From Garmin to Fitbit again

Looking for the “best”

How I went from Garmin to Fitbit again…
As I was totally disappointed by Fitbit, I thought this time I would do some research and chose the best and most suitable health band for me; little did I know it would end up with Fitbit again!

After a lot of googling, the choice fell on the Garmin Vivosport GPS. So I thought I was clever.
The Garmin was  RMB 1299 and I registered the band on 20 June 2018.
It took quite some efforts to understand and use the many features, I could even register my bike ride, check the time and distance etc. Well, all a bit too complicated for me, as my rides are rather modest.

Website horrors

The same horrors with the Garmin websites, as with Fitbit. As I am normally either on a Chinese, Korean or Japanese IP address, all came only in those languages with no way to change the language and country. Also as a result, totally erratic registration and password issues. Actually when I tried now to use the Garmin again, password did work on a Belgian server but not in China. What a mess. I was forced to re-register the band (yeah with another email address because this they apparently knew about the other one used). All from scratch. A real ordeal.

Sleep tracker not working

The Garmin Vivosport is a great tool to track your fitness, exercises, biking, … Even a bit too complex and complicated for my taste, but surely impressive.

But my major focus is on sleep tracking as well as resting heart rate, heart rate, among other. As I found out soon, sleep tracking was a major problem with Garmin, it fails to correctly monitor your sleep. It seems that the software was not working properly, as I found out in the many discussion forums complaining about it. And a solution was apparently not to be expected anytime soon.
For me, the Vivosport was a total disappointment and I stopped using it.
Right now as mentioned, I took the Garmin again out of the box to see if the problem remains.

Back to Fitbit

In life never say never. With the total disappointment of Garmin, new search.
So I settled for the Fitbit Alta HR, cost in promotion RMB 988.
The band is really simple but meets exactly my main requirements: Sleep monitoring, resting heart rate, and less relevant for me step counting (because I bike every day and that does not register). The only feature I miss is counting stairs (I do quite a lot…).


I did then the tests with both Vivosport and the Alta, each on a different arm. Results were pretty obvious, as you can see in the pics dated 2 August 2018 and 5 October 2018. The Vivosport is totally wrong and for no apparent reason.
Overall the Alta is rather correct for sleep monitoring, while the Alta often marks some sleep as “awake”. But this I can check easily: registered “sleep” 7 hours and “awake 1 hour: so I know real sleep was close to 8 hours if I know I did not get up in the middle of the night. It also does register an afternoon nap if it is at least close to one hour.

More testing

After some frustrating trial and error, a new registration, the Vivosport is working again. Still some issues remain. Now comparing, one on each hand, the first readings:


Still further improving settings on the Garmin, not easy. Work in progress.
It seems Garmin did improve the software.

Stairs climbed

As for stairs climbed, the band is totally underreporting, yesterday I climbed close to 30 floors but it barely registered. That seems to be an issue with most bands. Doing a search it seems many people complain about this.

Says Garmin:
Your device uses an internal barometer to measure elevation changes as you climb floors. A floor climbed is equal to 3 m. Locate the small barometer holes on the back of the device, near the charging contacts, and clean the area around the charging contacts. The barometer performance may be affected if the barometer holes are obstructed. You can rinse the device with water to clean the area. After cleaning, allow the device to dry completely.
In my case I found one small hole only and on the other side of the charging contacts. Maybe because my model is older?

I will test for a few days and report back!

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