Wearables

Vivosport an all-round tracker

The vivosport, although not sleek or trendy, has a compact body and comes with a colour touchscreen display and built-in GPS.
The vivosport, although not sleek or trendy, has a compact body and comes with a colour touchscreen display and built-in GPS.PHOTO: GARMIN

Besides the usual steps and calories, it also tracks maximum oxygen consumption

The Garmin vivo series of fitness trackers can be quite confusing to keep track of. And now, it has a new addition - vivosport - joining the vivofit, vivosmart, vivoactive and vivomove devices in the line-up.

The vivosport combines the best attributes of last year's vivoactive HR and this year's vivosmart 3. It has a compact body like vivosmart 3 but comes with a colour touchscreen display and built-in Global Positioning System (GPS) found in the vivoactive HR.

With its built-in GPS, you can run or bike without needing a smartphone connection for GPS tracking. The vivosport is water-resistant down to 50m, so you can shower or swim with it. However, it does not track your swims.

But it will track your steps, distance covered, calories burned, flights of stairs climbed, heart rate (HR) and VO2 Max value or maximum oxygen consumption, which reflects your cardio fitness. It even has a stress-tracking mode that monitors your stress level.

It can also count repetitions during certain weight-training exercises, as well as automatically recognise activities such as walking and running.

While the vivosport might not look sleek or trendy, it is very comfortable to wear. Its watch-like clasp provides a secure fit on the wrist.

Its colour display is always on, but is a little dim in its default power savings mode. Lift your wrist or tap on the display to activate the backlight for better visibility.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $299

    MATERIAL: Fibre-reinforced polymer case with rubber strap

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth

    WATER RESISTANCE: 50m

    WEIGHT: 24.1g (small/medium), 27g (large)

    RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

Swipe up on the display to cycle through different status panels that show time and date, stress level, heart rate, distance travelled, steps taken, flights of stairs climbed and calories burned.

Like all Garmin's fitness trackers, the vivosport sets your daily step target based on your previous day's effort. So, if you hit 5,000 steps today when your target was 6,000, it will modify tomorrow's target to 5,500.

Compared with my calibrated Apple Watch Series 3 and Fitbit Alta HR, the vivosport tends to count more steps daily, sometimes by as much as 8 per cent.

For runs, it took a long 2min 20sec to get a GPS lock. But on my usual 5km jogging route, the distance it tracked was only a mere 100m more than the actual distance. It was spot-on in counting repetitions during weight training too.

The vivosport automatically detects and tracks your sleep. It shows how long you are in deep and light sleep, as well as tracks when you are roused from your sleep and how long you stay awake at night.

The sleep pattern results were fairly similar to what I obtained with the Alta HR. On the downside, the vivosport assumed that I was sleeping deeply when I placed it on the table.

The vivosport's HR monitor shows both the resting and current HR. I found its readings to be four to six beats per min (bpm) more than the Alta HR. During workouts, I found the heart-rate readings to be as much as 6bpm more than what I got with the Apple Watch Series 3.

Battery life, though, is as good as advertised. The battery lasts five days when connected to a smartphone to receive notifications, with two 5km GPS-tracked runs during this period.

•Verdict: The vivosport is probably the most all-round fitness tracker that Garmin has ever made. Its only downer is its price being a tad high.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 15, 2017, with the headline 'Vivosport an all-round tracker'. Print Edition | Subscribe