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VivoFit 2 - Best Bang for Buck Fitness Tracker
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GADGETS AND ELECTRICAL SOUTH AUSTRALIA




  Gadgets
VivoFit 2 - Best Bang for Buck Fitness Tracker

 

| | Fitness Tracker | Wearable | |

Table of Contents

VivoFit 2 Unboxing
Battery Life
Display
Move Bar
Audible Alert
Waterproof
Personalised Goal
Garmin Connect

Sync Your Tracker
Heart Rate Monitor
VivoFit 2 Belt Clip
Replacement Bands
MyFitnessPal
Difference between VivoFit and VivoFit 2
Replace VivoFit 2 Batteries
Buy VivoFit 2


If you've never heard of the Garmin VivoFit 2 activity tracker before now, or you want to see what's in the retail box then take a look at this video before we get started..


This video from Garmin will give you a quick overview of the features of the VivoFit 2 before I go into more detail...


The VivoFit 2 Activity Tracker

Ever since using a very basic pedometer, and seeing how much it made me walk more, I've wanted to invest in a decent fitness tracker.

I didn't want anything super-fancy, nor anything super-expensive, so like most people, I set about doing some research online to see what was available, who made what and what the pricing was for such devices.

After weighing up all the pro's and con's of the many trackers available, I ended up buying the Garmin VivoFit 2 fitness tracker (for AUD$94 @ Rebel Sports / Tee Tree Plaza, SA) and here's why..


Battery Life


I knew from the outset that I did not want to be wearing a device, that was going to replace my watch, that needed to be charged daily. To me that was just too much of an inconvenience.

This pretty much reduced the list of possibles to just the Vivofit2 with its 1 year(+) battery life, straight off the bat… but, wait.. There's more..




Display

move bar on display The VivoFit 2 is very, very easy to read, both in terms of its backlit display and the large size of the numbers and information displayed.

The only thing that took me a little bit of getting used to was the fact that the display is now read horizontal, as opposed to vertical, across the arm like it was with my normal watch.

This was easy to get used to and more than made up for with the large backlit display.

Also, I've never felt I wanted to go back to my watch after replacing it with this tracker.


Move Bar

The unique 'move bar' on many of the Garmin fitness trackers is what 'keeps you moving'. The move bar consists of two parts; a solid red bar, followed by a dashed red bar.

  move bar after 2 hours  

The first red bar appears after the VivoFit 2 detects that you haven't been active enough for the last hour.

If you still haven't been active an hour later, the rest of the red bar fills up and flashes. Not only that, but..


Audible Alert

With each red bar the VivoFit 2 will make an audible alert, that is; after one hour it will beep, and if you've been inactive for two hours it will beep again!

I should note that the audible alert from this tracker is very subtle, so much so that for the first day I was convinced that mine didn't beep, it took me that long to get attuned to the sound it makes, which is good, because I was wondering if I had to silence it if I ever went to the cinema (or the like) sitting for more than an hour, but alas, no problem at all because it's (more or less) just subtle enough for you to hear.


Waterproof

The tracker and band are fully waterproof with a rating of 5 ATM (withstands pressures equivalent to a depth of 50 meters). So wearing it in the pool, bath or shower, or under sprays of water/rain, have no effect on its functionality.

I've tested it myself, in the shower, and it had absolutely no effect other than giving me quite a considerable number of steps just for washing and drying my hair.


Personalised Goal

I guess I should mention that the VivoFit 2 does cover the obvious features (such as time, date [ and yes, you can configure the format of the date to the standard Australian format dd/mm ] as well as tracking your steps! [ ..and approximations of distance travelled and calories burned]). It does, also, have the ability to configure the length of your stride, if you want better accuracy of distance measured by the device.

Beyond the step tracking, the Garmin VivoFit 2 has the ability to set a 'personalised goal' for you. What this means is, that you don't just have a fixed number of steps to do each day (though you can set it for that too, if you want, at any number you like) the device will watch how many steps you do a day, and give you an auto-goal based on that, whereby, if you consistently reach a certain range of steps a day, will set a slightly higher target for the next day (like about 200-300 more steps) or reduce it if you are not reaching the current goal.

I found this really useful to a point. It helped me get up to over 10,000 steps a day, and kept getting higher and higher. At the time (around Christmas/Summer) I was getting too busy to do more than 10,000 steps a day, so I locked in a fixed goal for the foreseeable future.

It's good to have the flexibility of both systems at any time.


Garmin Connect

The beauty of this device is seeing what you've done, and how much you have to do (goal steps).. But the bonus, once you've done that is that the device will sync with the 'cloud' (read: online) where it stores all of this for you so that you can peruse a series of charts and tables with your current and historical data.

Not only that, you can connect with friends who are on Garmin Connect as well (if they have a compatible Garmin fitness tracker) which makes it ever more fun to compare and see a ladder of who's done the most each week.

  garmin connect mobile app screenshot Garmin Connect dashboard

The web/computer version of Garmin Connect has a very easy to use and understand dashboard interface.

You can decide which panels you want to show on your dashboard or have multiple tabs with even more!



Garmin Connect is available on the web as well as Android and IOS smartphones, so you can see your charts and historical data on the go and at home, any time you want.

  garmin connect mobile app screenshots large  



Sync your Tracker

Syncing your VivoFit 2 means transferring data between the 'cloud' (Garmin Connect) and your device, and this goes both ways.

There are many settings you can set (when you install) and edit in Garmin Connect, when you do this, some of these settings may affect your device and how it works, such as setting a new fixed goal, these updates only take effect on your device after it has been synced.

At the same time, your tracker data (steps) are sent and added to your daily and historical data.
vivofit2-sync-mode

 

connect-wirelessly-with-usb-ant-stick Your activity tracker comes with an 'Ant stick', this is a tiny USB device with a wireless antenna that you plug into one of your computers USB ports. As per included instructions, you then 'pair' your device with the USB stick and you're done! You can also, optionally, pair your tracker with your smartphone using Bluetooth.

Which ever device you want to sync with it's just a simple matter of 'pairing' it first, so that the devices recognise they are going to talk with each other from now on, as a known pair.

One tip: if you have paired your activity tracker with your computer already and you want to pair with your mobile device, move right away from the computer first, to avoid confusion. Once this is done you never have to do it again.
putting the tracker into pair mode

Synchronising happens automatically with the computer, when it's on and your device is near it (not every time, but at least once per day).

Alternatively, you can put your tracker into sync mode and do it on demand (which is what I generally do).

You can also sync with your mobile anytime, but you have to have the Garmin Connect app open and Bluetooth turned on.  This is a bit more involved and I rarely use this method because of this.

Heart Rate Monitor (Accessory/Bundle)

One of the things that helped me decide which fitness tracker to finally buy, was the fact that I decided that I didn't need a heart rate monitor built in (or bundled in). The VivoFit 2 does give me the best of both worlds though, as I can buy the optional HR monitor later, as an accessory, and use it without any problems.

heart rate monitor bundle The Garmin heart rate monitor that comes in the VivoFit bundles (or bought separately) is a device on a strap that is worn around the chest and wirelessly transmits your heart rate data to the cloud via your ant-stick (USB dongle as mentioned earlier).

The front part of the strap houses the heart rate monitor and is made of flexible plastic, the strap is made of soft fabric and is adjustable to your chest size.

The strap can be removed and washed every now and then.

The heart rate monitor uses a replaceable battery which lasts approximately 3 years (based on one hour a day of use, so your battery life may vary considerably).




VivoFit 2 Belt Clip (Accessory)

Garmin also provide an optional belt clip for this activity tracker for when you might want to keep you wrists free, or already have something else on your wrist/s.

vivofit 2 belt clip garmin belt clip vivofit 2 beltclip side-view

The VivoFit 2 belt clip is designed so that you can just take the tracker out of your wrist band and just slip it into the inside of the belt clip, then it's just a matter of clipping it to you belt (or something) and off you go, with your activity tracked as per normal.



VivoFit 2 Replacement/Fashion Bands (Accessory)

The standard retail box VivoFit 2 comes in the following 5 colours; green, navy, pink, black and white.

  standard vivofit 2 colours australia  


For those after something a bit more fashionable, or just a replacement band, if your included one ever wears out, then Garmin have got you covered.

There are 15 more colours and a variety of colours and patterns to choose from.

The Garmin repalcement bands generally come in packs, or collections, of 3 bands.


replacements bands black blue patterns replacement bands red blue black patterned replacement bands pink orange blue designs

 

replacement bands purple green blue prints replace bands 15 colours


It gets even more exotic from there, whether you're after something more durable, more of a statement, or just something custom designed.

There are a quite a few custom and commercial options available if you look around on the web.

custom designed bands army style band for activity tracker fancy band replacements

 

  exotic band replacements for vivofit2  

 

  signatrure series band replacement bands  

 


MyFitnessPal

At the time of writing Garmin fitness trackers, such as the VivoFit 2 will only work with one 3rd party site, that being the highly popular Myfitnesspal[myfitnesspal.com].

The integration here will allow you to enter your calories consumed into the 3rd party site and see how many calories you have burned on your device.

There is also a panel in Garmin Connect showing you all the relevant details and graphs.


Difference between VivoFit and VivoFit 2


It's very important that you understand the distinction between the Garmin VivoFit (original) and the Garmin VivoFit 2.

vivofit 1 box shot   vivofit 2 retail box shot



You don't want to make the mistake of seeing the original for a good price and thinking it's the version-2 model.

Here are the key differences between the old and new models and why you should ONLY buy the 2, in my opinion…

 

 

VivoFit

VivoFit 2

Automatic Syncing

Backlight

Audible Alert (beeper)

Activity Timer

Secure Band Clasp

Larger, Easier to Press Button

(Optional Buy) Extra Bands in More Colours

(Optional Buy) Belt Clip Band Alternative



Replacing the Batteries in the VivoFit 2


Replacing the batteries, once a year, is a simple task of removing the tracking module from the band and unsrewing four screws and swapping the two CR1632 coin cells for two new ones.

See the official guide to the VivoFit 2 battery change if you're still not sure.


Buying Garmin VivoFit 2


Most places have this activity tracker for over $100 and under $200. A good price to buy one is around $100. I bought mine for $94 in a bricks and mortar store on sale (Rebel Sports) which was the best price at the time (November 2015).

Lots of stores stock them; sports shops, electronics and whitegoods stores and even adventure equipment stores. The easiest way to find the best price is to look around online, particularly in highly competitive sale times (end of financial year/stocktake and pre-Christmas etc).

Also keep a keen eye on the mailed catalogues from the above mentioned type stores.

Good luck finding the Garmin VivoFit 2 at the best possible price. It's certainly kept me active and made me fitter!

 

 


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