If you are looking for a middle way between a smartwatch and a sportwatch with a high price but not extremely high, then Vivoactive HR can be your choice. Let’s see what happened after about a year of use.
The device features a very good GPS / GLONASS with barometric altimeter, compass, accelerometer and Garmin Elevate ™ cardio sensor.
An anti-reflective touch screen 205×148 pixels, waterproof and diving resistant up to 5 ATM and a weight of 47.6 g for the regular version and 48.2 g for the X-large version.
The charging cable is proprietary so if you break it up you have to order a replacement from Garmin.
Garmin offers many functions for sports activities there are already pre loaded cycling profiles, swimming pool, golf, skiing, swimming pool (there is no free swimming feature). The screens for displaying activity data are customizable.
They are all customizable and can be optionally interfaced with Garmin sensors of varying nature: cadence, cadence, speed bikes, radar Varia. Without forgetting the High Sensor in HR Broadcast mode, then send the beat reading to another device.
Vivoactive HR can handle VIRB rooms with a special download from the Connect IQ Store (a market where you can find widgets, apps and dials for your Garmin products), record locations and locations with GPS, store and access from Display 14 days of data, use Bluetooth Smart to connect to a smartphone and, for example, locate or manage music.
By combining Vivoactive HR with a smartphone you can receive Email notifications, Whatsapp, SMS, incoming calls, calendar appointments, and more. The clock vibrates, lights up and shows you the notification for a few seconds; Then the normal dial returns. You can silence the calls but do not accept or reject them. The dial is small and there are a few lines of text.
Data synchronization takes place through the Garmin Connect application that exists for both Android and iOS, once paired with the device every time you launch the app, the stored task data is saved and is also available on the garmin.connect.com site. Com in which, after registering, you can more calmly view the progress of all your workouts or walks.
Garmin Express serves to interface Vivoactive HR, and other Garmin devices, with a PC or Mac.
Through this program you can download both firmware updates and various installed third party sportwatch applications. You can also connect to the Garmin IQ Store.
We tested Vivoactive HR in a 30Km cycling session in which, in addition to Garmin, is used in parallel Endomondo installed on an iPhone 6S connected to the Polar H7 bluetooth cardio. The results are as follows:
You can see that the average detected speed is almost identical while on the peak there is a bit of difference. Very similar healthy heartbeats, 145 BPM for Polar versus 147 BPM for Vivoactive, a really lightweight difference considering that Garmin’s cardio detection is also heavily influenced by the position in the sportwatch’s wrist that must be about 1-2 cm before Of the beginning of the hand (depends on person per person), and that in a sports session can also move from the ideal position. While the maximum heart rate is the same.
Red indicates the frequency detected by Vivoactive HR while its speed detection is displayed in green. It violates the heart rate of the Polar H7 and in blue the speed detected by the iPhone GPS.
After about a year of use, I found basically one problem that was a bit annoying, that the frontal buttons are a little too easy to press and during a sporting activity you may be unintentionally interrupting the session, for example if you rely on the arm where Is put the Garmin risked, remaining in support for a while, even turning it off losing all the activities of the day.
For the rest, apart from the break in the strap block, which takes about 10 months of life (the straps can be replaced even if they are not cheap), Vivoactive HR is really a great product. The display is also readable under the sun, the touch is very responsive and the customization options are truly endless.
Waterproofing is perfect and you can go to the sea or the pool and dive without damaging it, but be careful not to touch the display when it is under water because it will start to go crazy “as if touched constantly. It does not detect beats under water serves the special heartbeat.
The battery life is about 10 days without ever using the GPS that is activated automatically when you start sporting sessions, even after a year of device life. Using GPS an hour a day, the battery lasts for about 6-7 days. The strap is soft and comfortable, carrying it 24h7 I never had the need to remove it for skin irritation.
The precision of the steps is really good, the comparison with the Fitbit Charge HR I had previously gave 20% less than positive phases and even the raised planes detected correctly.