In a quest to determine the most reliable step-counting smartwatch, a 5,000-step experiment was conducted, comparing the Apple Watch Series 7 with the Garmin Vivoactive 5. This challenge aimed to evaluate the precision of these two celebrated devices in tracking every step taken.
Our recent evaluation of the Garmin Vivoactive 5 highlighted its array of advanced features, such as the innovative Elevate V4 heart rate sensor. This smartwatch goes beyond basic fitness tracking by also monitoring calorie burn, blood oxygen, and respiratory rates. In contrast, the Apple Watch Series 7, a device we’ve become more acquainted with, matches these functionalities and introduces an additional feature – wrist temperature monitoring. Despite their comprehensive capabilities, it’s important to point out that both smartwatches lack multi-band GPS technology, an element crucial for enhancing location tracking accuracy.
To track steps, both the Garmin Vivoactive 5 and Apple Watch Series 7 utilize accelerometers that gauge arm movements. Generally, they interpret one arm swing as equivalent to two steps. Garmin points out a notable detail: holding items like a pet leash could skew the step count. For a fair test, I opted not to carry a leash or have a pet with me. It’s also essential for accurate tracking to wear the watch correctly, ensuring it’s securely positioned on the wrist and oriented based on which wrist it’s worn on.
In the following article, we delve into a detailed comparison of step-tracking accuracy between these two models. Join us as we examine the results of this experiment.
To evaluate the step-counting accuracy of the Apple Watch Series 7 and Garmin Vivoactive 5, a 5,000-step experiment was conducted. A manual tally counter app served as a reliable reference point. Both watches were securely fastened to the left wrist, and the tally counter was operated with the other hand, clicked in rhythm with each step.
Following the walk, the data from both watches were synced to a phone for comprehensive analysis.
Table of Contents
Summary of Findings
- Manual Step Count: 5,000 steps
- Apple Watch Series 7: 4,800 steps
- Garmin Vivoactive 5: 5,100 steps
During the test, the Apple Watch Series 7 logged 2.35 miles and 4,800 steps in a time span of 43 minutes and 28 seconds. In comparison, the Garmin Vivoactive 5 measured a slightly longer distance of 2.38 miles, counting 5,100 steps. Remarkably, both devices showed an average heart rate of 105 bpm. Regarding calorie expenditure, the Garmin recorded 208 kcal, slightly surpassing the 192 kcal reported by the Apple Watch.
The Garmin Vivoactive 5 demonstrated marginally superior precision, but both gadgets deviated more than expected from exact accuracy. It’s essential to understand that no fitness tracker offers flawless precision. Factors like the length of your stride and your walking speed can influence the accuracy of the results.
Accessing step data during activity was surprisingly challenging with both devices, requiring a sync with Strava. This was notably odd given the straightforward accessibility of other metrics like heart rate and calorie count.
Smartwatches track a variety of health indicators, not limited to step counts. The traditional target of 10,000 steps per day is being reevaluated, as newer research suggests that achieving 7,000 steps each day may offer comparable health benefits.
For individuals aiming to boost their activity levels, step tracking provides an uncomplicated approach. Integrating Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) into daily life by opting for stairs instead of elevators or walking to public transportation can significantly increase overall physical activity.
When considering value for money, the Apple Watch Series 7 and Garmin Vivoactive 5 both offer compelling features. The Apple Watch is known for its activity rings, while Garmin includes training plans through Garmin Coach. For sports enthusiasts, the Garmin Forerunner series and Garmin Venu 3 present appealing options, albeit at a premium. Meanwhile, fans of Apple might consider the Series 8 or 9 as worthy upgrades.
As Black Friday approaches, it presents an excellent opportunity to look out for deals on Garmin and Apple products. This could be the perfect time to get your hands on these high-end fitness trackers at significantly reduced prices.