Vivosmart HR: A smarter band


Always on: The heart rate data is collected periodically or automatically when the user engages in an activity such as running. — Photos:TAN KIT HOONG/The Star

Always on: The heart rate data is collected periodically or automatically when the user engages in an activity such as running. — Photos:TAN KIT HOONG/The Star

The Vivosmart HR is a powerful, ­feature-packed fitness band with a ­monochrome touchscreen.

Unlike the previous version, it has a ­physical button that lets you change many of the band’s settings. You can modify the alarm, Bluetooth, sync, call volume and ­battery level settings without having to launch the mobile app which is nifty.

The biggest addition this time is the heart rate sensor which scans your wrist periodically without you having to do anything. (You can, of course, measure your heart rate at anytime by initiating it manually.)

A tap on the panel will show the heart rate data for the last four hours. If you want more than that, you will have to view it on the Garmin Connect mobile app.

We found the readings to be quite ­accurate, especially for a fitness band.

​Rich details: The band now includes additional information such as floors climbed, intensity, weather and temperature which are not available in the previous model.
The band now includes additional information such as floors climbed, intensity, weather and temperature which are not available in the previous model.

In terms of design, the Vivosmart HR is a different beast from its predecessor. The band doesn’t contour to the shape of the wrist, so if you have small wrists you may not like the fit.

Also, the heart rate sensor sticks out on the underside and this can be a source of discomfort for some.

Feature-packed

In terms of features, the Vivosmart HR has a lot to offer compared to its predecessor. It now tracks floors climbed and “intensity minutes”, and even displays the weather and temperature on the screen.

It’s great that it tracks floors climbed because not many other fitness bands or smartwatches do.

​Safe and secure: There is no fear of the band falling off your wrist as the strap and buckle have been redesigned, providing a secure hold.
There is no fear of the band falling off your wrist as the strap and buckle have been redesigned, providing a secure hold.
 

Interestingly, there is a new metric called intensity minutes which tracks moderate and vigorous activities. Apparently, several bodies, including the World Health Organisation, recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activities per week.

The fitness band is also great for checking notifications, as you no longer have to reach out for your smartphones.

Get connected

The Garmin Connect app has a cool, black design and displays information on various activities such as running, cycling and ­swimming.

One of the fun features is Step Challenge which allows you to compete with others around the world.

​Smart and fit: Unlike the previous model (in pink), the Vivosmart 2 is inspired by the design of the Vivofit smart band range, now sporting a larger LCD display.
Unlike the previous model (in pink), the Vivosmart 2 is inspired by the design of the Vivofit smart band range, now sporting a larger LCD display.
 

It’s a little perplexing that important info such as heart rate is hidden deeper within the app.

We also sometimes encountered syncing problems with the band – some information just didn’t transfer over to the phone from the band.

One of the most important features of ­fitness band is the battery life – the Vivosmart HR lasted about four to five days when the always-on function for the heart rate sensor was on.

With the always-on function turned off, it lasted a couple of days more, which is about how long most other bands do.

Conclusion

Compared to the last Vivosmart, the HR is leaps ahead in features, making it one of the best fitness bands for casual users. It also has good battery life which makes it a good ­fitness companion.

However, the HR is held back by a steep price (RM699) and less than desirable design.

Pros: Has a heart rate sensor; feature-rich; long battery life; water resistant.
Cons:
Heart rate monitor protrudes; pricey. 

Vivosmart HR

(Garmin)

Fitness band

Specifications: Monochrome touchscreen for showing daily step count, distance travelled, calorie burn, heart rate, intensity minutes, weather and temperature
Other features:
Bluetooth sync; water resistant (up to 5atm)
Dimensions (W x D x H):
136-187 x 21 x 12.3mm
Weight:
29.6g
Website:
www.garmin.com
Price:
RM699 (inclusive of GST)
Rating:
Three and a half stars

Review unit courtesy of Aeco Technologies (M) Sdn Bhd

Science Technology , Vivosmart 2 , Garmin