Bigger can be better

Garmin Vivoactive 4

Vivoactive 4

Small wrists unite

Garmin Vivoactive 4S

Garmin Vivoactive 4s

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 models might be a couple of years old, but it's still one of the company's best smartwatches yet. You get heart-rate monitoring, GPS, activity/sleep tracking, on-screen workouts, and more. The standard model comes in a 45mm case, so it's perfect for large wrists.

From $257 at Amazon

Pros

  • Larger display
  • Longer battery life
  • GPS, HRM, NFC
  • Activity/sleep tracking
  • Pulse Ox, Body Battery

Cons

  • Only two color options
  • Too big for some wrists

All of the amazing features on the Garmin Vivoactive 4 can also be found on the 4S. This smaller variant comes in a 40mm case, so if you don't want the biggest watch on the market, the 4S is a good alternative. It's more lightweight and also offers a few extra color options.

From $269 at Amazon

Pros

  • Great for small wrists
  • Four color options
  • GPS, HRM, NFC
  • Activity/sleep tracking
  • Pulse Ox, Body Battery

Cons

  • Too small for some wrists
  • Shorter battery life

Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs. Vivoactive 4S Size matters

Oftentimes, choosing between two smartwatches can come down to quite a few factors. However, you might be relieved to know that's not the case when deciding between the Garmin Vivoactive 4 and Vivoactive 4S. The only choice you'll need to make is regarding the size.

The standard Vivoactive 4 models are larger than the 4S models. Read on to learn why the Garmin Vivoactive 4 and 4S are two of the best Android smartwatches you can buy and what factors to consider when choosing your size.

The Garmin Vivoactive 4: large and in charge

Garmin Vivoactive 4Source: Garmin

When you compare the Garmin Vivoactive 4 to the older Vivoactive 3, it's easy to see that it's come a long way. Not only do you have two size options, but you also have more features. Let's start with the physical design. Both the 40mm and 45mm models come with a stainless steel bezel and a silicone band.

If you opt for the standard Garmin Vivoactive 4 model, your color options are Slate and Silver. This watch is compatible with 22m interchangeable bands. The good news is that it's easy to find third-party Garmin Vivoactive 4 bands when you want a new style or material.

Garmin Vivoactive 4 Garmin Vivoactive 4S
Dimensions 45.1x45.1x12.8mm 40x40x12.7 mm
Display 1.3" transflective display, 260x260 pixels 1.1" transflective display, 218x218 pixels
Sensors Heart rate, accelerometer altimeter, compass, gyroscope, Pulse Ox, thermometer Heart rate, accelerometer altimeter, compass, gyroscope, Pulse Ox, thermometer
Battery Smartwatch mode: 8 days
GPS with music: 6 hours
Smartwatch mode: 7 days
GPS with music: 5 hours
Connectivity Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi
Water-resistant 5 ATM 5 ATM
Onboard GPS ✔️ ✔️
Garmin Pay ✔️ ✔️
Music storage ✔️ ✔️
On-screen workouts ✔️ ✔️
Incident detection ✔️ ✔️

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 offers a full eight days of battery life in smartwatch mode. When you're in continuous GPS mode, you'll get up to 18 hours of battery life. That figure drops down to 6 hours when you're in continuous GPS mode with music. You'll appreciate the large color display, which is 1.3 inches in diameter. It's a sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) display, so don't expect a brilliant AMOLED display like some other watches have.

Believe it or not, the design isn't the only nice thing about the Garmin Vivoactive 4. The features deserve some recognition, too. In addition to the basics such as onboard GPS, activity/sleep tracking, and heart-rate monitoring, you get some other bonus features as well. Aside from the health and fitness tracking perks, you also get music storage for up to 500 songs and contactless payments with Garmin pay.

The Pulse Ox sensor monitors your blood oxygen saturation levels. You'll have respiration tracking, which tells you how your breathing is throughout the day, during sleep, and during yoga or breathwork activities. Let's not forget about stress tracking, which helps you understand if you're having a balanced, calm, or stressful day. You'll get reminders when your stress levels are high and can partake in a breathing activity to relax.

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 and 4S both offer Body Battery energy monitoring.

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 and 4S offer Body Battery energy monitoring. This features monitors your energy levels throughout the day so you know when to rest and when to work out. You may think you've got it all figured out, but this features digs deeper by collecting data from activity, sleep, stress, and heart rate variability (HRV).

Another neat feature is animated on-screen workouts. You can easily follow along with the animations on your wrist and your watch will track the workout for you. You also get 20 preloaded sports apps on the Garmin Vivoactive 4, including running, cycling, swimming, yoga, and more. You can access preset workouts from the Garmin Connect app or you can choose to follow Garmin Coach training plans.

The Garmin Vivoactive 4S: ideal for smaller wrists

Garmin Vivoactive 4Source: Courtney Lynch / Android Central

You know all of those cool features we just mentioned? They're all present on the Garmin Vivoactive 4S as well. The only difference that will affect your choice is the size and design options. The 4S comes in a 40mm case, which also consists of a stainless steel bezel and a silicone band.

One benefit of choosing the Garmin Vivoactive 4S is the additional color options.

One benefit of choosing the Garmin Vivoactive 4S is the additional color options. The four color options include Slate, Silver, Light Gold, and Rose Gold. Keep in mind the Garmin Vivoactive 4S is compatible with 18mm interchangeable bands. Considering that this Garmin smartwatch comes in a slightly smaller case, the battery is also smaller. You'll get 7 days of battery life in smartwatch mode. Continuous GPS mode gives you 15 hours of battery life. When you add music to continuous GPS mode, the battery will last for up to 5 hours.

As a reminder, you're going to enjoy all of the same perks if you choose the Garmin Vivoactive 4S. That means you get GPS, heart-rate monitoring, activity/sleep tracking, blood oxygen monitoring, stress tracking, Body Battery, music storage, and Garmin Pay. If you don't mind a smaller display (1.1 inches as opposed to 1.3 inches) and slightly shorter battery life, the Vivoactive 4S is a solid option for smaller wrists.

Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs. Vivoactive 4S: Which should you buy?

Garmin Vivoactive 4Source: Garmin

No matter which Vivoactive 4 model you choose, you won't have to worry about missing out on any features. They're identical under the hood, so your ultimate decision will come down to how large you want your watch to be. The price tags aren't drastically different, either.

If you have a small or even medium-sized wrist, you'll probably prefer the Garmin Vivoactive 4S. It takes up less space on your wrist and it's also a bit lighter. The 4S is also available in more color options. If you're an active individual who doesn't want to be weighed down by your smartwatch, the 4S is an excellent choice.

With that said, larger wrists will benefit from the standard model. The regular Vivoactive 4 offers a bigger display, which is always nice. If you don't mind the bigger footprint and the fact that it's a bit heavier, this wearable is the best option for larger wrists and for those who like big displays. Remember, the Vivoactive 4 and 4S offer the same set of features, so size is the main deciding factor here.

Bigger can be better

Vivoactive 4

Garmin Vivoactive 4

For larger wrists

If you don't like to settle for less when it comes to the size of your wearable, you'll likely prefer the Garmin Vivoative 4. It's substantially larger than the 4S and it offers slightly longer battery life, too.

Small wrists unite

Garmin Vivoactive 4s

Garmin Vivoactive 4S

For smaller wrists

Perhaps your wrist isn't particularly large and you don't want a giant smartwatch weighing it down. If that's the case, you'll be better off with the Garmin Vivoactive 4S. It even comes in four color options!

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