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Very quick impression vivoactiveHR

If you have been following my vlog and social media it’s no secret I love trackers and devices that help out with health, excersizes etc. 
When the Apple Watch was released I had very high hopes that it would be the perfect activity tracker. And Apple also was going full force on health. But in all honesty coming from trackers like Fitbit and suunto the Apple Watch failed miserably. 

Now don’t get me wrong. I love the Apple Watch as a smartwatch and if you’re just into counting steps and need a little motivation it will probably do great. But I want a “bit more”
Fitbit was awesome with its stats, sleep tracking, heartbeat etc. suunto was amazingly accurate and with firstbeat athlete it gave an overload of options and information. But Movescount was pretty basic although nice. 

The Fitbit I liked for all day use. The suunto is a workout beast. The promise to have one Watch for all PLUS notifications was great. So we bought an Apple Watch, and I loved it. However getting the circles round and always having to use other apps like Runkeeper to get some form of stats like I wanted was a bit frustrating. Especially when Runkeeper from the Apple Watch kept crashing and not storing inside activity correctly was a frustration. 

The workout app from Apple I never liked and in all honesty the heartbeat sensor was pretty inaccurate. With cycling it’s ok (although still lower than my suunto belt) for rowing, elliptical and Power it’s useless. Working your Butt off and still staying at 120 beats is of course weird. Now don’t worry….. I know the limitations of optical meters, as soon as you have muscle flex it’s unreliable. So you have to use a BT heart belt. Luckily suunto sold one so I switched. But the problems started building up. To make a long story short……
This weekend I got my garmin vivoactive HR xl which you can get here http://amzn.to/2tCJfOJ with the garmin I can now finally use ONE app that connects to an external heartbelt plus my cadence bike sensor. And this was a major problem before. Wahoo fitness did register my sensor but not the heartbeat. Runkeeper registered the heartbeat (when stopped and started from the Apple Watch) but not the cadence sensor. 

Also the optical heartbeat sensor seems to work much better. I did two quick bike rides today and the heartbeat was just 1-2 seconds behind what I felt. (The suunto is almost immediate, the Apple Watch was most of the time 3-5 seconds late or didn’t hit the highs at all)
The other thing I love about the vivoactive HR is that with rowing it actually also registers the strokes per minute which can give you a great insight in if you’re working on Power or speed. But there is more. 

I tried several ways of sleep tracking with the Apple Watch and ended up with the paid app AutoSleep which indeed worked pretty well but the results were very basic in Apple health (or didn’t register) which in the app it was great and detailed. Luckily I can say the vivoactive HR does great sleeptracking. All automatic and it shows you deep sleep, movement and heartbeats. That’s how it should be. 

The dashboard of garmin connect is very extensive and can be confusing at first but when you dive into it and customize it the way you want it…. it’s pretty expensive and clear. It also seamlessly connects to Apple health, Runkeeper, Strava, your calendar and more. In fact as soon as you’re done with a ride and you open Strava etc the ride is already there (that’s how it should work)
Is it all perfect?

Heck no. 

The display during day time is ok, coming from The Apple Watch I wouldn’t dare to say it’s close. Far from. During nighttime it’s almost laughable. For a 2017 tracker I expect much more. On the other hand….. it’s always readable and sharp so… how important is this….

Also raising your hand to look at the Watch doesn’t work most of the times. The Apple Watch was also tricky in less than sitting or standing positions but the garmin is really hit and miss. Luckily just hitting the screen makes it light up. Btw this is only an issue in darker areas. During day time the display is always on and the brighter it is outside the more beautiful the screens seems to be. 
Ok notifications?

I don’t need more than the garmin gives. It shows everything coming in and that’s it. Same as what I used on my Apple Watch. I tried once to answer annewiek and it ended up that I was faster just getting my phone. 
More cool things?

Oh yeah 

I love the recovery heart rate option. You stop your excerzise and just wait 2 minutes before saving and the vivoactive hr will give you your heartbeat recovery.  There are insights to show you how you perform compared to others.  Ofcourse there are social media assets, goals, training plans, routes etc etc. 
During your excerzise you see your stats on the watch, or you can “beam” it to a compatible device. I would have loved it if you could beam it to your iPhone but you can of course also use any other tracker software. The garmin stores your workout separate. 
Thanks to iqconnect you can shop for different apps like maps, vo2max, uber (yes), find my car, extra workouts, watchfaces etc etc. most are free. 

And battery life?

I own the Watch for 2 days now and am down to 87% with 2 short bike rides. Garmin claims 8 days. So let’s say 6 to be safe. This is a huge difference with the Apple Watch which when I cycled always had to recharge if I wanted to keep using it till the end of the day. 

Overall I’m pretty happy with my switch and it feels great to now have one device and app that really makes a difference between for example running (shows you ground and non ground contact), rowing (strokes) etc. with many trackers it’s only the name that changes. Also that I can use different sensors is a big improvement. But most of all the fact garmin connect just connects to everything I used. 
On the topic of sensors. 

Check out this one: the scosche (http://amzn.to/2rFN3C0)

As many, I don’t like the chestbelts. This is a new concept that you can wear around your arm and is just as accurate as a chest belt (just doesn’t do RR). Because it uses optical sensors I didn’t really believe it but I watched almost any review and the conclusions were all the same, even for power, rowing not and even HIIT it’s just as accurate as a chest belt (just 2 seconds later). I have one on order and hope to receive it soon. 
Sorry for the non photography related post. But seeing the questions I got about the vivoactive hr I thought some of you might like to read this. 
If not…..

Don’t worry. This is not going to be a health blog. It’s 99.9999% photography 😉 but sometimes I also throw in some other cool things. 

Btw if you order anything from the links I give in the article you help out the blog. Even if it’s another article. Just use the link to open amazon. Thanks in advance. 

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  • Paul De Meersman

    My girlfriend and I had(have) a Vivosmart. We bought it meanly for notifications. It did what it had to do. But the hardware quality of the screen was a dissaster. Both our Vivosmarts had the same issue, the text on the display begun to disappear within a year. My girlfriend got a refund, but I didn’t have my Cash ticket, so that was 179€ in the garbage bin. Garmin support never replied to my email…