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It can track runs, rides, and swims — heck — even golf, skiing, and rowing. Before we get going, note that Garmin did send over this unit a final production device as a loaner. So, if you found this useful, hit up the support links at the end. I like simplistic unboxings. And this falls quite nicely in that category. They tend to have boatloads of mounts, attachments, and small parts that take forever to photograph. This just tells you all the things not to do with your watch. Also, note that the bands can detach in the event they need to be replaced due to unnecessary roughness on your part. Finally, the charging clip. No problem — here ya go: When it comes to size, the Vivoactive HR is definitely quite a bit different than the original Vivoactive. For starters, the original Vivoactive was all about size. And it did well there. So the unit got a bit chunkier: In many ways, the unit is very similar in size to the Fitbit Surge. The Vivoactive HR maintains the same depth across the entirety of the unit, whereas the Fitbit Surge is deeper at one end, and shallower at the other. Then, I lowered the camera equal to the table. The new touch layer along with a refreshed user interface gives the watch a brighter and crisper feel. Also, on the new Vivoactive HR you can adjust the backlight brightness, should you wish to. As for weights, ask and you shall receive: The Vivo lineup was historically based in step and general activity tracking, including sleep. The Vivoactive HR will track your steps using the accelerometer inside of it. It does this 24 hours a day. You can see your steps for the day by just swiping the screen to the steps widget. That also shows you distance walked and floors climbed. You can tap that and get a weekly graph of steps or floors: The floors climbed metrics is measured by the barometric altimeter internal to the watch. Still, for the most part I found it worked fairly well and I got far fewer false positives in elevators than I have in the past on other devices. You can see it along the left side. The inactivity bar is cleared by walking about meters. This was introduced last year within Garmin wearables, and is designed to motivate you to reach a goal of minutes of exercise per week. Basically, activities that get your HR up. That follows general health recommendations of 5 days of 30 minutes of exercise each week. You can swipe to see your intensity minutes at any time: At one point earlier this week I could sit on the couch and manage to get intensity minutes to accumulate. Like with the other widget pages, you can tap on them to get an overview of the week. The idea here is automatic exercise recognition, even if you forget to press the start button in an activity. Now there are some limitations. Instead, it all happens behind the scenes. This is purely accelerometer based. Still, I do find it useful for better quantifying those long walks and quick rides around town. Finally, the unit has automatic sleep tracking. For that, it seems pretty close to spot-on. It shows me me falling asleep at 3: Then, the Withings Aura and Emfit data both sleep systems located below your mattress. In this case, it shows me as awake for a while on both ends correct. Whereas the Emfit data seems to think I immediately fell asleep. Whereas the Withings seems to split the difference on sleep states but got timing more correct. For me with most of these products, I focus more on the sleep duration, rather than the exact sleep states. For example, data screens and configuration options are all very similar. The status of both is displayed at the top of the screen. I have found this takes a bit longer than other Garmin devices upwards of a minute sometimes. This pattern follows for all sports. Within this area you can configure data screens, alerts, lap options automatic lap or manual , auto pause, auto scroll, and GPS type. Plus visual aspects like the background and accent colors. Most folks will be interested in the data screens. The Vivoactive HR gives you three customizable data screens. Each screen can be customized with either 2 or 3 data fields: The available data fields as of this writing are: Temperature, hour max, hour Min Elevation Fields: The unit gives you the option to use either autolap or manual lap. I prefer manual lap, which is enabled in the settings. Once you enable it, the lower left button becomes your lap button. The instant-pace is pretty darn stable on the unit. I then stop and start, to show how fast it reacts: Note that like virtually all Garmin wearables in the last few years, pace is shown in 5-second increments. This is to provide a bit more stability. This seems to be the clearest way to do it. The vibration motor was strong enough for me. This then allows you to save the workout. For your curiosity purposes, you can dig into the run above for example, using this link here. Overall, for the vast majority of runners, the Vivoactive HR is a solid running watch. Personally, I think this is kinda silly since all it does is increase support calls to Garmin and decrease consumer happiness. Plus, the file sizes even on 1-second recording rates are tiny. The Vivoactive HR can be used while cycling by enabling the bike mode. It does not pair to cycling power meters or Bluetooth sensors. But to each their own. You can see this data on the watch in real-time by adding the cadence fields. It does not have bike profiles. That feature allows you to leave the watch on your wrist, but broadcast the heart rate signal from the optical sensor to another device. You can start an activity though before you start broadcasting, in case you want to record it that way. The activity will keep recording in the background though. All Garmin optical HR devices work this way. Indoor training apps are precisely this reason: The broadcasting would end almost immediately after enabling it a few seconds. Other users reported it ending after a few minutes. I brought the issue up to Garmin earlier in the week, and it sounds like it may have been fixed last night as part of a gigantic firmware update with many bug fixes in it. The reason being that the Vivoactive HR lacks the algorithms required to be able to handle the satellite dropouts that occur each time your wrist dips below the surface during an openwater swim. Whereas in the pool, it uses internal accelerometers along with a known pool length to calculate distance. Note there are some 3rd party Connect IQ apps that can do openwater swims though with varying levels of success. Next, you can customize a single data page for swimming. Once you press start, the unit will track distance and other metrics as you swim. In my pool I often switch back and forth between the two of them, as people like to stand around at the end of the lane lines and discuss the finer qualities of baguettes and cheese — thus blocking flip turns at one end. In order to create sets or intervals , you can use the left lap button. This will pause the watch and mark the end of a set. At the end of that, I hit the lower left button to pause it. When I did that it went ahead and inverted the screen, letting me know it was in paused mode. After my brief rest, I pressed the lap button again and it started a new set. This time keeping tabs within that set on the display fields I selected.
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