Two years ago, N got Garmin watches for us for my birthday. That started us down a road that showed us how useful and for us, how necessary, a GPS running watch is for training. There were a few reasons he chose a Garmin over an Apple Watch. Most specifically the one he purchased, the Vivoactive.
- The Vivoactive is waterproof.
- The Vivoactive has an internal GPS and can track the user’s activities without the need for a phone.
- The battery charge of the Vivoactive lasts for three weeks.
Two years of using this fantastic device and I cannot go back. The watch tracks activities of many kinds from running outdoors and on the treadmill to swimming and biking.
It has alerts that can be set for run/walk intervals, which is how N and I run. It has a step counter to keep you moving throughout the day.
The Vivoactive has basic smart watch capability. Alerts, emails, texts, and calendar events show on the watch.
While you cannot respond to a text or email via the watch, you can read them. Also, while you cannot speak on the phone through the watch, you can answer a phone call.
This can be quite useful if your phone is plugged into your headphones but you don’t want to take it out to answer it during a run.
The Vivoactive also has other apps like a weather app, which when connected to the phone will show your local weather.
The watch face is completely customizable. There are several watch face options and the user can set the style, color and change the data that displays.
This is also true for the watch face display during an activity. You can choose what features to show such as pace, distance, time, etc.
The touch screen usually works excellently. However, when the phone gets wet the touch screen loses it’s accuracy. The Vivoactive has music controls too, so there is no need to take your phone out during a run, you can leave it in your armband.
But it does not store music, so your phone needs to be within bluetooth range.
Another feature that I really love is the Find Your Phone feature. I Love this feature and use it a lot! It allows you to find a bluetooth connected phone by sounding a chime on the phone. It is super helpful.
Garmin also has a fantastic tracking app for all of your activities. The app controls the activity log, the bluetooth connection between the watch and your phone and allows you to get and load new widgets, watch faces and apps to your watch.
After two years of hard use, my watch is starting to show signs of wear.
It is time to look for a new watch. The Apple Watch has since come out with a new version that is waterproof and tracks activity well, but the battery life is still awful. Thankfully, Garmin has come out with several fantastic new watches and so the search begins…