When you unbox your Garmin VivoFit, you'll notice that it doesn't come with a pamphlet of instructions, but just the link to the Garmin website where you'll be directed to download the Garmin Connect™ software. It comes with a USB ANT™ stick that makes it really easy to get the program set up on your computer. Then all you have to do is sync your device to the mobile app and you're ready to start tracking your progress.
It really is a simple system as you just strap the comfortable rubber wristband around your wrist. The closure took a few tries to snap together, but once I got it, it stayed on securely. The digital watch face is easy to read and navigate, it has an one-button control that allows you to scroll through and review your data, which includes the time, the steps you've taken, steps left to reach your goal, your overall distance traveled and calories burned.
I got my black VivoFit about three weeks ago and it took a few days before I got the complete hang of it. During those first days, I was mainly focused on that intimidating red bar telling me I had been inactive for too long and what I needed to do to make it go away. Then, on the third day, I decided to go for a quick jog after work and noticed how quickly I met my goal, and exceeded it by about 1,000 steps. And that red bar really does motivate me to get moving, even if it’s at least to walk to the break room to refill my water bottle and back to my desk. All you have to do is tell it a few facts about yourself like your age, height, weight and current fitness level and the VivoFit will recommend a daily goal for you.
The way it tracks your steps is by arm swing, so as I sat in my chair swinging my arm back and forth, I noticed that my steps weren't changing and realized that the device is a little smarter than I thought. It's water-resistant too up to 50 meters, making it really convenient to wear 24/7 for continuous data tracking, even while you're sleeping. I’m not really sure how helpful the sleep-tracking feature will be for me, but if you think that your sleeping patterns may be affecting your fitness or energy level, then it will help to know how long you slept the night before, then when you wake up the VivoFit allows you to pick a smiley-face to describe how you feel in the morning. Although the wrist strap is really soft and comfortable, the watch face is hard and can be a little uncomfortable if you sleep on your hands like I do.
I think that people trying to create a more active lifestyle or just maintain a certain fitness level will get the most out of the VivoFit. There's no GPS feature, but you can create activities and manually enter, for example, the duration and distance of your run and make note of how it went on the app. With the bundle, which comes with a heart rate monitor and chest strap, you will get a more accurate reading of your heart rate and calories burned. At this level, an exact reading isn't that important to me, but it's a great addition for folks who want to know.
The battery is built to last up to a year and then all you have to do is easily replace it with two CR1632 watch batteries. Always remember to sync your device to the app at the end of the day to save your data.
The band is replaceable and you can change it if you happen to somehow damage yours or if you simply want to change the color. It comes with an extra one of the same color that you can easily install. You can either pick your favorite color or get the VivoFit bundle with a Garmin heart rate monitor chest strap.