Garmin’s bread and butter is its comprehensive type of GPS fitness watches. They’re often unrivaled by your competition – at least with regards to fitness features – and that may you need to be the case for the brand new Vivoactive 4. But if you’re searching for a fresh GPS fitness watch, in the event you choose the Vivoactive 4 or the brand new OLED-touting Garmin Venu? Read our Garmin Vivoactive 4 review to determine.

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Last updated on May 16, 2022 5:10 pm

Garmin Vivoactive 4 review notes: I used the Garmin Vivoactive 4 for four days, running software version 3.40. The Garmin Vivoactive 4 review unit was paired with my Google Pixel 2 XL throughout this review.

Since we’ve already reviewed the Garmin Venu (which is actually the same fitness watch plus an AMOLED display), we’re likely to keep this review short. For most of the fitness functions, I’ll point you towards our full Venu review.

What’s the Garmin Vivoactive 4?

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 may be the follow-up to Garmin’s super popular Vivoactive 3 and Vivoactive 3 Music fitness watches. It’s a multisport fitness watch and falls somewhere in the center of Garmin’s lineup. It’s definitely more complex than, say, the bottom model Vivomove 3 or Vivosmart 4, but also a notable step down from a far more advanced watch just like the Fenix 6 or the Forerunner 945.

Don’t miss: Garmin Venu review: Garmin goes OLED

The Vivoactive 4 is in fact the basis that most of Garmin’s other 2019 multisport watches are designed, like the Garmin Venu, Legacy Saga series, and Legacy Hero series. The primary variations between your four products are that the Venu comes with an AMOLED display, the Legacy Saga series are Star Wars-themed watches, and the Legacy Hero series derive from Marvel’s Captain America and Captain Marvel. In addition to that, all of the core functions will be the same between each products.

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is made for hikers, runners, swimmers, and general outdoor enthusiasts who don’t want to invest practically $1,000 on a specialized outdoor watch. It’s Garmin’s less expensive everything-but-the-kitchen-sink device. When you are spending considerable time outdoors on various activities, here is the device for you personally.

What’s new in comparison to its predecessors?

These times, Garmin released two sizes of its Vivoactive fitness watches. The 45mm Vivoactive 4 (our review unit) includes a 1.3-inch transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) display, as the 40mm Vivoactive 4S has a 1.1-inch display. The displays are essentially unchanged from the Vivoactive 3 and 3 Music, apart from the sizes.

Garmin Pay support is currently standard on both models, as is onboard music storage. Notably, the Vivoactive 3 didn’t have music support, however the upgraded Vivoactive 3 Music did. The Vivoactive 4 includes about 3.5GB of space for storage for local music or for offline playlists via Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, or iHeartRadio.

Also read: Which music services use Garmin smartwatches?

Also not used to the Vivoactive 4 and 4S are on-device, animated workouts for weight training, cardio, yoga, and Pilates. New coherence, relax and focus (long and short versions), and tranquility breathwork activities have already been put into the watches, too.

Both new watches likewise have respiration tracking, hydration tracking, estimated sweat loss post-workout metrics, and all-day pulse oximeter recordings. Previous Garmin watches had pulse ox sensors, nevertheless they only recorded sporadically through the entire night. Now, you can set the pulse ox sensor to record all day long, during the night, or never. Neither of the Vivoactive 4’s predecessors had pulse ox sensors.

There are many aesthetic changes, too. Both devices will have a fresh two-button design. The very best button acts as your exercise and shortcuts menu, as the bottom button may be the back key and settings button.

Is it proficient at all of the new stuff?

That’s where I point you to the Garmin Venu review for almost all of these items. You can examine out that article for in-depth information on fitness and activity tracking, GPS and heartrate performance, sleep tracking, and basically the rest.

Speaking particularly to the brand new features on the Vivoactive 4, I’ve found the on-device, animated workouts to be quite useful, plus the respiration tracking, the brand new estimated sweat loss metrics, and the breathwork activities. Again, additional information are available in our other review.

Up to now, my 45mm Garmin Vivoactive 4 is on the right track to last so long as Garmin’s claims. I’ve had the watch on my wrist for four full days and it’s at about 45% battery capacity. I used it for exercising, yoga, sleep tracking, and for hearing music during workouts, too. I can’t talk with the battery life on the 40mm Vivoactive 4S, but I presume it could last about given that Garmin projects.

Any kind of downsides?

Garmin’s fitness watches could be proficient at fitness tracking, nonetheless they have quite a distance to go smartwatch-wise. The Vivoactive 4 can display smartphone notifications for Android and iOS, but only Android users have the ability to react to messages via canned responses. You may also archive and delete emails from your own wrist, but I’ve found this to only work portion of the time.

There’s no voice assistant baked in to the Vivoactive 4, and it doesn’t have a speaker like a great many other watches. Third-party software support can be limited, but nowhere near as limited as Fitbit’s iphone app ecosystem.

Basically, you get a Garmin watch out for its fitness tracking prowess, not because of its smart features.

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Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs Garmin Venu: Which may be the better buy?

You should only choose the Garmin Venu if you’re enthusiastic about running a Garmin watch with an AMOLED display. Don’t misunderstand me – AMOLED displays are excellent, and certainly welcome on the Venu – nonetheless it doesn’t really change the core experience. Actually, I’d wager to say this makes the entire experience worse compared to the Vivoactive 4.

The Vivoactive 4 is generally $50 cheaper at $349, includes a longer-lasting battery (albeit with a worse display), and it has yet fitness- and health-tracking features. Plus, it will come in two sizes. I don’t think it’s as attractive as the Venu largely as a result of the non-OLED display, so you may well be better off with the Venu if you wish something a bit more stylish. Functionally, though, the Vivoactive 4 may be the better bu