Garmin VivoActive 5 packs in a whole lot but keeps the price down

From on-wrist workouts to guided meditation sessions, the VivoActive 5 crams it all into one affordable package

Garmin Vivoactive 5 GPS
(Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin has announced the launch of its latest fitness watch in the form of the VivoActive 5 and, in an unusual move for the brand, is offering a hell of a lot of features for a very reasonable price.

Where its premium watches, such as the Garmin Fenix 7 Pro and second generation Epix, are pushing costs to “ouch that hurts” levels, the VivoActive 5 seems to be offering fitness tracking for the masses.

A super bright AMOLED screen takes centre stage, allowing users to quickly navigate to 30 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps - including walking and running to rowing, pickleball, activities for wheelchair users and more.

That number might seem down compared to the thousands of profiles offered by pricier watches, but it’s enough to cover a wide array of popular activities without getting too niche. If the preloaded profiles don’t quite cut it, you can always create step-by-step workouts from more than 1,600 exercises found in the Garmin Connect app.

Catering for seasoned fitness fanatics and newbies alike, Garmin also offers its suite of coaching and training plans that can help runners achieve their first 5K or even prepare for a marathon. 

Of course, the watch also keeps tabs on calories burned, intensity minutes and improvements in VO2 Max, all so the wearer can make informed choices about upcoming workouts or events, and keep an eye on recovery time. Sleep-tracking functionality also helps to paint a clear overall picture of health.

It lacks the navigational functionality of more premium watches, but makes up for this with a battery life that can last up to 11 days. 

There is also a bunch of smartwatch features that make it more than just a Joe Wicks for the wrist, such as text messages, email and call alerts from paired smartphones. Owners with compatible Android devices can also respond to texts using the on-watch keyboard and view photos directly from the watch screen. 

The addition of Garmin Pay allows for contactless payments and the VivoActive 5 also now brings with it the ability to download tracks from Spotify, Amazon Music and Deezer for listening (with paired Bluetooth headphones) without the need to lug your cumbersome smartphone along for the ride.

Garmin offers the VivoActive 5 in a number of muted colours, from pastel purples to solid blacks, and a retail price of $299.99 / £259.99.

Leon Poultney

Leon has been writing about automotive and consumer tech for longer than he cares to divulge. When he’s not testing the latest fitness wearable and action camera, he’s out in a shed fawning over his motorcycles or trying not to kill himself on a mountain bike/surfboard/other extreme thing. He's also a man who knows his tools, and he's provided much of T3's drills coverage over the years, all without injuring himself.