Remember the disaster I had with my Jawbone UP? Yeah, that kinda put me off activity trackers for a little while. Recently though I was approached by Health-on-Line about their Body Fuel campaign, offering a Vivofit – the one band I felt I could put my trust in, with it being made by sport watch powerhouses Garmin – so I decided to give it a go. And I’m glad I did!
I’ve been wearing it for a week now and overall I really like it. Whilst generally I think activity bands are good for encouraging mainly sedentary people to hit movement targets, I really enjoy having this gadget on my wrist and it’s actually shown me how my maintenance calorie target and step count differs from day to day.
- As with all activity bands, it just records the calories you burn whilst generally moving around. Calories burned weight lifting, cycling, swimming and so on must be recorded manually. In isolation this doesn’t seem so great but this is the same across all fitness bands, and most don’t work as seamlessly as the Vivofit does.
- I created my Garmin Connect account using Twitter; trying to log in to the website version it just takes me on a loop and I can’t access the page. I’ve been using the app anyway so no big deal for me, just something to consider if your phone or tablet doesn’t have Bluetooth (sidenote: the pack comes with a dongle to plug into your USB port, which is useful and a cool addition).
- There’s a slight discrepancy between MyFitnessPal and the Garmin Connect information, though I’m sure I must just be missing something here. If you were using the band and app on its own it would obviously not be a problem. The only third-party app available to connect is MFP, incidentally, which is the tracking app I use anyway.
- There’s potential for heart rate monitor integration – this means you get the full picture of how many calories you burn each day, rather than the calories you’ve burned by just walking. I feel this is what sets the band apart from the rest on the market; normally you’d have to wear the activity band plus a heart rate monitor, then delete the activity from your band for the given time period, making it all rather complicated!
- The battery lifetime is around a year, so you’re not missing any activity while it’s being charged. The display does not light up and there is no alarm facility to wake you up in the morning, though this is a small price to pay for such a long battery life.
- Connecting to the app is very easy via Bluetooth, and if you don’t have Bluetooth a USB dongle is included to sync with your PC. Garmin seem to have thought about this process to make it as simple as possible.
- The app made for the band is great. It syncs easily (it kept failing once and I just re-paired the devices), the information is clear, it appears to be accurate, and it’s well-designed.
Ease of use: 10/10
Ability to improve workout: 2/10 (but with the heart rate monitor attached probably 10/10!)
Value for money: 8/10
Overall, a great little band at a really decent price of £79. Activity bands are basically glorified pedometers and are not a necessity to everyday life – but what really makes the Vivofit stand out is the potential for integration with a heart rate monitor, giving you a true view of your calories burned throughout the day rather than just using the amount of steps you take. It also works perfectly with no bugs at all I could find, and having something attached to my wrist recording activity really appeals to my inner geek. Overall I’d give this band 9/10 – with the potential for top marks when I try the heart rate feature. Thanks for the gadget and opportunity, Health-on-Line!