Garmin Vivofit Review

Nice fitness tracker with the standard features and a great battery, but you might as well go for the new version, the Vivofit 2.

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Product Description:

Want to get in on the fitness tracking craze? Ready to start tracking your daily progress but don’t want to spend a fortune? Just want a simple, quality fitness tracker? Do you hate charging devices? Want as little hassle as possible with your fitness tracker? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then the Garmin Vivofit might be worth looking into.

With a price that can compete with the FitBit, you get a fitness tracker that has a heart rate monitor (package dependent) and sleep monitoring, plus it has a display, and the battery life is really good. The Garmin also tells you when it is “time to move.”

Feature Table:

Time
Steps, Distance, Calories, Personalized Daily Goals
Move Bar
Sleep Monitoring
Heart Rate Compatible
Garmin Connect
Wireless Syncing
Battery Life 1+ Year

Common Questions:

What comes in the box with the Garmin Vivofit?

The Garmin Vivofit comes with the fitness tracker itself with both a large and small band. You’ll also get a USB ANT stick and a quick start manual. There are multiple packages or editions of this product, and some do come with additional stuff like the heart rate monitor.

What colors does the Garmin Vivofit come in?

Black, Slate, Purple, Blue, Teal, and Red. It’s worth noting that the Vivofit 2 comes in 13 colors, whereas the older Vivofit comes in just 6 colors.

When it says the Garmin Vivofit battery life is 1+ year, what does that mean?

It actually does mean that the Garmin Vivofit needs to only be charged once per year.  Amazing, right? Garmin made a lot of design choices to make this thing use as little power as possible.

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. It maps routes and lets you share them, tracks stats, and will show heart rate stats if you have a monitor. The Garmin Connect app is perhaps not as pretty as their competitors, but the stats are similar.

What is the difference between the Garmin Vivofit and the Garmin Vivofit 2?

The Vivofit 2 is the newer edition. It has a backlight display so you can read your device in the dark. The Vivofit 2 has autosyncing, meaning that it will sync with your device (computer or mobile) as soon as it is within range (20 feet).  This can save you the time of syncing it manually. The Vivofit 2 also has an activity timer. The way this works is you enter “activity mode” and your time from that point on is counted as exercising time. You then get more detailed stats in the Garmin Connect program. All this added functionality comes for a slightly higher price.

Should I get the Garmin Vivofit or Garmin Vivofit 2?

As you can see from the last question, as well as on our Garmin Vivo Comparison chart, the Vivofit 2 is quite a big upgrade on the first Vivofit, and it only costs slightly more. As that is the case, we would strongly recommend that you consider the Garmin Vivofit 2. Find out more in our Garmin Vivo Comparison.

What Others Are Saying:

Scott Stein, CNET:  “Garmin’s simple and functional activity band is easy and low-maintenance, which makes it one of the best alternatives to a Fuelband or Fitbit.”

Engadget:  “The Vivofit may not have the cool factor of Nike’s FuelBand, or some of the features found in the Fitbit Flex or Jawbone Up24, but what it does offer is reliable tracking, useful reports and a durable design. The fantastic battery life, as well as the ability to change the straps, also go a long way to making this a wearable worth considering.”

Nate Swanner, Slash Gear:  “Overall, it’s a good wearable for basic function, and gets better with time and use. It didn’t track my movements accurately, but that could be for a variety of reasons.”

Review:

Is the number one feature you’re looking for in a fitness tracker a good battery life?  If so, then the Garmin Vivofit might just be a good tracker for you. The replaceable battery in this device lasts for a year or more. The Vivofit also has the standard fitness tracker features like steps, distance, and calorie counters, along with sleep monitoring, the ability to set goals, and you can add on a heart rate monitor. The move bar will remind you to get up and move.

On the down side, the Vivofit has an LCD display with no backlight. I like that it has a display instead of just indicator lights, bu the lack of a backlight means you can’t see it in the dark or shade. It also is difficult to see in the bright sun. The Vivofit also doesn’t have 3rd party apps and the Garmin app isn’t very good compared to FitBit, Jawbone, Misfit, or other competitors.

Overall, this is a good tracker that has a great price. However, the Vivofit 2 is out now and only costs a little bit more for an upgraded device. As that is the case, I would recommend anyone looking at getting the Garmin Vivofit fit instead get the Garmin Vivofit 2.

Garmin Vivofit

Garmin Vivofit
8

Good

8/10

    Pros

    • Amazing 1 year battery life
    • LCD display is better than indicator lights

    Cons

    • No auto-sync or activity timer
    • No 3rd party apps and the Garmin app is a bit dated looking
    • Heart rate monitor is addon