Garmin Vivosmart 5 (€ 150) is deceptively simple. On the surface, it looks like a basic activity tracker, but it hides a lot of health and fitness features from more expensive Garmin watches. It measures blood oxygen, 24/7 heart rate, body energy level and sleep quality. He can wear it for nearly a week without having to wind it up and it has enough sport modes to satisfy most casual athletes.
But the Vivosmart 5 doesn’t have as many hardware features as other popular trackers and it seems a little overpriced for what it offers. Its screen is monochrome and non-color, it has no built-in GPS or electrocardiogram (ECG) like the one found on the
Charge Fitbit 5 to 150 €. However, if you don’t need these options, The Vivosmart 5 is a good activity bracelet compatible with Android and iOS.
Easy to use, but the screen lags behind the competition
There isn’t much to say about the Vivosmart 5’s design. The monochrome touchscreen has a single button that accesses the main menu or acts as a back button to return to the main screen. The display is bright enough to read during an outdoor workout and has an automatic brightness sensor. But it might be a little too small for some to read notifications and stats while exercising without having to squint, even though it’s significantly larger than the Vivosmart 4.
You can customize the face of the watch choosing from several preloaded options, but there isn’t an always-on display like on Fitbit. You then have to raise your wrist or press the button to read the time or see the statistics. Given that the battery doesn’t last much longer than its color-screen cousins, it’s disappointing that Garmin has chosen to stick with monochrome.
The strap is interchangeable. Just take the tracker out of the bracelet and reinsert it into a new bracelet. The Vivosmart 5 is one of the most comfortable fitness trackers we’ve tested. It is quickly forgotten when playing sports or at night.
Just enough fitness and health tracking options for as many people as possible
The Vivosmart 5 does everything you’d expect from an activity tracker. She counts your steps, encourages you to move when you’ve been motionless for too long, and her heart rate sensor is always on. There are also high and low heart rate alerts.
To start an activity simply press the button, tap the screen and then scroll until you find the type of workout. The bracelet can also automatically detect walking, running, provided you activate this option in the Garmin Connect application. Some training profiles are already pre-loaded (walking, running, cycling) and you can add up to 10 of the 15 available workouts, always using the application.
For outdoor activities, the Vivosmart 5 connects to your smartphone’s GPS, which means you need to keep your phone with you while exercising. The routes are well followed. The odds are calculated by the smartphone altimeter.
Heart rate accuracy during cardio sessions is good compared to a chest strap. But, like other similarly priced trackers, we noticed that the Vivosmart 5 took several minutes to stabilize in belt readings during a 25-minute session. Hopefully, this problem can be fixed in a future software update. The resting heart rate is accurate to within three beats per minute.
Sleep tracking breaks down the amount and quality of rest, with comprehensive data such as REM and deep sleep in the Garmin Connect app. You can also monitor your blood oxygen level all day and night, but the battery drains much faster. We really like Garmin’s Body Battery Score, which takes into account heart rate variability, stress levels and activity level to give you an idea of your fitness status.
One drawback of the Vivosmart 5’s fitness options is that some customizations must be made from the Garmin Connect apprather than the bracelet itself. Despite our experience with Garmin products, we have struggled to find some options for the Vivosmart 5. Our advice: Take the time to customize all the widgets to display the metrics and statistics you need.
Few smart features, decent battery life
The Vivosmart 5 receives SMS and call notifications very well. On Android you can use Quick Replies, but it’s not available on iOS.
The bracelet allows you to control music playback from any source installed on your phone. We tried it with Tidal, Spotify, and Apple Music. Music controls can be viewed during a training session, but this option must be activated from the application. There are no third-party apps available for the Vivosmart 5, just the default Garmin options which also include a calendar and alarms.
Like other Garmin devices, the Vivosmart 5 supports emergency alerts and LiveTrack which allows you to share your location with friends and family while exercising outdoors, as long as you have your smartphone with you. It also has a “find my phone” option.
Autonomy is good. You can count on almost a full week, provided you turn off the blood oxygen measurement and keep the screen brightness at a moderate level. With slightly heavier use that includes a daily 30 or 60 minute GPS workout, sleep tracking, and notifications, we held up. five full days before you need to recharge it.
There is an outdated side to seeing an activity bracelet with a monochromatic screen in 2022, although it does benefit a little from autonomy.
Fitbit Charge 5 has a bright color display and can last four full days with heavy use or up to a week with moderate use. the
Mi Band 5 from Xiaomi also has a color screen and lasts for two weeks if we stick to the basic features.
But Garmin doesn’t limit any health features behind a paid subscription, as is the case with the Fitbit for Charge 5.
The Vivosmart 5 is three times more expensive than the Mi Band 5, but its heart rate sensor is more accurate for high-intensity workouts. Choose the Vivosmart 5 if you’re looking for comprehensive sleep and fitness tracking, as long as you don’t need built-in GPS or a color display.
Image: Lexy Savides / CNET