Garmin vivofit review

The vivofit by Garmin is a fitness tracker that not only tracks distance, calories burned, and steps — it lasts on one charge for an entire year. Slap it on your wrist and never worry about charging it. But are the features and functionality a match for the awesome battery life? Let's see!

One of the first things I noticed about the Garmin vivofit is that it has the exact same type of clasp as the Fitbit Flex. Anyone who has read that review knows I'm not a huge fan. My main reason against them is that they're super easy to get snagged on clothes or exercise equipment. Sometimes you don't notice this happens and the tracker can get lost. I've even had it fall off in my coat sleeve. I was disappointed by Garmin's choice in a clasp but it's something I can overlook if the feature set is there.

The feature that most people hear about the vivofit is the battery life. The type of screen the vivofit uses is the main factor here. And when the vivofit does eventually die, just replace the two coin cell batteries inside it and you're good to go for another year. Not bad!

As for actually using the vivofit, it is comfortable on your wrist, minus my issue with the latch mechanism. Toggle through your different stats on the tracker itself by tapping the button. At a glance you can see step count, distance, calories burned, the time, date, and heart rate. In order to use the heart rate feature you'll need to attach the telemetry strap that's include with the vivofit. If you don't want to use it, you can just ignore the heart rate statistics. The other staple feature is what Garmin calls the Move Bar. If you sit idle for too long, a red bar accumulates on the screen. In order to reset it, you'll need to move around.

The vivofit is also waterproof up to 50 meters which means you can do any kind of water activities you'd like without worrying about whether or not it'll get damaged. This is a huge plus for anyone who wants to do exercises in a pool. Many other fitness trackers need to be taken off, but not the vivofit.

Almost as important as the wristband itself is the Garmin Connect companion app. This is where your data is stored from your vivofit. I don't find the Garmin Connect app to be overwhelmingly great but it gets the job done and presents data in an easy to understand method. The only down side is that folks who want a community to rally with for motivation probably won't find it, at least not yet.

The good

  • Battery lasts an entire year, meaning you never have to charge it
  • Waterproof up to 50 meters so feel free to track water activities
  • Move Bar keeps you conscious of how long you're sitting idle for
  • Comfortable to wear for long periods of time
  • Capable of tracking sleep patterns
  • Telemetry strap included for heart rate monitoring

The bad

  • Clasp doesn't feel sturdy and can easily become snagged on something
  • App isn't as robust as other offerings
  • Sync times with the app are often times slower than expected
  • Not a very large community, I couldn't find any friends using a Garmin tracker

The bottom line

The Garmin vivofit is a great product overall but has a few minor design flaws, such as the clasp, that I'd really like to see addressed in future iterations. It's also hard to find friends who use it so if motivation is key for you, it may not be the best choice.

On the other hand, if you don't care about sharing your stats and just want to track workouts with minimal upkeep, the vivofit is waterproof and never needs to be charged. And for people who value convenience more than anything else, they won't be disappointed with the vivofit.

Allyson Kazmucha

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.