Garmin Vivosmart HR+ Review

Is this one of the best fitness trackers for runners?

In a 23 worded sentence, the Garmin Vivosmart HR+ is a monster of a fitness tracker that has GPS capability and an all day optical heart rate tracking. So how does the HR+ stand up?

Design of Garmin Vivosmart HR+

Visually, it is quite attractive to HR. It has a smart look, with a two-tone touch and it fits perfectly into the fashion world. It might be big in size and might not fit one with a small wrist or a lady but it still depends on individual preferences. But, with the size of the device touch screen (160 by 68 pixel monochrome) you can access your stats and smartphone notification with ease.

The Garmin Vivosmart HR+ touch screen gives you the freedom for easy access to flight of stairs, always on time, active minutes, calories burnt, everyday steps, weather update, distance covered, music options, your heart rate (you can get a four hour history in form of a graph just with a tap), sleep tracking, caller/messaging notifications (you can get the complete version by tapping on it).

You might be saying to yourself that this device with the screen less than an inch has a lot of information to offer. You are right. It takes a lot of work to develop a readable data. The Garmin team are smart cookies highly capable of constantly improving the fitness tracker industry.

In conclusion just like other Garmin wearables, the Vivosmart HR + fitness tracker is waterproof which can be rated to about 5 ATM or 50 meters. It is perfect for swimming but lacks special functions for swimming.

Below are the difference between the Vivosmart HR and Vivosmart HR+ :

  • HR+ has it’s own GPS built into the wearable device
  • It has a dedicated training mode for running
  • It has Run/Walk mode and also Virtual Pacer mode
  • Its display screen is quite the same, but the buffer found around the viewing screen is much smaller
  • Comes in two colors: purple and blue
  • Weighs 1 gram more
  • Move IQ has been included for “automatic sports recognition” like swimming, cycling, walking or running. Note – you can only receive the data to distance for walking exercise but for another exercise, you only get data to time plus an icon.
  • The battery life of HR+ can last 5 days without GPS usage but otherwise, it stays for 8 hours
  • Garmin Vivosmart HR+ cannot be used for an external Heart Rate chest strap and other external sensor altogether.

 

Garmin Vivosmart HR+ Activity Tracking

It has three special features: daily activity tracking, robust smartphone notification and GPS tracking for running.

Let’s consider step counting first. Very reliable and it is specially customized by Garmin for you to enable you track any target you place it on. But it requires some weeks for the moveable goals to be ready as it tries to strike a balance between realistic short term goals and a more complex long-term goal. Anyway, you can tailor your target if you want to.

Next in line is the 24/7 heart rate recording which is good at tracking the bpm constantly. The data obtained from the heart rate sensor are compared in order to get a “resting heart-rate”, which presents a more accurate state of your heart. The historical data of your resting heart rate can also be gotten with the use of “Garmin Connect APP.”

The Connect app also monitors and records your sleep automatically. You can set your preferred bedtime in the app and see if you are able to keep to it. As well, it records the number of times you visit the toilet while sleeping and how long you sleep.

Finally, Garmin Vivosmart HR+ has an all essential idle alert which comes along with “Move” bar feature. This is how it works – the more inactive you are the more the home screen gets filled, and it nudges you to become active when it is completely occupied. From our point of view, its visual aspect makes it work well, as the bar is shown on the screen. It tells how important it is for you to avoid it.

The only disadvantage to it: the nature of the activity required to clean the screen. For the screen to be reset you need to walk for 2 minutes then the moving bar would return to the start line. The time is too short for an active movement.

The Garmin Vivosmart HR+ is truly a special device, and accurate as well. Although it is bigger than the Fitbit Charge 2, it has lots helpful stats that fitness fans love.

 

Garmin Vivosmart HR+: Sports Tracking

The GPS location feature is referred to as “The One.” In order to use the GPS of Vivosmart HR, the runner needs to jog around with a smartphone in hand; HR+ relieves you of such inconveniences as it practically keeps a track on your run by itself. To turn on the GPS tracking, push the side button and tap on “Run” from the list of activities displayed. Just like every normal fitness watch, Vivosmart HR+ would keep a record of your distance, pace, time and calories. Other special features

  • You can configure a pace target to the tracker and it would alert you when you exceed or go below it.
  • You can set a target time for your preferred running distance and the device would come up with the average pace.
  • There are also others things you can get alert for such as when you get to the standard threshold for calorie, time and distance metrics.
  • You can set a preferred heart rate zone and be alerted when you exceed.

Furthermore, running, indoor running along with cardio and open workout which requires GPS option has a dedicated mode. Therefore exercisers that want many facet sports options should not use it. Unfortunately, swimming and cycling don’t have a dedicated mode. You can use ‘open workout’ features in place of it.  Really, the Garmin Vivosmart HR+ only offers a dedicated running mode only. For instance, going for a work-out or a Zumba session at the gym, you use the GPS tracker on your calories burnt, workout time, distance covered and heart rate, but the data would not be as accurate. Therefore it might not be useful to exercisers who want a multi-facet sports option. With regards to the monitoring of the heart rate, Garmin Vivosmart HR+ uses the inbuilt Elevate sensor. The heart rate recording works perfectly for steady and more gentle exercise but when the intensity increases the results become inaccurate. This inaccuracy is as result of excessive motions which cause a lag in time. Similar to its predecessor, the Garmin Vivosmart HR+ does work well with any ANT+ chest strap, but the HR+ does not come with a chest strap.

 

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Garmin Vivosmart HR+: Smart Notifications

Outside of the Android and Apple smartwatches, the Garmin fitness trackers offers one of the best solution, and the Garmin Vivosmart HR+ lives up to this high standard performance. The HR+ will literally direct any notifications to the wrist. From emails, sms messages, caller id, social media alerts, you will get it all on the device.

As well, you can recall the last 3 notifications simply by checking the main menu.

Garmin Connect App

Garmin Vivosmart HR+, will operate on the Android and iOS devices with the option to use the web portal by simple syncing the HR+ to the Mac or PC.

Garmin Connect App offers an in-depth review of the activity data from detailed charts to graphs, whilst also providing an array of snapshots of your performance. The data snapshots include daily stats, weekly steps, performance leaderboard and a diary of the training.

Although it is loaded with data, it does require some time to get a ‘feel’ and an understanding of the app, but it is one powerful Garmin app. Plus the web version offers plenty of tools to develop workout sessions and plans, running routes, and track the progress of your set goals.

Battery Life of Garmin Vivosmart HR+

Depending on the type of usage, the HR+ has a battery life of up to 6 days with smart notifications including training sessions.

Final Thoughts

The latest offering by Garmin Vivosmart HR+ is one serious wearable for runners, and frankly this is a great fitness tracker with GPS capability. Even if you are a half hearted runner, the HR+ performs far better than any other Fitbit’s watches. As well, it’s smart notifications offers the best operating alerts amongst the fitness watches.

However, if you want tracking for swimming, cycling or any other dedicated sports mode to keep tabs of, you will be disappointed. But that is only a small blight on a great fitness tracker. So who will enjoy the Gamrmin Vivosmart HR+? Runners and the mid entry level fitness will enjoy training with the HR+.

The Garmin Vivosmart HR+ is worth the investment.

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