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Activity Trackers, Announcement, Fitness GPS, What's New

Garmin Vivofit 4 vs Fitbit Alta and the Garmin Vivofit 3

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Posted: 04/01/2018 at 11:10 AM   /   by   /   comments (1)

Garmin has announced the new iteration of their vivofit series the vivofit 4. The new iteration is not a significant change from the previous version but new inclusions for smartphone features, timers and alarms, colour display while keeping the 1-year battery life and the price low at $159 RRP makes it a great addition to Garmin's fitness band lineup.

What’s Changed from vivofit 3 to vivofit 4

  • 8 colour memory-in-pixel (MIP) display type (Colour display)
  • Display resolution increased from 64 x 64 to 88 x 88
  • New clock features including a timer and a stopwatch (Nothing major here but it was a minor inconvenience on the vivofit 3)
  • Daily smart features for weather, smartphone compatibility and my new favourite watch feature ‘Find my Phone’. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this feature on my vivoactive 3.
  • Toe-to-Toe Challenge (Links with both vivofit 4 users and vivofit jr. 2 users)
vivofit 4 (Left) vivofit 3 (Right)

vivofit 4 (Left) vivofit 3 (Right)

I’ll state it right here this iteration does not warrant the need to upgrade, while these new features are welcome they do not represent a major game changer. Garmin is not bringing in anything revolutionary with iteration instead they have refined their product offering making it very attractive to audiences who have never owned a fitness band before or a looking to update from a vivofit 2 or earlier generation fitness tracker.

Spec List vivofit 4 vs vivofit 3 Only Differences

General vivofit 4 vivofit 3
Strap material silicone or TPU silicone
Physical size Width: 19 mm Width: 22.3 mm
Thickness: 9.4 mm Thickness: 11 mm
Circumference (small/medium): 122-188 mm Circumference (Regular): 135-205 mm
Circumference (large): 148-215 mm Circumference (X-large): 165-225 mm
Weight Small/medium: 25 g Regular: 26 g
Large: 25.5 g X-large: 28 g
Display type sunlight-visible, transflective 8 colour memory-in-pixel (MIP) sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
Display size 0.43" x 0.43" (11 x 11 mm) 0.39" x 0.39" (10 x 10 mm)
Display resolution 88 x 88 pixels 64 x 64 pixels
Color display    
Battery life Up to 1 year (2 x SR43 user-replaceable) Up to 1 year (1 x CR1632 user-replaceable)
Clock Features    
Automatic daylight saving time Yes  
Timer Yes  
Stopwatch Yes  
Daily Smart Features  
Weather Yes  
Find My Phone Yes  
Smartphone compatibility iPhone®, Android™ iPhone®, Android™, Windows®
Toe-to-Toe™ Challenges Yes  

 

What does it actually do?

At its core, the new vivofit 4 is an activity tracker that is perfect to keep you active and moving throughout the day. It comes with an auto goal system that measures itself against your activity level and assigns a daily step goal. I have a love-hate relationship with this feature as I love that it will raise your goal depending on your performance which is excellent to keep you striding for more, but I hate seeing my target drop if I miss a daily goal.

Another interesting feature that I always like to check out is the Sleep monitoring. It tracks how much total sleep you get and period of movement or restful sleep (This data is not super accurate as it’s just based off the accelerometer which is tied to your movement during the night, but it gives you a good general idea). The watch will also measure your calories burned for the day, distance travelled and intensity minutes (minutes of high activity – this is calculated automatically based on how much you’re moving).  

You also have access to Garmin’s TrueUp and Move IQ software which has become a stock standard feature for most Garmin units these days. True Up software just means that no matter what Garmin device you're using if you have an account, all your stats and data will transfer seamlessly between them. The Move IQ software will automatically track and tag 'events' that are longer than 10 minutes as certain types of exercise based on your movement patterns, these profiles include walking, running and cycling. 

Vivofit 4 vs Fitbit Alta

I’ll go into depth in this section as to why I'm making this judgement, but from a purely spec-to-spec point of view, the vivofit 4 is better. Regarding features, battery life and price it either matches or outperforms the Fitbit and at a lower price point. Garmin is clearly planning to take the market on entry-level fitness bands.

vivofit 4 (Left) Fitbit Alta (Right)

vivofit 4 (Left) Fitbit Alta (Right)

Full Spec Comparison Fitbit Alta vs vivofit 4

 

Fitbit Alta

vivofit 4

All-Day Activity Features

   

Step Counter

Yes

Yes

Total Distance

Yes

Yes

Calories burned

Yes

Yes

Active Minutes

Yes

Yes

Hourly Activity

Yes

 

Stationary Time

Yes

Yes

Reminder to move

Yes

Yes

Smart Track/Move IQ

Yes

Yes

Sleep Tracking

Yes

Yes

Toe-To-Toe Tracking

Yes

Yes

Clock Features

   

Time/Date

Yes

Yes

Alarm

Yes

Yes

Timer

 

Yes

Stopwatch

 

Yes

Sensors

   

Accelerometer

Yes

Yes

Smart Phone

   

See calls, text, calendar

Yes

Yes

Find my Phone

 

Yes

Weather

 

Yes

Display

   

Touchscreen

Yes

 

Button

 

Yes

Colour Display

 

Yes

Battery Life

5 Days

1 year

Waterproof

 

Yes(Swim)

The most prominent factors for me is the waterproof design for the vivofit 4, the long battery life and the small extra features like the timer, find my phone and weather display. For such a small screen and basic functionality, I would prefer having a button as opposed to a tap display which can be frustrating. Garmin has positioned themselves well here, drawing the line for entry-level fitness trackers unlike some of the overpriced hybrids on the market with their only addition being a wrist-based Heart Rate monitor.

Regarding just the external design the Fitbit Alta looks nicer it has a very sleek design you almost wouldn’t know it was a fitness tracker whereas the vivofit 4 is pretty clear about it. Another factor in the Fitbit’s favour is the design of their accessory bands with stylish leather and metal accessories available to make a nice complement to office wear, albeit these fashionable bands come with quite a price tag.

For Garmin’s bands, I would only be interested in purchasing a replacement band (one of the solid colours) should the first tear. I'm not a fan of the speckled designs that Garmin has gone with, it kind of looks like you forgot to remove your band during a, particularly rigorous painting session.

Australian Release Date and Price

The vivofit 4 is expected to arrive in the store late January/early February, with a price point of $159 which is very cheap for a new release fitness tracker. The replacement bands are expected during late February.