The Garmin vívoactive HR is the company’s attempt to assimilate all of its specialities into one device. It’s a slimmed-down version of the vívoactive; it’s a smartwatch and your ultimate sport companion. And if you’re wondering which activities the Garmin vívoactive HR tracks, the simple answer is all of them: running, cycling, swimming, cardio, golf, rowing, SUP and many, many more.
The watch is easy to navigate – there are two multi-use buttons, as well as a touchscreen – making it easy for runners to scroll through options before, during and after training. Heart-rate monitoring, GPS and Bluetooth are all built in as standard.
It uses Garmin’s Elevate wrist-based heart-rate monitoring. We found the heart-rate measurements were pretty accurate compared with a more traditional chest-strap system – and it’s much more comfortable to use, especially when you factor in squashing a chest strap under your sports bra. Beat for beat it’s not quite as precise as the older method, if you are really serious about using it for heart-rate based intervals, but it’s certainly good enough for most runners.
In terms of reviewing your activities and data throughout the day, the Garmin vivoactive HR offers the best of both worlds. You can view progress on your wrist on the colourful display, which is great if you find it irritating pairing your fitness monitor to a phone to see how you’re getting on. We found the time-of-day screen a bit tricky to read but when you’re in the middle of an activity, the display is really clear. For more in-depth analysis, the Bluetooth connectivity allows automatic synching with the Garmin Connect app. It’s here that you can really dig into all your activity data, as well as sync with third-party apps like Apple Health. You can also get notifications from your phone, including call and text alerts and even weather reports.
As an all-day activity monitor, some women might find the unit a bit big and solid for their wrists. However, its size compares favourably with other serious running GPS and heart-rate monitors.
More information: Garmin.com