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Garmin Vivomove Sport review

The Garmin Vivomove Sport is a small, subtle and affordable fitness watch that is well-suited to tracking more general exercise and is less so for serious training.

Garmin Vivomove Sport being tested out by Live Science writer
(Image: © Jessica Downey)

Live Science Verdict

The Garmin Vivomove Sport is a great option for those requiring basic health and activity tracking on an affordable and stylish watch face. You will get good value for money if this is what you are on the hunt for – but we wouldn’t recommend this watch for anyone looking to track a specific sport more intensely.

Pros

  • +

    Sophisticated analog design

  • +

    Lightweight

  • +

    Useful health tracking stats

Cons

  • -

    Screen could be sharper

  • -

    No on-board GPS

  • -

    Limited data

As frequent fitness watch reviewers, we were intrigued to try out the Garmin Vivomove Sport. This hybrid wearable builds a successful bridge between a smartwatch and a traditionally worn wristwatch. While it may not be the most advanced fitness watch out there it sits discreetly on the wrist and provides an efficient tool for tracking your day-to-day exercise and wellness without overwhelming you with stats and data.

Specs

Software: Garmin Connect and Garmin Express

Compatibility: iOS and Android

Battery: Up to 5 days

GPS availability: must tether the watch to your phone’s GPS

Waterproofing: 5ATM waterproof rating

Display type: OLED

Display size: 40 x 40 x 11.0 mm

Weight: 33.8 g

The Vivomove Sport has picked up some of the key features found in the best fitness trackers and stored them inside what looks like an attractive analog watch. We’ve tested an abundance of Garmin watches and it’s safe to say it has a watch for all kinds of exercisers. So who is the Vivomove Sport best suited to? To put it simply, it’s an excellent no-frills affordable fitness tracker for the more casual exerciser.

The Vivomove Sport can track a selection of sports and activities, it can set timersfor you, you can log your hydration as well as keep tabs on various health metrics and receive notifications from your phone. Albeit it’s a very simple-looking device and it is lacking in certain tracking areas, such as limited GPS functionality, it is definitely one to consider for those looking for an accurate fitness tracker minus an overwhelming overload of stats and no big price tag attached to it. Thanks to its simplicity and lower price point, we rate it as one of the best Garmin watches around – if you're looking for something fairly simple.

Price and release date

Garmin released the Vivomove Sport onto the market in January 2022. The watch is priced at $179.99/£159.99. It sits at the lower end of the price range for fitness trackers so will certainly appeal to any readers looking to save a few pennies on a decent watch. 

Design and display

Despite the sleek analog design on the Vivomove Sport’s watch face, it doesn’t have as elaborate design features as other Vivimove models and the price reflects this. You are getting a matt plastic bezel with a hammered silicone strap. We tested out the black option but you can get this watch in two other more colorful options, these being: Cool Mint, Ivory and Cocoa.

Garmin Vivomove sport laid on granite worktop

(Image credit: Jessica Downey)

We know how big and clunky the more advanced fitness trackers can look on the wrist, especially if you have very slim wrists. So we were impressed at the compactness of the Vivomove Sport, it has a 40 x 40 x 11.0 mm dimension and only weighs 33.3g in total. Plus it’s the kind of design you can wear with any form of attire and it won’t look out of place. We barely noticed it on our wrists regardless of being at the gym, in the supermarket or sat at our desks.

At first glance, you see the watch hands and it’s easy to assume there must be buttons to control the watch. But this is in fact a touch screen watch. We didn’t find the touchscreen the best in terms of responsiveness, it can be a bit fiddly trying to start recording an activity which is frustrating especially when trying to track a calm activity like yoga. But, after a day of wear, we mastered the firmer tap, swipe and scroll levels needed to operate the touch screen.

Garmin Vivomove Sport models

(Image credit: Garmin)

It’s not the crispest of screens but for the price, we didn’t get held up over this. Starting with the main screen, you can swipe to see general health data like your heart rate, how many steps you have logged that day, resting heart rate, breathwork and you also have the option to adjust these widgets. You can do this via the Gramin Connect app, I chose to remove things like the calendar and added in women’s health tracking as I especially like to tailor my exercise according to my menstrual cycle.

Features

Garmin has furnished the Vivomove Sport with a good number of health and fitness tracking features. The Vivomove Sport offers 14 preloaded activities 10 of which you have the option to preload onto your device. The available activities to pick from are walking, running, cardio, cycling, strength training, breathwork, yoga, pool swimming, treadmill, elliptical machine, stair stepper, Pilates, and Toe-to-Toe (a fun challenge-based time step competition unique to Garmin wearables). 

Garmin Vivomove Sport showing on-screen activity tracking

(Image credit: Garmin)

However, the one thing that we thought would be a key addition to any sports tracking watch is onboard GPS tracking. When trying to track a run or cycle the Vivomove Sport can only use a GPS signal when paired with a smartphone. You can still time an activity without it but your data won’t provide any location-based information.

After exploring this some more in the Garmin Connect app we found that you can enter a distance and the number of steps it takes for you to cover that distance into the app and it will calculate your step length to inform your walking and running tracking without GPS. As expected, this method wasn’t very accurate.

It shouldn’t be overlooked for its lack of GPS functionality (so long as you don’t mind pairing it up with your mobile device). It tracks and displays plenty of key features that allow you to monitor your overall health such as calories burned, daily steps, sleep count, exercise intensity minutes and heart rate. Plus, you can keep tabs on health features that are normally included with higher-end fitness trackers. 

Screenshot of Garmin Vivomove Sport app being tested

(Image credit: Jessica Downey)

The period tracking is a really useful feature for female users and it even offers insightful information on your stress levels. As it is a very small section of the watch face where you can view the featured health snippets we preferred tapping into the Garmin Connect app (showne above) on our mobile device to take a better look at these stats and gain extra analysis.

Performance

For general use, this watch was really straight forward to use. There is something nice about not having a complicated set of buttons around the side of the watch face. However, with a more budget end touchscreen does come poorer responsiveness. We found the watch took quite a firm tap to respond to touch commands. We had a few instances where we really struggled to start recording an activity which is quite frustrating. 

The reverse side of the Garmin Vivomove Sport, showing LEDs on the back of the watch

(Image credit: Jessica Downey)

The battery life is reliable enough to record your daily health trends and wear to bed for sleep recording but we didn’t find it lasted five days. After four days we had to plug the Vivomove Sport in for more charge. This seems to be a regular complaint across user reviews left online for the Vivomove Sport. However, as far as general fitness trackers and battery life go it is definitely more reliable than the Apple Watch 7.

The only other thing we noticed that seemed a bit odd was the watch hands sometimes spun around randomly and looked a little confused. They always returned to normal but this behavior was disconcerting. 

Verdict

The Garmin Vivomove Sport could have a more reliable battery life and would benefit from in-built GPS but it’s certainly an attractive, discreet and affordable fitness tracker. 

If you identify more as a casual exerciser and would like to track your day-to-day activities and health without feeling overwhelmed by data then this will make a nice addition to your fitness journey. However, if you take training for a specific sport like running or cycling more seriously then you are better to increase your budget a little if you can and consider a higher-end fitness tracker.

If this isn’t for you

Fitbit Charge 5

(Image credit: Lloyd Coombes)

If the analog watch face on the Vivomove Sport didn’t inspire you then you might enjoy the Fitbit Charge 5 (opens in new tab), shown above. It’s a band not a watch and available for the same price but this tracker offers a week’s battery life and has built-in GPS.  

Or if you are willing to spend considerably more on a fitness tracker and wish to receive more in-depth fitness and health stats that reflect a higher price tag, you should consider the Garmin Fenix 7 (opens in new tab). It sizes up a lot larger and heavier than the smaller more budget-end fitness trackers but this is necessary when you are packing in an 18-day battery life, accurate heart rate and GPS tracking as well as offline maps.

Jessica is a Staff Writer at our sister site Fit&Well. Her love for keeping fit and fueling her body with healthy and enjoyable food led her to write about all things fitness and health-related. If she isn’t out testing the latest fitness products such as the latest running shoe or yoga mat then she can be found on the Fit&Well news desk writing news and features on the best ways to build strength, active aging, female health, and anything in between. Before then she had a small stint writing in local news, has also written for Runners World UK (print and digital), and gained experience with global content marketing agency, Cedar Communications.