Whether you’re looking to upgrade your wellness tracking or enhance your workouts, Garmin offers two new additions in their smartwatch selection. Released in January 2024, the Garmin Lily 2 emphasizes sleek design and a focus on women’s health metrics while the Vivoactive 5, arriving in September 2023, is a more sporty looking device. This side-by-side comparison breaks down their key features, design elements, and target audiences to help you find the perfect Garmin smartwatch for your needs.
The Garmin Lily 2 and Vivoactive 5 appeal to different types of users. The Lily 2 is ideal for style-conscious individuals who want basic health tracking and a smaller watch, offered at a more affordable price. The Vivoactive 5 is packed with features for sports lovers, boasting in-depth fitness tracking, built-in GPS, and long battery life, with a correspondingly higher price tag.
Garmin Lily 2 vs Vivoactive 5: Hardware
Look & feel
Both the Lily 2 and Vivoactive 5 feature a classic round watch face design. The first is designed for women while the second is more of a unisex device.
In terms of build, the Garmin Lily 2 opts for an anodized aluminum case and bezel, offering a lightweight yet durable construction that adds a touch of elegance suitable for its target demographic. In contrast, the Vivoactive 5 employs a fiber-reinforced polymer case with an anodized aluminum bezel, prioritizing resilience and sporty functionality over the sleek sophistication of the Lily 2.
Size options further differentiate the two; the Lily 2 is designed with a more compact and discreet profile, making it an ideal choice for users with smaller wrists or those who prefer a less obtrusive wearable. The Vivoactive 5, on the other hand, offers a slightly larger size, which, while still accommodating a broad range of wrist sizes, caters to users looking for a more pronounced presence on their wrist.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
When it comes to navigating the devices, the presence and number of physical buttons play a significant role. The Garmin Lily 2 features a touchscreen interface with no physical buttons, emphasizing its minimalist design and streamlined user experience. This choice suits users who prefer a sleek look and are comfortable with touch-only interaction. The Vivoactive 5 includes two physical buttons, facilitating easier navigation through menus and quicker access to certain features, especially in situations where touch interaction might be less convenient, such as during intense physical activities or in wet conditions.
Display, colour options, water resistance
The screen technology and quality are pivotal in defining the user interaction with any smartwatch. The Lily 2 utilizes a TFT LCD display with 16-level grayscale, which, while not as vibrant as color displays, offers clarity and efficiency, contributing to its longer battery life. The Vivoactive 5 boasts an AMOLED display, enhancing the visual experience for the user.
Both watches offer excellent 5 ATM water resistance. This makes them suitable for swimming and most water activities.
Finally, the Garmin Lily 2 comes in two distinct styles: The Sport Edition with silicone bands in neutral colors, and the Classic Edition with sophisticated leather bands and metallic accents. The Vivoactive 5 offers a more sporty aesthetic with various color combinations ranging from understated to vibrant.
As far as sensor technology, the Garmin Lily 2 includes an accelerometer, the advanced Gen 4 Elevate heart rate monitor, a SpO2 sensor for blood oxygen tracking, and an ambient light sensor. While it relies on your phone for GPS tracking through Connected GPS, its sensors provide robust wellness monitoring. This choice underscores its design as a more fashion-forward accessory rather than a standalone fitness device.
The Garmin Vivoactive 5 takes things a step further with a slightly more comprehensive sensor suite. It boasts all the same sensors as the Lily 2, coupled with a compass, gyroscope,, thermometer, and ambient light sensor. This allows for enhanced activity tracking and additional health insights. Importantly, the Vivoactive 5 has built-in GPS using GPS, GLONASS, and GALILEO satellite systems, giving it independent location tracking capabilities.
Both devices offer NFC capability for contactless payments through Garmin Pay. This enhances their utility in everyday transactions. This is one feature that was missing from the first generation Lily watch.
However, Vivoactive 5 goes a step further by including onboard music storage. This allows users to store and play music directly from the watch, offering a more autonomous experience for those who prefer to leave their phone behind during workouts. Connectivity options are more robust as well, with Bluetooth, ANT+, and Wi-Fi support, ensuring seamless integration with a wide range of devices and networks.
The Garmin Lily 2 offers a decent battery life of up to 5 days. This is suitable for everyday use and allows for consistent health and fitness tracking without the need for overly frequent charging. That sort of battery life is not bad considering the small form-factor of the watch.
The Garmin Vivoactive 5, on the other hand, truly excels in battery longevity. It boasts up to 11 days of battery life in smartwatch mode, more than double that of the Lily 2. Additionally, it features a battery saver mode that can extend its life up to 21 days – ideal for users who prioritize long periods between charges. The Vivoactive 5 also offers up to 21 hours of GPS-only GNSS mode, catering to those who need reliable location tracking during outdoor adventures.
Garmin Lily 2 vs Vivoactive 5: Technical specs
Here is a side-by-side comparison between Garmin Lily 2 and Vivoactive 5.
Garmin Lily 2
Garmin Vivoactive 5
Anodized aluminium; Lens: Corning Gorilla Glass 3; Bezel: Anodized aluminum
Fiber-reinforced polymer; Lens: Corning Gorilla Glass 3; Bezel: Stainless steel
Number of Physical Buttons
35.4 x 35.4 x 10.1 mm
42.2 x 42.2 x 11.1 mm
TFT LCD (16 level grayscale)
240 x 201 pixels
390 x 390 pixels
Weight (without strap)
Accelerometer, Gen 4 Elevate heart rate, SpO2, Ambient light sensor
Accelerometer, Gen 4 Elevate heart rate, SpO2, compass, gyroscope, thermometer, Ambient light sensor
GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO
Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi
Up to 5 days
Up to 11 days in smartwatch mode, 5 days with always-on display, Up to 21 days in Battery Saver Smartwatch Mode, Up to 21 hours in GPS-Only GNSS Mode
Sport Edition (Silico Crema Oro / Coco, Lila), Classic Edition (Nylon – Brown, Gray), Classic Edition (Leather – Beige/Gold, Black/Blue)
Metallic orchid Aluminium bezel with orchid case, Slate aluminium bezel with black case, Cream gold aluminium bezel with ivory case, Metallic navy Aluminium bezel with navy case
$250 and up
Garmin Lily 2 vs Vivoactive 5: Features
The Garmin Lily 2 delivers a strong focus on women’s health with features including menstrual cycle tracking, pregnancy tracking, and insights powered by its advanced heart rate sensor. Both watches excel in daily activity tracking (steps, sleep, calories, etc.) and provide various sport modes. However, the Vivoactive 5 goes further by offering detailed workout metrics, more diverse sport profiles, and even animated on-screen workouts to guide your exercises. Its built-in GPS also enables accurate outdoor activity tracking without relying on your phone.
Some other extras that you will find on Vivoactive 5 include Sleep Coach, nap detection and Health Snapshot. Plus you get Recovery Time, HRV Status, Golfing features and more comprehensive running, cycling, swimming and outdoor recreation features. So the device is better suited for general sports tracking than its counterpart.
As far as smartwatch-type features, both devices have some things that enhance everyday convenience and connectivity. They support notification mirroring from smartphones, allowing users to stay connected with calls, texts, and app alerts directly on their wrist. Garmin Pay is available on both, enabling contactless payments for a seamless transaction experience. However, the Vivoactive 5 extends its functionality with onboard music storage, allowing users to store and play music directly from the watch, a feature that the Lily 2 lacks.
Garmin Lily 2 vs Vivoactive 5: Price
Starting at $250, the Garmin Lily 2 generally falls into a more affordable price bracket. This makes it an attractive option for those seeking a stylish fitness and health tracker with strong core features. Typically retailing at $300, the Garmin Vivoactive 5 typically demands a higher price due to its more robust sensor suite, expanded sports tracking capabilities, more high-res display, and additional smartwatch features.
Garmin Lily 2 vs Vivoactive 5: Final thoughts
The Garmin Lily 2 and Vivoactive 5 both offer compelling options for health-conscious individuals, but they clearly cater to different audiences. The Lily 2’s emphasis on a smaller form factor, women’s health tracking, and stylish design aligns perfectly with users prioritizing fashion and basic wellness monitoring. Its lower price point also makes it more accessible.
On the other hand, the Vivoactive 5 is a unisex device that is the sports and activity enthusiast’s choice. Its has better fitness tracking, more performance metrics, longer battery life, built-in GPS, and additional features to support those with more in-depth workout needs. However, this more comprehensive feature set comes at a slightly higher price.
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