Hi” dear reader, the top rated fitness smartwatches garmin vivoactive is a GPS for watch, and activity tracker. it’s sort of a hybrid between really high-end devices, like the phoenix 3, and the 920XT, and then basic activity trackers, like the vivofit. It takes some of the best features from both of them, and I think it really makes a device, that a lot of you will be interested in.
now in my initial review, I talked about the fact that the active is lightweight thin, and really comfy on your wrist, but that it’s not quite as rugged as I would have, hoped it’s all plastic and is already showing a few signs of wear, additionally a wallet has a full-color sunlight readable touch screen, which I’m a big fan of generally speaking, the bezel on this thing is ginormous any Garmin logo seems unnecessarily large, also because it has a touchscreen, and you’re constantly swiping left, and right to access your data, and to start a workout etc..
the face of the device, is really a hub for fingerprints, and smudges, I know that’s an inevitability when you have a touchscreen, but it’s still very annoying and speaking of swiping left, and right on this vivoactive smartwatch.
been the top rated fitness smartwatches is not from its technical specs. only, but because this is a watch that you’re supposed to wear basically all day. the way that it looks, and its attractiveness is clearly very important, and when I first saw this device, when Garmin first announced it at CES 2015, I was thinking man that is not an attractive device, it’s actually pretty ugly and boxy, but since I’ve been testing it out, it has really grown on me I now think it’s really modern, and attractive and I like, the fact that you can customize the bands, so I really think you can make this your own device, and I don’t think it looks really all that bad on your wrist.
And that’s about it in terms of design, I think it’s comfortable its custom izybelle it is stylish, and it’s got a nice little color display on it. which actually has really good viewing angles in sunlight.
3 main things that made Garmin Vivoactive the top rated fitness smartwatches:
-number one: track your 24/7 activity, and your Sleep.
-Number tow: monitor your cardiovascular workouts.
-and then number three: act as your Smartwatch.
let’s go a little bit deep into these three main features:
number one: it tracks your steps calories burned, and distance traveled. it provides you with a daily steps goal, and it has auto goal which automatically adjusts that daily steps goal based on your recent activity, and I’m a really big fan of auto goal, and as a move bar on the bottom of the wellness screen that grows in size the more you remain sedentary, and when Garmin deems it’s time for you to get up after you’ve been sitting way too long, it will then vibrate to alert you it’s time to move, and I really like the move reminders as well, and lastly it automatically logs your sleep though the sleep analysis on garments app is lackluster to say the least oh yeah” I forgot to talk about the app this is a little bit off on a tangent, but whatever the app is available for iOS and Android users, and the vivoactive actually syncs via Bluetooth 4.0 automatically when you open up Garmin connect. Additionally you can sync via USB using the Garmin Express Mac and PC app, and from here you can use the Garmin Connect online application.
number two: monitoring your cardiovascular workouts, it has eight built in workout apps running cycling swimming walking golf, and indoor running indoor cycling, and indoor walking for now there isn’t a strength training app, or interval training app, nor can you create your own workout apps like you can on the Fenix 3.
So you should plan on using the active only for cardio workouts, and for golf at any rate it shows your activity specific information during your workout. So for running that means time distance pace cadence laps etc. for swimming you’ll get laps distance stroke count calories, and more just so you know it is water-resistant up 250 meters, and for cycling well you get most of the headline stats. there is one thing I want to point out before we go into golf in indoor activities, is that the vivoactive has ANT+ built in, and you can connect to a number of different sensors, that will be helpful in your workouts, including heart rate monitors foot pods, and cycling sensors. So that’s always really nice now for golf has 38,000 courses available for download. and can show you the distance to the front middle, and the back of the green as well as your shot distance for indoor workouts, the vivoactive is really relying on the accelerometer to determine your distance, so it won’t be the most accurate thing in the world, but regardless it’s still nice that it will attempt to find your distance while you’re running on a treadmill. You’ll probably be connecting to an ant plus speed, and cadence sensor for monitoring your indoor cycling, and this will show your speed cadence, and distance.
I mentioned earlier that this is a GPS watch, and that’s true it will map you’re running, and cycling endeavors and uses GPS for the golf app, but it also has access to the Russian form of GPS known as GLONASS, the global navigation satellite system, which basically ensures that you’ll always have a mapping connection, unfortunately GPS is a real drain on the battery life, though the vivoactive gets three weeks in watch mode, but only 10 hours in GPS mode. so right around five to seven days on average.
and the last thing that I want to discuss regarding the apps, are that you can turn on different features, like heart rate training, and speed training as well as auto scroll, and auto pause essentially you can customize the apps to a certain extent and even change what you see in certain screens, and add and remove different screens, so you get quite a lot of control over the workout applications.
it can track your activity, your sleep and your workouts, but it also is your Smartwatch, and it’s only getting smarter allow me to explain, so while you’re at the main screen of the watch face you can swipe to access your wellness information. so your steps calories burned distance traveled, and that’s really good stuff, but you can continue on swiping, and you’ll get a few really neat things your phone notification, your full days calendar weather, and the ability to control music playback on your phone, and this is just the start Garmin rolled out connect IQ which is a platform to allow developers to create more widgets, and watch faces and applications for select Garmin products, and this is what I mean when I say it’s only getting smarter the more developers that invest in Garmin, the more useful and capable your vivoactive will become. At present you get your phone notifications, but in the future hopefully you’ll have much more at your disposal.
now Garmin Connect IQ, is a part of what makes it in top rated fitness smartwatches, and as an exciting device, but I also think just the level of personalization you have is really neat, I’ve already talked about changing the screens within apps, and I don’t want to undersell this it’s really nice that you can switch around which data points are presented to you during a run for example, or during a bike ride. But you also can set silent alarms that will vibrate you to wake you up in the morning, you can rearrange and turn on, and off widgets and applications. You actually do this in the Garmin Connect and Garmin Express apps. And then you can also choose custom watch faces for your vivoactive.
But you know that’s the cool stuff unfortunately I did run into a few problems with it disconnecting with my phone, and then not immediately being able to find a GPS signal. also I couldn’t find out how to adjust the brightness, yes it has a backlight but I wanted the display to be brighter in general, and just couldn’t get there not a huge deal though.
right down to it should you buy the vivoactive, and the answer is that it depends clearly if you’re in the market for a GPS watch, and you want activity tracking features as well, yes you should look into the vivoactive. it’s one of the best devices in this category.
the vivoactive is still really a great fitness tracker, and gps watch and it’s definitely worth your consideration, and like I said it’s only getting smarter and been one of the top rated fitness smartwatches as the connect IQ platform grows, so look into this.