Garmin Approach S60 vs Garmin Vivoactive 4

Garmin Approach S60 vs Garmin Vivoactive 4

The Garmin Approach S60 is a premium GPS golf watch packed with golf specific features and a surprising number of sports modes. 

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is a versatile activity tracker, stacked with sports modes and an impressive array of golfing features. 

But which of these two watches is better suited to your needs? The goal of this post is to help you answer this question. Let’s dive into the details. 

Table of Contents

Summary of main differences between the Garmin Approach S60 and the Garmin Vivoactive 4

  • The Approach S60 has 10 extra golf specific functions than the Vivoactive 4 (which also has golf tracking)
  • The Vivoactive 4 has 20 sports modes in total. The Approach S60 has 13. 
  • The Vivoactive 4 has music storage abilities. You can store up to 500 songs and use apps like Spotify and Deezer. 
  • The Vivoactive 4 is the better choice for runners and cyclists. This is mainly because of the barometric altimeter, support for Stryd running power and Garmin Varia compatibility. 
  • The Vivoactive 4 has a pulse oximeter which can measure your blood oxygen levels. 
  • The Vivoactive includes Garmin’s body battery metric. 
  • You can make payments without your wallet using the Vivoactive 4. The Approach S60 doesn’t support NFC payments. 

Key Similarities Table - Garmin Approach S60 vs Vivoactive 4

Approach S60

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Vivoactive 4

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GPS

Wrist-based HRM

Touchscreen

Activity Tracking

Sleep Tracking

Indoor + Outdoor Running

Indoor + Outdoor Cycling

Indoor + Outdoor Rowing

Pool Swimming

Yardage To Green (Front, Middle, Back)

Yardage To Layups/Doglegs

Measures Shot Distance

Digital Scorecard

Stat Tracking

Garmin Autoshot

Zoomed In Green View with Manual Pin Placement

Hazards & Course Targets

Round Timer

Lens Material

Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3

Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3

Garmin Approach S60

Garmin Vivoactive 4

Key Differences Table - Garmin Approach S60 vs Vivoactive 4

Approach S60

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Vivoactive 4

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Price

More Expensive

Less Expensive

Physical Size

46 x 46 x 14.5 mm

45.1 x 45.1 x 12.8 mm

Display Size

1.2” (30.4 mm) diameter

1.3" (33.0 mm) diameter

Screen Resolution

240 x 240 pixels

260 x 260 pixels

Weight

52 g

50.5 Grams

41 000 Pre-loaded Courses

Automatic Course Updates

Handicap Scoring

Garmin TruSwing Compatible

Music Storage & Apps

Barometric Altimeter

Body Battery Score

On-Screen Workouts

Pulse Oximeter

Garmin Pay

Stryd Running Power

GPS Battery

Up to 10 Hours

Up to 18 Hours

Smartwatch Battery

Up to 10 Days

Up to 8 Days

Total Sports Modes

13

20

Total Golf Features

21

11

Golf Features Comparison

Garmin Approach S60 Sports Modes Garmin Vivoactive 4 Sports Modes
01) YARDAGE TO FRONT, MIDDLE AND BACK OF GREEN 01) YARDAGE TO FRONT, MIDDLE AND BACK OF GREEN
02) YARDAGE TO LAYUPS/DOGLEGS 02) YARDAGE TO LAYUPS/DOGLEGS
03) MEASURES SHOT DISTANCE 03) MEASURES SHOT DISTANCE
04) DIGITAL SCORECARD 04) DIGITAL SCORECARD
05) STAT TRACKING (STROKES, PUTTS, GREENS AND FAIRWAYS HIT) 05) STAT TRACKING (STROKES, PUTTS, GREENS AND FAIRWAYS HIT)
06) GARMIN AUTOSHOT™ 06) GARMIN AUTOSHOT™
07) GREEN VIEW WITH MANUAL PIN POSITION 07) GREEN VIEW WITH MANUAL PIN POSITION
08) HAZARDS AND COURSE TARGETS 08) HAZARDS AND COURSE TARGETS
09) PINPOINTER 09) PINPOINTER
10) ROUND TIMER/ODOMETER 10) ROUND TIMER/ODOMETER
11) AUTOMATIC CLUB TRACKING COMPATIBLE (REQUIRES ACCESSORY) 11) AUTOMATIC CLUB TRACKING COMPATIBLE (REQUIRES ACCESSORY)
12) FULL VECTOR MAP
13) AUTO COURSEVIEW UPDATES
14) PLAYSLIKE DISTANCE
15) TOUCH-TARGETING
16) HANDICAP SCORING
17) SWINGTEMPO
18) TEMPO TRAINING
19) TRUSWING™ COMPATIBLE
20) CUSTOM TARGETS
21) PRELOADED WITH 41,000 COURSES WORLDWIDE

Sports Modes Comparison

Garmin Approach S60 Sports Modes Garmin Vivoactive 4 Sports Modes
01) Running 01) Strength Training
02) Indoor Running 02) Cardio Training
03) Cycling 03) Elliptical Training
04) Indoor Cycling 04) Stair Stepping
05) Rowing 05) Indoor Rowing
06) Indoor Rowing 06) Yoga
07) Pool Swimming 07) Running
08) Skiing 08) Treadmill Running
09) Snowboarding 09) Indoor Track Running
10) XC Skiing 10) Pilates
11) Stand Up Paddleboarding 11) Cycling
12) Walking 12) Indoor Cycling
13) Golf Mode 13) Pool Swimming
14) Skiiing
15) Snowboarding
16) XC Skiing
17) Stand Up Paddleboarding
18) Rowing
19) Walking
20) Golf

Garmin Approach S60

Garmin Vivoactive 4

Main Reasons To Choose the Garmin Approach S60

Garmin Approach S60 Lifestyle Shot

1. Ten Extra Golf Features

Even though the Garmin Vivoactive 4 does have impressive golfing features built-in, it’s pretty clear that the Garmin Approach S60 is the better golf watch overall. To be more specific, you get 10 extra golf functions, namely:

  • 41,000 Preloaded Courses
  • Full Vector Maps
  • Automatic course updates
  • Playslike distance
  • Touch-targeting
  • Handicap score
  • Swingtempo
  • Tempo training
  • TruSwing Compatibility
  • Custom Targets

2. It's A Good Looking Watch

In our opinion, the Approach S60 is the better looking of the two watches. It could be the classic look of the numbers on the bezel or the traditional dials on the side of the watch. Long story short, the Approach 60 looks more like a classic watch, whereas the Vivoactive 4 looks more like an activity tracker. 

Main Reasons To Choose The Garmin Vivoactive 4

Reasons To Choose Garmin Vivoactive 4

1. Pulse Oximeter & Garmin Body Battery

The Pulse Oximeter on the Vivoactive 4 can be used to measure your blood-oxygen levels. It tells you how well your body is absorbing oxygen during the day and wen you sleep. 

Garmin’s Body Battery score is like an overarching energy metric which helps determine when your body is drained and also when it is fully charged. It basically combines you heart rate data, training data and sleep data into one overarching statistic that can be pretty fun to track. 

2 Built-In Music Storage

Simply put, the Garmin Vivoactive 4 can store up to 500 songs directly on the watch. The same cannot be said for the Approach S60. In addition, the Vivoactive 4 is also compatible with the following popular music apps: 

  • Spotify
  • Deezer
  • Amazon Music
  • iHeart Radio

3. Payments From The Watch

If you choose the Vivoactive 4, you can leave your wallet at home during training sessions. This is because of the NFC payment technology baked into the watch. Just keep in mind that the current payment limit is $30 in the US. 

4. Better Choice For Runners

It’s worth noting that the Garmin Approach S60 does include indoor running and outdoor running modes. However, the Vivoactive 4 has a few extra running specific benefits, namely:

  • Barometric Altimeter
  • Indoor Track Running
  • Cadence
  • Customized Running Workouts
  • Compatible with Stryd Running Power Sensor

Collectively, these attributes make the Vivoactive 4 the more accomplished running watch. 

5. Better Choice For Cyclists

Both watches include most of Garmin’s main cycling features, namely: 

  • Alerts when you reach your goals
  • Indoor Cycling
  • Outdoor Cycling
  • Speed and cadence sensor support
  • ANT+ Support

However, the Vivoactive 4 also includes support for: 

  • Garmin Varia Radar (Rear facing radar accessory)
  • Garmin Varia Lights

Although these accessories aren’t required, they can make your cycling experience a bit safer if you do end up purchasing them. 

6. Seven Extra Sports Modes

Given that the Approach S60 is technically a dedicated golf watch, it actually includes a surprising number of sports modes. With that being said, it still can’t match the number of sports modes found in the Vivoactive 4. In total, the S60 has 13 built-in sports modes, whereas the Vivoactive 4 has 20. These are the extra modes that are limited to the Vivoactive 4: 

  • Strength Training
  • Cardio Training
  • Elliptical Training
  • Stair Stepping
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Indoor Tracking Running

7. Guided On Screen Workouts

The guided workouts built into the Vivoactive 4 are pretty impressive. You essentially get a visual preview of each exercise that you need to perform, while being guided from set to set during the workout. You can also download additional workouts if you need something new via the Garmin connect app.

Garmin Approach S60

Garmin Vivoactive 4

Final Buying Tips

If you’re still undecided, these final buying tips may help you make a decision. 

Go for the Garmin Approach S60 if:

  • You’re an avid golfer
  • You prefer the design

Go for the Garmin Vivoactive 4 if: 

  • You want the more well-rounded sports watch
  • You want better value for money
  • You’re into running or cycling
  • You want the more accomplished activity tracker

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