Activity Tracking 2.0 With The Garmin Vivosmart HR+

As I look down at the high-tech device on my wrist, I find it hard to believe that only a few short years ago, this sort of tech was virtually unknown. Now, it houses some pretty cool features that have become seamless to use, lightweight, and stylish. I’m speaking of course about the new Vivosmart HR+ from Garmin.

When I first unboxed the Vivosmart, my first impression was that it looked pretty nice, but no different to the dozens of other fitness trackers on the market that I’d tried in the past. I expected to see the usual: Step counting, sleep tracking, and heart rate monitoring. The Vivosmart has all of these, of course, but hidden in the small form-factor of the device, were crammed a slew of additional features, and some clever app-connected touches as well.

The Features

To keep things simple and easy to digest, here is a list of the features found in the Vivosmart HR+. Some are self-explanatory, and others I will expand on below.

  • Pedometer
  • Touch screen/swipable interface
  • Sunlight-readable display
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Sleep tracking
  • GPS(!)
  • More running metrics
  • Move IQ
  • Phone tethering for smart notifications
  • Companion Apps, which include:
    • Historical tracking
    • Run mapping
    • Activity & Health statistics
    • Workout details

And these are just the major features. Once connected to the Garmin Connect app, you have access to a heap of functionality, collaborations and sharing options, course creation, and more.

The Vivosmart HR+ really highlights the fact the Garmin have been doing activity tracking, and doing it well, since the start. The features are well thought out, the layout of the device UI is intuitive and minimal, yet informative,

The companion app (Garmin Connect) is used across the Garmin range, and can be used to set goals, and compete against friends and family.

Usability

With all these features, one can imagine that they would need a degree to operate the device. Honestly, it does take a bit of time to really delve into the details, but the nice thing is that you don’t really need to obsess over the metrics to get a lot out of the Vivosmart.

What makes this possible is the Move IQ feature. This feature is used to automatically work out when you’re performing different activities, from walking to running, cycling or using gym equipment. Other devices need you to manually specify a change in activity, but not the Vivosmart HR+.

Alongside the activity swapping feature, there is also a neat side-bar called the Move bar. Over the weeks that I┬átested the device, I developed a love/hate relationship with the Move bar. Basically, it’s just a line that creeps up the device face when it detects that you are standing still. Once it reaches a certain height, the device vibrates, and displays the word MOVE! on the screen.

At first, the Move bar was a bit annoying, but after a few days, it turned out to be a really handy reminder to get up and move around. As an office worker, this feature is really helpful for reducing the damaged caused by endless hours of physical inactivity.

Conclusion

The Vivosmart HR+ was a pleasant surprise, packed full of useful features and automation that set it apart as a true next-generation tracking device. It’s well designed, intuitive, and stylish. If this is the sort of device that we can expect to see from Garmin in the coming years, then I see a lot more people taking them up, or making the switch from competitors’ devices.

Written by Barefoot Dawsy

BeginningBarefoot.com would like to thank Garmin Australia for loaning us a sample device for testing. Vivosmart HR+ and other devices are available in sporting retail stores across Australia and the world