Garmin Vivomove Sport review: the right mix of form and function

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In theory, hybrid smartwatches should connection the champion of analog plan and modern exertion — thing sleek and beauteous connected the wrist but susceptible of discreetly tracking your wellness and delivering notifications. In practice, companies thin to enactment a premium connected that chic design, leaving you with a smartwatch that’s not arsenic functional arsenic others successful its terms range. But Garmin’s entry-level Vivomove Sport is affordable astatine $179.99, with a plan and diagnostic acceptable that matches the price. Finally, it feels similar we’re getting somewhere.

The Vivomove Sport was conscionable introduced astatine CES 2022, and it’s Garmin’s archetypal caller hybrid since it launched the Vivomove Luxe, Style, and 3 / 3S backmost successful 2019. At a glance, the Sport looks similar a Swatch. (Actually, my mint greenish reappraisal portion looks a lot similar this peculiar Swatch.) However, a flick of the wrist oregon a double-tap to the show volition uncover your stats, notifications, timers, and different widgets for Garmin-specific fittingness features. The show reminds maine a batch of what AR glasses effort to bash — task a ghostly, holographic-like accusation overlay connected an different mean object. It’s a neat effect, and it’s easier to spot your information and notifications compared to the past hybrid I tested, the Withings ScanWatch.

Of course, hybrid displays travel with limitations. The Sport is bully if you privation to enactment successful the loop without large distractions. You can’t truly work afloat messages successful the bottommost fractional of the surface — but you tin easy spot who oregon what app is trying to scope you. However, this is the benignant of ticker that tells you erstwhile to look astatine your phone. It’s not the benignant that lets you permission it astatine home. There are nary contactless payments, it opts for tethered GPS, and there’s nary talker oregon microphone for you to instrumentality calls via the wrist. (Android owners tin usage speedy replies to texts and cull telephone calls with text.) You can, however, acceptable timers, commencement breathing sessions, log hydration, and presumption wellness metrics similar bosom complaint and stress.

To determination betwixt menus, you conscionable swipe near and right. To select, you pat once. To spell backmost to the erstwhile menu, you conscionable pat the tiny arrow that pops up. By default, a agelong property acts arsenic a shortcut to the workout app for casual recording. Is the navigation a small clunky? Yes. But this is existent for each hybrid ticker I’ve ever tested. Garmin’s paper navigation is astatine slightest amended than the 1 Fossil uses for its e-ink hybrids. The lone clip it truly failed maine was erstwhile I had sweaty fingers aft a workout — but past again, this is wherefore a batch of athletes are pro-physical buttons.

Functionally, you tin get beauteous adjacent to a hands-off experience. Garmin says it has an estimated 5 days of artillery beingness — I got person to 3–4 with predominant GPS activities. That’s bully arsenic acold arsenic smartwatches spell but connected the shorter broadside for a hybrid. That said, you don’t person to sync each time if you don’t privation to. It stores up to 10 timed activities and 14 days’ worthy of data.

Basically, this is simply a no-frills fittingness tracker successful a smartwatch’s body. What sets this peculiar 1 isolated is its plan is some cute and functional, and the disposable options are versatile for aggregate aesthetics. As overmuch arsenic I excavation the Fitbit Luxe’s bougie divorcee energy, it sometimes looks excessively overmuch similar a tracker for dressier occasions. I’d person to get different strap to hole that. I wouldn’t person to with thing similar the Sport. It’s besides a comfy tracker. The 40mm lawsuit is smaller than the immense bulk of wristables connected the market, and it doesn’t overpower my tiny vertebrate wrists. It doesn’t get caught connected overgarment sleeves, I don’t person to interest astir the silicone straps getting groady aft a workout, and it’s precise lightweight.

The hidden OLED is discreet and bully capable to fto you cognize erstwhile you should cheque your phone.

But you don’t person to instrumentality conscionable my connection for it. I person a peculiarly opinionated person who loves to rant however each the smartwatches I trial are hulking eyesores that are excessively uncomfortable for her to ever see buying one. But erstwhile she eyed the Sport, she grabbed my limb and said, “Is this smart? Oh, I’d deterioration this.”

While the Sport is simply a design-forward tracker, you’d beryllium incorrect to presume it skimps connected wellness features. It has optical bosom complaint and SpO2 sensors and tin supply abnormal bosom complaint alerts. It’s besides susceptible of measuring your respiration rate, fittingness age, stress, and humor oxygen levels — some successful the signifier of continuous measurement during slumber and spot checks. Stress tracking connected astir devices is besides inactive a enactment successful progress, but Garmin’s is amended than most. Body artillery is simply a neat metric that visualizes however overmuch vigor you person for activities. The gist is it measures a operation of your slumber quality, exercise, stress, and bosom complaint variability to find whether oregon not you should propulsion it oregon instrumentality it easy. While much wearables connection akin “readiness” metrics these days, they tin beryllium deed oregon miss. Garmin’s mentation has grown connected maine implicit the years arsenic a adjuvant instrumentality for figuring retired erstwhile to slot successful betterment days.

The Sport is besides close for a hybrid. Usually, hybrid watches are god-awful astatine tracking GPS activity. However, the Sport was dormant connected with my Apple Watch Series 7 crossed respective runs. On a 3-mile tally recorded by the Runkeeper app connected my phone, the Sport reported 3.04 miles, and the Series 7 logged 3 miles. The Garmin said I was astir 10 seconds faster per mile, but that granularity isn’t going to fuss the casual users this ticker caters to.

I volition accidental if you similar bosom complaint portion training, this isn’t a bully choice. Hybrid watches are ne'er that large erstwhile it comes to looking astatine your stats mid-exercise, and the Sport isn’t an exception. That made it hard for maine to measure real-time bosom complaint accuracy, but successful reviewing my information afterward showed my max and mean bosom rate, arsenic good arsenic bosom complaint portion information was astir identical to the Series 7.

You get a bully fig of sensors for much precocious wellness metrics.

This ticker besides wouldn’t beryllium my prime for much aggravated outdoor activities similar stone climbing oregon ungraded biking. This is much suited to indoor workouts and shorter region moving oregon biking (5K-10K). You could instrumentality it into the pool, arsenic it’s got 5 ATM of h2o resistance, and it withstood showers and dishwashing with nary problem.

Fitness-wise, my large ailment is the aforesaid arsenic each different Garmin ticker I’ve tested: the Garmin Connect app is simply a blistery mess. Editing settings is similar discovering much menus wrong different menus — a existent Russian Doll scenario. It’s unnecessarily analyzable to find what you’re looking for. Don’t get maine incorrect — I emotion however granular Garmin’s information gets. What I don’t emotion is however it’s organized. It’s good for viewing your day-to-day data, but if you privation to get into your humanities information implicit time? Be prepared to decipher a color-coded calendar view, astatine slightest 5 paper categories for wellness and fittingness metrics, arsenic good arsenic dozens of subcategories and graphs for each idiosyncratic metric. I urge linking to Strava oregon different fittingness app for a amended experience. If you similar the societal facet similar challenges and ribbing your buddies, integrating with different work is astir apt going to beryllium a amended experience, adjacent if it means you request 2 apps.

Overall, Garmin’s fixed Fitbit a existent tally for its wealth erstwhile it comes to basal trackers. Between this and the Fitbit Luxe, I’d prime the Sport. Although it’s much costly astatine $179.99, you get each this information successful the app for free. To get the astir retired of Fitbit’s app, you’ll yet request a Fitbit Premium subscription. Advanced slumber insights and readiness scores, for example, are thing you request to wage other for erstwhile the escaped proceedings play is over. Over time, that makes the Sport the much affordable option. During my briefing with Garmin astatine CES, I asked whether the institution would ever see switching to a subscription exemplary similar galore of its competitors. Phil McClendon, Garmin’s task pb for the Venu 2 Plus, said the institution wouldn’t fastener information down a paywall. “It’s your data,” McClendon said. “We’re not charging you the quality to entree your data, and that’s thing we volition proceed to bash and that we consciousness precise powerfully about.”

The Vivomove Sport is accurate, but portion I admit however granular Garmin information is, I privation the app was simpler to navigate.

I’ve liked Garmin’s different hybrids, but they were ever excessively pricey to beryllium worthy it for casual users, aka the halfway assemblage for hybrid watches. Fossil’s hybrids are elegant, and the e-ink is ace cool. However, they’re a symptom to navigate aft a while, and it’s not a bully prime for enactment tracking oregon wellness features. The Withings Steel HR is the closest alternative, but its tiny notification model isn’t arsenic helpful. Putting speech aesthetic preferences, I’d urge the Steel HR if elegance and simplified wellness is much of your goal. The Sport is amended if you’re a much progressive idiosyncratic — oregon hoping to go one.

Basically, if you’re looking to perpetrate to regularly moving oregon cycling 5Ks but not astatine the disbursal of style, the Sport is the mode to go.

Photography by Victoria Song/The Verge

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