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Garmin Vivosmart activity tracker review

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If you’re going to commit to wearing an activity tracker it needs to perform a few functions and Garmin Vivosmart fits the bill as a fitness band and a smartwatch.

The device looks like a regular fitness bracelet but it’s only when you see the OLED display shine through that you can really see it is anything but regular.

The screen is only visible through the black plastic when active. When it’s inactive all you see is the same plain black colour on your wrist.

The Vivosmart can capture information like steps, distance, calories and monitor sleep and relay them to your smartphone via Bluetooth in real time.

And if you wanted to take it a step further you can pair the device with a heart rate monitor to gather even more information about your activity.

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This Garmin device would also suit a user who doesn’t want to wear a watch because it can display the time and the date as well.

There’s also a touch of smartwatch about it because it can also relay notifications like emails and texts from your smartphone and even tell when you’re receiving a phone call.

On the health side, the Vivosmart works with the Connect app on your smartphone or on your browser.

From here you can see your steps charted along with your sleep and also plot your weight loss on a graph.

But it also offers motivation and you can earn badges and set challenges for yourself and your friends.

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It will even tell you to move when you’ve been sitting still for too long.

And because the Vivosmart has a screen it’s also easy to check your progress on the move without having to dig around for your smartphone and open the app.

We found that same convenience handy when it came to receiving our notifications which come with a small vibration alert on our wrist.

Calls we normally would have missed because we were in a noisy environment with the phone tucked away in our back pocket, could now be answered right away.

You can see your incoming emails at a glance and then grab your smartphone if you need to reply to an urgent message.

Same deal with text messages. We could see incoming messages with a glance at our wrist even while we were driving.

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You can’t read the whole message if it’s a long one but you can see who it’s from and the first few words.

With your emails you see the name of the sender and the subject line.

The text for messages and email notification is quite small on the Vivosmart’s tiny screen and was sometimes hard to read in bright sunlight.

The time, your step count and calories burned were displayed as larger numbers so that was fine.

It also took a little while to get used to reading sideways unless you turn your wrist to make the text more horizontal.

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And the device is waterproof so it can go with you in the water and the shower.

The Vivosmart also has a silent alarm so it can vibrate on your wrist to wake you up without disturbing your partner.

One of the strengths of the device is the battery life which ran for 7 days before we needed to recharge it.

VERDICT

The Garmin Vivosmart is one of most versatile activity trackers on the market that provides all the essential fitness and health information as well as all of your smartphone notifications without the added expense of a smartwatch.

Garmin Vivosmart

Price: $199