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Garmin Vivomove Sport review (hands-on)

An affordable fitness tracker for anyone who doesn’t want to look like they are wearing a smartwatch.

A photo of the watch on the Garmin Vivomove Sport
(Image: © Future)

Early Verdict

Pros

  • +

    Stylish, lightweight design

  • +

    Female health tracking

  • +

    Breathwork activities for stress relief

  • +

    Can be used as a watch, no phone required

Cons

  • -

    No in-built GPS

  • -

    Can be fiddly to use

Garmin Vivomove Sport specs

Price: $179.99
Size: 40mm
Display: Touchscreen
Battery life: 5 days smartwatch mode (6 days watch mode)
Durability: 5 ATM
Heart rate: Yes
GPS: No
NFC: Yes
Compatibility: iOS, Android 

The Garmin Vivomove series was developed for fitness enthusiasts who wanted to track their gym sessions and steps, without looking like they were doing so. Think of this as the stealth fitness line amongst the best Garmin watches, that’s both capable of tracking a run, and helping you to not look like a runner when you’re out with friends in the evening.  

At CES 2022, Garmin announced its latest Vivomove tracker — the Vivomove Sport. The Vivomove Sport is an upgraded version of the Vivomove HR Sport version — it’s smaller, lighter, and has more health tracking features. Not just a pretty face, the Vivomove Sport gives you the ability to track ten different activities, as well as your sleep, hydration, and menstrual cycle from your wrist.

But who is the Garmin Vivomove Sport designed for, and how does this new wearable compare to the best smartwatches on the market? Read our Garmin Vivomove Sport review to find out more.  

Garmin Vivomove Sport review: Price and availability 

The Garmin Vivomove Sport launches at CES 2022 on Tuesday, January 4. It retails at $179.99, making it cheaper than the likes of the Apple Watch 7 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. It’s also cheaper than the Vivomove 3, the Vivomove 3S, and the Vivomove Style trackers in the Garmin range. 

A photo of the touchscreen on the Garmin Vivomove Sport

(Image credit: Future)

Garmin Vivomove Sport review: Design 

As a fitness editor, I’m not someone who is often bothered about looking like I’m wearing a sports watch (hey, I spend most of my life wearing gym kit). That said, I understand that for some, this is a must, and at first glance, the Garmin Vivomove Sport looks like a standard timepiece. It’s much smaller and lighter on the wrist than my Garmin Fenix 6, or my Garmin Forerunner 945, and I did find when I dressed up for New Year's Eve the watch looked nice on my wrist with some bracelets. 

All in all, the Garmin Vivomove Sport looks very similar to the other Vivomove watches in the Garmin series. The watch comes in four different colors — cocoa (brown), ivory (white), black, and cool mint. The silicone band matches the watch face as standard, but the watch is compatible with Garmin’s 20mm quick release bands, so you could swap in a leather, or suede band should you wish. 

A press shot of the different colors of the Garmin Vivomove Sport

(Image credit: Garmin)

Like the other Vivomove smartwatches, the hidden display only appears on the watch when you move your wrist. That motion causes the date and digital time to light up in a small, discreet, white font. Unlike other Vivomove watches, however, as well as checking your phone notifications and calendar updates, you can also swipe left on the time to view your stress levels, body battery, heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, and menstrual cycle from your wrist. There’s also the option to log your hydration levels, track your respiration, and do some mindful breathing exercises on the watch. 

A photo of the body battery on the Garmin Vivomove Sport

(Image credit: Future)

There are no side buttons on the watch — all of the navigation happens from the touch screen, which allows you to scroll through the menu, start an activity, or read your notifications. This is a little fiddly and does take some getting used to, especially if you’re used to a larger sports watch. 

A photo of the hydration tracking on the Garmin Vivomove Sport

(Image credit: Future)

The Vivomove Sport seems to have solved one of the biggest problems with previous versions of the hybrid smartwatch — the display on the cocoa (brown) colorway was easy to read both inside and outside in bright sunlight. We weren’t able to test how the display looked on the ivory and mint colors, however.  

Garmin Vivomove Sport review: Fitness and health tracking features

Of course, the main thing missing here is in-built GPS, which is a must for anyone who is serious about tracking their run or bike ride. Yet, if that’s your goal, I’d argue you should probably steer well clear of the Vivomove series completely, and look at the similarly-priced Garmin Forerunner 55. This isn’t a watch for those training for their first marathon, it’s a fitness tracker for those looking to keep track of their overall health, and Garmin doesn’t pretend otherwise. 

That said, Garmin has added some extra fitness and health tracking features to the Sport version of their Vivomove watch. The Vivomove Sport has 10 preloaded sports modes you can add to the watch — walk, run, cardio, bike, strength training, breathwork, yoga, pool swim, treadmill, and other. You also have the option to add elliptical, stair stepper, pilates, and toe-to-toe in the Garmin Connect app (a maximum of 10 activities can be displayed on the device, and walk and run cannot be disabled). The watch is swim rated, so can be worn in the pool, as well as in the shower or bath for 24/7 health tracking. 

A photo of the touchscreen on the Garmin Vivomove Sport

(Image credit: Future)

Like most of the other best fitness trackers on the market, the Vivomove Sport automatically tracks your steps, calories, intensity minutes, sleep, and heart rate. These can be synced to the Garmin Connect app for further analysis. You can also connect to your phone’s GPS to more accurately track a run, ride, or walk — the Vivomove Sport will ask whether you want to use your phone’s GPS before starting to record an activity. 

If you do decide to track a run on the Vivomove Sport, you can scroll through to see additional data including, time-elapsed, distance, and heart rate. You can pause, or stop the activity at any time by double-tapping the screen. Like a lot of touchscreen fitness trackers, it’s not that easy to scroll through the menu on the move, but if you’re using your smartphone’s GPS anyway, I’d argue it’s best to ignore the watch completely and use one of the best running apps on your phone to get live feedback on the run. 

That said, the health features on the watch match up to those available on Garmin’s more expensive watches. Keeping track of your hydration levels from your wrist is handy, and you can even set hydration goals that adjust based on how much you sweat during your workouts. For female users, the Vivomove Sport can be paired with the Garmin Connect app to track your menstrual cycle or pregnancy, where you can log symptoms and get workout advice based on your cycle. 

A photo of the sensors and charging port on the Garmin Vivomove Sport

(Image credit: Future)

Garmin Vivomove Sport review: Battery life 

The battery life on the Garmin Vivomove Sport is up to five days when using the watch as a fitness tracker. If you use the watch in watch mode, where you’ll only see the time, the Vivomove Sport has a six-day battery life. It’s also worth noting that when the watch is low on battery, it will only display the time. 

Garmin Vivomove Sport review: Verdict 

I’ve not had the Garmin Vivomove Sport on my wrist for too long, so this review will be updated when I’ve had more time to try all of the different workout features on the watch. That said, after a week of testing I’d say this is a contender to the likes of the Fitbit Sense, or the Fitbit Versa 3, although both of those trackers have in-built GPS, do look a lot more like a sports watch, and have a slightly higher price-point. 

The Vivomove Sport is a good health tracker for someone taking their first steps into fitness, or just hoping to get a better overall picture of their health in 2022. It’s not the best running watch on the market (I’m yet to find a running watch with a touchscreen that I don’t want to throw in the Thames mid-run), but it does give an insight into your overall wellness each day, and if the past two years have taught us anything, it’s that our health is far more important than how many steps we’ve taken. 

At CES 2022, Garmin also announced the Garmin Venu 2 Plus — read more here. 

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past four years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.