Garmin Vivosmart 4 | Review and opinion

Review and information on Garmin's latest activity bracelet


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As every year, Garmin was faithful to its appointment by presenting a new activity bracelet from the Vivosmart range. Garmin Vivosmart 4announced in September 2018, represents the renewal of the previous successful model, the Vivosmart 3For this occasion Garmin has added a oxygen saturation sensor (o pulse oximeter), with the first activity bracelet to incorporate itCompetitive pressure in this segment is increasing and Garmin's scope for contributing its differences is narrowing.


>> The best activity bracelets


The new Vivosmart 4 ha shrunk, ha increased its autonomy and has a screen more prominent In addition, the new pulse oximeter sensor allows the display of new metrics that were not previously available. Will all this be enough to continue to be a reference in the sector? Garmin Vivosmart 4


Overall operation - 8.5
Training possibilities - 7
Platform and applications - 8.5
Autonomy - 9
Finish and comfort - 7.5
Price/performance ratio - 7.5



Garmin's latest activity bracelet includes features never before seen on any manufacturer's device. In worthy relief, but... enough?

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The good

  • OLED screen that greatly improves on the Vivosmart 3
  • Smaller size
  • Despite the reduction in size, its autonomy is now greater
  • Better quality belt than in the past
  • With GPS connected through the phone
The bad
  • Once again, the strap is not interchangeable
  • No connection to external sensors


New Garmin Vivosmart 4

The new features of the Garmin Vivosmart 4 activity bracelet are not overly eye-catching, but as with every new generation, they are certainly there. But even so, Vivosmart 4 has introduced some features that have not yet been seen in the rest of the Garmin range.

  • Body Battery function - An algorithm that starts from the information provided by the different sensors and reduces it to a single piece of information: your percentage of daily energy not consumed.
  • Pulse oximeter (oxygen saturation sensor) - Used to make SpO2 measurements and, during sleep, to identify the different phases.

These are the two main new developments, but of course they are not the only ones. There are changes for the better in different aspects.

  • Strap - Although Garmin continues to make the design of the bracelet in one piece that makes it impossible to change the strap, the quality has improved. It is now somewhat stronger and seems to hold up better over the years. It has been one of the great defects of previous models, because if the strap is broken there is no possible repair.
  • Screen - The new OLED screen is much easier to see than the old LCD of the Vivosmart 3. The previous model had a silicone coating that protected the screen and offered a continuous aesthetic throughout the bracelet, is now a screen with a frame around much easier to read in any circumstances
  • Size - It's a little narrower now than it was before
  • Battery life - The size has been reduced, but that does not prevent the autonomy has been increased. Now the battery holds up to 7 days (instead of 5 in the Vivosmart 3)

Basic aspects

The control of this activity bracelet remains touch-based. The entire screen responds to gestures, and the bottom part (where the horizontal line can be seen) acts as a menu button. Garmin Vivosmart 4 - Screen You can go through the different widgets by sliding your finger over the screen. And if you click on the bottom you will access the wristband menu. The wristband is able to detect exercise automatically without you starting an activity, although it is preferable that you start and stop when you want so that you can record the whole activity in its entirety. The time it takes to start recording can be set to indicate when it should understand that you are doing the indicated exercise. Garmin Vivosmart 4 Activity Wristband - Configuring the Activity All the configuration is done through the application, being able to modify alerts or data fields. The options are not very wide, but enough for an activity bracelet. Garmin Vivosmart 4 Activity Wristband - Configuring the Activity At the daily activity level you can review the main data on the wristband screen, but it is in the application where you will see all the activity information in more detail.

In short, everything works exactly the same as in the previous model, so if you need any more specific details I recommend that you take a look at the Vivosmart 3 testOf course, the Garmin Vivosmart 4 activity wristband has other new features, such as the Body Battery function and the pulse oximeter (which Garmin calls Pulse Ox) I do want to devote a specific section to these two functions, so I will now explain them to you in detail.


- Update September 2019 -

Garmin has added the GPS online function for Vivosmart 4 (and for the new Vivomove 3) through the update 4.00This allows you not only to record the track of the route using the phone's GPS, but also to see actual rhythms and distances on the bracelet display, even if it does not have built-in GPS.

In running/walking the bracelet used the internal accelerometer, so despite not offering real data they had a margin of error of 10%-15%. This is now solved, provided you carry your phone and it goes in an area with good satellite reception (at the bottom of a backpack and looking down would not be valid).

But for activities such as cycling, where there is no movement of the wrist, it is very important. It is a good move on the part of Garmin that puts the Vivosmart 4 at the level of the rest of the competition, especially manufacturers like Fitbit, which already offered this option in some of their models.

Body Battery function

Body BatteryBody Battery is a function that at the moment is at the Vivosmart 4 exclusivelyTo summarize it easily, it indicates the amount of energy we have available until the end of the day. pulse variability, resting heart rate, stress, daily work and dream The more we move and stay active, the more energy we consume. Let's imagine that our body is the battery of your mobile phone. It charges up at night with sleep and consumes energy throughout the day at a greater or lesser rate. If we train, we need a lot of that energy, but if you lie on the couch and watch TV for 4 hours, you'll barely have any energy left. This single figure allows you, in theory, to plan your day so that you know when you have the energy to train or when you need to rest a bit before training. And in the same way, it's also a way of encouraging you to exercise if you see that it's almost bedtime and you still have a 70% of energy left, meaning that you haven't had much activity during the day. Body Battery In the image above you can see practically everything that affects this measurement.

  • On the left side you can see how I am recharging my energy during the night, until I reach 100%.
  • The periods of activity are marked in grey
  • If there were gray icons they would also indicate automatically detected activities, such as a walk.
  • The green icons mark workouts as such, in this case running and registering with another Garmin device.
  • The orange lines show the moments of greatest stress throughout the day.

The application itself gives you a fairly detailed analysis of everything that has happened throughout the day. Body Battery Of course you can check the amount of energy remaining for the rest of the day on the bracelet at any time, although you will not have it as detailed as in the application. Garmin Vivosmart 4 - Body Battery Regardless of whether the data is more or less accurate (obviously with the information that counts it won't be accurate at 100% either), I think it's a good idea, since instead of providing a multitude of metrics that aren't easy for everyone to understand, you're reducing everything to a single number. As soon as you receive your bracelet, you'll be curious about all those metrics: how you slept that night, your heart rate during the day and during your rest periods, your level of steps and activity, etc. But when you're tired of looking at all that data after three months, you'll be able to use that one metric, the Body Battery, and determine at a glance if you've been active enough that day.

Garmin Vivosmart 4 Pulse Oximeter

The oxygen saturation sensor or pulse oximeter is the main novelty of the Garmin Vivosmart 4 bracelet at the hardware level. It is not the first time that this sensor is present in any model of the Garmin range, it has been used before in the Garmin Fenix 5X Plus. But the use that each device makes of this sensor is totally different. In the case of the Fenix 5X Plus the Pulse Ox is used for high mountain hikes, being able to track what the blood oxygen rate is as you gain altitude. But in the Vivosmart 4 its use is totally different, here Pulse Ox is used to better understand the quality of sleep during the night. That doesn't mean you can't take a reading at any time of the day, which is in fact totally possible. Garmin Vivosmart 4 - Press Ox To obtain this record there is an additional sensor, and the bracelet makes use of a red LED (unlike the heart rate, which uses two green LEDs). Garmin Vivosmart 4 - Sensor Garmin Vivosmart 4 - Red LED This point measurement is for reference only, as it is not recorded anywhere and there is no section in Garmin Connect. It is saved if you activate the possibility of using the pulse oximeter during the night. You will be able to see the phases of REM sleep throughout the night and a graph with the oxygen saturation. But I repeat, exclusively during the night. Garmin Pulse Oximetry Unlike the Body Battery, the Pulse Ox function is much more diffuse. The information it provides is not easy and simple to process. We also do not have a way to validate whether this information is accurate or not. Garmin are not the only ones doing this. Fitbit has incorporated the same type of sensor in its Charge 3 to be able to identify sleep problems. But it may still be too early to know what and how we can take advantage of these new measurements.

Real-life operation

So far the theory, but if you come here is because you are looking for the real information, the real thing. And for that nothing better than a real case. When everything is going well with your body you will see that the energy is recovered at night and that it is spent during the day. This is what 1TP10We have to wait and therefore it is not possible to confirm if the readings that the bracelet is giving are correct. We suppose that it is, but there is no way to verify it. But when we are not completely healthy it is easier poder confirm if the bracelet is detecting the same symptoms because you know that you are not well. This is precisely what happened to me tonight. I have been since yesterday afternoon with a fever and the feeling of being sick. The night I had a terrible time with a fever and under 4 blankets. And in the morning I woke up with the feeling of having been run over by a freight train. Has the Garmin Vivosmart 4 bracelet seen all this? Well that is what we will see. This is the reading of Body Batt

Yesterday everything started quite normally, recovering to 100% during the night. In the mid-afternoon I took off the bracelet and didn't put it back on until I was leaving for home, just when I was starting to notice my fever rising. The drop in energy is noticeable, and the bracelet didn't know anything about what had been happening during the afternoon because I wasn't wearing it. But it does detect that the energy is very low when you put it back on your wrist. The next thing you can notice is how it has marked the whole night with a lot of stress, which has led to a very bad rest and no energy recovery. It's exactly how I feel and I think the Body Battery function has perfectly captured the situation of how I feel.

Opinion Garmin Vivosmart 4

The Garmin Vivosmart 4 bracelet is a good continuation of the Vivosmart saga. It continues to add some new features, and I think the Body Battery function is quite accurate. I do not have the same impression of the pulse oximetry sensor, because it does not provide information that can be used by the average user. Body Battery is a very easy concept to understand, and in my experience as you have seen before has been quite accurate. But the pulse oximetry has not provided me with a new data that I can use in my daily life, I really do not know what to do with it.

Buy Garmin Vivosmart 4

I hope that this complete analysis has helped you to decide if it is a valid device for you or not. All the work I do you can consult it without any cost, but if you want to support the web and with it the work I do, the best way to do it is to buy your new device through the links I provide below. And if you don't buy it today, remember to stop by when you are going to do it!

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If you have any questions, remember that you have the comments section at the bottom, where I will try to answer all your questions.

 > 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. Would you recommend this one for everyday use, for pulse and normal daily training? For series and so on I have a Phoenix 3 already.

    I'm thinking something like this or the vivomove HR. What do you think? Does this seem like the most complete option? A salute.

    1. Vivomove HR is similar in features to the Vivosmart 3. And as you see in the test there are only those two additions in this new version, it's up to you to determine if you are interested or not.

      I like the Vivomove HR very much, especially if you want to use it as an everyday watch, because it is a very discreet and aesthetic option.

  2. Hello.
    I have a couple of doubts about this model.
    Since February I have been wearing the vivosmart4 to collect daily activity and I have noticed that in the "insights" section it does not collect sleep data. The bars corresponding to the age group or sex appear, but none of them light up in orange.
    On the other hand, since a couple of days ago he has stopped collecting sleep data.
    Do you think a hard reset can be enough?
    Is the problem with the sleep data in Insights specific to this model? has it happened to anyone else?

    1. Have you made any changes to your heart rate monitoring? There should be no problem with sleep logging as it is done automatically on Garmin's servers.

      1. No, I haven't made any changes. I've done a hard reset of the Vivosmart 4 to see if it registers sleep again.
        What I have observed is that with another Garmin device that records my sleep correctly, no sleep data appears either (orange bar indicating the position of a subject in the distribution).
        Could someone please confirm that your sleep data appears in Insights?
        Greetings and thanks

        1. I see what you mean. I was just looking at the dream data and it does show up, but I wasn't paying attention to what you were saying about the Insights. It doesn't really show up so there's some server-level problem at Garmin in that regard.

          1. Thank you very much. Then I don't have to worry anymore. I'll wait for them to fix it or at the most I'll send you an e-mail to inform you.

  3. Good morning! First of all thank you very much for so many good analyses! Be clear that every time someone asks me for advice I refer them to your website and tell them to buy through the links.

    My question is that I want to renew the 920, I do not need anything specific to triathlon and the most used right now is the bike (edge 135 I'm in an era of those of "feelings" xD) but there is a fact that I trust a lot and on which I base much of the load, the pulses at rest at night ... without thinking about the price ... which would you stay? Currently I deal with a band 2 xiaomi with an app that monitors me every minute but I have the whim of integrating everything into the app of garmin. This would be worth? I thought of the 735 but has old sensor not? And the only requirement apart from the pulse ... the alarm clock vibrator, vital.

    Well, that's it, a salute!

    1. Thank you very much, Victor.

      Right now the best nighttime recovery data is offered by the Ignite Polar (a few days away from the test). The amount and quality of data is much higher than any other device right now, and those features will soon be coming to the Vantage as well. But of course, you wouldn't have the data in the Garmin application.

      In the Vivosmart 4 you can have Body Battery, which is also a value you can use to see the level of rest.

      As for the vibrating alarm, the Polar has it, but I don't know if the vibration will be enough to wake you up. In that sense the Garmin usually gives more shake.

  4. Hey, thanks for all the information you're giving out.

    I have a question, in the Garmin Connect application I do not see the "cycling" option in the default activity options, however in the app it offers me to know the data of that activity. I have updated the app and the same thing... is there any way to enable the "cycling" option or it will be activated automatically when I actually perform the activity?

    1. I guess it will be activated... I can't tell you because after trying and using so many devices, my Garmin Connect appears with all the options available.

  5. It's the same for me, in fact, in the manual it appears by default on page 5, but not in the APP, and less in Garmin Connect on the web...
    I don't know how to activate it...

    1. You can add it in the wearable's settings. Go to device, activity options and then click on edit at the top.

  6. Good morning I am thinking of buying it for my wife, she has been told that it is heart rate monitoring throughout the day would it work for her?

  7. Hi, I would like a smartband that tracks calories specifically for aerobic, zumba, dance or hiit type workouts. would this or another recommendation work for me?

  8. Hi, thanks for the review, very informative. However, still ask myself whether the pulse-Ox increases the accuracy of the body battery? If so, is the accuracy even increased if the pulse-Ox is on full-day mode instead of night-only mode?


    1. Thanks Mike.

      Pulse Ox is not related to the Body Battery metric. So if SpO2 readings are not interesting for you, you can disable Pulse OX and save battery.

  9. The problem with the GARMIN vivosmart 3 and 4 devices is the lifetime of the strap, once it breaks, there are NO replacement parts to be found anywhere.

  10. Hello, I can use both Vivosmart at night and Fenix 5x during the day? all linked to the app Garmin connect? Is that the garmin fenix is too big to sleep with it, and so I wanted to monitor sleep with Vivosmart 4 and daily activity with fenix 5x.

    Thank you!

  11. Hi. If I am in an activity ( for example running) it gives me the option to skip the music? Turn up the volume? Or answer calls? With the Fenix 3 hr I can but I'm thinking of getting something more discreet... Thanks.

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