Garmin is a leading provider of navigation software and devices for automotive, aviation and marine use, and now utilizes the same technology for Garmin Connect, its signature fitness tracking program. Garmin has been in business since 1990.
- Great features
- All-purpose tracking device
- Innovative technology on devices
Garmin Connect isn't the prettiest software we reviewed, but it's easy to read and includes plenty of useful features: a customizable dashboard, a training calendar, sleep tracking, new route suggestions and performance comparisons to other users who have run the same route. The software takes advantage of Garmin's background in navigation by highlighting its mapping and routing capabilities throughout each various features, which makes this software ideal for runners or cyclists. It also integrates with social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and lets you compete with and encourage friends who use Garmin Connect.
The vívofit is Garmin's all-purpose fitness tracking device. It records steps, distance, elevation, duration and calories burned, and will save 2-3 weeks of history if you forget to sync. In addition, it will remind you to get moving if you've been sitting still for too long. The vívofit is water resistant up to 50 meters, features a sleek design and can be upgraded to include a corresponding heart rate monitor. The base version of the vívofit is $129.99; the bundle that includes the heart rate monitor is $169.99.
Garmin's other devices (the ForeRunner 620 for avid runners, the Approach S6 for golfers and the Edge 510 or Edge Touring Plus for cyclists) will cost you a whopping $299.99-399.99. They offer all the bells and whistles you could want, yes - but unless you're training for the next Olympics, this level of technology is unnecessary; you can still meet and exceed your fitness goals with any of the other less-expensive devices out there.
- Very expensive
- Separate heart rate monitor
- No sleep tracking
Given the inflated prices and sport-specific features of most of Garmin's devices, the vívofit is the only Garmin fitness tracker that's useful for the average Joe. While the vívofit rates high in terms of tracking features and wearability, the separate heart rate monitor is a downside - it could easily be left at home or misplaced.
Garmin Connect doesn't offer the option to track your sleep, so you may want to opt for another company if this is important to you.
The Bottom Line
Though we'd like to see more device options for Garmin Connect, the software is user-friendly and has plenty to offer. In addition, users are bound to see the benefit of using a fitness tracker company that also has a major stake in the navigation industry - Garmin's GPS mapping and tracking features are top-notch.