Garmin Vivosmart HR+. Vivosmart HR has a sister with a GPS receiver


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Since Garmin introduced the bracelet a few weeks ago Approach X40 I knew that this new model of Vivosmart would not be long in coming. Approach X40 is a bracelet for golfers that reports the distance to the green, strokes, bunker, etc.. This is essentially a Garmin Vivosmart HR bracelet with the specific application for golf and, of course, GPS.

It was only a matter of time before Garmin launched the GPS version for the fitness section as well. The hardware was already created, just a slight touch up of the software and a change in the packaging design; a matter of weeks. And seeing how Garmin's latest releases are developingIt seems that this will be a general trend in the near future (using the same hardware for multiple devices with varying software).

But it's not just the GPS incorporation that changes. That "+" symbol implies some extra details. Let's go into detail.

Garmin Vivosmart HR+, new

Garmin Vivosmart HR+ continues to be an activity monitor with an optical pulse sensor that records activity and heart rate, with a barometric altimeter to count the number of floors climbed.

Garmin Vivosmart HR+

None of that has changed, but the inclusion of the GPS receiver brings with it new modes of use. Compared to the original bracelet these are the new features it includes.

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  • GPS receiver for rhythms and route recording
  • Specific career modes
  • Garmin Move IQ (automatic activity recognition)
  • Personal records
  • Virtual pacer, auto pause, auto lap, walk/run mode and alerts
  • Slight change in design, with less plastic surface for the display

The advent of GPS brings with it a specific career application, which is logical, but perhaps most notable is the inclusion of the Move IQ function which was introduced with Vivofit 3This function automatically recognizes the activity you are doing and records it separately from the rest of your daily activity.

Therefore, without the need to activate any mode, you can go for a walk and the bracelet will automatically detect that this is a separate activity from your daily chores. What is not clear is whether Move IQ will also arrive at the original Vivosmart HR. There is nothing to prevent it and it should be a simple software upgrade. Maybe for the next version?

The aesthetics also change slightly.

Garmin Vivosmart HR+


In addition to the new texture of the strap itself, the plastic that covers the screen (which remains tactile) is smaller, giving more prominence to the rubber. Therefore inherits the design of the golf bracelet I told you about at the beginning, as it is similar in design and materials to this new Vivosmart HR+.

Garmin Vivosmart HR+, availability and price

Garmin Vivosmart HR+ will be available in the coming weeks at a recommended retail price of £219.99 (compared to £149 for the original model, which always becomes a cheaper priceThis for the Plus version, the Vivosmart HR version has been on the market for a few months now, which I have already tested at the time.

In addition to the black version, the versions with a slight touch of color now have more intensity. It is again available in purple and blue, but now you can see the change in tone, as in the original model was basically three shades of gray.

My opinion

I totally understand the Garmin movement. With a very low cost they launch another model to the market and cover another possible gap, trying to reach a customer that perhaps did not arrive before, that one who is looking for a basic model to run and requires GPS (therefore does not have enough with Vivosmart HR), but who in turn does not believe that the Forerunner 25 that some of them will be there, but I'm sure there won't be many.

But more is not always better. And looking at it from the point of view of the distributor, adding a new model to the range (with its corresponding sizes and corresponding colors, references, etc.) can get fed up with the brand. There are more models to keep in stock, to make room in a shop window, to create in their management programs ... And that can lead to turn their backs on the manufacturer, especially when faced with the feeling that what you are ordering today will last 4 months on sale until it is replaced by a new model. This is not the case (Vivosmart HR+ does not replace Vivosmart HR), but for the distributor who is not focused on this type of product the feeling he perceives is that one.

Garmin Vivosmart HR+

Even if Garmin can make a new product, either because of financial capacity (which it certainly has) or because it can reuse existing hardware, it doesn't always have to do so. Not only because of the problems generated to the distributor or the store, but because you are generating confusion to the final customer. That one that arrives to the market and finds 6 different Garmin products to choose from, with very small differences between them and with a very varied price range.

It also has one or two models of Fitbit and a model of Polar. Easier to understand and above all much simpler for the seller who makes the sale. To a hesitant customer is easier to recommend a Fitbit Charge HR before spending half an hour explaining the differences between Vivofit 3, Vivosmart HR, Vivosmart HR +, Vivoactive, Vivoactive HR, Forerunner 25 ... And that's if the store keeps stock of all these models.

But that's just my opinion. I'm sure Garmin has a lot more knowledge of its market than I do, so it's not for me to judge whether the strategy is right, that's for its shareholders to decide.

And with that... thanks for reading!

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. I like the redesign of the bracelet, with the pin in metal and the plastic as "grainy". It looks very nice. At that price, for me it goes way over my head just to have a GPS that allows you to track (not follow) the route or route you take. In my case, I could use the GPS to avoid having to take my cell phone with me when I go running to track my route. But as I say, just for that alone it's not worth paying that almost 100€ difference.

    And when it comes to following routes, I already have the Garmin Edge 810 that suits me perfectly. And that GPS will be barometric? because one thing I don't like very much about how it works is the calculation of the number of stairs climbed. I still think it doesn't measure the floors correctly. That is, as you once told me, it can serve as an indicator of the movement made, but since a few updates, it doesn't measure the floors climbed very far.

    What I would be interested in updating in the HR is the Move iQ for what you said, to allow you to identify the activity you perform. So far, the few times I've swum, I've put it in "other" mode. I'm left with another question, does this mean that HR will no longer receive updates, or will Garmin continue to update both at the same time? We have had a couple of updates, but without going beyond version 3.10. What does this mean?


    PS: the captcha gives me a lot of errors... I have a hard time sending the answer the first time, even though I try to hit the capital letters.

    1. Yes, Vivosmart HR will continue to receive periodic updates as it has done up to now, you don't have to worry.

      Thanks for the heads up on the captcha... I don't use it, so I don't know if it works right or wrong. I have purchased a feature to change the captcha type to something simpler which I hope will not be problematic 🙂

      1. Answering through mail is very simple and does not give problems, but if it is to start a new conversation, there are times that it does not send me the message until the 4th or 5th attempt, hehe.

      2. I bought the Vivosmart HR a month ago and it has been updated 3 times. Only a hitch ... would be a tip that Garmin report what are the improvements that brings the update because I have not learned how my bracelet has improved and more than look for information on the official website I can not find anything.

          1. If there are updates without version variation, they are either display driver or optical sensor updates.

          2. From the optical sensor, is it understood that it is to tune the pulse reading? Or to change the frequency at which the bracelet takes the measurements?

            What would be good from Garmin would be to report what improvements the updates bring. I searched the Garmin website and found nothing...
            Or I didn't know how to search properly, hehe.

            sent from my Z2

          3. These can be driver updates, which are necessary for a subsequent update, particularly yesterday's update was of the time zones.

            In the weekly summaries I always publish the news and updates of the different products. There you can follow all the news.

  2. I have a Vivosmart HR and what I find of difference is the GPS, and it is not my need so I will not change it, I expected at least a color screen.

  3. Very accurate vision of the "chaotic catalog" of Garmin. They look like Nokia in their golden age, change 2 things and a button and ale... new device. It's crazy!!!
    For example the forerunner range of running, and now they bring out a triathlon one with XT termination, but without anything from the XT range (screen size, front lap buttons, etc...). 2 words Ca-Os

  4. Hello Eduardo, great your analysis, very complete. I have had the up 3 wristband for almost a year, but I want to change, especially to have a continuous monitoring of the heart rate. I go to the gym three, four times a week, and from time to time I go cycling. A few months ago I screwed up my meniscus, and it was recommended that I stop running....
    The case is after reading your analysis, I'm hesitating between the Vivosmart hr, this new hr+ (the one that recognizes the activity alone is very good) or the vivoactive. Any recommendation? Thank you very much, I loved reading you.

    1. If you are not going to run I would not opt for the HR+ version... As for Vivosmart HR or Vivoactive HR, it depends on the amount and intensity of sport you do. If you are not very competitive and do not need much information with Vivosmart HR you have enough.

  5. Good morning, interesting analysis, but I'm still in doubt, to see if you clear me what to do, I usually go to the gym 2 or 3 days and then another 2 or three go running, I bought a M400 for that 24/7 tracking, gps notifications and such, but it is very "armatoste", total that came out the iwatch (a lot of money) but they sell it as sport, go for God does not have gps, so for day to day the iwatch and for sport the polar, and I'm getting tired of going with two watches, Would this be the solution to my "problems"?
    I'll sell them both and buy this one? Let's see if anyone can shed some light on it... Thank you.

    1. I'm not an expert but I use the Vivosmart HR for what you do: gym and running. I think this bracelet, and more now with GPS, would be a good option for you... but I don't know if the Polar has any more functions.

    2. It may be an option for you, no doubt. If it's small size you're looking for, it's the smallest GPS unit right now.

      You can also take a look at the Garmin Vivoactive HRIt's not much bigger and you'll have a better screen, battery and GPS antenna.

      1. Thank you Eduardo, that's what I'm looking for, something small that has everything in one, and that I can carry every day, it's that I read an opinion in amazon and it's not exactly good, and of course it's not cheap, before buying it, I want to be sure. Thank you for your comments

  6. Hello I am thinking of buying it but I have a doubt, I would like to know if the bracelet can see the times of the autolaps. Thanks

  7. Hello I am thinking of buying the hr + but I have a doubt, podré consult on the bracelet the times of the autolaps? Thanks

  8. Thank you very much for the analysis. I wanted to ask you if you have been able to use the vivamart + in swimming, and if the results, although I suppose not optimal, can be useful. Currently it is possible to buy the vivamart hr for 75 euros, which has placed the vivamart + at the same price as the fitbit charge 2 (+-115 euros). And the truth is that I do not know if it is worth the gps of the vs+ with respect to the charge 2 (gps connected and better app) or go for the price of the vivamart hr.
    For cycling (I have an hr-band) and running I always go out with my mobile phone, and for swimming I don't use anything. Actually for swimming I would like to have my heart rate, even if it's not very accurate, if I can take advantage of the vivemart.

    1. I don't think the Vivosmart, in any of its versions, is the most suitable for swimming. I would honestly think otherwise.

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