Top positive review
... Vivosmart for about a month now and its a good produce for what I wanted it for
28 July 2017
I have had the Vivosmart for about a month now and its a good produce for what I wanted it for. Its got a lot of negative reviews on here, so I wanted to give a review. Its good for what I need it for, if not quite perfect. I do think some negative reviews are from some people expecting it to do things it wasn’t designed for, or not figuring out the settings / app.
I already have a 2-3 year old Polar watch that has GPS and measures heart rate with a chest strap. So I didn’t need this for gps outdoor running. This is not a serious runners watch, as far as I am concerned. I got this due to my health insurance being linked to health activities. So I wanted something that could be warn 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to measure steps and heart rate. Being in a stressful job stress measurements and sleep data is useful, but I saw this as a bonus rather than crucial.
Needing to be able to wear something 24 hours a day was a problem. In the ideal world I would have liked something that does steps, gps, wrist heart rate, stress, sleep and looks and feels good enough to wear all day. Except maybe for the Garmin Fenix 5, which at £500 I couldn’t justify, I don’t think there really is anything yet that does it all. Most look like sports watches or are too bulky to wear all day, particularly with a shirt and suit (in particular those with GPS). Since I have a polar for outdoor runs I decided gps was not essential and went for the Vivosmart 3.
Is it beautiful or stylish? No, not really. But its not ugly, mostly its just anonymous. It doesn’t draw attention to itself. Its very slim and very light. You forget you're wearing it and for me its perfect for general activity tracking.
It does work well for running, indoors or outdoors. I found I had to work on setting a manual stride length. I did a 10k run on the treadmill and it thought i'd done 12k at first. But work with the manual stride length settings and you can get it right. The heart rate measurements are fairly similar to my polar chest measurements. Less good for interval work, but on a fairly steady run they are reasonably comparable. You have to put it on tight enough to work (both for activities and sleep monitoring) but that wasnt at all uncomfortably tight.
I really like the fact that it vibrates to tell you to look at the screen. During a run this is great for telling you you've done a lap/a mile. My polar just beeps, which you cant hear when running, so that’s pointless. Setting up a warning if your heart rate is too high or low is also useful to make sure you do enough. But if you set it too narrowly it gets a bit annoying when warming up or down. But its up to you how you set it.
Overall it works well as a running watch, but you have to accept that its not GPS and have to put the effort into getting the stride length right. Do that and its great, but never a (semi) professional runner's watch.
Is this the perfect fitness device? No, there are some issues, which can hopefully be sorted out with software updates. But not enough for me to score it less than 4.
The main annoyance is that is does not always sync with my phone. But I’m not sure this is the Vivosmart's fault though. It may be the app. There are times the Vivosmart and phone are connected (I get message alerts on the watch) but the Connect app doesn’t think its connected. The best way to resolve this seems to be to go into and out of flight mode. But sometimes you have to do this multiple times, which gets a bit annoying.
There have been a couple of times when the Do Not Disturb hours get messed up. Suddenly I lift my wrist during the day and the screen doesn’t come on, only for me to find it thinks its night. Or worse, the Do Not Disturb turns off during the night, I turn over and the screen comes on. This has happened about 3 times so far in a month, for no apparently reason. Which is a little odd. If I manually turn it back on/off it then seems to re-set itself and its ok again.
The Move IQ works well for walking and running, it comes on after 1 or 5 minutes, depending what you choose and always seems to pick up the activity. I've seen some people say its doesn’t work for swimming or cycling. I cant comment, as I don’t do those activities. It can only detect wrist movement and heart rate, so I could imagine it having difficulty detecting cycling - It has problems if I push a pram. So distance would be an issue, but it could detect heart rate.
Some people have said it doesn’t measure fitness age. It does but you cannot see this on the Vivosmart. Its in the Connect App, under Health and Fitness. Yes, the screen is a little blurry. But then most of the time the screen is off anyway. But its still easily to read, at night or bright sunlight.
Overall I would say its a great device if you want an all day activity tracker, and works well for walking/running, if you work to get the stride length right. But its not really for serious athletes (or want to be serious athletes).
If they can do a software update to sort the above problems I would give it 5 stars.