Few months ago I got myself Garmin’s newest “Smart Activity Tracker” with an optical Wrist-based Heart Rate monitor and I’ve had it in my wrist ever since.

I think it’s time to write a short review about Vivosmart HR

Steps and floors

The watch seems to measure steps taken and floors climbed pretty accurately. But so what, I don’t need an exact count, the main point is that they should be comparable between different days so I can challenge myself to do more every day.

Sleep mode

Measures your heart rate and movement during the night. Measures deep sleep, light sleep and total duration.

Alarm clock

I have the alarm set to 7:30AM but it has not been able to wake me up yet. It’s probably too easy to just tap the watch screen and then continue snoring. Not very useful feature, clumsy to use, but no problem, I have a working alarm clock in my iPhone.

Waterproofness & Swimming

It’s pretty much impossible to use the touch screen when it’s wet. To operate it you’ll need to lift your hand out of the water and shake the water away from the screen before trying to use it.

Also the heart rate monitor seems to be less reliable in the water, I’ve had some luck by tightening the wristband about four steps tighter than normal for the duration of the swim.

Wet Vivosmart HR

Other than that, the device is waterproof. I’ve swum with it more than 50 miles and it still works without a hitch, so I can say with some confidence that you should not be afraid to take yours to a swimming pool if you wish.

Unfortunately Vivosmart HR does NOT have a swim mode. Please Garmin, give us swim mode!

There might be some dirty marketing tactics at play here, who would buy those big, clumsy more expensive Garmin watches if they can get same activity modes on a little handy device like Vivosmart HR.


Very comfortable. Wristband is soft and flexible. Nothing to complain here

Battery life

As advertised, this little guy lasts about 4 days in my use. Your mileage may vary depending on what features you use and how often you exercise. I use it 247 and I do about 3-4 hours of exercise every week. I have notifications and heart rate monitor always on.


It charges from 0 to 100% in approximately 20 minutes. That’s Fast! But the non-standard charger cable is a minus. Vivosmart HR weirdo charger


I love this feature. You can basically keep your phone always on silent mode and instead of hearing annoying and distracting sound notifications, just get a vibration & a short text in your wrist telling you what the notification is about.

Based on my testing Vivosmart HR will show all the same notifications as your phone.

Answering phone calls

Vivosmart HR shows you when someone is calling you, which is awesome.

You can also answer the call by tapping a button on the watch screen. Assuming of course you happen to be wearing a headset with a microphone on, otherwise the person calling you will only hear some ambient sounds from your pocket.

Music remote

Not very good. Doesn’t seem to work with Spotify. Might work with Apple Music or others but I haven’t tried.

This is not a big deal for me because the feature is quite useless: most headphones come with those handy little control buttons for changing and pausing songs.


Updating the device is delightfully easy. You’ll get a notification on the watch screen asking if you’d wish to upgrade to a newer version. If you answer yes the watch will be upgraded and ready to use again in less than a minute.


Not bad. When I bought it, it was 170€.


All in all, I’m happy with this device.

I’ve actually lost some weight in the few months that I’ve had it, so who knows, maybe it’s the Vivosmart HR that has helped me to live more active lifestyle.

  • Long battery life
  • Notifications
  • Comfort
  • Price
  • Limited set of activities
  • HR sensor not reliable while swimming
  • No real swim mode