Garmin Vivomove HR review


The Vivomove HR is one of the best-looking smartwatches in the market now, and in a relatively uncontested field of hybrid smartwatches, it’s certainly the best one too. As the name suggests, it combines both an analogue and a digital sub-dial that shows essential information such as the time, your heart-rate, the number of steps taken, and call notifications.

There’s no GPS however, so you’re gonna have to depend on your phone instead if you want an accurate running/cycling tracking, but you do get a good array of overall health tracking. It’s a touch screen too, adding an interesting blend of modern technology with ‘old-school’ timekeeping. The hidden digital display technology responds incredibly well and is home to a wide array of features too.

With so much going on and so many options out there, it can be hard to nail which smartwatch you actually want, but we’ll make it easy for you. If you’re looking for a serious activity-tracking smartwatch, this might not be the one for you. But if its style and practicality that you’re looking for, it’s hard to find one better than this. So, let’s take a closer look at the Vivomove HR now shall we?

What’s what


The Vivomove HR is second iteration of the hybrid Vivomove, the brand’s line of traditional looking smartwatches. The watches are Bluetooth smart connected and generally look just like traditional time keepers, but with the sensors and features that you would expect from a smartwatch, though without the full functionality of one. With it, you get a step counter, and a basic sleep and exercise tracker as well.

Garmin has offered users who want something stylish and practical a great entrance into the world of smartwatches with timeless and sleek designs paired with practical and useful functions too.

As we mentioned earlier, the Vivomove HR is an upgrade for the existing Vivomove, which lacked an optical sensor, or any sort of data fields on its display aside from the mechanical step counters, but traded it for superb looks.



With the new Vivomove HR, you get a digital display hidden behind the watch’s dial, and it’s a truly remarkable piece of engineering.

If you look at the watch under any light, you won’t get a trace of a digital display underneath, it just looks like a normal watch. However, just move your wrist or tap on it and the magic happens. The digital display on the dial illuminates as though the entire textured dial is the actual screen housing. The watch is capable of showing all sorts of metrics, with similar data fields to its Vivosmart counterparts. The list includes:

  • Date/day and steps
  • Date/day, time and battery status
  • Steps and step goal for the day
  • Flights of stairs and stair goal for the day
  • Intensity of minutes and total goal for the week
  • Walking distance
  • Music control (for phones)
  • Weather at current location, high and low forecasts
  • Smartphone notifications (texts, social media etc.)
  • Current heart rate and a 7-day resting heart rate
  • Current stress level
  • Calories
  • VIRB active cam remote

The configuration options are plentiful and are all customizable via the Garmin Connect app.

A nice touch that the watch also has is that when the data fields are on, the hands move up and out of the way so that legibility isn’t hindered. And when the display is off, the hands go back to where they were before. It’s the little details like these that really makes the Vivomove HR work for me, it gives you the sense that a lot of thought has been put into this device to make it as user friendly and practical as possible.



The Vivomove HR comes with several strap variations from silicone to leather, though we think that they look better on leather; see the and the  . If you want a more casual or sporty option, the silicone strap is a good option too. The watches also come with quick release strap pins as well, making the strap change a breeze.

Charging-wise, the Vivomove HR runs on the same connector as the Forerunner 735XT, the Forerunner 35 and more. Battery life is pretty good too, clocking in at 5-days in smartwatch mode and an impressive 2-weeks in traditional time-only mode.



One caveat is that it doesn’t have a GPS mode, nor can it tether off your smartphone for GPS functions too. However, it’s capable of tracking/determining VO2MAX which is a nice surprise considering its price point.

The optical sensor on the rear is capable of tracking your resting heart rate 24/7 at 1-2 second intervals and monitoring your daily stress levels too. All of this can be viewed on the aforementioned Garmin Connect app on your phone too.

One more thing you should take note with Vivomove HR, however, is that the digital display may suffer under direct or strong sunlight. And though it isn’t exactly a deal breaker for me, it’s still something you might want to know too.


The Verdict


The Garmin Vivomove HR is a beautiful smartwatch. In fact, it’s probably one of the best-looking smartwatches in the market today. Its functionality and features trail behind full-fledged offerings from the brand or its competitors, however, this isn’t a smartwatch aimed at tech-heads looking for the highest performing smartwatch in the market. Its appeal is much subtler than that.

It’s a move forward in blending modern technology with classic, timeless designs that we’re so familiar and attracted to. Having a hidden digital display on a clean dial that appears whenever you turn your wrist to look at it is a trick that will never grow old for me. It’s brilliant. And if you’re in the market for a watch that you can style effortlessly and offer you the basic functionality and practicality you’d expect from a smartwatch, then it’s certainly hard to do better than the Vivomove HR.