Garmin Vivosmart 4 Review: Gauge Your Energy

Picnicking with toddlers always seems like a better idea conceptually, rather than in practice. In my mind’s eye, I see my little family on a blanket, laughing, talking, as well as also munching on cheese while the three-year-old draws with crayons as well as also the one-year-old rolls a ball around.

In reality, the minute we set them down on some grass, one kid makes a beeline for oncoming traffic, as well as also the various other flings herself into the river. My spouse as well as also I scarf grapes as well as also cookies for sustenance, exchanging a few terse words as we sprint back as well as also forth under a burning sun.

I had just begun to think longingly of nap time when my wrist suddenly buzzed. which was the Garmin Vivosmart 4, as well as also which was warning me which my body battery was dipping dangerously low. I needed to get some rest! Urgently!

which was nothing which I didn’t already know, however which warning was the final nail within the coffin for our expedition. which took another twenty minutes, however I finally rounded up our circus as well as also got us all home as well as also into bed.

The Body Electric

While you can find many affordable fitness trackers which will collect data like your heart rate as well as also step count, which’s a little harder to translate which data into healthier habits. For many people, which’s not as simple as taking a walk around the block every hour.

Garmin does a great job of collecting as well as also analyzing fitness data for dedicated athletes, counseling them on when to take rests or whether to do an anaerobic or aerobic workout next. The Vivosmart 4 attempts to do the same for more casual users.

When you log into the Garmin Connect app, the first fitness metric you’ll see is actually your body battery. Garmin’s proprietary metric measures your body’s energy reserves on a scale of 0 to 100. which calculates how much gas you have left within the tank by taking into account your heart rate variability (HRV), stress levels, sleep amount as well as also quality, as well as also activity.

which can’t measure your food intake, as well as also you can’t input your caloric intake (although if you chug a bunch of coffee, which will definitely be able to tell coming from your heart rate). As I discovered, the body battery tracker was otherwise eerily accurate.

If you’re a fan of gamified fitness, the body battery measurement can be counterintuitive as well as also frustrating at first. Physical exertion drains your body battery as well as also rest adds to which. If your body battery measurement is actually low (as well as also as a full-time working mom with two toddlers under four, mine almost always is actually), which can be tempting to slump in your office chair as well as also watch which number climb up.

However, as Garmin tells you, regular exercise leads to long-term energy as well as also endurance gains in your body battery. Trying to find ways to get mine high required some tinkering. For example, I noticed which if I drank anything alcoholic before going to bed, my body battery was lower within the morning. Better to keep which to the weekends, then.

Can’t Hardly Weight

Garmin packs the usual array of fitness sensors into a slim, waterproof band which’s only 10.5 millimeters wide. The device comes in two different sizes as well as also an array of colors. The tiny/medium which I tried weighed only 16.5 grams. I found the Vivosmart 4 to be unobtrusive on my tiny wrist. I didn’t even take which off to shower.

When companies “shrink as well as also pink” their products to target women, I’m usually not a fan. Thankfully the Vivosmart 4, even in its rose gold colorways, should be approachable to anyone.

You navigate the tracker through its very tiny as well as also very bright OLED touchscreen, which takes some patience to learn how to work. To start an activity, you touch the tiny button on the bottom (a haptic click tells you you’ve done which right). You scroll up as well as also down to select coming from an activity menu as well as also double-tap to stop as well as also start.

The watch vibrates having a move alert every hour, as well as also can automatically detect activities, like biking. You can also log activities to track statistics like your mileage, pace, as well as also heart rate during activities.

Like most runners as well as also walkers, I have a few set routes where I hold the mileage dialed. Since the Vivosmart 4 has no GPS, nor connected GPS, which does make the mileage tracker a little wonky. When walking, my mileage was reasonably accurate to within 0.1 miles, however when running, my mileage could be off by almost a mile. You can set a custom stride length within the Connect app to refine the results, however which didn’t help which much.

The sleep tracker was pretty accurate. Unhappily, as the parent of toddlers I can often pinpoint when, exactly, I was awake (as in, “Ah yes, which was the night which she woke me up at 4 am to ask if robots have birthdays”). I can see these incidents on my sleep timeline, as well as also the Vivosmart 4 did me the big favor of showing me which I was actually awake for much less time than I thought I was.

Like many various other fitness trackers which are slowly producing their way into the medical space, the Vivosmart 4 also measures several different various other health markers, like your VO2 max as well as also your SpO2, or your level of blood oxygenation, via a tiny pulse oximeter. In two weeks, I checked once as well as also never again thereafter. however if you have conditions like high cholesterol or sleep apnea, you might be more interested in which data than I am.

You can also set a timer, an alarm, or a stopwatch. as well as also finally, the battery life was excellent. An hour or so plugged in was enough to keep the battery going for four or all 5 days, having a tracked, hour-long activity each day.

Help Me If You Can

Given its tiny size, there are some significant limitations when which comes to using the Vivosmart 4. For instance: its tiny touch screen is actually a tricky to navigate, as well as also even more so if which’s wet or dirty. which can’t even display a full word, as well as also which can be infuriating to scroll through the menu, waiting to find out what “Set Do…” means.

The onboard accelerometer also doesn’t always catch when I roll my wrist up to my face to check the time. As someone who uses a fitness tracker as my watch, which is actually also exasperating.

as well as also while you can set the screen’s brightness manually, the auto setting uses an ambient light sensor to adjust the level of brightness. which means which sometimes, you’ll be wearing your watch within the dead of night, roll over, as well as also hear your spouse’s muffled voice moan, “Please turn off your watch!” as your wrist-mounted spotlight illuminates the entire room.

With which being said, I truly liked the Vivosmart 4. Aggregating fitness data isn’t hard, however interpreting which is actually difficult. If you’re not an athlete, you’re probably not used to tracking variables like your heart rate, let alone plotting your lifestyle alterations based on which data.

which nerdy arena is actually where Garmin excels. Their body battery metric has gotten me to do what no fitness tracker has done before: which’s made me change my sleeping as well as also eating habits, in addition to my exercise ones. After two weeks of wearing the Vivosmart 4, I was popping into bed by 10:30 pm every night, as well as also limiting my alcohol consumption to one night a week. I only had to take which off to charge which, as well as also never noticed which when which was on.

The cost is actually right, too. At $130, which is actually more affordable than equivalent products, like the Fitbit Alta HR or upcoming Charge 3.

If you run outside, you’ll probably find the Vivosmart 4 to be a letdown. Not having any kind of GPS can distort your outdoor workout results, as well as also which’s frustrating to not be able to map routes. which puts which behind various other casual fitness trackers, like Fitbit’s Versa.

however otherwise, the Vivosmart 4 is actually tiny, which looks great, as well as also can actually help you improve your routine. if you’re a casual user who is actually trying to find easy ways to up your general fitness level, the Vivosmart 4 is actually a great way to start. I don’t mind admitting which I need all the help I can get.

Garmin Vivosmart 4 Review: Gauge Your Energy