Smart Watch? Fitness Tracker? The $99 Garmin Vivosmart is the Perfect Mix

Garmin Viosmsart

I’ve been following smart watches and fitness trackers for a few years now and never could quite pull the trigger. Smart watches are all either aesthetically lacking, big and bulky, have poor battery life, aren’t visible in the sun, are way too expensive, or typically have several of those issues. Fitness trackers like the Fitbit lack a screen with notifications (or become too bulky and expensive when they do).

Then I stumbled upon the Garmin Vivosmart and I was so intrigued that I had to buy one. While the product retails for $149, I picked mine up on Amazon for $99.

After about a month of usage, I absolutely love the thing. It’s the perfect mix of smart watch and fitness tracker, at the perfect price. Why? It has…

  • All of the standard fitness band features – tracks steps, sleep, calories burned, with the option to connect to devices like heart rate monitors
  • Caller ID and text message notifications (you can scroll to read long messages). This is sooooo much more convenient than I had thought it would be
  • ~30 ft bluetooth range allows me to leave my phone in my office and walk to nearby rooms without missing a notification
  • Wrist vibration allows me to turn off my ring tone without fear of missing a call
  • Customizable notifications for basically any Android app that offers notifications. Want sports scores or email alerts? You can do it with this
  • Battery life of roughly 1 week
  • Screen is easy to read indoors, outdoors, or in water
  • Waterproof so I can keep it on during the shower
  • Comfortable enough to wear at night to take advantage of the sleep tracking
  • It’s even smaller and lighter than a standard Fitbit…but it has a notification screen!
  • It looks and feels like one of those Livestrong bracelets, the screen completely blends in
  • Stylish enough that it doesn’t look out of place with any outfit, except maybe a suit

Could it be better? Sure. I’d love a slightly higher resolution screen, a weather widget built-in, and an app that syncs a little more consistently, but overall I couldn’t be happier with my initial foray into smart bands. I hope more companies pursue devices like this. They’re not for the extreme athlete or the power watch user (do those exist?) but they meet the needs for the majority of us who want to benefit from a little fitness tracking and some basic wrist notifications without spending a fortune.

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