Garmin Vivoactive hr Review – GPS and Waterproofed smartwatch

Garmin Vivoactive hr review –  A Smartwatch with elevated heart rate

Garmin is one of the companies that brought GBS navigation to the world of wearables. Due to that, Garmin’s products are to be said provide accurate data compared to other trackers. If you like to spend your weekends running, cycling or climbing then the Garmin vivoactive hr is the one for you. It has the features of the Garmin vivoactive that we have an entire post about here, and it also has a continuous heart monitor.

If you are a sports enthusiast, this post is for you.




If there is one annoying thing about Garmin’s products is that it is a little bulky in its look. The vivoactive hr can be described as heavy and bulky due to the different sensors that it has. The vivoactive hr is made of plastic with 1.19 by 2.24 by 0.45 inches (HWD) and weighs 1.67 ounces. The tracker has a rubber strap that looks like a regular strap watch. Which can be customizable and changed to any color that you like, however, the process is not very easy.

The tracker has a 208-by-148-pixel color LED touch screen, which is not very sharp. However, this is the company’s strategy to reduce screen quality in favor to battery life. However, it can be a little difficult to read the screen in a very bright light.

The tracker has two buttons, the one on the left is used to adjust the brightness of the screen or to power off the device if pressed hard. The right button is used to activate and choose from the menu of activities bicycling, golfing, running, swimming, walking, skiing.


The Garmin vivoactive is a great activity tracker for sports enthusiasts. The amount of data collected is huge compared to other basic activity and fitness trackers. You can track everything from your steps to your heart rate and it is GBS enabled.

The vivoactive hr doesn’t rely on the phone only to display the collected data. You can check on your progress while navigating through the touchscreen of the tracker. You can view your steps, your active minutes, floor climbed, distance traveled, goal progress, heart rate, last activity performed, weather notification. Speaking of notifications, you can get Phone notifications including calls, calendar events, email, Facebook, and Twitter.


Elevate heart rate Technology

While the original vivoactive needed a heart strap to monitor your heart rate, the vivoactive hr has an elevated heart rate technology that measures heart rate at the wrist. By using the heart rate data, the vívoactive HR provides calories burned information and better health and fitness analysis. However, you need to know that the heart rate monitoring feature is not available while swimming. Not only that the Garmin vivoactive hr measures your heart rate while you are being active, but also when you are not. The vivoactive hr measures your resting heart rate RHR, which is the number of times your heart beat per minutes while at rest. This will provide you with better indications regarding the health of your heart.



Activity tracking

When it comes to activity tracking, the Garmin’s products have proven their efficiency on that.  When speaking about details and data accuracy, Garmin’s vivoactive hr is one of the best trackers on the market. Not only that it tracks your steps, but will also keep an eye on your active minutes and it will notify you once you spent so much time inactive.

Using the built-in accelerometer and GPS, the vivoactive hr will track your indoor and outdoor activities. Therefore, the vivoactive hr can track your steps on a treadmill. It also has other training features such as Auto Lap and Auto Pause and will provide with a post-run summary.

Also, with the GPS enabled, the tracker can measure your cycling time, distance, speed, and calorie. It is also compatible with sensors, such as speed, cadence, varia lights, and radar.

When it comes to sleeping, he vivoactive hr will automatically track and detect sleeping and will provide you with sleeping pattern and trends.


Swimming tracking

While swimming, the vivoactive hr will provide you with detailed stats like total and interval distance, pace, stroke count and other more. However, as we already mentioned the optical heart rate monitor is disabled in the mode of swimming.

Music Control

You can have a basic and limited control over the music you are listening through the tracker. You can skip to the next song, stop and play the songs, however, you will need the music control widget on your vivoactive hr.


Is the Garmin vivoactive hr waterproof

Yes! The Garmin vivoactive hr is waterproof and water resistant up to 5 ATM. Which means you can shower, swim and dive wearing this device.


Battery life of the Garmin vivoactive hr

Compared to the original vivoactve, the vivoactive hr has a lower battery life. Due to all the heavy work, this tracker is doing, it lasts for 8 days on average use. However, with GBS turned on and continues heart monitoring it can only last up to 13 hours.



Garmin Vivoactive HR: The application

The Garmin Vivoactive HR uses Garmin Connect, which is available for iOS and Android. To get started, you need to pair your tracker to the application via Bluetooth.

The application can be confusing on the first use, not as neat or simple as the Fitbit’s software. However, it is still a decent platform that displays your stats.

In the application, you can view your progress and the goals achieved. Also, you can analyze and share your fitness activities with other users. You can personalize your dashboard to get an easy and quick access to the data you are most interested in.

The application will display data related to the map and route you are taken, your latest activities and your goals. Garmin Connect will also display the temperature, lap splits, a variety of graphs and your notes for every activity, depending on your device, accessories, and location. You can analyze your progress, performance and heart rate averages with the ready-made reports.


Also, Garmin Connect supports third-party apps, watch faces and widgets which you can find them all in the Garmin’s Connect IQ store. Which is a cool step from Garmin that gives you more options.

 Garmin Vivoactive hr features summary

  • Resting heart rate monitor
  • GPS smartwatch with elevated heart rate
  • Waterproof and water-resistant fitness tracker
  • Step tracker, calorie, and distance
  • Multi-sport tracking
  • Swimming, cycling and golfing tracking
  • Auto sleep detect
  • Smart notification
Specification summary table from Garmin’s site.

Pros and cons of the Garmin vivoactive hr


  • Sports tracking
  • Great value for your money
  • Water resistant
  • Good heart rate monitor and GPS


  • Bulky design
  • Low battery life with the excessive use
  • The screen is not of a great quality