Garmin Vivoactive HR: user review

by Lorna Middleton

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Garmin Vivoactive HR

I got my Garmin Vivoactive HR as an unexpected Christmas gift at the end of 2016. I’d been wanting to save up for a Fitbit for a long time, but had never managed to come up with the money. Or, whenever I did, other expenses always seemed to come up. I’d just never been able to justify spending all that money on a glorified pedometer. Luckily, fate had other plans.

My mum bought the Vivoactive HR for my dad for Christmas. Unfortunately for her, it just wasn’t his thing and he wanted to return it to the online retailer she bought it from. Luckily for me, they wouldn’t accept the return because it had been more than 30 days since she purchased it. I quickly snapped up the poor, unwanted wearable, and I’ve never looked back.



The watch’s battery lasts about a week, which lines up nicely with Garmin’s advertised 8 days charge. I’m a little disappointed in this, however, as with my busy lifestyle it seems like the time just flies by and suddenly I’m charging it all over again.

For someone used to charging her phone daily, you’d think this wouldn’t be a problem, but wearing my Garmin every day means that when I take it off I often forget to put it back on. It also means I’m missing out on vital data – either sleep hours if I’m charging at night or steps during the day.

Luckily, it charges fast. Without having officially tested I’d say it takes around an hour or so to charge my watch. It’s my own poor memory, not the charging time, that makes me forget about it.



Gramin Vivoactive HR

The Vivoactive HR is a little on the bulky side, and definitely not feminine at all. It has the cool, square face of the trendier wearables out there, but it has nothing on the swankier (and infinitely more expensive) Fenix series. The customisable watch faces available through the Garmin app store are quite nice, however, and if you’re design-capable, you could even make your own.

One rather unfortunate feature, however, is the strap. The plastic has quite a cute cross-hatch design which, from a distance, looks almost scaly. Unfortunately, this plastic noose traps wrist sweat like nobody’s business and gave me a nasty fungal infection within only a few days of wearing it. Luckily, I’m on top of it now, but I almost stopped wearing my Vivoactive after that gross experience. Thankfully, the watch is waterproof, so now I just hop in the shower or rinse my wrist under the tap after exercising to get rid of any sweat.



Despite its flaws, the Vivoactive HR is a durable little piece of technology. As part of my weekly exercise routine I do two days of pole fitness at my local dance studio, so I’ve bashed the watch face and casing off of a hard metal object multiple times with no dramas. I’ve also managed to catch and pull the strap a few times but it’s never shown the slightest bit of wear. I’m not so worried about the strap as the strap is replaceable, and even customisable, with alternative strap colours available online through the Garmin store.



The merits of the Vivoactive HR come down to three main areas:

  • Functionality
  • Customisation
  • Waterproofing

As already stated, the waterproofing has come in very handy for bringing my watch into the shower. It also means that during Summer I can take it to the beach or the swimming pool with me. Waterproofing is always a sure-fire selling point for me after the amount of times I washed my phone as a teenager.

The customisation options, too, are something I always look at on every device. If I can’t give it a cool-looking yet largely useless wallpaper, then why am I buying it? The Vivoactive doesn’t have quite the range of available faces as the Fenix watches mentioned earlier, but it still has a decent collection. This is especially obvious in comparison to the Vivosmart HR watches my mother and sister own.

Garmin Vivoactive HR customisation options

Lastly, the sheer range of data that Garmin watches keep track of is phenomenal. From more basic functions like my heart rate and my step count to my sleep patterns, the watch has a lot going on. There’s even more to be found inside the Garmin’s mobile app. This can also be paired with the myfitnesspal app to track calories in and out, as well as being used to challenge your friends to step competitions.

The watch’s notification system will even sync with your phone to tell you when you have notifications or let you know about incoming calls. You can even answer your phone with your watch, although as it has no microphone all this does is save you a little time as you scrabble to find your mobile. While a lot of these are features boasted by other devices like Fitbit and the Apple Watch, it’s nice to know that Garmin customers aren’t missing out on anything.

Garmin Vivofit HR call answering features



Waterproofing and fitness-tracking hype aside, the Vivoactive HR does have a few annoying drawbacks. The sweat factory strap is one of them, but another seems to be some sort of glitch with the heart-rate monitor. While in use, the LEDs on the underside of the watch glow green. During the day this isn’t noticeable, and at night I usually find it isn’t either. The LEDs aren’t always in use, however, so at night if they suddenly become active they can light up siddenly and blind you. At first I thought it was the screen getting bumped and turning on, but upon further investigation it was definitely the green light coming from the underside of the watch. If you’re like me and sleep with your hand up near your face, this can be incredibly frustrating.

Another light-related issue is the main touch-screen. While the display can be locked and the watch set to a ‘do not disturb’ mode so that the device won’t send you any notifications while you sleep, the watch will still light up and tell you it’s locked if it receives any touch input. This basically defeats the purpose of having a lock setting at all, as I still end up being blinded by accident if I roll around on my pillow too much.



If you can find a way around blinding yourself in the middle of the night, the Garmin Vivoactive HR may be for you. As far as smart watches go, its features are on-par with its major competitors, although its price isn’t. For around the AU$400 mark the Vivoactive is pricey, although much cheaper than Apple Watches. As I only wanted something to count steps, this high price would have put me off buying it and pushed me in the direction of the much cheaper Fitbit Flex. I’m very much an advocate of the ‘my accessories shouldn’t cost as much as my phone did’ school of thought.

Not having bought the watch myself, however, I can say that I’m glad it found its way into my life. I really do use it every day and get frustrated when I lose any data from forgetting to wear it. I’ve done more walking thanks to owning this watch than I ever have in my life. The guilt of not reaching my step goal yesterday, or the hunger for that last thousand steps to reach my goal today, get me out of bed faster than the smell of pancakes on a Sunday morning. If you can afford the price tag, Garmin is definitely a hard-hitting competitor to consider over other fitness devices out there.


Overall Rating: 9/10

by Lorna Middleton

by Lorna Middleton

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Quite often toted as a 'Jack of all trades, master of none' type, Lorna has a variety of skills and interests covering a wide area. When she's not programming for her latest game or web project, she's planning and writing novels, immersing herself in someone else's work or overthinking an elaborate party idea. Sometimes she even writes articles like this one.


Buy Garmin Vivoactive HR & Accessories

C2D JOY Milanese Stainless Steel Loop Watch Band Replacement for Garmin Vivoactive HR Sports GPS Smart Watch with Unique Magnet Lock, No Buckle Needed, Large Black (7.6-9.5in)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

by C2D JOY
C2D JOY Root In: We aim to improve lives with innovation by utilizing new material and craftmentship, being creative on the basis of individual needs of customers, aspired to solving pain points and avoiding awful user experience. C2Djoy Derived From: Desire of two bros who are of both differences and commonness for excellence and prosperity. With the impact of traditional culture which emphasizes on caritas, as the proverb saying, "Benevolent love, people love" and characters shaped by wisdom of being outwardly gentle but inwardly stern, C2Djoy is a brand full of literary and artistic atmosphere and entreprenures' persistence. In this info age, we try our best to simplify transaction procedure and directly provide dependable creations to customers with enthusiam and carefulness. Complying with the principle of inclusiveness, our set-up brand image and forged brand connotation have gained complete recognition from users and reached a bridge of thoughts. "Where there is a dream, there is a C2Djoy" is the most important vision of our company. why? From Apple to Fitbit, our Milanese replacement bands have gained wide identification and highly attention on Amazon for several years. Nowadays, people are attaching more and more importance to their health and fitness level. The more brave ones even challenge themselves in extreme activities and adventures. Considering the merits of Milanese material, we decided to apply it to Garmin watches which are well-konwn as forerunners of outdoor equipments for their accurate navigation system. We are always on the way of innovation. Package included: 1 x Garmin vivoactive HR replacement band 1 x Special designed screwdriver 2 x Spring bar

$19.99 on

Garmin Vivoactive HR Screen Protector, IQ Shield LiQuidSkin (6-Pack) Full Coverage Screen Protector for Garmin Vivoactive HR HD Clear Anti-Bubble Film - with

Saturday, February 25, 2017

by IQShield
IQ Shield LIQuidSkin Screen ProtectorThe IQ Shield LIQuid Screen Protector for Garmin Vivoactive HR is visually invisible and provides complete edge-to-edge coverage of your device's screen. Using a unique liquid molding process, our protective film ignores conventional "layer-stacking" to deliver prime protection in a single sheet of frictionless, tough yet flexible, durable yet thin, crystal clear film with "True-Feel" sensitivity.Additional Features of the Garmin Vivoactive HR Screen Protector :The IQ Shield LIQuidSkin film features self-healing, as well as, anti-scratch capabilities. The protector will heal itself by reverting back to its original state, removing minor scratches, dents, abrasions and imperfections along the way. Provides a clean and transparent way to keep your device(s) protected. Unique adhesive ensures a bubble-free application that does not leave residue when removed.UV protective layer prevents yellowing, keeping the IQ Shield Garmin Vivoactive HR screen protector crystal clear."True-Feel" sensitivity maintains your device's screen fully responsive; eliminating lag-time from touch to response.Unlike other protectors, the Shield LIQuidSkin is able to contour to the curved and round edges of any device Designed and Made Proudly in the USAIQ Shield Lifetime Warranty Replacement Program IQ Shield stands behind the quality of all of its products. We ensure a 100% satisfaction guarantee to all of our customers and every item is covered by a Lifetime Replacement Warranty.

$7.85 on

Tech WTF is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to