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Garmin vivofit is the name of the new activity tracker bracelet launched by Garmin competing with the products that have so far achieved the greatest success among users: Fitbit Flex and Jawbone up.
Let's see strengths and weaknesses in this review ...
Meanwhile, "for the layman", I remember the main onespurposes related to the use of activity trackers: keep track of the physical activities performed during the day (especially in terms of steps), provide information on the quality of sleep (through gyroscope measurements), monitor the calories consumed through food and, by means of alerts and badges, encourage the user to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Let's start immediately to analyze what it offers Garmin vivofit, also in relation to my experience with activity trackers.
I have been using a Fitbit Flex with satisfaction for over 2 months and although the battery charging system is fast and efficient, it still involves a waste of time to be billed approximately every 5 days.
Good with Garmin vivofit the two batteries included model CR1632 guarantee an uninterrupted operation for 12 months! Quite a big plus!
Equal comparison regarding the rubber bracelet that houses the microchips: in both cases the packages contain two bracelets of different sizes so as to ensure perfect use in relation to the circumference of the wrist. In both cases, the closure system is simple and efficient (the bracelet does not risk loosing and at the same time opens and closes with ease).
Substantial draw even in the range of colors available: ranging from black (the one I chose) to fuchsia. The “anthracite” color of the Flex is also not bad.
Garmin vivofit instead it wins the comparison again thanks to the presence of a display that indicates the time of day, number of steps, Km traveled and calories consumed. All this information is still available in real time even using the Fitbit Flex together with the free application for iPhone or Android.
However, it remains an undoubted advantage to have the time indication available so that you can eventually decide to use it Garmin vivofit to replace your watch.
The status bar that appears on the Garmin vivofit display is also useful to indicate at what point you are in the work of achieving your daily goal.
Another advantage of Garmin vivofit is the ability to use it together with the appropriate Garmin ANT + heart rate monitor to detect heartbeats in real time, which are thus displayed in real time on the display.
However, in my opinion, this feature could be redundant for the average user of an activity tracker because I assume that you will hardly wear the heart rate monitor every day going to work, school or when you are at the beach on vacation.
However, if you are a runner (or at least a jogger) and do not have another device, having an indication of heartbeats could certainly be useful.
For my runs I use a Garmin Forerunner 320 with the ANT + heart rate monitor that you see in the image above: very comfortable and capable of detecting (coupled with the 320) also parameters such as the number of steps per minute (cadence) and the vertical oscillation. … But you can read about the Garmin 320 in a special review that I will write shortly. :-)
The Garmin ANT + band NOT and in any case included with the Garmin vivofit but it can be purchased on Amazon “at the not insignificant price of 52 Euros”.
As for the smartphone applications available with the two devices, both are free, easy to use, full of information and well done.
Both products also offer an application to synchronize data from your PC. The Garmin vivofit is obviously Garmin connect well known by all runners who already use a Garmin watch.
In terms of aesthetics it is clear that the presence of a display makes the Garmin vivofit "More conspicuous" than the Fitbit Flex, an element that may be unwelcome especially by female users, who are usually more attentive to aesthetics. :-)
The functionality that is missing in Garmin vivofit and that “could have made a difference” is the GPS chip. This lack definitely amazes me because Garmin is a leader in GPS technology and certainly would have had no difficulty adding this feature to differentiate itself from the Flex.
Certainly the price would have risen but the advantage in terms of accuracy in the surveys would have been considerable.
One of the main limitations of activity tracker it is in fact the limited accuracy of the surveys.
Let me explain: as long as you walk or run everything OK, the detection is excellent.
However, if you get on a bicycle, since the detection is based on oscillating movements of the wrist, you will have a detection of "steps" but above all of calories burned almost nothing!
Another limit of detection based on the gyroscope used by all activity tracker is the lack of sensitivity to measuring the activity of "intense" sports such as squash (which I practice with passion): essentially my Garmin Flex worn on the opposite wrist to the one in which I hold the racket as instructed, after a game of squash it detects a consumption of calories similar to what I would have obtained with a simple jog while clearly the expenditure of energy was infinitely higher.
However, these are "borderline cases" but I still consider it useful to report in this review.
As I wrote at the beginning of this article, I am in fact happy to have purchased a Fitbit Flex even if the Garmin vivofit undoubtedly offers additional features that may make purchasing it preferable.
Last indication, but often decisive for many users, concerns the price comparison.
Garmin vivofit is currently on sale on Amazon at 119 euros available in black or blue.
Fitbit Flex is instead on sale for 88 euros.
Important update: is now available and on offer also in ItalyFitbit Charge the evolution of the Fitbit Flex.
Other activity trackers that you could evaluate, of which you can read minereview, I'm:
- Polar Loop
– Sony SmartBand
– Samsung Gear Fit
– Jawbone UP24
The choice of the best quality / price ratio in relation to the use you intend to make is yours!
Another related article of ours that might interest you is the Garmin 735 XT review.