August 16, 2022
Garmin’s $150 Vivosmart 5 is deceptively easy. It seems to be like a run-of-the-mill tracker

Garmin’s $150 Vivosmart 5 is deceptively easy. It seems to be like a run-of-the-mill tracker on the skin however packs many well being and health options from Garmin’s dearer watches in a light-weight band. There’s blood oxygen, 24/7 heart-rate monitoring, sleep monitoring and the physique battery rating, a strategy to decide your vitality ranges. You possibly can put on it for nearly per week earlier than needing to cost and there’s sufficient sports activities modes to fulfill most informal athletes.

Don’t Like

  • Related GPS solely
  • Monochrome display screen
  • No always-on show possibility
  • Notifications and exercise stats could also be too small to learn simply

However the Vivosmart 5 doesn’t include as many {hardware} options as different common trackers, and consequently it feels a bit too costly for what it does. It has a monochrome display screen as an alternative of a shade show, it doesn’t have built-in GPS that works independently of your telephone, and there’s no heart-health instruments like an electrocardiogram (ECG) resembling that discovered on the $150 Fitbit Cost 5. Nonetheless, when you don’t want these instruments, the Vivosmart 5 is an effective little tracker that’s suitable with Android and iOS.

Straightforward to make use of, however the display screen falls behind the competitors

There’s not a lot to speak about with the Vivosmart 5’s design. The monochrome touchscreen comes with a single button that both takes you to the primary menu or acts as a again button to get to the watch face. The show can get vivid sufficient to see simply throughout an out of doors exercise and has an auto-brightness sensor, although the duvet on the display screen is fairly reflective. Total the display screen is likely to be a bit too small for some to learn textual content notifications and stats throughout your exercise with out squinting, even whether it is considerably bigger than the display screen on the older Vivosmart 4. 

Notification textual content on the display screen could also be too small for some to learn simply.


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Sadly there isn’t a strategy to improve the textual content measurement, however at the very least the entire key metrics like coronary heart fee, steps and blood oxygen ranges are massive, which helps with legibility. You possibly can change the watch face to a few completely different preloaded choices, however there’s no always-on show just like the Fitbit. This implies you’ll want to boost your wrist or press the button to see exercise metrics or the time. Given the battery doesn’t final that for much longer than its color-screened cousins, I’m disenchanted that Garmin selected to stay to a fundamental black-and-white display screen in 2022.

Despite the fact that it seems to be like a unibody design, you’ll be able to swap out the whole strap for a special model or materials. Simply push the tracker out of the band and push it again into a brand new one. It’s some of the comfy health trackers I’ve examined, and I hardly discover it when sleeping or understanding.

Simply sufficient health and well being monitoring choices for most individuals

The Vivosmart 5 does every thing you’d count on. It may observe your steps, remind you to maneuver after being nonetheless for too lengthy and its heart-rate sensor is energetic 24/7. There’s additionally excessive and low heart-rate alerts, and you may broadcast heart-rate information to third-party apps like Zwift.

Beginning an exercise is as straightforward as urgent the button, tapping on the display screen to pick out Exercise, then scrolling to search out your exercise kind, however it will probably additionally autodetect walks or runs so long as you flip that possibility on inside the Garmin Join app. There are a few exercise profiles already preloaded like strolling, operating and biking, however you’ll be able to add as much as 10 of the 15 accessible exercises, once more utilizing the app. These embody actions like stair stepper, HIIT, Pilates, breath work, pool swimming and indoor rowing.

Activity tracking on Vivosmart 5

You possibly can select from 15 completely different exercise monitoring varieties on the Vivosmart 5, however you’ll be able to solely load as much as 10 on the band at one time.


Lexy Savvides/CNET

For outside actions it has linked GPS, which suggests you’ll must take your telephone to trace distance information on walks, runs and bike rides. It takes as much as 10 seconds to lock onto a GPS sign so long as you’re exterior with clear visibility of the sky. Generally you must pull out your telephone, open the Garmin Join and anticipate it to determine a connection. I skilled a number of GPS dropouts throughout a run and have some extra testing to do with the newest replace that dropped at overview time. Outside walks observe tremendous. Additionally observe, there’s no altimeter on board, so elevation information is calculated out of your telephone.

Coronary heart-rate accuracy throughout cardio exercises is sweet when in comparison with a chest strap, however like different equally priced trackers, I discovered the Vivosmart 5 took a number of minutes to catch as much as the strap’s readings over the course of a 25-minute run. Hopefully that may be addressed in a future software program replace. Resting coronary heart fee is correct inside three beats per minute.

Sleep monitoring breaks down the amount and high quality of your relaxation, with full metrics resembling REM and deep sleep within the Garmin Join app. You may also monitor your blood-oxygen ranges all day and in a single day, however this does make the battery drain considerably quicker. I’m a fan of Garmin’s physique battery rating, which takes into consideration coronary heart fee variability, stress ranges and exercise stage to provide you an concept of how effectively your physique’s vitality ranges are doing. This at all times helps me decide if I’ve the bandwidth to do a extra intense exercise, or if I ought to take it sluggish.

Garmin body battery

The physique battery in motion.


Lexy Savvides/CNET

One draw back to the Vivosmart 5’s health choices is that among the customization must be carried out from the Garmin Join app, somewhat than from the tracker itself. At the same time as somebody who’s examined many Garmins, I typically get confused about the place to search out specific choices once I’m utilizing the Vivosmart 5. I can see the Garmin Join app being overwhelming for first-timers, so I like to recommend spending a while customizing all of the widgets to show the metrics and information you want.

Not that many sensible options, however battery life is sweet

Notifications like textual content messages and name prompts come by way of simply tremendous on the Vivosmart 5, however typically I needed to open the app to re-establish the Bluetooth connection. On iOS, you’ll see each single notification that comes by way of out of your telephone and sadly there’s no strategy to decide and select what to push to the band. You can also’t reply to notifications when paired with an iPhone however you’ll be able to ship fast, canned replies when you’re on Android.

The Vivosmart 5 has music controls for no matter music participant you’ve in your telephone. I attempted enjoying again from Tidal, Spotify and Apple Music, with the tracker in a position to management playback from all three. You may also have music controls displayed throughout a exercise, however you’ll must toggle that possibility on from the app because it’s not energetic by default. There aren’t any third-party apps accessible for the Vivosmart 5, simply the default Garmin choices that additionally embody a calendar and alarms.

Vivosmart 5 find my phone

The Vivosmart 5 can ping your telephone when you lose it inside Bluetooth vary.


Lexy Savvides/CNET

Like different Garmin units, the Vivosmart 5 helps emergency alerts and LiveTrack that shares your location with family and friends throughout outside exercises, so long as your telephone is with you. It additionally has a find-my-phone possibility.

Battery life is sweet, as it’ll final nearly a full week between prices when you flip off blood-oxygen monitoring and maintain the display screen brightness at a reasonable stage. However with a bit extra heavy utilization I managed to get 5 full days earlier than needing to cost, together with a 30- or 60-minute day by day GPS exercise, sleep monitoring and notifications from my telephone. I additionally tracked blood oxygen throughout one night time of sleep, which put a big dent within the battery life.

Good for health followers who want some further battery life

It actually feels a bit outdated to have a health tracker that makes use of a monochrome show in 2022, even when the battery life lasts a bit longer than another trackers. The Fitbit Cost 5 has a vivid shade show and might final 4 full days with heavier use, or as much as per week with reasonable use, whereas the $47 Mi Band 5 additionally has a shade display screen and lasts two weeks when you restrict to core options. 

Then once more, Garmin doesn’t restrict any well being metrics behind a paywall, just like the $10-a-month Fitbit Premium subscription on the Cost 5. That’s required for deeper insights into sleep information over time and entry to the Fitbit day by day readiness rating, considerably just like the physique battery on the Vivosmart 5. 

The Vivosmart 5 is thrice as costly because the Mi Band 5, however its heart-rate sensor is extra correct for increased depth exercises. Get the Vivosmart 5 when you’re on the lookout for complete sleep and health monitoring, so long as you don’t want built-in GPS or a shade show.

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