Monday, January 16, 2017

Review for Garmin VivoActive HR

The Ref was intrigued by my desire for a fitness watch ... so much so, that he started looking at what they did.

After a few hours, he gave me a must have shopping list and told me to find one that he would like.   Things like, picks up his email and text messages, water proof, Heart monitor, accurate data ....

I went to work pulling up reviews and promises and ads and youtube videos ... most of the watches that fit the bill were over $300.  Then I tripped on ads for a brand new, it will be released in 5 days, watch ... the Garmin VivoActive HR.   The day it came out - a few days into May, the Ref went by Best Buy and came home with his new watch.

He even wrote his own review -

I think it was the golf part that put it over the top, any excuse to go play golf will work.

Of course, now he has owned the watch for over 7 months.  Overall, he's been rather pleased with it.   It has had several major updates, which have fixed many of the glitches and added several new abilities.

Overall, he really likes it.  Since he works Fast Food, it gives him a connection to home without having to slow down and look at his cell phone.  So if there is an emergency, I can text him with a quick message, and he knows it's an emergency even in the middle of a rush.  On the other hand, I can notice we are out of potatoes, and text him "Cozi" and he knows to check the shopping list before heading home and never misses a beat serving food.  He really likes that.

He loves having the data on his wrist instead of having to look at his cell phone.   Not all of it is on his wrist, but a significant amount more than the rest of us have.

He's not sure the steps are accurate.  It is not unusual for all of us to go for a walk, and his match us in distance, but significantly fewer steps.  Of course, he's got much longer of a stride than any of the rest of us, but even accounting for that, he always seems low.  At one point, he had a step pedometer, and the numbers on it were always higher.  He notices a higher number when driving on bumpy roads, and almost no steps counted when shopping (pushing the buggy) and carrying items such as from the storage room at work.   But it gives a pretty good ball park.

He seems to really get a boost from the group challenges, but gets frustrated when somebody doesn't sync for 4 - 5 days and then boom, pushes to the top minutes before Midnight giving nobody a chance to catch up.   He has commented that he likes the way Fitbit allows challenges among friends and family just a bit better, sometimes.

He loves competing with his kids.  Everyone in the house has a Garmin, except Mom.  And they are frequently comparing steps.  This has done wonders for getting interaction between Dad and kids - that common ground.   I have especially loved the outings for walks, as he's passing on the track skills his own father taught him.  We've done a few races, but with Reffing season and the job, we've been unable to make many races this fall and winter.

He does not like the move bar.  Sometimes he's stuck in a spot at work that does not allow a lot of foot movement, he can't just get out and go.  Other times he gets home late and sleeps until Noonish, and he's not able to clear that move bar for the rest of the day.   Sometimes he succeeds in turning off the move bar, but it doesn't seem to stay that way.
Part of the problem is that most of the fitness watches ask for a specific time that you have target sleep, but his target time is quite erratic, sometimes he sleeps 10pm - 4am, and sometimes 3am - Noon, and frequently he naps, but it doesn't catch the naps.  The fitbit sleep program is far better at catching naps and erratic sleeping schedule.  And my fitbit rarely mistakes charging before or after sleep as sleep time.  Where the Garmin program is better is that it shows better movement graphs during sleep time.

After 7 months, he has managed to not kill it or lose it.  Problems that seem to plague Fitness/ Activity Watch owners.  So that alone is a huge thumbs up.   He has lost the charging cord many times, but thankfully he's always found it again.

Garmin frequently upgrades the watches program, so ever so often there are new features, the features begin working better, and bugs disappear.  They seem to answer their users fairly quickly.  And the ref said that there is a program available to write your own mini routines, though I don't think he's had time to take advantage of it.

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