Fitness Trackers are all the rage now.
Stats from IDC paint a picture of a Wearables world dominated by fitness trackers as noted in Analyst IDC logs Wearables Profitable in Q1 2015 Fitness Tracker Business, with smartwatches playing second fiddle to three (3) who have you literally by the wrist.
I’m of course referring to first place FitBit, Xiaomi who rose from obscurity to 2nd place and Garmin, better known for making GPS tracking system rounding out in 3rd place. Garmin has made some pretty cool fitness trackers, but few of them can hold up a candle to the Garmin Vivofit 2.
Not because of the wrist-based activity tracker’s design aesthetics that allow it to blend seamlessly into your clothing.
Rather, the US$100 Garmin Vivofit 2 wins my heart because of its amazin’ battery life, measured in months as opposed to days. All while being a pedometer tracking your steps and relaying it in kilometers travelled and informing you how many calories you’ve burned. It can also track you sleep cycle and potentially your sexual activity so you can up your game.
The Garmin Vivofit 2 also periodically reminds you to get up and do something if you’ve been inactive for too long a period of time. No heart rate monitor of US$100; you have to pony up US$130 for a bundle that includes an ANT+ chest strap with the Garmin Vivofit 2.
But that’s ok, as chest strap heart rate sensors are actually more accurate than LED pulse counters.
Garmin Vivofit 2 fitness tracker – Design is light on the Wrist
For those loving strenuous exercise, the Garmin Vivofit 2 adds a twist clasp that keeps it securely on your wrist during strenuous workouts. This is in addition to the twin peg system on most wrist straps for fitness trackers that keep the tracker in place.
The wrist strap is replaceable and comes in sizes and colours for different sexes and wrist sizes.
The result is a fitness tracker that’s bulkier than competitors like the Jawbone Up2 and Fitbit Charge but still light on its toes.
Garmin Vivofit 2 can take a dunkin’ up to 50 m and withstand 5 ATM of pressure as well as endure being in the shower. This can basically be used to track your swimming activity, though you’ll probably want to leave your Smartphone as far away from you as possible in case you become absent-minded and decide to go for a dive.
It has an always-on display that shows you the time directly, removing the need to pull your smartphone out of your pocket. Accessing its functions is a little trickier though. However, in order to customize the appearance of your menu, you have to pop open the Garmin Connect mobile App.
Navigation is done by tapping the Garmin Vivofit 2, which gives you access to the stopwatch and your activity data without having to check your smartphone, which is very convenient. If you’ve got very bad eyesight, you can press and hold the button on the side to turn on the backlight; hold on a little longer and it’ll scroll through other functions in the menu.
The Garmin Vivofit 2 has a stopwatch mode that’s used for the tracking of steps and thus the calculation of distance walked or jogged and thus calories burned. You can’t view the time and Date in Stopwatch mode, though this is a minor foible, as your smartphone paired to your Garmin Vivofit 2 can tell you the time.
Runner’s will have to avoid this fitness tracker; there’s no GPS, a possible explanation for its months-long battery life from its two (2) replaceable CR1632 coin cell batteries. It does however have a built in accelerometer, allowing you to track other types of movement based exercises, such as sit-ups, squats and weightlifting in the gym.
To see how your heart holds up under exercise, if you purchased the US$130 bundle, you can pair it with your ANT+ heart-rate chest strap to get accurate heart rate readings.
Garmin Vivofit 2 fitness tracker – At US$100, waterproof and year-long battery life is not bad
Alas, the otherwise perfect activity tracker has a few noteworthy flaws.
There is no vibrational alert, the main complaint some may have when they compare the Garmin Vivofit 2 to the Jawbone Up2 and Fitbit Charge. Hence, alerting you to get active without making noise and making your co-workers know you have a fitness tracker is unavoidable.
Also, the Garmin Connect mobile App for Apple iOS and Google Android is too simple and basic, providing only personalized activity goals. There is also no coaching tips or encouragement on eating healthy and living a better life is provided and it doesn’t yet pair with MyFitnessPal App for calorie tracking.
Those personalized activity goals, however, are self-adjusting, allowing you to gradually increase your step count on a daily basis and make you more interested in competing against yourself.
No social Networking competition or a leder board capability comes with the US$100 Garmin Vivofit 2. Then again, you can’t expect that for such a low price, as you’ll have to step up to the US$200 Garmin Forerunner 15.
Still, if singing in the shower, tracking your performance while swimming and gauge how well you perform while having sex with a fitness tracker that lasts for months instead of days are high on your exercise priority list, then perhaps the US$100 Garmin Vivofit 2 is the right fitness tracker for you.
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