Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band - Black

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  1. 1,828 of 1,906 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Best Activity Tracker Out There!, March 11, 2014
    By 

    This review is from: Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band - Black (Electronics)
    I have had my Vivofit since 2/27/14 and it has been excellent. I have owned the Fitbit One, Fitbit Flex, and Fitbit Zip in the past and this by far and away outperforms each and every one of those. First of all, YOU NEVER HAVE TO CHARGE THE THING (well not for like a year). That is a major plus. I have not had any syncing issues whatsoever. The sleep tracker works flawlessly, unlike the Fitbit Flex which would randomly disengage from sleep mode in the night. One of my favorite aspects is that it assigns you a daily goal trying to get you more motivated, not just the same number over and over. If it starts at 7,500 steps and I hit my goal, the next day the goal might be bumped up a bit. It constantly tries to get you more and more active.

    Lets break it down, the thing is/has:
    1. Waterproof (for normal things like swimming, showers, rain, etc...)
    2. OUTSTANDING battery life. Next time you need to change batteries it will be 2015.
    3. Very accurate for a wrist tracker. All wrist trackers have room for error, this one has less.
    4. Very comfortable to wear. The clasp does not come apart.
    5. Motivating - assigns you daily goals. There is a goal mode that counts DOWN to zero as well as the traditional view.
    6. Able to connect to a heart rate monitor - show me a Fitbit that does that! (Yes I know the Loop by Polar does).
    7. Ties into Garmin Connect - if you are an athlete who uses GPS watches it's great to tie it all together.
    8. It is very light and low profile - doesn't snag on things.
    9. Easy to set up - absolutely zero issues while connecting to the computer and my iPhone.
    10. Syncs without problem - Not even one issue so far syncing my steps to my account.

    There are many more things to say about this device but it has performed flawlessly for me so far. Yes, there was a day or so where it didn't pick up the daylight savings change, but guess what, I was PATIENT, gave it a day and they rolled out a fix for it.

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  2. 1,682 of 1,734 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    This review has failed to sync., April 7, 2014
    By 

    The Garmin VivoFit is mostly awesome, but also has some terrible annoyances. Note this review is for the fitness band only, and I do not have the heart rate monitor.

    *If you want a quick pros/cons list, just scroll to the bottom. It likely covers the gist of it*

    The good stuff:

    The VivoFit feels fine around the wrist. It's definitely a bulkier fitness band, but I personally found it comfortable. It can very easily be worn in the shower (it handles water like a champ). I haven't swam with it, but I believe it is waterproof to 50 meters - so unless you hunt for sunken ships, it will be just fine in anything. The display is awesome - it's very crisp and shows useful information. Additionally, it shows the time and the date...this is actually a feature that I wouldn't have thought twice about, but after having it on my wrist I came to really appreciate it.
    There is a red bar that grows along the top of the display to show your inactivity - I love this. The red bar is a visual indicator that I need to move around. It's very annoying to see it (in the best way possible), and I've found myself walking around when I otherwise would not have gotten up for a short walk.
    Sleep tracking is important to me since I have a very hard time sleeping. You should note that the VivoFit does not break down your sleep tracking into "light, deep, and awake" time. Literally all it does is give you a graph of how much you moved. Personally (being a data person), I like this. However, the graph is only a graph, and doesn't give you any information beyond what you can interpret from it. I really wish Garmin put a measurement in of what is "deep" sleep and what is "light/awake".
    The step counts reported from the VivoFit are very consistant with other fitness bands I've tried. I've noticed that it does tend to miss steps as I sleepily stumble around my room in the morning (carpeted, wearing socks), but that's no big deal. It does a great job of knowing what are steps and what are other things. It works wonderfully in the car - virtually zero added steps when hitting potholes and traffic cones. As far as step count is concerned: I would say the Garmin VivoFit is very accurate.
    The calories burned throughout the day are MOSTLY accurate, but I've done a very lengthy study on caloric burn from walking around, and I've found that the VivoFit is slightly low (10-20%) when it comes to calories burned from walking. Note that I used only the wrist band and do NOT have the heart-rate monitor. During a workout, the HRM would likely give much more accurate results. However, when walking around all day one is unlikely to be wearing the heart rate monitor.
    The website has some OK qualities. It shows a fair amount of data, and gives you the option to look at it in as low as 15 minute intervals.
    The fact that the batteries last about a year is amazing. Really, you won't have to take this thing off for a while - it's a very robust product.

    The bad stuff:

    Holy syncing issues. I'm hoping that this will be ironed out eventually, but it takes AT LEAST 3 attempts to get this thing to sync. The syncing isn't exactly fast. At first I thought this would be no big deal, "I can be a little patient." However, it really gets annoying.
    The display has no back-light. This isn't a HUGE deal, but it does mean that you need to put it in sleep mode before you turn the light off (or do it by cell-phone light like I do). Other watches which last years have an indeglo thing - I understand the VivoFit draws more power than a regular watch but it might have been a good addition.
    Even though the website/app have some redeeming qualities, they're pretty terrible. It is not nearly as elegant as the FitBit or the Jawbone. The app/website shows all the relevant information that would be important (aside from any sort of sleep analysis), but it's insanely slow and is a sight for sore eyes. If you want to view data from previous days, be prepared to wait. All of this, of course, will hopefully be ironed out in the future. However, at this time, research the app/website and see if it's suitable for you.
    Furthermore, (for us techies) there is NO API. If you want access to their API, it's a $5000 fee. Not even kidding - that's the price.
    The design itself isn't the most elegant either, but this isn't a huge deal to me.

    * Summary *
    Pros:
    - Comfortable fit
    - Great screen, shows useful information
    - Inactivity bar is a great motivator
    - Accurate step count/mostly accurate calorie burn
    - Compatible with a heart rate monitor (this is a huge plus)
    - Sleep tracking shows movement data
    - Can see calorie/step information in 15 minute intervals via website
    - Batteries last around a year
    - Totally showerproof, waterproof to 50m
    - Also shows...

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  3. 4,529 of 4,661 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Fantastic device, better than Fitibit and Polar competitors, March 11, 2014
    By 
    Stratman351 (Germantown, Maryland United States) -
    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)
      

    Verified Purchase(What's this?)
    This review is from: Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band - Black (Electronics)

    I've been using an activity monitor for a couple of years now, and have owned the following in addition to the Vivofit: Fitbit One, Fitbit Flex, Fitbit Force, and Polar Loop. Since the Fitbit devices are very popular and widely used, I'll orient this review around a comparison to those (and the Polar Loop for good measure).

    First, my main activity is road biking: I average about 2,000 miles a year, mostly from March to November. In winter I try to regularly ride a trainer or a recumbent gym bike. I wear a heart monitor when riding or training because I like to see how I'm doing as a late middle-aged male. As you'll see, one of the advantages of the Vivofit is its ability to pair with a HR strap, something the Fitbit products lack. So here we go:

    The Vivofit is a bit reminiscent of the Fitbit Force as far as the form factor. They have similar bracelet styling, though the body part of the Vivofit is slightly thicker. The clasp design is similar to the Force, but locks more positively. The actual Vivofit unit is removable from the bracelet unlike the Force (more like the Flex), so you can replace the band (it comes with both large and small bands) and change to different colored ones.

    The biggest differences from the Force are these: 1) the Vivofit uses two small watch batteries that are purportedly good for at least a year versus the rechargeable battery used by the Force, and; 2) the Vivofit display doesn't light up like the Force (which has both positive and negative attributes; read on).

    I liked my Force - even though I think Fitbit's customer service is abysmal, perhaps rivaled only by Comcast among companies I've dealt with - but the Vivofit is ultimately what I wish the Force had been. Here's why.

    I didn't particularly mind having to recharge my Force periodically (about once a week), but the battery always seemed to go dead at the most inopportune times, i.e., when I didn't have my charger available (and remember it only charges with USB via a computer). So there were times where my activity tracking would be interrupted until I could get to a charging source, and then of course you can't use the device while it's charging. Not so with the Vivofit. I like the idea of using watch batteries: they add just a smidgen of bulk, but you don't have to worry about recharging. The batteries are the common 1632s, so they're easy to find if even if you don't keep spares on hand, and with a year of life, continuous operation is a given.

    As to the display, I actually prefer the Vivofit's overall even though it isn't lighted. With the Force you have to press the button when you want to read it, although you can then read it even in pitch darkness. The Vivofit displays continuously; you cycle through the different readings by pressing a button, just like on the Force. It's readable in all but near darkness (reminds of a Kindle), so the lack of lighting is a non-factor for me. It's also VERY sharp, with gold characters on a black background. I'll sacrifice a lighted display for the year-long battery life and continuous display of the Vivofit.

    The other nice thing about the Vivofit vs. the Force is that it pairs with a HR monitor strap. So if you like to keep track of your heart rate when doing vigorous exercise - like I do - then the Vivofit is the hands-down winner. In fact, I think it slightly beats the Force even without that feature, based on the better battery configuration, continuous display, interchangeable bracelet and more secure clasp.

    A word about the clasp. It's basically the same design as used on the Force and the Flex, but for some reason is more secure. The Fitbit bands have a tendency to uncouple, especially the Force, but the Vivofit is rock solid. I think the reason is that the Vivofit's material is slightly less neoprene-like than the Force's: it's a tad less springy, so when the clasp pins penetrate the holes they're held firmly.

    I'll finish the Fitibit comparison by mentioning the Flex and the One. The Force tried to integrate the best features of both of these: in effect it's a One incorporated into a Flex-like bracelet design (albeit a larger one). With the One you have a display that lights when the button is pushed (like the Force) and gives you a readout of various measures by cycling through with repeated button pushes. With the Flex the display only shows a series of dots that track your progress on a measure of your choosing (steps, calories burned, etc.). You can check your stats at any time by pairing the Flex with your smartphone (you can also pair the One and the Force to a smartphone) or by syncing it to your computer with a USB wireless dongle (also supplied for the One and the Force). I found the One too easy to lose, since it's not a bracelet, and found the battery life of the Flex to be a bit on the short side, probably because of its small size (which...

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