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Garmin Vivomove HR Review

Garmin Vivomove HR
  • Editor Rating
  • Rated 4 stars
£170 to £250
  • 80%

  • Garmin Vivomove HR
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: 21st June 2018
  • Heart Rate functionality
    Editor: 90%
  • Heart Rate Accuracy
    Editor: 97%
  • Activity Tracking features
    Editor: 97%
  • Running functions
    Editor: 75%
  • Cycling functions
    Editor: 40%
  • Fitness monitoring features
    Editor: 90%
  • Ease of Use
    Editor: 90%
  • Battery Life
    Editor: 90%

At we were impressed with the original Garmin Vivomove. It was innovative, stylish and functional. However, it was a little lacking in Fitness Tracking features (steps & movebar only) plus smartphone connectivity (for data upload only).

The Garmin Vivomove HR addresses those failings with it’s hybrid display providing a detailed insight in to your daily activity levels. The Garmin Vivomove HR has been reviewed by CardioCritic

In-depth review of the Garmin Vivomove HR

Release Date (UK) > Q1 2018

Release Date (USA) > Q1 2018 (Macy’s & Target)

Product it replaced > A new product. Top of ranfe in Vivomove line

Suggested Retail Price (when new) > Sport Model £169 / $199

Suggested Retail Price (when new) > Premium Model £249 /$299

CardioCritic’s Video Presentation

Before producing this video review I ‘d been wearing the Vivomove HR as my daily watch and fitness tracker for 2 weeks. This video is aimed at answering all your questions about the Vivomove HR, what it does, who’s it for, what it doesn’t do and it’s key features and functions.

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Who’s it for?

The Garmin Vivomove HR is for anyone who wants to track their daily activity levels but does NOT want something that looks like all the other fitness bands.

It’s a FULLY FUNCTIONAL fitness tracker with similar functionality to a Garmin Vivofit or Fitbit Charge 2 – hidden in a stylish traditional watch. Available in silver, gold and black case with a variety of silicon and leather straps. To anyone who doesn’t know to the contrary it looks like a regular analog watch. A twist of the wrist or tap on the screen uncovers a hidden OLED display.

This display provides feedback on all your activity tracking metrics plus a whole lot more.

It’s NOT for serious athletes or anyone looking to accurately monitor speed and distance performance. If you’re looking for a more sophisticated performance monitor please consider the Garmin Vivosport, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 or maybe the Suunto Spartan Trainer

All Day Heart Rate Monitoring

On top of all that .. the Vivomove HR also features the Garmin Elevate LED wrist based heart rate monitor. Your heart rate is monitored all day, 24/7 and throughout exercise sessions. This continuous heart rate monitoring increases the accuracy of the calories burnt data and even provides an insight in to daily stress levels.

The Vivomove HR features Garmin Elevate - off the wrist heart rate monitoring

Activity Tracking

The digital display features step tracking, calories burnt, distance walked and floors climbed. All your daily activity tracking data is uploaded to the Garmin Connect App giving access to all your fitness tracking data.

Daily Step Tracking

Keep track of your steps throughout the day and aim to achieve your daily target. The target can be either self set – manually in the App – or automatically. I’d recommend the automatic option – the App alters your daily target based on historical activity throughout the week.

It generally sets a challenging, yet achievable, daily step target.

Vivomove HR showing daily steps and target

Calories Burnt – last 24 hours

Using an accurate algorithm the Vivomove HR calculates your calorie burn throughout the day. It takes in to account your daily basal metabolic rate (external link to plus additional calories burnt through activity and exercise. The 24/7 all day heart rate monitoring reinforces the accuracy of the calories burnt.

Disaplay showing total calories burnt so far today - including BMR

Floors Climbed – barometric altimeter

A feature I first saw in the Fitbit range – Floors Climbed – makes use of an internal barometric pressure sensor to determine how many floors you’ve tackled each day.

I set my Vivomove HR to a challenging 15 floors, normally achieving between 6 and 12 per day. It’s another handy metric that provides a good insight in to your daily activity level.

Keep a track of Floors Climed with the Garmin Vivomove HR

Weekly Activity Minutes

The Vivomove HR keeps track of overall activity minutes for all 7 days of the week. This weekly activity level is a combination of exercise time and other times of activity detected by the Move IQ function (automatically detects walking & running). I set mine to around 300 minutes – aiming to achieve approximately 45 mins moderate to intense exercise per day.

Set a Total Weekly Activity minutes as well as daily targets

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Stress Monitoring

The wrist based heart rate monitor is also used throughout the day to measure levels of stress. The heart rates HRV – heart rate variability – is measured to provide an insight in to your current level of stress. A stress score between 1 and 100 gives an insight to levels of stress and can even help identify stress triggers throughout the day.

Keep a track of daily stress levels and detect Stress Triggers

Detail Review of Stress Data

The Garmin Connect App provides a clear insight in to your daily stress levels.

All day stress tracking shown in Garmin Connect App

Four Fold Breathing – Relaxation

If you do find yourself stressed the Vivomove HR can help reduce your anxiety. A Four Fold Breath function will guide youir through a pre-determined period of breathing IN for 4 seconds, holding your breathe for 4 seconds, breathing OUT for 4 seconds and holding your breathe for 4 seconds.

Performing this Four Fold Breathing (external link to enlightenedawareness website) exercise for 2 or 3 minutes will help to lower your stress levels and decrease anxiety.

Relax with a few minutes of FourFold Breathing

Pros & Cons


  • Hybrid Display - Analog & Digital
  • Fully functional fitness tracker
  • Trakcs, Steps, Floors Climbed and Calories Burnt
  • All day STRESS testing with Four FOld Breathing relaxation timer
  • All Day Heart Rate Monitoring - directly off the wrist
  • 4 x Exercise Modes - Run, Walk, Cardio & Weights
  • Smartphone Connected for Music Control, Weather Forecast and Notifications
  • 5 Day Battery life expectancy (real-world tested for 4 days exercising each day for 1 hour)
  • Swim Proof
  • Cons

  • OLED display difficult to see in direct sunlight
  • Hour hand does not stand out - should be contrasting colour to watch dial
  • All Day Heart Rate Monitoring

    Accurate calorie burn data is calculated whether or not you’re exercising as the Vivomove HR samples heart rate 24/7.

    24/7 Heart Rate Monitoring uploaded to Garmin Connect

    Heart Rate Broadcast – ANT+

    For anyone with a Garmin Edge device this is an excellent feature. Put the Vivomove HR in the heart rate broadcast mode and your LIVE heart rate is transmitted to any compatible ANT+ device. This feature is great for cyclists with Garmin Edge devices. I have used the Vivomove HR to broadcast heart rate to my Garmin Edge 820 as shown below.

    Heart Rate Broadcast from Vivomove HR to Garmin Edge over ANT+

    Move IQ

    If your Vivomove HR detects an extended period of movement and elevated heart rate it logs the activity as an exercise – automatically. Move IQ can be configured to recognise an exercise after a pre-determined time. For example, I set me unit for 2 minutes RUNNING and 10 minutes walking.

    A run UNDER 2 mins did not auto qualify for an exercise session.

    A walk under 10 minutes does not qualify as a walking exercise. What this means is that your Garmin Vivomove HR will automatically detect your exercises – whether or not you put it in exercise mode. All your moves and sessions are monitored.

    Garmin Move IQ automatic exercise recognition

    Exercise Mode

    There are 4 modes of exercise – WALK, RUN, CARDIO and WEIGHTS. When in training mode a swip of the display will move between duration, heart rate, distance & steps and music control (skip tracks, pause and play).

    There is no option for customising the data fields. What you get, is what you get. Remember, the Vivomove HR is NOT aimed at high level athletes.

    For casual jogging, gym work, cardio workouts etc, the watch gives enough live data to control and monitor your training session.

    Vivomove HR exercise mode - run, walk, weights and cardio

    VO2 Max Predictor – Fitness Level

    Keep track of fitness improvement with predicted VO2 Max Fitness score

    After a run of over approximately 20 minutes the Garmin Vivomove will predict your VO2 Max Score. VO2 Max is a recognised (external link method of determining then monitoring your fitness level. The watch will give you a score between 20 and 70. The HIGHER the score the fitter you are.

    It’s a complicated algorithm used by Garmin and I have found that it’s very accurate across all watches I have tested using it (Fenix 3, Fenix 5, Forerunner 235, Forerunner 935 etc).

    Vivomove HR showing my latest VO2 Max Prediction

    At a Glance Digital Display

    Each time you perform a WRIST GESTURE the OLED display on the Vivomove HR illuminates for a few seconds. What the watch shows during this gesture is up to you. Choose from – date & time, date & steps, weather forecast or time only. I set mine to DATE and TIME.

    Activate the OLED display with a wrist gesture

    Smarthphone Connected

    The Vivomove HR provides useful smartphone connected functions and notifications. Naturally, the Vivomove HR needs to be in close proximity to your phone to obtain these connected functions.

    Weather Forecast

    At a glance weather forecasting showing current temperature, high and low predicted temperature and a generic weather icon – eg. rain showers shown below.

    Vivomove HR showing Weather Forecast

    Music Control

    A handy function for anyone who likes to listen to music when out and about. Music controls are available from the main widgets, activated by double tapping and swiping – and also during Exercise Mode. Stop, Play and track control, forward and backward.

    Music control from your Vivomove HR

    Smartphone Notifications

    The Vivomove HR can be set to vibrate and display a smartphone notification icon. Tap VIEW to read the message then discard to remove it from the screen.

    Keep up to date with Smartphone Notifications

    Review Summary

    I am awarding the Garmin Vivomove HR a solid 4/5 Star Review Rating. As with all my reviews I have based this rating on the features and functions of the watches relative to the audience the watch has been designed for. It’s NOT a top level performance monitor but neither is it a basic fitness tracker.

    For the customer looking for a smart, stylish and traditional ANALOG watch with exceptional fitness tracking functions it ticks ALL the right boxes.

    My only criticism of the Garmin Vivomove HR is the HOUR HAND – Garmin, please make the hour hand easier to see.

    Other than that – for the relevant audience – well done Garmin. Summarising this review – the Garmin Vivomove HR is an innovative, stylish and fully functional fitness tracker in the guise of a traditional wrist watch.

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