Garmin has announced a new fitness tracker, the Vivosmart 4, and it promises to offer advanced health-tracking functions whilst retaining a sleek silhouette. We take a look at the Garmin Vivosmart 4 features and compare it to rivals such as the Fitbit Charge 3.
The new Garmin fitness tracker will replace the Vivosmart 3, but will cost slightly more at $129.99 – understandable, given its improved roster of health tracking features. These include Pulse Ox, which will estimate the volume of oxygen in your blood.
It’s available to order now, but won’t be delivered until at least the middle of September.
So what do you get for the near $130 price tag and, if you already have a Vivosmart 3, should you upgrade? We answer these, and all the other important questions about the Vivosmart 4.
Is the Garmin Vivosmart 4 a Smartwatch or a Fitness Tracker?
It’s closer to a fitness tracker but, as we’ll explain below, it’s not the most exercise-focused wearable out there. Instead, think of it more as a health tracker.
You’ll still be able to receive notifications from your smartwatch, as well as check the weather, control your music, find your phone and reply to texts with preset responses (Android phones only).
What is Garmin Vivosmart 4 Pulse Ox?
Pulse Ox is the headline feature of the Vivosmart 4, and with good reason. Pulse Ox gives you a much deeper understanding of your health by observing how your body absorbs oxygen, rather than simply measuring your resting and active heart rate, like other fitness trackers.
You’ll be able to take a snapshot of your blood oxygen level at any time, or use it overnight to assess your sleep quality.
Does the Garmin Vivosmart 4 Track Your Heart Rate?
Yes, the Vivosmart 4 will track your heart rate. It’ll also give you the ability to see your heart rate zones, how close you are in % to your maximum heart rate and will give you alerts for heart rate abnormalities.
What Sports Can the Garmin Vivosmart 4 Track?
The Vivosmart 4 is less focused on tracking performance in individual sports than some wearables, instead taking a broader look at your overall fitness.
However, the Vivosmart 4 will automatically detect when you’re walking, swimming, cycling or training on an elliptical machine and send all the data to the Garmin Connect platform.
Does the Garmin Vivosmart 4 Track Steps?
It certainly does. And, in addition to helping you meet that 10,000 daily steps target, the Vivosmart 4 will help you track the number of floors you’ve climbed, calories burned, your active minutes throughout a day and more. It’ll also let you know when you’ve been sitting still for too long, with regular move reminders.
How Large is the Garmin Vivosmart 4?
The Vivosmart 4 is available in two sizes: small/medium or large. The small/medium size will fit wrists with a circumference between 4.8-7.4 inches (122-188mm) whereas the large will fit wrists between 5.8-8.4 inches (148-215mm).
The small/medium Vivosmart 4 weighs in at 20.4g and the large version tips the scales at 21.5g. The screen is 0.74-inches across the diagonal on both sizes.
What Colours Does the Garmin Vivosmart 4 Come In?
The small/medium Vivosmart 4 is available in four colours:
Gray with a rose gold buckle and screen case
Berry with a light gold buckle and screen case
Azure blue with a silver buckle and screen case
Black with a midnight (black) buckle and screen case.
The Large Vivosmart 4 is only available in black, with midnight accents.
When is the Garmin Vivosmart 4 Available?
You can buy it now from Amazon or directly from Garmin. However, you’ll need to be prepared to wait. Deliveries are expected to begin in 3-5 weeks – around the end of September or beginning of October.
How Much Does the Garmin Vivosmart 4 Cost?
It’ll set you back $129.99. That’s $10 more expensive than the Vivosmart 3 it’s replacing, but we think the price hike is justified given the extra features.
How Long Does the Garmin Vivosmart 4’s Battery Last?
Garmin claims that you’ll see up to seven days on a single charge. However, it also notes that if you decide to activate the pulse ox sleep tracking, this will decrease.
Is the Garmin Vivosmart 4 Waterproof?
Yep, you’ll be able to take it in the shower or the pool without it taking damage. However, we’d avoid taking it in open water like the sea, for example.
Does the Garmin Vivosmart 4 have GPS?
Nope, the Vivosmart 4 doesn’t offer built-in GPS or even connected GPS via your smartphone.
What Other Health Tracking Features Does the Vivosmart 4 Offer?
The Vivosmart 4 also introduces an energy monitor known as Body Battery. This monitors the body’s energy reserves, letting users know the optimal time for activity and rest. It assesses the energy levels using a combination of stress, heart rate variability, sleep and activity data.
Should I Get a Garmin or a Fitbit?
While Fitbit is probably the biggest name in wearables, Garmin has established itself as major player in the market in recent years.
However, the new Garmin Vivosmart 4 is a slightly unusual proposition. It doesn’t claim to track loads of sports with pinpoint accuracy, instead seeking to give you a more rounded, holistic view of your health – keeping track of sleep, stress and overall fitness levels to help you stay healthy. It’s not as great a choice for tracking exercise.
One of its big rivals will be Fitbit’s new Charge 3, which launched last week. It’s slightly different in approach to the Garmin, but they’re similarly priced and it should offer a premium wearable experience.
If all you want from a wearable, though, is simple activity tracking, you may be better off getting the cheaper Fitbit Flex 2 or Garmin Vivofit 4. Again, if you’re after in-depth sports tracking, you’ll need to pay more for features like GPS tracking.
Best Fitness Trackers and Smartwatches for 2018
Alongside the Fitbit Charge 3, the Vivosmart 4 isn’t short of rivals. In fact, within the Garmin range itself is the Vivosport tracker, costing $169.99, which has more advanced sport tracking than the Vivosmart 4, in a similar form factor.
Garmin also offers the Vivomove HR, which costs $199.99 but combines classic wristwatch looks, with some of the activity tracking smarts found on the Vivosmart 4.
Outside the Garmin stable, you’ll find a host of rival smartwatches and activity trackers which, while not offering exactly the same experience as the Vivosmart 4, they do offer some of the same features.
For example, Samsung recently announced its new Galaxy Watch which, using the Korean company’s new Samsung Health platform, offers sleep and stress tracking. Apple also announced big improvements to its popular Apple Watch models, allowing for yoga workouts and guided breathing exercises.
We’re also expecting Asus to release its unprecedented, non-invasive blood pressure-monitoring smartwatch, the VivoWatch BP before the end of 2018, after announcing it a few months back.
Tom Fogden is a writer for Tech.co with a range of experience in the world of tech publishing. Tom covers everything from cybersecurity, to social media, website builders, and point of sale software when he's not reviewing the latest phones.