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Garmin Vivofit review

A fitness band that lasts for a year on a single charge

Garmin Vivofit review
It'll keep you motivated during the day, but not so much at night

The Garmin Vivofit is an affordable fitness tracker with some very agreeable design choices. It might not be backlit, but the always-on display makes the wristband a viable wristwatch replacement - as does the year-long battery life.

Essentially, Garmin has taken a solid first stab at what a fitness tracker should be about: 24/7/365 life tracking. It's just a shame that there are a few niggling omissions.

Read more: Garmin Fenix 5 Plus

The lack of an altimeter is one that we feel shouldn't be on the list, and hopefully Garmin will include one in the Vivofit Mk 2. Its sleep tracking is also very rudimentary when put side by side with other wearables on the market.

But then comes the price tag, making the Vivofit also one of the most affordable fitness trackers out there right now.


That there? That's the red bar of guilt

We liked

The Vivofit is comfortable and stylish enough to wear around the clock, and its always-on display, water resistant design and year-long battery life certainly mean you've few excuses to take it off. Indeed, one of the best bits of praise we can throw at the Vivofit is that you can easily forget it's there.

And while there's no GPS, the pedometer's dynamic goal system is unique and a step-up on the typical fitness gamification.

We disliked

The lack of a backlight will be a bugbear for many. Syncing data can also be a hassle when the app decided to drop the connection, and means you'll probably want to make sure you're sending over your stats on a regular basis.

But my biggest problem with the Vivofit is the lack of an altimeter, which means it's can't really factor in the number of stairs you've climbed, for example. With the lack of GPS, missing the altimeter means that accuracy takes a significant hit.

Final verdict

Before you head into the quality of its various fitness features, the Vivofit's always-on display and year-long battery life make it a wearable winner - possibly the only one that could replace your watch right now.

Luckily, the fitness stuff is good too for anyone looking for a tracker that doesn't get too serious. It might lack GPS but there are plenty of features to get you moving.

When it gets dark the Vivofit becomes a little less useful, given that it misses both an alarm and a backlight, but luckily there are enough positives - including the low price - to make the Vivofit a fitness band to recommend.