PROS / This tracker is waterproof up to 50 meters, so you can take it swimming or in the shower.
CONS / The Garmin Vivosmart HR’s battery only lasts for five days before needing to recharge.
VERDICT / The Garmin Vivosmart HR is a well-designed heart rate monitor watch that continuously tracks your heart rate and other fitness metrics both on the device in the helpful app.
The Garmin Vivosmart HR heart rate monitor watch shows you your average heart rate, weather information and fitness metrics on a clear and easy-to-read screen. The Vivosmart HR earns our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award because of its touchscreen, comfort and waterproof design. Its battery life and accuracy fall a bit short, but both are sufficient to keep up with your active lifestyle.
Heart Rate Monitoring
This continuous heart rate monitor tracks your heart rate directly from your wrist without a chest strap. While we found it to be only 92 percent accurate during our testing, that’s still high enough to show you accurate heart rate zones. We found that it was hard to perfectly position the watch on our wrists to read heart rate, as the screen is long and flat and doesn’t conform exactly to different wrist sizes. It slipped around or was too tight to really get an accurate reading during high-intensity workouts. However, we did find that real-time heart rate tracking responded quickly, and we didn’t have to wait 10 to 15 seconds for a reading, unlike some other devices we reviewed.
This top heart rate monitor also boasts a touchscreen, so you can swipe through screens or push a button to toggle through more options. You can choose your own home screen, screen order, display options and other custom settings from the watch or in the app. For everyday use, you can set the main screen to the clock display, or for a morning run, you can set it to the heart rate display. Numbers appear large and clear on the screen, so you don’t have to steady your arm for at-a-glance checks.
As with all touchscreens, fingerprint smears are an issue, especially when you’re sweaty after your workout. Still, we could easily read the screen despite the smudges. You can switch the screens to display either horizontally or vertically so you don’t have to twist your arm at weird angles just to read them. Since devices with screens use more juice than devices without screens, the battery only lasts for about five days, so be sure to charge your watch at least once a week.
Like the best heart rate monitor watches, the Garmin Vivosmart HR tracks steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned and active minutes in addition to heart rate. It doesn’t stop there though; it also tracks your heart rate while you sleep, how many stairs you climb, your average heart rate per day and more – you can even see a full graph on the display that shows your heart rate throughout the day, something that is totally unique to the Garmin Vivosmart HR. The same feature is available in apps for other devices, but the Vivosmart HR gives you access right there on the screen.
If you sit too long at your desk or in front of the TV, the Vivosmart HR vibrates and alerts you, which encourages you to get up and walk around. It also has smartwatch features such as caller ID, music control, find my phone and weather reports.
Connectivity & Design
The Vivosmart HR is a waterproof heart rate monitor, which is one of its best features. It’s rated for up to 5 ATM, so you’re able to use it underwater up to 50 meters. Keep in mind that it doesn’t connect to Bluetooth underwater – it can still track your heart rate but doesn’t send smart notifications.
Back on dryland, this Bluetooth heart rate monitor connects easily to the Garmin app to sync your data wirelessly. You can also connect to other fitness apps to view charts, graphs, steps taken, calories burned and more. This wrist heart rate monitor is extremely light, weighing in at about 30 grams, depending on the size you choose. This comfortable watch comes in three colors, and the band is perforated so your sweat can dry.
Help & Support
As with most heart rate monitor watches, the Garmin Vivosmart HR sports a one-year warranty. Email and phone information are available on the Garmin website should you have questions about your device. A manual is available online too should you need to reference how to use your watch.
The Garmin Vivosmart HR is one of the best heart rate monitors in our review because of its long list of helpful features, easy-to-read and use touchscreen, and versatile design. The only downsides to this watch its battery life and slightly less accurate heart rate readings during intense workouts.