Review VivoSmart HR from Garmin
So I was lucky enough to be sent over a Garmin VivoSmart HR fitness device for review and so here goes.Later in the year I will be undertaking the biggest event in my life, The Dublin 2016 Marathon, To help me along the way I wanted to review a few products to see how they are in the hands of a novice runner. The good folks over at mcneillcommunications.co.uk were happy to send one over to me in the post and as is the norm my review is not a technical one but rather a laymans review from a novice runner. All screenshots will be below the main review.
To start with the VivoSmart HR comes in a small plastic package that is very tidy and well designed. Inside the box were the following items:-
- VivoSmart HR Band
- Charge cable/coupling – do not loose this as you will have to buy a new one from Garmin directly!
- QSG guide
The device is part charged in in order to get you going and while I switched it on I managed to download the companion app on the iPhone 6. When the device started there was a mini walkthrough and pairing option. This proved to be troublesome at first, no matter what I tried I could not get the VivoSmart and the iPhone6 to talk with each other.
However once I removed the app and reinstalled it all was good and were good to go. Once the device was set up it was acting like a watch and I was able to get notifications from the iPhone appear onto the VivoSmart and was able to swipe to remove and read as needed.
The device itself has some small bulk to the main face while the back of the unit has 3 green lights that read your heartrate important note, when resting it will read your HR every 5 mins to give you a resting avg, When active it reads every second, This is in part to save battery but also why do you need your HR read every second when you’re resting.
If you have music on your phone it will control the playback of the same, however my music is not in iTunes but rather google play and as such this function would not work. There is also a weather alert but I turned both off as these were not needed.
App design and usage;
When downloaded you are prompted to sign up with a new account on email or various social networks, I signed in with Facebook as I seem to use this for most of my app signups now. Once in you can configure the app for a number of workouts of which I only needed Running.
Once the device was paired I was set to go . easy read outs on a black background with white/grey text – tap the front and it illuminates for easy reading in the dark, something that i think is missing on the model lower down the product line.
While the app was easy enough to use i found the multiple menus cumbersome and this lead me to move between menus to find the right area i was looking for. However tweaking the user interface a little would streamline a lot of options and using larger buttons would help more on this front.
You can also sync data with the Garmin online web interface through wifi on your laptop or desktop PC – I have not set this up at this time however – but it looks simple enough to use. The Garmin online interface is jammed packed with aditional services that will help you get in shape and stay there even down to the coming soon training plan.
The battery life on the VivoSmart was around 5/6 days with usage everyday – now I have nothing to compare against apart from the Apple Watch which runs for 2 days (for me) on normal usage with a run on each day.
In order to get a run going you just need to press and hold the activity button on the side of the display, this will bring up a menu that the first option is running – more options are here that you just swipe left or right to view them, once you have the run option selected you then tap to select and press the button to start – Set off on your run and when done press the button again. this will give you the option to bin/discard your run or save it for the app sync. once saved you can compare this against previous runs. As there is no GPS its a basic tracker so while this is a good device it will not help long distance runners track performance via GPS etc. If i was a casual runner this would be fine but training for a marathon I would look to something akin to the Forerunner series such as the 630 or 920XT models.
Should you buy this device? If you are not in the market for a full blown smart watch and are a novice running this is good for you. It will help you get fit and will alert you to notifications and incoming calls, I would give this a 4.5 out of 5 stars as it is easy to pick up and use and will record everything in your run or workout session you need it to.
For prices and to buy the VivoSmart please see the below