It’s been a month since I made that almost-impulse purchase at REI (the last stop of my post-blizzard shopping spree), and now I am ready to share my Garmin VivosmartHR review with you. Keep reading to find out what I love about this new activity tracker, what I don’t, and which features I use most frequently.
Garmin VivosmartHR Review
The activity tracker features of the Garmin VivosmartHR are similar to that of the Vivosmart, but the VivosmartHR also tracks stairs (or hills, apparently).
This week’s long run wasn’t quite as hilly as last week’s!
The step count screen is shown below. The number on the bottom is the “goal” number, which changes from day-to-day, based on the previous day’s activity level.
Since I didn’t reach 10,000 steps on Friday my goal for Saturday
was a bit lower, but I blew past it during my long run!
The Garmin VivosmartHR has the same phone-based features that the Vivosmart has, including the ability to start/stop your playlist, and the ability to receive “smart notifications” from your phone. It also has an option to show the weather, which I have gotten in the habit of checking before I get out of bed!
When I first got my Vivosmart, I didn’t think I’d care about the smart notifications, but now I am hoooked on them. The sharper screen of VivosmartHR makes it even easier to read text messages, and it is easier to delete notificaitons once you’ve read them.
Of course the main upgrade in the VivosmartHR is the wrist-based heart rate monitoring. The device has an optical heart rate monitor that measures your heart rate every few minutes throughout the day, and constantly during an activity. It’s not as accurate as a chest strap-based monitor, but it comes close.
Apparently my resting heart rate is low for my age–yay for running!
Most of the Garmin VivosmartHR functions are accessed via the touchscreen, but there is a small button that accesses the activity screen and other settings. To time an activity, you press the button, then touch the “person” icon, and then choose from “run”, “cardio”, or “other”. Once you have done that, pressing the button will start the timer and constant heart rate monitoring. Pressing the button again will stop the timer, and then you can choose to resume, save, or delete the activity.
If you select “run” it will signal (vibrate) at every mile–based on its estimate of your distance. (I’ve worn it with my Garmin 225 on my other wrist, and find it to be off by about 5-10%.) I mostly use the activity feature to monitor my heart rate during indoor cycling class and treadmill workouts.
The two things I don’t like about the VivosmartHR are the battery life and the size, but both stem from having more features. While my Vivosmart only needed to be charged once a week, the VivosmartHR won’t last quite that long, especially if I’ve timed a few classes and runs. While it’s about the same size as most activity trackers, it is wider than the Vivosmart, which was wider than the Jawbone UP. Maybe they are just stepping stones to an Apple Watch.
All in all, I am pleased with the VivosmartHR. If you don’t need wrist-based heart rate monitoring, you might want to check out the new Vivofit 3 which has a 1-year battery life and interchangeable bands. On the other hand, if you’re in the market for a new GPS watch, you might want to check out the Vivoactive HR, which looks really cool and almost has me regretting my Garmin 225!
Monday: 45 minute full body strength routine
Tuesday morning: Hill repeats
Tuesday evening: 60 minute Core Power Yoga 2 class
This data is from my Garmin 225.
Love how my heart rate matches the hills!
Wednesday: 45 minute indoor cycling class
Thursday: 30 minute full body strength routine
I was going to run, but after reading this great post from Deborah about over-doing it, I decided to make it an easier day.
Friday: 45 minute treadmill workout with two tempo miles.
My first tempo mile at 7.5 mph went well, but I was struggling halfway through the second one. When I saw how high my heart rate was, I gave myself permission to cut back to 7.0 mph. I’m sure I needed more recovery between the tempo miles.
Saturday: 8 mile run – my last hilly run before the Reston 10 Miler this weekend.
More data from my Garmin 225
Sunday: Glorious 29 mile bike ride in 60 degree weather! 🙂
This week I will be taking it easy in advance of the Reston 10 Miler on Sunday. Come by for the Ultimate Coffee Date Link Up on Saturday to wish me luck!
Do you research fitness purchases or buy them on impulse?