Top positive review
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Fills A Gap In My Training Regime
on 6 November 2014
I bought two Garmin Vivofit fitness bands; a blue one for my wife and a black one for myself. The Vivofit with the blue band came with a 'vivokeeper' safety band, the black one did not. I mention this because other reviewers have reported that the bands have come undone whilst wearing them (more on this later).
The setup instructions that came with the fitness band is sparse and very basic. After a search on the internet, however, I found an on-line manual here
This will fully explain the setup procedure and therefore I won't duplicate it here.
There are two things you must do. The first is to download either Garmin express for your computer or the Garmin express app. for use with a smartphone. This download is used purely to sync the Vivofit. If using the fitness band on a smartphone, Bluetooth must be enabled; on the computer a small USB + Ant stick is provided and must be put into a spare USB port on the computer Once this app is download and you have paired your device with the app, you will be invited to setup an account with Garmin Connect. This is the business side of the whole kaboodle.
Garmin connect is where you see the results of your endeavours and is also a 'control panel' for setting up your device and user settings. Neither of these can be done directly from the fitness band. Each time you sync the fitness band using Garmin Express, not only will your daily endeavours be uploaded to Garmin Connect, but also any changes you have made to the device and user settings in Garmin Connect will be downloaded to Vivofit. There is a link from Garmin Express to your Garmin Connect Account. Those who use other Garmin fitness products will be familiar with this process.
I have worn the Vivofit (the one without the vivokeeper) continuously for about a week. Every day during that time, I have done weight training in the gym, swimming and other domesticated things like showering etc. So far, the strap has not come undone. When lane swimming at particularly busy times at the pool, on a few occasions, I have hit the strap accidentally on the lane ropes. The strap did not come undone. It also behaved itself when I caught the strap on clothing. Having said that, if, like me, after reading other reviews, you have concerns about the strap coming undone, for extra safety you can order a free 'Vivokeeper' here. http://www8.garmin.com/en-GB/vivokeeper/
Delivery time for the Vivokeeper is 4 to 6 weeks. So far though, I've had no problems with the strap.
****Update****** I've now been wearing the Vivifit continuously for four weeks. I have had no problems with the strap coming loose whatsoever.
The fitness band converts the number of daily steps you take into equivalent mileage. I decided to check the accuracy using my Garmin Forerunner 305 (GPS enabled) watch which I use for training. I appreciate that there will be some inaccuracies with the GPS watch but I estimate that the fitness band is about 90% to 94% accurate when using my height as the default setting. It is possible to calibrate your pace length by putting the result of how many steps it takes you to cover ten feet. To be honest, I tried this and found that the accuracy got worse. It was probably because I wasn't walking at my normal stride length when counting my steps over ten feet.
Heart Rate Monitor
I already own a Garmin heart rate monitor that came with my Garmin Forerunner, hence I bought the fitness band only. As a result, the device setting on this particular Vivofit had no 'page' for heart rate. I therefore had to go to Garmin connect and tick a box to allow heart rate to be displayed (remember to sync fitness band). The fitness band paired very quickly with the heart rate monitor and for me, I found this very useful for getting 'into the zone' when using aerobic fitness equipment in the gym. It was also useful for counting calories whilst swimming. I understand that if you purchase the fitness band version that comes with a heart rate monitor, the 'heart' page will already be set as a default setting.
I found the fitness band to be neat and unobtrusive. The display is very clear and easy to read. There is only one button on the band that you use to scroll through the different pages. It is really easy to use. Having said that, it took me a couple of days to get used to the various symbols so I knew what information I was looking at on the display. Alas, there is no backlight so when it gets dark you are unable to read the display.
If you want a training aid for use in sport then this is not really for you. However, if you want to keep track of how many calories you are burning and need an incentive to get out and do something, set yourself goals and join online challenges then yes, I would recommend it. Indeed for me, the great thing it has got going for it is that I can wear it whilst swimming (waterproof up to 50 metres) and get an idea of how many calories I'm burning in the gym. My Garmin Forerunner 305 will not allow me to do either of these things because it needs a GPS signal to determine what distance I have travelled in order to give me a calorie burn figure. So for me, now I have the fitness band, I have the best of both worlds.
The reason I gave 4 stars is because there is no backlight and I would like to see better accuracy.