Sunday, 16 March 2014

Garmin Vivofit - My initial thoughts

Garmin Vivofit Packaging
I have a new piece of fitness tech - the Garmin Vivofit!

I previously owned the Fitbit One and managed to lose it somewhere between Eurostar security in Paris and boarding the Eurostar train back home! Fitbit were great and replaced it for free but I managed to lose it for a second time whilst shopping at the Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield.

I had planned to replace it with the Fitbit Force but, after a number of reports about skin irritation and still no sign of it being released in the UK, my eyes turned to Garmin.

I already have a Garmin Forerunner 220 and heartrate monitor for tracking my hiking/walks and, having been impressed with the quality and reliability of it, Garmin moving into the self tracking space was an interesting development.

As soon as I saw it available to purchase I put my order in and on Wednesday this week it arrived. In the box came the Vivofit, two different sized wristbands, USB ANT+ receiver and some leaflets.

In the box...


What's good about it?


  • You don't have to recharge the batteries. In theory the batteries should last for over a year before they need replacing - obviously I can't confirm this yet!
  • You can leave it on your wrist, even when swimming!
  • It can link with a ANT+ heartrate monitor for additional information
  • The wristband seems much sturdier than the Fitbit equivalent
  • You are reminded to get up and move when you've been sat down for too long
  • It learns your current activity level and then assigns an attainable daily goal - better motivation to hit those targets!


What's not so good?


  • It doesn't link with MyFitnessPal (for example) to provide calories burnt to calories eaten
  • It has no silent alarms - I used this feature on the Fitbit One to remind me to take my background insulin
  • It doesn't have a backlight so you need to make sure you've put it into sleep mode before you switch the lights off
  • It's doesn't count flights of stairs


..and the terrible - Missing steps!

Today I went to the supermarket and I noticed that not a single step had been recorded as I walked around the store. As soon as I put the trolley back in the trolley park and walked back to the car the step count started to go up! Clearly it wasn't counting my steps due to the angle of the device when pushing the trolley around the shop.


So far I'm pleased with the purchase. There are clearly some niggles Garmin need to resolve and I'm hoping integration with systems like MyFitnessPal will be available soon and issues on capturing steps like the issues today at the supermarket can all be resolved with software updates.

However if Fitbit manage to resolve the issues they have with their Force product and finally release it in the UK then I think they'll have a product that's ahead of the game. However Garmin is catching up fast and will certainly give them a good run for their money!

The ANT+ receiver doggle
On my wrist