Review of Garmin vívoactive Black

Busy people on the go looking for a fitness watch may find the Garmin Vivoactive black an interesting proposition. Though the watch may not turn actually heads, it looks charming enough with its square, flat and small profile.

In fact, it is this profile which makes the Vivoactive a fitness watch appropriate to use and wear anywhere; while running, in the office or in the golf course. It is a GPS tracking device with deceiving looks; similar to that of a lifestyle smart watch.

The Garmin Vivoactive is affordably priced, considering it has a built-in tracking device. It’s supporting ANT+ sensors compensates for the accessories it lacks like heart rate monitor chest straps.  Though it’s not famous for apps and notifications, the Garmin Vivoactive boasts of an excellent battery life and some smart watch smarts.


The high-resolution 204 x 148 pixel, color LCD touch screen of the Garmin Vivoactive is not like the screens you find in most smart watches. Its high-efficiency tech makes the screen readable even in direct sunlight while doing things like golfing, running and jogging outdoors. It also remains on all the time, when there’s barely any power. It however requires a front light to look at in the dark.

Battery life

The Vivoactive has a rechargeable battery which lasts a maximum of 3 weeks while using its basic features like step counting or while in watch/activity tracking mode. The time reduces significantly to a maximum of 10 hours if you are tracking your exercise with the GPS. The Vivoactive is easy to charge; you just have to plug it into its plastic dock which in turn plugs into a USB port. You can alternatively use your android/windows phone charger too.

Pair with Smartphone

The Vivoactive has built-in GPS-enabled apps you can use to track your stats while running, golfing, cycling, swimming and any activity. It also pairs with your Smartphone to gently vibrate and display alerts as you receive texts, calls, emails, calendar items and even social media and other mobile app notifications.


  • Ultra slim, small and comfortable profile which adds versatility to its usage
  • Good battery life of 3 weeks in basic use
  • Has a color screen which is visible even outdoors in sunlight
  • Receives vibrations and notifications from your paired Smartphone
  • Safe to wear while showering and in the pool
  • Multiple fitness and activity tracking abilities through GPS


  • Though replacement leather or silicone straps are available at a price to improve its look, it’s geeky-calculator-style design and rubber strap is a bit shabby for its price
  • It’s strap has too many strap holes
  • It’s visible strap screws gives the Vivoactive a ‘nuts n bolts’ feel
  • It lacks a Connect IQ app store
  • Poor sleep tracking feature
  • Unstable software and Smartphone connectivity which requires frequent reboots
  • Though it looks like a smart watch, it isn’t exactly one

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