Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs Fitbit Charge 5: An In-Depth Comparison

In the world of fitness trackers, two models that frequently come into competition are the Garmin Vivosmart 5 and the Fitbit Charge 5.

Having personally tested both devices, I found they each offer unique features and benefits tailored to different user preferences.

Both of these fitness trackers come from brands with strong reputations in the health and wellness tech industry, and it’s evident that they’ve poured their expertise into these devices.

The Garmin Vivosmart 5 excels in areas like battery life and durability, while the Fitbit Charge 5 boasts an impressive array of health monitoring features and a sleek design.

From my experience, picking between the two models often comes down to what specifics users value most in their fitness journey, whether it’s the comprehensive health data from Fitbit or the sport-focused features and robust build of the Garmin.

Key Takeaways

  • Both Garmin Vivosmart 5 and Fitbit Charge 5 cater to different user needs with distinct advantages.
  • The Garmin boasts a sturdy design and long battery life, while Fitbit excels in health tracking and a polished aesthetic.
  • Choosing the right device depends on whether users prioritize fitness specifics or comprehensive health data.

Overview of Garmin Vivosmart 5 and Fitbit Charge 5

In examining the Garmin Vivosmart 5 and Fitbit Charge 5, it becomes apparent that both fitness trackers offer unique features within the same market space.

Brand Heritage


  • Established: I have observed Garmin as a brand known predominantly for its GPS technology and outdoor-focused devices.
  • Market Position: They have successfully leveraged this expertise in creating fitness trackers like the Garmin Vivosmart series, where the Vivosmart 5 is the latest example of their innovation.


  • Established: Fitbit stands as a pioneer in the health and wellness industry, credited with popularizing fitness trackers.
  • Market Position: Their product line, including the most recent Fitbit Charge 5, focuses on blending style with health monitoring, bringing detailed insights into everyday fitness routines.

Product Line Evolution

Garmin Vivosmart 5:

  • Evolving Features: Throughout my time with the device, I’ve noticed it builds on the legacy of the Vivosmart lineup, prioritizing comfort and battery life while incorporating advanced health tracking functionalities.
  • Primary Focus: Garmin places an emphasis on comprehensive health metrics without additional subscription fees, which is a significant plus for long-term use.

Fitbit Charge 5:

  • Evolving Features: The Charge 5 represents the evolution of the Fitbit Charge series with its enhanced display and added health features, such as an electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor for stress management, which I’ve found to be quite insightful.
  • Primary Focus: Fitbit maintains a strong focus on holistic health, from activity tracking to sleep patterns, and the Charge 5’s design reflects a convergence of fitness smartwatch features in a compact form factor.

Design and Display

In my hands-on experience with both the Garmin Vivosmart 5 and Fitbit Charge 5, I’ve scrutinized their design aesthetics and display technologies, which are crucial aspects for users who prioritize both functionality and style in their fitness trackers.

Physical Build

The Garmin Vivosmart 5 presents a utilitarian design that focuses on comfort and durability. It has a silicone band that feels soft against the skin, suitable for all-day wear and intense workout sessions. This tracker doesn’t strive for flamboyance but opts for a straightforward, minimalistic approach that appeals to users who favor function over form.

In contrast, the Fitbit Charge 5 elevates design with a more modern and sleek appearance. Constructed with a smooth metal case, it feels premium on the wrist. The Charge 5’s band’s secure latch mechanism assures that the tracker stays in place during vigorous activities, preventing any sliding or discomfort.

Screen Technology

When I evaluated the screen technology, significant differences emerged. The Garmin Vivosmart 5 is equipped with an OLED touchscreen display that provides clear visuals and responsive touch controls. However, one limitation I noticed is the lack of an always-on display option, which some users might miss for quick glances during their daily routines.

The Fitbit Charge 5, on the other hand, features a vibrant AMOLED touchscreen that offers an always-on display choice, ensuring that time and essential stats are readily accessible without the need to wake the screen. This feature is particularly useful during workouts or when your hands are occupied. Additionally, the screen on the Charge 5 is noticeably larger, offering better visibility and easier interaction.

Both displays deliver crisp information and possess good visibility in various lighting conditions, thanks to the OLED and AMOLED technologies renowned for deep blacks and high contrast. But Fitbit’s Charge 5 capitalizes on its screen’s real estate and always-on capability to attract users looking for convenience and style.

Health and Fitness Features

In my experience with the Garmin Vivosmart 5 and the Fitbit Charge 5, assessing their health and fitness features revealed both devices offer a comprehensive range of tracking options. These include but are not limited to heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and exercise tracking, which cater to various fitness activities and health metrics.

Fitness Tracking Capabilities

Both the Garmin Vivosmart 5 and the Fitbit Charge 5 offer robust fitness tracking capabilities. I found that both devices accurately count steps and have multiple sports modes, from running to cycling and even yoga, for tailored workout tracking. The Vivosmart 5, although it does not have built-in GPS, connects to the phone’s GPS to track pace and distance during outdoor activities. The Charge 5 features an onboard GPS, allowing me to leave my phone at home during runs.

In terms of cardio-centric features, each tracker provides heart rate monitoring. They include HIIT and cardio workout profiles and can measure VO2 max, which indicates aerobic fitness. Both have fitness age features, using various metrics to inform the user if their fitness level corresponds with their chronological age.

Table: Fitness Tracking Comparison

FeatureGarmin Vivosmart 5Fitbit Charge 5
Step TrackingYesYes
Sports ModesMultipleMultiple
GPSConnected GPSBuilt-in GPS
Heart Rate MonitoringYesYes
VO2 MaxYesYes
Fitness AgeYesYes

Advanced Health Monitoring

When it comes to advanced health monitoring, the Fitbit Charge 5 boasts an ECG app and provides stress tracking through an EDA sensor that can also inform stress score. During my use, this feature helped me understand my body’s response to stressors, thus enabling better management of my overall well-being.

Both fitness trackers monitor sleep, but the Fitbit offers a sleep score, which I found useful for summarizing the sleep quality each night. Additionally, the Charge 5’s skin temperature sensor has added an extra layer of health insight, especially useful to consider during workouts and to track potential signs of illness.

The Vivosmart 5 distinguishes itself with the Body Battery feature, which measures my energy levels throughout the day by combining heart rate variability (HRV), stress, and activity data to suggest optimal times for activity or rest. It also tracks respiration and blood oxygen levels with its SpO2 sensor during the night, which can be a critical aspect for athletes or individuals with specific health concerns.

Table: Advanced Health Monitoring Comparison

FeatureGarmin Vivosmart 5Fitbit Charge 5
ECG (Electrocardiogram)NoYes
Stress TrackingYesYes (with EDA sensor)
Sleep TrackingYesYes (with Sleep Score)
Body BatteryYesNo
Skin TemperatureNoYes
SpO2 SensorYes (overnight tracking)Yes

From running to yoga, and from daily readiness to sleep quality, these devices offer a substantial look into one’s personal health and fitness realms. The choice between them depends on what specific features align best with your lifestyle and health tracking needs.

Connectivity and Smart Features

When comparing the Garmin Vivosmart 5 and the Fitbit Charge 5, I found that both offer a suite of connectivity and smart features that enhance their functionality beyond mere fitness tracking.

Smartphone Integration

Garmin Vivosmart 5: In my experience, the Vivosmart 5 integrates smoothly with smartphones, delivering notifications for calls, texts, and app alerts. Through the Garmin Connect app, the tracker allows for a detailed overview of my fitness data. It lacks built-in GPS but can use connected GPS by pairing with my phone, which is a handy option when I need to map my outdoor activities.

Fitbit Charge 5: The Charge 5 also offers solid smartphone integration. I get my notifications directly on my wrist and can use the connected GPS feature when my smartphone is nearby. Additionally, the Fitbit app serves as a central hub for all my statistics and health metrics, which I find useful for tracking my progress over time.

Payment and Music Options

Garmin Vivosmart 5: While the Garmin Vivosmart 5 doesn’t have music storage capabilities or support for music control, it does include Garmin Pay. This contactless payment solution has worked seamlessly for me during my workouts, allowing me to make purchases with just my wrist when I’m on the go.

Fitbit Charge 5: Fitbit Pay is available on the Charge 5, enabling me to make secure transactions from my tracker. This feature has been particularly convenient during runs when I prefer to carry as little as possible. However, similar to the Garmin model, it does not have onboard music storage, but it can control music playing on my phone via Bluetooth, which is a sufficient workaround for music lovers during a workout.

Battery Life and Charging

In my experience with both the Garmin Vivosmart 5 and Fitbit Charge 5, two factors stand out: how long the device lasts on a single charge, and the convenience of recharging it.

Battery Longevity

Garmin Vivosmart 5:

  • Battery life: Up to 7 days on a single charge.

Fitbit Charge 5:

  • Battery life: Approximately 7 days under typical usage.

In terms of battery longevity, both devices offer a full week’s worth of charge. This allows you to track your activities and sleep without the concern of daily charging.

Charge Time and Methods

Garmin Vivosmart 5:

  • Charging method: Proprietary clip-on charger.
  • Time to charge: Roughly 2 hours for a full charge.

Fitbit Charge 5:

  • Charging method: Magnetic charger.
  • Time to charge: 1 to 2 hours to achieve a full charge from zero.

Both trackers require a proprietary charger, meaning you’ll need to use the charging cable and dock provided by the respective companies. The Garmin Vivosmart 5 and Fitbit Charge 5 have similar charge times, so you can quickly get back to tracking your activities without extensive downtime.

Price and Value for Money

When considering the Garmin Vivosmart 5 and Fitbit Charge 5, price and the value you receive for your investment are two crucial factors to examine. I’ve taken a detailed look at how each device measures up in these respects.

Pricing Comparison

In my assessment of the market, the Fitbit Charge 5 is listed at a retail price of $149.95. It offers color options like Steel Blue/Platinum, Black/Graphite, and Lunar White/Gold. On the other hand, the Garmin Vivosmart 5 doesn’t stray far from this price point, though exact figures can vary based on the retailer and location.

DeviceRetail Price
Fitbit Charge 5$149.95
Garmin Vivosmart 5Around $149.95

Subscription Services

Fitbit Premium is an added value when purchasing the Charge 5, with a six-month inclusive subscription. This service offers a host of features like personalized insights, guided programs, and advanced metrics that can be a deciding factor for users looking to maximize their health and fitness investment.

In my time with both devices, I found that each offers robust tracking capabilities and insight into health and fitness. While Garmin doesn’t bundle a similar subscription service with the Vivosmart 5, they have a solid platform that may not necessitate an additional subscription for some users.

It’s important to consider not only the upfront cost but also long-term value based on individual usage and the potential benefits each brand’s ecosystem may offer.

Compatibility and Ecosystem

When I examined the compatibility and ecosystem of the Garmin Vivosmart 5 and the Fitbit Charge 5, I found that both offer a distinct experience, interfacing with their respective apps and devices. While both trackers pair with phones using Bluetooth, their supporting apps and the range of complementary devices cater to different user preferences and needs.

Supporting Apps

Garmin Connect:

  • Platform Compatibility: Available on both iOS and Android, the app syncs seamlessly with the Vivosmart 5.
  • Features: It provides detailed activity tracking, sleep monitoring, and personalized insights. However, for advanced analysis and coaching features, a separate app, Garmin Coach, is necessary.

Fitbit App:

  • Platform Compatibility: Also accessible on iOS and Android, this app serves as the hub for the Charge 5.
  • Features: It offers a comprehensive view of daily stats, sleep tracking, and has a social component that Garmin lacks, fostering community engagement through challenges.

Complementary Devices

Garmin Ecosystem:

  • Compatibility extends beyond fitness trackers, integrating with a range of Garmin devices including the Fenix series.
  • Notably, my Fenix 7 watch and the Vivosmart 5 can exist within the same Garmin ecosystem, allowing data and settings to be managed from a single Garmin Connect account.

Fitbit Ecosystem:

  • Fitbit streamlines its compatibility mainly with its own range of fitness wearables and smart scales.
  • While it doesn’t cater to devices like high-end GPS sports watches, the simplicity ensures a focused, user-friendly environment for managing health and wellness.

Customer Reviews and Feedback

When reviewing the Garmin Vivosmart 5 and Fitbit Charge 5, I found numerous customer opinions and professional appraisals that have painted a detailed picture of the user experience with each device.

User Satisfaction

In my analysis of user reviews for both the Garmin Vivosmart 5 and the Fitbit Charge 5, I’ve noticed clear trends in customer satisfaction. With the Garmin Vivosmart 5, customers commonly praise its comfort and battery life. However, some have mentioned limitations, such as the lack of built-in GPS and floor climb tracking. Conversely, the Fitbit Charge 5 often receives commendation for its comprehensive health tracking features and onboard GPS, but there are mentions of a desire for a larger display.

  • Garmin Vivosmart 5
    • Comfort: Frequently mentioned as a positive.
    • Battery Life: Consistently lauded.
    • GPS: Noted absence.
    • Floor Climb Tracking: A requested feature that is missing.
  • Fitbit Charge 5
    • Health Features: Widely appreciated.
    • GPS: Praises for the built-in functionality.
    • Screen Size: Some users desire a larger display.

Expert Opinions

As for professional evaluations, these two activity trackers have been rigorously examined. Experts admire the Fitbit Charge 5 for being one of the best trackers available, with its in-depth health insights and sleek design being highlights. On the other hand, the Garmin Vivosmart 5 has been recognized for its durability and reliable notifications system. Experts do, however, mark it down for the omission of a GPS module, an inclusion that would enhance its utility for outdoor fitness enthusiasts.

  • Garmin Vivosmart 5
    • Durability: High marks from reviewers.
    • Notifications: Applauded for the system’s reliability.
  • Fitbit Charge 5
    • Health Insights: Experts rate it highly for the detailed metrics.
    • Design: The sleek form factor is commonly praised.

Conclusion and Recommendations

In my examination of the Garmin Vivosmart 5 and the Fitbit Charge 5, I’ve gathered some key insights that should inform your purchase decision.

Final Thoughts

The Garmin Vivosmart 5 offers a user-friendly experience with its larger display and intuitive touchscreen and button interface, which I found enhances usability. Its seven-day battery life and durability with water and dust resistance make it a solid contender. Conversely, the Fitbit Charge 5 includes built-in GPS, a feature that provides significant value for those who like to map their runs and outdoor activities. Moreover, its health tracking features, such as stress management and sleep monitoring, bring a comprehensive approach to wellness.

Best Use Cases

Garmin Vivosmart 5:

  • Ideal for individuals who prioritize a longer battery life and a larger display for easy readability
  • Suitable for those who require a sturdy fitness tracker that can withstand diverse environments

Fitbit Charge 5:

  • Perfect for serious runners and outdoor enthusiasts who greatly benefit from onboard GPS
  • Recommended for users who are focused on a wide range of health metrics, including advanced sleep tracking and stress management features


  • Matthew

    Meet Matthew, a wearable tech & fitness enthusiast passionate about transforming health through innovative devices. With an engineering background and a love for fitness, Matthew shares in-depth reviews, tips, and news on the latest wearable tech to help you achieve your fitness goals.

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