Hands on: Garmin Vivofit 4 review

A year-long battery with a screen

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Our Early Verdict

The Vivofit 4 may seem basic, but considering the price it looks to be a suitable tracker for those who just want to keep an eye on their daily step count and the odd bout of exercise.

For

  • Great battery life
  • A color screen

Against

  • No GPS or heart rate
  • Lacks phone notifications

Looking for a fitness band that will track your basic activity? Garmin thinks the Vivofit 4 will be the perfect product for your wrist, but there's tough competition in this space from the likes of the Moov Now and Fitbit Alta HR.

The main highlight of the new tracker is its battery life. It may sound too good to be true, but Garmin seems certain this will last over a year.

That means you don't have to remove your tracker at night and worry about running out of charge before you hit the gym, but there are also lots of other things to like about the Vivofit 4.

Garmin Vivofit 4 release date and price

(Image: © Garmin)

An exact release date for the Vivofit 4 is unclear, but Garmin has confirmed it'll be ready and shipping in the first quarter of 2018. That should mean it's on sale by the end of March, but it may well come out before then.

As for the price, you'll be spending $79.99 / £69.99 / AU$159 for either the small or large version of the fitness tracker.

Design and display

The Vivofit 4 is noticeably thinner than previous Garmin products, meaning it takes up less room on your wrist and is a touch lighter too. For that reason it's a comfortable wear (from the hour or so we've had to play with it at least), while the plastic material it's made from should be easy to clean off after a sweaty run.

Garmin has provided a particularly secure strap on the Vivofit 4 that means it shouldn't go flying about your wrist either.

There's both a large and a small/medium size, and while we tried the smaller option (which is perhaps a bit too small for our reviewer's wrist) it was still a comfortable fit.

Color-wise you've got the choice of plain black or white, while there's also blue, black and purple versions with a speckled effect on them.

On the front of the tracker there's a small color display with a function button sat underneath. Here you'll see your basic stats, clearly displayed, but for anything particularly interesting you'll need to head into the app on your phone.

The button will cycle through the options you have including your step count, weather, calories burned and distance traveled, but there will be a few other screens when you're undertaking different exercises.

Fitness and performance

The Vivofit 4 can track steps and has a feature called Move IQ that will automatically kick in when you're doing different sports including running, biking, swimming and using elliptical equipment.

We've yet to test this out properly though and will be sure to do so for our full review.

There's no heart rate or GPS tracking tech here, which means the Vivofit 4 is not particularly suited for those who want lots of data from their runs. If you just want something to monitor your steps or your lengths in the pool though, the Vivofit 4 looks set to cover you.

We have to take Garmin's word on this for now, but the company reckons this tracker should last for at least a year. It uses two coin cell batteries, which you can replace yourself. 

This length of battery life means you won't have to take the band off every evening and you can instead use it to track sleep.

Early verdict

Even more affordable than a Fitbit Charge 2, the Garmin Vivofit 4 looks to be a particularly great option if you're looking for a simplistic tracker to monitor your daily activity and the odd bit of exercise.

It's comfortable to wear and comes with phenomenal battery life, so the Vivofit 4 could be a strong choice if you want something basic and affordable that won't need constantly charging.

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What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.