Garmin Vivosmart 4 vs Fitbit Charge 4: Which should you buy?

Fitbit Charge 4
Fitbit Charge 4 (Image credit: Fitbit)

Both the Garmin Vivosmart 4 and the Fitbit Charge 4 are feature-rich, capable health and fitness trackers. Though neither is a smartwatch, they both offer several smart features, such as notifications from your phone. So, how do they differ? There are many features provided by the less-expensive Garmin that the Fitbit doesn't have, but the Fitbit has the larger screen and swappable bands.

With a lower price point, slimmer profile, and a more significant number of features, the Garmin Vivosmart 4 will be the top pick for many. However, if you want GPS and a larger screen for easier reading and changeable bands for different looks, then the Fitbit Charge 4 is the way to go.

Similarities and differences

There are quite a few features shared by both the Garmin Vivosmart 4 and the Fitbit Charge 4. Connect either device to your iPhone or Android smartphone for detailed readings on everything the device is tracking. Both will track your sleep, steps, activity, calorie burn, floors climbed, a variety of exercises, and heart rate.

Either one will guide you through breathing exercises to help you relax. You can get notifications from your smartphone so you won't miss calls, texts, or app alerts on either device. Quick Reply to texts is a feature on both devices, but only if you're using an Android phone. The battery life on both is usually about a week.

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Garmin Vivosmart 4Fitbit Charge 4
Steps and activityYesYes
Calories burnedYesYes
Floors climbedYesYes
Sleep tracking and stagesYesYes
Female health trackingNoYes
Auto exercise recognitionNoYes
Multiple exercise modesYesYes
24/7 heart rate trackingYesYes
Pulse OxYesNo
SwimproofYesYes
Built-in GPSNoYes
AltimeterYesNo
Notifications and alerts from phoneYesYes
Quick replies to texts (Android only)YesYes
Find My PhoneYesNo
VIRB® Camera RemoteYesNo
Control smartphone musicYesYes (Spotify)
Contactless paymentNoYes (Fitbit Pay)
Monitors your energy levelYesNo
All-day stress trackingYesNo
Customizable clock faceNoYes
Colors offeredFourTwo
Band can be changedNoYes

Both trackers will monitor your heart rate around the clock, but Garmin takes it further with a pulse ox sensor that gauges blood oxygen saturation levels. Note that if you're using the pulse ox sensor, battery life will be shorter. It also has an altimeter and an accelerometer. Additionally, the Garmin offers all-day stress tracking and a "Body Battery" monitor to optimize your daily activities based on your energy levels. Say "cheese!" The Garmin Vivosmart 4 also acts as a camera remote for your smartphone. Control your music from the Garmin as well.

The Fitbit Charge 4 uses the built-in GPS to track pace and distance on screen during outdoor runs and bike rides. The Charge 4 automatically senses you're starting a workout and will start monitoring it. You can track your menstrual cycles with the Charge 4, which you can't do with the Vivosmart 4. The Fitbit Charge 4 has a convenient contactless payment feature called Fitbit Pay.

The Garmin Vivosmart 4 comes in four different colors: Gray with Rose Gold Hardware, Black with Midnight Hardware, Berry with Light Gold Hardware, and Azure Blue with Silver Hardware. However, these options are only available in the Small/Medium size. If you need a Large, your only option is Black with Midnight Hardware. Choose your color carefully, because it's what you'll be wearing every day. The band cannot be changed.

The Fitbit Charge 4 comes in two colors: Black (with various color bands) or Rosewood. However, it has a removable, changeable band. So, while the aluminum hardware color is what it is, you have an unlimited number of band options. Not only does Fitbit sell some, but there are third-party options as well.

Bottom Line

For many people, the less-expensive Garmin Vivosmart 4 will be the better pick. It has a host of health and fitness tracking features in an unobtrusively small package. Also, it has several smart features so you can interact with your smartphone from your wrist, some of which the Fitbit does not have.

On the other hand, the built-in GPS on the Fitbit's latest Charge model will be a game-changer for many. If GPS is an important feature for you, you'll definitely prefer the Fitbit Charge 4. Additionally, the Garmin's screen is tiny, so if you need a larger screen, then the Fitbit Charge 4 is the one for you. The Fitbit also has a removable band, so you like to change up your look, go for the Fitbit.

Karen S Freeman
Contributor

Karen is a contributor to iMore.com as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at CNET. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, AppAdvice, WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.