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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
Colour Name: Teal|Style Name: With Heart Rate Monitor|Change
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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

http://static.garmincdn.com/pumac/vivofit_Owners_Manual_EN.pdf

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.

The Strap:
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.

Accuracy
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.

Summary
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.
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on 13 July 2015
Had this for nearly 3 months now and I love it. I've never had a fitness tracker before but I did a bit of research before choosing this one. I had read that the heart rate monitor on the fitbit was less than perfect so I went for the vivofit. When I bought this I actually thought the heart rate monitor was in the wrist band (duh!) but it's actually a separate strap that you put around your upper torso/under chest when exercising, and it's not like you really need to know your heart rate all day long so this works for me. Here is what I think is really good about the vivofit and why I would recommend it to anyone who are serious about fitness (or wants to get fit) and who likes to keep track and push a bit harder:

Pros:

Looks good and is very comfortable, I virtually never take it off
It is waterproof so you can wear it in the shower or when swimming
The software for your phone that links with it is really nice and easy to set up and use
When you do a workout if you put the heart rate monitor on and synch it, it automatically tracks your workout for you
It gives you an idea of how many calories you burned on your workout/run
It has handy info on it like: The time and date and how many steps you've done and what your target is, also how many miles you have walked.
A red bar gradually appears when you have been sitting too long, great to remind you to get up and move!
It seems really accurate at tracking activity - you cannot cheat! I tried pretending to jog - it would have fooled a wii fit, not the garmin vivo though
It Never needs charging
Even when you hit your step target it adds more/sets new target
On the software (on your phone) you can track the food you eat (you start typing something in and it suggests what you mean and is accurrate) handy if you need it, I don't use this feature myself
When you synch with your phone software it shows you how well you slept (according to how much you moved about)
It is extremely motivating if you do a good workout in the morning and see the number of steps really high before your day's even got started.
You can get different colour wrist bands for it

Cons:
It's a great product but the price of having a battery that you don't need to charge up is that you do NOT get an illuminated display, so if you try to check the time in the night you cannot see a thing.
0Comment| 29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Honestly, this monitors your progress, tracking your movements and sleep - to some this may sound very Big Brother! There's no more pretending to walk the dog with one of these little fellas; the step count just doesn't lie.

What I love about the Garmin Vivofit Wireless Fitness Wrist Band and Activity Monitor-
With a click of the button on the front of the band I can scroll through a screen, which clearly shows:
a) My step goal
b) The distance I have travelled
c) My actual step count
d) The time
e) The date
f) My heart rate (although this only shows when using a heart rate monitor - that is separate to buy)
g) The 'red line' that appears as a reminder when I've been sitting too long.
Handy if you work in an office, and a quick trip to the loo, or the photocopier will solve this.
h) it's easy to sync (using a dongle plugged into your computer) by pressing and holding down the button on the wristband until the word 'Sync' appears.
i) It's easy to 'put yourself to sleep' by holding down the same button a little bit longer until you see the word 'Sleep'. This makes keeping count of my sleeping hours until I awake in the morning. Great to see if you getting enough sleep each night.
j) BEST OF ALL it does not need re-charging weekly, like one of its competitors 'FITBIT FLEX Activity AND Sleep Tracker' does, and for me that is a real annoyance. A smart move for the Garmin Guys!
k) I also LOVE that I can connect with others doing similar challenges without paying extra!
l) It's water-resistant (up to 50 metres), so you can shower with it on. This I haven't tested though as I do not have a shower, and I think submersing it in a bath for long periods may be asking for trouble...

Dislike?

Hmmmm. If comparing to the Fitbit, which I still think is very good and worth a try - the Garmin Wristband is chunkier and not so sleek looking. At first I didn't like this, but it's actually grown on me, especially as all the other Garmin features are so cool.

I love it, and would recommend it wholeheartedly.

Whether you have large or small heath goals, the Garmin Vivofit Wireless Fitness Wrist Band and Activity Monitor will help you keep track of them, so you can actually witness your fitness all day long!
0Comment| 135 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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 now have the Fitbit Charge.

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.

Pros

+ 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.

Cons

- No altimeter, so doesn't give you a stair count like the fitbit one and fitbit charge does
- 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 MyFitnessPal, but Connect data can be ported to Fitbit (UPDATED 6/1/2014 The link rot MFP is supposed to be there but has been reported as not working in other reviews)
- Sleep function is rudimentary and does not provide as much analysis as the fitbit, for e.g. and I have not found it as accurate
- 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 but I have not been able to complete that successfully.

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.

In summary:
--------------

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.

Recommended

Update 18/12/2014 Although it's my Fitbit Charge that I wear every day now I was very impressed with the Garmin Vivofit and particularly like it for its link to an HRM when running. I have never had any problem with the clasp.

Update 6/1/2014 I have reduced my rating of this to 4 stars, from 5 - my comments about the website and syncing with partner websites still stand and this is less good than the Fitbit Charge I am now using on a daily basis.
1313 comments| 192 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 June 2014
I have another Garmin fitness product and thought this would work well with it. Well it doesn't fight against it. They share the heart rate band quite happily.

If you are after tracking how many steps you take in a day then there are considerably cheaper units out there. Indeed this is an excessively expensive way of tracking steps so there has to be something extra. Right? Well the extra comes in the web based data logging (when the Garmin site is working correctly). You can keep a catalogue of your steps and how you sleep. You can even be in gentle competition with others around the globe if you choose to be. On the web site you can set your self goals; but you cant say how many steps you plan to take this week. Why would you want to do so? To manage all your different exercise / well being activities (swimming, jogging, running, cycling etc).

The band itself sets a daily goal to entice you to the 10,000 steps. I confess I don't know if it continues to entice beyond that as I don't routinely do 10,000 steps. And here's the rub.

I am improving my fitness by cycling. The Vivofit senses I've expended energy (by the heart band link) but not taken any 'steps'. Hands don't move in the right pattern when cycling. My understanding of walking was to improve (or at least maintain) health. So I'm bemused that the unit ignores an hours exercise and still indicates 3000 steps to go today. Give me a break! Or am I expecting too much from the Vivofit?

Here's another interesting example. I sat down and stroked my cat for five minutes - yes you've guessed it. I was walking vigorously; hundreds of steps.

I'm not sure how reliable web-information is but I read somewhere pedometers should be accurate to 3% i.e. 10,000 plus or minus 300 steps.

Do I trust the counting. Not to the last step, or hundred. Possible believable to the nearest 1000. I think it is outrageously expensive for what it is. I do use it because I'm so data-centric - yes I;m clearly inconsistent - and I find it spurs me on to more exercise.

I do forget to 'tell' it I'm going to sleep. So that mucks that data up, and starts my day with usually 50 steps already taken ever before I get out of bed.

Would I buy it again? No.
Are the web services worth the extra price? No
Does it work with other Garmin products? No.
Does it really integrate with other Garmin products via the website and goal setting? No.
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on 28 July 2014
Whilst the device itself is very good at what it does and is a potential market leader, my issue is that it is designed to be worn on the wrist yet is secured by only a push shut plastic clip which has proven itself to be completely inadequate.

On several occasions I have noticed the device falling of my wrist by simply rubbing against myself or clothing as the clips can very easily be removed with little pressure. This is exasperated by the fact it is a watch like strap so has a certain amount of overhanging tab which is prone to catch on anything and everything.

On most occasions it has been ok as I have noticed it imedatiely, however recently I was walking along the beach when I noticed it was missing. This resulted in having to retrace 3 miles of steps in the vain hope that I would find it again. It was only thanks to the honesty of some unknown person that I indeed did recover it when I found someone had picked it up and put it on a bench near the start of our walk. Since this time I have been scared to wear it in case I was to lose it again – very much defeating the purpose of a fitness device meant to track activities.
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on 2 March 2015
Garmin Vivofit - purchased on 28 Feb 2015.

OK, so let me begin by saying I bought one of these purely as an incentive to get that little bit fitter. I am quite the gadget type and figured I could combine both of my enjoyments and boy does it deliver!

I need to clear one thing up first regarding the strap. Garmin must have acknowledged there was an issue with the strap coming off and have made a slight adjustment with the inclusion of a slide piece of matching rubber to secure when on. Perfect.

I have given this numerous accuracy tests over the past few days and I have to say it is incredibly accurate within about 3%.

Tricking it is fairly difficult (unless you were determined which is only cheating yourself!) and occasionally there is the odd unexpected occurrence (for example, Whilst driving for approx half-an-hour I had inadvertently done fifty steps or so) but nothing which will throw the day's end results too much out of whack.

I have also heard of the issue with syncing being problematic. I had one issue which was resolved quickly by googling. And this is most important:- the Vivofit will sync with your smartphone (I have a Samsung Galaxy S3) and also comes with an Antenna dongle for syncing with your PC. BE AWARE - syncing with multiple devices at the same time will cause confusion when syncing. Whilst the antennae was in my PC it wouldn't sync with my phone and following successful sync with my phone, I couldn't then easily connect with my PC. Best to keep it simple and use a preferred method, mine being my phone which I find now syncs perfectly.

Waterproof too! I haven't been swimming yet but showering isn't an issue.

Now, here is a massive plus in my opinion... No charging required. Ever. Sure the batteries will need replacing once a year but compared to the Fitbit which needs to be charged regularly, it's a no-brainer for me.

A lot of people have said they would have liked to have a backlight. Ok, but you can wait until you get to some light to see it and the batteries last a year. Again, in my opinion, I prefer the no-need-to-charge option. In any case, the Fitbit Flex doesn't have a backlight, just five dots. At least you know how many steps you've actually done with this baby! (I use the Flex as an example as both these fitness bands are simarlarly priced).

I found linking the Garmin Connect software with My Fitness Pal software a doddle. I have been a user of MFP for some time and find this couples together with it nicely recognising goals and rewarding you extra calories based on steps.

Overall, this is a neat, slick piece of wearable technology which will help you achieve fitness goals.

I am not one who often writes reviews but felt this product was good enough to warrant one and maybe provide help and answers to frequently asked questions. (Don't forget - strap issue now resolved!)

I have been using the Vivofit for only three days and will update my review following more use.
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on 15 August 2015
The band overall is very good. I ordered the teal band but the colour is a lot brighter than in the photo provided (a bright turquoise- see my photo). I personally quite like it but it may be too bright for someone who wants specifically the colour in the picture.
Pros:
-Screen on the wristband means you can see how many steps you've done instantly without having to sync data to the phone as with a lot of these devices. Also you can select what data you can see on the band so you don't have to click through information you don't want to see (as default it comes with: Steps, Remaining steps to goal, Miles walked, Calories burned, Time, Date, Heart rate (if using the heart monitor).)
- Steps seem fairly accurate from what I can tell by walking with the band and mentally counting my steps. However the steps do increase slightly just sitting in the car and doing other non-walking activities such as teeth brushing etc.
-Waterproof: have worn in the shower multiple times with no issues.
-The sleep tracker is much more accurate than the previous band I owned (Sony Smartband SW10)

Cons
-As mentioned, steps do increase sometimes when not walking
-The app requires an internet connection to work even though what I want to look at shouldn't require an internet connection
-A bar appears when inactive for a long period of time which is good, but sometimes the bar remains quite a long time despite returning to activity which can be a bit disheartening.
-On occasion the band requires a couple of attempts in order to sync to my phone (although this may be my phone's fault rather than the band)
review image
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I was really excited to get this - I thought it would spur me on to get fitter. Sadly I was very disappointed. I persevered for 2 weeks and have now abandoned it.

So why?

It looks quite nice. Straps comfortably on to the wrist. I wore it on my right wrist as I did not want to give up my watch. It did keep coming off when knocked and quite a few times, I found it up my sleeve.

The whole premise of this gadget is not great. I have seen other such deviced, the FitBit and Jawbone. The Jawbone is significantly cheaper than the Vivofit and seems to have much more functionality.

The Vivofit is supposed to measure steps. I left it on for 2 weeks without taking if off. When I have brushed my teeth in the morning, having ventured from the bedroom to the bathroom, it already registered that I had walked 800-100 steps every day. The action of brushing my teeth must have triggered it to start counting. I play the ukulele (sad I know) and after playing for 5 minutes, it would have detected another thousand steps. Not so good at distinguishing genuine steps.

I went for a run with the Garmin on and also mapmywalk app on my iphone on. The Garmin software registered that I had run 5km whereas, in fact I had run just over 3km. The Garmin software had no GPS data available, which, for Garmin is a bit poor, particularly when I had my iPhone in my pocket but it had clearly hugely overestimated my run and therefore the calories burned. I got the model with the heart rate monitor which pairs very well but, as I mention below, does not serve much of a purpose.

The sleep function needs activating and because the band is not backlit, on more than one occasion, I switched off the light and thought I had activated the sleep function but had not held it for long enough (has to be between 4 and 6 seconds, no more, no less). If you forget or don't activate it properly, it just defaults to the sleep period that you set up on registration. Twice, I had definitely activated sleep mode and in the morning, it had been deactivated. The sleep function tells you what level of movement you had during the night. That's it. The Jawbone wakes you at a period of light sleep just before your alarm time by vibrating. The Garmin does nothing like that and I found the sleep analysis and feedback a complete waste of time. Why do I need to see a graph of my movements. It serves no other purpose. No analysis. No advice - just a graph of movement.

The reporting by the Gamin Connect software on the iPhone and also web based PC interface is clunky, slow and gives very little useful information. It failed to inspire me to do any more exercise. IPhone apps eg. mapmywalk, I feel, are much more useful and keep a much better log. Comparing one day to the next is only possible as far as I could see by a bar chart of steps - no other analysis. The heart rate monitor will give you a graph of heart rate, max heartrate reached but, again, so what? No fitness programmes, no help to plan a routine.

I really don't like to be negative but for an expensive, Garmin branded, newly launched bit of kit, will stiff competition on the market, I don't see that this has a place. The jawbone is cheaper and seems to be much more functional. It's iPhone interface is also much better and sleep trainer helps you to get up feeling refreshed.

So, sadly, (and I mean that as I was really excited to get this) this did not hit the mark for me
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on 5 September 2014
The band worked very well, I was pleased with it but unfortunately I ignored other comments regarding the way the clip is/was insecure. One day it just wasn't on my wrist anymore. Maybe Garmin has found a way to sell more. Despite many many complaints on the web they still sell the band with a totally insecure method of closing. I could therefor not recommend this unit.
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