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Garmin hasn’t released a new fitness tracker in a long time, but with the Garmin Vivosmart 5, the firm shown that it isn’t simply focusing on big-boy adventure watches anymore. Four years after the Vivosmart 4’s release, the tracker returns with an enhanced, lightweight design, but how does it compare to some of the best fitness trackers available?
I believe that the majority of fitness tracker buyers are searching for an easy-to-wear device that will allow them to monitor their health and activity levels. If that is the brief, the Vivosmart 5 fulfills it. However, in 2022, the small screen and lack of inbuilt GPS seem a little underwhelming. For more information, see my full Garmin Vivosmart 5 review.
Garmin Vivosmart 5: Pricing and Availability
The Garmin Vivosmart 5 went on sale in April 2022 for $149.99 / £129.99 / AU$229. This is a fairly common pricing for a fitness tracker these days. At the time of writing, the tracker was available in black, white, and cool mint.
It’s less expensive than the Fitbit Charge 5, which retails for $179.99, and the Garmin Lily, which starts at $199, but I’d argue that if you’re serious about running or cycling, the Charge 5 with on-board GPS or the Garmin Forerunner 55, which is a fantastic entry-level running watch, are worth the investment.
Garmin Vivosmart 5 Design and Display
Rather of fully redesigning the tracker, Garmin made several minor but important changes to the design of the Vivosmart 5 to improve its usability. The key one is to have a tactile button that allows you to browse the watch, pause, and stop an activity. While this may appear to be an odd option, it is a pleasant change, especially since we found the Vivosmart 4’s touchscreen to be finicky and occasionally unresponsive.
The Vivosmart 5 features a monochrome OLED display that is 66% larger than its predecessor. This makes it simpler to read messages on the watch, and unlike the Vivosmart 4, text may now scroll across the screen to prevent messages from being cut short. Furthermore, you can view at least three stats on the screen at the same time.
That being said, the Vivosmart 5’s display is still not the simplest to look, especially when you’re on the go, and if you want to check your Whatsapp messages from your wrist, you may struggle here. The black-and-white screen feels dated in comparison to many other fitness trackers, such as the Fitbit Charge 5 and the Amazon Halo View, which feature brighter color panels.
On the wrist, I found the Vivosmart 5 to be less user-friendly than some of the best Fitbits, and it took me about 10 minutes to figure out how to pause my hike (you have to hold down on the button until the stop symbol shows), despite being a Garmin customer for over a decade. However, after a few days of wearing the fitness tracker on your wrist, it will become second nature.
It’s also worth noting that the watch is available in two sizes: the small/medium band is meant for wrists with a circumference of 122mm to 188mm, and the large band is suitable for wrists with a circumference of 148mm to 228mm.
The Vivosmart 5 allows you to shift between bands, which is a wonderful feature, however you must use Garmin’s certified ones for the moment. It’s likely that third-party designers may create additions shortly. To switch the band, simply bend it back slightly and remove the tracking device – no tools or screws required.
Garmin Vivosmart 5 SPECIFICATIONS
|Garmin Vivosmart 5
|Battery life (in smartwatch mode)
|Up to seven days.
|Dimensions are small (19.5 x 10.7 x 217 mm)
Large Dimensions: 19.5 x 10.7 x 255 mm
|Sizes: Small/medium (24.5 g) and Large (26.5 g).
|pixels measuring 88 by 154
Garmin Vivosmart 5: Duration of battery life
According to Garmin, the Vivosmart 5’s battery life may reach up to seven days. This is only applicable if you choose not to track your sleep and turn on blood oxygen monitoring. If you choose to chart them, be prepared for a very minimal three days at most, with one 30- to 50-minute workout per day. The Vivosmart loses roughly 15% of its battery over night on average.
This is an issue because the Vivosmart 5’s Body Battery feature—which I think is fantastic and contributes much to its appeal—takes your sleep into consideration. Additionally, blood oxygen levels are useful for a wide range of health monitoring applications. It seems a bit wasteful not to use one or both of them. To put it simply, anyone who intends to use the Vivosmart 5 as intended will not be covered by Garmin’s seven-day battery estimate.
Using the proprietary wire that is given, it takes a few hours to charge from less than 10% to full.
Garmin Vivosmart 5: Tracking your health
Health tracking is, as I indicated, one of the main features that makes a fitness tracker appealing. You can track your location using GPS on your phone, check your blood oxygen level, and continuously monitor your heart rate with the Vivosmart 5.
In terms of sleep tracking, the Vivosmart 5 is comparable to many of the other top Garmin watches. Compared to the Garmin Fenix 7, it’s practically a dream to use when sleeping because it’s lightweight, comfy, and provides a clear picture of your sleep patterns. The watch will also provide you with a body battery score upon waking up, similar to many of the more expensive Garmin watches. This number is based on your sleep quality and activity levels from the previous day.
Fitbit’s daily readiness score and Garmin’s body battery tool are comparable, but Garmin has one significant advantage over Fitbit in this regard: it doesn’t hide its premium tracking tools behind a paywall. The user-friendly and intuitive Garmin Connect App provides access to all of Garmin’s data at no cost.
The fact that the body battery score is updated in real time gives it an additional advantage over the daily readiness score. Your body battery will indicate if, for example, you planned to go for a strenuous run or a strenuous gym session after a particularly demanding workday. The Vivosmart 5 allows you to examine your body battery. It displays a line graph that indicates how your score has changed over the last four hours along with a message indicating whether it is “charging” or “draining.”
The Vivosmart 5 offers breathing exercises, stress tracking, high and low heart rate alerts, body battery, and sleep. Some of the most recent safety features from Garmin, including as fall detection, emergency SOS notifications, and the ability to let contacts track you in real-time, are also available on the Vivosmart 5.
Garmin Vivosmart 5 Activity and sleep-tracking comparisons
I compared the average heart rate and total calories burnt during a 40-minute walk between the Vivosmart 5 and the Apple Watch Series 7, and the results showed that both watches had good accuracy. The gadgets generally matched up in other workout categories as well, although for accurate heart rate tracking, you should press the Vivosmart 5 tightly against your wrist. It may be misread if it’s even slightly loose, which could have an overnight impact on heart rate and blood oxygen levels.
When comparing the Vivosmart 5’s sleep monitoring to the Oura Ring, the Garmin tracker recorded a longer duration of “sleep” than the Oura Ring because it did not recognize when I woke up in the morning. However, the Oura Ring continues to believe I am awake at night when I am not, something the Garmin avoids.
The Garmin rated my 7-hour, 42-minute sleep as 95/100, whilst the Oura rated it as 83/100. The heart rate estimate differed significantly from the Oura, with the lowest recorded being 9 beats per minute, which seemed improbable given that the Oura Ring did not detect anything lower than 47 beats per minute. The sleep-tracking disparity could very definitely be resolved by tightening the band, but I find this uncomfortable. Wearing it loosely, I didn’t detect the Vivosmart 5 at all at night.
Garmin Vivosmart 5: The Garmin Connect app
As already mentioned, I believe the Garmin Connect app is among the best of its kind. In comparison to competitors, it shows a large amount of data in a straightforward and simple-to-understand manner. It’s also simple to customize your tracker, see your current day’s numbers at a glance, and go through previous exercises.
It’s also incredible that everything is free. compared to Fitbit Premium, which costs $10 a month to get in-depth sleep, exercise, and recovery data, Garmin provides all of this for free. However, the Garmin Connect app has significantly fewer workouts and none of the meditation or mindfulness sessions included on Fitbit Premium. There are other running and cycling plans available, though, as previously stated, if you’re serious about training for an event, you should probably switch to one of the better Garmin running watches.
How Do I Configure Which Notifications Appear on My Garmin Device?
Controlling notifications that appear on your Garmin device is done through your phone.
Does the Vivosmart 5 feature GPS?
It does not come with its own GPS receiver.
Is Vivosmart 5 suitable for running?
Overall, the Vivosmart 5’s optical HR sensor during workouts is mostly accurate, with very minor errors.
Is the Vivosmart 5 waterproof?
The Vivosmart 5 has a water resistance rating of 5ATM.