Garmin Vivoactive Smart Watch is new, do-it-all watch that includes GPS-enabled running, bicycling, golfing and swimming, plus normal daily activity tracking and reporting

Garmin Vivoactive Smart Watch

[Rating:4/5]

Garmin Vivoactive Smart Watch Garmin Vivoactive Smart Watch is new, do it all watch that includes GPS enabled running, bicycling, golfing and swimming, plus normal daily activity tracking and reportingThe Garmin Vivoactive Smart Watch is new, do-it-all watch that includes GPS-enabled running, bicycling, golfing and swimming, plus normal daily activity tracking and reporting.

Thin and light at 1.3 ounces and having a 1.1 x 0.8” high resolution, sunlight-readable, touchscreen display, it represents the next generation of smart watches, easily tapable to select from built-in apps for supported sports, rather than being dedicated to a single activity.

The Garmin Vivoactive Smart Watch connects to a smartphone via wireless Bluetooth, vibrating and displaying alerts from incoming calls, texts, emails, calendar notifications and social media.

Its wireless technology links it with a heart rate monitor or a Garmin Virb action camera.

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With its Swim features including stroke type, stroke count and automatic lap recognition, the Garmin Vivoactive Smart Watch may be used in the pool, in addition to running and cycling features, including pace alerts, distance and time.

It offers free access to Garmin’s massive golf course database and golf features such as yardage to the front, back and middle of the green, yardage to layups and doglegs and shot distance.

The Garmin Vivoactive Smart Watch may also be used to track daily activity and calorie burn, plus steps goal and sleep monitoring.

To serve as training log, diary and social media sharing platform, all data is uploadable to Garmin’s free online Connect service.

Check out this review:

Buy this Garmin Vivoactive Smart Watch at its best price yet here!

 

Garmin Vivoactive Smart Watch Product Features:

  • Garmin Vivoactive Smart Watch Features Garmin Vivoactive Smart Watch is new, do it all watch that includes GPS enabled running, bicycling, golfing and swimming, plus normal daily activity tracking and reportingultra-thin, high-resolution, sunlight readable, color touchscreen display.
  • built-in GPS-enabled running, biking and golf plus swimming and activity tracking apps allows for stats viewing even when away from phone
  • pairs with smartphone to gently vibrate and display alerts for incoming calls, texts, emails and calendar items plus notifications from social media and other apps
  • tracks pace, time and distance
  • downloads course maps from over 38,000 courses worldwide
  • measures shot distance and supports individual scorecards
  • knows yardage to layups and doglegs
  • determines distance to front/middle/back of green
  • measures time, distance and speed
  • track distance, pace and stroke rate
  • count steps, calories and distance throughout the day
  • move bar alert motivates movement when sitting for too long
  • automatically syncs with your smartphone at strategic times throughout the day
  • free downloads of watch faces, widgets, data fields and apps from the Connect IQ store
  • Sync with Garmin Connect to save, plan and share your progress and join online challenges.
  • battery charge lasts through all activities with up to 3 weeks in watch/activity tracking mode or up to 10 hours using GPS

 

Garmin Vivoactive Smart Watch Pros & Cons:

Pros:

Garmin Vivoactive Smart Watch Pros Garmin Vivoactive Smart Watch is new, do it all watch that includes GPS enabled running, bicycling, golfing and swimming, plus normal daily activity tracking and reporting

Cons:

  • sporty design not as fashionable as other wearable technology
  • only 2 colors available

 

What Customers Say about the Garmin Vivoactive Smart Watch:

Garmin Vivoactive Smart Watch White Garmin Vivoactive Smart Watch is new, do it all watch that includes GPS enabled running, bicycling, golfing and swimming, plus normal daily activity tracking and reporting“First let me tell you my requirements when I was researching and looking for the perfect fitness tracker watch that would work for me.
- Slim profile
- Ability to do HR tracking with add on HR strap
- Integrated GPS
- Tracking outdoor activities (running/walking/cycling)
- Tracking indoor activities (spin, yoga, cardio)
- Long battery life

So far this watch is perfect. I previously had a Basis Peak, but the integrated HR monitor in the watch was unreliable during runs so I decided to return that and look for a regular fitness tracking watch with optional HR chest strap integration. This is really the only way to accurately track HR during intense workouts as the current technology on HR watches is just not reliable for real workouts.

The design of the watch is nice. Very slim profile, very light. With HR monitor watches you have to wear the watch really snug, so it’s nice to wear this watch as you would any normal watch.

People have made issues with the screen brightness, but I have no issues whatsoever. I can read it perfectly fine in all types of lighting. I would rather have a slightly dimmer screen and get 1 week of battery life than have a really nice bright screen and not even be able to go a full day with lots of use.

As others have mentioned, the GPS signal pickup is really fast. Picks it up within 5 seconds.

Battery life is good. I’ve worn it roughly 24 hours straight and used GPS about 35min and the battery is at 80%. And I’ve also been playing around with the watch a lot and navigating all the menus.

During workouts you can see three data fields on the screen at once and there are three screens you can scroll through. Each screen is customizable and there are the usual time, pace, speed, distance, HR, etc choices.

Setup was nice and easy. The watch had 90% battery life out of the box so all I had to do was download Garmin Connect app to my iPhone and sync it to the watch. Whole process took around 1-2 minutes.

Garmin Vivoactive Smart Watch Black HRM Bundle Garmin Vivoactive Smart Watch is new, do it all watch that includes GPS enabled running, bicycling, golfing and swimming, plus normal daily activity tracking and reportingI’ve never used Garmin Connect to track workouts as I’ve always used Strava in the past for bike rides and runs. I like using Garmin Connect and the Vivoactive because now I can finally track ALL my workouts in one app (bike rides, indoor spin, walks, runs, yoga, boot camps, etc). The Garmin Connect website is easy to use and has all the workout details you would expect to see. I actually like it much better than Strava.

The smartwatch notifications are nice. You can’t really do anything with them, it’s purely a notification from your phone. But it’s nice when your phone is in your pocket and the watch vibrates when someone calls to just look at your watch to see who is calling and decide if you want to get the phone out of your pocket to answer or not.

The Garmin Connect IQ store is cool So far I’ve downloaded the BigTime app (see attached picture) and a timer app. The store is fairly limited right now, but this will only get bigger.

This watch gets a perfect 5 stars from me. No major issues so far.” – Jarett

 

“I’ve been using the Garmin Vivoactive for about a week after receiving it from Amazon (I ordered it back when it was first announced so it just started shipping). I’ve had several other Garmin running watches (Forerunner 10, 220, 610, etc). Overall I’m very happy with the device, and would put 4.5 stars if possible. If you want a ‘smart watch’, coupled with gps, good battery life (for smart watches), thin and light form factor, good for daily activity tracking and also tagging more serious athletics (running, cycling, swimming, etc), then I think this is definitely one of the best out there.

Details:

Form factor:
Very thin especially compared to other brands and other garmin watches, also incredibly light. Also pretty comfortable to wear all day, especially since I don’t usually enjoy wearing a watch all day and normally would take it off at work or when I get home. Very happy with this element.

Activity tracking:
Really love Garmin’s design of this feature. Graphical view is really nice, and the red ‘move bar’ that fills up and gently nudges you to move by vibrating subtly when been sitting too long is great. It’s not too annoying so you can ignore it easily, but also reminds you to not just sit still. I do wish it was a little bit easier to clear it. I live in a house with 3 different levels and when I walk around the house it doesn’t clear until I go outside or something usually, I would think the house and stairs would count. I’m hoping Garmin can correct this later– it’s a minor quick really and not a big deal at all. Also, the calculation and automatic creation of your daily goal in steps is really great. I love that it looks for a pattern and increases / decreases your daily step goal as you are more/less active. It’s more engaging and doesn’t let you get as bored with just shooting for the same 10 or 15000 steps a day or something. It also doesn’t jump too rapidly with one day of extreme activity or inactivity which is nice. Other brands should learn from Garmin on this. The Vivoactive does not have a wrist hear rate monitor, but to be honest those do not work very well on devices out there now, it’s just not perfected yet to get accurate results without wearing super tightly, so I don’t think it’s a big deal not to have it here. It does connect with a chest strap however, as well as a foot pod if desired, etc.

Apps (running, cycling, swimming, golf, etc)
Work basically the same as other Garmin running GPS watches if you have had them. The GPS was incredibly quick, way faster than my older devices, probably about 10 seconds. This is a big plus if you are an athlete, as you can use this for training and not have to have a separate every day watch, running watch, and work watch. I’ve read the reviews of the Fitbit Surge and the GPS seems very weak and not accurate. This is Garmin’s sweet spot so the tracking is really an A+. You can install or delete apps (and widgets, etc as well), through the app on your phone. It took be a bit to figure out how this worked, but once I did I was able to delete the golf app for example because I know I won’t use that.

Garmin Vivoactive Smart Watch White HRM Bundle Garmin Vivoactive Smart Watch is new, do it all watch that includes GPS enabled running, bicycling, golfing and swimming, plus normal daily activity tracking and reportingBattery life:
All smart watches struggle with this, it’s really a technology limitation across all brands with batteries and getting them in a smart watch. However I will say Garmin did a great job with this, and although I didn’t time it, it seems to last for several days at a time easy, even using GPS daily for runs and playing with it a little during the day while on my wrist. It’s nice to not have to plug it in nightly.

Connect IQ
Garmin has a free app store where you can download widgets, new data fields, new watch faces, etc. This is really a nice feature and so far I’ve downloaded a few things, but it’s a pretty limited selection so far. I would expect this to expand greatly int he future since this platform is brand new and the watches that use it from Garmin are really just being released now. I’m not expecting something anywhere near as big or nice as Apple’s app store for the iWatch, but it should still be pretty good.

Notifications
I don’t really use this feature all that much, but it works pretty much as I would expect. When phone calls come in and notifications it shows up almost immediately on the watch. You can’t respond to the notifications, or answer calls not he watch obviously, but that’s really an Apple thing not Garmin I believe. Speaking of which, I also learned that after speaking with Garmin customer service, notifications due have a limitation on Apple iOS devices. You can only choose all notifications from your phone, or only calls– you can’t customize say, text messages but not twitter. I believe you can do this on Android but just not iOS because of what Apple allows. You can customize which notification preference you choose different for during activities (e.g. running you only want calls) versus not during activities (e.g. you want everything) which is nice.

Screen
I do think the screen is just ok. Not a huge deal, but it could definitely be brighter and more crisp. It’s a little harder to see in bright light and sometimes without the backlight on.

Other Misc Items and bugs
So there are definitely a few things I discovered that are small annoyances, but not big enough to matter that much. It’s a first generation device from Garmin, so they are to be expected. For example, the default watch face from Garmin is actually really clean and nice looking, except they somehow left the battery % remaining off of it by accident. When I spoke to customer service, we researched it together, and they realized the mistake. I’m pretty sure that this along with any other small things will be updated through software updates that occur automatically through the phone Garmin Connect app. Garmin is usually really good about somewhat regular software updates. Their customer service people were externally excited that I got the device and super helpful and nice on the phone, which was a really nice surprise. They even sent me free color bands just for being an early adopter and calling in. Like Amazon, this is a company I like working with for their great service.

- The one other thing I notices is that this device might have a little bit of a learning curve for people that have never had a smart watch, or like gadgets, or can just click around and figure stuff out. The menus are a little clunky and hard to figure out what option is where. For example what settings are in the System–>Settings menu, vs the System–>Bluetooth menu, vs what you need to configure on the app on your phone. The user manual leaves a lot to be desired and needs way more detail. The phone app also is a little hard to navigate and just not as polished as say something I would expect to see not he soon to be released apple iWatch, but we will see.

- Color bands look nice and really not very expensive at all (see Garmin’s website). Ordered a couple but have not arrived yet.
- Touchscreen is really nice, responsive, and haven’t had any complaints yet.

Hope this helps, let me know of any questions and I can add to this!” – Andrew Herman

 

 

 

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