Garmin Vivosmart 5 evaluation

(Pocket-lint) – The Garmin Vivosmart 5 arrives at a curious time within the health tracker timeline – and with a curious price ticket.

With smartwatches within the ascendency, the marketplace for premium health trackers has been squeezed since Garmin launched the Vivosmart 4 approach again in 2018. 

Funds choices from the likes of Xiaomi, Amazfit and Huawei at the moment are flourishing, with Fitbit additionally providing gadgets at quite a lot of totally different worth ranges. 

So, the place does that depart the Vivosmart 5? Does Garmin do sufficient to justify the worth tag right here, or is that this one exercise tracker you must suppose twice about?

We’ve been testing in an effort to discover out.

Our fast take

By advantage of merely being within the Garmin ecosystem, the Vivosmart 5 ticks loads of bins. There are a ton of superior metrics to dive into right here, and it is nice that they are lastly obtainable on one thing aside from a Garmin watch. 

We additionally like what Garmin has executed with the design. It is quite simple, granted, however it’s a marked enchancment on what’s come earlier than and is likely one of the extra engaging health available on the market.

With that mentioned, there are additionally some particular points with the Vivosmart 5 – largely due to the asking worth. 

For a similar worth, you will get a Fitbit Cost 5 that packs in GPS, higher sleep monitoring, a nicer show and barely higher battery life. Plus, you would be positioned inside the Fitbit app, which is simply nearly as good as Garmin Join – particularly in the event you’re a newbie. 

So, all in all, the Vivosmart 5 is one we might solely suggest below sure circumstances. For those who’re a Garmin fan that desires a easy start line, otherwise you simply actually just like the look of this one, it could possibly positively be a stable wrist companion. In nearly each different case, although, you would be higher served elsewhere.

Garmin Vivosmart 5 review: Don't call it a comeback

For

  • Uncomplicated design
  • Nice entry level into Garmin Join
  • Filled with superior monitoring options
Towards

  • No GPS
  • Comparatively expensive
  • Poor sleep monitoring
  • Pulse Ox drains battery life quickly

Design and construct

  • Dimension: 19.5 x 10.7 x 217mm (S/M); 9.5 x 10.7 x 255mm (L)
  • Display screen: 10.5 x 18.5mm
  • Show: 88 x 154 pixels, OLED
  • Weight: 24.5g (S/M); 26.5g (L)

Garmin hasn’t rewritten the rulebook with the Vivosmart 5. There’s no experimental design right here that units it other than rival choices – that is very a lot your commonplace health tracker design.

In a approach, that’s no dangerous factor. Health trackers aren’t sometimes assertion items or style equipment; they’re useful bits of equipment which might be at their finest after they’re comfy and unobtrusive. 

Pocket-lintgarmin vivosmart 5 review photo 2

The Vivosmart 5, we predict, ticks each of these bins. We barely observed this on our wrist throughout testing – notably coming from a Garmin watch – and jacket cuffs and jumpers had been hardly ever tussling with it once we had been out and about. 

In comparison with its predecessor, there have been some welcome adjustments, too. The touchscreen is now significantly greater (although this wasn’t arduous, given the very fact the Vivosmart 4’s is positively measly), with a button beneath the show now additionally obtainable that can assist you return in menus. 

It’s clear and thought of, however it’s nonetheless very a lot on the small facet, which means we had been more likely to pore over any information in Garmin Join. As a substitute, the Vivosmart 5’s numerous screens are actually finest for fast glances – say, to examine in the event you’re close to your step purpose. We should reward the responsiveness, although. Swiping between menus is de facto quick, and the accuracy of realizing which metric or exercise mode we tapped was just about all the time bang on. 

One other change is that the tracker itself is now a little bit extra versatile than we’ve seen from the older line of unibody Garmin trackers, and is now capable of really come away from the band and be fitted into one other strap (Garmin sells each a white or mint inexperienced band individually, in addition to the black seen in our evaluation mannequin). 

Pocket-lintgarmin vivosmart 5 review photo 3

Our principal gripe with the design is the standard of the show. It’s crisp and clear, however, in comparison with the colourful colors showcased by one thing just like the Fitbit Cost 5, it does additionally really feel like Garmin has missed the chance to enhance on the show much more dramatically. Contemplating it’s been 4 years between generations, too, it’s much more irritating.

Options 

  • Pulse Ox blood oxygen monitoring
  • Security notifications
  • Garmin Join assist

Irrespective of whether or not a tracker is on the entry-level or premium finish, on-device options are sometimes comparatively restricted as a result of sheer lack of display screen actual property. Not like a smartwatch, which might sometimes boast apps, music assist and, if it’s a Garmin watch,  one thing like mapping and navigation, health trackers stick with the fundamentals.

That’s additionally true of the Vivosmart 5. In comparison with the final technology, there’s not a lot change right here. 

Pocket-lintgarmin vivosmart 5 review photo 5

Pulse Ox, which is Garmin’s personal technique for monitoring blood oxygen saturation, is once more current. And it really works with what we’d describe as the same stage of accuracy to each different wearable we take a look at this out with – which means it reveals an correct measurement once we’re utterly nonetheless, however thinks we fall into dangerous ranges once we’re shifting our wrist lots.

We are able to reside with this, since measuring blood oxygen saturation is most helpful throughout sleep, wherein you’re largely nonetheless anyway. With the quantity of battery drain we’ve observed by having Pulse Ox turned on 24/7, it’s in all probability for the most effective you restrict it to nighttime hours anyway.


Best fitness trackers for 2022: Top wearables to track your workouts, sleep and health

One factor that has been launched is the choice for security notifications. So, now, when related to your smartphone throughout actions, there’s now incident detection. Do you have to select, this could ship messages and reside location data to emergency contacts. It’s a fundamental function, however one which properly provides to the encircling furnishings offered by Garmin Join. 

Pocket-lintgarmin vivosmart 5 review photo 4

Which, talking of, Garmin’s companion app is an absolute pleasure to make use of right here, as ever. There are detailed graphs and historic monitoring data, and the Vivosmart 5 presents such a variety of tracked parts (which we’ll get into beneath) that you may actually spend lots of time right here studying your habits.

Monitoring efficiency

  • 24/7 coronary heart price monitoring 
  • Sleep, stress, vitality and exercise monitoring

On paper, probably the most interesting a part of the Vivosmart 5 package deal is having the ability to reap the benefits of Garmin’s tried and examined tracked metrics. 

It might not be the total complement offered by a bonafide sports watch like the Garmin Fenix 7, but it’s actually a great starting point. 

Far from the trackers of old that offered 24/7 heart rate monitoring and not much else, the Vivosmart 5 justifies its price somewhat by featuring the likes of Body Battery, Fitness Age, Respiration Tracking, Stress Tracking, Sleep Score and Monitoring. This, of course, is on top of dedicated tracking modes for the likes of running, cycling, strength training, walking, yoga and more. 

With Garmin’s heart rate monitoring typically being some of the best in the business, as well, it means these metrics almost always have a decent core level of accuracy.

In our testing, we put the Vivosmart 5 up against the Wahoo Tickr X chest strap, and we didn’t really see much of a drop-off during strength sessions. As ever with optical heart rate monitors, it did take a little longer than the chest strap to register fluctuations, but the total tracked calories were typically within a close range after a 40-minute workout. 

As we’ve found with other Garmin models, though, the sleep tracking algorithm does have its ups and downs. When it’s working, which is admittedly still most of the time, it’s able to match up well to the likes of the Google Nest Hub. This, in turn, means that the metrics that rely on it, such as Body Battery and Sleep Score, work to their full potential.

It only takes a night of errant tracking to skew the overall picture for the day, though, and some of the reports just didn’t seem to reflect our sleep accurately. There’s naturally plenty of dispute regarding the accuracy of wearables tracking sleep stages, but, even still, the likes of ‘Deep Sleep’ were often logged at under 20 minutes. Based on tracking from other devices, this is a fairly big misreport – even if it is all just a rough estimate. 

It’s not the biggest issue, but, ultimately, we do feel like Fitbit still holds the crown for sleep tracking via the wrist, and this especially hurts Garmin when a chunk of the core experience relies on accuracy during those nighttime hours.

Another thing Fitbit holds over Garmin with its premium tracker is the inclusion of built-in GPS tracking. Considering the price tag, we really feel like the Vivosmart 5 should have the ability to track runs, walks and other outdoor exercises without piggybacking onto your phone.

Battery life

Often, the benefit of opting for a tracker that has the footprint of the Vivosmart 5 is that it can eke out quite a decent battery life – at least compared to a smartwatch.

And, on paper, the seven days touted by Garmin is in line with other premium trackers on the market. It’s also a fairly accurate estimation, we’ve found, even with plenty of tracked exercises, swiping through menus and wrist raising throughout the day. 

As Garmin itself caveats, though, this seven-day battery life depends on you not having Pulse Ox turned on during sleep (when it’s most helpful). With this on, expect to see the Vivosmart 5 lose around 15 per cent each night, as well as another 10-15 per cent in the daytime hours. 

So, if you’re looking to get the most out of the tracker, you’ll only be able to get three or four days of juice. It’s still not horrendous, but it is a little disappointing – especially when there’s no independent GPS tracking to drain the battery, either.

The Gear Loop reviews

If you love tracking stats and crunching the numbers on your latest outdoor activity, you’ll love The Gear Loop. Our new sister website is right here to convey you the freshest information, probably the most trustworthy evaluations, informative guides and inspirational journey options that cowl all out of doors lively life-style pursuits, from sea to summit. Whether or not that is operating or biking, winter sports activities or water sports activities, The Gear Loop has acquired it lined.

Writing by Conor Allison.