The Fitbit Charge 4 is a relatively affordable activity tracker with a decent selection of fitness modes and a built-in GPS. It’s a good option for people that run, cycle, or workout regularly. The Charge 4 is also pretty compact and it looks more like a bracelet than a watch.
The Garmin Vivoactive 4S is a versatile GPS sports watch with excellent running, cycling, swimming and fitness features. It is arguably the most well-rounded activity tracker in Garmin’s product line-up.
The goal of this post to analyze the differences between the Fitbit Charge 4 and Garmin Vivoactive 4S, so you can be confident decision when choosing between them.
Table of Contents
Key Similarities - Fitbit Charge 4 vs Garmin Vivoactive 4S
Fitbit Charge 4
Key Differences - Fitbit Charge 4 vs Vivoactive 4S
Fitbit Charge 4
Main Differences Explained
- Price – The Fitbit Charge 4 is less than the price of the Garmin Vivoactive 4.
- Screen Size – The Vivoactive 4S has a 218×218 pixel screen. The Fitbit Charge 4 screen is much smaller, measuring 160 x 100 pixels.
- Music Storage – The Vivoactive 4S can store up to 500 songs. The Fitbit Charge 4 cannot.
- Sports Modes – The Vivoactive 4S has a much wider range of sports, including golf, rowing, skiing and snowboarding.
- GPS Battery Life – The GPS battery of the Fitbit Charge 4 is 5 hours. The GPS battery of the Vivoactive 4S is 15 hours.
- Guided Workouts – The Vivoactive 4S includes free guided workouts that are displayed on the touchscreen.
- Additional Satellite Options – The Vivoactive 4S includes GPS, GLONASS and GALILEO Satellite tracking. This is limited to GPS for the Fitbit Charge 4.
- Pool Swimming – The Vivoactive 4S can track pool swimming. The Fitbit Charge 4 is waterproof, but doesn’t tracking swimming metrics.
Reasons To Choose The Fitbit Charge 4
The Charge 4 Is Considerably Cheaper
Simply put the Fitbit Charge 4 is less than half the prices of the Garmin Vivoactive 4. For people who just want a stylish activity tracker that can also track running and cycling, the Charge 4 represents good value for money.
It's the Best Value for Money Fitbit You Can Buy
It’s amazing that Fitbit have managed to sell so many products, despite most of their activity trackers lacking built-in GPS capabilities.
Fortunately, the company are finally starting to rectify things with the Fitbit Charge 4. Now you can leave your phone at home when you go running or cycling outdoors. This will almost certainly become a standard feature in most Fitbit products going forward.
Reasons To Choose The Garmin Vivoactive 4S
Built-In Music Storage
The Vivoactive 4 includes 3.5 GB of music storage, which works out to about 500 songs. In contrast, the Charge 4 can only control music that is being played through your phone (the Vivoactive 4 can also do this). The following music apps are also compatible with the Vivoactive 4S:
- Amazon Music
- iHeart Radio
Guided On-Screen Workouts
The Garmin Vivoactive 4S makes full use of the 218×218 pixel screen when displaying the custom training plans that you can access for free. It’s a bit like having a personal trainer on your wrist, guiding you through each rep and set of the training plan.
The Vivoactive 4S has a pulse oximeter which can measure your blood oxygen levels. This is useful when training at altitudes, and it can also be used to help assess your stress levels at sea level.
The Vivoactive 4S includes a swimming mode with all the standard swim metrics (SWOLF). The Fitbit Charge 4 is waterproof, but it can’t actually track swimming.
Advanced Golf Mode
The Vivoactive 4 gives you access to most of the features that you would expect in a dedicated golf watch. This includes:
- Yardage to greens (front/middle/back)
- Yardage to doglegs and layups
- Yardage to bunkers and hazards
- Automatic shot distance tracking
- Manual pin position placement
- Digital scorecard
Better Outdoor Sports Modes
The Vivoactive 4S is very well rounded in terms of sports and fitness features. The snowsports are particularly impressive, while the water sports are also pretty solid. More specifically, you can track:
- Cross-country Skiing
- Outdoor Rowing
- Stand-up Paddleboarding
Much Better GPS Battery Life
GPS battery life is important, because if you use the GPS regularly, it will chow the overall battery of the watch. In this instance, the Vivoactive 4S GPS battery life (15 hours) is literally 3 times longer than the Charge 4 battery life (5 hours).
It's The Better Smartwatch Overall
Simply put, the Vivoactive 4S is a better sports watch and fitness tracker than the Fitbit Charge 4. The extra features may come at a cost, but if you take any of your sports seriously, it’s probably worth upgrading to the Garmin unit in this case.
Final Buying Tips
We’ve covered all the differences at a fairly granular level. If you’re still undecided at this point, these final buying tips may help:
Choose the Fitbit Charge 4 if:
- You’re on a tight budget
- You prefer the bracelet style design
- You want access to Fitbit’s fitness tracking features, which can be very motivational
- Your main activities are casual running, casual cycling and hitting the gym frequently
Chose the Garmin Vivoactive 4S if:
- You want to track swimming metrics
- You play golf regularly
- You’re passionate about running or cycling
- You like listening to music when you train
- You want the longer GPS battery life
- You want the better fitness tracker overall