I ordered a new Fuelband in January so I would have it for our Hong Kong trip. I enjoyed the new features (automatic syncing and session tracking) but it wasn’t much different than the original. It was familiar and I was happy. I only had a bit buyer’s remorse when I saw a review on Dailyburn of the latest entry into the activity tracker market, the Garmin VivoFit.
I shared the review and tweeted my desire to try one out. Much to my surprise I received a tweet from a member of the Garmin team offering to send me a complimentary one! (However, I was not compensated to write this review or asked to write it.) A box arrived on my desk last week with the new gadget to test. Here’s the first plus for the VivoFit – I got it out of the box, on my wrist and working in the 10 minutes I had before I started training clients. It gets an A for simplicity of use.
My original thought was to test the VivoFit side by side with my Fuelband. But over the weekend I realized that was unfair of me. Not because one is better than the other, but because they are DIFFERENT and can meet the needs of different people. The numbers may not be the same on each device not because one is wrong but because every activity tracker on the market has a margin of error. None of them are 100% accurate and shouldn’t be the treated as such. Activity trackers are awareness tools, not scientific instruments.
The VivoFit does a great job of creating awareness in an easy to use package. With a simple touch of a button you can cycle through your numbers or you can view them via the Garmin Connect app or website. Here’s some of the data you can track with the VivoFit:
The VivoFit includes a base metabolic rate calculation (not your Basal Metabolic Rate) in addition to calories burned from exercise. This took an adjustment in thinking for me because I am used to seeing calories burned and then adding in the BMR from my MedGem test. Since it adds calories even after I’ve gone to bed, I can’t see my total daily burn until the next morning. For me this is a minus
Not only does the VivoFit help you get closer to your 10,000 steps a day, it adjusts your personal step goal based on your previous days activity. I love personalized and reasonable goals (it’s hard to get 10,000 steps per day if you’re used to only 3000) so this feature gets a plus.
Not ready to do the math to get miles from steps? The VivoFit does the work for you. When paired with the heart rate monitor this is a plus for runners.
- Heart Rate
You can get the VivoFit with or without the heart rate monitor strap. I have an old Garmin strap but was pleased to receive the package with a new one. I tried out the heart rate monitor feature while running, walking, on the elliptical, lifting weights and doing yoga. I haven’t used a heart rate monitor for a workout in awhile and found it interesting to watch the number go up and down during my workouts. Plus it gives you heart rate zones, based on max heart rate, if you’re aiming for a certain range during your HIIT. I give this feature a plus.
This feature isn’t really measuring how well you sleep, just how active you are while you are asleep. Tossing and turning can equal a bad night’s sleep but you can be still and remain wide awake. I find it interesting but this feature is a neutral for me.
The VivoFit can also serve as your watch. The digital display has a clock and date. I know most of us don’t wear watches any more but I find one helpful during my training sessions with clients. For my day, this is a plus. The VivoFit also creates awareness with the RED BAR. If you sit too long (as I did at a weekend conference and watching the NBA playoffs) it starts to display a red bar at the top of the display.
It appears after an hour of inactivity and adds a segment for each additional 15 minutes of non-movement. You have to get up and move to make it go away. At my conference, I had to get up during the break and jog up and down some stairs to get rid of it. I call this a plus because this to me the main function of an activity tracker. Most of us, including me, aren’t really aware of how much we actually sit still during the day. Our bodies were meant to move and the growing red bar tells me to get up and get going.
One more plus – no charging! I kick myself when I forget to charge anything. With a battery that is supposed to last for 12 months, it’s one less thing I have to worry about.
If you’re shopping for an activity tracker, I would recommend the VivoFit if you are:
- Interested in simplicity.
It’s easy to use right out of the box. The app and web charts are easy to understand and it gives you a clear signal (the RED BAR) when you’ve been immobile too long.
- A runner looking for one device.
Many activity trackers don’t have the HR feature. The all in one philosophy of Garmin means you only need one device. Plus there is the Live Track feature that lets friends and family follow along during a race or run. As a woman, I find this to be a huge safety feature. I like the fact I can go for a run alone but someone can know where I am at all times.
I’ve only had the device for a week, so I am sure there are still features I haven’t explored (like challenges and competing with friends). I’ll be sharing updates on what I learn via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so make sure you have connected with me to learn more about the VivoFit as I do!
Have you tried the VivoFit? What features do you like? If you haven’t tried it, what features appeal to you?