Garmin Vivofit 2 review

It's got stamina, and will help improve yours

Garmin Vivofit 2 review

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"Hmm, that's going to hurt," is what I thought when I first went to place it on my wrist. Like the Timex Ironman Move x20, the big screen does mean less flexibility. You can't jam a big hard rectangle in a soft rubber band and expect it to fit like one of those charity bands. In short, it's stiff and clunky.

Garmin Vivofit 2 review

The first night, I wore it to bed so I could have a good laugh/rant at the sleep analysis in the morning. I had to take it off before drifting off because it was digging into my arm. But then I put it on again in the morning, and I don't think it's been off in the last two months since – and there have been no further comfort problems to report, so I guess you get used to it pretty quickly.

Another thing that's helped it stay on is the clasp. It's one of those belt-notch deals: find the notches that fit your wrist and jam the little plastic plugs through them, then twist a dial to lock them in place. Not that any of the other fitness bands I've reviewed have ever fallen off, but it gives you some nice peace of mind.

Step counter

When I knew I'd walked a long way, this thing said I'd walked a long way. As mentioned earlier, I took it on a sightseeing tour of the French capital. It told me I'd walked 14,725 steps – just over seven miles. And pleasingly, the graph on the app went ballistic.

I didn't really get any "wahey, you've bloody done it!" notification from the Vivofit 2 (I think it might have beeped quietly when I passed my goal), but I did take pride and pleasure in showing people the graph when I returned home. That's essentially what these things are for.

The weird bit is that on a day when I walked just 318 steps, it told me I'd burned nearly the same (2,200 calories). I also had a day when I'd walked 373 steps and burned just 1,055. In summary, just ignore the calorie counting.

I also did a few runs with it on, unpaired from any third-party apps. It was accurate enough, but I wouldn't use it, or any of its ilk, for more serious fitness training. Most won't want ball park figures for that kind of thing.

So, we started out with an OK watch for £90; now we have an OK watch and a decent step counter for the same price.


Garmin Connect is a little bit sterile. It presents you with all the information and it syncs with ease over Bluetooth – just press a button on the screen or do it from the band itself – but there are a lot of menu screens to navigate, and you can't really interact with the data in any way.

Garmin Vivofit 2 review

There's very little in the way of swiping; you kind of have to load each day of data separately, for instance, rather than just flipping through it. It does the job, though, in so much as showing your info, like an overheard projector might do in a classroom (do they still use those?).

It needs work, though, and is just too dreary, not seeming to fit in with the encouraging 'let's all get fitter' vibe.

I mean, the Withings' companion app may not be too deep either when it comes to interactivity, but at least it manages to look bright and jolly without falling too far into "Innocent Smoothie" tweeness.