Garmin VivoFit review

For this 2014 we already anticipate that there were two new fronts open in the world of personal quantifiers. Pioneers such as Nike, Fitbit or Jawbone were joined by two new trends: the greats of consumer electronics who saw in this fashion a new business opportunity, and the sports classics who did not want to miss the train in a field where until now they were the Kings.

The Garmin Vivofit that we have tested and that we are going to talk about in this review belongs to that second group. The manufacturer, reputed with its training systems and GPS watches, dares with a more basic bracelet from which we tell you everything you need to know.

Battery and water resistance, its great advantages

A Garmin quantizer bracelet? Exactly, but it doesn't have a GPS. Its strengths go in another direction. After trying it, there are two elements that make it different from the rest of what we can find right now in the market.

The Garmin Vivofit is really the only quantifying bracelet with which you can forget that you are wearing it

On the one hand we have the battery, which consists of two CR1632 type batteries that the user can change when they are exhausted, something that according to the manufacturer will occur no earlier than one year. It is an excellent autonomy, but even if it was less, we are glad that someone looks for practical solutions to a problem with this type of bracelets: having to recharge them.

With the Garmin Vivofit we finally have the feeling that quantification costs nothing. We are not talking about the price of the bracelet, but rather what to wear and forget about it. To have the data it will be synchronized via Bluetooth 4.0 (or Ant + with the computer through an adapter or directly with compatible machines) and to recharge it ... well, I just told you that it is not necessary, so the only thing that is required is to wear it .

And it's comfortable. It is based on the plastic strap format (interchangeable in colors and two sizes) and the sensor, which can be easily removed. In the package come two bracelets of different sizes so that we can choose the one that suits us best. We do not have to decide on this aspect before purchase, as it happens with other current models.

Fitbit Force (left) and Garmin VivoFit (right)

The closure is known, as it is the same as that used by Fitbit bracelets, and is based on perforations in which two connectors fit. It doesn't cost anything to close them and in our multi-week trial it has been very robust and reliable. Garmin could even have opted for a more definitive closure if it had wanted to, because as we've stated, we won't ever need to take it off.

The second good news on the Garmin Vivofit is that it is waterproof. But, really. It is the other point for which we said that you do not have to worry about it and that once placed, you will not have to take it off for anything in the world. Swimming pool? No problem, this bracelet can be submerged up to 50 meters, so there will be few situations in which the quantifier is in danger.

Screen designed to enjoy when there is light

The Garmin Vivofit includes a display on your quantizer. It is big, but it has been thought to be seen in broad daylight. The more light, the better it will be seen, which means that in the dark we will not see anything. It does not have a backlight or support light, a small big mistake.

It is not backlit and cannot be seen in the dark in any way

Of the positive aspects, that screen is always visible, and we can indicate with a button next to it, what main information is visible. It can be the hour, the distance traveled, the calories burned as well as the steps that we have taken and those that we have left to reach our goal, which is adapting to our daily activity. It also indicates the date, but only a few seconds after which we return to the time. This displayed information can be personalized in the corresponding application.

The screen, surprise !, is always visible but is not seen in the dark. Too designed for outdoors.

From that screen we especially like the red indicator that appears and grows in length when we are in a period of inactivity of more than an hour. When it appears, it's time for us to start moving around to remove it again. It is surely the only thing that motivates us to be more active in the Garmin ecosystem, as we will see below. That said, although the visual warning in red can be worth it, we are more convinced by the option of vibration that other models include, such as the Jawbone Up.

That line tells us that the nap has been satisfactory but we must start moving

This functionality of silent alerts and alarms is not present in Vivofit, and we miss it very much. For me, who has a few quantifiers in my history, it is a completely unmissable functionality.

Of the things that we are missing also I do not want to leave out the subject of the altimeter. It is very motivating to know the plants (in the case of Fitbit) or the meters (in the case of the Withings Pulse) that we do every day, whether you are a city animal and live between buildings (it is very motivating to climb stairs if at the end of the day You get virtual trophies for it) as if you throw more across the field (and in that case, making summits will give you many meters of extra motivation).

In addition, in the case of Garmin, with its experience and taking into account the competition, integrating a GPS and even a heart rate meter would have been an element of differentiation highly valued by the user, although it is also true that it had found itself competing with their own more advanced watch models. But if we want, thanks to the Ant + connectivity, we can use a chest strap so that the Vivofit receives data on our frequency while doing sports. But using it all day is not the most practical.

The configuration of the bracelet is very simple, and is based on the Connect application for iOS or Android, or via the web via the USB / Ant + adapter included in the package.

Garmin Vivofit: much to improve in the application and usefulness of data

And seen the first half of a personal quantifier, it's time to get to work with the application and the use that the Garmin Connect service makes of the data that it collects from our day to day.

Although the application works correctly, it is on iOS and Android, and it even has a quite attractive appearance, we really miss that it was created exclusively for this bracelet. Connect is too focused on the Garmin ecosystem and it will really be very useful if you use any of its watches or support this Vivofit with an external heart rate monitor, but at the personal quantifier level, what Connect does with the data does not seem relevant to us nor that it can be used very much. On the opposite side we have, as we discussed, the Jawbone system.

There is community, although more limited than in other systems, as well as distance trophies and different records, but again all integrated into the Garmin ecosystem and not focused on the bracelet and the quantification on a personal level, not sports.

Regarding the precision of the data collected by this bracelet that costs 119 euros, we have compared it with other quantifying bracelets and with a GPS and the data, both steps and distance, are very accurate and without any considerable deviation.

In favor

  • We forgot to charge it in a year
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Waterproof up to 50 meters

Against

  • The screen is not seen in the dark
  • Does not have an altimeter
  • No vibration alert

The bracelet has been loaned for testing by Garmin. Can inquire our policy of relationships with enterprises

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