Garmin Vivofit Review

The Garmin Vivofit is an activity tracker that earns high marks on functionality, ease of use, and durability.

Whether you’re new to the activity tracker market, or have been in it for a while, the Vivofit provides a reliable experience from tracking steps to monitoring a run or bike ride.

Here are a few key features I’ll cover in this review:

  • Quick start-up
  • ANT+
  • Data on display
  • Move bar
  • 24/7 experience
  • App integration

Finish Line provided me a sample of the Garmin Vivofit for this review. The thoughts expressed in this review are my own.

What initially drew me to the Vivofit was it’s ease of use. As soon as I opened the Vivofit box, I was up and running in minutes. The directions weren’t cumbersome and the Vivofit was ready for use. A huge bonus here is that Vivofit doesn’t need to be charged – it takes two CR1632 coin cell batteries (available almost anywhere).

Garmin-Vivofit-Box

With the Vivofit start-up out of the way, I had to sync up my device with Garmin Connect. Now if you’re a iOS user, you can download Garmin’s app and sync your data wirelessly. Unfortunately, Vivofit isn’t supported on all smartphones. I have a  Moto X and had to use the ANT+ syncing method. It’s not a deal breaker, but it would’ve been a nice-to-have to sync up via my smartphone. I should note that the app is supported by some Android devices.

If you need to use the ANT+ sync method, allow for some time to download the Garmin Express app to your computer. It only takes a few minutes but know you can’t transmit data without.

Garmin-Vivofit-ANT+

The acutal syncing with Garmin Connect is rather easy. Simply hold down the button on the Vivofit until the word “Sync” appears on the band. Vivofit and your PC (or device) do the rest.

After some preliminary set-up on the Garmin Connect website, I was ready to start tracking!

Day-to-day tracking

Vivofit provides good analysis of how your day is shaping up. When you do a preliminary sync with Garmin Connect, you either default or select a step goal. You’ll receive info back two ways: steps taken and what’s left to meet your goal. You’re also given calories burned and miles.

Call me old fashioned but Vivofit also displays time and the date. It’s a bonus and eliminates having to wear too much gear on my wrists.

The Vivofit display is easy to read so that you can monitor quickly. Some activity trackers require a gesture or lack any data feedback until you sync. Vivofit does it right by providing what you need to know, when you want it. It’s as simple as a one button function that you can cycle through your data for a point in time.

Garmin-Vivofit-2

As you progress through your day, the move bar gives you the nudge you need to keep moving. My day job involves a lot of desk time. With Vivofit, this became a hard fact to accept as I saw the move bar creep up from inactivity. It’s a good motivator to get up and stretch my legs with a walk. After a few minutes of activity, the move bar disappears…but will provide another nudge when necessary.

The display of the data is important,but how accurate is it? The Vivofit does a good job of tracking steps. I’m not claiming Vivofit is precise but it’s pretty darn close. The science of activity tracking remains an imperfect one, at least for now.

Activity Tracking

Vivofit is the first activity tracker I’m comfortable running with. The band is made of water-resistant rubber – very comfortable and holds up during a good sweat. The durability is key here because I’ve worn it for a month and half straight and the band looks like I put it on for the first time. Also, the Vivofit unit is in good shape with no scratches or sign of wear.

Some devices require a gesture to trigger monitoring, but with Vivofit it’s as easy as just running. Log into Garmin Connect to set up a rule that senses activity over 15 minutes in duration.

Like many activity trackers, the Vivofit works off of an accelerometer. Here’s where I get a little uncomfortable running with the Vivofit. The steps and the mileage don’t always compare to what Strava’s tracking. Most activity trackers have this problem so I wouldn’t isolate it to Vivofit. but this is a gap I expect most activity trackers to close in future generations.

While I can’t necessarily recommend the Vivofit to capture all running activities, it’s still a good monitor to have if weight loss is a goal. Once you sync up your activity to Garmin Connect, a pretty clean read out on your day is available. What’s missing is the running stats you might get from a GPS watch or mobile app.

Garmin Connect for Vivofit

After all the steps, activity, and sleep it was time to make sense of my tracking. Logging into Garmin Connect, you’re provided with a breakout of your activity to analyze.

Garmin-Vivofit-Summary
Summary view for one day of activity.
Garmin-Connect-Vivofit-Breakdown
You can see how I active I am on this particular day. All the action happened in the morning.

 

Garmin-Vivofit-Sleep
I had a pretty good night sleep here despite some movement.

Final Thoughts on the Garmin Vivofit

The Garmin Vivofit provides plenty of robust features that make activity tracking simple. With a crowded activity tracker market, the Vivofit stands out for it’s design and utility.

If this review has helped you and you want to learn more about the click this link for pricing and order info via Finish Line: Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band.

Shop FinishLine.com! for a complete line of Gamin Vivofit, running shoes, and other accessories.

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