Garmin Vivoactive 4 unveiled – fitness smartwatch aims to be a better workout partner

IFA 2019: Animated workouts and Pulse Ox sensor among the big new features
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Garmin has officially taken the wraps off the Vivoactive 4 and Vivoactive 4S smartwatch – and it's ramping up the health and fitness features.

Available in 40mm and 45mm sizes (the 4S is the 40mm one), both watches will be equipped with the same features, though battery life performances will differ.

Our first thoughts: Garmin Vivoactive 4 review.

The Vivoactive 4 will muster up 8 days in smartwatch mode and 6 hours with GPS and music features in play. The 4S drops down to 7 days in smartwatch mode and 5 hours in GPS and music mode.

On the design front, you're getting a host of color options and metal finishes to choose from and will host the same sized transflective screens.

New workout features

Garmin Vivoactive 4 unveiled – fitness smartwatch aims to be a better workout partner

Those screens will now be able to display Garmin's new animated workouts, with over 40 workouts covering the likes of yoga, Pilates and cardio all covered. You can also build custom workouts and download additional workouts via its Connect IQ platform.

Read this: Best Garmin watch to buy now

GPS will of course be on board to track over 20 built-in indoor and outdoor workouts and there's also Garmin's Elevate heart rate monitor to measure intensity levels.

Garmin Vivoactive 4 unveiled – fitness smartwatch aims to be a better workout partner

That onboard HR monitor also unlocks the ability to gain richer sleep data and can be utilized for Garmin's Body Battery feature, which makes the leap from its Vivosmart fitness tracker to help better assess your energy levels.

Garmin is also bringing other features from its family of wearables to the Vivoactive 4 and 4S including its Pulse Ox sensor, which enables users to activate new respiration tracking to produce more insightful sleep quality data.

It's also going big on mindful features with new mindful breathing features that offer a range of different breathing plans to follow. Those plans include:

  • Tranquility: De-stress and get ready for sleep.
  • Coherence: Make equal timed breaths to achieve a state of calm alertness
  • Relax and Focus: Fourfold breath plan relaxes your body and focuses the mind
  • Relax and Focus (short): Quick fourfold breath plan relaxes your body and focuses the mind

Garmin's new safety and incident detection features it recently rolled out will also help keep you safe if you're out tracking solo.

Better smartwatch features

Garmin Vivoactive 4 unveiled – fitness smartwatch aims to be a better workout partner

There's plenty of smartwatch features here too, including viewing notifications and responding to notifications when paired with an Android phone.

Garmin Pay appears on both models, access to the Connect IQ store and the ability to make your own watch faces.

And the Vivoactive 4 has a built-in music player to transfer over your own tunes or ones from music streaming services like Spotify and Deezer.

Both the Vivoactive 4 and the Vivoactive 4S are on sale now for $349.99 direct from Garmin.

That means they do come in pricier than the Vivoactive 3 and the Vivoactive 3 Music, which launched last year.

We'll be getting our hands on the two new Vivoactives at IFA to see what they're really made of.

How we test

Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

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