Garmin Vivoactive 5 vs Vivoactive 4

Garmin Vivoactive was released on September 20, 2023. It took almost a full 4 years after the release of Vivoactive 4 in September 2019.

We compare the Vivoactive 5 and Vivoactive 4 smartwatches below.

Main differences

  • Garmin Vivoactive 5 is a sleeker and smaller watch than Vivoactive 4.
  • Vivoactive 5 is priced at $299.99. The list price is lower than the list price of a Vivoactive 4.
  • Garmin Vivoactive 5 comes with an AMOLED display. Vivoactive 4 uses MIP or a Memory-in-pixel screen.
  • Vivoactive 5 has a higher display resolution than the Vivoactive 4.
  • There has been a marginal improvement in the battery backup of Vivoactive 5. It is almost 30 percent higher than the backup offered by a Vivoactive 4 smartwatch.
  • Vivoactive 5 comes with support for wheelchair mode. Wheelchair users can monitor and track workouts with a Vivoactive 5.
  • Garmin Vivoactive 5 also includes apps for meditation, nap detection and sleep coaching.
  • Vivoactive 5, however, misses on sensors for gyroscope and barometric altimeter.
  • Garmin Vivoactive also boosts the number of profiles supported for cycling, outdoor recreation and swimming.

We look at the main features and differences of Vivoactive 5 and Vivoactive 4 below.

Garmin Vivoactive 5 smartwatch

Display specifications

Garmin Vivoactive 5 and Vivoactive 4 use the same 3rd generation Corning Gorilla Glass in the display lens.

The essential difference lies in the display type. Vivoactive 5 works on the AMOLED display while the Vivoactive 4 uses MIP (Memory in Pixel) screen.

There is a marked improvement in the display resolution offered by a Vivoactive 5. You will find the Vivoactive 5 screen brighter and clearer than the Vivoactive 4.

Vivoactive 5 also supports the Always-on-display (AOD) mode. However, it may be pertinent to mention that the AOD mode does consume a lot of battery. So, using the AOD mode at all times may drain the battery faster.

The table below represents the main display specifications of Vivoactive 5 and Vivoactive 4.

Display specificationsGarmin Vivoactive 5Garmin Vivoactive 4
Display lensCorning Gorilla Glass 3Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Display size30 mm or 1.2″33 mm or 1.3″
Color displayYesYes
TouchscreenYesYes
Display resolution390 x 390 pixels260 x 260 pixels
Ambient light sensorYesNo
LED FlashlightNoNo

The screen or display lens of Vivoactive 5 is 30 mm. It is smaller than the 33 mm screen of Vivoactive 4.

Physical specifications

Vivoactive 5 is relatively thinner and slimmer than Vivoactive 4. It does have a higher device storage than the Vivoactive 4.

Vivoactive 5 is also lighter than Vivoactive 4. It uses an aluminum bezel. Vivoactive 4 had a stainless steel bezel.

However, a Vivoactive 5 is missing a gyroscope and barometric altimeter.

We look at the main physical specifications of the Vivoactive 5 and Vivoactive 4 below.

Physical specificationsGarmin Vivoactive 5Garmin Vivoactive 4
Watch size42 mm45 mm
Watch dimensions42.2 x 42.2 x 11.1 mm45.1 x 45.1 x 12.8 mm
Thickness11.1 mm12.8 mm
Watch weight36 g50 g
Band size20 mm22 mm
Recommended wrist circumference125-190 mm135-200 mm
Water rating5 ATM5 ATM
Device storage4 GB200 hours of activity data
NFC PaymentsGarmin PayGarmin Pay
Wireless connectivityANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
AccelerometerYesYes
CompassYesYes
GyroscopeNoYes
Barometric altimeterNoYes
Garmin Pulse Ox SensorYesYes
Garmin Elevate Heart SensorYesYes
ThermometerYes (tempe sensor needed)Yes (tempe sensor needed)
In-built speakerNoNo
In-built microphoneNoNo
Android compatibilityAndroid 7 or higherAndroid 7 or higher
iOS compatibilityiOS 15 or higheriOS 15 or higher

Battery

Garmin Vivoactive 5 offers higher battery backup than Vivoactive 4. You could expect an almost 30 percent improvement in the battery backup of a Vivoactive 5.

For us, the biggest improvement in terms of battery life is the addition of the Battery Saver mode in Vivoactive 5. You could continue to use a Vivoactive 5 smartwatch at extremely low power settings.

Both watches support fast charging through the Garmin wire charger. You could go from an empty to a fully-charged battery in less than 2 hours.

We look at the battery backup offered by Vivoactive 5 and Vivoactive 4 in different watch modes below.

Watch modeVivoactive 5 BackupVivoactive 4 Backup
Smartwatch modeUp to 11 daysUp to 8 days
GPS Mode without musicUp to 21 hoursUp to 18 hours
GPS Mode with musicUp to 8 hoursUp to 6 hours
Battery Saver ModeUp to 21 days
Garmin Vivoactive 4 smartwatch

Activity profiles

Garmin Vivoactive 5 does give a substantial boost to the number of supported profiles for cycling, outdoor recreation, swimming, and running.

We look at the supported profiles in Vivoactive 5 and Vivoactive 4 below.

Activity profilesVivoactive 5Vivoactive 4
CyclingBiking, Indoor Biking, eBiking, Handcycling, Indoor HandcyclingBiking, Indoor Biking
Outdoor recreationSkiing, Snowboarding, XC Classic Skiing, Snowshoeing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing, Tennis, Padel, Pickleball, Disc GolfSkiing, Snowboarding, XC Classic Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing
SwimmingPool Swimming, Open Water SwimmingPool Swimming
GymStrength, Cardio and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing, Pilates, Yoga

Wheelchair mode

Garmin Vivoactive 5 supports wheelchair mode.

Wheelchair mode is a special mode in the watch software. It allows wheelchair users to track pushes and wheelchair workouts.

Garmin has also added wheelchair workouts to the watch software.

The newer Garmin smartwatches do include the wheelchair mode as a standard feature offering.

Wheelchair mode is unavailable in Vivoactive 4.

ECG app

Garmin ECG app received the FDA approval in January 2023.

However, the Garmin ECG app is not supported in the Garmin Vivoactive 5 smartwatch. On a similar note, the Garmin Vivoactive 4 smartwatch does not support the Garmin ECG app.

Costs

Garmin Vivoactive 5 has a list price of $299.99. Garmin Vivoactive 4 has a list price of $349.99. However, you can always find the Vivoactive 4 at substantial discounts.

Final verdict

We prefer the Vivoactive 5 over the Vivoactive 4 for the following reasons:

  • AMOLED display
  • Better display resolution
  • Sleeker, smaller and lighter smartwatch
  • Nap detection feature
  • Support for the GameOn app
  • Higher number of profiles in outdoor recreation and cycling.

And, to top it all, Vivoactive 5 is the latest variant in the Vivoactive series. Vivoactive 4 has been around for almost 4 years now.

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