Garmin Vivoactive 4 Specifications | VA4s Venu | VA4 VA3M Comparison

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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 AmazonMusic 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, AmazonMusic, 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

 

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

Garmin Vivoactive 4 Specifications

Venu™vívoactive® 4Svívoactive® 4vívoactive® 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 monitoringSmaller-sized GPS smartwatch features built-in sports apps, contactless payments, music and all-day health monitoringGPS smartwatch features built-in sports apps, contactless payments, music and all-day health monitoringGPS smartwatch with built-in sports apps, wrist-based heart rate, Garmin Pay™ contactless payments, and music
General
Lens MaterialCorning® Gorilla® Glass 3Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3
Bezel Materialstainless steelstainless steelstainless steel
Case materialfibre-reinforced polymer with polymer rear coverfibre-reinforced polymer with polymer rear coverfiber-reinforced polymer with polymer rear coverpolymer
Quick Release Bandsyes (20 mm, Industry standard)yes (18 mm, Industry standard)yes (22 mm, Industry standard)yes (20 mm, Industry standard)
Strap materialsiliconesiliconesiliconesilicone
Physical size43.2 x 43.2 x 12.4 mm40.0 x 40.0 x 12.7 mm45.1 x 45.1 x 12.8 mm43.1 x 43.1 x 13.6 mm
Fits wrists with a circumference of 125-190 mmFits wrists with a circumference of 110-175 mmFits wrists with a circumference of 135-200 mmFits wrists with a circumference of 127-204 mm
TouchscreenYesYesYesYes
Display size1.2″ (30.4mm) diameter1.1″ (27.9 mm) diameter1.3″ (33.0 mm) diameter1.2″ (30.4mm) diameter
Display resolution390 x 390 pixels218 x 218 pixels260 x 260 pixels240 x 240 pixels
Display typeAMOLEDsunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
Weight46.3 g40.0 g50.5 g39.0 g
Battery lifeSmartwatch mode: Up to 5 daysSmartwatch mode: Up to 7 daysSmartwatch mode: Up to 8 daysSmartwatch mode: Up to 7 days
GPS mode with music: Up to 5 hoursGPS mode with music: Up to 6 hoursGPS mode with music: Up to 5 hours
GPS mode with music: Up to 6 hoursGPS mode without music: Up to 13 hours
Water ratingSwim, 5 ATMSwim, 5 ATMSwim, 5 ATMSwim, 5 ATM
Colour displayYesYesYesYes
Memory/History7 timed activities, 14 days of activity tracking data7 timed activities, 14 days of activity tracking data7 timed activities, 14 days of activity tracking data7 timed activities, 14 days of activity tracking data
Clock Features
Time/dateYesYesYesYes
GPS Time SyncYesYesYesYes
Automatic daylight saving timeYesYesYesYes
Alarm clockYesYesYesYes
TimerYesYesYesYes
StopwatchYesYesYesYes
Sunrise/sunset timesYesYesYesYes
Sensors
GPSYesYesYesYes
GLONASSYesYesYesYes
GalileoYesYesYesYes
Garmin Elevate™ wrist heart rate monitorYesYesYesYes
Barometric altimeterYesYesYesYes
CompassYesYesYesYes
GyroscopeYesYesYesYes
AccelerometerYesYesYesYes
ThermometerYesYesYesYes
Pulse OxYesYesYesNo
Connectivity
Connect IQ™ (downloadable watch faces, data fields, widgets and apps)YesYesYesYes
Smart notificationsYesYesYesYes
Text response/reject phone call with text (Android™ only)YesYesYesYes
ConnectivityBluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi®Bluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi®Bluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi®Bluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi®
CalendarYesYesYesYes
WeatherYesYesYesYes
Controls smartphone musicYesYesYesYes
Plays and controls watch musicYesYesYesYes
Music Storageup to 500 songsup to 500 songsup to 500 songsup to 500 songs
Find My PhoneYesYesYesYes
Find My WatchYesYesYesYes
VIRB® Camera RemoteYesYesYesYes
Smartphone compatibilityiPhone®, Android™iPhone®, Android™iPhone®, Android™iPhone®, Android™
Compatible with Garmin Connect™ MobileYesYesYesYes
Garmin Pay™YesYesYesYes
Safety and Tracking Features
Incident Detection during select activitiesYesYesYesYes
AssistanceYesYesYesYes
LiveTrackYesYesYesYes
Activity Tracking Features
Step counterYesYesYesYes
Move bar (displays on device after a period of inactivity; walk for a couple of minutes to reset it)YesYesYesYes
Auto goal (learns your activity level and assigns a daily step goal)YesYesYesYes
Sleep monitoring (monitors total sleep and periods of movement or restful sleep)YesYesYesYes
Calories burnedYesYesYesYes
Floors climbedYesYesYesYes
Distance travelledYesYesYesYes
Intensity minutesYesYesYesYes
TrueUp™YesYesYesYes
Move IQ™YesYesYesYes
Fitness Ageyes (in app)yes (in app)yes (in app)yes (in app)
Body Battery™ Energy MonitorYesYesYesNo
All-day Stress TrackingYesYesYesYes
Gym & Fitness Equipment
Available gym activity profilesStrength, Cardio and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing, Yoga, Pilates and BreathworkStrength, Cardio and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing, Yoga, Pilates and BreathworkStrength, Cardio and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing, Yoga, Pilates and BreathworkStrength, Cardio and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing and Yoga
Cardio workoutsYesYesYesYes
Strength workoutsYesYesYesYes
Yoga workoutsYesYesYesNo
Pilates workoutsYesYesYesNo
On-screen workout animationsYesYesYesNo
Automatic rep countingYesYesYesYes
Training, Planning and Analysis Features
GPS speed and distanceYesYesYesYes
Customizable data pagesYesYesYesYes
Customizable activity profilesYesYesYesYes
Auto Pause®YesYesYesYes
Advanced workoutsYesYesYesYes
Downloadable training plansYesYesYesYes
Auto Lap®YesYesYesYes
Manual lapYesYesYesYes
V02 maxYesYesYesYes
Touch and/or button lockYesYesYesYes
Auto-scrollYesYesYesYes
Activity history on the watchYesYesYesYes
Physio TrueUpYesYesYesYes
Heart Rate Features
HR zonesYesYesYesYes
HR alertsYesYesYesYes
HR caloriesYesYesYesYes
% HR maxYesYesYesYes
HR Broadcast (broadcasts HR data over ANT+™ to paired devices)YesYesYesYes
Respiration rate (during exercise)yoga and breathwork onlyyoga and breathwork onlyyoga and breathwork onlyNo
Respiration rate (all-day and in sleep)YesYesYesNo
Running Features
Available run profilesRunning, Indoor Track Running, Treadmill RunningRunning, Indoor Track Running, Treadmill RunningRunning, Indoor Track Running, Treadmill RunningRunning, Indoor Track Running, Treadmill Running
GPS-based distance, time and paceYesYesYesYes
Run workoutsYesYesYesYes
Foot pod capableYesYesYesYes
Golfing Features
Yardage to F/M/B (distance to front, middle and back of green)YesYesYesYes
Yardage to layups/doglegsYesYesYesYes
Measures shot distance (calculates exact yardage for shots from anywhere on course)AutomaticAutomaticAutomaticAutomatic
Digital scorecardYesYesYesYes
Stat tracking (strokes, putts per round, greens and fairways hit)YesYesYesYes
Garmin AutoShot™YesYesYesYes
Green View with manual pin positionYesYesYesYes
Hazards and course targetsYesYesYesYes
PinPointerYesYesYesYes
Round timer/odometerYesYesYesYes
Automatic club tracking compatible (requires accessory)YesYesYesNo
Outdoor Recreation Features
Available outdoor recreation profilesSkiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, RowingSkiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, RowingSkiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, RowingSkiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing
Back to startYesYesYesYes
Total ascent/descentYesYesYesYes
Cycling Features
Available cycling profilesBiking, Indoor BikingBiking, Indoor BikingBiking, Indoor BikingBiking, Indoor Biking
Time/distance alerts (triggers alarm when you reach goal)YesYesYesYes
Compatible with Varia™ radar (rear-facing radar)YesYesYesYes
Compatible with Varia™ lightsYesYesYesYes
Speed and cadence sensor support (with sensor)yesyesyesyes
Swimming Features
Available swim profilesPool SwimmingPool SwimmingPool SwimmingPool Swimming
Pool swim metrics (lengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, swim efficiency (SWOLF), calories)YesYesYesYes
Stroke type detection (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly) (Pool Swim Only)YesYesYesYes
Basic rest timer (up from 0)YesYesYesYes
Time and distance alertsYesYesYesYes
Underwater wrist-based heart rateYesYesYesNo

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

 

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7 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.

    1. 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

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

  2. Think the vivoactive 4 is worth an upgrade from the VA 3m? I’ve had mine for a year and really enjoy it. Prime day is coming up with rumored discounts around 50% for garmin watches and I’m pondering getting one. VA 5 is likely to come out fall of 2021. Do you think it’s worth grabbing on prime day or waiting for the 5 to come out?

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