I will update this review when I've had my Vivofit monitor for longer, but wanted to post now as it's recently become available in the UK and many will be wondering how it compares with other fitness monitors and I'm able to compare it with the fitbit flex.. My left wrist is currently sporting both my Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity Tracker & Sleep Wristband
and my Garmin Vivofit so that I can do a direct comparison. I have also owned previous incarnations of the fitbit - the ultra and the one, and was awaiting the (now withdrawn) fitbit force with much anticipation.
I was lucky enough to get the Vivofit bundle with the Garmin HRM strap and have found that very useful. Vivofit works with any ANT+ strap, so if you already have one then just this unit is all you need.
+ Vivofit can be linked to a HRM so you can view your rate rate as you run - Vivofit works with any ANT+ straps so if you have one already you don't need the bundle
+ Vivofit links to Garmin Connect. The Heart rate band picks up higher heart rates and logs them as activities. If you already have a Garmin it is possible to integrate this with the rest of your data
+ Garmin Connect data can be uploaded to the Fitbit site, so there is the possibility of using this tracker and the overall calorie in/out info provided by the excellent Fitbit site (I haven't tested this capability yet)
+ Charge is via watch batteries and should last a year, rather than via USB every few days/per week
+ Waterproof to 50 meters, so good for swimmers
+ Display is on permanently and you can toggle through steps (daily total), goal (steps remaining), distance covered (in miles or kilometers), calories burned, time, date and heart rate (when connected via HRM strap) and you can remove any of these via the website.
+ Goal for daily steps is automatically set based on your performance to date, though this can be manually overridden. Default start is 7500 which is lower than fitbit's 10,000 default
+ Set up is straightforward and syncing is via USB dongle on your computer or via the Garmin connect app. Videos are available online and instructions point you to the online site
+ Website Connect UI for vivofit is widget based and not dissimilar to the fitbit one in look, but has less functionality and is generally less slick
+ Bracelet clasp feels secure and is similar to the fitbit flex
+ Has a sleep function
+ Has a red inactivity bar which highlights when you have been inactive for an hour or so. This has prompted me to get moving when it catches your eye.
- No altimeter, so doesn't give you a stair count like the fitbit one does and the withdrawn fitbit force did
- Display is always on, but doesn't have a back light so can't be read it in the dark
- Style is functional rather than aesthetically pleasing and it's a bit clunky and heavier than others (trade off with the battery life) and it's certainly less pretty than, say, the jawbone. Other colour straps are available though.
- Website does not have the food database of fitbit and the links to partner sites such as Withings and MyFitnessPa,l but Connect data can be ported to Fitbit
- Sleep function is rudimentary and does not provide as much analysis as the fitbit, for e.g.
- Have to press button to initiate sync instead of it happening in background (no doubt to preserve battery life)
In terms of accuracy: the Vivofit and my Fitbit units are providing almost identical measures when compared - within 5%
In terms of websites the fitbit website is better for overall healthy lifestyle monitoring as you can get an overall picture of calories in and out. There is the possibility of syncing my Vivofit data to the Fitbit site automatically and I will test that over the next few days to check that double counting does not happen when wearing both devices.
One of things that I have found most motivating about wearing my fitbit has been the linking with friends on a leaderboard for competition and, of course, I would lose that if I were to switch. I will report back once I have used them in tandem for longer.
If you're already a Garmin user then this will fit in nicely with your suite of other gadgets. If you're already a Fitbit user then the reason to change would be for the link to HRM info on the tracker. Currently, I wear a Polar RS300X G1 Heart Rate Monitor and Sports Watch
when running and it would be nice to cut down on devices. The other reason to change would be for the convenience of not having to think about charging your tracker, though the fitbit sends me warning messages when charge is low and charging takes only an hour or so. You'd have to weight those advantages against the less good website, the overall calorie in/out info and the history and links to friends that you'll have set up.
If you're in the market for a new tracker and are more interested in fitness activity than in measuring both your calorie input and output then this is a great unit - especially with the HRM strap as an add on.