From The Straits Times    |

Photo: DC Rainmaker

There are so many smartwatches these days, it’s kinda hard to choose the best one.

We’ve seen quite a few on the market, and though Fitbits and the Apple Watch are more popular, we think this one by Garmin is worth investing in.



It’s called the Garmin Vivomove HR. It comes in two versions, Sport ($299) and Premium ($499). The only difference is that the Sport version uses a water-resistant silicone strap, while Premium uses leather.

It also has a LED touchscreen that displays a whole lot of details and lets you record workouts if you know how to use it, but more on that later.



This watch is meant for people who are into fitness (but not so intensively that they need the details or accuracy an athlete might) and style (it’s sleek and minimalist).

Read on for more reasons as to why it’s worth getting, and why you might want to consider it instead of the Apple Watch or Fitbit.


1) It doesn’t look like a smartwatch


The Garmin Vivomove HR looks like a real watch, not like someone strapped a mini-tablet on your wrist. Compare it to the latest Apple Watch and Fitbit Ionic which would clash with the outfit you’ve planned for a party or look out of place when you’ve suited up for an important meeting. 




Sure, the latter have a lot of display settings you can play around with, and you can even have a digital clock face that shows when you’re not using the watch. But we prefer the classic look and the physical hands of the Vivomove HR, simply because it looks an analogue watch until you flick your wrist to look at it or double tap the screen. That’s when the LED lights up.


2) It’s smart enough to move its hands away when you want to check your data.



With real hands on the clock face, a potential problem was that they might obscure the info on the screen.

But the hands intuitively move into the 10.10AM/PM position once you swipe to view another screen. It’s such a small feature, but it’s really nifty.


3) Get specialised fitness data many other hybrid watches don’t offer

Photo: CNET

Seriously. There’s the basic activity tracking and an intensity minutes counter that shows you how long you’ve been active over the day and the last week; there’s your heart rate reader, calorie counter, maximum oxygen level calculator, stress level identifier (that works by measuring your heart rate) and a stairs climbing tracker (that tracks your movement both up and down stairs).

And we’re not even done listing all the features


Just remember to take your readings with a pinch of salt. The smartwatch is not meant to be a medically accurate device 


4) You can view data in neat little graphs on the watch


But more than the number of features there are, we’re mindblown by how much easy-to-read information is packed into this absolutely tiny LED display that’s just about 1cm x 3cm.

If you tap the screen that shows your heart rate, you’ll uncover a cute little line graph tracking the intricacies of your heart rate over the last hour, coupled with your max and minimum rates. Same goes for stress levels, just that a bar graph is used instead.


5) It has features that not all smartwatches have


You can control your phone’s music (on YouTube, Spotify, or any other music playing app) straight from the watch. And if your phone can connect to more than one Bluetooth device, your watch can control the music on your Bluetooth-enabled speakers too. Pretty neat.

You can view past workouts, as well as the time spent, distance travelled, average heart rate, and calories burned. You can’t do that with a Fitbit or Apple Watch as they show that data only on their respective apps. And bonus – you can set alerts to go off mid-workout so you know when to stop or take a break. That’s quite useful.




And you can use your watch to find your phone or vice versa. The watch will have your phone ringing (at a volume you choose) so you can locate it. Can’t do that with a Fitbit, though the Apple Watch has that feature. But know that this works only when the phone is close enough for the Bluetooth connection to work.


6) It pushes the notifications you want to your watch



Yes, we know it’s common for smartwatches to have push notifications. But it’s not common for hybrid analogue watches like this one to have this level of functionality.

Many other watches of this type use LED colour notifications or have the hands move into a particular position to indicate and incoming call or message.

But with the Vivomove HR, you can read previews of messages and any notification that comes in from Facebook, Whatsapp, an incoming call, or even calendar event reminders. Control what comes in through the Garmin Connect app.


7) It’s waterproof


This watch is perfect for low-intensity activities like yoga, brisk walking, and aerobics. But if you want to do swimming, weight lifting or HIIT exercises, the leather straps are not going to survive the sweat.

Thankfully the watch becomes fully waterproof when you swap the straps for silicone ones which you can buy from the Garmin website, assuming you didn’t get the sport version to begin with.

Feel free to soak in a hot bath, go snorkelling or cannonball in the deep end of the pool, but just not scuba diving.


8) The colours available suit many different skin tones

Photo: BikeRadar

The watch faces come in four options including rose gold (which leans more to rose than gold) and gold (which frankly looks more like a lovely olive green.) 

Though the naming is a little off, we like how the various colours suit warm, cool and neutral skin tones

The colour of the straps as well as the metal detailing can be customised. The straps come in moss, light and dark brown, azure, white and black.


A couple of cons to note

Though we adore this nifty watch, every gadget has its caveats. These are the ones you need to know about:

There is no GPS feature in the watch, meaning you might not get accurate distances when running or walking.

Sleep tracking is not the best. When we tried it, the watch often said we slept a lot longer than we actually did. It’s not a deal-breaker for us but it may be for people who prioritise it.

The app needs some getting used to as the user interface isn’t very friendly. There’s a lot of data from the watch, which we appreciate, but navigation needs a bit of getting used to.

If those aren’t deal breakers for you, and what you’re looking for is rich health-related data as well as a good looking watch, get the Vivomove HR.




Price: The vívomove HR costs SGD 299 for the Sport version and SGD 449 for the Premium version.

Locations: Get it at Isetan, Takashimaya, Tangs Plaza Parisilk, Advance Lap, H2 Hub, Morning Star and Perfect Watch stores.

Compatibility: It is compatible with Android, iPhone, and Windows.

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