Garmin Vivosmart 5 – A Fail, albeit a sensible one


Garmin Vivosmart 5 – Opinion

Garmin has to maintain its profit margins to keep shareholders happy and, to cut a long story short, that means BAD news for Vivosmart 4 owners looking to upgrade.

Vivosmart 5 is priced at $149. If you want to change your existing Vivosmart 4 to get a larger B&W screen and some additional sleep and tracking stuff that should already be included then…fill your boots.

garmin vivosmart 5

Actually, I’m being a little cynical as this band would have wowed the world 5 or 6 years ago when fitness bands were at the height of their popularity. Being able to broadcast your heart rate to gym equipment would have stunned some people and getting a sleep score and nightly respiration rate would have had the techy gurus gaping in awe at what can be squished into a relatively small band – albeit larger than the previous edition. The lack of an altimeter to properly track your stair count might have been frowned upon and using your phone’s GPS to get your location would have been an unpalatable but necessary evil. Still, a lack of onboard GPS means you can eke out a decent 7 days of battery life between charges.

Garmin seems to listen to customers. One of the interesting drivers behind the larger band format seems to be to increase the readability of the larger screen. We’re all getting older, me no exception, and I definitely find it increasingly hard to read phones and watches (I don’t wear glasses but perhaps should). Your time will come too! And when it does, one of your key purchase decisions will be “Can I read the bloomin’ thing?” Some of the imagery in Garmin’s press release suggests they are targeting an older demographic who might prefer a band to a watch and so the addition of incident detection and emergency assistance also makes sense if you fall but can’t reach your phone.

Take Out

It’s a shrinking market and it’s a competitive market. There are very many cheaper options that might last you a few months or a few years – if you are lucky.

Vivosmart 5 looks old fashioned but if you like a band and already have a Garmin then, hey, why not? $149…it’s not so bad even though it should really be half the price. Perhaps the premium reflects the hassle-free factor?

It’s a solid offering from a brand you can trust. It has some good features but few that are unique to Garmin.

If you are looking for a competitor to the WHOOP band then this, most certainly, is not it.

This is the kind of product you either love or the kind of product you end up buying for your parents or aunt or gran.


Buy GarminVivosmart 5

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14 thoughts on “Garmin Vivosmart 5 – A Fail, albeit a sensible one

  1. Mixed feelings on this one. I do think it’s a much better solution than Fitbit, albeit w a much lesser screen. I think Garmin does a better job with compiling data and ability to view details to it the. Fitbit (assuming non-Premium). I actually think it’s a slightly legit choice to get all of the Health and Wellness side of things in a simple package. I could see either of my parents needing, vaulting it.

  2. You get a sleep score. But, do you get the new(ish) Firstbeat Analytics algorithm calculating the sleep score? Does anyone know?

    1. I’m not sure these sleep scores mean anything scientifically. I wouldn’t worry about it to be brutally honest. It’s probably the newer Firstbeat algorthm

  3. Really looking forward to an additional sleep tracking band since I am not always comfortable wearing my Fenix. But this won’t fill the gap. Any chance to use this as with pulse oximeter at night although my Fenix is the primary device?

  4. Why can this not be considered a whoop alternative? I have been waiting for this band for just that reason. It has full physio trueup and as a 22/7 option while wearing a F7 for workouts I think this should work well. I am a whoop user and sometimes wish it had a screen or hepatic vibration for hydration or move reminders.

    1. naturally, you can consider any product as an alternative.
      the suitability of an alternative depends on what you are looking for ie exactly what features and exactly what level of accuracy to give you what kind of recommendations.

      if, for example, you are a pro athlete and you are relying on the hour-by-hour info from Garmin BB then I strongly suspect you are using ‘readiness’ unscientifically (ie incorrectly)

      at the other extreme, Whoop is far prettier and cooler to wear, IMO

  5. Very underwhlemed by this release as a Vivosmart 4 owner.
    The increased footprint with minimal capability increase+missing body battery Physio TrueUp make this a really poor “upgrade”.

      1. Well, I guess I’ll just have to keep wearing it 24/7 like I do with the Vivosmart 4. And use my Fenix for activities only. That works, but I had hoped Garmin would’ve sorted this whole TrueUp thing out…

    1. Unfortunately yes. Makes it an instant no-buy for me. Having the same battery life in a larger device is also a show-stopper.

  6. Well, I just might stay with using my Vivosmart 4 24/7 and the Fenix for my runs. That way I won’t have to bother with TrueUp in any way and I won’t miss out on anything. Except for Sleep score. But I can live with that.

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