Garmin Vivosmart HR+: Now With GPS, But Worth The Upgrade?

Garmin is splitting the hairs further with its lineup of activity trackers with the vivosmart HR+, a wristband that has all the features of the regular vivosmart HR, but also includes GPS for more accurate tracking when you're out for a run. Available for $219.99—$60 more than the vivosmart HR—, the vivosmart HR+ could be a good option for those who want an all-around fitness tracker, but want something slimmer and more discreet than the wider vivoactive HR or Fitbit Surge.

The vivosmart HR is our current favorite activity tracker; it features a black and white display that not only shows your current steps, sleep, and heart rate, but can also deliver notifications from your smartwatch, as well as the weather. It just edged out the Fitbit Charge HR in a head-to-head matchup. It also has Garmin's Move IQ, which will automatically detect whatever activity you're engaged in, and start tracking it accordingly.

MORE: Fitness Tracker Buying Guide

Where the vivosmart HR+ separates itself is with the built-in GPS, which enables runners to record where they ran, instead of just the distance. Other running features include Auto Pause, Auto Lap, and a Run/Walk feature. Like the regular vivosmart HR, the HR+ is water resistant up to 165 feet.

The vivosmart HR+ will last up to five days in activity tracking mode—similar to the regular vivosmart HR—and up to eight hours when using GPS. It will come in black/gray, purple, and blue.

At this point, Garmin now has a pretty comprehensive lineup of fitness trackers: the $99 vivofit 3, vivosmart HR and vivomove (both $149), the vivosmart HR+ ($219), and the vivoactive HR ($249)—to say nothing of its myriad GPS running watches. However, I'm not sure how much of a value add GPS is to a device with a screen as small as the vivosmart HR. As a runner, I would prefer a more dedicated device such as the $219 Garmin Forerunner 225, our current favorite GPS watch. But the wider range of activities tracked by the vivosmart HR+, plus its small size, may prove attractive to those who want an all-purpose device that can blend in easily with whatever they wear.

Mike Prospero
U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Tom's Guide

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.