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Garmin Vivofit: Will remind you to get moving

Published on May 29, 2014 4:34 PM
Garmin Vivofit

If I were still a photojournalist and had to walk a fair distance, I would have no problem hitting the targets this fitness tracker sets.

Unlike many fitness trackers on the market, the Garmin Vivofit remembers your activity level for the current day and assigns a more attainable goal for the next.

The Vivofit consists of a black plastic tracker and a black rubber wristband, like the Fitbit Flex.

It comes with two sizes of wristbands. The wristband is easy to strap on and is fairly comfortable. Additional wristbands cost $41 for a pack of three (purple, teal and blue).

Changing wristbands is just a matter of pushing the tracker out of one slot and into another. However, when it is on your wrist, the tracker is never in danger of falling out.

Unlike the Flex, the Vivofit has an always-on display with a small button which you press to cycle through the different status panels (steps taken, calories burned, distance travelled, date and current time). Hold down the button to cycle through sync, sleep and pairing.

The display is sharp and easy to read. You can use it as your watch, although it is impossible to tell the time in dim conditions because it has no backlight. Setting up the device is easy. Plug the included ANT+ USB dongle into a computer, download the Garmin Express software (PC and Mac) and follow the on-screen instructions.

Alternatively, download the Garmin Connect app (Android and iOS) to your smartphone and pair it with the Vivofit via Bluetooth. Either way, you have to sign up for a Garmin account or log into an existing one.

Once paired, I found that the Vivofit easily syncs with the app, even when the smartphone's Bluetooth feature had just been switched on.

By default, the Vivofit will set you a target of 7,500 steps. You can change it using the software or app. If you fail to meet this target, the next day's will drop to 7,300, then to 7,000 the following day. To nudge you along, the device will show a red progress bar when it detects lack of movement. Once you start to move, the red bar will slowly recede.

The device does not "nag" you with an alarm or vibration. So, if you do not look at the display, you will not be reminded. Somehow, I found myself checking my progress on the display quite often.

The Vivofit also tracks your sleep patterns, but you must manually set it to sleep mode and switch it off when you wake up. The sleep chart shows only how much you move about while asleep. It does not tell you whether you are in light or deep sleep, as the Jawbone Up24 does.

On the bright side, you can wear the device to shower or swim, as it is water-resistant to a depth of 50m.

The biggest plus of the Vivofit is its battery life. The two CR1632 coin watch batteries last for about a year. No more worries about finding a USB cable to charge your tracker.

  • The Garmin Vivofit may not look as cool as the Up24 or Samsung’s Gear Fit, but its long battery life and automatic personalised goals will keep you on your toes.

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Price: $209

Material: Rubber wristband with plastic tracker

Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0, ANT+

Weight: 25.5g


Features 4/5

Design 3/5

Performance 4/5

Value for money 4/5

Overall 4/5