Garmin Vivomove Review

The Garmin Vivomove Hybrid watch Review

For the longest time, activity trackers have simply been bland unattractive slabs of rubber and plastic that draw unwanted attention to themselves. But things have begun to change in the recent times. Activity tracking features are being cramped into analog smartwatches, now called hybrid watches, thus pairing classic and timeless designs with all the run and step tracking capabilities you would expect to find in a modern top grossing fitness tracker.

The Garmin Vivomove is one of the latest units on the market. And like the Skagen Connected and the Nokia Health Steel, the unit features a design similar to that of a traditional watch yet has fitness friendly abilities to keep track of your steps. The unit comes with no heart rate sensor or GPS. However, its lack of these features does not make it any less likable. As a matter of fact, users who have gotten a taste of the unit cannot seem to get enough of it.

The price of the unit varies from one model to the next. The silicone strapped model is the cheapest followed by the classic leather banded watch and then the supple leather strap edition with a premium stainless steel body as the most expensive.

For those who have been used to fitness tracking bands, the Vivomove might not contain as many features in comparison to other units. It also may not be the cheapest there is but, all in all, the unit comes with a great balance of smartness and traditional style that we rarely see from Garmin.

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Garmin vivomove Review

Clearly, Garmin majorly focused on the design of this unit. With its limited abilities, it is the design that makes it stand out from the sea of wrist based activity trackers available including Fitbit Charge 2 or even the Mio Slice which are two of the leading brands in the fitness tracking industry. Luckily for Garmin, they nailed the design in a way that surprised everyone. How? Well, they strayed away from the norm of chunky hybrid watches and provide a slim unit that captures the heart of those who dare gaze upon it.

But with this Garmin hybrid watch it is not all about style and sophistication. Garmin also managed to make it simple containing just the bare minimum hardware yet managing to perform at the same level with most units. Its simplicity makes the giants in the industry look like monstrosities designed ages ago.

The Garmin Vivomove has a thickness of 12mm. This does not make it the slimmest unit available on the market, but neither is it the beefiest. Its circular face helps to reduce the feeling of it being oversized and adds to its comfort. The straps on the hybrid smartwatch are broad meaning that getting the perfect fit may be a challenge.  But once you find the right fit, you will even forget you have anything on your wrist.

Needless to say, the unit features no touch screen only a circular face made of glass hovering over analog watch hands and a step tracking notification window.  The metallic body features a crown that is designed to act as the syncing button.

You can get the watch in gold, silver or black. These bodies can be paired with various leather and silicone strap color options. You should, however, note that some of the pretty color options may cost you a little bit extra to have. With this unit, things are cheap but get expensive faster than you can blink while working with premium materials.

Adding to the unique design of the Garmin wearable is the fact that the unit is not only made perfect for dry land. You can also take it out for a dive. Its waterproof features of up to 50 meters will protect the hardware of the watch while you have a blast. I personally love swimming so you can imagine the look on my face when I read the waterproof feature from the list of features the unit has inbuilt.

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Features and performance

It is rather disappointing that the Garmin Vivomove is not built to provide you with call alerts, email notifications, and social media updates. When I noticed its lack in this area, I hoped against all odds that it redeemed itself by excelling in another area altogether. And this time it did not disappoint. The lack of notification features means that Vivomove can better focus on activity tracking and battery life.

Courtesy of the accelerometer hardware it contains, this hybrid smartwatch will do a great job of keeping track of your actions and relaying the data to the watch and synced phone. The unit does not feature an impressive tracking panel on its face but instead comes with simplistic curved LCD windows (a pair).

The LCD window on the left of the watch’s face is the scale for activity tracking. This scale reads from 0-100% and helps you to keep track of your daily fitness goals. Speaking of fitness goals, you can adjust these via the Vivomove mobile app. I did notice that the step count feature on this unit is not as accurate as with most fitness trackers, but for a hybrid watch of its caliber, we can let this slide. After all, the Garmin Vivomove is more of a gadget to get you moving rather than to provide you with exact details of your movement.

In addition to providing you with feedback on your daily activity progress, the unit is built to encourage you to be on the move. The LCD window to the right of the watch hands, known as the Move Bar, is designed to notify you when you have been inactive for a long period. The bar moves back and forth between black and red with red denoting that you have been inactive for quite a while. It is a simple and neat trick that guilt trips you into getting off your couch and taking a walk or going for a run.

While it is easy to overlook the units lack of an inbuilt GPS or even a heart rate monitor (most units do not even have this feature), it proves hard to overlook the missing vibrator motor hardware. The fact that it misses a vibration motor means that syncing with smart devices is only one way from the watch to the mobile device and not vice versa. It would have been a great addition if the unit could vibrate when you receive an important call or a message from an important contact.

The Vivomove, however, makes up for this with its sleep tracking abilities. I was shocked at how accurate it was. The watch sensed when I was drifting off and not only provided the length of time I was under but also showed the different sleeping phases I underwent.

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Garmin Connect Mobile App

Like other products from Garmin including the Garmin Vivosmart HR+ and the Garmin Forerunner 35, the data captured by the unit is relayed to the phone wirelessly through the Garmin Connect app. This software is rather solid and useful.

The app displays the time activate, the number of calories burned, the step count and a graph with your daily goal progress.  The data never goes past that, which is probably because the unit can measure minimal data.

The app provides several awards and badges to be earned. These are designed to encourage activity. But aside from these, the watch does not really have quantifiable coaching that will guide you to getting better in your activities.

The app does not feature background syncing as well. As such, in the event you forget to press the crown button before the start of your activity, you will be waiting for data to sync and load and it never will.

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Battery Life

Many of the smartwatches on the market still need to be charged daily. Some activity trackers push the boundaries by a week which is slightly better than having to worry about battery charge on a daily basis. The Garmin Vivomove, however, is playing the battery life game on its own level. Garmin has it that the Vivomove will provide a full year of service before the battery runs out.

What is even better is the fact that the unit features a coin cell battery which is way better compared to Lithium-ion power supplies. Why you might wonder? With the coin cell battery, when it runs out of charge, all you have to do is find a replacement which comes cheap in comparison to buying a charger for the rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries. Since I have only been using the watch for two weeks, I cannot vouch for its long battery life. However, the lack of recharging is a step in the right direction.

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Final Thoughts on our Review

For those individuals who prefer wearables that are less intrusive, the Garmin Vivomove is the best gadget. On the other hand, it is not for individuals who are looking for a heavy duty fitness tracker the likes of Fitbit.

That said, Vivomove when compared to other simple analog fitness trackers like Misfit Phase and Whithings Steel HR, it still comes out on top.

To give your own review of the unit, whip up something on the comment box below. Share your honest user experience with us or ask any questions regarding the Garmin Vivomove and we shall be more than willing and ready to answer.


4 Total Score

  • Design and built quality
  • Battery life
  • Activity and sleep tracking
  • Lack of GPS
  • Lack of HR Sensor
  • Can't receive smartphone notifications
User Rating: 4 (1 votes)
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