Product review: Running happily with Garmin Vivoactive

I finally decided to buy Garmin Vivoactive to replace my Garmin Forerunner 10. And today, I took my new baby Garmin Vivoactive out for 23 km LSD run for the first time.

1st 10 km   : Padang Merbok to Seri Hartamas Petronas Station via Bukit Tunku route
2nd 13 km  : Seri Hartamas Petronas Station back Padang Merbok via triple hill.

I must admit that this is not my first choice of Garmin GPS watch model due to smaller size screen and it's not a specific GPS watch like Garmin Forerunner 25, Forerunner 230, Garmin Fenix, etc. Besides, I don't intend to track my daily activities including sleeping hours.  

But after running with it for 23 km today, I realized that Garmin Vivoactive has offered me 5 strong reasons why I shall fall in love with it compared to Garmin Forerunner 10.

Garmin Vivoactive: 5 great features that take my breath away

1.  10 hours of GPS tracking

Garmin claims a 3-week battery life with 10 hours of GPS tracking.

I haven't tested out if it lasts that long yet, but for sure it is double the 5-hour battery life of my old Garmin Forerunner 10 which currently could last only for 3 + hours before it died.

And I'm so happy to know that I can now run a full marathon without having to worry about battery's sudden death after 30 km. :) 

Additionally, now I can even compete in a Half Ironman Triathlon wearing same Garmin Vivoactive for swim, bike, run. 10 hours is more than enough. 

And hey - may be an ultra marathon? :)

Very excited about this longer batter life!

2.  3 data fields on 1 screen

Even though Garmin Forerunner has larger screen, it has only 2 customized data fields per screen. I set 2 screens with customized data fields each: 

1st screen   : pace (average) and distance.
2nd screen  : pace (average) and time

Usually in a race, I need to switch the screen few times to double on the time vs pace.

With Garmin Vivoactive? All the 3 data fields that I require in a race can all be shown on 1 screen. Isn't that awesome? :) Not only that, I could place the most important data field in the center as it's larger too compared to the other 2 data fields.

So now - I just set 1 screen: Time, Pace (average) and Distance

No screen switching is required now. :) But of course, there are 2 other screens which can be customized as well - i.e lap speed / pace / distance and heart rate, etc

3.  Back light stays on 

It's very hard to see clearly the screen on the watch when it's still dark. It's especially true when full marathon usually starts around 3.00 am - 5.00 am. The sky is still dark and street lights are dim unless you run in the city. 

There are also full marathons that start much earlier. Penang Bridge International Marathon starts around 1.30 am. And then there is the night marathon - Putrajaya Night Marathon.

How on earth to see what's on the GPS watch if it's so dark? Well, a runner can always turn the back light of the watch on. And that usually will be 30-60 seconds of back light, may be? After which, the light will dim and a runner can't see clearly what's on GPS watch again.

This morning I started running at 6.00 am. It was still dark and I couldn't really see my Garmin Vivoactive screen. What made it worse is that the 3 data fields on 1 screen also means now I need to squeeze my small eyes to see. So small. So dim. I was frustrated!

Thanks to the feature called "back light lights on"! Once I set it to "back light lights on', the back light stays on throughout the whole running.  

Wow! This means now I can really turn the back light on throughout the whole race so that I would have no trouble seeing my pace, time and distance. I'm very impressed by this feature indeed!

4.  Bye bye! Garmin Express! (Thanks to Auto sync to Garmin Connect mobile!)

I remember my old days of using Garmin Forerunner 10. :)

I needed to connect via a cable to my laptop, then synchronize the latest running data with Garmin Express on my laptop. When I was sharing my running info via Facebook, I had to do screen shot of my running details from Garmin Express.  

A bit primitive by today's standard especially with today's advanced technology in mobile apps. 

Therefore, I really love the Garmn Connect Mobile, which is a perfect partner to Garmin Vivoactive. It automatically synchronizes with each other with the enabled blue tooth

After that, I can just view my running history, details and analysis from Garmin Connect mobile app. 

So convenient and fast! 

Officially, I am saying bye-bye to Garmin Express! :)

5.  Not a complete triathlon GPS watch, but close enough 

Last but not least, I can now go beyond running!!! 

Forget about the calories counting, step counting daily tracking feature. Besides running. I am talking about the fact that I can also use the same Garmin Vivoactive for swimming and cycling too.  The features might not be as advanced as a full-blown triathlete watch (i.e Garmin Fenix 3), but it's good enough for a newbie triathlete like myself. 

Besides, Garmin Vivoactive is much cheaper, about less than half of the price of a Garmin Fenix 3 watch. 

I have tried out the swimming app but haven't tried out the cycling app yet. I will write separately on both the swimming and running.

Does this mean I can really monitor my speed / pace, time and distance in a half ironman next round with 3 different mobile apps? I believe so. May be only the very basic information but I believe it might be sufficient enough. 

Hey - I so look forward to testing out and participating in a half ironman triathlon wearing Garmin vivoactive watch throughout the whole race! This is something my old 5-hour GPS tracking Garmin Forerunner 10 can't do.  :)

Written on: 2016.11.06


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