Garmin Vivosmart: The case of the disappearing screen

Garmin Vivosmart disappearing screenBy Edward Lim

The true test of a product is not when it’s under review upon launch. After all, reviewers usually have only days to test the new products. The real test is when the product is used for a prolonged period. That’s when the qualities (or lack of) of the product comes forth. It can be called the test of time.

I’ve been using a Garmin Vivosmart for more than a year (see “5 reasons why I like the Garmin Vivosmart“). For the past 16 months, I stand by the five reasons why I like it and would have loved to continue using the activity tracker, except for the case of the disappearing screen.

After a few months of usage, I noticed that a line of pixel seem to be missing from the touchscreen. Though the first line seem to be faded out, the text was still legible so I let it pass. But, the screen got worse as the months went by. Soon, more of the pixels went missing and the display looks cropped out.

That became a real pain because it was difficult to read the time, much less the messages! And this is not an isolated case. My family owns three Garmin Vivosmart — each bought at a different time and in different countries. All three had the same problem. So, it’s not just a case of a bad production batch. A quick search on Google revealed that many others faced similar problems.

Another problem is the breaking strap. Mine started flaking after less than a year of use — so did a friend’s. As the strap is fixed and cannot be changed, this is a serious problem. Garmin should have considered the durability of the strap and account for wear and tear. Under a year is a really short time frame. A broken strap literally renders the device useless.

For around S$250, just over a year of use is definitely not good value for money. Ohh, I forgot, it should be three times that amount because we have three in the family. Confirmed, it’s not a good investment.


I’ve officially retired my Garmin Vivosmart — it joins my archive along the likes of the Motorola pager, Nokia “banana” mobile phone and iOmega drive.

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