Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 Review
Pros: Easy to use, great display, fun variety of appearances
Cons: Mediocre set of fitness tracking abilities, limited health impact
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Vivofit Jr. 2 finished in the middle of the pack, tying with the Garmin Vivosmart 3. The Vivosmart 3 has a much greater set of features for fitness tracking and health impact, but can't match the Vivofit Jr. 2's easy to use interface and superb display. The Vivosmart 3 also costs about $60 more.
To rank and score these fitness bands and devices, we bought the best on the market today and pitted them against each other in a grueling series of side-by-side tests. These tests were divided among five weighted rating metrics, with the Jr. 2's results in these metrics described in the following sections.
In our most important metric, comprising 30% of the total score for each product, the Vivofit Jr. 2 did reasonably well, meriting a 5 out of 10 for its performance. We compared the accuracy of the step counter on each tracker, as well as their proficiency at tracking cycling, cardio, and other workouts. We also rated and scored the online ecosystem of each tracker, as well as if they had the ability to track the number of flight of stairs climbed.
The Vivofit Jr. 2 did very well when it came to step accuracy, only tending to deviate from the true count by 1-4 steps over a mile-long walk. Unfortunately, this is pretty much the extent of the fitness tracking abilities of this wearable, as the only other function it has is a simple stopwatch — no dedicated metrics for cycling or other workouts. This model also fails to calculate the stairs climbed.
The mobile app for this tracker is a little different than the others in this review, as it doesn't have many social capabilities — most likely to protect the privacy of young users, instead replacing them with games.
However, it does have several games that you can partake in, earning in-game currency or actions by completing preset amounts of exercise or certain chores.
These can be selected from the defaults or parents can set specific chores and custom rewards that can be bought by completing them.
Our next metric, Health Impact, takes credit for 25% of the total score. To determine the score for each tracker, we looked at the accuracy of the heart rate sensor, whether or not it the tracker sends you reminders to get up and move or other motivational messages, how well it tracks your sleep, and if there are any dieting aids on the device. Being designed primarily for kids means the set of features on the Vivofit Jr. 2 are substantially pared down, but it still earned a 5 out of 10.
This tracker does lack both a heart rate sensor and lacks any way to help you maintain a diet. It does provide plenty of motivation to get up and get moving through two features: a move bar and the in-app games. The move bar — present on other Garmin fitness trackers — will fill up the longer you have been sedentary and take a proportional amount of movement to clear it. As mentioned above, completing prescribed activities or chores grants you moves or currency in the games — a fun way to motivate kids to get off the sofa!
This tracker also has some rudimentary sleep and can be set as an audible alarm clock.
Ease of Use
Our Ease of Use metric constitutes 20% of the overall score, with the Vivofit Jr. 2 doing quite well, meriting an 8 out of 10 for its performance. We judged the battery life, the smartphone app, and the intuitiveness of navigating the menus, as well as how water resistant each tracker is and the difficulty associated with putting it on to determine scores.
The Vivofit Jr. 2 has an amazing battery life, lasting much longer than the vast majority of the other models that we tested. This fitness band can last for up to a year on a coin cell battery. We also found the app to be much easier to use than the other Garmin models, as this tracker utilized the Vivofit Jr. app instead of Garmin Connect. The Vivofit Jr. app is much simpler and more kid-friendly, with fewer menus than the Connect app. However, we couldn't get this tracker to automatically sync our fitness data to the app upon opening it, forcing us to manually initiate the data transfer each time.
Navigating the menus on this device was very easy, with the only slight issue we found is that there is are menus that can only be accessed by holding the button down. This tracker is water resistant to 5 ATM and is very easy to put on, similar to a normal watch.
Responsible for 15% of the total score for each tracker, our Ergonomics metric consisted of evaluations of the comfort, aesthetics, and the profile design of each product. The Jr. 2 delivered a reasonable performance, earning a 6 out of 10 for its showing.
This watch is decently comfortable to wear, though it obviously runs on the small side for adults. We also found all of the holes in the band to have the potential to chafe, detracting from its overall comfortable feel.
The aesthetics are average, with the design of the tracker feeling very run-of-the-mill. However, it is the patterned exterior that sets this model apart, covered in motifs of your favorite franchises and films, ranging from The Resistance of Star Wars fame to Captain America's Shield from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The profile of this tracker is nice and slim — very comparable to the Garmin Vivofit 3.
Finishing out our testing process, we assessed the display — and what is shown on it — of each product. Worth the remaining 10% of the total score, we looked at if the home screen displayed the time and date, how easy it is to read in bright sunlight, and its responsiveness, as well as if the tracker displayed smart notifications or other information. The Vivofit Jr. 2 earned a 6 out of 10 for its overall above-average performance in this metric.
This tracker shows both the time and date, though they are different screens and is very easy to read in bright lighting. However, it's a little difficult to read in dim conditions without the light on, activated by holding the button for a slightly longer press. It's reasonably responsive through the tactile button, lacking a touchscreen interface. This model won't receive any smart notifications, but it will show the steps, distance, activity log, and estimated calories burned.
This product is a decent value, having all kinds of kid-oriented ways to get kids and teens more interested in their fitness for less than a hundred bucks.
The Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 is a solid, all-around fitness tracker that is a great way to convince kids and younger teens to get up and be active. It doesn't have the largest set of features, but it does have the most critical ones and is a good way to make fitness fun. However, you could also get a bare-bone fitness tracker for about $20 less that lacks the in-app games, if you think this would better suit your needs.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer