Garmin Vivoactive 5 vs Whoop 4

Garmin Vivoactive 5 vs Whoop 4.0: which to go for?

Looking for something to track your health and fitness around the clock? Garmin Vivoactive 5 and Whoop 4.0 are two interesting options. When comparing them, a clear distinction emerges in their purpose and design.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

This side-by-side comparison will unravel the complexities of these two devices. Which of the two should you go for? Read on as we delve into their design, feature sets, capabilities, and pricing.

Key takeaways

The Garmin Vivoactive 5 and Whoop 4.0, both from reputable fitness device brands, offer distinct experiences. The Vivoactive 5 appeals to those seeking a traditional sports watch with fitness tracking, notifications, music, and contactless payments. In contrast, the Whoop 4.0 is deeply focused on health, providing detailed physiological data, recovery insights, and a journal for lifestyle tracking. While ideally suited for athletes, the Whoop 4.0 also benefits anyone wanting to optimize their overall health and well-being.

View on Garmin, Whoop. View on Amazon (Vivoactive 5).

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Technical specs
Bottom line

Garmin Vivoactive 5 vs Whoop 4.0: Hardware

Look & feel

The Garmin Vivoactive 5 and Whoop 4.0 take distinct approaches to design. The Vivoactive 5 has a case constructed from fiber-reinforced polymer. The device features a lens made of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and a stainless steel bezel, which together offer durability while maintaining a lightweight profile. In contrast, the Whoop 4.0 opts for a more minimalist, rectangular shape that prioritizes comfort and subtlety over conventional watch aesthetics. Its build comprises a metal frame with a plastic body, designed to be unobtrusive and focused on the device’s core function of health tracking.

When it comes to size options, the Vivoactive 5 maintains a singular dimension of 42.2 x 42.2 x 11.1 mm, providing a one-size-fits-all solution that balances visibility and comfort. The Whoop 4.0, however, does not explicitly offer size options but is inherently flexible due to its adjustable strap, ensuring a snug fit for a wide range of wrist sizes with its dimensions of 38 x 25 x 12 mm.

The Vivoactive 5 incorporates two physical buttons for navigation, offering tactile control that may be preferable for some users. The Whoop 4.0 completely foregoes buttons, relying entirely on its smartphone app for interaction and settings changes.

Display, colour options, water resistance

The screen is where the difference between these two devices becomes most pronounced. The Vivoactive 5 boasts a 1.2-inch AMOLED display, offering vibrant colors and crisp resolution (390 x 390 pixels) that enhances user interaction with its various smart and fitness features.

The Whoop 4.0, on the other hand, does not have a screen. Don’t look for it – it’s not there. The device focuses entirely on background health tracking without the distraction of notifications or on-device displays. This is a choice that underscores its commitment to simplicity and battery efficiency.

Both devices excel in water resistance, making them suitable for swimming and water activities. The Garmin Vivoactive 5 has a 5 ATM rating, while the Whoop 4.0 boasts an IP68 rating. Finally, the Vivoactive 5 offers color options like Metallic Orchid, Slate, Cream Gold, and Metallic Navy, while Whoop 4.0 provides Black, Arctic Gold, Ivy Rhodium, and Onyx Rose Gold bases, along with extensive strap customization for additional personalization.

Sensor technology

Under the hood, both the Garmin Vivoactive 5 and Whoop 4.0 offer a robust suite of sensors. This includes a heart rate monitor, blood oxygen sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, and skin temperature sensor for in-depth tracking. The Vivoactive throws a compass into the mix for good measure. Neither device has an altimeter for floor counts and altitude measurements.

As far as satellite positioning, the Garmin Vivoactive 5 goes the extra mile. It includes built-in GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo support, giving users access to multiple satellite constellations for more accurate tracking in various environments. The Whoop 4.0 relies on Connected GPS, meaning it leverages your smartphone’s GPS for location data.

Connectivity-wise, both the Vivoactive 5 and Whoop 4.0 feature Bluetooth. However, the Vivoactive 5 adds ANT+ and Wi-Fi support, expanding its compatibility with different accessories such as heart rate chest straps. Additionally, the Vivoactive 5 has NFC, enabling contactless payments, unlike the Whoop 4.0. Finally, the Vivoactive 5 offers onboard music storage, allowing users to leave their phones behind during workouts, a feature not found on the Whoop 4.0.

Battery life

The Garmin Vivoactive 5 shines with its versatile battery life, boasting up to 11 days in smartwatch mode, extendable to 21 days in Battery Saver Smartwatch Mode. The Vivoactive 5 also shines in GPS mode, offering up to 21 hours and 17 hours in all-systems mode. This makes it an ideal companion for users who prioritize a mix of activity tracking and traditional smartwatch features without frequent charging.

While the Whoop 4.0’s battery life is decent, it falls short of the Vivoactive 5’s in nearly every aspect. It’s worth nothing, the devices comes with an on-wrist battery pack which makes it easy to charge the Whoop 4.0 without removal. This is ideal for those who need a device that seamlessly integrates with their lifestyle.

If battery life is a major concern for you, the Garmin Vivoactive 5 is the clear winner. However, if you’re more focused on recovery, strain, and sleep metrics, the Whoop 4.0’s shorter battery life may be a worthwhile trade-off.

Garmin Vivoactive 5 vs Whoop 4.0: Technical specs

Below is a detailed comparison table for the Garmin Vivoactive 5 and Whoop 4.0, highlighting their technical specifications and features:

Garmin Vivoactive 5
Whoop 4.0
Release Date
September 2023
September 2021
Case Material
Fiber-reinforced polymer, Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 lens, Stainless steel bezel
Metal frame, Plastic body
Number of Physical Buttons
42.2 x 42.2 x 11.1 mm
38 x 25 x 12 mm
Display Type
390 x 390 pixels
Screen Size
1.2 inch
Weight (without strap)
36 grams
15 grams
Accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, blood oxygen, optical heart rate, thermometer, ambient light sensor
3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, optical heart rate, blood oxygen, skin temperature
IP 68
Connected GPS
Built-in Speaker
Music Storage
Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi
Cellular Connectivity
Battery Type
Li-po battery pack
Battery Life
Up to 11 days (smartwatch mode), 5 days (always-on display), 21 days (Battery Saver Smartwatch Mode), 21 hours (GPS-Only GNSS Mode)
4-5 days
Operating System
Garmin OS
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
Black, Arctic Gold, Ivy Rhodium, Onyx Rose Gold, and many other strap options.
Typical RRP
Device is free, annual membership $240

Garmin Vivoactive 5 vs Whoop 4.0: Features

The Garmin Vivoactive 5 and Whoop 4.0 both offer detailed health and fitness features. But their approaches differ significantly.

The Vivoactive 5 is a well-rounded device with various health-tracking metrics like sleep, stress, heart rate variability (HRV), and Body Battery energy monitoring. It provides dedicated modes for various sports and activities, offering guided workouts and structured training plans. The Vivoactive 5’s array of sensors helps to provide deeper insights suitable for users seeking detailed information across aspects of fitness and well-being. You could say, the Vivoactive sits somewhere between a fitness and sports watch.

On the other hand, the Whoop 4.0 hyper-focuses on sleep, recovery, and strain. It excels at gathering in-depth physiological data, which its software meticulously analyzes, providing customized coaching recommendations with a strong emphasis on optimizing rest and recovery. This includes tracking factors like resting heart rate, heart rate variability, sleep stages, and skin temperature to calculate comprehensive Recovery and Strain scores. This type of data is important for those who like to push themselves. Should you train hard on a particular day or rest – Whoop will tell you.

To personalize insights further, the Whoop journal function lets users log daily habits like caffeine consumption, alcohol intake, stress levels, and medications. This helps Whoop’s analytics engine understand how your everyday choices influence your physiological state, delivering specific tips on sleep optimization, workout readiness, and overall lifestyle modifications to enhance performance and health.

Smartwatch-type features

Beyond fitness, the Garmin Vivoactive 5 takes a traditional smartwatch route. Users can view notifications, manage music playback, make contactless payments (thanks to NFC), and utilize Garmin’s Connect IQ store for apps. Its color screen complements the overall smartwatch feature set.

As the Whoop 4.0 lacks a display, it is exclusively dependent on its companion app for any interactions, settings, and viewing data. So it should come as no surprise – that it doesn’t have any smartwatch-type features.

Whoop 4.0
Image source: Whoop

Garmin Vivoactive 5 vs Whoop 4.0: Price

Price-wise, the Garmin Vivoactive 5 stands at a one-time cost of around $300. Which is not bad considering the features.

In contrast, the Whoop 4.0 hardware is technically free but requires a $240 per year subscription to utilize all of its functionality and insights. This highlights a fundamental difference in cost approach, with Garmin targeting a more traditional upfront purchase model and Whoop opting for an ongoing service-based approach.

Garmin Vivoactive 5 vs Whoop 4.0: Final thoughts

Both the Garmin Vivoactive 5 and Whoop 4.0 come from well-known brands with proven track records in designing fitness devices. But each offers a different flavour of tracking experience. The Vivoactive 5 leans towards the fitness watch path, appealing to users seeking a fitness companion with the bonus of notifications, music, and contactless payments. Its diverse tracking features, activity modes, and structured workouts make it suitable for people aiming to actively track progress and optimize workouts.

On the other hand, the Whoop 4.0 carves its own niche as a health-focused wearable, attracting athletes and anyone heavily invested in understanding how their body responds and adapts to stress, sleep, and activity. Its detailed data, targeted recovery insights, and journal feature are unique perks for individuals who prioritize physiological optimization in both sport and everyday life. It’s worth noting, while the Whoop’s focus on recovery aligns with athletes, it has broader benefits for anyone aiming to optimize their overall health and well-being.

View on Garmin, Whoop. View on Amazon (Vivoactive 5).

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Ivan Jovin

Ivan has been a tech journalist for over 7 years now, covering all kinds of technology issues. He is the guy who gets to dive deep into the latest wearable tech news.

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