Hands on: Garmin Vivosmart 4 review

A simple, slimline fitness tracker

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

Its small form factor, range of modes and features and and range of colors makes the Vivosmart 4 an accessible and attractive proposition.

For

  • Slimline and swimproof
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Range of modes

Against

  • Screen is pretty small
  • No GPS

The Garmin Vivosmart 4 is a simple, slimline, swimproof fitness tracker that allows you to monitor activities, count your steps, check your heart rate and track your sleep.

Launched at IFA 2018, this isn't a tracker for the fitness fanatics, as it's aimed at a slightly more casual audience.

It's not too expensive either, as the Garmin Vivosmart 4 price is $129.99 (£119.99, AU$199), how you can't buy it just yet. Garmin's US site estimates 3-5 weeks, while its UK announcement places the launch sometime in the third quarter of this year.

The first thing you'll notice when you pick up the Garmin Vivosmart 4 is its size. It's really small, with a slender strap, and weighs very little.

It means the Vivosmart 4 sits comfortably on the wrist, and the strap has a traditional buckle on it, rather than a push-in stud that some cheap fitness trackers have which can easily come undone.

There's no need to worry about losing the Vivosmart 4 during an intensive workout then, and on the underside of the tracker a heart rate monitor can keep an eye on your BPM.

It's also waterproof and swimpoof, allowing you to track your lengths as well as a variety of land-based activities such as walking, running and cycling.

There is a screen on the Vivosmart 4, but its small, black and white and can only display an icon and a few characters at a time. 

For the basics like activity selection, step count, the time and basic smartphone notifications it's fine - but you can't do all that much on the tracker itself.

Most of the control - and data analysis - is done via the smartphone app, although this wasn't available to try during our hands on time with the wearable.

Due to the screen's small size, it's not the easiest to read, especially if you have poor eyesight, but it bright so it can be viewed in direct sunlight.

The touchscreen is responsive, and there's a capacitive button just below it to take you back home.

The Garmin Vivosmart 4 will be available in berry with a gold bezel, powder grey with a rose gold bezel, azure blue with a silver bezel and black with a slate bezel. 

Garmin claims the battery in the Vivosmart 4 can last for up to five days on a single charge, and it's something we'll put to the test during our in-depth review process.

There's a mode called Body Battery too, which Garmin says will analyze your body's current power level. It's not overly clear how this is calculated, and it wasn't something we were able to try out during our hands on.

Early verdict

If you're looking for a relatively inexpensive activity tracker the Garmin Vivosmart 4 looks to be a strong contender for your wrist.

Its small form factor, range of modes and features and and range of colors makes in an accessible, and attractive proposition.

  • IFA 2018 is Europe's biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they're announced. 

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.