Garmin’s vivosmart range aims to challenge the likes of the Fitbit Charge 5 and budget-friendly Xiaomi Mi Band. With the vivosmart 5, the series moves towards a larger screen while maintaining a sleek and slim form. Garmin shares that the new model has 66% more screen estate than its predecessor, the vivosmart 4. It also boasts more fitness and smart features that make older models like the vivosmart 3 look outdated. Below, we compare the three trackers and see what the upgrades are and if they’re worth getting.
Garmin vivosmart 5 vs 4 vs 3 Comparison Chart
The Garmin vivosmart 5 offers a larger screen and improved hardware functionality over the vivosmart 4 and 3.
Over the last few years, the most noticeable change in the Garmin vivosmart series is the display. While fitness trackers aren’t known for large screens, the vivosmart 5 brings more viewing area than previous iterations. The vivosmart 4’s the narrowest at just 0.26 inches wide, while the vivosmart 3 comes close to the 5th gen with its 0.38-inch display.
How the displays are designed also mark a point of difference between the three. The vivosmart 3’s matte-looking screen has an extended lower bezel that makes the display look larger than it is. On the vivosmart 4 and 5, they appear embedded into the silicone strap. While all three devices use touch gestures, the vivosmart 5 makes navigation easier with a physical button. It’s a welcome addition that makes using slim trackers like the vivosmart easier.
In terms of durability, the vivosmart 5 has the advantage over its predecessors. Its display is topped with an acrylic lens, and the case is constructed from polycarbonate. Nonetheless, all three wearables are swim-ready with a waterproof rating of up to 5 meters. You can also get them in small/medium and large band sizes.
As for colors, the vivosmart 4 offers the most with four variants — gray, black, berry, and azure blue. The vivosmart 3, on the other hand, is available in black and purple. Meanwhile, the vivosmart 4 comes in black, white, and cool mint. These color options are available for small/medium models. However, the large variants are limited to black.
Fitness and Activity Tracking
The Garmin vivosmart 5 offers more fitness and activity tracking features than the vivosmart 4 and 3.
For daily activity tracking, the vivosmart 5, 4, and 3 are more or less the same. However, Garmin drops the barometric altimeter from the 5th gen model. This means you can no longer track floors climbed. The rest of the metrics, however, are retained. All three fitness trackers measure calories burned, distance traveled, and daily steps.
As the latest iteration, the vivosmart 5 offers the most exercise modes. Some of the new workouts you can track include HIIT, pilates, and treadmill. This builds on standard modes like strength, cardio, elliptical training, running, biking, and pool swimming. Garmin’s trackers can also detect workouts automatically, thanks to Move IQ.
Some of the more advanced measures offered by the vivosmart range include VO2 Max, HR zones, and interval training. If you’re not sure whether to work out or rest, the vivosmart 5 and 4 offers the Body Battery metric. And thanks to ANT+ connectivity, you can pair the trackers with a compatible ANT+ heart rate monitor.
Unfortunately, none of these wearables have a built-in GPS. There’s an accelerometer, but it’s not as accurate. You can connect the vivosmart 5 and 4 with your phone’s GPS. However, the same cannot be said for the vivosmart 3.
If health monitoring is a priority, you’ll be better off with the vivosmart 5 and 4 than the vivosmart 3.
Health monitoring is now a staple in fitness trackers. Garmin’s vivosmart lineup is no different. The vivosmart 5, 4, and 3 offer wrist-based heart rate, stress monitoring, and sleep tracking. Users also get hydration reminders and a women’s health app, but on the vivosmart 4 and 3, both features are only accessible through Garmin Connect.
The vivosmart 5 and 4 add relaxation reminders to the breathing time present in the 3rd gen tracker. They can also measure blood oxygen saturation, a feature that’s now expected of any wearable. Lastly, Garmin’s unique Fitness Age metric is available on the three devices. However, only the vivosmart 5 has it built-in instead of in-app.
Smart Features and Battery Life
While smart features are limited on the Garmin vivosmart trackers, their battery life is above average.
Despite their narrow displays, the Garmin vivosmart 5, 4, and 3 have ample smart features. No, you can’t play games, and the watch faces are limited. However, you still get practical features like call, text, and app notifications. On the vivosmart 5 and 4, you can even send text responses or reject a phone call with a text, although limited to paired Android phones.
All three trackers also come with weather and calendar apps. For those who tend to misplace their belongings, Garmin includes a Find My Phone and Find My Watch feature on the devices, too. But if you like to listen to music while working out, it’s best to avoid the vivosmart 3. Unlike its successors, the vivosmart 3 has no music controls.
The vivosmart 5 offers no improvement over the vivosmart 4 when it comes to battery life. You’re still getting a 7-day runtime with the two. On the other hand, the vivosmart 3 is rated to last for 5 days only.
The Garmin vivosmart 5 has a clear lead over its predecessors. However, the vivosmart 4 can still make a case for itself as a budget alternative.
With the vivosmart 5, Garmin further refines its popular fitness tracker lineup. As expected, the latest iteration is the clear winner. Aside from a more responsive interface, the vivosmart 5 boast more built-in capabilities. It also comes with more fitness and health tracking features.
That being said, users on a budget may still find the vivosmart 4 enticing. It’s got a more sophisticated design that should appeal to a particular demographic. It also comes with ample tracking features, although some metrics are in-app only.
If you’re still on the vivosmart 3, however, it’s time to upgrade. Compared to its successors, it feels a tad bit outdated already.
Looking for more affordable wearables? Check out our list of the best fitness trackers under $100.
The Garmin vivosmart 5 fitness tracker is a solid wearable to buy. It comes with ample fitness, health, and smart features at a reasonable price. Battery life is also above average and users get access to a comprehensive Garmin mobile app.
Yes, Garmin’s vivosmart trackers work with Apple’s iPhones. However, some features like text responses and rejecting calls with text are only available to Android.
Yes, the Garmin vivosmart can auto-track a workout thanks to Move IQ.
The Garmin vivosmart 4 can store up to 14 days of activity tracking data.