Garmin vivofit Review
You can wear a plain watch, or you can wear a Garmin vivofit band and take steps to improve your health. The Garmin vivofit provides the date and time, much like your basic watch, but it can also do so much more.
Garmin vivofit design
The Garmin vivofit features a low-profile band design that is easy to slip on and off. There is a strap keeper that you need to slip over-top to keep the band securely in place (photo below). The band is available in 6 colors for purchase, however, additional straps can be picked up in three packs to help customize and mix up your look, with even more color options. The band is available in three different sizes: small (4.7-6.9 inches, 120-175 mm) large (6.0-8.3 inches, 152-210mm), and extra large (7.9-11.6 inches, 200-295 mm). Changing or swapping out the bands takes about 30 seconds from start to finish, which makes it easy to use the Garmin vivofit as an accessory as well as for motivation.
The Garmin vivofit features a 1.00″ x 0.39″ display with all the information provided in white against a black background. To the right of the display is the toggle button that you can use to scroll through the various screens: date that alternates with time, heart rate, actual steps, goal number of steps, distance, and calories burned. I found the display size to be plenty big and clear enough to read while on the go. Unfortunately, there is no flashlight or glow function that allows you to view the information in low-light conditions, like a standard training watch. The display has encountered some heavy every-day use and picked up one scratch along the way, yet the display remains easy to read.
Tracking your steps and reaching your goals
The Garmin vivofit tracks your activity 24/7 and stays on all the time. The battery is touted as lasting a full year, which is pretty cool. Simply put the vivofit on and it automatically starts to track your steps and calories burned; it is pretty smart as well, as it updates your step goals based on your previous accomplishments to help you reach new goals. If you are inactive for over an hour, a red activity bar along the top indicates that you need to move and take the time to get up from your desk at work and tour around the office. You will increase your daily steps pretty quickly by simply paying more attention to your movements. If you want to know a more accurate number of calories burned, simply download the Garmin Connect App, which is available for the Apple and Android platforms and input personal information such as height, weight, age, gender to utilize well known calculations for calories burned. You can also add on a heart rate monitor to track your calories directly based on your activity intensity, whether at the gym or on a walk or run.
As an avid runner, I have typically used Garmin GPS watches to track my mileage and splits. The Garmin vivofit utilizes an accelerometer to calculate distance in addition to counting your steps. When used side by side, a GPS watch and the vivofit, the Garmin vivofit was usually within 0.2 miles of my actual distance, when compared by GPS watch and mapping software. This makes the Garmin vivofit perfect for those wishing to start a walk/run program or for those looking to tabulate their total activity mileage, including their running and steps throughout the day. Unfortunately, the Garmin vivofit is unable to track your distance would doing activities such as cross country skiing or alpine skiing (two of my favorites), unless you were to add the heart rate monitor.
Pairing or syncing the Garmin vivofit with your phone via the Garmin Connect application is a cinch. It took about 5 minutes to set up an account and get started. Many employers are now offering employees the ability to save some money on their insurance premiums if they start moving; the Garmin Connect application can easily be imported or exported to meet these requirements. If you don’t want to use the app, no problem, the vivofit can deliver a daily running tab of your steps, distance covered, estimated calories, without you having to do a thing. Simply slip the Garmin vivofit onto your wrist and it starts tabulating the information 24/7.
Tracking your activity is important, but tracking sleep can also be a big deal too. Simply set up your sleep times with the Garmin Connect app and you can track your sleep time and view your movements while sleeping to help assess sleep quality. This may be a great feature for some, but I was not a big fan of wearing the Garmin vivofit to sleep. While I liked knowing the data regarding how much I was sleeping or moving, I found the band to be bothersome at night. This is likely more of a personal preference. You really can wear it all day long, even in the shower or pool as it is waterproof with a max depth rating of 50m of pressure.
The Garmin vivofit is available for $129.99 and can be a great item to buy for yourself for the New Year. Three pack wristbands can be purchased online at Garmin.com for $24.99 and a heart rate monitor can be purchased as a bundle for $169.99 or added on later for $60.