It’s been a while since Garmin released a new Vivosmart and the wait is finally over. The new Vivosmart 5 is a refreshed version of its fourth-gen model that came out in 2018, but despite the time between models it looks like Garmin hasn’t really changed too much.
The most notable upgrade with the Vivosmart 5 is a bigger display that’s now also a touchscreen which is 66 percent larger than its predecessor. Garmin also added a much-needed button to the Vivosmart 5, making it easier to use when your hands are gloved up or too sweaty to swipe on the touchscreen.
Still, Garmin’s Vivosmart series remains a solid choice for those looking for a slimmed-down fitness tracker that’s more affordable than other full-feature smartwatches. Compared to some of Garmin’s latest releases, like its Instinct 2 and Fenix 7, the Vivosmart 5 is a less bulky wearable that tracks all the essentials.
Track everything — With a larger display, the Vivosmart’s bands are a bit wider too. But, Garmin decided to give the Vivosmart 5 the ability to swap bands so you can switch between white, black, and mint colors. Since the Vivosmart has a button, Garmin included a new safety feature where you can press and hold the button for a few seconds to trigger an alert that sends a text of your location to your emergency contacts.
Like the previous Vivosmarts, the latest fitness tracker has heart rate monitoring and an added feature of alerting you if your heart rate is abnormally high or low. The Vivosmart 5 also has an advanced sleep tracker that shows you the quantity and quality of your sleep, a body battery feature that lets you know how much energy you have left in your tank, and monitoring for respiration, stress, hydration, and much more. If you’re doing a specific activity, the fitness tracker has a bunch of preloaded sports apps like walking, running, yoga and cycling.
But one of the glaring exclusions from the Vivosmart 5 is built-in GPS. Like the Vivosmart 4, you have to pair it with your smartphone to get any sort of GPS tracking or logging for your outdoor activities.
Worth the upgrade? — The Vivosmart 5 is already available on Garmin’s website, starting at $150. It’s a bit underwhelming if you were looking to upgrade from your Vivosmart 4, but if you were really in need of a button or a bigger screen, the Vivosmart 5 does check those boxes. And when compared to the competition, it does lack some basic features, like the built-in GPS and ECG that Fitbit’s Charge 5 offers.