Garmin VivoSmart 4 Review

Last updated: April 7, 2019

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Garmin VivoSmart 4

The Garmin Vivosmart 4 is a multi-functional sleep and fitness tracker. Just like the Fitbit, the Vivosmart 4 looks like a fashionable accessory. Garmin is well-known for collecting and analyzing fitness data for professional athletes. They also counsel them on how much rest they need and whether they need anaerobic or aerobic workouts. This is something that they want to replicate but with casual users in mind.

How does it work?

The Vivosmart 4 is a fundamental activity tracker with an accelerometer and a barometric altimeter. It lacks GPS, and you cannot sync it with your phone to use your phone’s GPS to log mileage if your jogging. Due to this lack of a built-in GPS, the device’s estimates are often way off. It might be useful for elliptical training, but it won’t be able to give you your exact mileage when you’re out running. It also gives you a daily target of steps/distance.

Pulse Ox is the most prominent feature of this fitness and sleep tracker. This feature helps you gain more understanding of your health through an analysis of how your body absorbs oxygen. This is a departure from how other fitness trackers work which is by measuring your resting and active heart rate. You can take a snapshot of your blood oxygen level any time or use it overnight to assess your sleep quality.

With the Vivosmart 4, your heart rate is tracked and It also lets you see your heart rate zones and how close you are in % to your maximum heart rate. It will also alert you for any heart abnormalities.

Heart Rate

This tracker is equipped with an optical heart rate sensor. The said sensor keeps track of your heart rate for all of the activities at times. When combines with a VO2 max estimate, you’ll get an idea of your fitness level and age. Those with heart conditions will find this device very useful. You can have the device alert you if your heart rate rises above a certain threshold that you have set.

Body Battery

In a nutshell, the Body Battery is Garmin’s way of measuring how worn out you are each day. It makes use of data such as your heart rate variability (HRV), stress levels and activity to give you a score between 0 and 100. The lower your body battery energy is, the more rest you need and the more you should go easy on yourself. The higher the rate, the more you can push yourself and be active. It can’t go toe to toe with other fitness trackers that let you calculate your number of calories burned but it can provide you with accurate energy levels.

This might help in improving one’s mental health as well since you can check if you’re about to burn out. It might even point out to you what activities stress you out and tires you the most.

Sleep Tracking

Sleep tracking is where Vivosmart 4 excelled. This advanced sleep tracker is accurate and detailed. It monitors REM sleep. Its blood oxygen sensor tracks blood oxygen saturation levels throughout the night with the help of the Pulse Ox2 sensor. It presents you with a series of graphs that shows your detailed sleep stages like light, deep and REM sleep. It also shows you how much of each stage you got. Through these sleep stats, you can get an idea of your sleep quality and what seems to be affecting it.

With the help of the pulse oximetry, you can use this tracker to keep tabs on your VO2 max, your SpO2 and your level of blood oxygen. This is invaluable information for those who have conditions that require constant tracking such as sleep apnea.

Stress

By using your heart rate data, this device can track your stress levels throughout each day. It also tells you if your day has been calm, balanced or stressful. There is a “Relax Reminder” feature that you can use in the Garmin Connect app. It sends you alerts if your stress levels are high and instruct you to start relaxation breathing exercises. Just like a breathing timer, it will guide you through a simple breathing exercise so you can lower your stress level.

Battery Life

The Vivosmart 4 can last up to 7 days with a single charge, but that’s if the Pulse Ox sleep monitoring is switched off. If you have all the features switched on, you can still get 5 days out of it before needing to charge it. Getting it fully charged fast and can take you just a little over an hour.

Alerts

Another useful feature is the vibration alert for all notifications including calls, text messages and apps. You can customize this in the companion mobile app, so you choose which alerts you will get. This is very useful especially during instances when you don’t have your smartphone with you like when you’re swimming or working out.  You won’t be able to read the entire text message or email that you received, but you can get an idea if it requires immediate attention or if it can wait for a response. If you have an android device, you can reply with preset text messages. Unfortunately, you cannot do this if you’re using an iOS device.

Design

Like most modern fitness trackers, the Vivosmart 4 is very slim and has a fashionable design. There is an aluminum bezel around the screen, and it comes in several colors including gray with rose gold bezel, berry with light gold, azure blue and silver, and black and black. It also comes in two sizes; small/medium or large. Unlike smartwatches that are often bulky, these trackers will look just right even in small wrists.

One thing that we don’t like about this tracker is the silicone strap. The silicone material itself is soft and won’t bite into the skin of your wrists even after wearing it for a long time. Our issue is that the strap is built-in to the screen which means you cannot change or customize it. Once you’ve chosen and bought a strap, you’re stuck with it unless you buy a new one.

The screen is OLED so it is bright and it comes with an auto-adjust feature that decreases the brightness to ambient light levels. This is a useful feature since you can read the OLED touchscreen in all kinds of lighting environments. That being said, the screen is so small that it’s hard to read even under the bright sunlight. We understand that this is meant to keep the slim size of the device, but it takes time to adjust to such a small screen.

The device is waterproof so you can wear it even when you’re swimming and you don’t have to take it off when you hit the showers.

Pros and Cons of Garmin Vivosmart 4

What We Liked

  • Bright OLED screen
  • Good sleep tracker
  • Slim and fashionable design

What We Didn’t Like

  • No built-in GPS
  • The screen is too small

About Garmin

Customer Experience and Service Rating

Customers are generally satisfied with the Vivosmart 4 with an average of 3.5 stars in Amazon.

History of Garmin

Garmin has almost 12,000 associates in 60 offices around the world. They bring GPS navigation and wearable technology to automotive, aviation, marine, outdoor and fitness markets.

Physical Stores

Garmin have a retail store in Miami. Garmin products are also being sold by Target.

BBB Rating

Garmin is not a BBB accredited business. The current rating is A+ with 0 customer reviews and 0 customer complaints.

Contact Garmin

https://www.garmin.com/en-US/company/contact/

Garmin on Social Media

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Our Verdict

Garmin Vivosmart 4
  • Accuracy
  • Ease of Use
  • Functionality
  • Reliability
  • Data Accessibility
  • Aesthetic Design
  • Comfort
  • Battery Life
3.9

Summary

The Garmin Vivosmart 4 is created for everyday people who want to keep track of their fitness. This is why it is understandable that it is missing some of the features that are available for fitness trackers made for professional athletes. For what it is trying to achieve, it is imposing and should be more than enough for everyday use.

Garmin Vivosmart 4 Compared to Other Sleep Trackers

Sleep TrackerAccuracyBattery LifeData AccessibilityRatingOur ReviewBuy Now
Oura RingBest AvailableExcellentYes via App - iOS and Android
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Garmin Vivosmart 4Best AvailableVery GoodYes via App - iOS and Android
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Withings Sleep Tracking MatGoodBattery Not NeededYes via App - iOS and Android
Read Full ReviewCheck Price
Fitbit Charge 3GoodGoodYes via App - iOS and Android
Read Full ReviewCheck Price
SleepScore MaxGoodBattery Not NeededYes via App - iOS and Android
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Emfit QS HRV Sleep MonitorGoodBattery Not NeededYes via App - iOS and Android
Read Full ReviewCheck Price

How We Rate Sleep Trackers

Sleep trackers are judged by 8 standards: 

  1. Accuracy
  2. Ease of Use
  3. Functionality
  4. Reliability
  5. Data Accessibility
  6. Aesthetic Design (wearable only)
  7. Comfort (wearable only)
  8. Battery Life (wearable only)

Read about our rating process for sleep trackers.