Smartwatches are convenient as they help track different health parameters, while serving all your smartphone notifications right on your wrist. While such devices are very popular today, not everyone wants a screen on their wrist. There are some who still prefer a traditional watch design but might still want the capabilities of a smartwatch. The Garmin Vivomove Sport is a hybrid smartwatch that aims to serve just this need. It looks like a traditional watch but also has a hidden display for all the smartwatch features. Does it offer the best of both worlds? Here's my review.
Garmin Vivomove Sport price in India
The Garmin Vivomove Sport is priced at Rs. 18,990 for the lone 40mm variant. It's available in Cocoa, Cool Mint, Ivory, and Black colours.
Garmin Vivomove Sport design
The Garmin Vivomove Sport is a unisex smartwatch with a 40mm dial. I found the size of the dial to be slightly small for my large hands and would have preferred an option of a 42mm or 44mm size. The Vivomove Sport has a circular metal dial that sits on top of a polymer case. The dial feels well-built and should be able to resist some accidental knocks. The case supports 20mm silicone straps with a quick-release function. The bundled straps are of high quality and you can always use any other 20mm strap too.
The OLED display on the Garmin Vivomove Sport is only visible when it lights up
Garmin says it has used chemically strengthened glass on the top of the dial of the Vivomove Sport. The watch has an hour and minute hand along with even number markings on the watch face. Garmin has neatly hidden a small OLED display in the lower half of the watch face. This display lights up when you double tap the glass or raise your hand.
Garmin has managed to make the interface work with touch controls so there are no buttons on the watch, which gives it a clean look. The underside of the watch has got the heart rate and SpO2 tracking sensors along with the charging mechanism. The pogo pin charger clips to the charging port when the watch is charging. Garmin claims that the Vivomove Sport is water resistant up to 5 ATM.
Garmin Vivomove Sport software, features, and ecosystem
The Garmin Vivomove Sport runs on a proprietary software and uses the Garmin connect app to connect the watch to either an Android or an iOS device. Since it is OS-agnostic, you can pair it with any smartphone you have, which is a big advantage. When paired with an Android smartphone, the app does allow you to respond to messages, but this isn't the case when paired to an iPhone.
The smartwatch will alert you for incoming calls and these can be accepted or rejected, but you can answer the call through the watch since there is no speaker or microphone in it. Speaking of things that are missing, the Garmin Vivomove Sport lacks an in-built GPS and relies on the paired smartphone for GPS data. This could be a downer for those looking to go for a run without their smartphone.
The Garmin Vivomove Sport uses a regular buckle for the strap
I've talked about the Garmin Connect app in detail in my previous Garmin Venu 2 Plus review, so I'm not diving in too deep here. The Vivomove Sport has a touch-based interface and you can swipe across the glass to see different parameters that it has tracked. It allows you to check the number of steps you've taken, distance covered, body battery (which predicts your energy levels), stress levels, heart rate, SpO2, and respiratory rate. The Vivomove Sport syncs with the app so you can check all these parameters on the phone. You can also track all your different workout activities in this app itself.
The underside of the Garmin Vivomove Sport has all the health sensors
When interacting with the OLED display, the watch hands automatically move to the nine and three positions to avoid blocking the display. The touch-based interface on the Vivomove Sport requires you to swipe left or right on the lower-half of the dial to check various fitness metrics. You can also long press the glass to access workouts, SpO2 tracking, and different settings of the watch.
The touch response was surprisingly good, but doing anything on the watch needed a combination of multiple taps and swipes which would get annoying. It did take a little time to find my way around when I first began using it, but it got easier with time.
Garmin Vivomove Sport performance
I used the Garmin Vivomove Sport for over a month for tracking my walks and compared the results to the Apple Watch Series 7 (Review). I walked a distance of 1km and the Vivomove Sport showed 0.98km, which was a minor but acceptable deviation, despite not having in-built GPS. Step tracking was fairly accurate and this hybrid smartwatch measured 994 steps for every 1,000 steps I counted manually.
The Garmin Vivomove Sport could track heart rate continuously, showing every minor change in real-time. I compared the readings from the Vivomove Sport to those on the Apple Watch Series 7 and found them to be in the same range. SpO2 tracking was also accurate and matched the results of a medical-grade pulse oximeter. The Garmin Vivomove Sport can also track SpO2 while sleeping but this feature needs to be enabled. The latter has a big impact on the battery life, which I'll talk about in a bit.
The Garmin Vivomove Sport is dependent on the paired smartphone for GPS data
Sleep tracking on the Garmin Vivomove Sport was accurate and it managed to track different sleep phases too. The details can be seen in the Garmin Connect app. Sleep is broken down into deep sleep, light sleep, REM, and awake periods. If you enable SpO2 tracking while sleeping, it will also show your SpO2 levels and respiration rate throughout the night.
Battery life is where the Garmin Vivomove Sport didn't meet my expectations. I was expecting this hybrid smartwatch to offer at least a week-long battery life, but it only managed to last for four days on average, which is still a little lower than the five days that Garmin claims. With SpO2 tracking while sleeping enabled, the Vivomove Sport would barely go beyond two days. Garmin could have offered the Vivomove Sport in larger dial sizes, with a larger battery. Charging the Vivomove Sport took about an hour using a standard 10W charger.
The Garmin Vivomove Sport hybrid smartwatch combines the looks and functionality of a traditional watch with the features of a smartwatch. It's a well-built device with a neat design and understated looks. It offers multiple fitness features and the tracking was fairly accurate. However, at Rs. 18,990, the price is on the higher side. The Fossil Hybrid Smartwatch HR FB-01 is an alternative with almost the same set of features but with a promise of two weeks of battery life, and it even costs nearly half as much. If you don't mind a larger dial size, then the Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid (Review) is a much better alternative as it has a similar price as the Garmin, but actually delivers on its two-week battery life claim.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (Review) is a full-blown smartwatch alternative to the Garmin Vivomove Sport at roughly the same price, but you'll have to compromise quite a bit on battery life.