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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Garmin Vivofit Review

I have always been a strong supporter for Garmin Sports products as I am into running.  First watch was a Forerunner 610 which I lost it during an event due to the lousy design of the watch strap join which the pins can come off easily where many have review in Amazon before.

After which I got it replace with a sturdy Forefunner 910XT.  But sadly to say, it does not work with the Garmin Connect app that is on mobile phones.

Recently I decide to get a fitness band.  Seen many around and wasn't very happy with the battery life each of them can support.  Mostly need additional juice every 5 days.  The next I didn't like was the only way you know it ran out of juice was by activating the device to find out if there is any energy left or lights that shows.  This really turns me off as I might just miss it somehow and any recording of steps will be lost during that period.

Going around I found Garmin Vivofit.  Let me share with you my experience before I go in depth on what I have used it till now since I got it since Jun 2014.  The design of the strap locking mechanism is not fantastic in fact I started to release when a small knock can unbuckle it.  The next I knew I drop it without noticing it during an event.  The band come in two sizes, small and large.  Strangely if I am pretty slim, so using the small will need me to buckle the extreme end but choosing the large gets me to use the first few buckle holes.  To avoid getting fatter next time, I decided with the large.  Do note I am Asian size, so not sure who would ever use the small.

Lucky for me I wrote in to Garmin Singapore and told them about my problem and they were kind enough to allow me to purchase a new one at a discount.  So this time I have to secure it and I bought this from MDW.  This are just rubber bands which is made to secure the buckle on Vivofit.  They even throw in free coloured ones when I only did ordered the black ones.

Recently Garmin start to send all the Vivofit users that they are entitled to have their Vivokeeper for free (You can head to the site to order yours form your local Garmin Distributor).  Finally they knew they have a problem with that design.

Ok enough of all that.  Let's take a look at the fitness band.  There are 2 things which got me to purchase the Vivofit.  1) the battery life; which last for 1 year and easily replaceable.   This is not so with other brands.  2) A screen to see if its still running and not to forget everything else including an red bar to indicate you have not been moving for the past 1 hour!  Every additional bar marks a 5 minutes extra.

With good things this also comes with some giveaways.  Two things I wasn't happen about was 1) there is no bad light which makes it impossible to read it in darkness.  2) There is no vibration on the band to alert of e.g. you been sitting too long or wakes you up.

The thing abut Garmin is it automatic calculate the total steps you need to achieved per day based on your height and weight and taking your previous day activity too.  You can also either let the system auto adjust the total steps needed or you can enter your own as well.  Total calories will be calculated and you can pair this with myfitnesspal app, to entry your daily intake (which I do not use in the first place since Asia food is hardly found in database).

If you want to make adjustment to your per step distance, you can as well on Garmin Connect.  It now has the same interface as the Garmin Connect App on mobile.

When you exceed the amount of steps created for you, you can view the Goal section adding a '+' sign.  It rather dark in my picture as I mentioned it has no backlight.  I can get unreadable in a dark environment.

The sleep detection only detects movement and does not provide any recommendation or trending analysis for you.  You will have to look at your past history yourself and check out your own trend like which hour do you move the most etc. to make sense of your sleep pattern yourself.

You see my beginning hour movement is still high cause I forgotten what was the time I turn in.  You see when you turning in to sleep, Vivofit requires you to hold on the the button for 5 seconds to turn into sleep mode, else you would have to specify the time range else you end up like the chart above.

Clicking on the Sleep Trend link below does not provide much other than your average hours of sleep and if you actively been choosing your wakeup mood you will also see some trend.  You see I have an empty month that where I lost my first Vivofit.

Just to note if you do sleep mode during your wake hours, Vivofit will treat it as a nap.  So when you view your graph for that day, you get a nap time there.  You will have to set you default sleeping hour and waking up hours.  When you did not press the sleep mode when turning in, the default time will be taken instead but you still need to confirmed in the app in order to see the graph plot.

When purchasing, the Vivofit only comes in Black or Slate (Grey).  During the purchase, you can get a bundle with another 3 colours at a SGD20 extra from the band price of SGD189.

At the time of writing all the colours has been release.  I have taken a picture and also have a bunch of them.

With this I hope this information is good enough for you.  There are many review in specific details but I find the need to go through what most bands does not provide or even if provided what is better and different.