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Garmin Vivosmart 4 Review

The Vivosmart 4 is a run-of-the-mill tracker with a few noteworthy features but not enough to win an award
Garmin Vivosmart 4
Credit: Jason Peters
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Price:   $130 List | $95.08 at Amazon
Pros:  Detailed sleep tracking, accurate step counting, can be helpful for dieting
Cons:  No activity reminders, so-so screen visibility
Manufacturer:   Garmin
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Mar 18, 2020
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63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 11
  • Fitness Impact - 30% 7
  • Health Impact - 25% 4
  • Ease of Use - 20% 7
  • Ergonomics - 15% 7
  • Display - 10% 7

Our Verdict

Delivering a relatively middle-of-the-road set of results, the Garmin Vivosmart 4 didn't necessarily perform poorly in our tests — it just didn't do well enough to claim an award. This fitness tracker does have a few interesting features and functions, offering the ability to connect and interact with a variety of other Garmin devices and detailed sleep tracking, but we don't think these are enough to make it a competitor to the top models.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Garmin Vivosmart 4
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Garmin Vivosmart 4
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $130 List
$95.08 at Amazon
$150 List
$128.59 at Amazon
$100 List
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$230 List
$228.95 at Amazon
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Overall Score Sort Icon
63
79
71
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64
Star Rating
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Pros Detailed sleep tracking, accurate step counting, can be helpful for dietingExcellent display, great health and fitness capabilities, ergonomicEasy to use, accurate step counter, excellent smartphone appGood value, great fitness tracking ability, excellent battery lifeInexpensive, easy to use, ergonomic
Cons No activity reminders, so-so screen visibilityRuns on the pricey sideNot the most comfortable, so-so cycling trackingCould be more convenient to use, doesn't have the most smart functionsNo dieting aids, so-so score in our heart rate test
Bottom Line The Vivosmart 4 is a run-of-the-mill tracker with a few noteworthy features but not enough to win an awardThis wearable is one of our favorite options, delivering top-notch performances across the majority of our tests and easily earning our recommendationOffering great all-around performance on a budget, we think this wearable tracker is a fantastic option for any bargain-conscious shopperIf you are searching for a fitness-focused wearable that also has smart features and functions without breaking the bank, then this watch is a worthy choiceIf you are looking for a basic tracker that won't break the bank, then we think this is a great choice
Rating Categories Garmin Vivosmart 4 Fitbit Charge 4 Fitbit Inspire 2 Fitbit Versa 3 Xiaomi Mi Band 5
Fitness Impact (30%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Health Impact (25%)
4.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
Ease Of Use (20%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
Ergonomics (15%)
7.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
Display (10%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Specs Garmin Vivosmart 4 Fitbit Charge 4 Fitbit Inspire 2 Fitbit Versa 3 Xiaomi Mi Band 5
Heart Rate Monitor Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Altimeter (stair tracking) Yes Yes No Yes No
Battery life Up to 7 days (excluding pulse ox sleep tracking) Up to 7 days; up to 5 days with GPS Up to 10 days 2-5 days Up to 14 days
Charge time 1-2 hours 3 hours 1-2 hours 2 hours 2 hours
Memory 7 timed activities, 14 days of activity tracking data 7 days of detailed motion - minute by minute; daily totals 30 days 7 days of detailed motion - minute by minute; daily totals 30 days Saves 7 days of detailed motion data; Saves daily totals for past 30 days 512KB (RAM) / 16MB (ROM)
Water Resistance 5 ATM 5 ATM 5 ATM 5 ATM 5 ATM
Operating Temp 14 - 140 F -4 - 140 F -4 - 140 F -4 - 140 F N/A
Notifications Text, call, push notifications Text, call, push notifications Text, call, push notifications Text, call, push notifications Text, call, push notifications
Vibration Motor Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
GPS Tracking No Yes No Yes No
Multi-Sport Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Music Control Yes Yes, with Spotify Premium and phone nearby No Yes No
Sleep Tracking Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Silent Alarm Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Vivosmart 4 does offer some detailed sleep and fitness stats that might be interesting to some people, like the ability to act as a pulse oximeter, measure stress, or energy left through its Body Battery feature. However, we don't think these completely redeem its flaws for the vast majority of users.

Performance Comparison



The Vivosmart 4 is intuitive and easy to use.
The Vivosmart 4 is intuitive and easy to use.
Credit: Jason Peters

Likes


The Vivosmart 4 did perform fairly well in our most significant testing metric, earning a higher than average score when it came to fitness impact. This tracker did very well in our step counting trials, only having an average error of 3 steps or so off the true count after three distinct 1-mile walks. It also provided decent results when tracking a cardio workout, measuring things like calories burned, exercise duration, average and maximum heart rate, moving time, speed, and heart rate zones. The Vivosmart 4 does rely on your phone's GPS module to collect this data, so you can't leave your phone behind and expect to get the same level of results.

We found the lack of a dedicated cycling profile to be a bit...
We found the lack of a dedicated cycling profile to be a bit disappointing.
Credit: Jason Peters

You can also select specific activity profiles to track, including walk, run, cardio, and strength training, with the option to add elliptical, swimming, stair stepper, or yoga as well. The Vivosmart 4 will track the number of stairs climbed throughout the day as well, though we did find it would miss them occasionally. It only counted 9 of the 10 flights in our test.

You have some community compete or share options through the smartphone app, including a feature where you can go toe-to-toe with someone else in a step contest. You can also connect this to MyFitnessPal if you are trying to monitor your calorie intake and the daily RMR estimate of calories burned seems to be fairly accurate, matching what we would expect for our tester's height, weight, and age. The sleep tracking is automatic, with the Vivosmart 4 measuring the amount of time you spent in REM, deep, or light sleep, as well as any time that you were awake. However, we did find that it missed some of the times we were awake in our tests but it may get better with long term use as it learns your sleep patterns.

The Garmin Connect displays a ton of information about your fitness.
The Garmin Connect displays a ton of information about your fitness.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

This fitness tracker is overall very easy to use, with a reasonably straightforward interface and companion app. The app can be a little cluttered in our opinion but you can usually find what you are looking for without too much searching around. The Vivosmart 4 has a typical battery life and is water-resistant to take in the pool or shower, with a nice watch-style band and clasp that make it a snap to take it on and off. This model can also receive just about any push notification that your phone can, giving you a discreet way to check your phone without pulling it out of your pocket or purse.

It's easy enough to take the Vivosmart 4 on or off.
It's easy enough to take the Vivosmart 4 on or off.
Credit: Jason Peters

The band isn't overly stiff, so it's comfortable to wear for long periods of time and it has a low enough profile that it doesn't usually get caught on stuff. It's a sleek looking watch that we think is actually quite stylish, with a bezel that is a nice compliment to the band.

The charger for the Vivosmart 4 clips on very securely.
The charger for the Vivosmart 4 clips on very securely.
Credit: Jason Peters

Dislikes


We did find some deficiencies with the fitness tracking of this model, namely its lack of a dedicated cycling profile. We tried to use the running profile to track a bike workout but found the data didn't match up that well with data tracked from another app. The Vivosmart 4 also failed to impress when it came to its heart rate monitoring, having an average difference of 17 bpm off of our control chest strap monitor.

We also wished that this tracker had an option to enable alerts to remind you to get up and move but it does alert you to take a stress test periodically. The Vivosmart 4's display can also be hard to read in direct sunlight and the touchscreen will occasionally fail to register some of our taps.

Value


The Vivosmart 4 isn't the best value, as it scored in the middle of the group overall and doesn't cost that much less than the top-tier models.

Conclusion


This fitness tracker has a few standout features, like more detailed sleep tracking and its Body Battery energy measurement, but also has some glaring omissions in our mind. It might be a great choice for some people that value these features or have other Garmin devices that this can interact with, but we think most people would probably be happier with some of the other models out there.

David Wise and Austin Palmer