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Garmin’s Vivosmart 5 is a full-fat fitness tracker in a streamlined shell

Hidden talents

Sports watches might be smart at tracking activity, but not everyone wants a whopping great case weighing down their wrist when they work out. Keen for a leaner fitness friend? Enter Garmin’s Vivosmart 5: a low-profile logger that’s smarter than it looks.

Shipped in two sizes to suit wrists big and small, both Vivosmart variants measure in at a miniature 19.5mm wide and 10.7mm slim. Despite the dinky dimensions, the re-styled tracker benefits from an OLED touch display that’s some 66% bigger than before. It’s not the sharpest at 88×154 pixels, but the extra space should make for easier reading on the run.

Simple by design, just a single button lives below the touchscreen. The whole package is swim-proof, too – so you can’t blame the hardware when you skip a drizzly sprint. Switching up your gym style? Garmin’s fifth-gen fitness tracker is the first Vivosmart to feature interchangeable bands. So you can swap from black to mint with the seasons.

Lightweight at less than 27g, the Garmin smartwatch alternative still packs a full complement of fitness features: it can track blood oxygen, respiration, pulse and stress – all day, every day. That’s in addition to the standard step-tracking, sleep-sensing skills you’d expect from any tracker worth its buckle. The resulting data is fed into metrics such as Body Battery and Auto Goal, which provide holistic insights into your general health and activity levels.

Its catalogue of activity profiles isn’t as comprehensive as the arsenal found on Garmin’s multi-sport tickers. But unless you’re training for a heptathlon, you’ll probably be fine with the running, biking and pool swimming modes offered by the Vivosmart 5. There’s also a yoga option for when you get your om on, plus several dedicated gym settings with automatic rep counting – because it’s tricky to keep a tally when you’re focused on the gains.

There’s no GPS built-in, but hook the Garmin Vivosmart 5 up to your blower via Bluetooth and you can record routes through your smartphone. Compatible with iOS and Android devices, the Vivosmart 5 also supports music controls, as well as smart notifications, calendar alerts, weather updates and phone-finding. It all syncs up with Garmin Connect, for easy feedback and configuration.

Good for up to seven days on a single charge, the Garmin Vivosmart 5 should be a tracker you can set and forget. Tempted by faff-free tracking? It’s available now for £130 / $150.