Garmin Vivosmart HR, an activity monitor with an optical sensor and intelligent notifications


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Did you feel like reading the whole test? It's already completed, so you can click here to access itThis thread is the presentation of the bracelet, the most complete and relevant information is the one you will find in the test.

After the presentation last week of the new ForerunnersWith the Forerunner 235 with optical pulse sensor developed by Garmin, it was expected that Garmin would incorporate its new sensor to one of the devices that have more reason to wear it, the activity bracelets. And by the way, Garmin has already given its optical sensor a name, "Elevate". The new Garmin Vivosmart HR follows the trend of this type of devices, combining in a small bracelet a touch screen to display information along with a series of sensors (accelerometer, altimeter, optical sensor) that will give all the necessary data to measure our exercise and the level of intensity of your day to day.

Garmin Vivosmart HR

This is not a simple update, there are several new features

The Garmin Vivosmart HR bracelet is not a new product line. Just over a year ago the original Vivosmart was introduced, which linked Vivofit with mobile notifications. Today Garmin continues with the product range incorporating this new model.

Contrary to what we might think, it is not a simple aesthetic renovation taking advantage of the inclusion of the optical sensor, there are several new features that were not present in last year's model, many of them will serve to catch up with other similar competitive products (especially Fitbit Charge HR).

  • Constant pulse tracking throughout the day (even without doing an activity), thanks to the new Garmin "Elevate" sensor.
  • Possibility to send the pulse to other ANT+ devices, working simply as an external optical sensor
  • It now incorporates a barometric altimeter, which will serve to estimate the number of stairs you have climbed
  • Touch screen with backlighting
  • Receive smart notifications from your phone (iOS and Android), including messages, calls, email, social networking, music control, and more
  • Up to 5 days of autonomy
  • Waterproof, up to 50 meters
  • Estimation of steps, distances and calories
  • Measurement of weekly exercise intensity, setting a target of 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week (WHO recommended time)
  • Warning and Inactivity Bar
  • Dynamic daily step target (can also be set manually, like stairs)
  • Vibration alerts
  • Clock

It is very clear who is in Garmin's sights, and it is none other than Fitbit. Not only because of the optical sensor of the new Vivosmart HR, but also because they have taken the opportunity to present a new intelligent scale that clearly rivals the Fitbit Aria, of which I'll talk to you in a separate article.

Garmin Vivosmart HR

Rivals: now there's a lot to choose from

Last year there was a clear winner in the activity monitor sector, and it was none other than Fitbit Charge HRIt was the only device that offered an optical sensor capable of monitoring pulse both within the activity itself and continuously throughout the day. Mio Fuse was also a good candidate, although the optical sensor only came into operation when we started an activity, so it did not monitor daily but allowed connection to other devices via ANT + and Bluetooth, something that the Fitbit bracelet did not contemplate.

This presentation joins that of Polar last week, with the Polar A360But it puts the Finns in a rather awkward position. Yes, the A360 has a larger screen and much higher quality, but it's significantly more expensive and also doesn't do continuous pulse monitoring, something that looks like it will become a de facto standard for activity monitors.

Fitbit has the Charge HR, which as you could see in the test performed at the timeBut the screen is smaller and the smart notifications are much more limited, as it only warns us of calls and SMS messages, but nothing else. Also, although in the tests I did I had no problem with the waterproofing of the bracelet, the truth is that it does not have any waterproof certification. And although it has no problem being under the shower, I do not know if I would dare to swim with it on a continuous basis.


The comparison between Fitbit Charge HR and Garmin Vivosmart HR, to the points the clear winner is the newly introduced model, although there is still to check the operation of the optical pulse sensor, is the new Garmin Elevate is still an unknown. And it is something basic, because if the operation is not accurate the other features are ruined.

However, a very important detail of the new Vivosmart HR is that it allows sending the pulse signal by ANT + to compatible devices, ie watches and cycling computers with ANT + connectivity (such as Garmin Forerunner or Garmin Edge), as well as phones that have ANT + connectivity. This detail is very important, as it can complement very well with those other devices as optical usage sensor, which will act as an activity monitor when you're not in your cycling activity, for example.

What we will surely see from Fitbit is a reduction in the sale price of Charge HR in the face of the Christmas season, at least to stand up to this new Vivosmart HR. And something new will be ready, because the current bracelets were presented almost a year ago at the CES in Las Vegas, and in this time they will not have been stopped.

Garmin Vivosmart HR, availability and price

The availability date is practically "for now". In fact, in the United States, reservations are being accepted as of today, and it is announced that it will go on sale exclusively on November 1 at the Best Buy chain of stores.

There will be three colors available: black, dark blue and dark purple; although in computer images there is not much difference between them. As for the price, we are talking about 149 euros, a quite reasonable amount considering all the possibilities it offers and the prices set by the competition.

It is now possible to make a reservation through Amazon. Buying through the links I provide helps to maintain the site, so if you like what you read, don't hesitate!

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. Hello.

    One doubt, if I buy the vivamart hr and synchronize it with my forerunner 220 when I go for a run, I will be able to avoid wearing the heart rate band on my chest? and thus be able to see my heart rate on the 220 while I run? because if so, it will be a great advance for me in this sense.

    A salute.

  2. Good morning. I want to buy an activity bracelet and my doubt is between FitBit charge hr and this one you comment. I didn't know this second one and I was clear that I wanted the first one until I started reading comments about that from 155-160 pulsations it scratches, it loses effectiveness, so I think that for those who do exercise it is a problem. Do you know what is true about this? Will the same thing happen with the garmin? Thank you very much.

    1. Hi Iris

      I have already started with the test of the Vivosmart HR, I hope to be able to publish it in the next few weeks. At the moment I have only done one test with the optical pulse sensor.

      In the tests I did of Fitibt Charge HR (and Fitbit Surge) I didn't have major sensor problems, you can see the graphs in the tests of both models, but it can depend on skin tones, wrist thickness, etc.

  3. Good morning, thank you for your tests and comments. After reading your analysis of the Mio bracelet and then the Vivosmart Hr bracelet, I decided to buy the Vivosmart HR, but I do not know how to link it with my Forerunner 610 to use it as a pulse meter and remove the tape that causes me friction.

    1. You have to activate the broadcast function from the system menu - heart rate. Then you can do the search.

      Right now there is a software error and sometimes it disconnects randomly, but it should not take long to fix it via update, along with the rest of the youthful bugs it presents.

      I hope to publish the full proof next week.

    1. Yes, notifications are controlled by the Connect application, and can notify of default apps or those you add

  4. Hi, I'm from Argentina and in a few days I'm going to travel to the USA and I'm between buying a Vivosmart HR and a Microsoft band 2 but I can't find a comparison between both. Could you help me decide which one is better? Thank you very much

  5. Which music application works with music control on an iPhone 6s? Thank you and congratulations on the analysis

  6. Hi, my problem is that once I link using garmin connected to my mobile (xiaomi redmi note 2) it disconnects randomly after a while and does not reconnect itself, I always have the bluetooth activated.
    I don't know what to do.

  7. Hello,
    I bought the vivamart HR and I can't get the weekly activity reading 0/150 to work, I don't know if it's broken or I haven't hit the right button. Do you know how it works?
    Thank you

    1. The 150 minutes of intense activity are computed directly, there is no mode to activate. It has to be a high intensity exercise and for at least 10 minutes in a row.

  8. VERY WONDERFUL, the first thing is to thank you for the great work you do in the analysis, before buying something I consult your page if or if hehehe, my question regarding the vivomart is to know if with the latest updates can be tracked pulse in every second, as I would like a record of the same during the 24h day as reliable as possible ... thanks

    1. Thanks Fran. For a constant follow-up to the second, the only way to do it is to record an activity. There is no possibility of doing it on a daily basis, mainly because it would affect the autonomy quite a lot.

  9. Hello everyone, we have bought 2 units of the vivosmar hr, and at the moment we see that it does not count the same stairs and that in neither of the two units podemos activate the backlight, so that when moving the wrist to the face lights up, I do not know if it happens to us only or is it a generalized failure, we believe that we have it well configured so that this option is operational but there is no way, is it because of problems in the units or the software that carries?
    Thank you

    1. The floors climbed is an estimated value and depends on values of height, weight, sex, etc. It is an algorithm, so it does not have to coincide between two people.

      I didn't have any problems with the lighting, in fact when I was driving the screen lit up more than I wanted to.

  10. Good morning! i have a vivosmart hr and the weekly intensity minutes, it doesn't "reset" and i'm already 618/150. does it have to be done manually? thanks.

    1. It looks so strange, I don't know why it's happening to you. Since when has it been racking up minutes?

    2. It looks so strange, I don't know why it's happening to you. Since when has it been racking up minutes?

      1. I've had the same problem for two weeks at 173/150, and I can't get it to work with my fenix2 as an external heart rate monitor - if you give me a cable I'll give your name to the next child I have - (otherwise congratulations for your analysis).

          1. The beta version that was released last week brings new features for the minutes of activity, and those improvements will probably be included in the next final version and will solve it definitively.

  11. hello customs congratulations for the information provided. a question certainly until you limit the water resistant device.
    Thank you very much and I look forward to the answer

  12. hello, I would like to know if there is an app in the mobile phone to which I can send the heart rate by ant+ and be able to see more data on a single screen (that of the mobile) and then send the activity carried out to garmin connect

    1. If your phone supports ANT+, some applications allow you to use external sensors with that type of connectivity, but you'll need to record the activity with that application, export the file, and import it into Garmin Connect.

  13. Hi, my vivemart hr counts the minutes of activity when I'm not doing activities, I turn off the activity monitor so it doesn't count the extra minutes but it doesn't count the steps or the steps climbed.

  14. My vivamart HR has stopped counting the floors (stairs) is there any known failure of the internal barometer? is there a way to reset it or unblock it?
    Thank you and congratulations!

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