Garmin Vivosmart Review

The Garmin Vivosmart is a feature rich activity tracker that runners will appreciate both on the road and off. Whether you’re a tech savvy runner or runner looking to actively track your day, here’s how Vivosmart can work for you.


Out of the box

I’ve reviewed the Vivofit and loved the fact that it was ready to use right out of the box. With the Vivosmart it needed to be charged first. By no means a deal breaker, but this unit is not battery operated like the Vivofit.


I charged the Vivosmart for roughly thirty minutes then I was up and running. First impressions were that the digital display was crisp and easy to read. With a double tap of the touchscreen and then a finger swipe to the left or right I can view various settings:

  • Clock – I love this because it’s not a given for most activity trackers


  • Smart Notifications- Sync to your smartphone, Vivosmart will display texts, emails, smartphone alerts, and social media updates


  • Music – Control your music right from your wrist; this is a fun feature as I run with my smartphone and listen to music
  • Miles – Steps taken equating to mileage
  • Calories burned – calculation seems a little off because it shows that I’m already burned a large number calories in the morning before even running
  • Move bar – I’m a desk jockey so this is perfect for me. Vivosmart will vibrate as an alert to start moving. Walk/ move enough and it resets the counter.
  • Step Goal Counter – This displays your goal for the day and how much more you have left to meet your step goal


  • Steps – Just another way of looking at how many steps taken throughout the day.


By holding down my finger down on any of the touchscreen features above, takes me to another menu of features:

  • Sleep mode – track your sleep patterns
  • Other features: timer, brightness level, find your phone, initiate sync


With all these features noted, it’s important call out that your smartphone should be Bluetooth compatible.

What I found out is that while my smartphone is Bluetooth compatible, it is not Vivosmart compatible. Garmin assures certain phones will work with Vivosmart while others, like my Moto X, may or may not.

What does these mean? Well, I receive all my smart notifications but syncing up with Garmin Connect to view my data is spotty at best.

Garmin provides a list of compatible smartphones so be sure to review this list prior to purchasing to receive the full Vivosmart experience.

There is a workaround to sync data but not the most ideal. Use the ANT+ sync feature with your PC to collect your stats and view on Garmin Connect. You’ll have to make yourself available to computer in order to sync but does ensure you can review your stats.



Vivosmart On the Run

Running with Vivosmart makes for a truly connected experience. I like to listen to music while I run so I found the music control to be a hit. With thousands of songs on my smartphone, I’m not always in the mood for certain songs while running. With Vivosmart I can quickly advance to the next song without looking at my smartphone. This is huge if your smartphone goes into sleep mode because of inactivity.


Of course that connected experience also means I get to see incoming emails, texts, and other social media updates. Maybe too much information especially while concentrating on running. I found this annoying at first but after a couple of runs I was able to tune this feature out.

Accuracy is an important requirement for runners that use activity trackers. The accelerometer is as good as I’ve seen having reviewed a number of activity trackers. While I did find Vivosmart to be slightly generous with steps while running, it wasn’t too far off.

Finally, the fit and feel of Vivosmart on my wrist is really comfortable. Its slim design and non abrasive materials rest nicely. I usually where a GPS watch which is bulky and while not irritating to my skin it’s not the most comfortable. Vivosmart provides a seamless feel as far as running gear goes.

Specs worth considering

I have hit a number of high profile characteristics of Vivosmart but there are some additional features that are worth noting.

There’s an option to pair Vivosmart with a heart rate monitor to use while running. Another valuable option is link your Vivosmart with MyFitnessPal. If you’re working towards a weight loss goal, this is a great way to monitor calories burned with intake via Garmin Connect.

Vivosmart is also offered in a five different colors to match your taste or style.

Final Thoughts

While my smartphone didn’t ideally fit in terms of compatibility (like a iPhone or Samsung model), I still received most of the benefits of Vivosmart. It has a sharp design that runners will find appealing, and provides a connected experience that bridges activity tracking to everything that happens outside of running.

If you’re interested in the Garmin Vivosmart, check out this link from Amazon from ordering info.

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