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Garmin Vivoactive 4 and 4s: stainless steel bezel and added functionality (hands-on)

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Garmin Vivoactive 4/4s hands-on
The new Garmin Vivoactive 4 and 4s are here, and these are the watches to get for everyday folks who value a great battery life and an always on display (superhero triathletes better look at the Garmin Fenix 6).

The most notable update to the Vivoactive lineup is not a single feature, but just having two different sizes, a smaller and a larger one, making it easier to pick the right one for different sized wrists. Of course, there are also a few new features that come in handy and music is now included in all models.

We got to spend some time with the Vivoactive 4 series at IFA 2019 in Berlin, and these are our first impressions. In terms of design and style, the body of the Vivoactive 4 remains made of plastic, but the bezel is now made of stainless steel, which gives the watch a bit more of a premium feel. As usual with Garmin, it comes with an interchangeable, industry-standard quick release 18mm band.

And here is a breakdown of what's new...

Vivoactive 4 vs Vivoactive 3:
  • Two sizes: 45mm for Vivoactive 4 and 40mm for 4s
  • Music now comes included
  • Secondary side button (to go back, also marks lap, opens menu)
  • Hydration and Sweat loss tracking
  • Respiration Rate, Breathwork Exercises
  • Animated guided workouts for Strength, Cardio, Yoga, Pilates
  • 24/7 PulseOx blood oxygen tracking
  • 7-day battery life, 5 hours with GPS and Music


Price and Release Date


The Garmin Vivoactive 4 series are a logical update and with the new features also comes a bump in the price:

  • Garmin Vivoactive 4/4S: $350
  • Garmin Vivoactive 3/3 Music: ~$250
  • Garmin Venu: $400

Considering that you can get the earlier model for just around $250, some people might have second thoughts about spending a full $350 on the Vivoactive 4. The nice thing this year is that you do get two different sizes, something that is hugely appreciated.

And if you are looking at the Vivoactive 4, you should also consider the new Garmin Venu, which has a full-color, gorgeous AMOLED screen and even an always-on display option. It's similar in functionality, but does not quite last as long as the Vivoactive 4, plus it also costs a bit more. You can read more about the Garmin Venu here.

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