Fitbit Inspire 3 and 2 VS Garmin Vivosmart 5 and 4. Here’s what you should know

Garmin vivosmart vs Fitbit Inspire 2

Thinking of a new fitness tracker and looking at Fitbit’s Inspire 3 or 2 and Garmin’s Vivosmart 5 or the older 4? Not sure which one is best for you?

While these models look similar, there are quite a lot of differences between them, especially between Fitbit and Garmin. In particular, Garim’s Vivosmart is generally more expensive than Fitbit’s Inspire.

I also find the Fitbit app to be a lot more user-friendly than Garmin Connect. However, Garmin does not currently charge a membership fee for advanced stats and reports, unlike Fitbit which does charge a monthly or yearly fee for access to its Fitbit Premium membership.

In this article, we put them both to the test and highlight the features and differences in a match of Fitbit Inspire VS Garmin Vivosmart!

So, without any further ado, let us check them out!

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About these fitness trackers

If you don’t know about these devices, both the Fitbit Inspire 3 and 2 and the Garmin Vivosmart 5 and 4 are the company’s budget-friendly smart fitness trackers.

These trackers are optimized to inform you how active you are throughout the day.

They offer some of the basic features of smartwatches, including calories burned, distance traveled, heart rate tracking, step counting, push notifications, phone-connected GPS, and more. 

So, if you’re after things like built-in GPS, ECG, or music storage, we’d advise you to look into a smartwatch instead of a fitness tracker.

Both Samsung’s and Apple’s smartwatches are good options if you want all the bells & whistles that smart devices offer  – don’t forget that they are much more expensive than a fitness tracker.

Onwards to the comparison now!

Fitbit Inspire 3 or 2 VS Garmin Vivosmart 5 or 4: features and specs

So let’s cut straight to the chase and see what these smart fitness trackers offer.

Both options are small, comfortable, and lightweight–and you likely won’t even notice them when you aren’t actively using them.

And both offer sleep tracking, heart rate tracking, connected GPS, excellent battery life, and exercise and activity tracking.

Plus, both brands track VO2max and cardio fitness and are water-resistant, so you can go for a swim or take a shower without worry.

Fitbit Inspire 2 vs. Inspire 3 Fitbit Inspire 3

The differences between the newer Inspire 3 and the older 2 are pretty minor–you get almost all the same features.

The Inspire 3 also has a brighter, full-color touchscreen display, while the Inspire 2 has a grayscale OLED touchscreen. Plus, the Inspire 3 includes a blood oxygen sensor. That’s the main difference.

The Inspire 3 also has an ambient light sensor that increases screen brightness when outdoors.

Both the Inspire 3 and Inspire 2 have a battery life of up to 10 days on a single charge.

Fitbit Inspire 3 Health &-Fitness-Tracker with Stress Management, Workout Intensity, Sleep Tracking, 24/7 Heart Rate and more, Lilac Bliss/Black, One Size (S & L Bands Included)
  • Inspire 3 is the tracker that helps you find your energy, do what you love and feel your best. All...
  • Move more: Daily Readiness Score(1), Active Zone Minutes, all-day activity tracking and 24/7 heart...

Garmin Vivosmart 5 vs Vivosmart 4 Garmin Vivosmart 5

The differences between the newer Vivosmart 5 and the Vivosmart 4 are pretty minor–you get almost all the same features.

The Vivosmart 5 has a slightly larger screen. When paired with an Android phone, you can respond to text messages. And the 5 better sleep analytics but does not track floors climbed. 

The Vivosmart 5 also offers incident detection during selected outdoor activities and can send messages and live location data to your emergency contacts.

So, let’s focus on the unique features that each option offers.

Garmin vívosmart® 5, Fitness Tracker, Long-Lasting Battery, Simple Design, Cool Mint
  • Easy-to-use, comfortable smart fitness tracker, once setup through the Garmin Connect app, has a...
  • Get an uninterrupted picture of your health with up to 7 days of battery life in smartwatch mode;...

Wait, what’s connected GPS? 

A lot of people are confused about this term. 

Simply put, connected GPS uses your smartphone’s GPS to track your location.

So to work, you must have your mobile phone with you if you want to gather GPS data for activities like cycling, running, walking, etc.

Most smartwatches (not all) have built-in GPS, so you do not need to take your paired phone with them to track and map activities.

So if you want to map your run without taking your phone, these trackers aren’t for you. Instead, look for a smartwatch or tracker (like Fitbit’s Charge 4 or 5) with GPS built-in!

About the Fitbit Inspire series 

The Fitbit Inspire series 2+ is a great budget tracker with connected GPS, heart rate monitoring, interchangeable straps, and up to 10 days of battery life. It also has two side buttons for navigation.

Plus, it runs under USD 100, and we’ve seen it as low as USD 70. 

Fitbit’s unique active zone minutes feature weekly active zone minutes summary on Fitbit app

A feature we like on Fitbit’s smartwatches is its tracking of Active Zone Minutes.

Active Zone Minutes calculates how engaged you are in your exercise and how intense your activity is by monitoring your heart rate.

You earn more activity minutes (2X) when you hit your cardio or peak heart rate during exercise. 

The previous Inspire Series devices tracked only Active Minutes, where you earned activity minutes when you moved 10 minutes continuously in an activity like walking or running.

With Active Zone Minutes, you earn active minutes depending on your heart rate during your activity. Fitbit Inspire 2 with active zone minutes

See this article for more active zone minutes: Forget 10,000 steps a day! How to use Fitbit active zone minutes and why they matter 

Fitbit Premium

One of the strongest features that Fitbit Inspire brings to the table is its one-year free Fitbit Premium subscription.

Fitbit Inspire 2 versus Garmin vivosmart

About your Inspire’s free one-year Fitbit Premium subscription

  • Fitbit Premium personalizes all recommendations, workout suggestions, food suggestions, sleep, and all health-related features based on your tracker’s health and fitness data
  • Unlike other trackers that give generalized recommendations, Fitbit tries to understand you and your needs on a personal level
  • Fitbit Premium also provides you with some advanced sleep tools and additional 150+ workouts from well-known fitness brands
  • You also get access to Fitbit Premium Wellness Report, which details your activity, sleep, heart rate, and weight data for the last 12 months. You can also export that report and share it with your healthcare team

The Inspire got style Fitbit Inspire VS Garmin Vivosmart

Another feature not available on Garmin’s Vivosmart is interchangeable bands. 

Fitbit built the Inspire with a removable band that you can swap out to match your style and mood or even put the Inspire in a clip to attach to almost anything or anywhere. wear your fitbit on a clip

Since the band is removable, there are plenty of other options that you can use apart from Fitbit’s standard one. You can also attach third-party bands, so your options are endless.

Unfortunately, Garmin’s Vivosmart doesn’t offer interchangeable bands, and you don’t have that kind of personalization or customization.

So, that points for the Fitbit Inspire!

The Fitbit Inspire does not offer things like seeing your notification history, and it doesn’t have an altitude meter (altimeter) to track climbing stairs, hills, or other elevation changes.

Pros

  • Long battery life of 10 day
  • A larger screen that’s easier to navigate
  • Two side buttons to aid navigation
  • Interchangeable bands to fit your style
  • Tracking active zone minutes
  • Blood oxygen saturation monitoring on the Inspire 3 (SpO2)

Cons

  • No blood oxygen saturation monitoring on the Inspire 2 (SpO2)
  • It does not have built-in GPS
  • No altimeter, so you can’t track elevation changes, like climbing stairs 

Garmin Vivosmart 5 or 4

Garmin’s Vivosmart 5 and 4 cost a bit more than the Inspire series, generally running in the range of USD 125-150.

Both models offer connected GPS, heart rate monitoring, sleep monitoring, and up to 7-days of battery life.

Only the Vivosmart 4 includes an altimeter, so you can track when you climb stairs or any elevation changes (like hiking up hills.) For some reason, Garmin eliminated this feature on the newer Vivosmart 5.

Unlike Fitbit’s Inspire, the Vivosmart 5 and 4 do not have a replaceable band–so if you decide on this model, choose your band size and color wisely.

Garmin’s PulseOx oxygen monitoring oxygen saturation level as percentage on Garmin Vivosmart

What makes the Vivosmart really stand out from the pack of budget fitness trackers is its blood oxygen monitoring.

So, Garmin’s Pulse Ox² sensor is quite a big plus in our book.

This feature is a game-changer for many users, offering a huge advantage compared to similarly priced fitness trackers in the $100 range.

This SpO2 feature works by shining light into the skin and checking how much light is absorbed. You then see its reading as a SpO2 percentage. HR sensor on Garmin Vivosmart 5

Plus, you can take a blood oxygen saturation measurement on-demand at any time while on the Fitbit Inspire that’s only taken at night, while sleeping.

And you can use it overnight to determine your sleep quality. To provide this data, the Vivosmart measures your blood oxygen level, SpO2, for up to 4 hours during your sleep.

Then in your Garmin Connect app or account, you can view additional details about your blood oxygen readings and see your trends over hours, days, weeks, and so forth. blood oxygen info on Garmin Connect app PulseOX

One thing to keep in mind is that you can’t use this feature in all countries or regions.

The body battery Garmin body battery on VivoSmart 4

Another awesome feature of the Garmin Vivosmart is the Body Battery.

The body battery measures your energy level and how worn out, you are each day using your heart rate variability (HRV), stress levels, and activity levels. 

You get a body battery score between 0 and 100; the lower your body battery number is, the more rest you need. Drained body battery on Garmin Connect

And conversely, with a higher number, it’s time to get your game on and push yourself!

Advanced sleep tracking

Garmin also offers advanced sleep-tracking features in its app without any additional subscription (at least at the time of this writing.)

Inside Garmin Connect, you find a detailed sleep report that shows your sleep metrics. Garmin Connect app sleep details

And when you turn on Pulse Ox Sleep Tracking, your Vivosmart’s blood oxygen sensor tracks your blood oxygen saturation levels while you sleep.

And then, inside Garmin Connect, you find a series of graphs that outline your time in each sleep stage, including light, deep, and REM sleep.

The Vivosmart 5 offers a few extra features for sleep tracking, including a sleep score and your sleeping respiration rate.
Sleep score graphs Garmin Connect

Pros

  • Slim, comfortable, and unobtrusive
  • Oxygen saturation monitoring via Pulse Ox
  • The body battery
  • Has barometric altimeter (Vivosmart 4 only)

Cons

  • The screen is difficult to navigate and often non-responsive when wet
  • No built-in GPS
  • It lasts up to 7 days only if you turn the PulseOx off
  • It does not offer interchangeable bands

Our Verdict

Winner: your choice!

Both have their pros and cons. If you prefer having personalized results, interchangeable bands, and other customization options, go with the Fitbit Inspire.

But if you want advanced health features like SpO2 monitoring and the body battery, get the Garmin Vivosmart 5 or 4.

Fitbit Inspire VS Garmin Vivosmart: about battery life and display

The Fitbit Inspire 2 and 3 promises a battery life of up to 10 days – the largest we’ve ever seen on a Fitbit thus far.

The Garmin Vivosmart 5 and 4, on the other hand, can only provide up to 7 days.

Fitbit Inspire VS Garmin Vivosmart

Of course, your mileage can greatly vary at the end of the day, depending on how much you use the tracker and what features you use.

For example, continuous heart rate tracking (available on both devices) and Garmin’s PulseOx for monitoring SpO2 require a lot more power than step tracking or most other features.

Battery life winner: Fitbit Inspire

Need a tracker with long battery life?

If you want a long battery life AND want to use all the health monitoring like heart rate monitoring and sleep monitoring, many people choose the Amazfit Bip, Bip S, or Bip U Fitness Smartwatch.

The Bip offers a very long battery life (up to 45 days) plus features like built-in GPS to track activity without a phone.

And its larger color display makes it easier to check your notifications and stats than the Inspire or Vivosmart.

Amazfit Bip U Pro Smart Watch with Alexa Built-In for Men Women, GPS Fitness Tracker with 60+ Sport Modes, Blood Oxygen Heart Rate Sleep Monitor, 5 ATM Water Resistant, for iPhone Android(Black)
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The displays on the Inspire and Vivosmart Getting Pulse Oximeter Readings on garmin vivosmart 4

As far as the display is concerned, both watches are equipped with an OLED touchscreen.

As for resolution and size, the Garmin Vivosmart 4’s screen is small at 0.26 x 0.70 inches with 48 x 128 pixels–the Vivosmart 5 is only a bit bigger at 0.41 x 0.73 inches with 88 x 154 pixels. Both displays are monochrome–black and white.

The Fitbit Inspire 3 is larger with a color 1.55 x 0.73 x 0.46 inches screen. The Inspire 2 is also a bit larger with a 1.4 inches display and 126 x 36-pixel screen resolution.

Winner for display: Fitbit Inspire 3

Fitbit Inspire 3 Health &-Fitness-Tracker with Stress Management, Workout Intensity, Sleep Tracking, 24/7 Heart Rate and more, Midnight Zen/Black One Size (S & L Bands Included)
  • Inspire 3 is the tracker that helps you find your energy, do what you love and feel your best. All...
  • Move more: Daily Readiness Score(1), Active Zone Minutes, all-day activity tracking and 24/7 heart...

About their companion apps and pricing

The device’s companion app is pretty important. It’s where you view your activity history, make changes and updates to your account, and update your tracker’s software.

Fitbit and Garmin offer access to your account via their apps AND a website dashboard.

The apps and the website allow users to track, analyze, and share their health and fitness information.

Garmin Connect app and Fitbit app

If you leave Fitbit Premium aside for a moment, both Fitbit and Garmin’s Connect apps do more or less the same thing with a different user interface (UI.)

I find Garmin Connect a bit of a mess versus Fitbit. However, Garmin gives you a lot more data–and all of it is included in the price of your Garmin device. So if you like data and don’t mind parsing through it, Garmin Connect is great!

However, one thing that matters with the companion app is stability.

And while both apps have their share of bugs and crashes, Fitbit’s app seems to have lower user reviews on Android and iOS devices.

To be more precise, at the time of writing this article, Fitbit has an average review of 3.8 on Google Play and 4.1 on Apple’s App Store.

On the other hand, Garmin is at 4.3 on Google Play and 4.4 on Apple’s App Store.

And the vast majority of the negative reviews complain about stability and bugs.

Winner for the app and software stability: Garmin vivosmart 5 and 4

What about the price?

The Fitbit Inspire 2 currently costs $100 but often offers discounts. And the Garmin Vivosmart generally runs a bit higher. 

Since Garmin offers some sensors that Inspire does not, including SpO2 on both models and altimeter (Vivosmart 4 only), we vote that the Garmin Vivosmart is the bigger bang for your buck!

Winner for price: Garmin vivosmart 5 or 4

Garmin vívosmart® 5, Fitness Tracker, Long-Lasting Battery, Simple Design, Cool Mint
  • Easy-to-use, comfortable smart fitness tracker, once setup through the Garmin Connect app, has a...
  • Get an uninterrupted picture of your health with up to 7 days of battery life in smartwatch mode;...

Fitbit Inspire VS Garmin Vivosmart: Wrapping Up

At the end of the day, you choose just one.

Ultimately, your decision depends on what features matter most to you. 

  • Fitbit Inspire: More customization options, slightly cheaper, slightly bigger display, more personalized, and slightly better battery life at the expense of a few health-tracking features that you may or may not take advantage of.
  • Garmin vivosmart: Offers a few extra health features (including blood oxygen saturation SpO2 monitoring and body battery), a slightly smaller display, and also a more stable app and software.

Now, if you like Fitbits and are okay with upgrading your price point, then the Amazon Bestseller in the category is the Fitbit Charge 5.

With built-in GPS, the Fitbit Charge 5 shows your exact mileage when running, walking, cycling, and engaging in similar activities. 

The price fluctuates, so you may even find Charge 5 for around the same price as the Inspire or Vivosmart.

Sale
Fitbit Charge 5 Advanced Health & Fitness Tracker with Built-in GPS, Stress Management Tools, Sleep Tracking, 24/7 Heart Rate and More, Black/Graphite, One Size (S &L Bands Included)
  • Optimize your workout routine with a Daily Readiness Score that reveals if you’re ready to...
  • Get a daily Stress Management Score showing your body’s response to stress and take steps to...

Summary

So, at the end of the day, it all comes down to what you prefer, what features you want, and what features you can do without.

Overall, both the Fitbit Inspire 3/2 and Garmin Vivosmart 5/4 are great fitness trackers with similar features.

However, if you’re looking for more advanced health features without any subscription fees than the Vivosmart may be the better option.

If you’re on a budget and prefer a slimmer design with a longer battery life, the Inspire is  a great choice.

That’s all for now.

Please let us know in the comments section if you have anything else to add.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the comparison–I’m looking into the Inspire 2 as a gift for my daughters. I also might get them the new Luxe.

    I think Fitbit agrees more with their lifestyle and needs than the Garmin Vivosmart.

    Thanks again!

    • Hi Gina,

      The Vivosmart 4 does indeed track your heart rate, along with many other health features. Tap here to see its full spec sheet.

      It’s possible the chat specialist was referring to older Vivosmart models or the Vivofit series which do not include heart rate monitoring.

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