Also, I asked above, but I think it got lost in the many comments, could you maybe confirm if the VAHR only has auto lap by distance and not by GPS position?

    • Karen

      Hi Helena,

      yes, the VAHR has auto laps by distance only (same as the FR 235, I think – I don’t care about auto laps). About the FR 235 display – coming from the Fitbit Blaze, at first I was a little bit disappointed.Then I found out that you can change the watch face to a black on white display (plus there are numerous watch faces from the IQ App store which also have custom colurs). I’m perfectly happy with the FR 235 display now.
      In the daylight, the screen is very good and easy to read, even with a dark background. Additionally you can tell the watch to keep the backlight on in exercise mode, which is great in the evening or for indoors draining when the light is not so great. The VAHR does not have that feature, or at least I didn’t find it. From my yesterday workout I remember that I had to tap the screen to put the light on, but I could not reproduce this now … weird. Pressing a button will put the light on, though. You can choose how long the light stays on (10 s being the default I think). Maybe continuous backlight will be added in a firmware update, but for now it soes not seem to be there.
      Apart from that, the displays of the FR 235 and the VAHR are equally bright and readable. The only difference I found is that the VAHR display reclects the light a bit more (due to the fact it is a touchscreen, I think).

    • JAA

      These are exactly my two primary activities.. dog walking/hiking and cycling!! I have a Edge 500 for cycling and was going to get the VAHR for activity tracking and dog walking.. But my wrist is small at the very end of the scale for fit.. Not sure what I’m going to do.. Maybe just get a more basic activity tracker and a new 520 for cycling… but would love to have maps for dog hikes…

    • Ryan


      I have the FR235 and my main activities are hiking and bike riding. I know it is geared towards runners, but I like the watch profile that it has and it does a great job with those two activities. It’s my daily activity tracker and it’s so light and comfortable that I actually wear it everyday. I’m sure the Fenix 3 HR would be the ideal solution for me since it has those specific activities built in, but I couldn’t justify the cost difference at this time.

    • Andrea

      Thanks for the feedback. JAA I also have the Edge 500 for cycling, but I sure do miss my 705. I’m hoping the next 500 series GPS will have the option to add extra memory for maps which the 520 doesn’t have. In the meantime, I have Ride With GPS on my iPhone which is fine for the occasions when I want a map.

      I took a close look at the FR235, and the very short list of activities is turning me off. I do indoor cycling and strength training regularly so I appreciate that the VAHR has a nice complete list of activities and options for custom additions.

    • Karen

      The FR 235 does have indoor cycling out of the box, and there are various Connect IQ apps for other activities like strength training and even swimming.

    • Helena

      Thanks so much Karen, for your detailed impressions and for answering my questions! I’m so bummed, I now read up on it and it appears that Garmin has removed auto lap by distance from all recent watches :( I just assumed it wasn’t on the VAHR because they see it as a premium feature for the higher end watches, but it isn’t even there apparently :( I love that feature on my 310XT.
      The backlight sounds like it could be an issue, and I never even would have thought about that, so thanks for mentioning it.

    • Karen

      You’re welcome – but auto lap by distance IS there, on both devices. I suppose you mean auto lap by GPS?

    • Andrea

      I got my hands on a FR235 at a local running store and I really like the size and weight. The clerk actually handed me her FR235 when I asked to see one. She also has tiny wrists and she is very happy with it. I do hate spending the extra money if the VivoactiveHR will fit well though…looks like it will be a while before I could get my hands on one in Canada.

  83. Patti

    Hi…I am in the same debate. I did do preorder but may return. Worried it will be too large and uncomfortable. May order the 235 and just return one. But following others comments for now. Please update if you decide either way thx

  84. Patti

    What does the girl have to say about this? Need woman’s perspective.

  85. Koly Belostotsky

    Could anyone please enlighten me of which display is better through the polarizer sunglasses: Fenix 3 HR or the Vivoactive HR? I’m considering pros and cons to make a decision, and neither device is available at the store display yet here in Russia. Thanks in advance!

    • Roastman

      I wear prescription polarised sunglasses, which were absolutely fine. On other devices (like the GPS in my boat), I cannot see the screen at all with those glasses. Despite being a tiny bit darker (they are a dark tint), the screen is crystal clear on the VAHR. I cannot comment on the other unit.

    • Noel Biggins

      Hi Roastman
      Are you still happy with your VAHR – i.e. is the hr reading properly. Still reading other reports saying the hr is still a bit flakey, and waiting for the review from Ray – but thought as you have had yours for a few days now you would have a better hands-on idea of what’s working and what’s not.
      Must admit I am wavering between the VAHR and the FR235, but don’t really want a fullt dedicated running watch such as the FR235, and am hoping the VAHR is a better all-round fitness watch. All depends on the HR reliability really.

    • Roastman

      Hi Noel

      Happy at the moment. I am doing a 10 km interval run in the morning and will report back after that. Definitely not as forgiving as the Tomtom watch in terms of placement, but it is narrower and naturally sits closer to the wrist bone. I really like it at the moment, but was very concerned with it before I worked out the optimum arm placement. Doing intervals during my 10 km should give a good indication, as it is during the rest periods that it caused issues. I am confident it will be OK, but tomorrow morning will give me a better indication. I’ll report back in about 10 hours!

    • Roastman

      Hi Noel
      I did not have time for a long run this morning, so I did a 30 minute hill session with 2 minute walk/run intervals. The optical HRM was excellent for nearly all of the run. I had two small sections where it read a bit higher than the Tomtom watch (the Tomtom watch was definitely correct). Still not 100% sure about the heart rate monitor and I am certain my other devices are better in this respect. It seems to be far fussier about wrist position than anything I have used before. In these two instances, even though I started with the watch quite snug and considerably higher on my arm than normal, a gentle push up the arm fixed the HRM issue. However, if I had not been wearing a device to compare the heart rate, I would not have realised it was 10-15 beats incorrect. Long term, I don’t want to be wearing two watches, which is why I am replacing the Tomtom watch and my Apple Watch with the VAHR. I will continue to test over the next few days, paying ridiculously close attention to position of the watch. I am a little concerned about keeping it long term, but undoubtedly will, as it has lots of nice features and I can probably live with the occasional HRM glitch. Realistically, given how good some of the optical HRM’s are, it is disappointing that they don’t seem to have got this quite right. It will undoubtedly work better for some people than others (skin colour, amount of hair, wrist thickness etc), but I don’t have issues with my other devices, so this is a little disappointing. More testing may help me achieve an optimal position etc. I am still thoroughly enjoying the watch and must stress the two HRM “drop-outs” were only for very short periods. The average heart rate for the run was within 2 beats per minute and the maximum was identical. Distance was also within 10 mtrs. Not a bad result for a watch in this price range and with some excellent activity tracking features. The Garmin Connect interface is much better than Tomtom, linking flawlessly to external apps such as Myfitnesspal. I have just linked it to Strava as well, but I cannot see if that works, as my Tomtom watch is also connected to Strava (and I assume it only uploads one of the watches, as it assumes correctly they are a duplicate). I would be interested to hear how others find the automatic export to Strava etc, as I do not wish to unlink my Tomtom watch yet.

    • Kevin F

      I cannot comment on the Vivoactive HR (will not get mine for 2-3 weeks as not available here yet) but can on the VIvosmart HR .. same sensor and it was very good on the HR part. But it does help to push it up your arm .. and even if I did not it was still very very good (unlike my past Fitbit Surge which just sucked at the HR part period. I dumped it). I also have low body fat % and thus very good veins .. which likely helps a lot with OHR. I would suspect that DCRainmaker is much the same. That is likely why some people have more issues with the OHR part than others. It also does help to warmup to get those veins all primed up.

    • Jonathan


      Thanks for the detailed observations. Could you explain what you mean by the watch being narrower and how that affects placement on your arm? Also you suggest that the HRM on the Tom Tom is reliable. What don’t you like about it that leads u to want to buy the VAHR? Look forward to your reply. Thanks

    • Roastman

      The width on my wrist seems a bit narrower than the Tomtom Spark and Apple Watch. I like both of these devices for different reasons and miss having the Apple Watch on my arm the most. I still have both, but the Apple Watch seems to have been claimed by my wife. Specifically, what don’t I like about the Tomtom? It is probably not so much what it does, it is what it cannot do. I play golf, tennis, go to the gym, run indoors and out and have started indoor rowing. I don’t always want to carry my phone when outdoors. I really want a good activity tracker to replace my dead Fitbit (numerous dead Fitbits actually, but that is another story). Apple Health is a bit weak and relies on third party interaction to be decent. Tomtom activity tracking is pitiful and the interface is clunky. It is mainly the activity tracking that pushed me to Garmin. My wife has told me how happy she has been with Garmin fitness trackers, after numerous Fitbit replacements (ah, there it is again). I have been very impressed with the step count on the Garmin unit. Very few false step counts and it seems to capture everything I do. The GPS seems good, although rain today has stopped me from trying it on the golf course. Notifications seem OK, although the vibration alert is sadly quite pathetic. It is more of an “all in one” device for me, as although I love the Apple Watch, it has disappointing third party apps for Golf (once again relying on the phone GPS) and is only reasonable as an activity tracker. Great in all other respects, including being able to use Siri etc.
      The form factor of the Garmin is interesting. It is longer across my wrist than the Tomtom, although the Tomtom has got the extra four way button that adds considerable length along the strap. In terms of the width (imagining the direction you are measuring is up your arm, as opposed to around your arm), the Garmin appears narrower than the Tomtom unit. With the HRM sensors being directly in the middle of the watch, if you assumed they were the same size, this means the sensor is closer to your wrist bone, if you place the leading edge of the watch in the same position. Hence why the Garmin needs to go further up the arm, to get the sensor away from the wrist bone. I still think this may he a slight hardware deficiency as well, but it seems good enough over my past couple of tests. More rigorous testing will tell me more. As I cannot get onto the golf course today, a long run will be in my near future, plus another try on the rower.
      I hope this helps. Ray is obviously the real expert on this stuff, as my opinion is more from someone who is looking for improved health and fitness, rather than being a hard-core athlete. Those days are gone for me now!
      As I have beta tested previously for other devices, I would love to get onto the beta test team for this device, to see if it can be made even better. The bad side of beta testing is that you get lots of issues with devices, but the good thing is seeing the finished product. At least Garmin would not need to send me a watch!

    • Noel Biggins

      Hi Roastman
      Many thanks for all the feedback so far. It sounds as though you are not having too many issues with the Hr at all.
      I have had a Basis Peak for nearly two years, and am aware of the importance of positioning the optical hr in the correct spot.If it is a little out, or a little loose, Hr can be badly affected.
      I also have an Atlas wristband, which is dedicated to gym work and weight-lifting, etc.
      I have had a really mixed bag with optical hr’s – the one on the Basis Peak has become progressively worse over time and following firm-wear updates, to the point where Basis are going to replace it for me. Unfortunately, the Basis never really lived up to its promise, and development and support are pretty poor, to say the least. Pity, because as a 24/7 tracker it is pretty good – counts steps very well, gets calories pretty much spot on, has a terrific ‘Habits’ section which encourages increased performance, and the sleep tracking is next to none. It is just about the only unit on the market that I know of that actually registers light, deep, and REM sleep. Unfortunately, the HR is so erratic that it can suddenly spike to show a hr 40-80bpm higher than what I am showing on my Polar chest-strap, and Basis admit they don’t know how to fix it – and this is a company owned by Intel.
      O)n the other hand, I simply love the Atlas – it tracks all my gym work, and is about to improve further next week when they release ‘Learning Mode’ for it, wherein you can ‘teach’ the unit new exercises, machines, etc such as Pec machines and all sorts of complicated gym exercises.
      Importantly, however, one of the best aspects of the Atlas is its HR tracking ability. The sensors are supplied by Valencell – I believe one of the foremost leaders in this field, and also rated by Ray as superior to Mio. The only issue is that the Atlas is designed for the gym, and not (yet) for 24/7 monitoring.
      As I have lost complete faith in the Basis Peak, and really want an all-round, 24/7 monitor with GOOD Hr ability, I am looking at the VAHR, so your reports are invaluable.
      I will be very interested in what further you find over the next couple of weeks, and what Ray thinks when he gets around to a full review.
      Like you, I want an all-round fitness tracker – my ‘athlete’ days are well past me, but I still go to the gym four times a week, cycle, and walk the dog around 8 kms every day, and with some past health issues, knowing my CORRECT Hr is very important.
      Looking forward to your next update.

    • Roastman

      I played 18 holes of golf with the watch today. Some quick comments:
      * GPS distances were not as accurate as the Tomtom Golfer, although were mostly acceptable
      * Some of the other distances (eg. dogleg, layup etc) were totally incorrect and made no sense. I was getting junk figues regularly on these distances
      * The scorecard feature is very, very broken. I enabled the score card, which apparently should turn on when you get to the green. It did turn on (three times for the round) and was gone so quickly I could not put a score in. There needs to be a better means to access the scorecard entry system (eg. swipe to the right to go to a manual scorecard). Total fail, so hopefully this will be fixed
      * We were on course for about five hours and the battery dropped about 40%. Not bad.
      * Hole detection was great. When I stepped onto every tee the hole had automatically changed. Excellent!

  86. Adam A

    Is anyone else seeing a problem with the back light on the VAHR? I just got mine yesterday via Argos in the UK. The backlight seems to be very heavily concentrated in one corner, spilling out on to the front and not balanced across the screen. Am I expecting too much here, or is it a production problem with this copy?

    Can other please let me know if they are seeing anything similar?

    • Preston

      Also got mine from Argos – and use that same watch-face.

      No issue, light consistent across the back, would take that back immediately.

    • Roastman

      Backlight is even across my entire watch face…

    • skat

      Yours seems really bad. I do have a noticeable backlight bleeding in the bottom left corner but mine looks more like the photos in Ray’s FR630 review link to dcrainmaker.com

    • openyoureyes

      I have the same problem with the screen. The backlight only comes from the lower left corner. Looks pretty bad especially if you look from the side. This is my first sport watch, maybe my expectation are too high?

    • Andy D

      My first one from Argos had no working backlight at all. The replacement is fine and the light is even. I’d get that one swapped.

    • Adam A

      Thanks all for your advice in relation to the backlight. It went back to Argos the next day, and the replacement watch has a perfect backlight.

      I would advise anyone who sees the uneven backlight that myself and openyoureyes experienced to send it straight back and get a new one.


    • Nate

      Is the backlight on your replacement perfect? Can you see the light coming from the lower left hand corner at all if you look directly down from the top? Or is it totally even? Trying to decide if I should return mine from Best Buy or not.

  87. Caferey

    The VAHR looks like a great device, has everything I need except the beep for auto laps. Then I have to ask myself do I need to pay an extra $80 for the 235 so I can hear the beep! I’ve the 620 and I don’t always notice the vibrate every 1km, but definitely hear the beep, even in huge races like NYCM, Paris marathon etc

    • skat

      I get disturbed when in a race all runners around me suddenly go beep-beep.
      By the way, I have just noticed that Ray probably has an error in the comparison charts – the VAHR has a magnetic compass.

  88. Tim

    Very happy with the watch as an everyday/night activity tracker, but actually very disappointed at the moment with the HR accuracy during interval runs.

    link to connect.garmin.com

    I dont know if you guys can open the above link, but I did 3 intervals of 350m each approximately.
    1st interval: HR only catches up with the speed about halfway.
    2nd and 3th interval: HR does NOT catch up during interval, only afterwards!

    Now, I know it wasnt going to be perfect, especially in high intensity sessions, but this is not really acceptable. I guess I’ll have to keep using my ANT+ strap for my interval trainings… I really hope they can finetune the sensor.

  89. Jason


    Will the review be out next week? I’m considering trying to get one of these for my wife for mother’s day. I may go ahead and order one, can always return it if there are problems with it.


  90. Karen

    In some videos I saw the VAHR with an option to accept or decline an incoming call of a connected phone. Can anyone confirm that this feature exists? I only get the option to mute a call on my devoce, but it might be a problem of my phone (Samsung Note 3, Android 5.01)

  91. ekutter

    REI apparently didn’t get the number of VA HR they expected so have canceled about 500 orders (you’ll probably get an e-mail). Not sure why they don’t just let you know they are delayed and give you the option of canceling. In any case, they are expecting a significant number around the end of May. Personally, I’m still going to buy through REI as I can return it, no questions asked, if it doesn’t workout for me.

  92. Lydia

    Anyone know when it might be available on the Garmin website to buy? I have to buy it through Garmin to get my health insurance discount.

    • Kevin F

      You are going to be waiting for quite a while .. as Garmin told me that they fulfill their dealer base first .. then they offer it themselves. I know here in Canada we are not getting them at all until the very end of May or early June.

  93. John

    Best Buy CA seems to have this in stock. My order now has a UPS tracking # and I am hoping to get it no later than Tuesday

    • Nav

      Hi John, curious to know, when did you place your order pls? I did on 4/12 on bestbuy.ca and am not seeing an update yet.

    • john

      I put my order in on 4/24(after cancelling my REI order). I am almost embarrassed to say that I have elite status with BB. That may have bumped me up in the line(?). You might want to check your order Nav.

    • Nav

      Oh John, you elite bugger :-) I just checked again (30 seconds back), same status :-( Oh well, maybe the universe is teaching me a lesson in patience. he he. Thanks anyways buddy. I’ll just have to wait it out i guess. Cheers.

    • John

      I’ll tell you if my GPS is working when I’m flying over on my private jet. ??

    • Nav

      ha ha, make sure to record your pace per mile too!

    • Nate

      I also ordered yesterday from Best Buy after canceling my REI order. I just got a UPS shipping # and it will arrive Thursday next week. I am not elite BTW!

      My experience with REI was terrible which is why I canceled my other order.

      First, they never sent me a notification email to keep the order open after 30 days (CC issue) so my order got randomly canceled. Then I had 1 REI customer service rep tell me there was nothing she could do. Then the 2nd REI rep actually ordered it again for me with the same delivery date of 4/30. The 2nd person also finally admitted there is a glitch in their system and sometimes the potential cancellation notifications don’t get sent out. That was after a lot of back and forth. Then the next day my delivery date changed to 6/1. Needless to say, REI did not handle this very well. I need it for my wife’s Mother’s Day gift so can’t wait.

  94. Martin

    Order in with Best Buy-US for store pick up. Status changed this morning to “ready for pickup”, made the trip over and nothing. It was apparently supposed to be on the truck today, but was not. Unfortunately they don’t get deliveries on Sat/Sun and I leave on Monday so will have to wait a few weeks–bummer. They weren’t sure why it didn’t make the truck, but did not that they only had 2 units allocated in the first shipment. I still have my Amazon order in for overnight (order on 2/22) so still possible if it ships today, but I am not holding my breath. Tough sometimes being an early adopter–all that anxiety anticipating the new gizmo.

  95. Julian

    I just received an e-mail from Clever Training. Apparently my February 23 order was not early enough to qualify for the first small shipment they just received. I’m not willing to give up the 10% discount to try ordering elsewhere, so it looks like I’m in for an even longer wait. Sigh. So for anyone who ordered well after the announcement, it might be a while. Based on the stories from numerous retailers (like the REI debacle,) it sounds like Garmin is still ramping up production and most retailers got fairly small initial orders.

    • Mikey T

      I don’t like giving CT a free loan while my order waits. I think their policy of charging the full about is BS. I will never use them again.

    • Julian

      I agree on the prepayment. Definitely not a fan. This was my first order with CT; I’m not sure if I’d do it again or not. The savings made a difference, but it will depend on how this VAHR order eventually plays out.

    • Russ

      I’m with you on that. I made my order on Feb 22 and am still on the waiting list. However my previous experience with CT has been pleasant. I’m starting to doubt that I can rely on them for new releases.

    • Thanks for the support via CT. They are looking to implement a new policy that doesn’t require the payment hold.

      As for new releases, keep in mind that Garmin dictates when and what quantity, mostly regardless of pre-orders. As was pointed out by others above, some 500+ people had their REI Vivoactive HR orders outright cancelled. Which is surely worse than still waiting in line.

    • Russ

      I’ll definitely stick with CT for future purchases and understand they’re doing their best with Garmin’s distribution.

  96. tomaz

    Running is the only activity I track. I have preordered the VAHR from Amazon, but after reading and rereading posts here I’m wondering if the FR 235 wouldn’t be a better device for me. I’m coming from a FR 220. I would like wrist HRM. The post run metrics seem like they’d be useful/interesting.

    If I’m not going to track other activities, is there any reason to get the VAHR? (Other than the barometric altimeter, which sounds really cool! And the $80…)

    Input greatly appreciated!

    • Kevin F

      My input and just my opinion (we all have one) .. the barometric altimeter is total junk. Just in general and has not reflection on the VivoactiveHR. It is used for floors .. and Fitbit and Garmin both should stop the madness and just give up. You cannot control the weather .. which is really what you are trying to do when using a barometric altimeter. Am I wrong ? Just go to the Garmin or Fitbit forums and you will see people complaining about the lack of accuracy on floors.They never should have started doing this as it is a game that they cannot possibly win. But it is all about people that do comparisons of one model vs another. That as we all know could mean money and lost sales and why it is there. Personally I never do floors and I would highly recommend that if you look at other things to consider in the Vivoactive HR. I personally think it will be a great unit. In combination with my Forerunner 610 I think I will have all the bases covered. I totally would love if Ray commented on floors and this feature.

    • Tim

      I am actually quite impressed with the floors it counts, it has been spot on for me, the 2 days I have the device. If its a usefull feature or not, thats another question.

    • Tim

      Tomaz, if you want OHR and more of a running watch, definately get the FR235. It has more running features than this watch, which is maybe more allround and includes others sports.

      HOWEVER, if you think HR accuracy is important, stick with a chest strap. Like I said in a post yesterday, my first interval run was a huge disappointment, my HR would jump up only AFTER the interval.

    • Roastman

      None of these devices will be perfect at counting floors, but it seems OK to me. Most people are only looking for an indication anyway (if they are using it as a gentle nudge to get moving).

    • For floors, thus far, it doesn’t seem to shabby to me. I haven’t been exactly counting my floors the last few days, but it’s in the right ballpark. I’ll do more floor counting when I get home (since it’s easy to split out).

      That said, what I look for is false-floor counting. Most companies will use a combo of the altimeter + steps. So if the altimeter increases, but steps aren’t there, then it shouldn’t increase floors. Historically that works out, but when I do see errors with products, the easiest way to do so is an elevator ride (preferably a tall one).

    • Stef

      Actually I’m finding that the floor and even steps functions are not working well. For example: Saturday I went on a 16+ mile hike with altitude gain of 3,000+… but it only tracked 63 floor climbed and 18,175 steps for the day. I think it might have to do with using trekking poles but that is ridiculous.

      Example 2: walked up 4 flights of stairs this morning at work and it counted 3. The 2nd time I walked up the same 4 flights, I kept glancing at my watch as I climbed… it then counted ZERO. Still says my total floors climbed is 3 even though I have now climbed 8.

    • Gene

      Indoor stair counting for one flight definitely seems a bit hit or miss so far (mostly miss).

      Did you explicitly start an activity for your hike? I did a similar hike (though only 9.5mi and 2,400ft) of elevation with the VAHR. I used the Hike2 app (I’ll try the “Walking” activity next time) and saw the following:

      1. Elevation gain was quite accurate, very closely matched a couple other people with standalone GPSes. I don’t even think GLASNOSS was on, though I’m not sure (there is no option for it in the Hike app).

      2. HR recording seemed accurate when it actually took a sample, but took way too few samples. At one point during the hike it didn’t record HR data for 30min. In general, there are many many 10-15min gaps in the heart rate data. Seems like a major problem… since I was recording an activity and going from flat to steep hill and my HR wasn’t changing. (See below though)

      3. Garmin obviously does not know what to do with data when using hiking/trekking poles (which I was using) – Garmin IQ thought I was swimming. Not only would a “hiking” activity be great, it should either be smart about pole use, or have an option to specify using poles.

      4. I did about 3:15 of GPS recording and that plus about a day of use used 25% of the battery which seems about right – quite happy with battery life so far.

      5. I also did some indoor rowing and DID get a ton of HR samples for that, so I’m hoping when using the Walking activity rather than the Hike2 app there will be more HR samples.

      Overall, I’m happy with the GPS, altimeter/barometer (outdoors/during activities), battery life, and HR when it does take samples – great device, and happy (so far) I went with it rather than the Fenix 3.

    • Zack

      I have the same problem hiking with trekking poles. Basically, it just counts the left trekking pole’s movement as steps (I wear VAHR on my left wrist). Interestingly, my daughter’s Fitbit Charge HR counted steps correctly even with a trekking pole.

  97. tarakdungdes

    hi ray! great review! just wondering, can it read both magnetless garmin ANT+ bike speed and cadence sensor simultaneously? and show the readings on one screen?

    i notice current vivoactive cannot read those sensor simultaneously.. CMIIW..

  98. Ed P

    Bestbuy.com now shows store pickup as Wednesday May 4th at all my nearby locations. Clever training didnt ship mine with the first go round. I’m hoping BB will be have one available so I can see just how large it really is.

  99. Weston

    I currently use my iPhone as my bike computer with a wahoo cadence and speed sensor. I use the wahoo app. If wearing the VAHR, will it display my HR on my phone? Or will I need to keep looking at my wrist?

    • Weston

      Also, I have a 180mm wrist, should I go with the reg or XL?

    • Karel

      I preordered the xl, I measured my wrist at 19 to 20cm (roughly) but went to the store today to try a regular size and it fits, got about 5 holes left on the strap.

    • Peto

      As far as I know, VAHR uses for ReBradcasting HR data ANT+ protocol, but iPhone doesn’t support ANT+ (only if you buy special dongle) but you can do it different way.. Get Wahoo HR strap, that will transmit data to iPhone via BT and to VAHR via ANT+…
      I’m currently using Tickr Run + S4mini + Echo + Wahoo Blue SC… But also looking forward on VAHR

    • Weston

      I know the VAHR connects to the phone via Bluetooth for notifications, but wasn’t sure about sending the rest of the data.

  100. Ricky

    I’ve been following your channel a long time ago. Love your spirit and reviews. After owning a Suunto Ambit 2 and upgrade for the Fenix 3 and VivoSmart HR my questions are the following:

    I bought, one year ago, the Garmin vivoactive on Amazon (Spain) and returned because of the inside low visibility of the screen. Is the visibility similar to the Fenix 3? Is this model much more readable in low light conditions with backlight off? Greetings from PORTUGAL :)

  101. Felix

    Mhh. How do I manually set the sleep mode? And switch it off in the morning. I do not trust the automatic detection at all. It often is way off!

  102. Jeroen V

    Just finished a 32 km trail run. I compared my new Vivoactive HR with a FR 610 linked withe a mio Link. Heart rate accuracy on the vicoactive was comparable with the mio Link.
    Against my expectations the vivoactive recorded 700 meters less than the FR 610(which I am sure is correct), Gps mode was on Glonass.
    Overall I am satisfied with my vivoactive HR( Bought it yesterday)
    link to connect.garmin.com Fr610 with Mio Link
    link to connect.garmin.com Vivoactive HR

    Does anybody know how to put the heart rate data on one graph?

  103. Ricky

    Hi Ray! Does the screen has the same visibility of the Fenix 3 or is more dull (indoor perspective with backlight off).
    Does it has the option of invert the display with white background? Thanks :)

  104. Andrew Miller

    Three days in, and I’m pretty happy with my Vivoactive HR. I have noticed one slightly annoying feature though. Today I went on a hike, with my Vivoactive HR broadcasting HR information to my eTrex 35 Touch. The problem I was getting, was every time I hit a step or floors goal, a notification would be displayed which would disable the HR broadcast (since I did 3 times my step goal and 7 times my floors goal, this happened quite a few times).

    Hopefully a firmware update will fix this issue.

  105. Steve

    Fitness watch faceoff: Garmin vivoactive HR vs. Fitbit Surge

    link to cio.com

    • Joe M.

      That’s a pretty useless ‘faceoff’. No comparison of the accuracy of the GPS, accuracy or rate of measuring HRM, battery life, etc, etc.

    • Noah

      To be fair, he did walk around for 40 minutes ;-)

    • John

      Couldn’t he have at least jumped into the pool for a few laps? Super weak comparison. I could have done better than that.

    • “Couldn’t he have at least jumped into the pool for a few laps? ”

      No, that’d have killed the Surge. ;)

    • Noah

      If his friends jumped in the pool he would have as well for sure! Everyone knows you buy a watch so you can compete against your friends. Ray when is your review coming out?? We are forced to read these amateur articles while we wait for you…. pure torture.

    • My guess for a VAHR review between the 13th and the 19th.

  106. Angel R

    I have been awaiting the arrival of mine any updates on shipping date?

    • Kimmie

      I have seen May 9th and May 15th.

      Supposedly, Best Buy has early release. I ordered mine today from there and should have it by May 4th.

    • Jeffrey Tsang

      Same here. I ordered mine from BestBuy today and have delivery date of May 4.

  107. Kimmie

    I know the VIVOACTIVE HR doesn’t have a triathlon feature.

    But if you were doing a triathlon, would it automatically change from swimming to biking to running, since it automatically detects these activities? If it does, all you would loose is transitions time, and it would just be added to the other activities.

    Could you hit a button to stop the activity then allow it to auto detect the new one?


  108. John

    I just got mine today through Best Buy US, which is great. I am having issues pairing/connecting to my phone and thought I would post here as there seems to be a lot of knowledgeable people here. I have android. When I connected through android wear, I could not pair through the Garmin Connect app. When I paired first to Garmin Connect, android wear would not recognize the phone. Therefore, I could not access the smart lock feature. Anyone have any practical advice on this? Thanks

    • Dan

      I can’t tell you what steps will make it work, but I can at least verify that it is possible to use Smart Lock on Android with your VAHR. I spent a few hours reading forums and trying stuff before it finally came alive. From the wide variety of methods I read for accomplishing this with other Garmin devices, it seems there is no one method that works reliably, but that if you mess around with it enough it will eventually work. The key seems to be to pair with your phone’s stock Bluetooth app first, then with Garmin connect. That sounds easy, but in practice your phone’s setting and the Garmin Connect app seem to want to keep you from setting it up this way. It wasn’t until my Bluetooth headset had problems that caused me to forget and re-pair it that the option for Smart Lock on my VAHR finally worked. I have no idea why Sorry I can’t give you directions but, on the plus side, I can verify that it’s worked for five days now with my Nexus 6.

    • John

      Thanks Dan. I have the Nexus 6P so I’m sur it’s doable. I had a feeling that the order you are recommending is the way to go. I’ll unpair from GC and see if I can get this to work. Much appreciated.

  109. John

    Sorry if this is a repeat Q, but do you know how to change from the dark to the white background? I can’t seem to find this in the settings.

  110. Jason

    I’m really interested in the Vivoactive HR and really like how frequent the Fitbits check HR. How often does the Vivoactive HR check heart rate in 24/7 mode and can this be adjusted to where you can specify to check every 5 seconds (if needed)? Thanks.

  111. Philip Warren

    Completed my first ride with it yesterday.

    My GPX file shows Smart recording and now 1second recording. Ride, with Glonass and GPS. On a 1hr 17min ride it only samples 1120 times, which is every 4 seconds.

    Really disappointed as it straight-lined a lot of tight switchbacks.

  112. Nancy Block

    I just got the Vivoactive HR in the mail yesterday. I was disappointed that it did not have an elliptical setting. I tried putting it on walk mode and it was completely inaccurate. Is there a way to get an accurate elliptical reading?

    • Steve

      Hi Nancy,

      Read your comment re: Eliptical machine not tracked. This news is bad for me. The so-called “Automtic Tracking” of very common fitness activites is mainly what I want a VAHR for, as well as GPS for running.

      My FitBit Blaze tracks Eliptical perfectly.. I don’t have to manually start the watch picks up the movement of the Eliptical and along with my heart rate estimates calorie burn.

    • Dan

      I’ve worked out a few times on an elliptical using the “cardio” mode. It works fine for tracking heart rate and time but doesn’t give any speed information. link to connect.garmin.com
      This is fine for me since speed is so dependent on the resistance setting anyway. You can recategorize the activity to “Elliptical” in Connect after the fact.

    • Philip Warren

      Correct me if im wrong but cant you just use the indoor running to get distance/cadence etc then manually update the distance, if different, to what the machine shows?

      I tried the AutoIQ and it picked up an elliptical as a swim lol.

      For me the auto isnt great as it cant be exported as an activity to something like strava.

    • Karen

      There is an Connect IQ app (workout genius) which can be set up with several activity profiles, elliptical being one of them. It works fine, you can even set up HR alerts. It does not count steps and distance, though. I wonder if the Garmin footpod or the cadence sensor could help with that.
      Move IQ does recognize the elliptical, but as all Move IQ activities it appears only in the timeline within Garmin connect (web version) and not in the activities list.

    • Jeff

      I normally do elliptical and then do strength training each morning. Has anyone tried any kind of strength training with the Vivoactive HR when lifting or pushing weights?

  113. Steve

    PC Magazine Looks at the VAHR
    link to pcmag.com

    • BT

      That’s the first time I’ve seen a gray face and band VAHR anywhere. Still waiting for mine from CT, they seemed to think they’ll get enough in the next 2 or 3 weeks to fulfill all of their preorders.

    • Julian

      2-3 more weeks? Bummer. But I guess that’s better than months.

      BT – did they give you a sense of whether that they would be receiving one big shipment at some point in the next 2-3 weeks, or that they’d get numerous shipments and earlier pre-orders might get it sooner than that?

    • BT

      Julian – In the email you probably received as well, they said shipments throughout May. In a reply to an email I sent which mentioned the pre-orders, they said shipment. But who knows as they are at the mercy of Garmin…

    • BT

      Actually, they said 2nd shipment in regard to the pre-orders…

  114. BT

    Has anybody tried it with SUP or rowing? I’m curious as to what metrics are available, I didn’t see much about it in the manual other than you can select it as an activity.

    • Dan

      I used the SUP mode for a whitewater rafting trip this past weekend. link to connect.garmin.com If you click on the “splits” tab, you can see all the stroke rate metrics it tracks. Those same stats can been seen on the device during your activity. The river was pretty fast so we didn’t have to do much paddling!

    • BT

      Thanks Dan!

    • Dan

      I tried rowing on my Concept II tonight and it didn’t go so hot. link to connect.garmin.com
      Heart rate tracked way too low the first 20 minutes, then jumped around before getting to a realistic range and staying there. At least I know it’s capable of reading an accurate heart rate. The workout was steady state and my HR should have been 145-155 throughout. It also failed to get a stroke rate at all. I’m not sure what’s up with that.

    • stig3824

      I also have the same issue with the HR, I don’t believe any wrist measurements are going to be accurate with rowing, I have gone back to using my scosche rhythm plus which pairs with the watch. The scosche rhythm plus only gives accurate readings for me when on placed in the upper arm, not on the wrist where it gives the same issues as the watch. As for the stroke count, it worked fine and matched that of the Concept 2 rower.

    • Thomas

      Hi Dan and to anyone else that have used the SUP mode.

      I noticed the SUP mode on your Whitewater rafting trip captured AVERAGE DISTANCE PER STROKE.

      Is there anywhere in on the watch, in Garmin Connect or in the raw TCX or FIT file where the SUP mode captures actual distance per stroke? Looking for actual raw data or a graph of STROKE plotted against DISTANCE PER STROKE.

      Trying to decide if Garmin’s SUP mode will meet my needs in paddling. There isn’t a lot of information I can find on it. Any feedback is much appreciated.



    • Dan

      I don’t know the answer, Thomas, but I exported the data from the above rafting trip via Garmin Connect and put the files in a folder here: link to drive.google.com I don’t know how Garmin would be able to tell how much distance came from one stroke vs the stroke before or the stroke after but help yourself to the data and let us know what you find.

    • Thomas

      Thx Dan.

      I took a quick look at the files you send. Doesn’t look like Garmin currently captures detailed stroke metrics.

      In theory by correlating GPS position with the accelerometer, you can capture when each stroke is taken and how far you have travel since the last stroke (there are some limitation with the sampling rate of the GPS at 1sec, but most rowers row at the rate of 20-35spm and paddlers are anywhere from 55-90spm, so the data should still be somewhat accuracy.) Dedicated rowing & paddling devices are able to this.

      Distance per stroke (aka glide) is an important metric in paddling & rowing sport, as it allows you to play with and determine optimal stroke rate for a given race distance and it also allows you to study how your glide is affected by varying blade and body mechanics.

      I was hoping Garmin’s SUP app will capture this information, but it doesn’t look like so.

      Thanks again,


    • Daniel Todd

      Looks like you’re about to drop into lower keeny on the New. Nice.

  115. Julian

    And from tom’s guide, a review by someone who seems to actually have used the device … :)

    link to tomsguide.com

    • Tim

      Well, another worthless review. They compare the HR Accuracy against the FR235. It’s the same sensor, which gives the same results, duh!
      I am curiously waiting for Ray’s review to see it against a chest strap. It is very inaccurate when doing intense workouts, and I’m amazed so little people here complain about it. I hope they come with an update very soon…

  116. Stuart

    Got mine today (ordered it via Qantas Frequent Flyer store in Australia on 22/4), my initial impression is that’s it very comfortable and I really like the form factor. However the touch sensitivity of the screen is slowly driving me mad as I am selecting things when just trying to swipe up and down. I’m sure I’ll get used to it.
    Overall I really like it…although I haven’t taken it for a run yet.

  117. Jared

    if I use a vivoactive as an activity tracker and for runs but use an edge for biking will the activity data/calorie count go from garmin connect to the vivoactive for rides?

    • Andrew Clarke

      I asked the same question at link to forums.garmin.com .

    • Sven

      No, it wil not. Got my Vivoactive yesterday and did a bike ride without vivoactive today. Synced both Edge and Vivoactive afterwards and no data from the bike ride came from GC to Vivoactive. Would be nice if it did though. I use a powermeter so recording my bike rides with the vivoactive is a no go…

  118. Ben

    Do you know if the screen is made of plastic or gorilla glass? I just got one yesterday, and I can’t tell. I’d like to know how scratch resistant it will be. Thanks!

  119. TJ

    Anyone figure out how to change music during an activity? In watch mode you have access to the music control widget. However, during an activity I can’t find a way to access? I have a Vivosmart HR as well and it allows music control during an activity.

    • skat

      In the Run app, press the Back button to return to the watch face and from there you can switch to the music widget. If you press the Back button again, you will go back to the activity app. Other activity apps may handle the Back button differently though.

    • Mark E

      Anyone tried using the Music widget to manage Spotify? I have an IPhone and don´t use the native Music app, prefer Spotify. But I tried (only briefly) to switch a Spotify track from the VHR the other day and it started up the iPhone Music app (and therefore paused my Spotify feed).

    • Karen

      On my Android phone, Spotify works flawlessly. The I’ve heard though that itt’s not working on iPhones.

    • Tom

      Hi Karen,

      do you use Spotify Free or Premium?

    • Karen

      Spotify Premium. But it works with online streaming equally as offline with downloaded files.

    • FS

      Spotify control is not working on iPhone. Apple music works fine.

  120. Gunnar

    It won’t read heart rate while swimming, but If I come up out of the water and sake drops off, will it start to read my heart rate then?

    • It doesn’t start/resume HR enablement until you press the stop button on the swimming activity.

    • kaushik

      It actually showed heart rate while swimming for me on garmin connect. When starting the activity it said HR monitoring will be disabled but once i uploaded the activity to garmin connect i can see HR during the swim.

    • Weird. No HR for me during my swim two days ago: link to connect.garmin.com

    • Kaushik

      It doesn’t show up under the activity but look under the timeline in the connect app and it shows HR recorded during swims. I can confirm it i went swimming twice now and both times I can see the data

    • Tom

      Hi Ray,

      I have looked at your link.
      I do not have my VHR yet :-(. Yesterday shops in Poland were informed that it will be additional 3 weeks of waiting :-(.

      But I would like to ask… what SWOLF is? It shows in your Garmin Connect data…

    • Karen

      Hi Tom, Amazon Germany has it in stock now. Maybe they deliver to Poland?

    • Tom

      Hi Karen,

      thanks for info. I know and they do. Same as UK Amazon (not sure if they got it in stock though).
      However local Garmin distributor (if I wait a bit longer) offers 3 yr of guarantee on them.
      Considering that price is the same and I am able to wait a bit longer (I don’t have any other device to run with but phone and Endomondo – so it does not hurt to much – don’t know what I am missing) I am fine with the wait.
      Perhaps DCR will publish ful review in the mean time and i’ll still be able to change my mind?
      But as for now I do not see a better, more versatile device in this price range.
      Thanks again!

      PS. You mentioned that you can operate Spotify via watch. Do you use Premium or free Spotify? I use free and I am wondering if this will work with free ver as well…

      What about volume control?

    • Karen

      Hi Tom, I have Spotify Premium. Volume control works fine.

    • Andrew Miller

      SWOLF stands for swimming golf – you can Google for an explanation of how it’s calculated.

    • Ben

      Same for me. I’ve done a couple swims with the watch and HR is definitely recorded as part of the watch’s normal heart rate monitoring. Not included in the actual swim activity. When you view HR on the watch (last 4 hours), you can see the HR spike during the swim time.

    • Kevin

      I use the free Spotify on my LG G3 and the Vivoactive HR controls it perfectly. Play/Pause, skip, and volume controls work as expected.

    • Tom

      Hope it will work on W10m as well.

    • Michael Tollon

      Do you think if I set it in SUP mode I would be able to track my distance and pace doing open water swimming?

  121. John

    Are any of you having issues with the do not disturb mode? On my watch, it seems to turn it on itself during the day. I know it is supposed to turn on automatically during your designated sleep hours. However, mine is doing that on its own diring the day. And, in certain watch faces, you can’t tell you are in this mode as it does not show the half moon. Anyone have any ideas on this one? Thanks.

    • John

      I found the problem with the do not disturb function. As so often is the case, it was my own error. I had plugged in 12pm-7am for my designated sleep times.

  122. skat

    Hi Ray,

    I have noticed that Garmin miscalculates the elevation gain/loss (ascent/descent). From what I see in my half marathon splits, the total elevation gain/loss is basically a sum of all elevation gain/loss splits. This would be fine but splits’ elevation gain/loss seems to be just the difference between the split’s start and end altitudes, which obviously ignores partial inclines/declines within the split.

    However, when I look at the trackpoint altitude data from the TCX or GPX file, and sum up all partial inclines and declines between all successive trackpoints, the total ascent/descent is almost spot-on with the map trace (assuming the possible inaccuracy of the barometric altimeter and smart recording frequency).

    Could you please check with Garmin if they can do a proper elevation gain/loss calculation based on each consecutive trackpoint altitude difference?

    • skat

      Just to amend my first paragraph above – I do not think that Garmin simply use the start and end altitude for the split elevation gain/loss since that way either elevation gain or elevation loss would always need to be 0, which is not the case. They do calculate elevation gain and loss somehow but it does not seem to be the sum of each successive trackpoint altitude difference. It is also interesting to note that each split elevation gain/loss is integer whereas the altitude data values have a better precision and are decimal. I may also speculate that Garmin just copied the legacy code from Vivoactive and use GPS altitude but GPS altitude is even less accurate than GPS latitude and longitude.

  123. Jeff

    Just got my VAHR, I noticed there is no option to enable the backlight to always stay on. I have that option on my Fenix 3 and from what I can remember it was also available on the original Vivoactive. Can any one confirm?

    • Mike Richie

      On the vivoactive (not HR) in Settings -> System -> Backlight set the Mode to Manual and the Timeout to Stays On. The left button then just turns it on and off. Don’t know about the HR.

  124. jeff

    Got my HR yesterday. Once again Garmin provides little to no info on how to set things up. I did figure it out the basics. But have no idea what some of the things on screens mean because there is no explanation anywhere of different screens and their features. However I can not get the phone notifications to work. Yes my phone is connected but nothing happens and yes I have the notifications turned on for none activity and activity. Downloaded the SMS widget and it doesn’t work either. As for the HR it was way off most of the time when working out (bike riding) and would turn it self off about every 5 min. That sucks because one of the main reasons to getting it was to get rid of the chest strap.

    • John

      Tell me if you think this is a fair analogy: fitbit is apple[simple interface], while garmin is android[better specs, but much harder interface]. I have had a really rough two days of ownership of this from getting the right bluetooth connection to notifications. I have thought about returning and getting the blaze. I was not getting notifications either. During sleep time, you won’t get notifications. When I looked at my default sleep time, I finally noticed that it said 12PM(not AM) to 7AM. Hope this helps.

  125. Julian

    I just got a shipping notice from Clever Training! (For reference, I placed my order around midnight on February 23rd.) It’s shipping USPS and the tracking number is too new to get an ETA yet.

    Now I’m just crossing all my fingers and toes that it won’t be too big to be comfortable.

    • BT

      I got a notice from CT as well, but I didn’t order until 4/5. I probably would have ordered earlier if it wasn’t for the prepayment requirement. I almost jumped ship and bought it from Best Buy, but figured I’d be patient and save the 10%, thanks DCR. :) I’m guessing it’ll be Monday or Tuesday for the USPS…

  126. Alan Walker

    Hi. I am running 2.20 and can’t start an activity while broadcasting HR, contrary to what the manual states. I queried this with Garmin Facebook and their response indicated the manual is wrong. “Hi Alan,
    To clarify, the vívoactive HR can either broadcast HR data to another device or start and record an activity, but not both. For assistance with getting the data fields to appear correctly, please contact Garmin Customer Care: link to j.mp

    Best regards,

    • Start the activity first, then enable optical HR broadcasting. The activity will continue recording in the background (though annoyingly, at the moment you can’t see what’s going on with it). But it will keep recording.

    • Alan Walker

      Many thanks for that. Have posted it back in the Garmin forum so Product Support will learn that it can be done.

    • Mirko Löhmann

      Thanks for that information. Any news meanwhile, if Garmin allows to enable re-broadcasting and e.g. use DW MAP’s navigation tool (follow a route on DW MAP) on the Vivoactove HR simultaneously? Thanks from Germany, Mirko

  127. kaushik

    Got the vivoactive HR from best buy 2 days ago. While checking heart rate data during sleep i noticed that its sampling on 1 or 2 times during the 7 or 8 hrs sleep. Is this normal? I thought it would do it every 15 mins atleast

    • Albert

      I just did a spin class with my Vivoactive HR I ordered from Bestbuy (ordered on Monday – received on Wednesday) while I am waiting for my pre-order from Clevertraining that finally shipped out today (Ordered on 4/10/16).

      Anyway, I am comparing the Vivoactive HR OHM to the Scosche Rhythm+ (connecting to Wahoo). The Vivoactive HR is on FW2.2, and Scosche Rhythm+ is updated to FW2.7. I exported the Wahoo file to Garmin Connect, then downloaded the TCX file from Garmin Connect and plotted the two using the same exercise time frame. I have used the Scosche Rhythm + for over 1+ years, and it is quite accurate and reflective of the exertion during the spin class (sometimes it will lag by 1-4 seconds in the beginning of an interval, but it catches the interval/HR fairly quickly, and tracks the heart rate coming down really well).

      Overall, I am quite disappointed with the initial OHM on VIvoactive. I called Garmin and I am sending them the Excel file. Please see below for what my thoughts are on the Vivoactive HR OHM on a scale of 1-10.

      While Resting, sitting – 9+ in accuracy
      Exercising (when holding the same pace) – 6-7
      Spinning/interval training – 1

      I think some of the issues can be mitigated with more frequent sampling. Overall, I am really disappointed because I like a lot of the features of this watch. I will use the Scosche Rhythm+ for exercising for now, and hope Garmin can improve their OHM algorithm.

    • Tim

      Glad Im not the only one who complains about the poor OHR, Albert.
      As you can see on your 3th and 4th interval, it only picks up HR afterwards… They really need to improve this. For outdoor cycling for instance, its just all over te place.

      Ray, can you make sure to test Move IQ? My girlfriend owns the Vivofit 3 and while it clearly states that it tracks swimming and cycling among other workouts, it did not record any cycling activity when we went for a 1 hour bike tour.

    • Kevin F

      I also do a lot of indoor cycling .. and found that my VivosmartHR (same OHR sensor as the VivoactiveHR) performed much better when the device was pushed up my arm.This is recommended by both Garmin and Fitbit. There is a very good reason why the Rhythm+ is placed where it is. I have found my HR measurements to be +- about 3 bpm compared to my chest strap when doing indoor cycling.

  128. Smiffer

    I picked up my vivoactivehr today at Best Buy. I’m pretty disappointed in the backlight. The difference between 2 and 5 for instance, is very little. Even at the highest setting of 5 it’s still very dim looking when inside. I was going to try and take a picture to show how dark it was, but the screen shows twice as bright as it truly is in the picture. For those of you that have one, how bright is your backlight? I’ll give it a few days but I’m not sure if I’ll be keeping it as it’s quite difficult to see sometimes.

    • RE: Sleep HR

      Yeah, it’s a Garmin annoyance (in general with their Elevate sensor during sleep). Mine is equally kinda lame in that regard.

      RE: Move IQ

      Yup, on my list to set aside and test. It’s sorta a sad-panda because I basically have to ‘give up’ good data on a workout to test it (meaning no GPS data, lesser optical HR data, etc..). So I’m planning some shorter workouts that aren’t my core workouts to do it with.

  129. Daniel Todd

    what does the progress bar on the default clock face? It goes from red to white.

  130. Nate

    Got mine from Best Buy today. Has anyone else noticed that the backlight is uneven? There is a spot in the lower left corner. I saw some other posts that said there’s was perfectly even but mine is definitely not even. It’s also not that bad either. Not sure if this one is “normal” or if I should return it.

    • stig3824

      I don’t know if it’s “normal”, but mine is exactly the same.

    • Albert Tseng

      Nate – my VAHR backlight is the exact same way. I also picked it up from Bestbuy.

    • Adam A

      This is not as it should be, please see my similar comment and photo further up the thread. I took mine back and the second one has a perfectly even backlight with absolutely no light leak from any edge.

      I would advise you to take it back as defective, and get a new one.



    • skat

      Mine is the same as pictured with some backlight bleeding (bought it online in Australia).

    • Ben

      Same goes for mine. Just gotten mine from CT. Slight bleed at bottom left corner. Backlight adjustment dont seen to work for me. Backlight brightness seem really dull.

    • Ted

      Same thing here.

  131. Nate

    Thanks Stig. Are you keeping yours or returning it? Not sure if a new one is going to be any different even if I return it.

    • stig3824

      I’ll be keeping it, I’m pretty sure all of them will be the same, especially given your photograph of your’s matches mine exactly. I’m guessing the back light is located in the bottom left hand corner.

  132. Steven Power

    Hi –

    I just got the Vivoactive HR a lot because of the multisport function and because I wanted to track my indoor cycling. I did a spin class yesterday and no metrics (aside from time and HR) – why is this? Do I have it set up incorrectly?



  133. BT

    With other watches/devices how long has it taken for Garmin to work out most of the major issues?

    • Alex

      With 620 it took 9-12 months since release to workout major GPS accuracy issues, random restarts took well over a year.

  134. Laurie

    I just got an update from Amazon Canada and they are quoting June 22nd to August 4th for delivery?? What the heck happened to May??? Frustrating to say the least.
    Thanks for your updated video though.

    • Nav

      I faced the same fate from best buy canada, apr 29th to june 10th. cancelled my order and just ordered it to my girlfriend’s place in the states, and it delivers on may 11th, in just 4 days.

    • Kevin F

      I am finding the same thing .. early June for possible delivery in Canada. Even that is a guess at this point. I have heard as early as May 27th from one source. I am going to wait .. as I do not want to pay the additional cost and return issues created by buying in the US.

  135. Brian Surette

    Can you use the Vivoactive HR’s GPS functionality to track distance in open water? Any news on whether more open water functionality will be added via firmware upgrades?

    • No openwater swim tracking natively. There are some Connect IQ apps that go that direction (a triathlon one for example), but it’s imperfect.

      I would not at all expect Garmin to add that via firmware update, as they want to upsell to a higher end device.

  136. AJS

    Is there ‘inactivity/idle’ alert in Vivoactive Hr?
    I see that it is there in Vivoactive , Vivosmart.
    I bought the tracker mainly for this but looks like I may need to return it.

  137. Julian

    For anyone with small wrists …

    I received my vivoactive HR today, and as much as I wanted it to work, I’m going to have to return it. The face was so long that when I turned my wrist to look at it, my arm actually moved inside the band, rather than the watch moving with me, despite it being secured tightly. I moved it as far up my arm as I could, and tightened the strap as much as I could manage. The few HR readings I checked (while seated and resting) were actually pretty spot on (compared to both a chest strap and fingertip pulse oximeter/HRM,) but as soon as I moved around a bit, the watch slipped down my arm and was no longer in a position to take readings. It was already fastened tightly enough to be slightly uncomfortable, so I couldn’t tighten it any more and expect to be able to wear it 24/7.

    At a wrist circumference of 6″/152 mm, I’m within Garmin’s specs for the unit, but I’m clearly not fleshy enough in my forearms to hold this unit in place. Frankly, unless they get significantly thinner, I don’t think a wrist-based HRM is going to be in my future.

    I decided to jump on the $169 Mother’s Day sale price for the original Vivoactive and forego 24/7 heart rate monitoring for now. I’m hoping that something like the Fitpal band-aid style HRM might work for me, should it actually materialize.

    • Julian

      My first attempt at posting this photo failed, so here’s a smaller version.

    • Tom

      Hi Julian,

      your first attempt with photo worked just considering size of the image it might have taken some time… :-)

      I got similar problem as you do (looking at the picture I am afraid that mi wrists are thinner than yours). I have measured my left wrist using tailor cm tape and it shows 16-16,5 cm (circuit measurement) – judged by your experience – will I be OK?

      Your wrist does not look that small… as I said – they even look bigger than my one.

      Did you look at TomTom Spark/Runner? Would it be the same problem?

      I want to buy such smartwatch/activity tracker/sport watch for over a year now.
      I run (a bit) , I swim (a bit), I cycle (a bit).
      Since I can not afford Fenix like devices I had to wait.
      And nothing that was on sale last year was as versatile as Vivoactive HR – I think….

      Unless I have missed a direct competitor to VHR?

    • Marlie

      I’ve been using the Vivoactive HR for a solid week now and have small wrists as a female (1.63m / 60 kg). I have no issues with the size or with the device not staying at the right place at my wrist.

      Allthough one could debate over the fact if it looks nice on a small wrist, for me the size is not a problem.

    • Julian


      Part of the issue for me was not just the length of the vivoactive HR, but also the bulk and the protrusion of the optical sensor. I just couldn’t get it to sit comfortably anywhere on my wrist or lower forearm, even in locations where the sensor wasn’t going to be working right. There was too much rigid bulk poking me in one spot or another, and I tend to be pretty sensitive to watches in general. I often take off my mid-sized everyday watch by the end of the day due to irritation.

      I should have had my wife try to take a side view before I re-boxed it. There were large gaps between the watch back and my arm at the ends, due to the watch that I’m not at all fleshy in that area. There are too many bones and sensitive skin everywhere :) I think this is why it kept sliding down my arm as soon as I started moving. I just couldn’t get it to stay in place, which obviously defeats the purpose.

      The TomTom looks similarly elongated and rigid. This comparison video (to the original vivioactive) shows how much larger it is: link to youtube.com

      I think that the original vivoactive is going to be at the edges of my tolerance level for size as it is. (I have a 38mm Timex Weekender watch that I rarely wear because it feels a bit too large, and the vivoactive is slightly larger that that.)

    • Albert

      Hi Tom

      I tried out the Fenix 3 HR (unfortunately I received a defective OHM unit, it didn’t read my heart rate).

      The main reason I returned the Fenix 3 HR (other than defective OHM) is because the watch is HUGE on my wrist. My wrist measures 6.25″. The VAHR does not look super huge. The Fenix 3 HR is gigantic and does not fit comfortably under a cuffed shirt for me.

      So if you think VAHR is too thick, do not bother trying Fenix 3.

    • Tom

      Thanks for info. Fenix HR is out of my price range, but good to know I would not be able to wear it anyway ;-)

    • Andreas

      Hi, Julian. Thanks for this information. This is useful for me, since I also have a small wrist. I just don’t know what to do, since the Vivoactive HR is exactly what I need speaking of features and tech, but I’m afriads it’s too big for me too. How wide is your wrist? I don’t mean the circumference but only the one of side of your wrist where the watch face is (top to bottom).

      Thanks and good luck further in finding your watch you need.

    • Andreas

      This is sad, but I just cancelled my order based on your information. I got the “same wrist” as you do, and I know this will cause problems. Very sad, since I really wanted this.

  138. Adam Lewis

    A couple of things for Ray to hopefully test and comment on in his review.

    First up HR broadcasting. By my count I have to make around 6-7 presses to enable it. That’s about 5 too many surely? Why not a native app that you can quickly enable. But when enabled nothing else is possible on the watch at all. My Edge 500 picks it up fine BUT the watch will stop broadcasting mode frequently for no reason as far as I can see. On my commute rides it stopped and went to the normal screen mode 3 times before I gave up reenabling it with the 7 presses. Which whilst riding is dangerous and then having to stop is annoying. Note that’s with no top near the watch and nothing touching the screen so it’s not something touching the screen and then by chance hitting the yes button to stop broadcasting as well. So to use the HR with another device it is useless that’s without a debate on its accuracy.

    A thought on the accuracy of HR is that it seems to me (and this may be a coincidence) that in broadcasting mode while cycling the HR is less accurate than when recording HR in cycling mode on the watch. I wonder if there are algorithms specifically dedicated to each sport? Ie cycling has a lot more vibrations than running that has a much more predictable cadence that may produce consistent reading errors for fractions of a second on each stride.

    The other annoying aspect is that it seems impossible to turn off the move notifications. It says it’s off. I turn it off through the app but it still bugs you to move and tells you when the move bar is cleared. Easily fixed I am sure but annoying.

    Most other points have been discussed above for me. Thanks Ray.

    • Sven

      I’m experiencing the exact same issues. Broadcasting HR dropped 3 times during a 2h ride.
      I made the suggestion for a one click app to enable HR broadcasting on the Garmin website. Maybe you would do this too?
      Concerning HR accuracy: it works but for interval and HI workouts a chest strap is more accurate, but I’m OK with that.

    • Personally I would have thought just using the same hold-down the left button that you can access lock/DND/off could easily handle a 4th option – broadcast. But then I’d bet they’d argue that’s adding confusion for most people.

      In which case I’d say, just add it to the initial menu on the right-hold button instead.

      I’ll try turning off move notifications, though honestly this is the first Garmin device that seems totally wonky on move notifications for me. I’ll get the move notification, but then a short bit later, just sitting still at my laptop, it’ll tell me move bar cleared. See it daily. Odd stuff.

      As for re-broadcasting drop-outs, I’ll give it a whirl for longer workouts. I had been doing just native recording mostly, purely to minimize devices. On cycling with native recording I see it better than past Garmin Elevate sensors (mostly because as each new unit comes out, the firmware has been updated – so all of them are getting better). But I still see oddities. I also find it takes a heck of a long time many days to find my HR at the start of an activity (prior to pressing start), something I hadn’t seen in other Garmin units. Upwards of 2+ minutes. On the bright side, that may be them waiting to get a better signal lock – which is why I’m generally seeing better accuracy during the activity.

    • Adam Lewis

      Just to confirm I see the same move IQ randomness as you (even though I have it turned off). They have some issues with the IQ setup and deployment.

      I assume you don’t have 2 VAHR’s? One to natively record a bike ride and HR and one to broadcast to see if there are differences in the algorithm. Of course it won’t be exact as they will be placed slightly differently.

    • Just one VAHR right now.

    • DG

      I had the same issue this morning where broadcasting stopped 3 times in a 30 minute bike commute. The HR also spiked randomly a few times. Hoping they fix this as ditching my chest strap HR monitor was one of the perks I desired in this watch.

  139. Stuart

    Is anyone having trouble with the responsiveness of the screen? I’m finding its intermittent as to how well it works but when I’m trying to scroll it selects things and then other “buttons” wont respond, i.e. I cant select “yes” to turn it off.

  140. Bruce

    Heart Rate

    Received my Vivoactive HR early this week and still trying to learn how it all works. One thing I have done is to compare the Vivoactive HR reading with my HR Strap and while the resting rates are reasonably consistent, the rates when exercising are not. During a ride yesterday on a stationary bike, the Vivoactive was posting rates over 180 while the max post with the strap was only 110. Has anyone else experienced the same results? Any thoughts?

    • Two items:

      A) Before you started the activity, was the HR icon at the top of the screen solid, or blinking?
      B) How snug was the strap?

    • Kevin F

      This is one of the ***** things Garmin did .. showing the HR values during blinking, ie not a valid reading. They start off high .. and progressively get smaller and then once the heart stops blinking you get your actual value. This confuses people .. and just yesterday I read about one person ready to take it back cause it showed values over 100 at rest. If they only showed the end result .. there would be a lot less confused people. I suggest maybe a “- -” during the blinking part would work. It is really the end result that we want anyways .. not how it got there.

    • Bruce

      Thanks, Ray,

      The answer to your first question, blinking, but before I could start the activity it turned solid.

      The answer to your second question, snug and about a finger width up from my wrist bone.


  141. Kristin

    So does vivoactive HR work with Garmin’s trip hr band?

  142. Andy F

    So I got mine from Amazon France on Wednesday. Some observations: Move Q wasn’t working on my first bike rides to and from work. I clicked on the My Day page and it told me I should walk or run for 15 minutes outside, maybe it needs to calibrate. So I did this yesterday when I was going out for a run and today it picked up my walking automatically. I’ll test the Move Q when I bike to work tomorrow. On my first run I decided to pick a run that a I now well which is quite hilly and I pretty much know where my heart rate will be at which point. On the first hill it took about 2 minutes to get to where I would expect it to be and it seemed to lag the whole run. At one point it moved down 14 beats during 4 strides which is impossible. I’ll test it against a heart monitor strap but for a first try it really seemed to lag. The sleep monitoring has been very good but so was the Microsoft Band 2 I had and I sent it back as the heart sensor was not consistent with my heart monitor strap. Waiting for Ray’s review.

  143. Albert

    Update on OHM – FW 2.3 on watch (Garmin Express somehow shows FW2.2)

    Ok, so I received the Clever Training watch I ordered. They are FW 2.3 on the watch, 0.1 newer than the ones I received from Best Buy. All of the watches (I bought 2 from Clever Training, one for my brother as gift) have the back light bleeding issues show in the photos. I don’t think it’s a huge deal as another poster mentioned it may be where the back light is positioned.

    Here are my findings on the comparisons:

    I think the FW 2.3 is an improvement. FWIW, when I wear the watch on the 9th tightest hole, it is slightly loose, but very comfortable. When I look at the heart rate history, it misses once every little while. If I wear it on 8th hole, it doesn’t miss any heart rate.

    For normal day to day, I wear on the 8th hole, for this ride, I wore it on the 7th hole.

    The heart rate is tracking much better. Although it still have issues with some delays in catching up to the Scosche Rhythm +. I suspect this is because Garmin algorithm is trying to do some smoothing. But the huge random spikes are gone. So overall, it is much better.

    Also, the sampling rate is still disappointing. For Scosche Rhythm +, it’s 1x per second. For VAHR, I counted the readings, and it comes out to reading a heart rate value every 2.17 seconds.

    Anyway, here’s the chart with FW2.3. Unfortunately, when I tried to update my Best Buy watch, it doesn’t show FW 2.3 as an available option yet.

    • Albert

      I also found something that is slightly annoying about the auto-tracking.

      I was at the driving range yesterday evening from 6:30-8:30pm. When I practice I don’t like to wear anything on my wrist. It recorded that 2 hours as “Sleeping” time even though the time frame is outside of my sleeping hours of 10pm – 7am.

      It overwrote what my actual sleeping schedule was, from 12:45am – 9am for Sunday morning. That is somewhat annoying and frustrating that it only allows 1 sleeping schedule per day.

    • Tim

      This is the exact same problem on the vivosmartHR. There is no way to manually start and stop it and override your “normal” sleep times. I have an app for my iPhone that does a better job trending sleep than my Garmin device. I am hoping they figure it out. I was thinking of jumping to this device but if they have not refined the sleep tracking I may dump them both.

  144. Ted Hou

    OK. So I got the VFit 3 yesterday. I’m a bit underwhelmed. I wasn’t sure if this one would really be better than the VFit 2. I got this for the automatic detection of run/cycle. Haven’t tested that yet. Hope it works like I think it should.

    Things that disappoints. 1) The watch face is really small. Us old folks may have a hard time with this compared to the much larger screen on the older VFits. 2) I liked the the placement of the button on the 1&2 better. 3) I have a small wrist. The strap is much longer compared to the 1&2 (size small) and tends to slip out from underneath. Garmin should have supplied a strap loop. I’m hoping Garmin make a size SMALL strap later. 4) So far I’ve not walked much today and I haven’t seen the red move bar nor hear any prompts. I am using the 11/07 style watch face (I may need to change that)

    Things that works well. 1) basic strap looks nice. 2) Strap locks works easily. 3)syncs well.

    Maybe VFit 4 will suit me better… or I take the 2 back from my spouse… :-()

  145. Veronica


    Vivoactive HR is not yet available in Italy, but I had the occasion to try it on my wrist yesterday at the Garmin stand at the Wings for Life World Run and. ..It looks sooooo big on my wrist…Very disappointed.. I’m very keen to buy my first running watch and this could be a good compromise (lots of running features,but also good smart watch functions, I’m a beginner in running and do not need a sort of professional watch), now I’m not convinced anymore… Any running watch to suggest that doesn’t look too big on small girl wrist?? Thanks

    • Check out the FR230/235, or original Vivoactive.

    • Andrea

      Ray, I have my eye on the FR235 since I’m pretty sure the VAHR is going to be too big. With my primary activities being cycling and hiking/walking with my dogs, are all of the running features of the FR235 going to be overkill? Are there any other Garmin options that have GPS and optical HR that might be more appropriate for cycling? Thanks :)

    • Perhaps a bit overkill, but with optical HR it’s tricky. Right now you’ve got the Vivosmart HR, but that lacks GPS (but has optical HR).

      Another option might actually be Fitbit Blaze actually. It can use ‘Connected GPS’, so it’s reliant on your phone for GPS, but does have optical HR. Which for walking/hiking is mostly OK.

    • Andrea

      Thanks for the reply Ray. My motivation for getting the VAHR or similar is a big cycling trip in September (2100 km Lands End-John O’Groats). I’m looking for activity tracking for training as well as really easy uploading of each day’s ride when we are on tour. We are doing it as a fundraising ride so updates to supporters will be important. The automatic uploads with Garmin Connect seem to fit the bill. I don’t think I want to rely on my phone for GPS and we won’t have any data access other than WiFi at each night’s accommodation. My cycling GPS is an Edge 500 and I’m holding off upgrading to the 520 until they add the option to add extra memory for maps.

    • Veronica

      Thanks a lot for answering! I wanted to get rid of the cardio band when running as is not very comfortable when wearing a bra (I know..girl problem..) therefore original vivoactive is not an option (and moreover I do not really like the design…)
      Forerunner 235 seems to have more or less the same features of Vivoactive HR (except for some very adcanced running feature I’ll probably never use) and no touch screen for a much higher price… I think I’ll wait for your full review (I loved the preview..very detailed) and then go to the shop when it is out and try it on again together with the forerunner 235…. I wanted to start training for my first half marathon and wanted to buy a gift to motivate myself and help me durimg training!!

  146. Tobias

    Got my Vivoactive HR a few days ago after my Adidas Smart Run died (which Mio optical HR worked for in 95% of the cases).

    Unfortunately I see issues with the VAHR:
    1. During a long run, the heart rate reading did not go down during some lengthy traffic light stops.
    2. Running half minute intervals, the hr reading only jumped up at the very end each time
    (I have been wearing quite tight)

    How do you see the VAHR sensor performance compared to other Garmin Elevate devices?
    I am wondering whether the narrow shape of the VAHR harms the sensor performance…

  147. Susan


    I’m confused as to how the watch has a HRM-SWIM mode but can’t capture your heart rate below the water. I’m new to the world of fitness trackers, but doesn’t HRM-SWIM mean it should be doing exactly that?

    Also, I love all of the activity/fitness tracking specs, but don’t need any smart watch capabilities. Any suggestions for products that simply track as wide a range of activities (most important are running, swimming, doing Insanity workouts, and biking; less important but nice to have would be skiing, paddle-boarding, hiking, rowing, ect.) without too many bells and whistles?

  148. daniel

    i do inlineskating. Is it possible to integrate that? So that it will not be mixed with Running?

    • I’m an inline-skater too. At the moment the only possibility is to add the “Other profile” and afterwards change it tot inline-skating in GC. I’ve made the suggestion to Garmin to make it possible to add an app with the name inline-skating that is connected to the activity inline-skating in GC. Hope this will be possible in the future.

  149. This seems like the perfect cheap watch for trail running. I think this is probably one of the cheapest GPS that also has GLONASS and a barometic altimeter. I’m a data/stats geek and wanted to have the most my activities even if I’m just starting. I was looking to replace a Garmin 410 someone gave me by a Fenix 3 HR, but I might wait a little and get the vívoactive® HR before I really need something more powerful and there’s probably a new generation of Fenix (or a new line up) when I’ll really need more intense multiple activities tracking.

    The only thing for any Garmin watch right now is a proper support of the Stryd Power Band in running mode.

    • Gene

      Yes, the VAHR seems perfect for recording trail runs and for hiking. I’m not a running, but do a ton of elevation on hikes (typically 6-12mi, 1000ft to 4000ft elevation, multiple times per week) and am hoping for pretty accurate results.

      Just ordered the VAHR from REI yesterday with an original ETA of Monday…now scheduled to arrive tomorrow. I’ll definitely post some impressions of usage for hiking within the next week or so.

    • Great! Can’t wait to read your feedback.

  150. BT

    Re: SUP mode
    FYI – Last week there was a short discussion on SUP/Paddling metrics and it was determined that the VAHR didn’t have Distance Per Stroke. My VAHR was delivered on Monday with V2.3, and at least in this software version on the 2nd screen of the SUP app there is now Dist. Per Stroke. I haven’t had a chance to try it but it is at least there now…

    • BT

      Sorry, just went back and found the other comments, it was reported that average distance per stroke was recorded, but not individual strokes, likely this hasn’t changed…

  151. Hello Ray,

    I have some questions. Simply I am just looking for the right HR monitor for myself. At the moment I am between vivosmartHR, vivoactiveHR and the Forerunner 235. As you have tried them all maybe you can give me some insight on it.
    What I am looking for is;
    1- All day long HR monitoring and sleep cycles. If it can monitor my HR in my sleep it would be great because I like to monitor it for a medical condition. Not the touch to monitor type. Preferablly only by the wrist and not with the strap.
    2- Activity tracking; I am mostly indoors in a gym. I don’t run much. What I do is hiit, crossfit and some other indoor activities you can see in gyms. The more acurate the better.
    3- Watch, smart notifications and music controls are big pluses but are not necessery.
    4- style; I like the classic watch style but this is also not important.

    Based on these can you give me recomendation for the garmin products?
    For example between vivosmart and vivoactive I don’t think the $100 difference is worth for me. Gps tracking can be done from the smartphone and I keep it with me during workout. At least it is in bluetooth range most of the time. For thr forerunner for precise monitoring do I need the strap around my chest?

    Thanks in advance.
    King Regards,

  152. Craig

    Hi Ray & others! – very interested in how you have found the GPS accuracy of this device. It constantly reads short for courses I’ve run many times before with different GPS devices. Zooming in on the data it is especially so for corners and around taller buildings. The problem seems to relate to not enough data points so corners are being cut and it has me running through buildings. Assume this is something that can be fixed via a firmware upgrade? It really needs to be recording data points every 2 seconds as a minimum which it doesn’t appear to be doing. And i’ve had Glonass on. Thanks!

    • I haven’t seen it short repeatedly. But, it’s something I’m working on for my in-depth review.

      One of the challenges is the smart recording can give the appearance of course cutting (by missing the edges of buildings). In theory, behind the scenes it accounts for it within the recorded distance, but visually, it doesn’t plot those points. I agree, it’s stupid and really only serves to cause confusion like this and increase support calls to Garmin.

      Anyway, more GPS analysis next week in my in-depth review.

    • I think the device needs a possibility to set to 1S recording anyway.
      In higher speed activities on short tracks (inline skating on 200m track) the speed accuracy is awful at the moment.

    • Nav

      Hey Ray, do you have an exact date when your review is coming out pls? I’m picking up my device from the BB store tmrw and was hoping to have your review in hand before i decide on returning (or not) within the 14 day window. Thanks dude.

    • It’ll be next week, likely Wednesday or Thursday. Just depends on how Monday/Tuesday goes. So you should be good, within your two week window easily.

    • Nav

      Thanks very much Ray

    • Craig

      Thanks for the explanation Ray. Really hope Garmin addresses the data recording issue. Looking forward to the in-depth review. Cheers!

    • Andy

      second to 1S recording. at this point the GPS/Glonass accuracy is quite bad. i mostly run in a park with some twists, turns and sharp corners and my VAHR constantly underestimates the distance and pace. unfurtonately, i can’t return it, otherwise it would’ve been back at the retailer by now

  153. Debbie

    Any coupon codes to order it online vs picking it up at the store like you’ve offered in the past? :)

    • Run7

      Vip members 10% off. If you email support they will apply the discount for you. Just ordered forerunner 230.

  154. Noah

    Amazon just delayed shipment again….This is at least the 3rd or 4th time they have pushed it back.

    • Barri Wautlet

      Amazon delayed my delivery twice too. So I canceled and walked into Best Buy after checking out the inventory on line…have it in hand 30 minutes later.

  155. Ben


    Anyone has success of connecting the Cateye speed/cadence sensor to VivoactiveHR?

    • Cateye makes a crapton of sensors/display units every year. Only one of them is ANT+ enabled though, which is the ISC-11. Everything else is not ANT+, but a proprietary variant.

      (You can lookup compatibility here, and select Cateye: link to thisisant.com)

      So essentially, if it’s not the ISC-11 it’s like going to Antarctica and talking Chinese to a Penguin. It’s just gonna sit and stare at you.

    • Ben

      Thanks Ray. Yup, I saw the one that support Ant+, jump into too quickly assuming other cateye models are supported too.

  156. Al

    Thanks for the review. Just wanted to see if you have any insight into how well suited the Vivoactive HR is likely to be for hiking/mountaineering in the backcountry. I see the altimeter described as being useful for tracking floors climbed. Would it also show elevation climbed over a day of climbing? Does it give you your elevation? This seems like an interesting product, but I wonder if something like the Suunto Ambit3 will be better for this type of use.

  157. Al

    Thanks for the review. Just wanted to see if you have any insight into how well suited the Vivoactive HR is likely to be for hiking/mountaineering in the backcountry. I see the altimeter described as being useful for tracking floors climbed. Would it also show elevation climbed over a day of climbing? Does it give you your elevation? This seems like an interesting product, but I wonder if something like the Suunto Ambit3 Peak will be better for this type of use.

  158. Ruffus

    I have experienced a problem with my VAHR where I am unable to select the activity type in apps screen, anyone else had experienced this?

    Anyone know why in Ski/Board app you have to use the home button to exit as opposed to swiping out to go back like the rest of the apps?

  159. Jeroen V

    After owning the vivoactive HR for three weeks I’m really looking forward to your in depth review. I do have some little things that I find strange about the watch.
    Why are there only three data fields? I now have to install a extra data face through the IQ store to have four data fields, which imho is absurd.
    Why is it still only possible to select two connect IQ data fields(I can understand the limit but only two…)
    Why are Garmin again pushing their smart recording(I could understand if it’s good for battery life,I hope we can at least choose in the future)

  160. E

    Thinking about buying this to replace my 235 + old garmin swim — but I like custom workouts. What are the odds they add it to the Vivoactive HR?

  161. Steve

    Hi All,

    In Canada where I live the VAHR is still another 10 days or so away from being in stores.. I am anxiously awaiting it and Ray’s review will help me to decide..if review is negative I will opt for the 235 instead.

    Just reading a bunch of online reviews at BestBuy and Amazon and while many great reviews also a flood of very negative.. mainly in terms of bad display (faulty in some cases) and very inaccurate HR reading.

    My gut feeling is that the VAHR is very buggy and maybe even released too soon. Thoughts?

    • Kevin F

      Honestly .. the HR issues are person dependent and even depends on their body fat level due to better vascularity. I have had no issues with HR from my Vivosmart HR (same Elevate sensor). I would really recommend pushing it higher up your arm during exercise if you have issues. Why the Schoche Rhythm+ is up higher as well. Re the back light .. that is my issue too. I am on the fence .. and waiting. I am not going for anything other than the Vivoactive HR as I already have a Forerunner. A lot of the things you read in forums are cause people do not know what they are doing as well. It is new .. and until I read the DCRainmaker review in a few days .. I will breathe easier as I trust few people other than Ray. I just may go through a few before I find one with a good back light. Unless you pre-ordered … early June it likely is. I have a phone call to make tomorrow … if one place has them, if they do I make the 3 hour drive to get one.

    • skat

      One of the issues often mentioned is the insufficient backlight brightness. I read somewhere else and can confirm that the brightness setting currently has a bug but the workaround is to try changing the setting a few times up and down until you hit the maximum brightness level. In my case level 5 was dim but when I went down to 2 and then back up to 4, I got it sufficiently bright for me. YMMV.

      Of course, you can’t fix the backlight bleeding that people also complain about.

    • Andy D

      The backlight didn’t work at all on my first model, the second unit is fine with none of that light bleed that I’ve seen picture of.

      In normal light in the office or outside in the sun, the screen is fansastic, especially with the white background. I find it OK in the dark and I’m sure its slight dimness is what’s helping the excellent battery life.

  162. Marcel

    Hi, you mentioned that you could pair the vivoactive hr to an edge 520 unit to broadcast the HR from the vivoactive to the 520.

    Can you please explain in depth how to set this up ?? PLEEEEEEEEASE

    Thanks in advance

  163. Salman Nadeem

    Hello ray. Awesome reviews as always. I wanted some help in deciding what to get as my primary focus was to have a HR watch/band, sleep monitoring ( i have bad sleeping hours and cannot maintain a schedle so need tracking) and another reason was swimming. Plus the smart phone access is a thing I would like. I was about to get the vivosmart hr but since I do swimming I thought to wait for this. Is there any product which can give me these feature or should consider even another brand? Thank you for the detiled and awesome reviews.

  164. Noah

    So I got my Vivoactive HR yesterday from Amazon after many delays. Took it out for an 18 miler run today and have to say I am really impressed with it. I don’t have the largest wrists, about 6.5″ and was worried it would be too big. The photos are kind of deceiving as they make it look much bigger than it really is. To my surprise it was very comfortable on the run, maybe even more so than my old 220. I have found a few bugs so far but nothing major. No idea why people are complaining about the screen so much. I am happy to give up some screen brightness to not have to charge it everyday. I will be using it mainly outside and it looks amazing outside.

    The major thing I don’t like so far is that when you pause the workout the save workout comes up with the green check mark. I know during a long run I will hit the check mark to continue instead of hitting the physical button. That being said, so far so good. The heart rate also seemed pretty accurate to me. The sleep function so far is not that accurate as it seems to base it more off your “typical” bedtime. Smart phone features work well though. Can’t wait to get your impression of this watch Ray!

    • skat

      I agree about the workout pause issue. I have managed to discard my workout once by accident while wearing it underside the wrist. I do not think Garmin thought it through. Of course one could use some other apps for workouts to avoid this quirk but I am not sure how reliable those would be at the moment.

    • Ruffus

      If you turn on auto-pause you will not have that issue, when you say you pause the workout you actually stop the workout and that’s why you keep seeing the finish check mark. When VAHR pauses it outlines the screen in orange and doesn’t bring up that screen.

  165. John

    Overall I think this is a great sports watch. I wanted to check to see if any one else on this forum is experiencing this issue. The watch is becoming uncomfortable for me to wear. I think that the HR bump at the bottom in digging into my wrist causing me discomfort. Anyone else going through this? I don’t know if there is a way of resolving this. I suppose I might have to return it if I can’t find a resolution to this.

    • How long have you been wearing it for?

    • John

      Hi Ray,

      I have been wearing it just less than 2 weeks. I wore it sleeping at nights as well and would take it off for 20 minutes or so here and there. I did not wear it the last 2 nights for sleep. What do you think? Should I consider either the 235 or the 735xt? I presume the bump would be the same on those as well.

    • All three units use the same sensor, and the bump is identical on all three. Sorry!

    • John

      That is what I was thinking as well. I have not seen any other posts of it bothering people in this way here. I think it is a great fitness device. But, if it is really annoying my wrist(it seems to be in the area of the HR bump), I may have to part ways with this. Regrettably. Thanks Ray.

    • Gene

      John, I assume you’ve tried loosening the band a bit? Or did that cause the HR sensor not to be able to get clean readings?

      I’m also wearing my VAHR 24/7, though I’ve only had it a few days. I was afraid it might be a bit large, but so far it seems pretty comfy and light.

      Sorry to hear it’s not working out for you, seems like a nice device overall.

    • John

      Hi Gene,

      I have tried both looser and tighter settings. Thanks for the input.

    • Andy D

      I get a bit of irritation from the sensor. I actually find this happens less when I tighten the band up a bit, even though I get more of an imprint on the wrist.

      I counter this by switching wrists every 2-3 days, that gives the skin a bit of a break.

      I’m into week three with the VHR and wear it at night too

    • Noah

      Sorry to hear that. I find it really comfortable and have had it on non-stop for the last 4 days and a close to 3 hour run. The first day I wasn’t sure how I would like it but now i don’t even think about it. Maybe try not wearing it so tight?

    • John

      I’m frustrated also. I tried both tight and loose settings. It just does not seem to wear well on my wrist and I am finding it hard to keep on because of the discomfort. Probably the end of the line for me with this watch, which is a shame because it really has great features.

  166. Jared

    I walked up 17 floors in my office building today (big floors probably 18-20 feet per story) and the vivoactive hr did not recognize a single story. It’s a office building so I believe the stairwell is pressurized. I’m not sure if that has any impact on the barometer.

  167. Ben

    Got my VAHR last week and has been wearing it for the past 5 days. Took it off one of the night and another time while testing the shutdown and doing some configurations.

    So far so good. Left bottom slight led bleeding and that dim display didnt actually bother as much. Under day light which mostly the time I use it for activities, it look great. HR is pretty accurate most of the time when compared against pulse checker and chest strape. Doesnt need to be super tight fit on the wrist, I have it pretty comfortable just above the wrist bone. The square sensor did left a mark on my arm after prolong wearing but not uncomfortable. Run data look pretty decent. Pool swim data look pretty accurate too in term of distance, stroke count etc. Bike is under servicing, will try it when its back. GPS log on pretty fast under open sky. Will love to have the 1 second recording though.

    Floor climb not very accurate but doesnt bother me. Steps count look decent though doesnt bother me too. Sleep data not too accurate in term of detecting if you are awake or not but I use it more to track my HR during sleep which look okay.

    Transiting from the dinosaur age FR310XT to this, I am happy to have a few thing handy while doing my SBR… Didnt go for the Fenix3 as I have small wrist and VAHR fit nicey and comfortably. Was looking at FR735 since I do tri but being a leisure sportsperson, VAHR seem to give better value. At current price, seem okay to me.

    Looking forward to Ray indepth review soon.

    • Ben

      Brought the VAHR to the track earlier. Hit the track a few times but MoveIQ didnt manage to pick up anything though the intensity minutes reflected the high intensity workout… Not sure if anyone have any success with the MoveIQ detecting your activities?

    • Did you look in the Calendar view on Garmin Connect mobile? It won’t show up in workouts or activities (or anywhere else logical).

    • Ben

      Thanks Ray. You are right, it does detected part of my track activities, under the calendar view. Though with no info and estimated duration which was not quite accurate, it did picked it up as a run which is correct. Wondering if I set it up as a customer track session activity with GPS on will give better insight? It’s a interval track session with strength training.

    • That’s the thing, for MoveIQ apps, it’s not much more than a duration. That’s kinda it.

      And the other challenge is it won’t be exactly right, so it’s using algorithms to try and figure out what the start/stop was. Fitbit is basically in the same camp.

      You definitely want to use actual activity modes for recording track sessions, and strength training. You could either do it as two separate activities (what I’d do), or, a custom multisport activity (kinda a pain, because then you can’t create laps on the track).

    • Ben

      Will do that Ray. Tried indoor bike today when I was on my own spinning, notice it only captured duration and HR, not sure what can we make out of it?

      Looking forward to your indepth review. So far I am still happy with it. Again, considering the price, its pretty value for money comparing to Fenix3HR or FR735XT.

  168. Anthony Sanders

    I was wondering if anyone has been able to utilize the vivoactive HR in a spin class to track those miles and data?

    • Ryan M.

      There is no way for the watch to communicate with the bike to receive info on the speed/resistance, so all you would be able to get is your heartrate

  169. SS76

    Ok, so the Vivosmart HR+ has Virtual Pacer, and the Vivoactive HR does not??? WTF?

  170. Tom

    Hi Guys,

    Just got my VHR delivered today. As it is my first device of this kind I feel quite overwhelmed with options.
    Unfortunately not everything is going as smooth as I have hoped.

    1. During initial setup I have noticed and option in the watch itself (can not find it now) saying something about improving accuracy… and that is should take it for 15 min walk or run. By the time I got outside I was not able to find it again :-( What was it? Where is it?

    2. Spotify & Groove Music. When I have active Music Control Widget music keeps being paused and restarted every few seconds. Even when I stop music on the phone after few second it is restarted anyway. Anyone had similar issue?

    3. Garmin Connect mobile keeps asking me to resign in when watch starts to sync with phone.

    4. Is it possible to connect Garmin Account to Fb and Ms accounts – so whichever type of login I use I will still get to the same account…

    But… it is not as big and bulky as I thought :-)

    • Kevin F

      Number one .. is there as it uses GPS activities to measure your stride length. It will do it automatically once you have done a GPS based walk / run so you do not need to worry. I personally would recommend doing a separate walk / run with GPS turned on .. to set your stride length. But .. it is only what may be an average as your stride will change .. usually bigger the faster you go.

  171. Tom


    one more thing.
    Does any one have issues with Bluetooth on VHR?
    If it disconnects from the phone (out of range) for the love of god it will not reconnect.
    I am sure it is not the phone – no problem with car audio – as soon as I start engine in the car phone is connected to audio system.
    Same thing at home. If I turn on BT on my soundbar phone connects immediately as soon as paired device is active.
    That is not the case with VHR.
    Either it shows it is waiting for connection (main screen widgets) and the same thing is in pairing mode… Phone just does not list it as an active device.

    I have to delete it from list of paired devices and than only I can reconnect.

    I am devastated as this make it very uncomfortable for daily use… :-(

    • Rick H

      Mine arrived on Monday and seems to be working fine, reconnecting when it needs to (usually when I’ve left the phone in one room & wandered off elsewhere in the house then come back).

      I did have a failed pairing initially (mainly because I wasn’t paying proper attention to the instructions & I already had the watch registered via Garmin Express before I paired it with my phone) and then had to go back to the start. I also started the pairing with bluetooth turned off & let Garmin Connect switch it on itself – I don’t know if that made any difference.

    • Karen

      Hi, I had the same bluetooth issues (on android). Installing Bluetooth Auto Connect by UniqRec Inc. from the Google playstore solved the problem, the watch reconnects every time now..

    • Kevin F

      There was a big firmware update today … and it fixes I think like 25 things. Me .. I don’t even have the device yet, still waiting as they are not available here yet. I think that a Bluetooth item was on there. But go to the Garmin Vivoactive HR forum to read about the update. It is in a sticky at the top of the page.

  172. Rick H

    Possible double counting of calories when using multiple devices

    My Vivosmart HR arrived on Monday afternoon and has been duly strapped to my wrist ever since. I also use an (ancient!) Edge 605 to log my cycling (which gets uploaded to Garmin Conect via Garmin Express on the PC). I was out cycling for around 2hrs 45m yesterday but I thought the active calories looked a bit high. So far I’ve just left the VS to do it’s own thing with regards to recording.

    This morning I was on my bike for around 40 minutes so decided to check the calorie readings before & after uploading from the 605. Refreshing Connect Mobile immediately after doing the upload this afternoon gave an immediate jump in the active calories by 311. The 605 reported 509 calories for what I’d done (I’ve always reckoned the 605 to significantly overestimate & Strava reckons 301 from the same data).

  173. Tom


    how do I setup skating? I presume I can skate on rollerblades outside with this setting? if not… how do I get something close to it.
    I saw skating activity on one of the screens in the internet but I have no idea how to get it on my device… :-(

    Also, what would be the best mode to record activity during indoor football game? – Run – with GPS OFF or Cardio?

    Is there a difference between Cycling and Mountain Bike? I do use Mountain Bike but quite often I am on flat in my city… not in actual mountains (however that also happens).

    Please advise :-)

    • At the moment I’m using ‘other’ as my inline-skating profile. I hope it will be possible to add skating as an app and made this suggestion to Garmin already.
      Nonetheless it works fine and I can see speed, distance, heart rate (for accurate rating during interval I use a chest strap) while skating.
      As for cycling vs mountainbiking: they have the same functions. The only difference is the way it will show in Garmin Connect.

  174. First off, as a data-geek-engineer-turned-math-teacher-and-avid-distance-runner … I LOVE THIS SIGHT!!! (first time commenting, but a long time reader)

    Two quick questions/comments as I enter the “last minute 2nd-guessing re-researching” phase of buying my next watch…

    1) Does the barometric pressure altimeter on the VAHR give us any kind of raw elevation DISPLAYED on the watch – i.e. during a running activity – or is it just there for the “stair count” which I don’t care about. Anyway that this capability could be “unlocked” w/ firmware updates? I understand baro pressure is great for elevation CHANGE without calibration, but being a GPS watch there has to be some way to calibrate and display it beginning a run … even if it’s just the GPS elevation (like my old Suunto Ambit 2S).

    2) How confident are you that the Garmin’s in house Elevate HR sensor will be as reliable as the original Mio (best?) sensors? Another way to ask this … is investing in firmware updates to a new sensor worth it? Or, have you seen better results w/ updates on the other units that use Elevate? It seems Garmin is investing in their own technology – I’m I a fool not to?

    I ask this because HR is my #1 priority. Before pace, GPS, fancy maps, sleep tracking …. I need HR to be accurate and I like my regular old Mio Alpha. I’ve even thought of going with a Mio Fuse for my “everyday” runs and linking that to a really cheap Garmin 15 or 25 when I want to track maps/intervals (quality days). Then, I see the original TomTom Runner Cardio (mio sensor) for ~$100. I think I’m willing to pay the extra money for what I like on the VAHR (or even TomTom Spark Cardio?) as long as it has reliable heart rate (both TomTom & Garmin’s newer sensors seemed to take a hit initially to when they had Mio, no?)

    At the end of the day, if I’m this anal about it I suppose I could get the watch I want and link it to a Mio Link, but at that point with added cost and more straps on my wrist it’s hard not to just go with the older watches w/ Mio sensor (TomTom Runner Cardio, Forerunner 225, etc). *****long sigh******

    I suppose these are questions / comments for the in-depth review … which I’m obviously anticipating … keep up the good work!!!!

    • Jason L.

      I’ve had a lot of different running watches/heart rate monitors in the past, currently using the Vivoactive HR, previously the Vivoactive without HR. I too find heart rate data to be very important – as important as GPS to me. At some point a few years ago, I started getting chaffing from the chest straps and bought a Scosche Rhythm+.

      That was the best decision I’ve made. It’s been reliable, consistent, and now working with my third watch. I bought the Vivoactive HR primarily so I could have all-day heart rate tracking, but intended right from the start to use my Scosche arm band on runs. I wear the band between my shoulder and bicep, and have really never had a problem, and I’m talking hundreds of runs.

      Even though the technology is pretty much the same between the Rythm+ and the Vivoactive HR, the Rythm+ has several LEDs and I’m sure uses much more power as the LEDs seem significantly brighter. In a nutshell, it’s a trade-off: I am willing to use a device that uses more power when I am most interested in accuracy, but have the luxury of charging in it separately from the wear-all-day watch that I don’t have to charge as often. I get the best of both worlds.

    • Thanks Jason! Have you ever compared how the Vivoactive HR performs comparred to the Scosche and/or other reliable sensors?