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Garmin Vivosmart 5 Smartband Review Indepth

The Garmin Vivosmart 5 is deceptively simple. It looks like a standard fitness tracker on the outside but inside it packs many of the same features from Garmin's more expensive smartwatches. Let's check it out.

I've been wearing the Vivosmart 5 for a week and I think it's a really good tracker but at $150 it is a little bit on the high side especially considering some of the features you don't get. I'm going to dive into all of the main features and functionality of this particular tracker. So let's get started.

garmin vivosmart 5 review

There's really not that much to talk about when it comes to the design of the Vivosmart 5. It really just does look like your standard run-of-the-mill fitness tracker. Instead of interchangeable straps, the actual body of the tracker itself just pops straight out from the band and you can buy different ones of these to change up the look of the band. I quite like it it's simple, it's no fuss and no frills. That simplicity also extends to the monochrome screen.


Now I was honestly a little bit surprised to see a black and white screen on a fitness tracker in 2022, especially one that does cost $150; considering most of its other competitors do have color screens such as say the Fitbit charge 5. In practice, it really wasn't as much of a downside as I initially thought. The screen is bright, easy to see in broad daylight; it does have an automatic brightness sensor and for the most part I could make out all of my stats and work out metrics really easily.

The one thing I would say though is that notifications might sometimes be a little bit more tricky to see on this. If you struggle reading smaller screens, then you might have a little bit of difficulty reading notifications that come through from either your IOS or Android device on the screen of the Vivosmart 5 just because it is so small.

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Unfortunately there is no way to change the text or font size on the clock face itself. That said some of the main stats and metrics that you might only be interested in seeing like your steps and your heart rates do surface as really big on the screen. So that was nice to see even if notifications are a little bit small.

There is no always on display either like there is on competitors such as the Fitbit Charge Five. With this watch, you'll either need to tap the screen to turn it on press the button on the screen itself or you can use a raise to wake gesture to activate the watch face so you can see the time and your workout stats.


Navigation is really simple, you swipe up and down from the main screen to see things like your step count as well as the body battery which we'll talk about in a little bit and things like your sleep score. You can also hit that main button on the screen itself just underneath it and that will pull up your main menu which gets you to your activity tracking as well as your settings and things like being able to change the watch face.

The Vivosmart 5 does everything you'd expect for health and fitness tracking and a little bit extra. It does things like track your steps, track your sleep as well as having one of 14 different activity types that you can track all of your different workouts under, including things like of course walking, running and cycling. You also get things like yoga, breath, work and hit workouts too.

Garmin-Vivosmart-5 full review

The Vivosmart 5 does have 10 slots on the tracker itself to store your different workout profiles and if you do want to swap them out to your favorites, say you want to remove like running and you want to swap in yoga, you can do that from the Garmin connect app.

Unfortunately this tracker does not have built-in GPS like some of its competitors, so if you do want to track distance and route information for your outdoor workouts, you will need to take your phone with you. 


Of course the Vivosmart 5 does track your heart rate 24X7 and I do test the accuracy of the heart rate sensor against a chest strap. Now I found that resting heart rate was very close to the chest strap. It matched up within three beats per minute and there wasn't really much lag at all.

When it came to a Cardio based workout and a Run the Vivosmart 5 once it caught up to the chest strap, it was spot on but it did take several minutes to kind of get there. So again hopefully a software update can kind of lessen that latency a little bit and get it spot on from at the moment you start your workout. The Vivosmart 5 has high and low heart rate alerts on board but it does not have an ECG or Electrocardiogram app like its competitor the Fitbit charge 5.

It's not all fitness stuff of course. The Vivosmart 5 also tracks your sleep and overall recovery. You can wear this 24X7 if you want because the battery does last a fair amount of time that we'll talk about in a little bit. Sleep tracking is good, although it does present you with a sleep score which sometimes doesn't always correlate with how I felt after I got up from my sleep in the morning, which is not unique to the Vivosmart 5. I often have this issue with other wearables that do present me with a sleep score but the data is pretty comprehensive.

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You get to see things like your sleep stages including REM and Deep Sleep as well as your respiration rate and of course you can track Blood Oxygen overnight or SPO2 levels although that does eat into your battery life.

Another element that this tracker has from Garmin's more expensive devices is the body battery. Now this takes into account things like your heart rate variability, your stress levels as well as your overall activity and gives you an idea of whether or not you should push yourself a little harder and maybe do that more intense workout or if you can give yourself a bit more of a chill rest day. I really like the body battery score and I think it's easy to read and interpret especially if you don't really know too much about recovery.

All of your data is surfaced in the Garmin Connect app which is a really comprehensive look at all of your health and fitness data that this little tracker can deliver. But I would say it is kind of overwhelming especially if you're a first-time user. So don't feel bad about seeing all of this information and kind of feeling like you have no idea what to do with it. Do take some time to go through the interface and really customize it to only see the pieces of information that actually really matter to you. One more thing to note about the Vivosmart 5 is that it does not have an Altimeter. So it will be tracking elevation data using calculations from your phone.

Smart Features and Battery

Okay let's get into the smart features, notifications and of course the battery life which is super important. Now as I mentioned, IOS and Android compatibility for the Vivosmart 5; you can see calls and text notifications as well as app notifications coming through from your phone but you can only send quick canned responses from Android.

garmin vivosmart 5 review kept on mobile screen

The Vivosmart 5 also has music controls and these work with pretty much any streaming service or music app that's on your phone. There is no music storage on board however which is not a surprise given its size and price. Like all the Garmin devices, the Vivosmart 5 does support live track. This sends a live location to selected friends or family members during your outdoor workouts however you do need to take your phone with you for this to work.

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Now let's get into battery life. The Vivosmart 5 does perform pretty well on this front. It's rated to get to seven days of battery life between charges however that is of course going to depend on your usage patterns. For me, I do have a probably a little bit more of heavy use than say that standard that Garmin was measuring that against. I've so far gotten about five full days out of the Vivosmart 5 before needing to charge. That's taking into account, things like doing a 30 to 60 minute GPS workout every day as well as having automatic screen brightness on and I did SPO2 or blood oxygen tracking one night during sleep tracking but every other night I've had it turned off to do my sleep tracking just without SPO2, so not too bad but not necessarily best in class.


So there you have it, the Vivosmart 5 is a do it all tracker almost with a couple of emissions such as a color screen and no built-in GPS, just connected GPS. I think there are some trade-offs here for the price but if you are someone who is looking for their very first fitness tracker or maybe you're someone who's already in the Garmin ecosystem with a higher end watch and just wanting something a little bit more simple to wear on a day-to-day basis, this could be a really good buy but of course stay tuned for lots more comparisons and reviews here on Techronicle you. Also do check out our other smartwatch and fitness trackers reviews if you are thinking of buying a new one.

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