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Garmin Vivomove Sport hybrid smartwatch review: Too niche

The Garmin Vivomove Sport hybrid watch is best suited for those who want mechanical moving arms while having some smarts. Read our review to know more.
By: AMRITANSHU MUKHERJEE
Updated on: Aug 22 2022, 12:39 IST
Garmin Vivomove Sport costs Rs. 18,990 in India and is available via Nykaa.com. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
Garmin Vivomove Sport costs Rs. 18,990 in India and is available via Nykaa.com. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

Everybody is wearing a smartwatch these days. Those tiny touchscreen displays on the wrist look cool and keep throwing way more information about your life than you could ever want to know. But somewhere in the vast crowd of these mini “wrist phones”, the charm of the old-school analogue watches has vanished. And if you are after that charm, Garmin is one of the very companies wanting to marry the appeal of analogue watches with the future-friendly benefits of a smartwatch. That marriage is going to cost you Rs. 18,990, and it is known as the Garmin Vivomove Sport.

As futuristic as that name sounds, the Garmin Vivomove Sport looks like a fine timepiece at first glance. Most people looking at it would confuse it for a regular analogue watch withs one fancy dial. That said, once its hidden OLED display lights up, it makes it evident there is something serious inside other than the gears for mechanical hands. As someone wanting a break from my Apple Watch Series 7, I wore the Garmin Vivomove Sport for two weeks and by the end? Read on to find out.

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Garmin Vivomove Sport Design

I like the idea behind the Garmin Vivomove Sport — it is a watch first and then a tracker. As a hybrid watch, the watch part has to look good and make a statement. The Garmin Vivomove Sport sadly does not. It is very easy to confuse this for a kids watch costing no more than Rs. 2,000, which is unpleasant. After all, your Rs. 19,000 watch should look like one, and feel like one. The body is made of plastic, which while keeping weight low, feels too tacky. The straps are made of silicone and they neither look good, nor feel nice on the skin. The dial lacks any radium illumination or lighting to see when it goes all dark. Simply put, the Garmin Vivomove Sport design lacks the oomph you expect from an expensive watch.

Garmin Vivomove Sport has a tiny OLED display hidden under the dial. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
Garmin Vivomove Sport has a tiny OLED display hidden under the dial. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

Your preferences could be different and the Garmin Vivomove Sport may be to your liking. For a tech geek, what was to my liking though was the hidden OLED display that lights up as soon as you touch it or lift the wrist. Like most fitness bands of the bygone years, the Garmin Vivomove Sport has a monochromatic OLED display that can show text and icons. This display is bright for indoors but is almost useless outdoors. And due to its miniature size, it is not really good at reading a text, or even seeing a long name. You interact with it via touch inputs, which are as interactive as an entry-level fitness tracker. Considering the price, the display could have been better.

Garmin Vivomove Sport Smart features

Garmin claims that the Garmin Vivomove Sport is a hybrid smartwatch and hence, we got to talk about the smarts. Simply put, it acts exactly like a Xiaomi Smart Band 6 tracker with its tiny OLED display showing basic info, including time (weird, right?). There is a lot of fiddling involved with the menu items, especially the ones that track your health data. You tap on an option to see something and then press back to go back. Note that there are no physical keys or crown on the Garmin Vivomove Sport.

Garmin Vivomove Sport relies on Bluetooth for connection to your smartphone. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
Garmin Vivomove Sport relies on Bluetooth for connection to your smartphone. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

For those seeking basic information on the move, this Garmin Vivomove Sport works just fine. For us who are used to smartwatches, this is too cumbersome. In fact, it feels like wearing a normal watch. The watch lacks any speaker and the only way it can notify you is with its vibration feedback.

Practicality is not exactly the focus here and as long as you are fine with that, you will be happy. You can choose from a few watch faces from the Garmin Connect app but none of them are tasteful. When going through the menus, the watch hands align at 9:15 to give you a clear view of the display.

The Garmin Connect app is loaded to the teeth for showing your health data as well as other aspects. In fact, fitness enthusiasts will love it here, getting so much data on health aspects. Even the settings to control the watch can be easily accessed. You need Bluetooth connectivity for pairing the device.

Garmin Vivomove Sport Fitness tracking

Garmin Vivomove Sport (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
Garmin Vivomove Sport (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

I am no fitness enthusiast but I tried the Garmin Vivomove Sport’s walking and running modes. Compared to the Apple Watch Series 7, the data obtained on the Garmin was consistent. In fact, it was at times more accurate in tracking the exact steps, heart rate, and pulse oxymeter. You can see the data while working out but once finished, you can get to see all the stats presented neatly in graphs and pie charts. If you enable auto workout mode, the watch starts to track the walk or running automatically.

The Garmin Vivomove Sport also does sleep tracking way better than the Apple Watch. You have to enable the Sleep tracking mode manually from the menu but once done, it offers a detailed outlook on the quality of the sleep, including light, deep and REM.

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Oh yes, it can also show how much energy you have left in order to prep you for the day – whether you should workout or take a rest. It is called Body Battery Energy (cracks me up every time I read it). It can also track stress and remind yo to take breathing exercises every now and then.

Other than that, there are a couple of fitness tracking modes that could come in handy if you are into weight lifting, swimming, and the likes.

Garmin Vivomove Sport Battery life

Garmin Vivomove Sport goes up to 5 days on a single charge. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
Garmin Vivomove Sport goes up to 5 days on a single charge. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

For a watch that doesn’t have to do a whole lot of smartwatch things, I was expecting great battery life. Sadly, the watch can barely last up to 4 days when constantly connected to the phone. This is especially after using the various fitness tracking modes. Once the battery dies, the watch continues to run for a few hours, showing the time accurately with its hands. You then need to charge it via Garmin’s proprietary charging cable that takes over two hours to fill up the battery.

Verdict

Garmin Vivomove Sport (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
Garmin Vivomove Sport (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

Hybrid watches are all about offering the classic wristwatch experience and offering some modern utility at the same time. If you buy into the idea, you will love the Garmin Vivomove Sport. It looks like a classic watch and when needed, it can do all the stuff a fitness tracker can. Unlike a full fledged smartwatch, it does not become the cause for distraction and just stays on your wrist as your assistant to notify you of things. Being a Garmin, it is exceptionally good at the fitness tracking business. Those considering a Fitbit might take a look at this.

That said, the Garmin Vivomove Sport could have looked better for a watch that costs Rs. 19,000. Garmin could have made it out of metal or some other nicer material instead of hard plastics. Additionally, I find that tiny OLED display inadequate for even something as basic as checking out my smartphone notifications.

The biggest issue is the pricing — at almost Rs. 20,000, you have the option to buy the Apple Watch Series 3, which despite being vintage has is way more useful than this Garmin watch could ever be. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Fossil Gen 6 watches are also within arms reach at this price. Yes, they are full fledged smartwatches but they are easier to live with.

ALSO READ: Fossil Gen 6 review: Exquisite design, compromised software

Verdict? The Garmin Vivomove Sport is built for a very specific crowd who likes the idea of a retro-future fusion on their wrist watch. That and for tracking your fitness accurately, the Garmin Vivomove Sport can be considered at this price. For everything else, get a proper smartwatch.

Rating
3.5 out of 5
Price
INR 18,990/-
Product Name
Garmin Vivomove Sport
Brand Name
Garmin
Pros
  • Minimalist design
  • Health tracking
  • Comfortable to wear
Cons
  • Impractical
  • Poor battery life
Specifications
  • Display
    OLED display
  • Battery Life
    5 days
  • Optical sensors
    Heart rate, SpO2
  • Strap
    Silicone
  • OS support
    Android / iOS

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First Published Date: 28 May, 19:00 IST
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