The Garmin Vivoactive HR Review – Advance Fitness Tracker

If you are looking for a unique and reliable smart watch that truly takes fitness tracking and monitoring to a new level, then take a look at this innovative gadget called VivoActive HR by Garmin. This amazing gadget leaves all other fitness gadgets behind and how it does this is through its advanced multi-sports functionality which similar wrist gadgets tap into but are no way near what this unique device can offer.

What is the Garmin VivoActive HR

VivoActive HR is a GPS enabled smartwatch that is built to provide the end user with an all rounded multi sport fitness tracking and monitoring capability. The main focus of this particular device is that you can use it to monitor all your movement activity from one hub. What makes this product more unique is that it doesn’t just deliver powerful fitness tracking capability but also acts as your smart watch that synchronises with many applications from your Smartphone.

Some of the key features of this unique gadget include its Activity tracking for Multi sports, GPS SmartWatch functionality, Built in Heart rate technology and the Connect IQ Store feature. Through these advanced features of this new product, the device is empowered to provide more accurate and insightful information on your activities and fitness health whilst keeping connected with outside world.

Activity Tracking just got Smarter

Starting with the Activity tracking for Multi sports functionality, the watch consists of a built in activity tracker counts the number of steps you have taken or the number floors you climbed. Through this advanced activity tracker the device is also capable of keeping track of your sleep and calculates intensity minutes. What’s most ground breaking about the activity tracking functionality in this device is that it will continue recording your activities for times when you forget to start it. How it’s done? Is through its advanced auto detection mechanism that allows the watch to automatically start recording even when you forget to trigger the On button.

Another significant improvement in this new edition of the Garmin Fitness Watch is that the device also facilitates for users wanting to programme the activity tracking for other sports, which is an element that similar fitness products have failed to evolve on. Most other fitness devices provide activity tracking for only Running and basic activity, where as Vivoactive HR provides activity tracking for sports such as Running, Swimming, Golfing, Cycling, Skiing Snowboarding and Paddle Boarding. If this sounds more than enough then you will also be surprised to hear that this particular device also gives you the option to add another activity or sport if you want even more.

The device surely offers a significant amount of flexibility when it comes to activity tracking, but what makes it a more efficient and useful product to own for all sports enthusiasts or athletes out there is the level of accuracy and detail it provides in recording your activity. More so it measures your activity based upon the type of activity or sport you are carrying out and which delivers meaningful & relevant data based on the type of activity you carried out.

Advanced Activity Tracking for Multi Sports

Garmin VivoActive HR, has taken great consideration in the Activity tracking and reporting experience it provides to its users. To give you a feel of how it provides you a useful activity tracking experience within any sport, then take are look below:

  • Snowboarding, Skiing or Paddle Boarding – These are additional set of sports that the device is also now capable of tracking your workouts and reporting on. Focusing on your activity tracking for these sports the device has the ability to measure your speed in 3D by calculating the incline versus longitude and latitude distance and speed. Another element to this feature is that the device can also facilitate for the timer to freeze automatically when you stop or ride the lift and it delivers this by providing your splits automatically, giving you the option to turn the Auto Pause mode on or off. In addition to this through its associated paddle boarding app you are also able to track and display statistics on your pace, overall time stroke and distance.
  • Cycling – For cycling the device uses its built in GPS capability together with its associated Cycling App, that once activated will measure your time, speed, distance and calories you burnt in your cycling activity. It can also measure the progress of your training rides in the daily commutes you do cycling, which is tracked through the use of its compatible sensors such as cadence and speed. To empower a safer Cyling experience for you, VivoActive HR also works with other devices such as Garmin Radar and Garmin Varia Lights.

  • Running – Through the use of it’s built in GPS and Accelerometer the device allows you to tracking your running indoors or outdoors. VivoActive also gives you the ability to customise your configuration of vibration alerts for your heart rate, run or walk periods, pace etc. For running the device also provides features that are good for training which include Auto Lap, Auto Pause and post-run summary which gives helpful statistics such as your total mileage, average pace, calories burnt and overall time spent.
  • Golfing – To make the most of your Golfing experience, whilst playing this sport Garmin offers upto 40,000 plus course maps worldwide from which you can choose one. In addition to this the device also comes with its associated Golfing App that gives you a simplistic green view outlook and helps you keep track of your score, allowing you to see if your under or over par. For times when you are unable to see the green, you can also use the PinPointer feature which will point you in the correct direction. In terms of shot measurement through the device and its associated app you can also measure the distance of your shot distance.
  • Swimming – Swimming tracking and monitoring is also taken to its depths with this unique Gadget, and it does this more efficiently than ever. You can monitor and obtain detailed information like stroke count, total & interval distance and stroke type. Through its associated Swimming App the device can calculate the efficiency of SWOLF score (which adds your strokes per length and the time per length) inside the swimming pool. After workout you can view a summary of the information captured and which includes your swimming intervals, session averages, overall time spent and personal records.

Empowered with GPS SmartWatch Functionality

Moving onto the next key feature of this unique product, the device also comes with GPS Smartwatch functionality. This key feature allows the user to synchronise the watch with your Smartphone, through which VivoActive HR will provide you gentle vibration notification alerts. These alerts include notifications on phone calls, text messages, emails and social media alerts. Outside of these alerts there is also potential for more notification alerts to be configured from your Smartphone mobile apps.

For a watch exclusively focused on elevated sports and fitness tracking device, having Smartwatch capabilities makes the watch better value for money when comparing it to Smartwatches such as the Apple Watch.

Exploring the smartwatch functionality even further, Vivoactive HR also covers the display of the more common information you’d expect to find your typical Smart fitness watch of this kind. This information includes a clear and simplified display of the weather, temperature and more. Through this functionality the device also gives you the ability to control music on your Smartphone and remotely locate your phone for times when you have misplaced it as well.

In addition to this great functionality the smart watch features are empowered with even more flexibility for the end user, through providing remote control to your Garmin VIRB action camera (optional). Through this control of your Garmin VIRB together with Livetrack on your smartphone you can also let your family and friends track your activities in real-time mode.

Evolve on how VivoActive HR works for you

The Garmin VivoActive HR is an impressively smart fitness gadget that is continuously evolving, and is evolving in the right direction. The Connect IQ Store feature is a Garmin service through which many apps, watch faces, data fields and other widgets are available. Using this range of additional resources available for this product, VivoActive HR can be personalised to suit your preferences and needs.

This platform is something that Garmin aims to continue developing further in the upcoming years, and brings endless possibilities to the information you can retrieve and use to keep your fitness up.

Another element of the Garmin Connect feature that really takes your device to a new level, is VivoActive HR will automatically syncronise with Garmin Connect throughout your day. Where its associated Garmin Connect app will work to understand you and deliver insights that help you beat your previous performance. To add to this the device also brings motivational aspect whilst you on the go, which includes cues to push you harder if you not on track with meeting your goal or shout-outs for moments when you have completed a milestone in your activity.

Moving this point further VivoActive HR takes your fitness beyond boundaries through providing you an experience on getting expert lead healthy tips which becomes like virtual coaches for you.

Make Technology work better with Built in Heart Rate Monitoring

Another key feature of VivoActive HR is a futuristic looking built in Heart rate technology that provides continual heart rate monitoring without the need of a chest strap. This advanced technology enables the watch to measure and report your heart rate, where this data is then used to provide you information on the number of calories burnt and count the intensity of your fitness related activities. As this feature is smartly tucked away around your Wrist, the heart rate technology can also monitor and track when you’re sleeping.

Futuristic and Intelligent looking Smart Fitness Watch

Coming onto the look and feel of this Gadget, the design of the product appears more futuristic in comparison to some of its pre-decessors. Although the device doesn’t come in any customisable designs or range of cool straps, for its entailed purpose it still meets the criteria. It is a simple, easy and comfortable to wear and that is all that’s required from such a product when using it on the go. The VivoActive HR measures only 5.6cm x 3cm and 1.3cm in depth and weighs approximately 45 grams, which makes this product both lightweight and compact.

The product comes in a black colour rectangular shaped form making the watch wider in its height and slimmer in its width. The display of the unit is sharper and more enhanced in its usage. In comparison to its earlier versions this device produces a higher resolution in the display of smart notifications and is made easy to read even in bright sunlight.

The strap is manufactured in the rubber material you will find with most standard watches, although it has been designed to be flexible, comfortable and adjustable to wear. In terms of battery life the device will last upto 8 days (in activity tracking or watch mode) or upto 13 hours in GPS. Another additional element to this device is the 2 small buttons that nicely tucked below the screen for better usability.

Benefits summary

Garmin are determined to make the Fitness Watches more advanced in every way possible, focusing its goals on providing more meaning for and useful information to help keep track of your fitness and health. The delivery of this information is improved significantly through many benefits it provides in its usage. Some of which includes the following: –

  1. Sharper Screen Display – One key element of this product is that through its massive improvement in producing a high quality screen display resolution, VivoActive HR gives you greater convenience and sharper visibility in the display of information you need to see on the go.
  2. Efficiently Responsive – Another crucial need that every person wishes for is responsiveness, and this product is much more efficient in its responsiveness when navigating through the interface and switching between the functions of the device. Comparatively this benefit is something that this product has shined on against many similar devices out in the market.
  3. Improved Usability – Focusing on improving your experience in usability, Garmin have now cleverly positioned just 2 buttons below the display of the watch, which allows you easily click through the screens and avoid an awkward or time consuming experience with your watch. Having more buttons to fiddle with and having sweaty fingers to navigate with have finally been simplified with this improvement in usability.
  4. Hear Rate Monitoring – Garmin VivoActive range have taken a step in the right direction, by providing you with a wrist based heart rate monitoring system that will monitor your heart rate during activities and while you sleep. For a product that has a very reputable pre-decessor (VivoActive) in the market, just with this added feature to the device makes the VivoActive HR the best fitness watch choice for 2016.
  5. Enhanced Reporting on Activity – The most significant benefit of this unique Fitness watch, is that the VivoActive HR now provides an activity reporting for an extended range of sports such as Skiing and Snowboarding. In addition to this Garmin have intelligently enhanced the metrics and statistics you get for your activity performance. Comparatively this feature goes takes this device a long way against its competition, giving that this specialist information is limited in most other Fitness watches.

How does it compare to the original VivoActive Fitness Watch?

After comparing the VivoActive against the Vivo Active HR, overall the better choice of the 2 Garmin Fitness Watches in the VivoActive range is VivoActive HR. Additional features that make the VivoActive HR a better choice are as follows: –

  • Barometric Altimeter
  • Electronic Compass
  • Save Location on Maps
  • Stores Personal Records for Running
  • Wrist Based Heat rate monitor
  • Provides Digital Scorecards for Golfing sport
  • Provides Connect IQ Support for watch faces, data fields widgets and apps.
  • Calculates Floors climbed and intensity minutes
  • Provides Ant + and Bluetooth Smart Wireless Connectivity
  • Facilitates for on device sports Apps and Widgets that provide information on hear rate, smart notifications, weather etc.

Pros and Cons


  • Comfortable Strap – The watch strap is as comfortable in wearing and is very similar to the strap of the Fitbit Surge.
  • No Comprimise on Features – The device still retains all of the original VivoActive features aswell as offering more Extras for your money.
  • Reliable – VivoActive HR is made strong and robust, making the product more reliable in its usage.
  • More Active – This device is automatically monitors and reports on your activity, even if you forget to start your app (as it is always on).
  • Smart Coaching – Comes with an enhanced feature that provides you smart coaching on your activity.


  • Strap is Basic – The strap is currently too basic, and could do with some flexibility in its customisation.

Whats in the Box?

If you were to purchase this product then what you expect to get inside the Box is as follows: –

  • Garmin VivoActive HR (Unit)
  • USB Charging Cable
  • User Manual


To conclude the VivoActive HR Watch, if you are looking for an affordable device that is strongly focused on your fitness tracking and reporting together with valuable smart watch functionality, then the VivoActive HR is for you. This device has got the potential to become one of the most popular Fitness Smart Watches of 2016. If you are the person that want to get the most out of your workouts in order to improve your health and fitness every day, then this watch gives you that advantage over many other fitness watches in the market (through the addition of an Barometric Altimeter, which allows you to track even more essential data to your workouts).

The product is currently retailing for £209.99 or $269.99. If you are interested in buying the VivoActive HR today, then you can simply click on Amazon UK or Amazon US, to purchase it now while stocks last as it is currently rated as one of the Best Selling Fitness Watch’s on Amazon.

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