the Garmin vivofit 4.
The vivofit 4 is Garmin’s entry level fitness tracker. the cheap fitness tracker wristband. In terms of cosmetics, the vivofit 4 is essentially unchanged from the previous generation vivofit 3. and the biggest difference on its face, is just the button itself. the button on the newer version is metal, whereas the button was plastic on the previous generation. but in terms of navigating through the different data points, and the menus it’s essentially the same.
you’ll just have one button to navigate through the different menus. long pressing the button, will open up a variety of other menus that you can navigate. additionally it does use the same 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch display. it is extremely tiny, however it is clear in bright sunlight.
it does suffer a little bit, in lower lights as this display is always on. but it is not back-lit. the device is lightweight it has a very thin profile, you’ll hardly know that it’s even there on your wrist.
you can purchase the device in two different sizes, there is a small to medium size. the large size on the side of the box there, is kind of a sizing chart where you can put your wrist on. to know how it measures, I would recommend that for most people, that they go with the large, even my wrist being a fairly small wrist, had a little bit difficulty fitting into that small to medium size.
so definitely go for the large, if you’re in question now again. because this is a bare-bones basic fitness tracker, we are gonna get some limited features, and functionalities.
in terms of sensors, there’s only one onboard sensor. and that is an accelerometer to detect your movement. you’re gonna get limited daily smart features, which include connectivity to your app, through Bluetooth. you’ll also have built in weather information, a Find My Phone option from the watch, and it will be compatible with both iPhone, and Android.
the fitness tracking features of the cheap fitness tracker wristband:
you will get a step counter, which will track your active, and all-day steps. you’ll get a move bar, which will kind of detect if you’ve been inactive for a certain period of time. and it will remind you to get up, and stand and walk around.
you’ll also have autumn goals, which will automatically calibrate, and adjust based on your activity levels over the last few days. this smart band have sleep monitoring to track your sleep, will also track your all-day calories, and distance, and intensity minutes.
we need to talk about; what’s missing from this fitness tracker, because obviously if it’s an entry-level. cheaper device it is going to be lacking in certain features, that other more expensive fitness trackers, are going to have. so the first feature: this does not have s built-in GPS for tracking your distance, runs, and cycling.
it does estimate your distance, for something like running using a built-in accelerometer. this is a movement sensor inside the device, that will estimate your distance based on how many steps you’ve taken.
the second feature: is that this device; does not have, and this is kind of a key feature, is that it does not have a built-in optical heart rate sensor. that means the device, does not have the ability to track your active or resting heart rate native to the device.
the reason why that’s important, is because your heart rate data, is often used to help calculate your calorie expenditure, how many calories you’ve burned throughout the day. so again without that built-in optical heart rate sensor, it has to estimate your calories burned, throughout the day based on; how much movement it’s detecting on that accelerometer.
that is onboard so again. it’s an estimate it’s not going to be nearly as precise, as the fitness trackers that are out there on the market, that have the built-in optical heart rate sensor. and can track your heart rate, throughout the day.
now” one of the big questions that has been asked is; does this device have the ability to pair with an external heart rate sensor, so at the very least for active exercise, would you be able to pair this with a Bluetooth chest strap, or an int plus chest strap, or armband in order to get that heart rate data?
unfortunately the answer; is no. so Garmin does have an AT+AN Bluetooth chip in this device, as listed on their website as part of the specifications of the device. however, they have locked down that feature.
till now this device, is unable to pair with any sort of external heart rate sensor. so that means you’re not going to be able, to get any sort of heart rate data on this device period. and for me that is a silly thing, at least would have wished that, even if they didn’t have a built-in optical heart rate sensor. that this would be able to pair with an external heart rate sensor. and the reason why it’s disappointing, is because on previous generation models; they did offer the ability to pair with external heart rate sensors.
that’s something, that they’ve taken away with this new generation product. and so it feels more like a step back, in my opinion.
now, very quickly I want to give you my opinion, on some of the all-day features that this offers. the first one being sleep tracking since this does not have the ability to track your resting heart rate, specifically while you’re sleeping, obviously that’s going to impact, its ability to detect your sleep, in the first place it’s not looking at any of your heart rate data, because it doesn’t have that ability.
it just tracks your movement, and because of that it’s a little bit limited on its ability. for sleep tracking this is not going to be a preferred device, in my opinion.
it’s going to give you a very rough estimate of how you slept, but it’s not going to be anywhere close to the accuracy that you’re going to get from a fitness tracker, that does sleep tracking using both; your heart rate data, and your movement. versus what this does, which is just looking, and analyzing your movement in order to detect your sleep.
the accelerometer on this has actually been quite good. it’s agreed with all the other devices, that I’ve compared it against. which include other Garmin devices, like the Garmin Phoenix 5, garmin vivoactive HR, and even on the Apple watch, and the step tracking on this, tends to agree with those devices.
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