Garmin Vivomove review: The fitness watch you can wear to a wedding

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The Good Great fashion-watch design; one-year battery life; and can track steps and sleep automatically. Can sync with Android and iOS, and can be worn in the shower and while swimming.

The Bad Occasional connection issues with the Garmin app; watch lacks vibration; can't be used with other Garmin trackers; lacks advanced features like a heart rate sensor or smartphone alerts.

The Bottom Line The Garmin Vivomove is a well-crafted and stylish watch that provides bare-bones fitness tracking, but you're trading function for form.

7.8 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Battery 10
  • Performance 7
  • Software 7
  • Features 7

The Garmin Vivomove deserves a special honor. It's the first fitness tracker I wore to a wedding, and no one even noticed.

That's because the Vivomove is like nothing Garmin's ever made before, but it's something we're seeing a lot from other companies. It looks like a stylish analog watch, but inside it's a fitness tracker, much like the Withings Activite. It tracks steps, distance, calories burned and sleep. And its battery life is great: It lasts a year on a replaceable battery.

It's also reasonably affordable. The Vivomove is available in three models: Sport ($150,£140, AU$249), Classic ($200, £180, AU$329) and Premium ($250, £240, AU$479). The Sport model has a silicone band, while the Classic comes with a leather one. The Premium features a steel body and a leather strap, and it's the one I have been wearing for the past few weeks.

The fitness

The Vivomove can track the basics: steps, distance, calories burned and sleep. That's it. There's no heart rate sensor, no smartphone notifications or any sort of vibration. It does, however, include two small secondary e-ink screens that help show fitness data. The one on the left shows how close you are to reaching your daily step goal, while the one on the right is an inactivity bar that will slowly fill with red for every 15 minutes you aren't being active.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The best part? You don't have to worry about charging it. The Vivomove uses a traditional coin battery that will last up to a year. You will eventually need to manually replace it, but they're incredibly cheap -- you can get a 10-pack at Amazon for around $4.

Like all of Garmin's devices, the watch is also waterproof down to 50 meters (165 feet), so you can swim and shower with it (sans the leather strap, of course).

Sarah Tew/CNET

All in all, it's pretty similar in concept to the Withings Activite, but the Vivomove can store up to three week's worth of data without being synced, whereas the Activite has more limited onboard storage and should be synced every day.

The style

Credit to Garmin, the watch is incredibly well crafted. This holds especially true for the more expensive Premium model. The stainless-steel casing gives it a nice weight. It's not heavy enough to be annoying to wear, but it's enough to feel like this isn't some cheap plastic fitness tracker.

Sarah Tew/CNET

All models of the Vivomove have a clean and minimalist look, which I really liked. The 42mm diameter is also the perfect size for my wrist.

The watch supports any 20mm band, but Garmin offers its own sport and leather straps that range from $30, £24 or AU$49 to $60, £46 or AU$99.