Samsung Watch 5 Pro vs Garmin Vivoactive 4

Samsung Watch 5 Pro is the 5th generation Samsung smartwatch. It was unveiled in August 2022 and is available for purchase for a price between $449.99-$499.99. Garmin Vivoactive 4 has been around for quite sometime now and comes with a list price of $349.99. Both watches are in the same price range. We look at some key differences between Samsung Watch 5 Pro and the Garmin Vivoactive 4 smartwatches. This should help you in making an informed decision about your next smartwatch purchase.

Android vs iOS

Samsung Watch 5 Pro is based on Google’s wear OS. Last year, Samsung Watch 4 was released on the wear OS platform. Since that time, Samsung’s watches have integrated well with Google’s wear OS architecture. However, Samsung Watch 5 Pro can work with Android mobile operating system version 8 or higher. Samsung Watch 5 Pro does not support iOS and will not work with iPhones. That becomes a limitation for the iPhone users.

Garmin Vivoactive 4 can work with iOS version 14 or higher devices. It can also work with Android mobile operating system version 7 or higher. Technically speaking, there are no limitations on Vivoactive 4 as far as iPhone or Android devices are concerned.

Display

Samsung has always had one of the best smartwatch displays around. Samsung Watch 5 Pro uses the Super AMOLED display screen. The display resolution, color clarity and depth of the pictures will please your eyes. To give a perspective of display of a Samsung Watch 5 Pro and the Garmin Vivoactive 4, we lay down a few quick facts for you:

  • Samsung Watch 5 Pro 45 mm has a Super AMOLED display with display resolution of 450 x 450 pixels. Garmin Vivoactive 4 has a MIP or Memory-in-pixel screen with a display resolution of 260 x 260 pixels. There is a huge difference in the display resolution of both watches.
  • The display glass of Garmin Vivoactive 4 is made of Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Samsung Watch 5 Pro uses a much stronger and resilient Sapphire glass for the display. Sapphire is the second hardest natural mineral available. You can read more about Sapphire glass on the smartwatches on this page.

In terms of display, Samsung Watch 5 Pro is ahead of the Garmin Vivoactive 4 by quite a bit.

Battery

Battery has always been a strong point of Garmin smartwatches. This is amply clear when you look at the battery levels provided by each watch below.

  • Samsung Watch 5 Pro comes with a battery life of up to 3.5 days. It does get you fast charging. The battery goes from zero to 40 percent in less than an hour.
  • Garmin smartwatches have always had better battery life. Garmin Vivoactive 4 can last for up to 8 days on the smartwatch mode. On the GPS mode, the Vivoactive 4 can last for up to 18 hours.

Samsung Watch 5 Pro supports wireless charging with a supported charging dock. Vivoactive 4 does not have wireless charging support.

ECG

ECG app on the Samsung Watch 5 Pro smartwatch allows you on-demand ECG. Together with the Samsung Health app, the ECG app helps in taking ECG readings and sharing with your medical practitioner. ECG app of Samsung is supported in specific countries. In the United States, you can use Samsung’s ECG app to take ECG readings. ECG feature on the smartwatches is limited to Samsung, Apple Watch and Fitbit Sense for now.

Garmin Vivoactive 4 does not provide any ECG support. It remains clear if Garmin is working on getting the ECG feature yet.

Swimming

Samsung Watch 5 Pro carries an IP68 certification for ingress protection. IP68 certification implies maximum ingress protection against dust and water on the Samsung Watch 5 Pro. This is over and above the Swim-proof rating on the watch. The Swim proof rating is akin to 5 ATM water rating on the smartwatch. You can wear Samsung Watch 5 Pro to a depth of 50 meters or 165 feet below water surface level (for brief periods only). The watch can sustain a depth pressure of 5 Atmospheres.

On a similar basis, Garmin Vivoactive 4 has a 5 ATM water rating. You can use the watch up to a depth of 50 meters below water surface level or 165 feet below water surface level.

In our experience, a 5 ATM watch is suitable for pool swimming or shallow water swimming. You must not use a 5 ATM watch for scuba diving, snorkeling or high speed water sports.

Wireless Connectivity

Garmin Vivoactive 4 supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and ANT+ wireless protocols for wireless connectivity. ANT+ connectivity is especially useful for cyclists and for heart rate broadcast devices that are connected to the smartwatch.

Samsung Watch 5 Pro supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless protocols.

LTE or Cellular Networks

Samsung Watch 5 Pro comes with an LTE variant. The LTE variant will allow you to connect to a telecom provider from your smartwatch directly. So, you do not need to carry the paired smartphone at all times with an LTE smartwatch. The LTE variant of Samsung Watch 5 Pro comes with a list price of $499.99.

Garmin Vivoactive 4 does not have an LTE model or cellular model. You will need to rely on the paired smartphone for all the LTE or cellular operations.

Device Storage

Samsung Watch 5 Pro has on-device storage of 16 GB and Vivoactive 4 has an on-device storage for storing up to 500 songs. On-device or internal storage of the smartwatch is very useful for the following situations:

  • you can store personal audio content on the watch storage for offline music listening
  • you can use the storage for downloading geographical maps on the watch

Music

Vivoactive 4 can store up to 500 songs on the watch storage. This allows you to play music right through the watch. However, you will need to pair Bluetooth speakers to listen to music because the Vivoactive 4 does not have an in-built speaker or microphone.

You can also control the paired smartphone’s music through the Garmin Vivoactive 4 smartwatch.

Samsung Watch 5 Pro has complete music functionality. It allows you to store music locally on the watch for offline music. Samsung Watch 5 Pro also has an in-built speaker and microphone too. But, we feel that a Bluetooth speaker is more suitable for listening to music streamed off the watch’s storage directly.

Call Answering

Samsung Watch 5 Pro has a speaker and a microphone. You can answer the incoming calls directly through the watch. Garmin Vivoactive 4 cannot answer calls through the watch as the watch does not have an in-built speaker or microphone.

On a Vivoactive 4, you can reply to text messages with pre-built messages. The text reply feature is available on Android mobile phones only.

Physical Specifications

  • One of the better points of a Samsung Watch 5 Pro has to be the titanium body of the Samsung Watch 5 Pro. Garmin Vivoactive 4 has a fiber-enforced polymer body with stainless steel bezel.
  • Samsung Watch Pro 5 has a display size of 1.4″ and Vivoactive 4 has a display size of 1.3″.
  • Samsung Watch 5 Pro is thinner with 10 mm thickness; Garmin Vivoactive 4 is 12.8 mm thick.

Closing Thoughts

At $449.99, Samsung Watch 5 Pro is more expensive than the Vivoactive 4. But, I would still prefer it for the following reasons:

  • Super AMOLED display
  • ECG App
  • Sapphire Glass on the display
  • Ability to answer calls through the Samsung Watch 5 Pro

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