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Garmin Vivoactive 4/4S | First details analysis

Official presentation


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Today at the IFA in Berlin, Garmin is presenting a new fleet of models, specifically everything that was leaked weeks ago and that I had already made you knownIn addition to this Garmin Vivoactive 4 (which on this occasion is accompanied by a smaller model, the Vivoactive 4S), also comes the Garmin Venu and the new Garmin Vivomove familyBut I will talk about those in other articles that I will publish throughout the day, and I will also expand this one with more information when I can get some time (today is a crazy day).

The Garmin Vivoactive 4, as I said before, stands out first of all because it comes in two different sizes: the 45mm Vivoactive 4 (slightly larger than the Vivoactive 3) and as a novelty a Vivoactive 4S that measures only 40mm in circumference.

So, as with other models, Garmin decided to divide its range into two different sizes instead of having just one size that left no one happy. For some the Vivoactive 3 was small, for others big.

Garmin Vivoactive 4, models and colours

Perhaps it is interesting to note that the main focus this time is on the smaller model. The Vivoactive 4S comes in four different colors, while the Vivoactive 4 we have to be content with two. At least for now, in the medium term Garmin always tends to add more variants.

The only difference between the 4 and 4S is the size, everything else is the same, however this difference in diameter leads to differences in other aspects that I will detail.

Garmin Vivoactive 4

The Vivoactive 4 is the 45mm diameter model. The silicone strap is standard type (with quick release) 22mm wide. It uses a transflective touch screen of 1.3″ diameter with 260×260 pixels resolution. It is 50.5 grams in weight.

As for battery life, remember that like all models of 2019 Vivoactive 4 comes with Sony GNSS chipset, with lower power consumption than previous Mediatek or SIRFstar. The autonomy is up to 6 hours with use of GPS at 1s and listening to music simultaneously. That's equivalent to about 18h without using the music.

Because that is another of the main features, there is no longer a "Music" finish and all of them include 4GB of memory to store music both synchronized from the computer and from streaming platforms such as Spotify, Amazon Music or Deezer.

Only available in two colors: gray with polished steel bezel or black.

Garmin Vivoactive 4S

As for the Vivoactive 4S, it reduces its size to 40mm in diameter. Consequently the width of the strap is also reduced to 18mm, also silicone and with quick release. The screen loses 5mm, staying at 1.1″ for a resolution of 218×218 pixels and a weight of 40 grams.


However, the autonomy is not so affected, because the space for the battery is smaller, but it reaches up to 5 hours with combined use of GPS and music, which is not bad for a clock of this size.

In terms of colors there is more variety than in the Vivoactive 4: gray with polished steel bezel, black, pink with gold bezel and white with pink gold bezel.

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Marvel Special Editions

Garmin has begun a collaboration with Marvel and has launched two special versions of Vivoactive 4 based on characters from The Avengers comics, the Legacy Hero.

On one hand we have the Captain Marvel version, which is based on the Vivoactive 4S. And for the kids there is the Captain America edition, starting with the Vivoactive 4 but a little wider.

They offer specific finishes (such as leather and silicone strap) and, on the back, inscriptions with the famous quotes of each of the two characters.

The differences with the rest of the Vivoactive range don't end there. There are more themed elements such as screens and animations exclusive to these models, as well as badges and customisation exclusive to the Garmin Connect application.

Garmin Avengers

No doubt a different touch for these special editions that the most comic book fans will appreciate.

New Garmin Vivoactive 4

And what's new with the Garmin Vivoactive 4? Well, as always and for convenience, I'll leave you with a little list. When it comes to comparisons, it's clear that it's the Vivoactive 3 to look at.

  • Two sizes different: Vivoactive 4 in 45mm and Vivoactive 4S in 40mm
  • Sony GNSS chipset (like all the rest of the Garmin and other manufacturers' range)
  • Optical heart rate sensor Garmin Elevate v3 with Pulse Ox (pulse oximetry estimation)
  • Two buttons control panel in addition to the touch screen (on the Vivoactive 3 there was only one)
  • Music playback (previously only for Vivoactive 3 Music, now it is a basic feature)
  • Garmin Pay (previously present)
  • Two new sports profiles: yoga and pilates
  • Training sessionsIt shows different strength, cardio, pilates and yoga exercises on screen through on-screen animations. The clock comes with a series of training sessions that can be extended with others that you download from Garmin Connect. I will dedicate more information to this function throughout the day (under development). You can also design yoga and pilates training sessions from Garmin Connect
  • Body Battery to measure the amount of energy remaining (present in other models, new in Vivoactive)
  • Menstrual Cycle Trackingwhich was previously only in the application and will now also appear on the clock.
  • Hydration monitoringYou can write down when and how much you drink throughout the day (new feature in Garmin)
  • Estimated sweat loss after training
  • Breath monitoring throughout the day, in the night rest, in the Yoga sport profile and in the guided breathing exercises.
  • Incident detection It is necessary to have the phone on you and will activate if it detects a sudden fall, or can be activated manually to warn that you are in a compromising situation (Already present in other models, new in Vivoactive)

Garmin Vivoactive 4S family

As you can see we have the novelties we could expect in terms of hardware renewal (Sony chipset, music, etc) and the dose we could expect in its software, highlighting the possibility of seeing animations of the different exercises.

Training animations

Without a doubt, this is the main novelty of the Vivoactive 4 (and the Venu), something that Fitbit had in its models since the Fitbit Blaze (already years ago), although it was something more basic.

We've also seen it in the Polar Ignitebut in that case the animations are much simpler.

In short, Vivoactive 4 will show you animations of different exercises to help you perform yoga, pilates, strengthening and cardio sessions. You will be able to see on the screen which exercises you need to perform, along with an animation of what you need to do.

As you can see, this is more or less what Fitbit was proposing in the Blaze and later, but where the interesting things start is in Garmin Connect, because just as with the programming of advanced race training, we can also design your own training through the application.

For example, for yoga training we can select all the positions we want and download the training to the clock. When you go to perform the training, you will be guided through the different steps exactly as if it were a series training, only in this case it will be with videos of the exercise to be performed.

Garmin Vivoactive 4, availability and price

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Garmin Vivoactive 4


Garmin Vivoactive 4S

It's a matter of days before you can buy the Vivoactive 4 as its release is imminent. As for the prices, they are quite in line with those of Vivoactive 3 Music at its release. I'm talking specifically about the music version because it's the direct comparison.

There are two price scales. In this case the basic models are gray with a polished steel bezel. Both Garmin Vivoactive 4 and Garmin Vivoactive 4S will cost 279 ? in that finish.

If you want to opt for one of the other colors (black in Vivoactive 4 and pink or white in Vivaoctive 4S) it is 20 ? more: 299 ?.

The Legacy Hero special series will cost £399.

The upside? It brings the price of the current Vivoactive 3 down, and it's still a perfectly good watch to this day, so don't miss this week's offers.

This is just an initial presentation of the watch, with the main details and new features. The full analysis will come later, once the watch's final units are available and it has reached the market. So stay tuned because there will be a test of the Garmin Vivoactive 4 with all the details, as always.

And with that... thanks for reading!

View on the Garmin website

Eduardo Mateos

I've been surrounded by electronic devices of all kinds for more than 25 years. Using them, testing them, taking them apart and dissecting them. Long distance triathlete: I swim, run and cycle for a long time. Maybe too much.

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  1. Thank you very much, Eduardo, that was quick!

    Waiting for more information. Guided training is like the Ignite?

    1. It's a little different. What the Ignite Polar does is give you different training recommendations, in the Vivoactive 4 (and Venu) what we can do is design our own. It's similar... but different.

      1. Wow, I had the "illusion" that Garmin also relate as Polar has done the theme of rest, stress and training load to go recommending workouts. In this it seems that the Ignite is a more complete watch, which is still without clear music ... They do not finish topping ....

    1. All the new features presented today will arrive at the Fenix 6 first, and then at Forerunner 945 later.

  2. Polar Ignite or Garmin Vivoactive 4S? The Polar loses the music and the Garmin loses that relationship that makes polar between /sleep, training load and what you should do/. In the health section seems more complete the Garmin, records more variables (breathing, stress, pulse oximeter ...), but then does not "apply" as Polar. They do not finish with these things and get a watch with everything.

    Which one would you take?

    1. If there's one good thing about the Polar, it's how it combines everything... In the Garmin at the end it's data that you have to interpret.

      My verdict will have to wait for the test, but I'd say they're different soon enough... and that's good.

  3. Thank you very much Eduardo!

    So soon, vivoactive 4 or FR245 Music?

    It's worth paying the extra for the Venu?

    Thank you!

    1. I still have to test it and pay attention to the little details...

      But in the end it's the same war as VA3 and 235 a year ago. It depends on your usage profile

      As for the Venu's extra, it already depends on the type of screen you like, the rest of the functions are exactly the same.

  4. Thank you very much, Eduardo?

    Quick question, vivoactive 4 or fr245 music?

    It's worth paying the extra for the Venu?

    Thank you!

    1. I'm answering you the same as Ruben.

      I still have to test it and pay attention to the little details...

      But in the end it's the same war as VA3 and 235 a year ago. It depends on your usage profile

      As for the Venu's extra, it already depends on the type of screen you like, the rest of the functions are exactly the same.

  5. This one or Forerunner 245 music? which one to choose? for the little I've seen the 245 has more features and data in the race training. in the rest wins the Vivoactive including the Garmin Pay.

    1. Take a look at the answers to Ruben and Naskar regarding the same question (not to copy it again...)

  6. I look forward to your test, is my next purchase, what I have not too clear is whether with reflective screen or amolet, I hope that the reflective look is better than in the vivoactive 3 that indoors and backlit I leave something cold

    Thank you

  7. Hi Eduardo, I'm looking for a watch with a GPS top of 200 euros to use mainly for swimming in the pool, what would you recommend? I don't care about the brand.
    Thank you very much.

    1. No, what you can do is lock or unlock the screen so that there are no false touches. But you can't do it with the buttons, only with the screen.

  8. Waiting for your review of Vivoactive 4 like water from May!
    There have been some very bad comments and I sincerely trust your experience more before buying, I also had in mind the Venu and the new Galaxy active 2... but I think the battery rules. So I will wait for your tests!
    Thank you for your excellent work!

    1. At the moment I have it on my wrist...

      I'm already working on the full review, see if it's ready soon.

  9. Hi! a question, the vivoactive 4, I understand that you can sync with the TrainingPeaks platform, and I will get the workouts, right? That is, if I create a workout in TP, I will podré download it on the watch to do it, and once completed that workout, and once synchronized with Garmin, I will see the results in TP, is that right?

    Thank you,

    1. Yes, that is something that depends on the platform level synchronization and not on the clock in question. As long as the clock is compatible with advanced trainings (and the Vivoactive 4/Venu is), once synchronized the workout will be available in the Garmin calendar to perform it.

    1. It's almost complete... there are images and a few data missing that I want to finish collecting. Probably by the beginning of next week (I hope to be on time!).

  10. Hello good evening. After reading many pages, comparing and so on I have many doubts about which watch to take and which one suits me.

    I'm a sports guy who plays a lot of sports and that's why I've been looking at multisport watches... I run, swim, play soccer, do crossfit...

    When I see the watch I have to buy, I hesitate between polar ignite or vantage m, this Garmin... and some others.

    I'd like to know what pros and cons you see in each of them, because no matter how much I try to compare, I make a mess of it.

    I'd like it to be tactile, although it's not essential, but if I can work with data that serves as a reference...

    Something else is for when it's available?

    Thank you very much and I look forward to your reply

  11. I'm hesitating between the Garmin Vivoactive 4 and the Samsung Active 2. At the moment I like Garmin better but I'm waiting for your full analysis so I can get out of it for good. Very good job analyzing products.


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