Garmin VivoActive 5 vs VivoActive 4 – Is It Worth The Upgrade?

Garmin VivoActive 5 vs Garmin VivoActive 4

Garmin recently launched its new smartwatch in the VivoActive series, the VivoActive 5. The VivoActive 4 was released four years ago, and now they have released it with some pretty cool features and upgrades.

So many new watches have been released in these 4 years, even the Venu 3, the Garmin latest release in the Venu series. Can the VivoActive series comeback make an impact?

Let’s have a look at what key differences it has and what this watch has to offer. At last, you’ll find it worth the upgrade.

Garmin VivoActive 5 vs VivoActive 4: Comparison

Specifications Garmin VivoActive 5 Garmin VivoActive 4
Brand Garmin Garmin
Model Name VivoActive 5 VivoActive 4
Design and Body
Weight 36g 50.5g
Material Aluminium Bezel Stainless Steel Bezel
Shape Round Round
Touch Yes Yes
Size 1.2 inches 1.3‚ÄČinches
Resolution 240 x 240 px 260 x 260 px
Features Always-on Display Always-on Display
Bluetooth Yes Yes
GPS Yes Yes
Sensors Pedometer, Heart Rate Monitor, Calorie Count, Step Count, Sleep Monitor Pedometer, Heart Rate Monitor, SpO2 (Blood Oxygen) Monitor, Blood Pressure Monitor, Calorie Count, Step Count, Sleep Monitor
NFC Yes Yes
Camera No No
Compatibility Android, iOS Android, iOS
Music Yes Yes
Backup Up to 11 days Up to 8 days
Water Resistant Yes Yes
Water Rating 5 ATM 5 ATM
Water Depth 50m 50m
Extra Features Alarm Clock, Stopwatch, Timer, Reminder Alarm Clock, Stopwatch, Timer, Reminder
Price $299 $349

Garmin VivoActive 5 vs VivoActive 4: Price

While the price of the latest Garmin models is pretty expensive if you compare it with the VivoActive series, even the VivoActive 4 price is a little higher, at $349.99 or £299.99.

The VivoActive 5 on the other hand, is priced at $299.99, or £259.99. But along with the price, they also decreased the case size of the VivoActive 5. But nonetheless, the price is still less than its predecessors.

Display and Design

Let’s have a look at the display. The VivoActive 5 comes with a slightly smaller display, which is a 1.2″ AMOLED 240*240 screen resolution compared to the 1.3″ MIP 260*260 screen resolution in the VivoActive 4.

Though the watch has a shorter screen size, it does come with an AMOLED display, which is new. Garmin All Previous VivoActive Series has an MIP display.

The Always on OLED display makes the screen brighter so you can see your watch screen in the bright light.

The VivoActive 5 has an aluminium bezel and polymer case, compared to the stainless steel bezel and case, which gives quite a premium feel, but Garmin is preserving these features for its Venu and above lineup.

Fitness Features and Tracking

Both watches have some similarities when it comes to fitness features and tracking. These common features, like Garmin Coach, VO2 Max estimates, pulse oxygen readings, and sleep insights like Sleep Score, are all available.

But they did improve these features a bit on the updated model, though.

Garmin did add the sleep coach features, including sleep recommendation, which are available in the Venu lineup.

The fitness and workout section also got an upgrade in VivoActive 5, which means the sports profiles have jumped from 20 to 30.

They also upgraded the heart rate sensor from the VivoActive 4, which has an ELEVATE V3 sensor, and the VivoActive 5, which has an ELEVATE V4 sensor.

This is not the latest heart rate sensor, though; the latest is V5, which is available in Venu 3.

Smart features and operating system

You will find so many similar features on both of these devices. In both of these watches, you can download and access music and podcasts from Spotify, and you can use Garmin Pay for contactless payments.

Additionally, notification support, weather reports, calendar syncing, and Find My Phone are all there, too.

But things change when it comes to text responses. If you are an Android user, then in VivoActive 5, you can respond to incoming texts via keyboard, and you can also view any photos within those texts.

This feature isn’t available in VivoActive 3, and for those who are using an iPhone with VivoActive 5,

It’s the only major difference that is available in these watches.

In terms of OS, Garmin uses superb OS models for devices with an AMOLED display, including VivoActive 5.

It is faster and quicker to switch between menus, notifications, and widgets compared to VivoActive 4, and certain everyday features like Morning Report are included as a result. These things enhance the user experience in newer models.


Despite shifting to a more power-draining display type, Garmin has managed to keep the battery life of the new Vivoactive 5 smartwatch similar to the older Vivoactive 4 model.

On paper, Garmin claims the VivoActive 5 can last up to 11 days in smartwatch mode, compared to only 8 days in the VivoActive 4.

If we talk about GPS tracking only, the Vivoactive 5 can run for 21 hours, versus 18 hours for the Vivoactive 4.

These battery estimates are quite accurate, but we still need a thorough test to ensure that the Vivoactive 5 battery performance is as stated.

But to achieve the 11 days of battery life claimed by the Garmin, most of the time you will need to turn off the always-on display feature. With AOD enabled, its battery life will likely be much closer to the Vivoactive 4’s range.

Overall, while the VivoActive 5 has a more power-hungry display, Gramin did a pretty good job optimising it to match or exceed the previous model’s battery life.

Which is better?

The Vivoactive 5 is a better option to buy compared to the Vivoactive 4. The new Vivoactive 5 costs less and has more advanced features, a superior design, and an improved OS.

The Vivoactive 4 also offers some of the same core features and a more premium metal case in two sizes. However, the price is also higher, and I don’t think there’s any good reason to choose it over any current Garmin device, especially the Vivoactive 5.

Should you upgrade?

In terms of affordability, the Vivoactive 5 is now Garmin’s most affordable fitness watch, along with the Venu Sq 2. So if you’re upgrading from the older Vivoactive, there are so many options available to choose from if you want a similar price range.

Technically, almost any 2023 Garmin watch is an upgrade over the Vivoactive 4. The Vivoactive 5 is now firmly Garmin’s entry-level fitness watch option.

More Garmin Comparisons:

Garmin Fenix 7 vs Forerunner 945

Garmin Forerunner 955 vs Fenix 6 Pro

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