Garmin Vivomove Development overview: trending smarter

I had excessive expectations once I first strapped on the Garmin Vivomove Development — and I’ve by no means felt that manner a couple of Garmin hybrid smartwatch. Because the identify suggests, hybrids mash collectively the look of an analog watch (together with actual palms!) with the smarts of a health tracker. The factor is, whereas Garmin’s earlier hybrids had been beautiful, they had been way too expensive. However final yr’s glorious Vivomove Sport bucked that pattern. The entry-level Sport was the primary time I really felt that Garmin obtained the right combination of type and performance. It was cute, fairly priced, and hit all the correct notes for a primary health tracker. The Development (beginning at $269.99, $299 as examined) was both going to maintain that momentum going or slide again into previous habits.

After about two weeks with the Vivomove Development, I’m inclined to say the previous — with a number of caveats.

A very powerful replace with the Development is the very fact it helps wi-fi charging. That’s a primary for any Garmin, which is wonderful when you consider it. It’s 2023, and the overwhelming majority of smartwatches way back switched from clip-style pin chargers to teeny inductive pucks (that, infuriatingly, aren’t compatible across brands). It’s one more signal that whereas Apple and Samsung are encroaching on Garmin’s turf, Garmin isn’t about to only let it occur.

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Wrist sweet for the life-style crowd

Garmin watches have a status for being ugly, cumbersome, and thick. The Development isn’t any of these issues. Whereas the Vivomove Sport had a cuter Swatch-y design, I’d describe the Development as elegantly sporty. It’s the kind of gadget I’d count on to see at a high-end yoga studio, worn by an individual who reveals up in an identical ‘match, manicured nails, and impossibly white sneakers.

That’s solely the primary picture that popped into my head — most likely as a result of that’s the model of me I needed I used to be whereas testing the Development. (Alas, my ‘suits are extra sensible than cute, my nails are chipped, and it’s been years since my sneakers had been white.) Garmin says the Development is focused towards ladies, however its design isn’t so female that it’s solely for ladies. I may simply see it on the wrist of a businessperson in a snazzy swimsuit saying smart-sounding issues about EBITDA margins, particularly since there’s an all-black model, and you may swap the straps out for any commonplace 20mm band. It’s obtained a 40mm case, however there are many individuals who choose that to bigger ones. The Development received’t enchantment to anybody on the lookout for a rugged vibe, but it surely’s not meant to.

Shot of Garmin Vivomove Trend on a person’s watch with the hidden display visible.

The gold variations of the Development value $299.99 — $30 greater than the bottom mannequin.

The Garmin Vivomove Trend’s sensor array

The Development has a steady coronary heart charge monitor, blood oxygen monitor, accelerometer, and barometric altimeter.

The Development is supposed to be the midrange possibility within the Vivomove lineup. Not like the costlier Vivomove Style and Vivomove Luxe, it has a plastic case and a liquid crystal show, and the lens is manufactured from chemically strengthened glass. However I by no means felt the Development was a downgrade. It helps that the Development has a stainless-steel bezel — it’s a small change, but it surely elevates the general look.

Extra importantly, it’s light-weight at 43 grams with the strap, making it excellent for on a regular basis put on. It didn’t weigh my arm down whereas understanding, I by no means felt the urge to tear it off whereas sleeping, and it by no means caught on my sleeves. It has 5ATM of water resistance, which suggests you may hop within the pool with it and be effective, although I wouldn’t as a result of touchscreens and water don’t combine. Nonetheless, you don’t should take it off in case you’ve obtained a pile of dishes to scrub, get caught in a downpour, or have to wrestle a prickly cat into the bath.

Sensible sufficient

A hybrid watch isn’t going to be the neatest wearable on the block. However in case you’re not trying to management a sensible McMansion, the Development has an important mixture of primary and trendy options.

Take the hidden show. It’s a staple on all of the Vivomove watches, however really, it by no means will get previous. You both flick your wrist up, or faucet the show and increase. Your information and watchfaces seem like a ghostly futuristic hologram.

I like these hidden shows as a result of it’s a intelligent option to convey analog model into the fashionable period, all whereas being adaptable to completely different worth factors. Just like the entry-level Sport, the Development opts for monochrome LCD as a substitute of the colour OLED you’ll discover on the costlier Vivomove watches. However in contrast to the Sport, the Development’s hidden shows assist you to view information on the whole display as a substitute of simply the underside half. That makes it a lot simpler to learn full notifications and navigate menus.

The are a number of downsides. One is that there’s no bodily buttons — and no crown — and touchscreens may be finicky in case you’re sweaty or sporting gloves. The hidden show may get washed out in brilliant lighting, however you can tweak brightness ranges to assist mitigate that. I’d additionally adore it if the show itself had been extra responsive, however having tried nearly each Vivomove gadget, the Development’s show is certainly an enchancment from earlier fashions.

Close up of Garmin Vivomove Trend display

The Vivomove Development can go as an analog watch with out the show on.

You’ll additionally get the fundamentals like push notifications, media controls, discover my cellphone, discover my watch, alarms, timers, and the analog palms mechanically transfer out of the way in which while you’re viewing information, calendar and climate widgets, or texts. Android customers may reply to texts and reject cellphone calls. The Development contains extra superior communication options, too, like contactless fee through Garmin Pay and security options corresponding to fall detection and reside monitoring. The security options aren’t as polished as what you’ll get from Apple or Samsung, however they’re there in case you want them.

Since this can be a life-style watch, you received’t have LTE connectivity, although you do get Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and ANT Plus. It additionally solely helps GPS through your cellphone, versus built-in GPS. So this isn’t going to be a standalone look ahead to lengthy solo runs or hikes, but it surely’s greater than satisfactory for conserving you within the loop throughout work or on the gymnasium.


The Development’s greatest flex is that it helps Qi wi-fi charging. As I discussed earlier, it’s the primary Garmin ever to take action. And I’m joyful to report that it really works. My Qi chargers are nothing particular — they’re from some no-name model and price me $9. I plopped it down, the analog palms moved out of the way in which, and a lil charging icon popped up.

After all, wi-fi chargers may be fussy. You gotta ensure your gadget traces up with the coil, and at the very least on my charger, there’s no magnet to lock the smartwatch in place. They’re additionally not as quick as wired chargers. However I loved plopping the Development down on my Qi desk charger whereas I labored, and it’s nice that you should use any present Qi chargers you may have, particularly because it reduces your reliance on proprietary chargers, which may be costly to interchange, contribute to e-waste, and are a ache within the butt.

Close up of Garmin Vivomove Trend charging on a Qi charger.

The analog palms will transfer out of the way in which when it’s time to learn notifications. The Development’s show additionally shows info on the whole display.

The one catch is in case you don’t have a Qi charger already, the Development doesn’t include one. (It does, nevertheless, include a proprietary Garmin charger.) That, and there are some bunk Qi chargers on the market. (Professional tip: don’t purchase one you discover within the checkout aisle at TJ Maxx.) However in case you’re eager to strive them out, it’s not a steep funding and a ton of gadgets lately help the Qi charging commonplace.

As for battery life, the Development has an estimated 5 days on a single cost. That’s about what I obtained throughout testing with 24/7 put on, default brightness, extra notifications than I take care of, and about 30-60 minutes of GPS exercise daily. It not so long as you’ll get on another health bands, however battery life closely depends upon your particular person utilization. Not less than now, you might stick a Qi charger in each room, and also you’d be coated.

Informal health

This might not be probably the most hardcore Garmin watch, however the Development doesn’t skimp on well being or health monitoring.

It’s obtained a steady coronary heart charge monitor, barometric altimeter, accelerometer, ambient gentle sensor, and blood oxygen monitoring. It tracks your steps, energy, and flooring climbed and has automated exercise monitoring, too. You’ll have the ability to do coronary heart charge zone coaching, see your VO2 Max, and broadcast your coronary heart charge information to ANT Plus gymnasium tools and equipment. It’s obtained Garmin’s proprietary metrics, like Physique Battery to visualise restoration and health age. You will have mindfulness options and sleep monitoring. We may go on and on, however apart from Garmin’s most intensive training features, you’ll be just about set.

The Garmin Vivomove Trend on top of a phone showing Garmin Connect app

The Development is healthier for informal monitoring.

The Garmin Fenix 7S Sapphire Solar (left) next to the Vivomove Trend

The Garmin Fenix 7S Sapphire Photo voltaic (left) is the higher possibility for endurance sports activities.

That mentioned, I wouldn’t suggest this if need to see a ton of knowledge mid-exercise. It’s obtained nothing to do with accuracy. The Development did properly in my coronary heart charge testing towards the Polar H10. Linked GPS typically isn’t as correct as built-in GPS — which was mirrored in my testing — but it surely’s in the correct ballpark. For instance, a 2.46-mile stroll recorded on my Apple Watch Extremely was logged as 2.57 miles on the Development.

Quite, I wouldn’t suggest attempting to examine your metrics mid-workout as a result of it took me out of the circulation. Between the dimmer show and lack of bodily buttons, swiping via screens was extra distracting than it ought to’ve been.

This tracker is healthier suited to exercises the place you’ll be able to zone out or the place simply getting the credit score for doing one thing is sufficient. I cherished it for walks, mobility work, arm day, and yoga. It was okay for shorter runs, however I’d moderately attain for the Garmin Fenix 7S or the Apple Watch Extremely for half coaching. The identical applies to well being monitoring. Garmin’s sleep monitoring isn’t the most effective I’ve examined, but it surely will get you in the correct ballpark. Coronary heart charge information is nice, however generally your nightly SpO2 will likely be suspiciously low. You most likely received’t like that in case you obsess over numbers, however accuracy is just one side of well being monitoring. The larger purpose is to see your progress over time, and the aptly named Development is greater than geared up to try this.

On the up and up

I’ve observed a pattern with Garmin’s life-style smartwatches: they’re getting smarter. It’s not sufficient to make Apple or Samsung quiver of their boots — however Google would possibly need to take some notes, particularly now that Fitbit has seemingly misplaced its manner with multiday server outages and legacy options disappearing left and proper.

The Garmin Venu Sq 2 was an important lil smartwatch with a quick show that gave the Versa 4 and Sense 2 a run for its cash. The Venu 2 Plus additionally has a beeyootiful show, voice assistant compatibility via your cellphone, and lengthy battery life, and it simply obtained FDA clearance for EKGs. Now, with the Development, Garmin is including wi-fi charging to the combo.

Garmin Vivomove Trend on a Qi charger, next to a purple keyboard and notebook with birds on it.

The Vivomove Development reveals the corporate’s heading in the right direction with its life-style watches.

All of those merchandise — and a few I haven’t talked about — are compelling options to Fitbit. And given Fitbit’s murky function, I’m inclined to suggest Garmin as the higher funding.

The one factor that provides me pause is the Development’s worth. At $270, it’s solely about $30 cheaper than the Vivomove Style. And in case you get the gold variations of the Development, they’re the identical worth. The primary distinction between the 2 is the Development has Qi charging, whereas the Fashion has a hidden colour OLED show and higher supplies. It’ll boil all the way down to what reductions you could find, the colours you need, and whether or not you need the choice of wi-fi charging. That mentioned, I can’t assist however really feel this unnecessarily muddies the waters in an in any other case stable hybrid lineup.

I feel I communicate for all smartwatch reviewers once I say Garmin may stand to pare down its product catalog a bit. However, there’s one thing to be mentioned about an organization that’s delivering this many wearables in such a broad vary of kinds, sizes, worth factors, and have units for informal and hardcore athletes alike. Now, if Garmin manages to determine LTE connectivity and streamline the Join app, I’d say Apple and Samsung are in for some wholesome competitors.