Image source: Garmin

Garmin Lily vs Vivoactive 4s vs Fenix 6s: watches for small wrists

Garmin has a number of smartwatch options for those with small wrists. The latest to land is called Lily. This is the company’s first device solely for women.

But there are other options, too. They come in the form of the Vivoactive 4s and Fenix 6s. Unlike Lily, these two are unisex devices so can be worn by both men and women.

If you have a small wrist, you certainly don’t want a smartwatch that will tower over it. These three watches represent good options. Here’s what’s similar and different about them.


Garmin Lily vs Vivoactive 4s vs Fenix 6s: General and design

Starting off with Garmin Lily and this is a very feminine timepiece. Measuring only 34.50 x 34.50 x 10.15 mm, it is also the smallest and thinnest out of the bunch.

What’s common about them is the round no-nonsense design. But if you are after something small and fashionable (and if you are a woman), Lily is the obvious choice.

The Vivoactive 4s has a 40mm diameter body so is a slightly larger option. The Fenix 6s comes in with a 42mm diameter design. While the Vivoactive looks like a traditional smartwatch, the Fenix comes across more like a sports watch.

As far as weight it’s a similar story. Lilly comes in at a mere 24 grams, Vivoactive at 40 grams and the Fenix at 58 grams.

garmin lily vs vivoactive 4s vs fenix 6s watches for small wrists - Garmin Lily vs Vivoactive 4s vs Fenix 6s: watches for small wrists
Garmin Lily vs Vivoactive 4s vs Fenix 6s

Display quality

The differences continue when it comes to display quality. Lily has a 1 inch TFT LCD panel. It is not color. Rather the content is displayed in 16 shades of gray. Vivoactive 4s and Fenix 6s both pack a color sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP). The first has a 1.1 incher, the second comes in at 1.2 inches.

You navigate the displays via the touchscreen. Lily doesn’t have any physical buttons but the other two do. The Vivoactive has two on the right-hand side, while the Fenix has a total of five, two on the right three on the left. A touch-screen is great, but if you run or cycle often buttons come in handy. They make it much easier to start and stop activities when your hands are sweaty.

Water-resistance

Water-proofing is good on any of these. 5 ATM can be found on Lily and Vivoactive which means you can dunk them down to depths of 50 meters. That should suffice for pretty much anyone. If not, the Fenix is good to depths of 100 meters.

Sensors

As far as sensors you’ll find only the basics on Lily. This includes and optical heart rate monitor, accelerometer and pulse Ox. Vivoactive 4s comes with the addition of a barometric altimeter, compass and gyroscope. Go for the Fenix and you’ll also get an ambient temperature sensor.

An important difference is built-in GPS. Lily doesn’t have it, the other two do. Which means that if you opt for Lily, you’ll need to rely on the satellite signal from your smartphone (often referred to as Connected GPS) when exercising outdoors.

Battery life

Now we come to battery life.

Unsurprisingly, the small body of Lily doesn’t allow for a large capacity battery. It can only go 5 days between charges and that’s with pulse Ox sleep tracking switched off.

Moving up the line and the 4s can keep going for about a week in smartwatch mode. Switch GPS on and this will fall to 5 hours.

Fenix 6s is much better on this count. In smartwatch mode it will keep ticking for up to 9 days. Even with GPS on it will go for more than a day. There’s also a battery saver mode which will keep the thing going longer.

Here’s a table illustrating all differences in hardware & design between Lily, Vivoactive 4s and Fenix 6s.

Lilly
Vivoactive 4s
Fenix 6s
Case material
fiber-reinforced polymer 
fiber-reinforced polymer with polymer rear cover
fiber-reinforced polymer with metal rear cover
Bezel material
anodized aluminium
stainless steel
stainless steel
Lens material
Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3
Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3
Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX
Physical size
34.50 x 34.50 x 10.15 mm
40.0 x 40.0 x 12.7 mm
42 x 42 x 13.8 mm
Display size
1.00” x 0.84” (25.4 mm x 21.3 mm)
1.1″ (27.9 mm) diameter
1.2” (30.4 mm) diameter
Display resolution
240 x 201 pixels
218 x 218 pixels
240 x 240 pixels
Display type
TFT LCD (16 level grayscale)
sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
Weight
24.0 g
40.0 g
Steel: 58 g (case only: 41 g)
Battery life (base model)
Up to 5 days (excluding Pulse Ox sleep tracking)
Smartwatch mode: Up to 7 days.

GPS mode with music: Up to 5 hours.

Smartwatch: Up to 9 days
Battery Saver Watch Mode: Up to 34 days
GPS: Up to 25 hours
Max Battery GPS Mode: Up to 50 hours
Expedition GPS Activity: Up to 20 days
Water-resistance
5 ATM
5 ATM
10 ATM
Sensors
Optical heart rate monitor, accelerometer, pulse Ox, ambient light sensor
Optical heart rate monitor, accelerometer, pulse Ox, barometric altimeter, compass, gyroscope
Optical heart rate monitor, accelerometer, pulse Ox, barometric altimeter, compass, gyroscope, thermometer
GPS
Connected GPS
Built-in GPS
Built-in GPS
Music storage
No
up to 500 songs
No
NFC
No
Yes
Yes
RRP
$200
$350
$550

Garmin Lily vs Vivoactive 4s vs Fenix 6s: Features

Activity tracking

Activity tracking basics can be found on all three of these. Garmin has this side of things nailed down so data quality should be equally good on all the options. They use pretty much the same sensors.

One point of difference is the lack of a barometric altimeter on Lily. This means that, unlike the other two, it does not have the ability to display a floor count. But you will get everything else such as steps, distance, calories, sleep, stress, Body Battery, respiration rate, abnormal heart rate alerts, irregular heart beat notification and even SpO2.

All three of these options will have you covered around the clock and can track a wide variety of sports. The difference is in the accompanying performance metrics. You get very few with Lily, more with the Vivoactive and most with the Fenix.

There’s also the above mentioned built-in GPS. This is important as it allows for phone-free training so is convenient to those who run or cycle often. Lily doesn’t have it so relies on Connected GPS.

If you are very serious about your sports pursuits, you’ll want the most featured packed device that is out there. The Fenix 6 displays pretty much the full gamut of Garmin training, planning and analysis metrics. You hardly get any Firstbeat-type metrics on the Vivoactive and Lily. These end pretty much at VO2max.

Other extras that you get with the Fenix and Vivoactive are golfing, outdoor recreation, cycling and swimming features. They will of course be most detailed on the Fenix.

garmin lilly vs vivoactive 4s vs fenix 6s watches for small wrists 1 - Garmin Lily vs Vivoactive 4s vs Fenix 6s: watches for small wrists
Garmin Lily | Image source: Garmin

Smart functionality

In terms of smart functionality, all three of these come with the ability to display notifications, text response/reject phone calls with text (Android only), calendar, weather, Find My Phone and Find My Watch.

They also have the ability to control music on your smartphone. Vivoactive 4s goes further in this sense as it has built-in storage for 500 songs. Music lovers will appreciate this as it allows for untethered access to their tunes.

The final point of difference is Garmin Pay. The Fenix and Vivoactive have it, Lily doesn’t. So if you like to pay on the go, don’t choose the later.


Garmin Lily vs Vivoactive 4s vs Fenix 6s: Verdict

There is quite a bit to separate these three smartwatches. If you are after something feminine on your wrist and are not too bothered about detailed performance metrics, Lily is the obvious choice. It provides all the activity tracking basics so will have you covered. Worth a mention is that it doesn’t have built-in GPS so you’ll need to rely on Connected GPS.

Vivoactive 4s is the mid-solution and the choice for men with small wrists. It is a good option for those more serious about their sports pursuits. An extra that Vivoactive 4s has over the other two is built-in storage for music. This might be important to some.

The sacrifice is that it comes in a larger body than Lily. And let’s not forget the big price difference. The watch starts at $350 whereas Lily can be bought for $200.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

The Fenix 6s is for those who are after all the Garmin bells and whistles. It offers the whole range of performance metrics, detailed sports profile-specific data and excellent battery life. It is the largest of the bunch, though, and the most expensive (starts at $550).

So it really depends on your needs. Are you after the basics in a nice feminine design? Or do you need something that will track your runs and other exercise in more detail?

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