Fitbit Charge 4 vs Garmin vívosport (2020): Which Fitness Tracker Is the Better Buy?

Fitbit and Garmin have been dominating the wearables space and are among the go-to brands when it comes to wearable trackers. Their Fitbit Charge 4 and the Garmin vívosport are among the fitness activity trackers that also feature basic smartwatch capabilities and built-in GPS. While they offer a lot of similar features, they have differences that will make you choose one over the other. Our thorough comparison below will help you choose which fitness tracker is better for you.

Fitbit Charge 4 vs Garmin vosport Comparison Chart

ModelFitbit Charge 4Garmin vívosport
Fitbit Charge 4 Fitness and Activity Tracker with Built-in GPS, Heart Rate, Sleep & Swim Tracking,... Garmin vívosport, Fitness/Activity Tracker with GPS and Heart Rate Monitoring, Slate, Large 
PriceCheck Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon 
DisplayGrayscale OLED TouchscreenAlways-On Color Touchscreen
Display Size1.4″ x 0.9″0.38″ x 0.76″
GPSBuilt-inBuilt-in
Call & Text AlertsYesYes
Quick RepliesYesNo
Smart AwakeYesNo
Water ResistanceWaterproof for up to 50 metersWaterproof for up to 50 meters
Heart Rate MonitorYesYes
Heart Rate VariabilityNoYes
PedometerYesYes
AltimeterYesYes
Calorie Burn TrackerYesYes
Sleep ReportsYesYes
Blood Oxygen LevelYesNo
Swim TrackingYesNo
Female Health TrackingYesYes
Bluetooth4.04.0
Contactless PaymentFitbit PayNo
Spotify ControlYesYes
CompatibilityApple iOS 12.2 or higher
Android OS 7.0 or higher
Windows 10 version 1607.0 or higher
iOS
Android
Battery LifeUp to 7 days
GPS: Up to 5 hours
Up to 7 days
GPS: Up to 8 hours
ChargerUSBUSB
ColorsBlack
Rosewood
Storm Blue/Black
Small/Medium:
Slate, Fuchsia Focus
Large:
Slate, Limelight
Year of Release20202017

Design and Display

The Fitbit Charge 4 has a larger, albeit grayscale, display than the full color Garmin vívosport

Both are equipped with touchscreen display

While the Fitbit Charge 4 and the Garmin vívosport are lightweight, comfortable, and unobtrusive, the bear quite a lot of differences in their design. The vívosport has a slimmer profile and its display is significantly smaller than the Charge 4’s. This small screen makes it an effort to see the watch face compared to the Charge 4 where you can see what’s on the screen easily.

Don’t expect much as well when it comes to reading notifications or messages on the vívosport. It’s easier to read texts and alerts on the Charge 4 as it has a much bigger screen. Perhaps the vívosport makes up for its small screen by equipping the tracker with an always-on display. With this, you won’t have to rely on pressing a button or raising your wrist to see the display, such as the case with the Charge 4.

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They both sport a touchscreen display, but the Fitbit Charge 4’s is only grayscale while the Garmin vívosport’s is in full color. However, Fitbit’s latest fitness tracker feels slightly more responsive than the Garmin’s.

Watch Bands

The Fitbit Charge 4’s straps are interchangeable while the Garmin vívosports isn’t

fitbit-charge-4-vs-garmin-vivosport-fitness-tracker-2
The Charge 4 in storm blue/black, black and rosewood (left) and the Garmin vívosport in Slate, fuschia focus, and limelight

A major dealbreaker for the Garmin vívosport is its noninterchangeable bands. If the vívosport’s band breaks, it’s a pain to have it replaced by Garmin as you’ll be out of a fitness tracker for weeks. If it’s out of warranty, you’ll have to pay a lot for Garmin to replace the watch band. Other users just end up buying an entirely different fitness tracker if the strap breaks while it’s out of warranty.

On the other hand, the Fitbit Charge 4 and its interchangeable bands offer a lot of room for customization. If you already own watch bands for the Charge 3, you can even use them with the Charge 4. In addition to the plethora of watch bands sold by Fitbit, there are also a lot of compatible straps sold by third-party retailers at a lower price point.

GPS

Both the Fitbit Charge 4 and the Garmin vívosport come with onboard GPS

built-in GPS fitbit charge 4
The Fitbit Charge 4 maps the intensity of your workouts in your route

Unlike many other fitness trackers in the market, the Fitbit Charge 4 and the Garmin vívosport both come with built-in GPS. This lets the Charge and the vívosport track and record your distances, pace, routes, and your heart rate throughout the activity even without your phone. You can sync the date with their respective companion apps once the device is connected to the phone again.

Another helpful feature available in the Charge 4 is its heat map that shows the intensity of your workout or your level of exertion throughout your route. The high-intensity points are shown in red (see photo above).

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Health and Fitness Tracking

The Charge 4 and the vívosport offer similar features, but the Fitbit can track blood oxygen levels

Fitbit’s Charge 4 (left) and Garmin’s vívosport

Both Fitbit and Garmin have nailed health and fitness activity tracking, making them highly trusted brands in the wearables space. Both the Charge 4 and the vívosport offer the following features that will help you better understand your health and fitness data:

  • set fitness goals and track your progress
  • monitor your heart rate, including your resting heart rate (the Charge 4 alerts you when there’s an irregularity in your heart rate)
  • get reminders to move or hydrate
  • track sleep stages and give insights for better sleep quality and overall health (Fitbit’s interface is hard to beat)
  • monitor menstrual cycles
  • track and record steps, distances, pace, and calorie burn
  • map your workout routes
  • track distances, calorie burn, and heart rate while swimming
  • measure elevation (e.g track floors climbed, altitude level, etc.)
  • get guided breathing sessions based on your heart rate
fitbit charge 4 spo2 sensor
Equipped with an SpO2 sensor, the Charge 4 can track your blood oxygen levels

On to the differences in their health and fitness tracking features:

  • The Fitbit Charge 4 comes with an SpO2 sensor that can detect your blood oxygen level. This data can be beneficial in better understanding your sleep quality.
  • Fitbit highlights the Active Zone Minutes in its Charge 4. Based on your heart rate metrics and goals, the Active Zone Minutes will give bespoke recommendations to help you reach your targets.
  • The Garmin vívosport can detect your heart rate variability (HRV) and stress levels. Fitness enthusiasts, particularly those who train a lot, will find the HRV data helpful to identify peak and recovery times.

Connectivity and Compatibility

Both the Fitbit Charge 4 an the Garmin vívosport use Bluetooth 4.0 and are compatible with iOS and Android

Pairing either the Charge 4 or the vívosport (in photo) is easy and straightforward

Setting up your device with the Fitbit Charge 4 or the Garmin vívosport is an easy and effortless process through their Bluetooth 4.0. They deliver a stable connection to ensure consistent activity tracking. Their companion apps also straightforward, with the Fitbit offering a more user-friendly interface whereas the Garmin provides more comprehensive sets of data.

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Both the Charge 4 and the vívosport are compatible with iOS and Android devices. However, if you own a Windows smartphone, then the Fitbit will be the better fit for you as Garmin is not available in Windows.

Smart Features

Both the Charge 4 and the vívosport offer basic smartwatch features such as alerts and weather; the Charge 4 can be used for contactless payment

fitbit pay charge 4
Pay straight from your wrist using Fitbit Pay on your Charge 4

Apart from the built-in GPS, the Charge 4 provides another reason to leave your phone behind during runs or other activities: Fitbit Pay. Equipped with NFC (Near-Field Communication) connectivity, you can use the Charge 4 to pay in any establishments that accept contactless payment methods such as Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Garmin Pay, among others. On the other hand, the Garmin vívosport cannot be used for contactless payment as it is only currently available on select Garmin smartwatches.

Both the Charge 4 and the vívosport can receive notifications and call and text alerts. However, only the Fitbit Charge 4 allows you to reply to SMS using preset messages. This is not available in the vívosport and its tiny display isn’t exactly fit for reading texts and notifications. Both fitness trackers allow playback controls through the device so you can play, pause, or skip tracks straight from your Fitbit or Garmin.

Battery Life and Additional Features

Both offer up to 7 days of battery life and are waterproof for up to 50 meters

Fitbit Charge 4
You can wear the Charge 4 (in photo) or the vívosport while swimming or sleeping

Longer battery life means you can wear your fitness tracker as often as possible, thus allowing for more consistent monitoring of heart rate and other activities. Long battery life is especially crucial for sleep tracking. Both the Fitbit Charge 4 and the Garmin vívosport advertise up to 7 days of battery life, but this may translate to 5 to 6 days depending on your usage.

In addition, heavy use of their built-in GPS depletes the battery significantly faster. With the GPS on, the Charge 4 only lasts up to 5 hours while the vívosport offers more usage time at 8 hours. Both the Fitbit Charge 4 and the Garmin vívosport boast 5 ATM certification. This means they can be submerged for up to a depth of 50 meters for up to 30 minutes.

You can use them while swimming, but only the Charge 4 has a dedicated swim mode. These are only good for casual swimmers though. If you want an activity tracker than can better give you data on swimming, perhaps the Garmin Swim 2 will suit your needs better.

Verdict

The Fitbit Charge 4 narrowly edges over the Garmin vívosport

While the Fitbit Charge 4 and Garmin vívosport offer similar health and fitness tracking features, we’ll have to award the winner in this comparison to the Charge 4. At a glance, it is slightly more expensive than the vívosport. However, if you put the interchangeable straps into consideration, the Fitbit Charge 4 offers overall better value for your money as its straps can be easily changed should they break. The Charge 4 also offers a larger, more responsive display, contactless payment, and better sleep and swim tracking interface.

Perhaps you might want to opt for the Garmin vívosport if you require the heart rate variability, stress level data, and a longer battery life when used with GPS. Some may also favor the vívosport’s slimmer profile, but the lack of replacement band options and having to send the fitness tracker to Garmin for band replacement can be a huge hassle.

Last update on 2020-05-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Rhodaline Escala-Phelps
Rhodaline Escala-Phelps

Managing Editor and Team Leader at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about people, product comparisons, culture, and current events.