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two minute review
The Garmin Vivosmart 5 is a lightweight fitness tracker that takes the fight directly to Fitbit, and it does it well. Admittedly, it's not as attractive as devices like the Fitbit Charge 5 and Fitbit Luxe thanks to its rather utilitarian design and monochrome screen, but it's practical and puts a lot of data at your fingertips.
Size: 19,5 x 10,7 x 217mm (small), 19,5 x 10,7 x 255mm (large)
Weight with strap: 24,5 g (small), 26,5 g (large)
Screen Type: Grayscale OLED
Sports modes: 14 in total, 10 available on the watch at a time
Operating System: Garmin Watch OS
The most obvious upgrade to the Vivosmart 4 is the larger, higher resolution screen. Garmin makes good use of all that extra space to pack in an impressive array of data, including graphs and charts to show trends, something you don't get on many fitness trackers this size. Despite the absence of color to differentiate the different data, everything is clear and easy to interpret at a glance.
- Garmin Vivosmart 5 at Garmin US for €149.99
Unlike the Fitbit Charge 5, the Vivosmart 5 doesn't have built-in GPS, which means it relies on a Bluetooth connection to your phone to monitor your route and pace during outdoor activities. You can also use its built-in accelerometer to estimate distance and pace, but this is only a rough guide and shouldn't be used if you're training for an event.
While some of Fitbit's best features (including advanced sleep and stress insights) are only available if you have a Fitbit Premium subscription, you can explore all of Garmin's data and stats for free in the excellent Garmin Connect app. . You'll also find a selection of guided workouts to follow, as well as customizable training plans for cycling and running. You won't get the extensive video library you get with Fitbit's premium service, but Garmin isn't locking anything behind a paywall.
The Garmin Vivosmart 5 looks a lot like the Vivosmart 4 at first glance, but there are several notable differences, including a new interchangeable band (Image credit: Future)
The Vivosmart 5 isn't quite as beginner-friendly as an entry-level Fitbit, putting stats front and center, but if you're a bit of a data junkie, this approach will certainly appeal to you.
The Vivosmart 5 could also be a solid option if you already own a full Garmin sports watch, but find it cumbersome for daily use between workouts. The Garmin Connect app is compatible with multiple devices and all your data is in one, no matter which watch you're wearing.
Price and release date
- Released in April 2022
- Cost €149.99 / £129.99 / AU$229 at launch
The Garmin Vivosmart 5 launched on April 20, 2022, four years after the Vivosmart 4, with a suggested retail price of €149.99 / £129.99 / AU$229.
That's the standard price for a high-end fitness tracker, but if you're serious about running and looking for a GPS watch to guide you through your workout, you can currently go for the excellent Garmin Forerunner. 55 for just a little more.
The Vivosmart 5 is controlled via a physical button and touch screen (Image credit: Future)
- Seven days in smart watch mode
- Four days with all sensors and sleep tracking activated
The Vivosmart 5 offers the same battery life as the Vivosmart 4. Garmin cites a maximum battery life of seven days in smartwatch mode, but enabling SpO2 monitoring will cut that time significantly. In our tests, the watch lasted four days and four nights with 2-hour SpO24 monitoring turned on and tracking one workout per day. We were able to recharge the battery from scratch in just over two hours.
The Garmin Vivosmart 5 uses the same proprietary charging cable as all of the company's recent watches (Image credit: Future)
Design and display
- Bigger screen than Vivosmart 4
- Available in two sizes
- New physical button on the face
First of all, it should be noted that the Garmin Vivosmart 5 is available in two sizes: small/medium (for wrists with a circumference between 122mm and 188mm) and large (for wrists with a circumference between 148mm and 228mm).
At first glance, both versions look a lot like the Vivosmart 4. The tracker itself has a slim build and comes in a soft silicone strap/case. However, this time, the band is replaceable; simply bend the band a bit to pop out the tracker unit, then push it into the new band, no tools required.
The Vivomove 5 lacks the aluminum bezel of its predecessor, a move that makes it a bit less stylish, but certainly helped Garmin's designers save precious grams. The small/medium version we tested weighs just 24,5g including the strap, while the large model weighs 26,5g, making it very light.
Garmin has replaced the Vivosmart 4's capacitive button with a physical button that's easier to use with gloves on (Image credit: Future)
Garmin has also replaced the capacitive button at the bottom of the watch face with a physical button. This may seem like an odd choice as it interrupts the device's clean lines, but it's a welcome decision as it makes the Vivosmart 5 much easier to use when you're wearing gloves or have wet hands (the device is waterproof). for swimming, but not for diving or fast water sports).
On the back you will find the optical heart rate and SpO2 sensors, as well as the charging socket. The Vivosmart 5 uses the same proprietary charging cable that every other Garmin device has used over the years and it connects securely.
Perhaps the most obvious difference between the Vivosmart 5 and its predecessor is its new, larger OLED screen. Vivosmart 5 has a higher resolution screen than its predecessor, but it's still monochrome instead of color. That makes it less flashy than the Fitbit Luxe, but Garmin's designers have used the limited space and palette wisely, packing an impressive amount of data into each screen. Instead of cutting off (as it sometimes did with the Vivosmart 4), longer snippets of text scroll, and you can see at least three stats on the screen at any given time.
The Vivosmart 5 has a significantly larger screen than its predecessor, although it's still monochrome rather than color (Image credit: Future)
The Vivosmart 5 also has an ambient light sensor, which dynamically adjusts screen brightness based on current conditions. We've found this to work fine, but it's also possible to manually choose a brightness level, adjust how long to wait before the screen goes to sleep, or even choose always-on mode (well, these all have an impact on battery life) .
daily health tracking
- Excellent sleep tracking
- SpO2 monitoring rapidly drains battery
- All-day stress monitoring works well
The Vivosmart 5 automatically monitors sleep, and in our tests it accurately detected when we fell asleep and when we woke up, and its sleep phase tracking is broadly in line with that recorded by our Withings Sleep Analyzer. Every morning, you will receive a mini-report, which includes a sleep score (based on how long you slept and how long you spent in each stage), a small weather forecast for the next day, and a quick overview of your upcoming sleep. schedule events. You can explore your sleep data in more detail using the Garmin Connect app.
The only downside is that Garmin's sleep tracking doesn't take naps into account, and if you enter 40 winks a night, you can throw away your nightly data. Naps are something Amazfit devices track well, and we're keeping our fingers crossed that Garmin updates its sleep and recovery algorithms to accommodate them soon.
The Garmin Vivosmart 4 automatically tracks sleep, measures heart rate, movement, respiration, and stress (Image credit: Future)
You can also choose to enable overnight or all-day SpO2 monitoring, but as mentioned above, this has a huge impact on battery life. Unless you're particularly concerned about oxygen saturation (if you suspect sleep apnea or train at altitude, for example), not doing so may be a smart compromise.
Garmin combines your sleep and daily activity data to generate a Body Battery Score. Like the Fitbit Readiness Score, it's an estimate of how much energy you have to complete tasks throughout the day, but unlike the Fitbit metric, Garmin devices like the Vivosmart 5 let you see changes in real time. and adapt your plans as you go. If you're planning a hard workout but your body's battery is running low, you may want to wind down with a gentler recovery session.
It's a useful tool, and your current Body Battery score is just a click away on the Vivosmart 5. There's also a handy line graph that shows how your score has changed over the last four hours, and a note to let you know if your Body Battery is 'charging' or 'draining'. That's a lot of data to cram into such a small space and reduces the need to open the app on your phone to get more data.
The Vivosmart 5 displays your current Body Battery score and tapping it will display a graph of your power level over the last four hours (Image credit: Future)
Another useful feature is stress management throughout the day. Unlike Fitbit Sense and Charge 5, which measure stress by checking for changes in the electrical conductivity of your stress, Vivosmart 5 uses an algorithm called Firstbeat Analytics based on heart rate variability.
You can't always tell the difference between physical and emotional stress, but it does crash during recorded workouts, so it should give you a good general idea of your state of mind. If you're starting to feel the strain, the Vivosmart 5 (like all recent Garmin watches) can guide you through a very basic but effective square breathing exercise to lower your heart rate.
The Vivosmart 5 will track your energy levels throughout the day, with live updates on the watch itself, and measure stress through heart rate variability (Image credit: Future)
- Can store 10 training tracking modes
- not on board...