Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs Vivosmart 4 vs Fitbit Charge 5 Compared – Lagging behind the competition

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It is a big year for Garmin; they have already launched two flagship products, the Fenix 7 and Epix 2 as well as the popular Garmin Instinct 2. They are also believed to be launching the Forerunner 255 and 255s soon, then the Forerunner 955, Venu Sq 2, Vivomove Trend, Austin and Instinct Analog.

First up is the Garmin Vivosmart 5, which was launched yesterday. It has been a long time coming. The Vivosmart 4 was launched almost 4 years ago. During that time, a lot of competing products have launched, with many companies adopting a yearly cycle. You would expect the Vivosmart 5 to be a significant upgrade to the Vivosmart 4, but this isn’t the case, and the Vivosmart 5 is a hard sell when you look at the competition.

Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs Vivosmart 4 Specifications & Features – What’s new?

The Garmin Vivosmart 5 takes the Vivosmart 4 and adds a bunch of new features. There is one exception though, for some reason, Garmin has removed the barometric altimeter, which means there is now no stair tracking. Stair tracking on my Fenix 6 Pro seems completely random, so I wouldn’t say you are missing out much here. The specification table also indicates that the Vivosmart 5 can not work as a VIRB camera remote.

The physical design has changed moderately. The display is now 10.5 mm x 18.5 mm vs 6.6 mm x 17.7 mm making it 66% bigger with an increased resolution running at 88 x 154 pixels vs 48 x 128 pixels. The bigger display also increases the overall dimensions, the width of the large goes from 15mm to 19.5mm, a 30% increase.

The Vivosmart 5 now has swappable bands rather than built-in, which is the thing most likely to fail on these fitness bands.

One of the significant improvements I can see is the inclusion of LiveTrack and incident detection. I was a big fan of LiveTrack after supporting my partner around the Manchester Marathon. Though this may be of less use for people that use fitness trackers.

Neither fitness band has built-in GPS, they both rely on assisted GPS, which connects to your phone.

The band can also broadcast your heart rate to other devices. This can be useful for Peloton or Zwift, though you’d be better off with a proper chest strap.

You now get several new activity profiles, including Breath Work, HIIT, Pilates, Treadmill, and Indoor Rowing.

It will now give you an on-device sleep score and a morning wake-up report.

It can also track your respiration rate.

Similar to the flagship Fenix 7/Epix 2, the Vivosmart 5 has real-time settings syncing with the Garmin Connect app, meaning you can change all the settings on your app and sync it with the device.

Finally, the battery life is the same, but Garmin has now switched to the standard Garmin charger used on the watches.

Overall, there are not a lot of changes, nothing to justify an upgrade, in my opinion.

Unfortunately, when you look at the competition, the Garmin Vivosmart 5 doesn’t look that appealing. I’d say the only reason to get it is if you are committed to the Garmin ecosystem.

Alternative Options – Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs Fitbit Charge 5 vs Huawei Band 6

The big stumbling block for the Garmin Vivosmart 5 is the price of £129.99.

For a start, you can get the Vivosmart 4 for just £80, I don’t feel like there is enough of a difference to justify that £50. The Garmin Forerunner 45 is also the same price as the Vivosmart 5, it is a significantly better device, but the Vivosmart 5 has a more discrete design.

For competing brands, at a similar price, you have the Fitbit Charge 5. Garmin has been keen to point out that the Vivosmart 5 lacks any subscription services, and Fitbit annoyingly walls off some features into a premium plan.

However, the Fitbit Charge 5 has significantly superior features, including:

  • Colour display with a superior resolution
  • Built-in GPS
  • EDA Scan app/ ECG scanning
  • Fitbit Pay

I’d say it looks more attractive too.

Alternatively, there is the Honor Band 6 or Huawei Huawei Band 6. Both of these have good-quality colour displays and most of the features the Vivosmart 5 but almost £100 cheaper!

Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs Vivosmart 4 Specification Table

 Garmin Vivosmart 5 Garmin Vivosmart 4
LENS MATERIALAcrylicPolycarbonate
CASE MATERIALPolycarbonateAluminium
STRAP MATERIALSiliconeSilicone
PHYSICAL SIZESmall/medium: 19.5 x 10.7 x 217 mmSmall/medium: 15 x 10.5 x 197 mm
Fits wrists with a circumference of 122-188 mmFits wrists with a circumference of 122-188 mm
Large: 19.5 x 10.7 x 255 mmLarge: 15 x 10.5 x 223 mm
Fits wrists with a circumference of 148-228 mmFits wrists with a circumference of 148-215 mm
DISPLAY SIZE0.41" x 0.73" (10.5 mm x 18.5 mm)6.6 mm x 17.7 mm
DISPLAY RESOLUTION88 x 154 pixels48 x 128 pixels
DISPLAY TYPEOLEDOLED
WEIGHTSmall/medium: 24.5 gSmall/medium: 16.5 g
Large: 26.5 gLarge: 17.1 g
BATTERY LIFEUp to 7 days (excluding pulse ox sleep tracking)Up to 7 days (excluding Pulse Ox sleep tracking)
WATER RATINGSwimSwim
MEMORY/HISTORY7 timed activities, 14 days of activity tracking data7 timed activities, 14 days of activity tracking data
TIME/DATEYesYes
AUTOMATIC DAYLIGHT SAVING TIMEYesYes
ALARM CLOCKYesYes
TIMERYesYes
STOPWATCHYesYes
Health monitoringYesYes
WRIST-BASED HEART RATE (CONSTANT, EVERY SECOND)YesYes
DAILY RESTING HEART RATEYesYes
ABNORMAL HEART RATE ALERTSYes (high and low)Yes (high and low)
RESPIRATION RATE (24X7)YesNO
PULSE OX BLOOD OXYGEN SATURATIONyes (spot-check, during a portion of sleep, and all-day)yes (spot-check and optionally in sleep)
FITNESS AGEYesYes (in app)
BODY BATTERY™ ENERGY MONITORYesYes
ALL-DAY STRESS TRACKINGYesYes
RELAXATION REMINDERSYesYes
RELAXATION BREATHING TIMERYesYes
SLEEPYes (Advanced)Yes (Advanced)
SLEEP SCORE AND INSIGHTSYesYes (in Garmin Connect™)
HYDRATIONYesYes (in Garmin Connect™)
WOMEN'S HEALTHYesYes
GARMIN ELEVATE™ WRIST HEART RATE MONITORYesYes
BAROMETRIC ALTIMETERNo?Yes
ACCELEROMETERYesYes
AMBIENT LIGHT SENSORYesYes
PULSE OX BLOOD OXYGEN SATURATION MONITORYesYes
Daily smart featuresYesYes
CONNECTIVITYBluetooth® Smart and ANT+®Bluetooth® Smart and ANT+®
SMART NOTIFICATIONSYesYes
TEXT RESPONSE/REJECT PHONE CALL WITH TEXT (ANDROID™ ONLY)YesYes
CONNECTED GPSYesYes
CALENDARYesNo?
WEATHERYesYes
REALTIME SETTINGS SYNC WITH GARMIN CONNECT™ MOBILEYesNo
CONTROLS SMARTPHONE MUSICYesYes
FIND MY PHONEYesYes
FIND MY WATCHYesYes
VIRB® CAMERA REMOTENoYes
SMARTPHONE COMPATIBILITYiPhone®, Android™iPhone®, Android™
COMPATIBLE WITH GARMIN CONNECT™ MOBILEYesYes
LIVETRACKYesYes
INCIDENT DETECTION DURING SELECT ACTIVITIESYesYes
ASSISTANCEYesYes
STEP COUNTERYesYes
MOVE BAR (DISPLAYS ON DEVICE AFTER A PERIOD OF INACTIVITY; WALK FOR A COUPLE OF MINUTES TO RESET IT)YesYes
AUTO GOAL (LEARNS YOUR ACTIVITY LEVEL AND ASSIGNS A DAILY STEP GOAL)YesYes
CALORIES BURNEDYesYes
FLOORS CLIMBEDNoYes
DISTANCE TRAVELLEDYesYes
INTENSITY MINUTESYesYes
TRUEUP™YesYes
MOVE IQ™YesYes
Fitness equipment/gymYesYes
AVAILABLE GYM ACTIVITY PROFILESStrength, HIIT, Cardio and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Indoor Rowing, Treadmill, Pilates and YogaStrength Training, Cardio Training, Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Yoga
AUTOMATIC REP COUNTINGYesYes
Training, planning and analysis featuresYesYes
HR ZONESYesYes
HR ALERTSYesYes
HR CALORIESYesYes
% HR MAXYesYes
HR BROADCAST (BROADCASTS HR DATA OVER ANT+™ TO PAIRED DEVICES)YesYes
GPS SPEED AND DISTANCEyes (Connected GPS only)yes (Connected GPS only)
CUSTOMISABLE SCREEN(S)YesYes
CUSTOMISABLE ACTIVITY PROFILESYesYes
INTERVAL TRAININGYesYes
AUTO LAP®YesYes
VO2 MAX (RUN)YesYes
CUSTOMISABLE ALERTSYesYes
AVAILABLE RUN PROFILESRunningRunning
CADENCE (PROVIDES REAL-TIME NUMBER OF STEPS PER MINUTE)YesYes
AVAILABLE CYCLING PROFILESBikingBiking
Swimming featuresYesYes
AVAILABLE SWIM PROFILESPool Swimming (Basic)Pool swimming (Basic)

Last update on 2022-05-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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