It is a big year for Garmin; they have already launched two flagship products, the Fenix 7 and Epix 2 as well as the popular Garmin Instinct 2. They are also believed to be launching the Forerunner 255 and 255s soon, then the Forerunner 955, Venu Sq 2, Vivomove Trend, Austin and Instinct Analog.
First up is the Garmin Vivosmart 5, which was launched yesterday. It has been a long time coming. The Vivosmart 4 was launched almost 4 years ago. During that time, a lot of competing products have launched, with many companies adopting a yearly cycle. You would expect the Vivosmart 5 to be a significant upgrade to the Vivosmart 4, but this isn’t the case, and the Vivosmart 5 is a hard sell when you look at the competition.
Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs Vivosmart 4 Specifications & Features – What’s new?
|Garmin vivosmart 5 Smart Fitness Tracker with Touchscreen,...||£129.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Garmin Small/Medium vivosmart 4 Smart Activity Tracker with...||£96.94||Buy on Amazon|
The Garmin Vivosmart 5 takes the Vivosmart 4 and adds a bunch of new features. There is one exception though, for some reason, Garmin has removed the barometric altimeter, which means there is now no stair tracking. Stair tracking on my Fenix 6 Pro seems completely random, so I wouldn’t say you are missing out much here. The specification table also indicates that the Vivosmart 5 can not work as a VIRB camera remote.
The physical design has changed moderately. The display is now 10.5 mm x 18.5 mm vs 6.6 mm x 17.7 mm making it 66% bigger with an increased resolution running at 88 x 154 pixels vs 48 x 128 pixels. The bigger display also increases the overall dimensions, the width of the large goes from 15mm to 19.5mm, a 30% increase.
The Vivosmart 5 now has swappable bands rather than built-in, which is the thing most likely to fail on these fitness bands.
One of the significant improvements I can see is the inclusion of LiveTrack and incident detection. I was a big fan of LiveTrack after supporting my partner around the Manchester Marathon. Though this may be of less use for people that use fitness trackers.
Neither fitness band has built-in GPS, they both rely on assisted GPS, which connects to your phone.
The band can also broadcast your heart rate to other devices. This can be useful for Peloton or Zwift, though you’d be better off with a proper chest strap.
You now get several new activity profiles, including Breath Work, HIIT, Pilates, Treadmill, and Indoor Rowing.
It will now give you an on-device sleep score and a morning wake-up report.
It can also track your respiration rate.
Similar to the flagship Fenix 7/Epix 2, the Vivosmart 5 has real-time settings syncing with the Garmin Connect app, meaning you can change all the settings on your app and sync it with the device.
Finally, the battery life is the same, but Garmin has now switched to the standard Garmin charger used on the watches.
Overall, there are not a lot of changes, nothing to justify an upgrade, in my opinion.
Unfortunately, when you look at the competition, the Garmin Vivosmart 5 doesn’t look that appealing. I’d say the only reason to get it is if you are committed to the Garmin ecosystem.
Alternative Options – Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs Fitbit Charge 5 vs Huawei Band 6
The big stumbling block for the Garmin Vivosmart 5 is the price of £129.99.
For a start, you can get the Vivosmart 4 for just £80, I don’t feel like there is enough of a difference to justify that £50. The Garmin Forerunner 45 is also the same price as the Vivosmart 5, it is a significantly better device, but the Vivosmart 5 has a more discrete design.
For competing brands, at a similar price, you have the Fitbit Charge 5. Garmin has been keen to point out that the Vivosmart 5 lacks any subscription services, and Fitbit annoyingly walls off some features into a premium plan.
However, the Fitbit Charge 5 has significantly superior features, including:
- Colour display with a superior resolution
- Built-in GPS
- EDA Scan app/ ECG scanning
- Fitbit Pay
I’d say it looks more attractive too.
Alternatively, there is the Honor Band 6 or Huawei Huawei Band 6. Both of these have good-quality colour displays and most of the features the Vivosmart 5 but almost £100 cheaper!
Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs Vivosmart 4 Specification Table
|Garmin Vivosmart 5||Garmin Vivosmart 4|
|PHYSICAL SIZE||Small/medium: 19.5 x 10.7 x 217 mm||Small/medium: 15 x 10.5 x 197 mm|
|Fits wrists with a circumference of 122-188 mm||Fits wrists with a circumference of 122-188 mm|
|Large: 19.5 x 10.7 x 255 mm||Large: 15 x 10.5 x 223 mm|
|Fits wrists with a circumference of 148-228 mm||Fits wrists with a circumference of 148-215 mm|
|DISPLAY SIZE||0.41" x 0.73" (10.5 mm x 18.5 mm)||6.6 mm x 17.7 mm|
|DISPLAY RESOLUTION||88 x 154 pixels||48 x 128 pixels|
|WEIGHT||Small/medium: 24.5 g||Small/medium: 16.5 g|
|Large: 26.5 g||Large: 17.1 g|
|BATTERY LIFE||Up to 7 days (excluding pulse ox sleep tracking)||Up to 7 days (excluding Pulse Ox sleep tracking)|
|MEMORY/HISTORY||7 timed activities, 14 days of activity tracking data||7 timed activities, 14 days of activity tracking data|
|AUTOMATIC DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME||Yes||Yes|
|WRIST-BASED HEART RATE (CONSTANT, EVERY SECOND)||Yes||Yes|
|DAILY RESTING HEART RATE||Yes||Yes|
|ABNORMAL HEART RATE ALERTS||Yes (high and low)||Yes (high and low)|
|RESPIRATION RATE (24X7)||Yes||NO|
|PULSE OX BLOOD OXYGEN SATURATION||yes (spot-check, during a portion of sleep, and all-day)||yes (spot-check and optionally in sleep)|
|FITNESS AGE||Yes||Yes (in app)|
|BODY BATTERY™ ENERGY MONITOR||Yes||Yes|
|ALL-DAY STRESS TRACKING||Yes||Yes|
|RELAXATION BREATHING TIMER||Yes||Yes|
|SLEEP||Yes (Advanced)||Yes (Advanced)|
|SLEEP SCORE AND INSIGHTS||Yes||Yes (in Garmin Connect™)|
|HYDRATION||Yes||Yes (in Garmin Connect™)|
|GARMIN ELEVATE™ WRIST HEART RATE MONITOR||Yes||Yes|
|AMBIENT LIGHT SENSOR||Yes||Yes|
|PULSE OX BLOOD OXYGEN SATURATION MONITOR||Yes||Yes|
|Daily smart features||Yes||Yes|
|CONNECTIVITY||Bluetooth® Smart and ANT+®||Bluetooth® Smart and ANT+®|
|TEXT RESPONSE/REJECT PHONE CALL WITH TEXT (ANDROID™ ONLY)||Yes||Yes|
|REALTIME SETTINGS SYNC WITH GARMIN CONNECT™ MOBILE||Yes||No|
|CONTROLS SMARTPHONE MUSIC||Yes||Yes|
|FIND MY PHONE||Yes||Yes|
|FIND MY WATCH||Yes||Yes|
|VIRB® CAMERA REMOTE||No||Yes|
|SMARTPHONE COMPATIBILITY||iPhone®, Android™||iPhone®, Android™|
|COMPATIBLE WITH GARMIN CONNECT™ MOBILE||Yes||Yes|
|INCIDENT DETECTION DURING SELECT ACTIVITIES||Yes||Yes|
|MOVE BAR (DISPLAYS ON DEVICE AFTER A PERIOD OF INACTIVITY; WALK FOR A COUPLE OF MINUTES TO RESET IT)||Yes||Yes|
|AUTO GOAL (LEARNS YOUR ACTIVITY LEVEL AND ASSIGNS A DAILY STEP GOAL)||Yes||Yes|
|AVAILABLE GYM ACTIVITY PROFILES||Strength, HIIT, Cardio and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Indoor Rowing, Treadmill, Pilates and Yoga||Strength Training, Cardio Training, Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Yoga|
|AUTOMATIC REP COUNTING||Yes||Yes|
|Training, planning and analysis features||Yes||Yes|
|% HR MAX||Yes||Yes|
|HR BROADCAST (BROADCASTS HR DATA OVER ANT+™ TO PAIRED DEVICES)||Yes||Yes|
|GPS SPEED AND DISTANCE||yes (Connected GPS only)||yes (Connected GPS only)|
|CUSTOMISABLE ACTIVITY PROFILES||Yes||Yes|
|VO2 MAX (RUN)||Yes||Yes|
|AVAILABLE RUN PROFILES||Running||Running|
|CADENCE (PROVIDES REAL-TIME NUMBER OF STEPS PER MINUTE)||Yes||Yes|
|AVAILABLE CYCLING PROFILES||Biking||Biking|
|AVAILABLE SWIM PROFILES||Pool Swimming (Basic)||Pool swimming (Basic)|
Last update on 2023-03-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API