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Garmin vivosmart 5 vs. Garmin vivosmart 4

When it comes to fitness tracking, Garmin is one of the best brands to consider. For those just starting out, the Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs. Garmin Vivosmart 4 are two great and affordable options to consider. But if you already own the Garmin Vivosmart 4, is it worth upgrading to the Garmin Vivosmart 5? That really depends on how much the upgraded features mean to you.

Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs. Garmin Vivosmart 4: Design and style

Garmin Vivosmart 5

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

First, let’s look at how these two fitness trackers compare when it comes to their designs. The Garmin Vivosmart 5 comes in black, white, or Cool Mint with small, medium, and large-sized bands (the large band only comes in black). It has a bright and large OLED touchscreen display and button, with bands that are interchangeable should you decide to swap to a different color. With the tracker itself made of polycarbonate, the bands are silicone. 

The size is slightly longer and wider than the Vivosmart 4 and the larger display is complemented by a better touchscreen experience. It boasts a 5ATM water-resistance rating so you can jump in the pool, run in the rain, play in the snow, or even shower with it on. You’ll get up to seven days of battery life.

Garmin Vivosmart 4

(Image credit: Garmin)

Comparatively, the Garmin Vivosmart 4, which was introduced back in 2018, comes in gray/rose gold, black/midnight, berry/light gold, and azure blue/silver in small, medium, and large bands (although the large only comes in black). It's slim and fashionable with metal accents, and also has a bright, easy-to-read OLED display. However, the resolution is far less than the Vivosmart 5 at 128x48 pixels compared to 154x88 pixels. That can make a huge difference for some who may find the display on the Vivosmart 4 tough to read or would prefer having a clearer, crisper viewing experience. 

Garmin also says the Vivosmart 5 offers a better overall touchscreen experience, so if you find you don't like the Vivosmart 5's touchscreen, it might be worth the upgrade. 

The Garmin Vivosmart 4 is also swimproof and offers up to a week of battery life.

Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs. Garmin Vivosmart 4: Breaking down the specs

Before we talk about how these two activity trackers functions, let’s break down the specifications to see how they stack up against one another.

Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs. Garmin Vivosmart 4
Garmin Vivosmart 5Garmin Vivosmart 4
CompatibilityAndroid, iOSAndroid, iOS
ColorsBlack, White, Cool Mint Gray/Rose Gold, Black/Midnight, Berry/Light Gold, Azure Blue/Silver
Swappable BandYesYes
Battery LifeUp to 7 DaysUp to 7 Days
AppGarmin ConnectGarmin Connect
Heart Rate MonitoringYesYes
Stress TrackingYesYes
GPSConnectedConnected
Mindful BreathingYesYes
Sleep MonitoringYesYes
Swimproof5ATM5ATM
Phone NotificationsYesYes
Pulse OX SensorYesYes
Garmin PayNoNo
Screen Size0.41 x 0.73 inches0.26 x 0.70 inches
Screen Resolution88 x 154 Pixels48 x 128 Pixels

In many respects, these two fitness trackers are very similar. But there are minor ways they differ that could be deal-breakers.

Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs. Garmin Vivosmart 4: Breaking it down

Garmin vivosmart 5

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

In terms of the main features and functions, the two trackers are nearly identical. They both track steps, heart rate, energy, sleep, and can display notifications from a connected smartphone. They both come with pre-loaded sports apps for walking, running, yoga, cycling, Pilates, and strength training. MoveIQ, meanwhile, can automatically detect certain exercises, like walking, swimming cycling, and elliptical training. Use connected GPS by pairing it with your smartphone to track your route while out for a walk, run, hike, or bike ride. 

They also feature PulseOX blood oxygen saturation measurements and Body Battery energy monitoring, which tells you the best time to be active versus to let your body rest. There’s also stress tracking, relaxation reminders, breathing activities, mindful breathing, women’s health tracking, and more. You can also get a fitness age, which will advise how old you are based on your chronological age along with activity, resting heart rate, and body mass index (BMI).

Garmin Vivosmart 4

(Image credit: Garmin)

Where they differ is that the Garmin Vivosmart 4 can track floor climbs whereas Garmin puzzlingly did away with this feature for the Garmin Vivosmart 5. However, the Garmin Vivosmart 5 also boasts more advanced sleep tracking alongside the bigger and better touchscreen. This includes not only tracking your sleep stages but also Sleep Score and further insights, including respiration while you sleep. 

The Garmin Vivosmart 5 also adds incident detection during selected outdoor activities so messages and live location data can be sent to emergency contacts.

Both work with the Garmin Connect app for connecting with the Garmin online community to compete, share achievements, set goals, and more.  

Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs. Garmin Vivosmart 4: Should you upgrade?

garmin vivosmart 5

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

If you’re buying new, it’s a no-brainer that the newer Garmin Vivosmart 5 is the option to go with. It comes at around the same price and has a larger, better, higher-resolution touchscreen and some neat extras, along with the same important features and functions.

If you value sleep tracking, you’ll get deeper insights, while incident detection is handy to have for someone who might be prone to falls or accidents, or simply if family members like having that peace-of-mind that they’ll be notified should anything happen. In his review, Andrew Myrick says Garmin “made a lot of right decisions when it came to providing an upgraded fitness tracker,” noting that there “aren’t many areas where the Vivosmart 5 disappoints.”

If you’re buying new, it’s a no-brainer that the newer Garmin Vivosmart 5 is the option to go with.

However, it might not be worth upgrading if you already own the Garmin Vivosmart 4. You’ll lose stair climbs, which are a feature that you can easily get used to having and would miss once you don’t. If you find that the screen on the Garmin Vivosmart 4 is not as favorable as you’d like, or if you’re ready for an update, the Garmin Vivosmart 5 isn’t that huge of an investment so it’s worth adopting. 

With that said, both the Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs. Garmin Vivosmart 4 can be classified as “starter” fitness trackers, so if your reason for upgrading is to get something more feature-rich and premium to help you through more intense training, you might want to consider going with one of the best Garmin smartwatches instead or consider other options among the best fitness trackers

Christine Persaud
Christine Persaud

Christine Persaud is a freelance writer for Android Central who has been writing about tech since long before the smartphone was even a "thing." When she isn't writing, she's probably working on her latest fitness program, binging a new (or old) TV series, tinkering with tech gadgets, or spending time with her school-aged son. A self-professed TV nerd, lover of red wine, and passionate home cook, she's immersed in tech in every facet of her life. Follow her at @christineTechCA.