Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs. Vivoactive 5

Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs. Vivoactive 5: Which Is the Better Choice

Four years after the release of the Vivoactive 4, Garmin has surprised the fitness watch market with the Vivoactive 5. While many assumed the Vivoactive series had been eclipsed by the Venu lineup, the Vivoactive 5 has breathed new life into the range.

In this in-depth comparison, we’ll explore the key differences between the Vivoactive 4 and the Vivoactive 5 to help you decide whether it’s worth upgrading from the previous generation. Check out the latest prices here: the  Vivoactive 5 and Vivoactive 4.

Garmin Vivoactive 5 Vs 4 Specs:

Design and Display:

When it comes to design, the differences between the Venu 3 and Vivoactive 5 become much more apparent, especially when examining these watches side by side. The most noticeable change is the display technology.

The Vivoactive 5 has received an upgrade to an AMOLED display, making it more vibrant and easier to read in all lighting conditions compared to the Vivoactive 4’s memory-in-pixel (MIP) screen. Notably, this makes the Vivoactive 5 the most affordable Garmin option with this modern display technology.

In contrast, the case of the Vivoactive 5 is slightly less premium compared to its predecessor. The Vivoactive 4 featured a larger 45mm stainless steel bezel and case. However, Garmin now reserves this design feature for the Venu series and higher-end models. The Vivoactive 5 opts for a 42mm case with an aluminum bezel and polymer case. While this makes it significantly lighter, it may not have the same luxurious feel as the Vivoactive 4.

Despite the slight reduction in case size, the Vivoactive 5’s display is only marginally smaller than the Vivoactive 4’s and offers significantly improved clarity.

Fitness Features and Tracking:

Garmin has enhanced the tracking experience significantly in the Vivoactive 5 compared to the Vivoactive 4. Both watches retain essential features like Garmin Coach, VO2 Max estimates, Pulse Ox readings, and sleep insights such as Sleep Score. However, the Vivoactive 5 takes these features to the next level.

Body Battery now includes personalized insights, a feature originally introduced on the Venu 3, providing more advanced data than the basic version on the Vivoactive 4. The same applies to the Sleep Coach feature, offering richer insights on the Vivoactive 5.

Fitness and workout tracking have also seen improvements. The Vivoactive 5 introduces Workout Benefit, and the number of sports profiles has expanded from 20 to 30.

Additionally, the optical heart rate sensor on the Vivoactive 5, while not reaching the level of Garmin’s top-of-the-line models like the Fenix 7 Pro and Epix Pro (Gen 2), surpasses the Vivoactive 4’s Gen 3 setup by a considerable margin. This results in more accurate tracking and better overall performance.

Smart Features and OS:

The Vivoactive 5 and Vivoactive 4 offer most of the basic smart features you’d expect. Both allow you to download and access music and podcasts from services like Spotify and utilize Garmin Pay for contactless payments. They also support notifications, weather reports, calendar syncing, and Find My Phone.

However, the Vivoactive 5 has an edge when it comes to text responses. If you’re an Android user with a Vivoactive 5, you can send responses via a keyboard to incoming texts and view photos within those texts. Unfortunately, this feature is not available on the Vivoactive 4 or for iPhone users with the Vivoactive 5.

The operating system on the Vivoactive 5, shared with many of Garmin’s new AMOLED models, enhances the user experience. Menus, notifications, and widgets are quicker and more intuitive to navigate than on the Vivoactive 4. This improvement is complemented by everyday features like the Morning Report, making the newer generation feel like a smarter and more seamless experience.

Garmin Vivoactive 5 Vs 4 Battery Life:

Despite the transition to a more power-hungry display technology, Garmin has managed to maintain or even improve battery life estimates on its newer devices, as seen with other recent releases. The Vivoactive 5 continues this trend.

In smartwatch mode, Garmin suggests that the Vivoactive 5 can last up to 11 days, while the Vivoactive 4 offers around 8 days (7 days for the Vivoactive 4S). When solely tracking with GPS, the Vivoactive 5 again outperforms its predecessor, offering 21 hours compared to the Vivoactive 4’s 18 hours (15 hours for the Vivoactive 4S).

While Garmin’s estimates are generally reliable, real-world usage can vary. Achieving the full 11-day estimate may require toggling off the always-on display, which could place it closer to the Vivoactive 4’s range.

Pricing and Availability:

The price point is a critical factor for many potential buyers. The Vivoactive 4, released concurrently with the original Venu, still holds its ground at around $349.99. While it might be available at a lower cost through third-party retailers, it generally doesn’t dip below the price tag of the Vivoactive 5.

Surprisingly, the Vivoactive 5 comes in at a more accessible $299.99. However, it’s important to note that the Vivoactive 5 doesn’t offer the same case size options as its predecessor. The older model was paired with a smaller Vivoactive 4S, which is still available at the same price point of $349.99. So, if case size variety is crucial to you, the choice narrows down. Buy Garmin Vivoactive 5 or Vivoactive 4 here.

Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs. Vivoactive 5 Pros and Cons:

Vivoactive 5:


Advanced Display Technology: The Garmin Vivoactive 5 features an AMOLED display, providing vibrant colors and improved visibility in various lighting conditions, making it one of Garmin’s most affordable options with this technology.

Enhanced Fitness Tracking: The Vivoactive 5 offers superior tracking capabilities, including personalized insights for Body Battery and Sleep Coach, as well as an expanded list of sports profiles.

Improved Heart Rate Sensor: The Gen 4 Elevate sensor provides more accurate heart rate tracking compared to the previous generation, leading to better fitness and health insights.

Enhanced Smart Features: Android users can send responses via a keyboard to incoming texts and view photos within messages, offering a more interactive messaging experience.


Slightly Less Premium Build: The Vivoactive 5 features an aluminum bezel and polymer case, which, though lightweight, may not offer the same premium feel as the Vivoactive 4’s stainless steel construction.

Limited Case Size Options: Unlike the Vivoactive 4, the Vivoactive 5 does not offer a smaller-sized version (Vivoactive 4S), potentially limiting options for users with smaller wrists. Check out its latest price here>> Garmin Vivoactive 5.

Vivoactive 4:


Diverse Case Size Options: The Vivoactive 4 comes in both 45mm and smaller 40mm sizes, providing more flexibility for users to choose a size that fits their wrist comfortably.

Premium Build: The Vivoactive 4 features a stainless steel bezel and case, offering a more luxurious and durable feel compared to the Vivoactive 5’s aluminum and polymer construction.


Memory-in-Pixel (MIP) Display: The Vivoactive 4 uses a MIP display, which may not offer the same level of vibrancy and visibility as the Vivoactive 5’s AMOLED screen, particularly in bright conditions.

Slightly Less Advanced Tracking: While still capable, the Vivoactive 4 lacks some of the personalized insights and tracking features found in the Vivoactive 5.

How to Choose:

Consider Case Size: If having options for different case sizes is important to you, the Vivoactive 4 provides more variety, including both a larger and smaller option. The Vivoactive 5 only comes in one size (42mm).

Prioritize Display Quality: If having a vibrant and easily readable display is a top priority, the Vivoactive 5’s AMOLED screen is a significant upgrade over the Vivoactive 4’s MIP display.

Focus on Fitness Tracking: If you’re an avid fitness enthusiast looking for advanced tracking features and personalized insights, the Vivoactive 5 is the superior choice. It offers more comprehensive tracking capabilities compared to the Vivoactive 4.

Consider Budget Constraints: If price is a crucial factor, the Vivoactive 5 comes in at a lower price point while offering enhanced features. This makes it a more cost-effective choice compared to the Vivoactive 4.

Evaluate Design Preferences: Consider whether you prefer a lighter, more modern design (Vivoactive 5) or a slightly more premium build with multiple case size options (Vivoactive 4). Check out the latest prices here: the  Vivoactive 5 and Vivoactive 4.

Ultimately, the choice between the Garmin Vivoactive 4 and Vivoactive 5 depends on your specific needs and preferences. The Vivoactive 5 represents a more advanced and cost-effective option, particularly for fitness-focused individuals seeking cutting-edge tracking capabilities.

However, if case size variety and a premium build are paramount to you, the Vivoactive 4 remains a solid choice. It’s essential to weigh these factors against your own priorities to make the best decision for your fitness journey.

Which Is the Better Choice?

In conclusion, there’s no doubt that the Vivoactive 5 represents a superior choice compared to the Vivoactive 4. It offers more advanced features, a more attractive design, and a smarter operating system while coming in at a lower price point. Given these advantages, there’s little reason to opt for the previous generation, especially when considering the price. Check out the latest prices here: the  Vivoactive 5 and Vivoactive 4.


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Simon is a technology writer and researcher. He's also an avid sports fan, especially when it comes to the FCB. When not working, you can usually find him tweaking his Android devices or reading political news.