Want to workout with a slim fitness band, but don’t want to compromise on the fitness and connectivity features typically found on a smartwatch? Then Garmin’s new vivosport GPS-enabled smart activity tracker kitted out with the company’s Elevate wrist-based heart rate monitor has you covered.

Garmin’s new vivosport may only be an “activity tracker”, but don’t let its simple product designation and form factor fool you – this uber-slim, GPS-enabled smart device featuring the company’s Elevate wrist-based heart rate monitor has more than enough high-end smartwatch features to help you work up a decent sweat and stay connected while training. This makes it ideal for folk who are not entirely new to exercise, but now need some accurate sports metrics to better track their fitness levels, performance and long-term health goals. And, if you prefer wearing something more lightweight and discrete than a bulky sportswatch, even better! The vivosport – available in three sizes – weighs a mere 24.1 grams (small and medium versions) and 27 grams (for the large). It also has a band that’s just 21 mm wide and 10.9 mm thick, so it virtually disappears when strapped to your wrist.

On the convenience front, the vivosport is safe for swimming and showering, so you can wear it all day. And its always-on colour touchscreen display is responsive and clear enough for you to see what’s going down, even in bright sunlight. Battery life in GPS mode is up to eight hours, and up to seven days when in smartwatch mode. It also counts steps, floors climbed and calories burned, to mention just a few. Plus it features a move bar, letting you know when you’ve been sitting for too long and that it’s time to take a short walk.

“We realize that many customers prefer to work out with a slim fitness band but don’t want to compromise on the fitness and connectivity features typically found on smartwatches,” explains Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales. “With the vivosport, you get the best of a smart activity tracker and a sportswatch in an ultra-slim, ultra-sleek design.”Top features at a glance

  • Workout inside, or use the built-in GPS to accurately track activities outside.
  • Garmin’s wrist-based Elevate heart rate monitor tracks your heart beat 24/7.
  • Includes fitness monitoring tools such as VO2 max and fitness age estimate.
  • Built-in sports apps include running, cycling, cardio, walking, strength and training.
  • All-day stress tracking keeps you in touch with your body’s response to potential stressors.
  • Features an always-on colour Garmin Chroma Display and slim profile.
  • Get connected features such as notifications, LiveTrack and more via your smartphone.
  • Battery life: up to 7 days in smartwatch mode, and 8 hours in GPS mode.

The vivosport in more detail
First up, the vivosport features Garmin’s Elevate wrist-based heart rate monitor. This opens your world to helpful fitness monitoring tools such as VO2 Max (for an explanation read Demystifying performance metrics with Bennie Roux) and fitness age. These metrics provide you with all the data you need to monitor changes in your fitness level over time – whether you’re just walking the dog, taking an energetic stroll around the neighbourhood or training hard for a 10K run.

On the everyday front, the HR monitor also gives you access to all-day stress tracking by measuring your HRV (heart rate variability). By being able to view current stress levels on your wrist in real-time, and study your long-term stress history via Garmin’s free Connect Mobile app, you can identify patterns to help you implement any necessary lifestyle changes. There’s even a Four-Fold Breath relaxation timer to help you calm down when feeling frazzled. And, as gimmicky as it sounds, it’s not – I’ve tried this feature out on previous vivo models and it really works.

Its accurate built-in GPS is able to track distance, time, speed or pace and even map your route out for you on Garmin Connect. This also allows you to activate LiveTrack, a great security feature that gives friends and family peace of mind by allowing them track your location and movements online in real-time while you’re out exercising. And, as this feature also allows them to see your time elapsed, distance, speed and elevation – along with data such as heart rate or cadence (when using any ANT+ sensor) – it also allows them to cheer you on and offer support come race day. Other important onboard sensors include a barometric altimeter and accelerometer.

You also get built-in sports apps for walking, running, biking, cardio and strength training – making it the perfect accessory for running the neighbourhood, conquering a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) class, or counting reps and sets in the gym. And thanks to its convenient Move IQ functionality, the vivosport automatically differentiates movements such as walking, running, biking and using an elliptical, so there’s no need for you to stop your timer each time you begin a new activity.

Your smart connectivity options
The vivosport’s ability to pair with compatible smartphones via Bluetooth Smart provides you with access to a full suite of smart features – bringing convenience and many erm, handy features to your wrist. You can get vibration alerts for text messages, social media updates, emails, calls and calendar reminders. Apart from that, you can also find your phone should you misplace it, access music controls and use its LiveTrack functionality to let friends follow your activities. And, if you have a Garmin VIRB action camera, you can conveniently control it from your wrist, too.

Here’s another plus: Throughout the day, the vivosport automatically syncs with the Garmin Connect mobile app to save all your stats for easy access later. In Garmin Connect, the nav giant’s free online community portal, you can see all your workouts, strength training activities, stress levels and sleep patterns displayed in easy to read, detailed colour graphs. You can also view outdoor workouts on detailed maps, as well as compete in weekly challenges and connect with other fitness enthusiasts – and the beauty is you can do it all right from a compatible smartphone while on the fly, or from the comfort of your desktop computer when chilling at home. – (c) 2017 NavWorld

Garmin vivosport specifications:

Physical size: Width: 21.0 mm; thickness: 10.9 mm
Weight: Small/Medium: 24.1 grams; Large: 27 grams
Display type: Always-on sunlight-visible transflective memory-in-pixel touchscreen
Battery life: GPS mode: up to 8 hours; Smartwatch mode: up to 7 days
Memory/history: 7 timed activities; 14 days of activity tracking data
Onboard sensors: GPS; Garmin Elevate wrist HR monitor; Barometric altimeter; Accelerometer
Connectivity: Bluetooth Smart; ANT+

You can check out this great video review on Garmin’s vivosport smart activity tracker from RIZKNOWS below:

About The Author

Sean Woods

Originally a photographer for the Star newspaper in the bad old days, Sean Woods turned to writing after the first democratic elections in '94. The career shift paid serious dividends, culminating in him becoming associate editor for Popular Mechanics magazine with a number of technology writing awards under his belt. His interests include anything to do with boats, motorcycles and all those fancy tech gadgets that help the modern world go around.

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