So now my question: Garmin due to the battery life. But apparently is not sexy to make apps for a plastic watch……. Hi Ray, thank you for the review. I would be interested to know how well the automatic activity detection works on this and other devices. Right now I just use my phone as an activity tracker with google fit. It works quite well but often gets a 10 minute cycle confused with a walk.
A minor complaint for sure but if there was a device which could do this more accurately I would be swayed to purchase it. Maybe something you could deal with in future reviews. However, others like Fitbit manage to get distance, which Garmin does not. Great work, highly appreciated! I think this is almost the perfect mid-range device for someone who is not an amateur nor a professional. No problems so far, very satisfied with the device. What version of firmware do you have? That screen is plotting your RHR for the last 7 days.
Thanks a lot Ray for the great review, as always.
It seems that many people are not happy with the smart recording and not having 1-second recording. It was previously stated the unit would, based on earlier discussions with Garmin. They changed that plan at some point between announcement and shipping. I asked last week: Is this slated to change?
They are evaluating a few options for how they can have increased sampling and minimize battery life impact. Boy, that is lame. If they are really just concerned about battery life, they could simply make it a setting like they do on other watches, and set the default to be smart recording.
That would not affect reported battery life, but let users who wish to trade battery life for more accuracy the option. It merely impacts the recorded file size on the unit which is tiny. Ray — Thanks a lot for the answer. If so it looks pretty good to me in terms of HR accuracy. And, all tests were done on the most available firmware until last Thursday night, at which point Garmin shipped 2. In some cases, I noted if something was fixed, but wanted to at least mention that I saw it up until that point in case it persists or pops up again.
I already ordered one last night. Knowing optical HR sensors do not work the same well for everyone, I can only get my fingers crossed for now. This is really disappointing and could explain the lags I am getting when hill running. I really like the watch but this is a bit of a deal killer for me as I really find the lag on the heart rate information to be too long and I actually use the data in real-time to help with training.
Thanks for this great review. I just bought the Vivoactive HR recently, and it now has 1-second recording as an option in the system settings. My software level is 2. Smart recording is the default. I tried using my Vivoactive HR on my rowing machine this weekend.
The heart rate monitor was very bad. Less than half of my actual heart rate. I found out later after a call to Garmin that the course needs to be downloaded to your phone in order to select it so I will try that again this week. This weekend I went for my first run with it on — the GPS seemed accurate enough for what I wanted but when I got home, it had not yet synced with Garmin Connect — I tried manual synching with no luck. For the same money, how would you compare the to the VA HR — running and cycling only ignoring the golf portion.
Would you lean to one or the other?
Thanks a lot for detailed review with test results and its given fair idea about total functionality. Is this typical for these types of watches? So from the graphs it looks like the heart rate monitoring on the xt is more accurate than on the Vivoactive HR? Is that a fair conclusion? Started off ok and got worse over four weeks. Frequent cadence swap-ins and very prolonged spikes.
I think this is an excellent review. It is practical and comprehensive. I agree with everything. The update of firmware has made the visibility much better! Can you do a YouTube or video detailing the update? Also, it would be great to see a regular post on practical uses for the device. Does the VivoHR beep and vibrate to indicate different alerts? Ray made a very nice table at the end of his article above. Joe, thank you for your reply. I only see the table comparing the HR to the fitbit. This is my firstfirst time using this site so please forgive me as I learning.
Ray, Thanks very much for all your detailed reviews and interesting write-ups. As a previous Vivosmart HR owner.. I now own a Vivoactive HR.. With all the Connect IQ apps etc that you have.. The Vivoactive HR is smaller than I expected it to be, I was worried about it being big but it is not. Can anyone share feedback about the HR accuracy in Strength mode weight training and while doing indoor cardio stuff elliptical in particular?
Many thanks in advance. Now that the FR is the same price as the Vivoactive, what would you get if you had to choose one? I do running, walking, and cross training at the gym Spin class, Eliptical, Strength Training.. Comparison table of the and VivoHRhttps: Hi Ray, regarding the open water swim comparison with the XT, was the on your wrist or in your hat? Do you press start above water, or below? I find pressing start above-water with full signal is hugely helpful.
I also put it above my wetsuit. Thanks for the quick reply, yeah I press start above water, in this particular triathlon the guys starter horn failed so it had quite a while to get a secure lock. If you look at the track for it it has me at the start and then in transition. It does seem to have me on the land rather than in the water for half of it though.
My VHR seems to get firmware every other day or so, as seen by reboots. Anyway, it appears that the VHR does not always perform a sync before it apply the firmware and reboots. Data appears to be stored in non-volatile storage as it disappears during reboot. Are the different activities really just different setups on the watch in terms of what fields are shown? I can see maybe the following:. GPS off in pool swimming mode — Connecting with third party sensors, as in cycling. Well, the downside is always having to change my activity type in Garmin Connect. I mostly cycle and run in the summer, and cross-country ski, run, and use my rollers in the winter.
I want whatever I buy to be able to handle cross-country skiing as a first-class sport. I was originally all about the Vivoactive HR due to its cross-country skiing app, but the more I think about it the less it seems like it actually makes a difference. This in addition to the sensor setup and data pages. I currently use indoor or outdoor running for non listed sports depending on whether I want GPS or not on the VA and then change the type in Garmin Connect.
So as long as the GPS and altimeter are recording in, say, running mode, if you switch that activity later to downhill skiing you should be able to get your vertical speed. Because then all those fancy Vivoactive HR activities are really just for convenience to save you the step of changing the activity type in Garmin Connect later. Fwiw, Vertical Speed is currently a data field. You might want to update that list Ray. They killed off Training Effect. Nor was it something I ever listed as being in the VAHR until listing the data fields in this post as I saw them on the screen as of last Thursday then removed in the Thursday evening firmware update.
Though, this sounds like a mistake. Which, also sounds par for the course when it comes to firmware…. It uses the barometer, GPS, and maybe accelerometer to calculate this data on the fly on the watch. I have to apologize for my stupid posts about vertical speed. As I was reading it I kept comparing it with my Microsoft Band.
One massive advantage of the Vivoactive is that it is waterproof and battery life seems better. The Band is also not a sport watch but OK as a back up for running — and I now wear it as a watch. For activities, mainly running, I use a Suunto Ambit 2R but perhaps the Vivoactive combines the best of both of these and I will need only one device in the future. For instance my step count is currently on for the day and my distance travelled is showing as Cycling mileage today was just over 30 miles Yesterday was a similar step count but no cycling and gave a total of 3.
More bizarrely, once the data has shipped into Garmin Connect the mileage has bumped up to It also records climbs as floors climbed. How does one change settings to prevent those? Not wanting to wear both trackers. I got mine today too.. We are always last to get the toys. But so far I am loving it, even if Garmin does have a few issues. Like laps in miles instead of kilometers. It likely needs a reset.. My old Vivosmart HR had the same issue.. I just ordered a VivoActiveHR. I opened my new VAHR this morning and put it through a series of tests.
I can positively confirm that if you choose: Unfortunately this is a deal breaker for me and the VAHR is going back today. Plus the screen brightness is very low. Some really good deals on the Ambit 3 which youve posted on this site itself so Im gonna try and take a call quickly to make the most of those. Which of the 2 watches would you recommend?
The Ambit3 has multisport mode and openwater swimming, both of which the Vivoactive HR lack. It also has far more features in the hiking realm, such as more detailed navigation though, Connect IQ apps can kinda make up for some of that. Fair, then, to assume that the VAHR also offers the basics for hiking esp: I do hope to complete a triathlon sometime in the coming year but Im not too fussed about manually changing modes so I guess the multisport mode doesnt matter much then?
I run at a Natural Park with lots of trees very close to each other, specially in Spring and Summer, with Endomondo app installed in my smartphone. Garmin Connect really needs to take a lesson off the Fitbit software. Some people do actually have decent luck on other optical HR sensors in the water, but then other people have no luck. Quite variable right now. I do multiple sports and am very interested in this watch for those reasons. The screen would end up with a lot of lines across the front making it hard to read for a while. Do you think this watch can handle cardio boxing and kickboxing?
I also do several different workouts including BodyCombat, but not running and not outdoor cycling. I should receive my unit with a week and I will wear it for the Combat. I can post the data but I will have nothing to compare with. But you will want to update it since the 2. I bought this device beginning of the month. Firmware update last week took away the Training Effect stat. In both the watch and the connect app. I called and they confirmed it was removed and it will not be returning.
Now I am stuck trying to decide whether to return it and get the or not. Can someone please summarize the negatives of the ? The comparison chart is just a little too objective for me which is normally what I crave. I guess let me rephrase that: Do you guys think the training effect, vo2max estimation, and recovery advisor are worth upgrading to the F at the expense of some of the other activities like walking, XC skying, strength, and cardio?
I touched on this a little bit earlier here, in response to some questions: Great review, Great reviewS, actually the best out there… I have a small question do you know if there is a possibility to answer or reject calls from the watch? Yes, the call presents on the screen over the activity and you can accept or reject.
You can also call back later from the watch in the notifications widget. Thank you alex but i inly get a silence button. I am using an android mobile. I have an iPhone and can accept or reject. Move bar improvements and fixes. Fix issue where Run app is inadvertently removed. Personal record support with Garmin Express. Added more backlight settings and increased max brightness. Resting heart rate improvements. Ability to turn off goal animations. New first time tip pages. Added the ability to eject from mass storage. Updated the save activity flow. Fix so livetrack session ends correctly.
Fixes with losing gps during activities when navigating through UI. Ability to see battery percentage on device. Fixes with broadcasting HR. Increased alarm count to 8. Fixes with golf pages showing incorrect data. Fixed issues with translated strings. Fix issue when user tries to pair when already paired. Fix issue where watch face could change randomly after software update.
Automatically install software updates. Fix to altimeter calibration range. General stability bug fixes. More filesystem space for CIQ. Fixed bugs with Connect IQ data field. Do you know if Garmin will be addressing this in firmware updates? How do you export heart rate data from Garmin? I would love to get it all in an Excel spreadsheet and out of Connect, but there is no option to export to CSV other than splits. I tried GoldenCheetah on my Mac, but I had issues with it. Activity data can be exported in the. FIT file format or. There are then many ways to convert that to other formats Golden Cheetah can import the.
FIT and export as. Also a bunch of tools here: Women with narrow wrists — do you like the Garmin VIvoactive HR, or do you prefer another activity tracker? Ray, what does The Girl like best? Hmm, I really wanted to keep this watch. Did everything i needed — running, biking and swimming and just the price that suited me. I could do all three with this. I have the garmin swim and this watch is sketchy with regards to lap counting.
The garmin swim never if at all skipped a lap for me. This one even with latest updates recorded m for a m swim. And just today recorded 50m for a m interval. Anyways, given i really enjoy swimming, this is out. I wish the Garmin Swim could be a wee bit updated but oh well. But seriously, that would be a bummer to lose that many laps. Have VAHR for a couple of weeks — still learning all the tricks. The least of which is that the Swim-HRM is not compatible with the device i.
Any suggestions on how to fill that HR gap? Has anyone else tried the Tickr X for swimming? So if I understand correctly if I wanted to use the heart rate monitor during a ride I would have to set it to broadcast and in doing so lose all other features? I would rather it just work as normal and broadcast the heart rate. I have a couple people who I need to know need me sometimes I stop every few feet it feels and this would have been a good way to handle that.
I am also concerned about the accuracy of the HRM. I just called Garmin about the lack of HR sampling during sleep.
My VAHR has only been taking samples at night once every hours at best, and often goes even longer 5hr periods between samples. The rep I spoke with had not heard other reports of this, nor did the second level support person he chatted with, so they opened a research ticket. And Ray — thank you for the awesome reviews! Having had a few Garmin running watches Forerunner from mid , then purchasing a Forerunner with HRM mid over the past years, and more recently a Garmin activity tracker Vivosmart — earlier version without optical HR , I was curious as to the benefits that could be seen for me to upgrade to the more recent VivoActive HR?
My main exercise activity is running training for and running half marathons as well as keeping fit , however I also enjoy golf, am getting back into cycling, I workout at the gym, and occasionally I head to the pool to do some lengths.
It is in a different league than the Vivosmart. As I previous Vivosmart HR owner..
See also 10, steps 5K training schedule Exercise warm-up Aerobic exercise Aerobic exercise: Totally invisible to feel. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. As I have the cloth Garmin strap I never notice I am wearing it, so it works for me. Instead the Dutch fought back, dragging him into a bloody and expensive war that ended in with the greatest naval humiliation in British history when the enemy surprised and burned the royal fleet in the dockyard at Chatham.
I have never regretted my decision to upgrade. The only thing I wish it had was custom workouts, but I do those on my Forerunner That is the only thing that would make this very close to the Swiss army knife of fitness devices. How would this product compare to xt or xt for a triathlete? I do several triathlons a year one time Ironman, a few I will upgrade to a xt when it dies and I assume there is no need to consider this one.
But I have a friend that just ran her first sprint tri and had purchased one of these. Will it do the job for a novice triathlete? I bought the original after reading your first review also. I have been wearing the original for over a year now and love it. Especially liking how light and thin the watch is.
My biggest concern is the size and weight of the new watch, while I want the latest technology, I am not big on HR , so having a hard time to decide whether to upgrade or not. I generally use the watch for steps, run, trail run, swim, and most of all, tennis. After every activity, once I am done if I choose to review it on the watch it freezes for a minute or two, reboots and looses all the data of the activity.
I am still torn between this and a FR… both would be a great upgrade to my current FR Since the is now on sale, and the same price as the Vivoactive HR, it makes my decision even more difficult… I am now worried that, since the price dropped, an update to the is imminent….
Sorry for all the negatives so far… anyone have experience with the unit who can comment on my observations? I have only had the watch for 2 days, you know! I have a FR as well.. It verifies what I thought, that those big gaps are not the Vivoactive but likely the graph itself. I posted my results on the Garmin forum here: Does the app poll, or retroactively grab HR? Versus retrograbbing, I could load it now for last night and see those results.
For the test, I then logged it in a. After the test, I then loaded the resulting data into a database I am a database developer by trade , and removed duplicate records. I ended up with what I posted on the forum. It shows that I got a reading at just under 2 min. On my normal watch face as you see..
I log my minimum and last HR value throughout the day. I capture and compare every heart rate value vs the minimum value which is stored on the Vivoactive HR and update the display as needed. I see I did not really answer your question.. I do not alter what the device does at all.. It was really in response to what I have seen on your review re the 2 hr gap.
I wanted to know if the device really was not measuring.. I know there have been lots of comments about the HR frequency not being frequent enough but I do not see that there is an issue. If you have further questions.. Have you done any data dumps from running data? Sometime up up 27 beats and for 30 — 60 seconds and then it scrambles to catch-up when I am the top of the hill when it is far too late. That watch face is not in the Garmin store and likely will not be. It is one that I made for my Vivoactive HR to mostly measure my minimal HR of the day and have a good battery gauge as I wanted to know the battery state as..
As I have the cloth Garmin strap I never notice I am wearing it, so it works for me. But otherwise I obviously use the OHR in the device. You can always send me a PM there if you need more info. So you are getting about 35 sample an hour during sleep. That seems really quite reasonable and fine to me.
The first set of very long steps are great but the next hill and then steps were really off when compared to my strap. Also, how often do you feel it checks on heart rate during awake hours? If so, what is the variation based on? My only concern is that I have a funny feeling that the app itself is actually triggering the higher sampling rate.
Rather than silently gathering data. Thanks for the reply to my first question about the number of readings during sleep. I can see the issue about the program. As to my second question, how do you feel it handles taking HR readings during daytime hours outside of recording activities? I juat bought a Forerunner to replace my Band 2, which cracked.
What I mainly use the trackers for are: Am I missing something? Just to make it clear, my phone reported steps while the reported on Saturday. As a Forerunner and Vivoactive HR owner.. That is the reason I will keep my Forerunner. I need that feature. But if only one.. I would ask the? If yes and you are a big runner.. Otherwise, go with the Vivoactive HR.. I did not need another running watch and the decision was easy. Hi Kevin, you are spot on with what you say here in regards to choosing or not choosing a mostly pure running watch such as the That said, one other thing I think that is relevant in choosing watch style is that I think most would agree the is much more stylish looking than the VAHR.
The is much, much more stylish to my me. I got around steps for a walk that usually without stroller gets me around 4, My Band 2 definitely counted. James — not sure why it decided to say it was you and not me responding. But I did respond above. I too am torn between the better styling and the VAHR. I see you may be returning your Do you not like it? I realize it is a runners watch.. I think I am going to return it in fact, I have the return label and everything ready.
Although the looks better it looks like a watch , it really is a running device — tracking of anything else counts as other. But I prefer to get my exercise on a Peloton bike or by walking with my family. Jerry thanks so much for your reply! I also do some gym stuff like elliptical, spin class, and light some weights here and there. I know all about the style comments and it being big especially for a girl , and I was initially concerned about how big it would be. However it is really no bigger than the Forerunner on my other wrist my normal watch , just different.
My friends know me as a fitness guy and that they are fitness devices. I am ok with that.. The price we pay for having toys. I have the VAHR, but due to the golf missing a lot of the software on garmin connect I will be using my original microsoft band for golfing and leaving the VAHR at home for those 18 holes. Garmin really needs to just make set hardware and then allow customers to purchase software.
I would be more than happy to buy the software to have the same golfing abilities as on the x Moreover, if I am not wrong, it can be used also with the chest strap, in that case the HR accuracy is better? Check link to garmin. The backlight on mine is quite even.
Using the gesture mode in the backlight setting may be useful, I like it. Does something similar happen with HR zones?
Does the move iq or recording activities on the VAHR adjust the zones? If I have it in broadcast mode to the Edge does the do the same thing? Or do I have to adjust these zones manually? So it is using a pretty standard calculation on your age, maybe your weight and height, but I think just your age really.
If you had your max heart rate professionally tested at a lab, you can manually adjust your zones in Connect. But, as far as I know, no device operates that way automatically adjusting your zones based on your resting or max heart rates. Someone correct me if I am wrong. About notifications from WhatsApp, how do you see each of the incoming claims and not only the number of messages in the conversation?
No log of Calories burned, no distance, no map, nothing. I cannot edit this nor can I delete it. To me, this is useless. I would always record most activities of course but I really thought the watch would handle something as basic as a simple stroll down the street. For the intensity minutes, does anyone know if the data is synced from Garmin Connect? For example, if I do not do anything all week besides walking but I cycle a lot using the Edge , would that data be synced into the Vivoactive or is the intensity minutes only for activities done on the Vivoactive?
Which kind of makes the Edge redundant. This would mean Edge or FR, or Approach? Make Edge units count towards intensity minutes — so you can finally get credit for your riding! Add last weight synced back from an Index scale as a screen on the VAHR just a nicety from my personal point of view. Make it so you can at least use the widgets on the VAHR when in broadcast mode. Ideally make it able to record activities too.
Or record on both and choose which one to keep? There is some way to go before all this stuff works as the complete ecosystem that it really should do. If it did, I think it would make multiple device purchases much more attractive. If some features intensity minutes on edge, weight display on vivoactive required Garmin only devices such as HR enabled trackers or index scales, to me that is a nice addition over other 3rd party devices.
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