Garmin ​Vivosmart HR tips and tricks

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The Garmin Vivosmart HR and its slightly improved brother the Vivosmart HR+ are some of our favourite fitness trackers here at Wareable.

The two bands have reviewed well in our tests, especially the Vivosmart HR+, which is now our top choice for runners who'll get extra mileage from the built-in GPS.

Essential reading: Garmin Fenix 5 review

But there's more to these devices than meets the eye, and there's a bunch of hidden options that makes your Vivosmart experience even better. Read on for our Garmin Vivosmart HR tips.

Custom stride length for treadmill running

One for Vivosmart HR users who don't have the benefit of GPS, this trick can sharpen up distances and spare you taking your phone out for a run. It's also dead useful for treadmill users, too.

First you'll have to run a set distance so head down to your local running track and run 400m. Note the amount of steps. In the Garmin Connect app go to menu > Garmin devices > User Settings > Custom Stride length and enter the distance you ran and the amount of steps. That will determine your stride length, which will in turn, make non-GPS runs more accurate.

Change your goals

By default your Garmin Vivosmart HR device will automatically set you goals based on your exercise history, and these will change the longer you use your device. Of course, you can change these within Garmin Connect.

It took us about 40 minutes to find this option, so let's save you some time. Go to Garmin Connect ( and then Menu > Devices. Head into your activity tracking device and then go to User Settings. Go down and head to Goals. Turn off Auto Goal if it's on and then type in the amount of steps you want to hit. Don't forget to press Save.

Use your Garmin as a HR monitor

Garmin ​Vivosmart HR tips and tricks

You can also pair the Garmin Vivosmart HR up to other Garmin devices and use the heart rate monitor in Broadcast Mode. This would be a whole lot better if it was open to apps like Strava or RunKeeper, but there you go.

On the device, head to Setting > Heart Rate and swipe to Broadcast Mode and tap the option to start. Then fire up your Garmin device that you want to receive the data. This is good for cycling devices such as the Edge 520 or VIRB action camera which requires external monitors, but could've been so much more useful.

Change running data layout

Garmin ​Vivosmart HR tips and tricks

You can also change the order in which running and sport tracking data is presented mid-workout. If you're the kind of runner who likes to see certain metrics, it means you can customise the experience to be easier for you.

In the web interface for Garmin Connect and then Menu > Devices. Head into your device and then go to Run Settings. A list of menu screens will be displayed numbered from 1-4. You can choose a new order by clicking the drop down menu.

Configure alarm

You can use your Garmin Vivosmart HR as an alarm, but the time has to be set with the Garmin Connect app. Head to settings > Garmin devices > Vivosmart HR and then choose Device settings. The top option is Alarm, which you'll need to toggle on. Set the time and frequency and then hit the back button to have it applied. Your device should sync and the alarm will be set.

Change screen orientation

Garmin ​Vivosmart HR tips and tricks

You can have your Garmin Vivosmart HR set up in portrait or landscape mode, depending how you prefer to use your device. While this option is presented during set up, you can change it at any time.

To customise the screen layout go to Garmin Connect web interface and then Menu > Devices. Head into your device and select Device Settings. At the bottom you can choose the orientation, and also choose which wrist you wear your tracker on, too.

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James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

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