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Fitbit Blaze vs Garmin Vivoactive HR

Weight loss isn’t easy, and neither is choosing a tracker to help you do it– trust me, I know! Having been on the winning and losing sides of the scale, I understand first-hand how crucial and exasperating it can be to choose the right wearable. If it doesn’t fit your exact needs and propel you forward toward your goal, is it is a wasted investment, and worse, a missed opportunity to become healthier. So while Fitbit’s Blaze device is exceptional, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better, especially when comparing it to the Garmin Vivoactive HR.

Compare Fitbit Blaze vs Garmin Vivoactive


Both are quality devices, but there are some marked differences in key areas, like GPS and styling. This Fitbit Blaze vs Garmin Vivoactive review will do just that. Let’s take a look at the specifics of each of these devices first.

The Fitbit Blaze


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The Blaze is a smart fitness watch, and while it is smart in how it functions, it is not a smartwatch in the traditional sense as the emphasis here is on fitness. Your typical smartwatch tracks your activities and is packed with “smart’ options, like Bluetooth, music controls and other extras, which are the main attraction.

That’s not the case with the Blaze. Even though there are “smart” features here in a really attractive package, those points take a back seat to the fitness features, which I must say, are pretty impressive. This is the first tracker I’ve seen that does more than track. It actually offers instructions and guidance via the FitStar app. That’s a big plus for anyone who struggles to lose weight or needs guidance and motivation.

For that reason alone I would recommend the Blaze to those starting out or those who need help focusing, but there are plenty of other reasons. Let’s take a look at what makes the Blaze tick:

  • Exceptional Design: The Blaze is a far cry from Fitbit’s other models thanks to fashion options that make it as trendy as the Apple Watch. To start, it has a color, LED touchscreen for an exceptional display that is easy to see, and makes it look both smart and classy.
  • FitStar App: Don’t be confused by the name- this isn’t your traditional app, or really an app at all. It is built right into the watch and you don’t need a phone or any other device to use it. Just access it from the menu and you’re ready to go. FitStar has three coach modes, with different exercises and step-by-step guides.
  • Smart Track: This is another fitness feature sure to grab your attention. Smart Track is an exercise recognition feature that recognizes activities (running, hiking, basketball, soccer, and tennis) and records stats that reflect those activities. Therefore, calories are calculated according to precise motions for more accuracy.
  • Improved PurePulse Technology: PurePulse is a Fitbit staple, measuring your active and resting heart rate 24/7 for an accurate analysis of your cardiovascular health, and now it’s even better. The Blaze is now fitted with an optical sensor, for better readings and improved stats.
  • Upgraded Smart Notifications: There are your typical notifications for calls or texts, but in an effort to put fitness first there is also an option to turn those notifications off, allowing you to work out with no distractions.

In addition, there is the option of switching out the elastomer band for leather or stainless-steel, taking the Blaze to a whole new level. Anyone who loves fashion will love the look and choices.

Garmin Vivoactive HR

Building on Garmin’s commitment to excellence and their forward-thinking technological features, the HR just might be the quintessential smartwatch that gives users full control. With the ability to show full notifications and messages, as well as track multiple sports and monitor heart rate, this is a device everyone can appreciate.

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The combination of a heart monitor with GPS and the fact that it’s waterproof really sets this device apart. Plus, as with the original Vivoactive, it also has Connect IQ and the ability to connect and display all smart notifications right on the screen.
So what else makes the Vivoactive HR so appealing?

  • Intensity Minutes: The HR doesn’t just track your activity.  It also analyzes the quality of your workout and lets you know if you are on track in accordance with guidelines from health organizations like the American Heart Association.
  • Customized Design: You can download different faces and apps to customize the look and function of your device.
  • Built-in Sports Apps: The GPS feature works with programs for running, biking, swimming, skiing, snowboarding, golf, rowing, paddle boarding and more, giving you a wide range of exercises to perform and monitor.
  • Smartphone Notifications: Keep up with what’s going on in the world with notifications straight to your wrist.

Blaze vs Vivoactive HR: Similarities

Here is a basic rundown of what they have in common:

  • Tracking: Both devices can track calories, distance, steps and record sleep cycles. This means that no matter which one you use, you can monitor your activity for each day- the difference lies in how they track.
  • Smart Notifications: Each device can alert you to incoming messages and make sure you can be contacted no matter where you are. This ensures your safety and makes it easier to concentrate on your routine.
  • Color Touchscreen: They both have a color touch screen, simplifying how it’s used and providing clarity when reading stats.
  • Fitness Features: Each one makes fitness a priority, although to different degrees. No matter which one you choose, you can perform a wide range of activities and get precise readings.
  • Heart Rate Monitoring: Both devices offer ongoing monitoring of your heart rate.

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Blaze vs Vivoactive HR: Differences

Now that we have pointed out their similarities, we need to compare their differences in the key areas to really figure out which one fits you best:

  • Design: The Blaze and Vivoactive are both attractive, but there are some big differences in design. The Blaze has the color LED screen that is easy to use– just swipe and all your information comes up. The quality of the images is beyond that of your average tracker. It also has a wide variety of bands to choose from, so it can be sporty or classy with a simple swap. The Vivoactive has a sporty, but timeless look and could easily be mistaken for a standard watch, so it can be worn in a casual or business setting. Due to the sleeker look of both the screen and the device itself, the Blaze gets the edge in this category.
  • Fitness Features: Each has different, but attractive fitness features that can be tailored to you. The Blaze has FitStar, Smart Track and a persistent idle alert, making health and weight your key goal. FitStar practically gives you a personal coach you can access via your device and the idle alert mimics a coach as well, bugging you–I mean buzzing you–until you start moving. Plus, Smart Track can help you fine tune your moves and with the ability to silence notifications, the Blaze is great for getting and keeping you on track.The Vivoactive has GPS and is waterproof, allowing you to track a wider array of activities with pin-point accuracy. You can swim, hike and play basketball, as well as get tailored readings, analysis and advice. It is a perfect companion for athletes and those who like to try new things, as it gives you the ability to conquer whatever you set out to do.
  • GPS: This is major difference between the two and an important factor to consider when buying.
    The Blaze has no built-in GPS. If you need to use GPS you have to access it through your phone. While some may not mind, if you love to run you may want to think twice as it can be cumbersome running with your phone. The Vivoactive HR has integrated GPS, making it perfect for runners or anyone else who wants to explore and elevate their work out. It allows uses to safely navigate wherever they go and gives important stats like mile splits, distance and more, as well as allowing more diversity in the types of exercises you perform.
  • App: The clear winner is the Fitbit, thanks to its excellent app. The Garmin app isn’t as intuitive and can be glitchy.
  • Water-Proofing: Only the Vivoactive HR is water-proof, so it is the clear-cut winner here.
  • Price: Both are priced fairly, but the Blaze tends to be slightly less expensive.


There’s no easy answer here in the battle for your wrist. Both the Blaze and the Vivoactive HR have excellent features, but the differences will likely make your choice easier. Swimmers and runners tend to prefer the Vivoactive, but the design of the Blaze is preferable for many shoppers.

The differences in app quality is another sticking point — the Fitbit app is far superior to the Garmin (and any other fitness tracking apps). However, the Vivoactive’s waterproofing and built-in GPS is tough to overlook.

Whichever you choose, you’re making an investment toward better health and wellness, and you can’t go wrong with that!

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No Comments

  • blam July 6, 2016 at 4:00 pm
    I have the vivoactive, and really enjoy all the different watch faces, and downloadable widgets and app available.. very happy with it!!
    • Ken L. July 12, 2016 at 6:36 pm
      Good to know. Thanks for sharing with us here.
  • Kathy March 8, 2016 at 12:52 am
    No, I have the Blaze and does not have that feature. I'm thinking of returning it and going with the Vivoactive. I think it has more features for the same money.
  • Kevin March 3, 2016 at 1:26 am
    You should make comparison with upcoming Garmin VivoActive HR who has the optical heart beat sensor built-in.
  • Slava February 25, 2016 at 12:30 pm
    Well, there is a Vivoactive HR (i.e. Heart Rate monitoring 24/7) already announced and it obviously beats Fitbit now.
  • HThomas February 9, 2016 at 4:20 am
    Does anyone know if the blaze can find your phone like the vivoactive can ? Thanks
    • Ken L. February 12, 2016 at 1:49 pm
      Probably not, this feature is not mentioned, but it's a great idea!
    • Bizzle April 24, 2016 at 4:41 am
      No.... I own a blaze, looking forward to garmin vivoactive 3
      • Ken L. April 24, 2016 at 9:25 pm
        Bizzle, I am sure that you enjoy Blaze which is so thin and cool. Vivoactive HR is a little bit thick to me.
        • C. Holt October 16, 2016 at 9:41 pm
          Ken, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 and the Vivoactive HR are different things. I own a Vivoactive, and I think that it is about the best watch I have ever had. The only thing is that it does not track heart rate like the HR. It is the same thickness as the Fitbit Blaze.
          • Ken L. October 21, 2016 at 4:21 pm
            Connor, glad that you like Vivoactive. It's thin and cool!

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