They've got cool names, but what really separates Garmin's Vivofit 2 and Vivofit HR?

Garmin's Vivo fitness line of fitness trackers has an awful lot to offer. They may not be the most stylish fish in the fitness tracker sea, but they're made for the true fitness fanatics.

I'm not saying they're ugly by any means; in fact, they more resemble a sport watch. If you want accurate functionality for a relatively reasonable price—compared to other brands—then look no further. We're here to compare the Vivofit 2 and the Vivosmart HR, Garmin's base and middle-of-the-road models.

The contenders

Vivofit 2

Vivofit 2

Garmin's Vivofit 2 is the base model in its Vivo Fitness line, but that doesn't mean it's a slouch in the fitness tracking department. The Vivofit 2 offers a lot for $99.99, with its backlit display, basic sleep tracking, and audible move bar. Here's a rundown of the Vivofit 2's features:

  • Step counter
  • Distance tracker
  • Personalized Daily Goals, using the Garmin Connect app
  • Time
  • Audible Move Bar that lets you know when you've been sitting around too long
  • Wireless/Auto Sync
  • Activity Timer
  • Backlit Display
  • One Year or more Battery Life (two replaceable coin batteries)

As far as an entry-level model is concerned, the Vivofit 2 can compete with some other brands' mid-range models, like the Fitbit Charge. For a hundred bucks, it's a great way to get into the fitness tracker game and it's a great way to stay in shape.

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Vivosmart HR

Vivosmart HR

Garmin's middle-of-the-road model is where things pick up for this line. The Vivosmart HR is only $149.99 and packs quite a punch for the price tag. In fact, the Vivosmart HR just has some plain cool features. Here we go:

  • Step counter
  • Distance tracker
  • Personalized Daily Goals, using the Garmin Connect app
  • Time
  • Move Bar that lets you know when you've bee sitting around too long
  • Wireless/Auto Sync
  • Activity Timer
  • Backlit Display
  • Wrist-based 24/7 heart rate monitor
  • Call and text notifications
  • Vibration alerts
  • Touchscreen display
  • Find My Phone
  • VIRB Remote- lets you control Garmin's VIRB action camera!
  • Music Player Controls
  • Intensity Minutes, which recognizes when you hit a moderate activity level

The Vivosmart HR is where fitness tracker starts to meet smart watch, without being a proper smart watch. Being able to control Garmin's version of the GoPro and your music, on the go, are two of the Vivosmart HR's coolest features and for an extra 50 bucks, they're well worth it.

You also get more accurate sleep tracking when a heart rate monitor is added to the equation. So, if you're like the rest of the world and not getting enough sleep, the Vivosmart HR is the better route to sleep health.

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The bottom line

Both the Garmin Vivofit 2 and Vivosmart HR are formidable fitness trackers with great features for their price range. For comparison, the Fitbit Flex goes for the same price as the Vivofit 2, but has no display, which means no time or timer, and no audible or visible move bar. The Vivosmart HR is the same price as the Fitbit Charge HR, at $149.99, but the Charge HR offers nothing in terms of music controls or remote camera control and anything cool like that.