The Vivoactive 4 is more than a year old now. It was released at IFA in Berlin, back in 2019 when non-virtual events were a normal thing.
The device is a popular choice as an all-purpose smartwatch. It does a bit of everything while managing to look great. It was launched alongside Venu, a classier version of the same. A year later Venu SQ dropped, a budget version of the watch.
It’s a safe bet we will get Garmin Vivoactive 5 at some stage. There’s absolutely no reason for the company to discontinue this product. So far there’ve been no credible leaks or rumors so this article is based on what we can reasonably expect from the next edition. We also look at possible release dates.
Garmin Vivoactive 5: Design expectations
Garmin has experimented quite a bit in terms of design with the Vivoactive range. However, in recent years it settled on a circular look, something that resembles its Forerunner and Fenix devices.
The one big change with the fourth generation was a choice in sizes. Garmin introduced two models, a 45mm stainless steel one and a 40mm model for small wrists (dubbed 4S). Both have a depth of around 12.8mm, 0.8% down on the predecessor device (which has a 43mm diameter)..
We see no reason for Garmin to change the form-factor with the fifth generation. A round device with a few size options should once again be on the cards. A possibility could be an X version for large wrists. This is the route the company has taken with its Fenix range – three size choices.
As far as display quality, the current generation packs a sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) display. Some were expecting an AMOLED screen for version 4 but that was reserved for Garmin Venu.
Do we see Garmin adopting an AMOLED as standard across its Vivoactive 5 range? Probably not. It would increase price and decrease battery life. Those that want a fancier build could always opt for Venu. Or Venu 2 once it comes out!
Having said that Garmin could increase the resolution of the display. It could also shrink the thickness of the device some more. We therefore don’t really see that much changing design-wise. Which is probably a good thing.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
As sensor and battery technology is progressing with each passing year, it is reasonable to expect we should get a larger capacity battery. Vivoactive 4 can go up to 8 days in smartwatch mode and six hours in GPS and music mode. The 4S has room for a smaller battery so keeps going up to seven days in smartwatch mode and five hours in GPS and music mode.
Those figures could be easily improved on. Wouldn’t it be nice if your next Vivoactive had battery life of up to two weeks?
Garmin Vivoactive 5: Features we’d like to see
The SpO2 sensor was an important addition with the fourth generation watch. It keeps tabs on blood oxygen readings and spits out estimated respiration. These are useful stats, particularly when it comes to sleep tracking.
Vivoactive 4 also introduces the Body Battery function, abnormal heart rate alerts thanks to the upgraded heart rate sensor (which also tracks heart rate under water), as well as Yoga workouts, Pilates workouts and on-screen workout animations.
Other features are pretty much the same as the previous generation and include built-in GPS and NFC for Garmin payments on the go.
So let’s look forward to Vivoactive 5. A clue as to what to expect can be found in Garmin devices that recently saw the light of day.
More training metrics
When it comes to standard activity tracking basics, the Vivoactive 4 comes with pretty much everything that Garmin has on offer. There is little scope for improvement there.
Where there is scope for improvement is in performance metrics. Here we mean Firstbeat-type metrics such as Recovery Time, Training Load, Training Effect Real Time Performance Condition and more. You get VO2Max, but that’s pretty much it.
Why not introduce some more metrics? The sensors are already there, this would just be a software-based upgrade. Part of the problem is that Garmin needs something to keep this watch distinct from the Forerunner and Fenix range. But still, a few more performance metrics sprinkled in would be nice.
New sensors (ECG, blood pressure, glucose, thermometer)
We don’t really see the ECG sensor as a natural fit on most Garmin sports watches. But it could be a good fit on the Vivoactive. After all, this is an all-purpose fitness and health watch. We’ve already seen a number of companies implementing ECG technology, including Apple, Samsung and Withings.
Other sensors might also be introduced. While blood-pressure monitoring might seem a little far fetched, it is edging closer.
The there is glucose monitoring. We reported a few days ago that a number of companies are actively testing technology which would allow measurements via the wrist. This works through the existing optical heart rate sensor, by utilizing Raman spectroscopy to determine glucose levels in the blood. You can read more about it on this link.
A thermometer also seems like a realistic option. Fitbit has introduced it on its recent crop of watches. Rather than measuring your temperature, it establishes your base-line and then tells you if your temperature is above or below this.
A cellular model?
Cellular connectivity via an additional Vivoactive 5 model is a possibility. Once again, such functionality is a more natural fit on the Vivoactive range than any of Garmin’s sports watches. We don’t see this introduced across the board, but perhaps models with cellular and without.
Garmin Vivoactive 5: Expected release date and price
As mentioned at the start of this article, Vivoactive 4 was introduced in September 2019. Garmin is typically on a two-year product cycle so the fifth generation should land in Q3. Perhaps it might be timed once again to coincide with IFA in Berlin. This occurs in early September.
As far as price, both the 4 and 4S models are priced around $350. Garmin will want to keep this sort of price-tag, with perhaps a more expensive cellular edition.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
Hopefully, in the months ahead we’ll get some leaks, rumors and more insight into what to expect from the next generation. We’ll update this article as and when we hear more.
Like this article? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and never miss out!