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Garmin Vivosport review: Garmin Vivosport's price drop makes it more appealing

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The Good The Vivosport packs smartwatch features into an activity-band design that's lightweight, comfortable to wear, and has good battery life. It's fully waterproof and has built-in GPS and 24-7 heart-rate monitoring.

The Bad Some of the features are a little difficult to access. GPS can take too long to lock in.

The Bottom Line The Vivosport is a good fitness companion for people who want an activity tracker with plenty of advanced features.

7.9 Overall
  • Style 9
  • Features 8
  • Ease of use 6

Depending on your point of view, you can call Garmin's Vivosport a high-end fitness band or an entry-level sports smartwatch. It started out too pricey at $200 (£170, $AU300) but after being on the market for several months, its price has come down online, making it a better value.

The Vivosport has a robust feature set for a fitness band, and according to Garmin it gets up to 7 days worth of battery life. I was regularly able to go 6 days between charges when not using GPS. Like Garmin's other smartwatches and activity trackers, this model is fully waterproof and can be used while swimming.

I found it slim and very comfortable wear. The band is pretty thin -- perhaps a bit too thin for people who have big, thick wrists. I liked its look and feel on my normal-to-thinner wrists, however, especially since I find that some of the other watches just feel too big.

The Vivosport packs a lot of features into its slim design.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Along with a built-in optical heart-rate monitor that seems pretty accurate, there's GPS tracking, an always-on color touchscreen display, notification alerts and 15 built-in sports widgets for everything from strength training to cycling and cardio. 

Unfortunately, because the display is small, it can be a little tricky to navigate through all the widgets and settings. At least the touchscreen is significantly more responsive than the monochrome touchscreen found on the lower-priced Vivosmart 3.

In a lot of ways the Vivosport is simply a better version of the Vivosmart 3. The two models have similar features, but the Vivosport adds the aforementioned GPS and LiveTrack5, a feature that tracks your activity and location in real time and sends alerts to designated friends and family members, telling them where you are on a web-based map.

The Vivosport automatically tracks activity, including steps, floors climbed, calories burned, intensity minutes, sleep and more. As part of its 24-7 heart-rate monitoring, the device will measure your heart-rate variability and translate it into a stress level, then prompt you to breathe and relax when that level is elevated.

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