Garmin Vivoactive 4 Specifications | VA4s Venu | VA4 VA3M Comparison

Garmin Vivoactive 4 Specifications, Comparisons & Opinion – Venu too

Garmin Vivoactive 4 Specifications, Comparisons & Opinion - VenuGarmin’s demi-flagship watch is the Vivoactive. Along with the Fenix, this makes Garmin shareholders sleep soundly at night. There should be NO restless nights ahead as Garmin make some predictable moves forward with the Vivoactive range as well as throwing in a few profitable & interesting moves. I’m probably not going to be reviewing the VivoActive 4 series so all questions below, please.

Further below is a detailed feature-by-feature comparison of the detailed specs of the 3 (2? 5?) new Vivoactive models, also showing the improvements from the earlier Vivoactive 3 Music. Don’t forget that recent announcements like support for Amazon Music will work equally on the old Vivoactive 3 as on the new Vivoactive 4.

Garmin Vivoactive 4, 4S and Venu (4v) – The Headline Changes & Commentary

Garmin Vivoactive 4 Specifications, Comparisons & Opinion - VenuLet’s take a brief step back a year or so as we saw the original Vivoactive 3 morph into a MUSIC version and then an LTE version that was tied to work with Verizon. There was also a Mercedes partnership which has some relevance to the present, so let’s not forget that even though I didn’t cover it on this blog at the time (I had some paint to watch dry).

Sizing – Garmin has obviously realised by now that some people have thin wrists. Garmin’s sales volumes justify the introduction of the smaller-format Vivoactive 4s alongside the regular-sized Vivoactive 4.

Premium Versions – Garmin will continue to face pressure at the lower end of its ranges and must continue to position itself as a ‘generally premium’ vendor. To that end, we’ve seen the introduction of the MARQ version of the Fenix and so the VENU is the exact same move for the Vivoactive 4. The interesting point of difference with the VENU is Garmin’s first foray into AMOLED screens. These screens are essentially ‘the pretty ones’ that you often see around town. In my opinion this is a MASSIVE strategic step for Garmin that is long overdue and I suspect that this awesome screen will gradually spread through Garmin’s ranges, certainly initially to the models that are more ‘smart’ than ‘sport’, essentially competing on LOOKS against the like of the Apple Watch. The battery lives are now good enough for Garmin to properly support AMOLED, so that old chestnut of an argument appears to be no more.

Garmin Vivoactive 4 Specifications, Comparisons & Opinion - VenuWeird branded stuff – We also see the introduction of the MARVEL-branded watches. If it sells…why not? And towards Christmas, we will see some Star Wars versions too. Yay!

LTE – The notable absence is LTE (a mobile phone connection to the internet within the watch). This is not on the Vivoactive 4 at present but I would be very surprised if this is not added in with another VA4 model within 6 months. Indeed I would expect other lines within Garmin to also have LTE in 2020. The VA3 achieved this with a link-up with Verizon in the USA and the problem here for taking this functionality forwards is that Garmin will have to get multiple agreements with many cellphone companies worldwide and it is that which will limit the global rollout of LTE rather than Garmin’s ability to make the kit that can do it (which clearly they can).

Music – There is also a notable absence of watches branded as a ‘music version’. All you can read here is that music is becoming standard, just like Garmin Pay and maps.

Garmin Vivoactive 4, 4S and Venu (4v) – What’s Different

Garmin Vivoactive 4 Specifications, Comparisons & Opinion - VenuThe new models are highly similar apart from the size, screen and battery life. The exact details are shown below in the table. I’ll summarise them here and also add in some other feature differences for good measure

Price:

  • Vivoactive 3 $250, Vivoactive 4/4S $350, Venu $400
  • This is getting expensive and you’ve got to really want a round, sports-focussed watch to avoid buying an Apple watch at these prices. The stakes get higher as the prices get higher.

Display:

  • Vivoactive 4 1.3″ (260 x 260px), Vivoactive 3 1.2″ (240 x 240px), Vivoactive 4 Venu 1.2″ (390x390px), Vivoactive 4s (218x218px)
  • So the VA4 has a BIGGER screen than before and the Venu has a better, more colourful and dense display.
  • The physical case sizes & weights are all in line with those proportions and shown below for those who want the exact details

Battery Life

  • GPS+Music of 6 hours for the VA4 and Venu, with 5 hours for the VA4s and VA3M
  • Smartwatch mode is even 5 days for the Venu and better still for the others. So this is ‘sensible territory’ for where smartwatches need to be these days…and you even get that for the Venu’s AMOLED screen don’t forget.

Other

  • PulseOX on all of 4/4s and 4v (Venu)
  • Same music systems (Deezer, Amazon, Spotify) via the same WiFi with the same max of 500 songs (2000 on Fenix)
  • Body Battery Energy Monitor on all new models (not VA3)
  • Yoga, Pilates and Workout animations on all new models (they just look better on the Venu)
  • Respiration rate (day & night) on all new models (not VA3)
  • Automatic golf club tracking (not VA3)
  • Underwater HR via oHR  (not VA3)
  • New ELEVATE sensor (not VA3)
  • New Sony low-power GNSS/Galileo chip (not VA3)

Garmin Vivoactive 4 – Q: Is it worth the upgrade?

A: No

No, it’s not worth the upgrade unless you specifically want either a better AMOLED screen or a smaller format (VA4s)

 

Garmin Vivoactive 4, 4S and Venu (4v) Pricing & Availability

Click to a choice of local retailers, Amazon, REI, Wiggle

The prices vary by options and more options will be introduced over time. Broadly it’s this:

  • Vivoactive 4/4S $349, Eu300ish
  • Venu: $399, Eu350ish

Garmin Vivoactive 4 Specifications

Venu™ vívoactive® 4S vívoactive® 4 vívoactive® 3 Music
$399.99 USD $349.99 USD $349.99 USD $249.99 USD
GPS smartwatch features AMOLED display, built-in sports apps, contactless payments, music and all-day health monitoring Smaller-sized GPS smartwatch features built-in sports apps, contactless payments, music and all-day health monitoring GPS smartwatch features built-in sports apps, contactless payments, music and all-day health monitoring GPS smartwatch with built-in sports apps, wrist-based heart rate, Garmin Pay™ contactless payments, and music
General
Lens Material Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3
Bezel Material stainless steel stainless steel stainless steel
Case material fibre-reinforced polymer with polymer rear cover fibre-reinforced polymer with polymer rear cover fiber-reinforced polymer with polymer rear cover polymer
Quick Release Bands yes (20 mm, Industry standard) yes (18 mm, Industry standard) yes (22 mm, Industry standard) yes (20 mm, Industry standard)
Strap material silicone silicone silicone silicone
Physical size 43.2 x 43.2 x 12.4 mm 40.0 x 40.0 x 12.7 mm 45.1 x 45.1 x 12.8 mm 43.1 x 43.1 x 13.6 mm
Fits wrists with a circumference of 125-190 mm Fits wrists with a circumference of 110-175 mm Fits wrists with a circumference of 135-200 mm Fits wrists with a circumference of 127-204 mm
Touchscreen Yes Yes Yes Yes
Display size 1.2″ (30.4mm) diameter 1.1″ (27.9 mm) diameter 1.3″ (33.0 mm) diameter 1.2″ (30.4mm) diameter
Display resolution 390 x 390 pixels 218 x 218 pixels 260 x 260 pixels 240 x 240 pixels
Display type AMOLED sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
Weight 46.3 g 40.0 g 50.5 g 39.0 g
Battery life Smartwatch mode: Up to 5 days Smartwatch mode: Up to 7 days Smartwatch mode: Up to 8 days Smartwatch mode: Up to 7 days
GPS mode with music: Up to 5 hours GPS mode with music: Up to 6 hours GPS mode with music: Up to 5 hours
GPS mode with music: Up to 6 hours GPS mode without music: Up to 13 hours
Water rating Swim, 5 ATM Swim, 5 ATM Swim, 5 ATM Swim, 5 ATM
Colour display Yes Yes Yes Yes
Memory/History 7 timed activities, 14 days of activity tracking data 7 timed activities, 14 days of activity tracking data 7 timed activities, 14 days of activity tracking data 7 timed activities, 14 days of activity tracking data
Clock Features
Time/date Yes Yes Yes Yes
GPS Time Sync Yes Yes Yes Yes
Automatic daylight saving time Yes Yes Yes Yes
Alarm clock Yes Yes Yes Yes
Timer Yes Yes Yes Yes
Stopwatch Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sunrise/sunset times Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sensors
GPS Yes Yes Yes Yes
GLONASS Yes Yes Yes Yes
Galileo Yes Yes Yes Yes
Garmin Elevate™ wrist heart rate monitor Yes Yes Yes Yes
Barometric altimeter Yes Yes Yes Yes
Compass Yes Yes Yes Yes
Gyroscope Yes Yes Yes Yes
Accelerometer Yes Yes Yes Yes
Thermometer Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pulse Ox Yes Yes Yes No
Connectivity
Connect IQ™ (downloadable watch faces, data fields, widgets and apps) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Smart notifications Yes Yes Yes Yes
Text response/reject phone call with text (Android™ only) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Connectivity Bluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi® Bluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi® Bluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi® Bluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi®
Calendar Yes Yes Yes Yes
Weather Yes Yes Yes Yes
Controls smartphone music Yes Yes Yes Yes
Plays and controls watch music Yes Yes Yes Yes
Music Storage up to 500 songs up to 500 songs up to 500 songs up to 500 songs
Find My Phone Yes Yes Yes Yes
Find My Watch Yes Yes Yes Yes
VIRB® Camera Remote Yes Yes Yes Yes
Smartphone compatibility iPhone®, Android™ iPhone®, Android™ iPhone®, Android™ iPhone®, Android™
Compatible with Garmin Connect™ Mobile Yes Yes Yes Yes
Garmin Pay™ Yes Yes Yes Yes
Safety and Tracking Features
Incident Detection during select activities Yes Yes Yes Yes
Assistance Yes Yes Yes Yes
LiveTrack Yes Yes Yes Yes
Activity Tracking Features
Step counter Yes Yes Yes Yes
Move bar (displays on device after a period of inactivity; walk for a couple of minutes to reset it) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Auto goal (learns your activity level and assigns a daily step goal) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sleep monitoring (monitors total sleep and periods of movement or restful sleep) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Calories burned Yes Yes Yes Yes
Floors climbed Yes Yes Yes Yes
Distance travelled Yes Yes Yes Yes
Intensity minutes Yes Yes Yes Yes
TrueUp™ Yes Yes Yes Yes
Move IQ™ Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fitness Age yes (in app) yes (in app) yes (in app) yes (in app)
Body Battery™ Energy Monitor Yes Yes Yes No
All-day Stress Tracking Yes Yes Yes Yes
Gym & Fitness Equipment
Available gym activity profiles Strength, Cardio and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing, Yoga, Pilates and Breathwork Strength, Cardio and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing, Yoga, Pilates and Breathwork Strength, Cardio and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing, Yoga, Pilates and Breathwork Strength, Cardio and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing and Yoga
Cardio workouts Yes Yes Yes Yes
Strength workouts Yes Yes Yes Yes
Yoga workouts Yes Yes Yes No
Pilates workouts Yes Yes Yes No
On-screen workout animations Yes Yes Yes No
Automatic rep counting Yes Yes Yes Yes
Training, Planning and Analysis Features
GPS speed and distance Yes Yes Yes Yes
Customizable data pages Yes Yes Yes Yes
Customizable activity profiles Yes Yes Yes Yes
Auto Pause® Yes Yes Yes Yes
Advanced workouts Yes Yes Yes Yes
Downloadable training plans Yes Yes Yes Yes
Auto Lap® Yes Yes Yes Yes
Manual lap Yes Yes Yes Yes
V02 max Yes Yes Yes Yes
Touch and/or button lock Yes Yes Yes Yes
Auto-scroll Yes Yes Yes Yes
Activity history on the watch Yes Yes Yes Yes
Physio TrueUp Yes Yes Yes Yes
Heart Rate Features
HR zones Yes Yes Yes Yes
HR alerts Yes Yes Yes Yes
HR calories Yes Yes Yes Yes
% HR max Yes Yes Yes Yes
HR Broadcast (broadcasts HR data over ANT+™ to paired devices) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Respiration rate (during exercise) yoga and breathwork only yoga and breathwork only yoga and breathwork only No
Respiration rate (all-day and in sleep) Yes Yes Yes No
Running Features
Available run profiles Running, Indoor Track Running, Treadmill Running Running, Indoor Track Running, Treadmill Running Running, Indoor Track Running, Treadmill Running Running, Indoor Track Running, Treadmill Running
GPS-based distance, time and pace Yes Yes Yes Yes
Run workouts Yes Yes Yes Yes
Foot pod capable Yes Yes Yes Yes
Golfing Features
Yardage to F/M/B (distance to front, middle and back of green) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Yardage to layups/doglegs Yes Yes Yes Yes
Measures shot distance (calculates exact yardage for shots from anywhere on course) Automatic Automatic Automatic Automatic
Digital scorecard Yes Yes Yes Yes
Stat tracking (strokes, putts per round, greens and fairways hit) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Garmin AutoShot™ Yes Yes Yes Yes
Green View with manual pin position Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hazards and course targets Yes Yes Yes Yes
PinPointer Yes Yes Yes Yes
Round timer/odometer Yes Yes Yes Yes
Automatic club tracking compatible (requires accessory) Yes Yes Yes No
Outdoor Recreation Features
Available outdoor recreation profiles Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing
Back to start Yes Yes Yes Yes
Total ascent/descent Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cycling Features
Available cycling profiles Biking, Indoor Biking Biking, Indoor Biking Biking, Indoor Biking Biking, Indoor Biking
Time/distance alerts (triggers alarm when you reach goal) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Compatible with Varia™ radar (rear-facing radar) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Compatible with Varia™ lights Yes Yes Yes Yes
Speed and cadence sensor support (with sensor) yes yes yes yes
Swimming Features
Available swim profiles Pool Swimming Pool Swimming Pool Swimming Pool Swimming
Pool swim metrics (lengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, swim efficiency (SWOLF), calories) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Stroke type detection (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly) (Pool Swim Only) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Basic rest timer (up from 0) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Time and distance alerts Yes Yes Yes Yes
Underwater wrist-based heart rate Yes Yes Yes No

Garmin Vivoactive 4 – Is it worth the upgrade?

A: No

No, it’s not worth the upgrade unless you specifically want either a better AMOLED screen or a smaller format (VA4s)

 

Garmin Vivoactive 4, 4S and Venu (4v) Pricing & Availability

Click to a choice of local retailers, Amazon, REI, Wiggle

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4 thoughts on “Garmin Vivoactive 4 Specifications | VA4s Venu | VA4 VA3M Comparison

  1. I am still not sure who the market is for the Fenix 6 (non-pro), but won’t the VA4 eat straight into the profits of that watch? Almost any missing functionality (multisport, power meter support, can be added via ConnectIQ apps.

    • there will always be some degree of canabalisation between garmin products. the fenix does have better button/case options
      I agree with the sentiment of what you suggest and would throw in to the mix that the VENU might be a bigger problem because of the screen

    • The Fenix 6 exists solely to up-sell people into buying the 6X Pro and to distract from the price increase over what the 5 Plus’ cost at its launch.

    • If you want a watch that uses Stryd w/GPS, providing distance & pace from Stryd and Garmin Pay, you have the cheapest but outdated option of 645M and then you go to 945 or F6 (non Pro), where the difference is maps(+features related to maps) +music vs bigger screen; aesthetics is in the eye of the beholder. But in both cases you opt for 600 euro, which is too much. Vivoactive 4 would have been a winner if it could properly support Stryd (or any other footpod for that matter). Unfortunately we have to wait Garmin to fill in the gap.

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