Image source: Garmin

Will we get a Garmin Vivosmart 5 with Fitbit Charge 5 features?

The Fitbit Charge range is often pitted against Vivosmart 4. The reason is – they are both targeting the same market. The ageing Garmin still holds up well in such comparisons. That’s a testament to the quality of Garmin-made devices. But let’s face it – the fitness band is more than three years old now, so well due for an upgrade.

In our review we found Vivosmart 4 to be a decent little fitness band with plenty to offer. Oxygen saturation is a nice add-on over its predecessor, and the Body Battery metric works well and adds a new dimension to training. It’s no wonder the tracker has been a best seller since it was unveiled back in September 2018.

Its most direct competitor is probably Fitbit Charge 4 and its most recent upgrade – Charge 5. The latest iteration comes with an AMOLED display and lots of other features.

There have been no leaks, so far, on the Garmin Vivosmart 5. In fact it has been a while that the company has upgraded any device in its fitness tracker range. Nevertheless, we do expect the fifth Vivosmart generation to be on the cards soon. Here’s what to expect.


Garmin Vivosmart 5: what to expect?

Design

As far as design, we don’t expect very much to change. A fitness band is a fitness band so there’s little scope to come up with something radically different. Plus Garmin tends to stay with a tried and tested look.

Having said that, a characteristic of Vivosmart 4 is that it is incredibly slim and lightweight. While this is great, it does have one disadvantage. It comes in the form of a not-very-impressive, tiny, 17.7 mm x 6.6 mm display. You can fit only so much info on a screen that size. Plus, it is only greyscale with a 48 x 128 pixel resolution.

There’s lots of scope for improvement, particularly considering that Vivosport which launched a year earlier has a colour display that is always on. To be more precise, it had a sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) screen. Which might actually be a good alternative to the OLED of the Vivosmart.

IFA 2018: Garmin Vivosmart 4 tracks your blood oxygen and energy levels
Image source: Garmin

An improvement in this sense is very likely, whether it comes in the form of a colour display and/or a larger display remains to be seen. Garmin will want to keep its ambitions in check in order to preserve battery life.

Vivosmart 4 keeps going for about a week between charges. We feel is the bare minimum these days for a decent fitness band. An equally lightweight but flatter and slightly wider Garmin Vivosmart 5 might be nice, and it might provide space for a larger battery.

Fitness tracking and smart features

A casual Vivosmart 4 user will find most things they need for 24/7 activity monitoring. All the essentials are there for someone after the basics. It doesn’t replace a sports watch and it’s unlikely the Vivosmart 5 will.

Built-in GPS

Having said that, the current generation has one obvious feature missing – built-in GPS. At launch it didn’t even have Connected GPS. Thankfully a software update in September 2019 changed this. But now might be a good time for the next step up.

The only Garmin fitness band with built-in GPS currently is Vivosport. But seeing as that one hasn’t been updated since 2017, it’s questionable whether the company has any plans for a Vivosport 2. It could very well decide to merge that line with the Vivosmart range.

Essential reading: Fitbit Charge 4 vs Garmin Vivosmart 4 – activity band face-off

Therefore there’s a strong case for a Vivosmart 5 with built-in GPS. Particularly as that was the main upgrade of Fitbit Charge 4 this year.

Respiration and all day SpO2 tracking

While the current iteration has an SpO2 sensor, the tiny battery means this only works for spot-checks and optionally in sleep. Other Garmin wearables have an all-day option. The other related feature that it is missing is a 24x 7 respiration rate.

Other than that, we don’t see may other changes sensor wise. Apart from upgrading to the latest tech.

NFC

Another logical addition would be NFC for Garmin Pay. The combination of built-in GPS and NFC means you could go for a jog in the park and coffee afterwards while leaving your wallet and smartphone behind. Fitbit Charge 4 and 5 already have NFC for contactless payments.

Music control

Another features that is missing from Vivosmart 4 is the ability to control music on a smartphone. Fitbit Charge 4 and 5 has this but it also has a larger display. It might be tricky implementing such functionality on a tiny screen. But if Garmin increases the display size, we could very well see music control.


Garmin Vivosmart 5: Possible launch date

As mentioned, Garmin typically adopts a two year product cycle. The fourth generation of Vivosmart was launched in September 2018 so this one has fallen behind the normal schedule.

We actually expected Vivosmart 5 to launch in 2021 before the all-important holiday shopping period. However, Garmin released only a few products last year – probably due to the chip shortages, energy crisis in certain Asian countries and pandemic. 2021 was not a great year for wearable tech.

We would be surprised if we don’t see the next generation in 2022. When exactly, depends on Garmin’s schedule of releases. The start of the year has been busy for the company and we already saw the launch of Venu 2 Plus, Fenix 7 and Instinct 2. Seeing as we have not had a new fitness band from the company for quite a while now, don’t be surprised in Vivosmart 5 lands in the Spring.

Fitbit Charge 4 vs Charge 3: should you upgrade?

Fitbit Charge 5
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Fitbit Ionic or Garmin Vivoactive 3: which to get?

The current version sells for $130, although discounts can often be found. The price of Vivosmart 5 will largely depend on specs but if we do get all of the above we’re looking at something around the $140-150 mark.

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7 thoughts on “Will we get a Garmin Vivosmart 5 with Fitbit Charge 5 features?

  • The vivosmart 4s closest competitor is the recently released inspire 2. They are both comparable in size and function sorta vivo still wins. Maybe ppl compare it to the charge 4 because Garmin makes such good quality smartwatches, even there lighter smartwatch line ends up being way better. I mean what do you expect from a company who core competitive strength is sensors and radars for planes and boats. It makes sense that the quality of there smartwatches is high producing durable and and great functioning products. I just wish they’d protect the software better.

    Reply
  • I want one of thee watches! Fitbit was ok, but not impressed with their new Inspire 2 they didn’t keep the rose gold look like they had on the ALTA Hr, nor did they improve the screen at all, All the models stick up on my arm too much, too much depth. I have a small wrist. Also you cannot turn bluetooth off on any of their devices, which is a HUGE important thing for me and a game changer. Please garmin, I am hoping you read this and know that women want slimmer and elegant. All these fitness watches have gotten SO big, its awful.

    Reply
  • Vivosmart 4 is the best investment I made personally. I love that the watch is small and doesn’t call out for attention when I’m at work but still have all the features that I’ll need when I’m aktive. I hope that Garmin will launch a Vivismart 5 in same size but with better battery holding on power for a longer time. I love that I can recharge my watch. Kind regards from Denmark

    Reply
  • We do not need big screen, we need to get a lot of measures and I’d rather have a stylish, small (leather) band with no screen like my first UP24 that measures HR, Body Battery, Respiration, SpO2, Sleep, Recovery (sync’d with my Fenix), Smart Alarm (god I miss this from the UP!).

    Reply
  • Build-In GPS or Connected Phone GPS ?

    Please note that when you practice long lasting sports (e.g., hiking, biking, mountain biking) you want to make sure that you will not empty the device battery to be able to bring back everyone home safely after a full day. Therefore you need to use the Connected Phone GPS. Having only a Build-In GPS is no advantage, not reliable and not safe for these activities. I do not understand why Build-In GPS is always promoted by reviewers as a better feature. It is like discriminating some sports from other ones !

    Reply
  • Vivosmart is the best except for its missing the GPS for accurate distance running tracking, I wish I’ll get it when ready. Its perfect for me, others are to big, even my vivosport.

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  • I’ve had my Vivosmart 4 since it first came out and I love everything about it aside from the fact that you can’t change the band. Mine was so wore out and the keeper broke after 3 years of continuous use. Finally the gold part around the face fell off and I was trying to decide if I wanted another one just like it, in berry but due to the fact that you can’t replace the band and they don’t have a newer model and no mention of a Vivosmart 5 I opted for the Fitbit Luxe.
    As for the Luxe it doesn’t compare at all to the Vivosmart 4 but it does have interchangeable bands and a colored clock display with a few different ones you can chose from. I’m already kind of regretting it as the Garmin Vivosmart is far superior as far as everything Garmin packs into a slim band. I have a couple weeks to decide if I want to send it back but without knowing if Garmin intends on releasing a Vivosmart 5 in the near future I will probably just stay with the Fitbit.

    Reply

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