Garmin Vivoactive Review

A smartwatch fitness tracker for multi-sport use, including running, golfing, swimming, and cycling.

Get it now from Amazon

Product Description:

From the company that has been developing robust, dedicated wearable technology to improve training metrics for athletes for more than a decade comes the GPS smartwatch for the active lifestyle. Introducing the Garmin Vívoactive — the ultra-thin, lightweight smartwatch with built-in Garmin sports apps that you can wear every day to help you keep a healthy balance between work and life.

Feature Table:

Steps, Distance, Calories, Personalized Daily Goals
Move Bar
Sleep Monitoring
Heart Rate Compatible
Garmin Connect
Wireless Syncing
Auto Syncing
Activity Timer
Backlit Display
Smart Notifications
Vibration Alerts
Touchscreen Color
Find My Phone
VIRB Remote
Music Player Controls
GPS Enabled
Apps for running, golfing, cycling, and swimming
Connect IQ
Battery Life Up to 3 weeks/ 10 hours with GPS

Common Questions:

What comes in the box with the Garmin Vivoactive?

The Garmin Vivosmart comes with a large or small band depending on your choice,  a charging/data clip, vivokeeper, and documentation.

Why does the Garmin Vivoactive battery only last up to 3 weeks or 10 hours with GPS when the Vivofit and Vivofit 2 last for a year?

Whereas the Garmin Vivofit and Vivofit 2 were built to maximize battery life by using low energy, the Vivoactive is a full on smart watch that uses a lot more energy to power itself. The Vivofit has an LCD screen that looks like “frosted plastic.” The Vivoactive has a color, touchscreen that looks a lot better and runs apps and its own operating system, but also uses much more energy.

Does the Garmin connect to some kind of program or app?

Yes, Garmin’s program is called “Garmin Connect” and can be run on the computer or mobile devices as an app. Garmin Connect is free to join and use, although you will need a Garmin device. The Garmin Vivoactive also has its own operating system that runs apps right on your watch.

What is the difference between the Garmin Vivosmart and the Garmin Vivoactive?

The Vivoactive is more of a smart watch then just a fitness tracker band. Honestly, we only included it at this point as it is part of the Vivo series of Garmin products. It has GPS and can run apps for running, golfing, cycling, and swimming. It also has Connect IQ, which is sort of like Garmin’s own operating system for their smart watches. The Vivoactive is quite a bit more expensive than the Vivosmart. The Vivoactive is the best in the series, but really is a whole different thing in that it is an expensive smart watch. Find out more in our Garmin Vivo Comparison.

What Others Are Saying:

Jill Duffy, PC Mag:  “The Garmin Vivoactive is a smart activity tracker that can keep pace with even the most active lifestyles. From its integrated GPS to its dedicated app store, there’s a lot to like in this svelte smartwatch hybrid.”

Dan Graziano, CNET:  “The ultraslim design and laundry list of features can’t overcome the buggy software. Once Garmin fixes these problems, the Vivoactive could be a good product, but until then, there are better options available.”


There is a lot about the Garmin Vivoactive that is good, like the battery life, water proofing, and the display. The watch has apps for separate sports, like running, golfing, cycling, swimming, and walking. I even like the watch’s design and the wristband, while maybe not the most comfortable thing in the world, actually does a good job of feeling secure and staying on.

The device works with smartphones, although it maybe isn’t the best at that as the software always feels a little buggy or glitchy. The IQ Connect store also doesn’t really have any great 3rd Party apps, which is disappointing. It’s not like you can just get this watch and then use RunKeeper or MyFitnessPal instead of Garmin’s app.

There is a lot to like about the Garmin Vivoactive, like the battery, design, tracking, and sports apps, but the price, software glitches, and the Garmin app all drag this device down.

Garmin Vivoactive

Garmin Vivoactive




    • Runs apps for sports including running, golfing, cycling, swimming, and walking
    • Good display, battery life, and is water proof
    • Has smartphone notifications, GPS, and music controls


    • Garmin interface and apps could be better
    • Heart rate monitor is addon