Wearables

Luxury smartwatch that misses the mark

The Garmin vivomove Luxe is a sleek smartwatch, but its sleep-tracking function disappoints.
The Garmin vivomove Luxe is a sleek smartwatch, but its sleep-tracking function disappoints. PHOTO: GARMIN

The Luxe is the flagship model of Garmin's vivomove hybrid smartwatch series.

The three new vivomove models feature a round analogue watch design with moving hour and minute hands, as well as a hidden touchscreen to display notifications.

The entry-level vivomove 3 and 3s ($389) come with a 44mm and 39mm plastic casing respectively, with both having a silicone strap.

The mid-range vivomove Style (from $469) features a 42mm aluminium bezel and casing with either a woven nylon or silicone strap.

The premium vivomove Luxe (from $769) has a 42mm stainless-steel bezel and casing and the option of either an Italian leather strap or Milanese metal strap. It has sapphire glass to protect its watch face.

The Straits Times tested an all-silver Luxe model with the Milanese metallic silver strap ($849).

The Luxe looks like an exquisite classic wristwatch with its black watch face, shiny bezel and curvy lugs. It does not have any buttons to interfere with its minimalist design, making it one of the sleekest smartwatches you can find on the market.

The Milanese metal strap is comfortable and surprisingly does not feel heavy. The only problem is that it is not ideal for workouts. However, you can easily replace it with an off-the-shelf 20mm strap.

You control the watch by swiping and tapping on its Amoled colour touchscreen display.

The display is supposed to turn on when you raise your wrist or double-tap the display. However, I found myself having to tap a few times on the watch face before I could get the display to wake up.

Once the display is awake, you can swipe left or right to browse the different information panels, which range from battery level to the weather.

  • FOR

    • Exquisite watch design
    • Accurate step and run tracking

  • AGAINST

    • No built-in GPS
    • Unreliable sleep tracking
    • Expensive

  • SPECS

    PRICE: From $769

    WATER RESISTANCE: 50m

    CONNECTIVITY: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

    WEIGHT: 118g (with Milanese metallic strap)

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 3.5/5

    DESIGN: 4.5/5

    PERFORMANCE: 3/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 3.5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5 

    OVERALL: 3.5

The hour and minute hands will get out of the way by moving to the nine o'clock and three o'clock position respectively, so you can have a better look at the panel.

Like most smartwatches, the Luxe tracks daily physical activities such as steps taken, stairs climbed and sleep. It also measures your heart rate.

On the downside, it does not have built-in GPS to track outdoor runs. Instead, it uses connected GPS or your smartphone's GPS. So, you have to take along your smartphone for your runs.

Its distance readings on my usual 5km route was spot-on. Ditto its heart-rate readings compared with my calibrated Apple Watch Series 4.

Its step-tracking readings are about 5 per cent more than those of my Apple Watch Series 4.

It is in sleep monitoring that the Luxe disappoints. When I place it on a table, it assumes that I am sleeping and even shows my light and deep-sleep periods.

When I was indeed sleeping, it failed to pinpoint the time I slept and woke up.

And when I got up for a toilet break in the middle of the night, it would assume I was awake from that point on.

Plus, with its metallic strap making it feel like a dress watch, it feels odd to wear it to sleep at night, comfortable as the watch may be.

The Luxe is supposed to last five days on smartwatch mode. I found the battery level dropping from full charge to 54 per cent at the end of a two-day period that included a 5km run.

Undoubtedly a smartwatch that will turn heads, the vivomove Luxe does not quite justify its hefty price tag.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 19, 2020, with the headline 'Luxury smartwatch that misses the mark'. Print Edition | Subscribe