Garmin Vivomove Sport review: a capable fitness tracker in the guise of a regular watch

The Garmin Vivomove Sport is a hybrid smartwatch

Wrist-based wearables is an exciting segment, but lately, it has become quite crowded with similar-looking offerings. Garmin is attempting to rejuvenate the arena with the Vivomove Sport, a hybrid smartwatch that aims to offer the best of both worlds — a watch that sports a conventional design, and yet, packs in smarts and health-tracking chops. While the Instinct 2 Solar I tried out earlier was aimed at the outdoorsy folks, this one is more lifestyle-oriented, and well, can be worn by just about anybody.


What works

  • The Vivomove Sport sports a chic, elegant aesthetic which is quite reminiscent of watches by Swatch, and comes in peppy hues like mint, ivory and cocoa apart from the conventional black.

  • The 40mm case is neither too small nor too big, making the device apt for both men and women. The 20mm straps feature quick-release pins and can be swapped out with others of the same width in seconds.
  • The watch itself weighs 19 grams on its own, and 34 grams with the straps, so it’s super lightweight and extremely comfy to wear over long periods. It’s also water resistant up to 5 ATM.

  • The watch comes with conventional hours and minutes hands, but also features a small, touch-enabled OLED screen on the lower half of the dial. This allows you to interact with the device and use its smart features. The watch hands get out of the way automatically when you tap on the display or receive a notification, taking the 9.15 time marker position. This allows you to view the OLED screen without obstruction, and swipe through the functions and access the menus.
  • Despite its conventional looks, the Vivomove Sport offers a full range of health and fitness features. Apart from the usual steps, heart rate, sleep patterns etc, it offers features like body battery energy monitoring, a pulse ox (SpO2) sensor, women’s health tracking, hydration tracking, respiration tracking, stress monitoring, and more. The device can not just measure your heart rate continuously, it can also monitor resting heart rate and throw up alerts if it detects abnormal heart rate.
  • Apart from being able to track a bunch of various different sports, the Vivomove Sport also offers automatic workout detection for walking and running. And based on our testing, the auto workout detection works quite well too. The device is water resistant up to 5 ATM, and can be used while going swimming as well.

  • There’s a full suite of safety features built in. The device can notify specific emergency contacts in the event of a mishap, but that’s not all. The LiveTrack feature can actually send live tracking links to a specified contact when you’re out and undertaking a physical activity or sport.
  • Coming to the usual smarts, a full array of features is on offer. This includes alarm, timer, stopwatch, weather, calendar, find my phone, music control, and notifications from a paired smartphone. If you are using the watch with an Android phone, you even get to use quick replies for responding to messages.

  • The device syncs using the Garmin Connect app, available for both iOS and Android. The app interface and the amount of data it displays can look a tad overwhelming at first, but once you know what is where, you’d find that the app can show detailed metrics and physical history, and offers tons of useful features.

What doesn’t work

  • The OLED touchscreen is quite small, and interacting with it can be a bit fiddly… especially if you have pudgy fingers.
  • Customisation options are quite limited, especially when compared to a regular smartwatch. There are a handful of watch faces available, and since the screen is tiny and forms only a small part of the device, switching between one watch face to another doesn’t have a huge impact on the overall looks anyway.
  • If you get too many notifications, the battery life takes a hit — those hours and minutes hand moving each time you get a new notification can draw a fair bit of juice. Based on my usage, I’d say you should be able to get about 3-4 days off a single charge, but depending upon your usage, the number of notifications your receive, etc, your mileage could vary a fair bit. After the battery dies, the device keeps working as a plain watch to display the time for another day or so.


  • There’s no built-in GPS, which is odd for a smartwatch in this price category. The device depends on a connected smartphone to track your routes.

Verdict


The Vivomove Sport is priced at Rs 18,990, and that puts it into a segment where it has to compete with offerings from Fitbit, Amazfit, Samsung, and others. Now, the Garmin device isn’t perfect, and has its share of issues, but I think there are two aspects that make it stand out — the extensive array of health and fitness features and the hybrid approach it takes. If you’re looking for a health smartwatch but aren’t ready to give up on the classic watch design, the Vivomove Sport could be for you.

Editor’s rating: 3.5 / 5

Pros:

  • Stylish looks
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Accurate tracking
  • Range of health features

Cons

  • No built-in GPS
  • Small display area
  • Usage can be fiddly