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Garmin vivosmart 5 vs Fitbit Charge 5 (2022): How Do These Fitness Trackers Compare?

Fitness trackers are a great alternative to smartwatches. Like their larger counterparts, these wearables are packed with advanced smart and health capabilities but are usually sold at a lower price. In this category, the Garmin vivosmart 5 and Fitbit Charge 5 are two options worth considering. Both devices boast 7-day battery life, SpO2 features, and smart notifications. And with similar forms, choosing between them can be a challenge. Below, we break down their pros and cons to help you decide.

Garmin vivosmart 5 vs Fitbit Charge 5 Comparison Chart

ModelGarmin vivosmart 5Fitbit Charge 5
 
Price
DisplayOLEDAMOLED color display
Display Size0.41 x 0.73 in.0.86 in.
CompatibilityAndroid, iOSAndroid, iOS
Battery LifeUp to 7 daysUp to 7 days
Water ResistanceUp to 50 metersUp to 50 meters
GPSConnectedBuilt-in
Key SensorsHeart rate monitor, accelerometer, SpO2 sensorAccelerometer, SpO2 sensor, device temperature sensor, optical heart rate monitor, ECG and EDA electrical sensor, vibration sensor, ambient light sensor
24/7 Heart Rate TrackingYesYes
Oxygen Saturation MonitoringYesYes
On-Wrist ECGNoYes
Sleep TrackingYesYes
Smart NotificationsYesYes
Contactless Paymentsโ€”Fitbit Pay
FitSmall/medium band for wrists 122-188 mm. in circumference;
Large band for wrists 148-215 mm. in circumference.
Small band for wrists 130mm-170mm in circumference;
Large band for writs wrist 170mm-210mm in circumference
Release DateApril 2022September 2021

Design

The Fitbit Charge 5 has a sleeker design compared to the Garmin vivosmart 5.

Garmin vivosmart 5 vs Fitbit Charge 5 Design
Different views of the Garmin vivosmart 5 (left); the Fitbit Charge 5 and its color options (right)

Fitness trackers are largely defined by their design. They’re distinguishable from smartwatches by their narrower screens and sportier bands. Garmin’s vivosmart 5 and Fitbit’s Charge 5 follow this template, with slender displays and interchangeable straps. Unlike most smartwatches, however, you can only get these devices in one case size. Fortunately, customers get two band options โ€” small and large โ€” out of the box.

Where these wearables differ is in their display. The latest Charge from Fitbit comes with a color AMOLED display. It’s larger than previous iterations and more vibrant, too. Garmin’s latest vivosmart also improves on the design of its predecessor. The company shares that the vivosmart 5’s display is 66% larger, although it’s still smaller than the Fitbit Charge 5. Plus, the vivosmart’s screen remains grayscale OLED.

Because of its display size, Garmin’s tracker comes with a physical button. This should help when navigating on limited screen estate. The Fitbit Charge 5, on the other hand, is all touchscreen.

You can get the vivosmart 5 in black, white, and cool mint. For the larger model, you’re limited to the black option. The Charge 5 also comes in three variants, usually combining different colored cases and straps. Fitbit’s tracker is waterproof up to 50 meters. In contrast, Garmin’s vivosmart 5 is only rated for swim use.

Fitness and Activity Tracking

The Fitbit Charge 5’s advantage over the Garmin vivosmart 5 includes more onboard exercise modes and a built-in GPS.

Garmin vivosmart 5 vs Fitbit Charge 5
Counting steps is made easier with the vivosmart 5 (left); see your daily activity metrics quickly on the Charge 5 (right)

There are several sports profiles for the Garmin vivosmart 5, but you can only store up to 10 on the device. Thankfully, standard workouts are covered. For gym activities, profiles include Strength, HIIT, Treadmill, Pilates, and Yoga. You can track Basic Pool Swimming, Cycling, and Running, too. Users will also find a modest selection of training and analysis features, and benefit from a Body Battery that looks into a user’s overall recovery.

If you’re evaluating your runs, note that the vivosmart 5 doesn’t have built-in GPS. Instead, it uses GPS on a paired phone. You can still check distance with the onboard accelerometer, but it won’t be as accurate as one measured via GPS. If this is a concern, the Fitbit Charge 5 might be a better option. With the Charge 5, you can conveniently leave your phone and still track your runs.

Besides running, the Fitbit Charge 5 has twenty other exercise modes. Profiles include Circut Training, Golf, Martial Arts, Weights, and Bike. Stats are all taken in real-time, and you can keep tabs on your heart rate zone. Using data about your body, the Charge 5 can also see if you should work out or rest for the day, a feature it calls Daily Readiness Score.

The Garmin vivosmart 5 and Fitbit Charge 5 can auto-detect workouts. When it comes to activity tracking, standard metrics are also present. Both wearables measure steps, calories burned, and distance traveled.

Health Monitoring

Both trackers come with standard health tracking tools, but the Charge 5 adds some more advanced capabilities.

Garmin vivosmart 5 vs Fitbit Charge 5 Health Monitoring
Sleep tracking on the Garmin vivosmart 5 (left); irregular heart rhythm notifications on the Fitbit Charge 5 (right)

The Garmin vivosmart 5 and Fitbit Charge 5 are similar when it comes to health tracking. Here, you get the usual features like 24/7 heart rate tracking, sleep scores, and SpO2 monitoring. Like some of the best fitness trackers with heart rate monitors, the vivosmart 5 and Charge 5 alert users of abnormal heart rates, too. Stress tracking is also present on both devices, as is menstrual cycle monitoring.

In monitoring your stress level and respiration, the Garmin vivosmart 5 can provide breathing reminders. The tracker’s Relax reminder will prompt you to do short breathing activities to help you calm down. Fitbit’s Charge series used to have a Relax app that helps users manage stress. However, it’s missing on the latest iteration. At the most, you’ll get breathing rate data.

Nonetheless, the Fitbit Charge 5 offers a few more health monitoring features. Like its recent watches, Fitbit adds its ECG app to the tracker. The wearable also comes with an electrodermal activity (EDA) scanner to detect stress levels. It’s worth noting, however, that ECG and EDA features are available only with a paid-for Fitbit Premium subscription. Lastly, the Charge 5 can track skin temperature variation each night โ€” useful for monitoring fever or ovulation.

Smart Features and Battery Life

While the battery life is tied between the two, the Garmin vivosmart 5 is ahead of the Fitbit Charge 5 when it comes to smart features.

Garmin vivosmart 5 vs Fitbit Charge 5 Smart Features and Battery Life
Text messages on the Garmin vivosmart 5 (left); smart alarms on the Fitbit Charge 5 (right).

Both the Garmin vivosmart 5 and Fitbit Charge 5 have smart features, albeit limited. Call, text, and app notifications are available. You can also set alarms on the wearables. However, on other standard inclusions, Fitbit’s tracker surprisingly lags behind. For instance, the weather app is missing on the Charge 5 โ€” a basic feature in most wearables. Spotify controls, present on previous iterations of the tracker, have been ditched, too.

On the Garmin vivosmart 5, you’re still getting these core features. You also get a Find My Phone and Find My Watch capabilities. The Fitbit Charge 5’s only edge is contactless payment via Fitbit Pay. In terms of connectivity, both wearables use Bluetooth. Garmin’s vivosmart 5 also comes with ANT+, allowing users to pair it with compatible devices like treadmills and HRMs.

Battery life is more or less the same. Both devices quote their trackers have a runtime of 7 days on a single charge. However, actual performance varies depending on usage. With advanced sensors turned on, battery life is cut significantly for both the vivosmart 5 and Charge 5.

Verdict

Buy the Garmin vivosmart 5 if you want data that’s not hidden behind the paywall. Opt for the Fitbit Charge 5 if you want a tracker that’s beginner-friendly.

The Garmin vivosmart 5 and Fitbit Charge 5 are neck-and-neck when it comes to features. They’re priced similarly, too. At the end of the day, your choice comes down to what you need.

For more accessible features, go with the Garmin tracker. The vivosmart 5’s fitness and health tracking features are free to use. Unlike Fitbit, Garmin’s tracker hides nothing behind a paywall. However, the design of the wearable could be better. Its display is still grayscale OLED and is only protected by an acrylic lens.

Fitbit’s Charge 5 is more of a head-turner. With its large color display and sleek form, the tracker is more enjoyable to use. The Charge 5 also has built-in GPS and offers more exercise modes than Garmin’s vivosmart 5. You also get access to advanced sensors like EDA and ECG. The only downside is that these advanced apps, along with other features, require a paid subscription.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Is Garmin vivosmart 5 accurate?

Garmin’s wearables are known for being reliable and accurate. Based on several other Garmin vivosmart 5 reviews, the tracker is just as capable in fitness and health tracking.

๐Ÿ“Œ Does the Garmin vivosmart 5 have music controls?

Yes, the Garmin vivosmart 5 comes with smartphone music controls.

๐Ÿ“Œ What is the Fitbit Charge 5 made of?

The case of the Fitbit Charge 5 is made from aluminum, glass, and resin.

๐Ÿ“Œ What Android OS do I need on my phone for the Fitbit Charge 5?

Fitbit shares that the Charge 5 requires an Android device on Android 10 OS or higher.

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.