Garmin VS HR+: Review

The Garmin Vivosmart HR+ (VS HR+) is the perfect fitness watch because it measures GPS, Heart Rate, steps, Intensity Minutes, floors, and pace. The purpose of this post is to correct misconceptions found in online reviews.

Garmin VS HR+ review submitted to the Heart Rate Monitors USA’s Website

  • The VS HR+ watch does not track anything with a gyroscope, nor does it have a gyroscope.

  • The VS HR+ has firmware to track walk, run, cardio (all other aerobic), other (all other anaerobic) so it only tracks biking and swimming as cardio exercises. At the end of a swim or ride, the wearer has to edit the cardio data to add any known laps, distance, cadence, or other specifics.

  • Syncing is only possible if the cell phone recognizes the VS HR+ as a Bluetooth device and Garmin Connect recognizes the watch as one of the wearer’s devices. If the wearer has trouble syncing more than one watch, the wearer should put the 2nd watch in sleep or off mode for the time it takes to sync the 1st watch. Actually, this is important, TrueUp never does right for wearers when TrueUp has to sort out data from two watches. A wearer may own and wear two watches, but I strongly recommend that the watch not on a wrist at the moment be in sleep or off mode. Do not power up two Garmin watches at the same time.

  • Garmin has excellent support if an owner has a problem. The owner calls Support and explains the issue. If Garmin recognizes the issue as something that is their fault, Garmin will give the owner a case number and begin reaching out to the owner with a solution.

  • The Elevate HRM is just as accurate as a Garmin strap (I own both devices, have worn them at the same time). However, Elevate cannot cope as well as a strap with sudden exertion. A wearer should start with a warm up for 5 minutes as the wearer increases their intensity, then start their real activity. The VS HR+ Elevate will be very accurate for a warm body.

  • The VS HR+ always tracks steps. These steps cannot be lost as long as TrueUp accepts the steps as non duplicates. That is, the steps shown on a computer version of Garmin Connect are permanent. The steps shown on a VS HR+ or a cell-phone app of Garmin Connect may not be permanent if the VS HR+ is not the wearer’s “preferred device.” To avoid any potential TrueUp step losses, do not power up two watches simultaneously.

  • Floors will be accurate if Garmin recognizes exertion. A wearer gets no credit for riding in elevators. However, if the wearer starts on one level, runs up one or more flights of stairs (or series of hills) with their arms swinging, waits 15 seconds for the barometer to measure their new altitude (put the phone in the Garmin Connect app to get real-time floors), goes down the stairs (or hills) with arms swinging, waits 15 seconds for the barometer, and repeats for as many floors (hills) as wanted, their floor count will be accurate. The VS HR+ never has problems outdoors measuring floor equivalency (any 10′ change in altitude) when the wearer is in a hilly territory with the GPS on, but without arms swinging, the VS HR+ will misinterpret indoor-floor climbs as elevator rides. Also, the floors reported by the VS HR+ might not be accurate for the last floor climbed, but the total of floors should be approximately accurate over a span of 10-20 floors. That is, some individual indoor floors might be overcounted or undercounted, but the total will be correct.

  • Auto Pause is indeed an inappropriate app for many purposes (all of my purposes). A wearer should turn Auto Pause off in Garmin Connect if the feature is not appropriate. Auto Pause will stop recording if a watch even inadvertently brushes against a treadmill’s rails, as Auto Pause will sense that the wearer is pausing to rest.

  • Lastly, GPS depends on satellites, not on cell towers. There are a lot of GPS satellites, most moving but some stationary. To the extent that a wearer uses their cell phone in their home area, their watch pays attention to where their phone is, then their VS HR+ will know what satellite to ping. If a wearer visits a strange city, yes their GPS will take forever to lock on a satellite as the VS HR+ pings every known satellite.

  • So, you want to walk, run, earn Garmin badges, map your runs, measure your Intensity Minutes, climb floors, challenge your friends, then the VS HR+ is your watch of choice.

Tags: Garmin; Vivosmart; HR+; TrueUp; lost data; rash from a band; floors; inaccurate floor count; Elevate; heart rate monitor; GPS; map of routes; inaccurate maps; courses; Bluetooth; lost connections; goal streaks; recording an exercise; inaccurate sleep data; supported watches; unsupported watches; edit the exercise data.