After 600,000 steps with vivofit, my latest adventure in wearable tech, I’m ready to review it for you.
First of all, it is not a Fitbit Force, ok? No litigation over causing rashes on your wrist like the Fitbit that was recalled. LA Times story on wearable tech growing pains. (As a lawyer, I keep you abreast of wearable tech litigation!)
You can pick your color (and there are many choices), I chose royal blue.
FEATURES: It will count your 1) steps per day/week/cumulatively, 2) automatically set daily step goals for you (and adjust them as your average step count fluctuates) and tell you whether you are over/under and by how many steps, 3) mileage (like a pedometer), 4) calories (look out here though I think the calorie burn is slightly inflated), 5) sleep quantity (or lack thereof) and quality–getting inadequate rest is a problem for me so I like this aspect; 6) time of day (a watch), and 7) what month & day it is in case you forget (or are over 40 like me!). 8) It also monitors your active or sedentary level with red arrows (if no arrows, you are active! If solid red line, you’ve been sitting for an hour! STAND UP and MOVE! If red arrows past the solid red line, you’ve really been sitting too long. Good news: You can “walk off” the red arrows and red line and see that on your watch by being active for a while.The red arrows/red line “blink” as you walk them off. Pretty cool to see the results of your labors.) So if you don’t know if you’ve been active or not, guess what? We’re all a little more sedentary than we think (especially after running, right?). You switch between these 7 indicators with the button shown in my photo (arrows are visible on the face).
WATERPROOF? vivo is supposedly waterproof but I haven’t really tested that. I don’t wear it in the shower or the pool (would swimming kicks count as steps and if so how?). I just take it off and
HOW TO WEAR: I wear it on my right wrist if I’m running or my left during the day. I wonder if anyone is wearing the vivo on the same wrist as their Garmin GPS watch (mine is 620 Forerunner). It has replaced my much heavier dress watch I used to wear during the day (my dress watch I used to wear for work looks nice but doesn’t count the things I care about). It’s really like wearing a medical bracelet at a hospital. I like how thin and lightweight it is.
WEIGHT/DOES IT MAKE NOISE? It’s lightweight, doesn’t buzz at you (although you swear that it does the first day you wear it because you expect it to do that). It’s adjustable for the size of your wrist and you can loosen it so it’s not leaving a visible “ring around the wrist”.
POWER: Happy news here! You don’t have to charge it constantly like my wife has to do with her Fitbit. Vivofits are supposed to not need charging for at least a year or more.
SYNC: You can sync to your computer (your data) and/or through your phone. For the computer, you just have a tiny little chip you insert in the USB port and you press “SYNC” on your vivo & keep it within range. Don’t press “SLEEP” mode for syncing; that’s for ZZZZZZZZ! (don’t forget to put your watch in sleep mode when you go to bed or your sleep data is off!) Also, don’t lose that tiny little sync chip or it’s tough to sync data. I try to sync my data daily.
MODERN or CLASSIC mode in Garmin Connect: The modern mode simply allows you to see your step and/or run data in different tabs. If you want to see something in the “old mode” select old mode temporarily, then return to modern. The Modern mode is much better than the “Garmin Classic” but sometimes it’s easier to see certain things in the Classic mode if you are looking and run & trend data. I’m still learning the modern mode, I’m old-fashioned.
PAIRING with phone: I haven’t been able to get this to work yet to sync my vivo data with my phone (my Garmin GPS data syncs). Just haven’t had time to pair it yet.
EASE of use: Super easy to use, just learning how to use it on the first day/first week is not too much.
COST: $129.99 (like buying new running shoes but worth every penny). You get your money’s worth.
DOES IT MAKE YOU MORE ACTIVE? Yes, the red line/arrows do make you pay attention, that and your step counts. I used to like to be lazy after runs. Not anymore!
DRAWBACKS: Not very many. Three tiny things. First, if you step very lightly, vivo doesn’t appear to count those steps (if you’re walking on air/tiptoeing/stepping in clouds). Secondly, if you want to sleep in corpse pose (or recline like that for a while), it does press the vivo into your wrist on the thick (computer chip side), causing some discomfort. Haven’t tried loosening it to deal with that. Thirdly, it is slightly distracting on the treadmill/watch your step. I almost fell off the treadmill staring/glancing at my vivo but I caught myself. If you are prone to electronic distractions with wearable tech, you just have to be more careful. Could be a problem running outside if you try to check both wrists at the same time for GPS data on watch and step count on vivo.
REWARDS: Pedometers have never really worked for me but having a vivo is really a fun way of challenging yourself to take more steps/be more active. We receive accomplishment badges every 50K-100K steps and you can see how many steps your Garmin Connect friends have taken in a day/week and who is in the lead in step count leaderboard. I also compete against random people I don’t know in weekly step count that Garmin assigns to me (still haven’t won a weekly competition against the randoms) but have come in 2nd. I also love being able to compare step counts with my wife at the end of a day even though she has a Fitbit. (She does outstep me sometimes!)
FINAL ANALYSIS: Especially if you already have a Garmin and are on Garmin Connect, this vivo will knock your socks off! Even if not, I think it beats the Fitbit because of better design (my opinion) & no need to charge it regularly. ***** (5 stars)