Garmin's GPS-packing Fitness Tracker Is Back But Not With A Bang

- Nov 14, 2017-

The Vivosport is the true fitness tracker successor to the Vivosmart HR+, our 2016 Fitness Tracker of the Year. We say true because for some time we thought that was the Vivosmart 3 when it arrived on the scene earlier this year, leaving us wondering if Garmin was done with its GPS-packing wearable.

But we'd needn't have worried because it's back and filled with all of the Vivosmart HR+ goodies we loved, along with some new extras and a bit of a design makeover.

If you've been following the evolution of Garmin's fitness trackers (and we're sure you all have been) then you might recall the first couple of Vivo iterations were not the prettiest. Things improved on the design front with the Vivosmart HR+, but it was still every bit a device built to Garmin's tried and tested sporty design blueprint.

With the Vivosport, you can expect something that looks-wise sits somewhere in between the Vivosmart HR+ it's replaced and the Vivosmart 3. It's still sporty, and apart from a choice of different colour finishes on the underside of the band, it's not going to grab too many style points.

You've now got a more textured, rugged strap, but crucially less screen estate to interact with. The 9.7mm x 19.3mm display is notably smaller than its predecessor and the black bezel surrounding it doesn't help matters. It seems like an odd decision, especially when Garmin went bigger on the Vivosmart 3, and it seems even more odd when you realise that there's no longer a physical button below that touchscreen display. Yes, it's all about touchscreen navigation, which quite frankly feels very fiddly with so many features and modes to scroll through and get acquainted with. You can perform swipes, taps and hard screen presses to select items but it can at times be a fiddly process on a screen this small.

Wearing it day to day, you're able to take it in the shower, or even for a swim, thanks to the 5ATM certified waterproofing that protects it up to 50 metres deep. It still comes in small and large models, but both essentially will accommodate the same amount of space on your wrist. It's slim, not too thick and by no means a bulky thing to wear.

Going back to the screen, the resolution isn't really anything to shout about but that's something we're getting used to with Garmin. It's a pretty paltry 72 x 144 pixels, which is not the punchiest of displays, but with the right screen brightness visibility is perfectly fine during the day and for those nighttime workouts. We should mention it's an always-on display, which has its benefits from a timekeeping point of view. But it's also very sensitive, so when you're in bed and you move around it has a habit of lighting up, which quickly becomes a nuisance. You can turn on a screen lock to prevent it from accidentally starting to log a run, but it won't stop that screen illuminating.

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