The Polar Grit X is a triathlon capable multisport GPS watch with military grade construction. It boasts over 130 sports modes and it can measure running power from the wrist, without any 3rd party accessories.
The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is a super versatile GPS sports watch with built-in music storage. It boasts guided on-screen workouts, excellent features for runners and cyclists, and powerful golf tracking technology.
Now that both watches have been introduced, it’s time to unpack all the similarities and differences between these two units. Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
Summary of main differences between the Polar Grit X and the Garmin Vivoactive 4
- Running Power From the Wrist: The Polar Grit X can measure running power without any accessories. The Vivoactive 4 requires a Stryd sensor to measure running power.
- Open Water Swimming: Both watches can measure pool swimming, but only the Polar Grit X can track open water swimming.
- Triathlon Capabilities: The Polar Grit X is a fully fledged triathlon watch that is proving to be very popular with triathletes. The Vivoactive 4 can’t track triathlons.
- Music Storage & Apps: The Vivoactive 4 can store up to 500 songs. It is also compatible with popular music apps like Spotify, Deezer and Amazon music.
- Proper Golf Mode: The Polar Grit X has a very basic golf mode. The Vivoactive 4 has all the same features that you would expect in a dedicated golf watch.
- Blood Oxygen Measurements: The Vivoactive 4 has a pulse oximeter which can measure your blood oxygen levels.
- Stress Monitoring: The Vivoactive 4 tracks your stress levels, in the same way that it tracks your heart rate. It will alert you when your body appears to be taking strain.
- Military Grade Durability – The Polar Grit X has passed multiple MIL-STD-810G tests, including extreme temperatures, drop and humidity. In other words, it’s much more robust than the Vivoactive 4.
Key Similarities Table - Polar Grit X vs Garmin Vivoactive 4
Key Differences Table - Polar Grit X vs Vivoactive 4
Sports Modes Comparison
|Polar Grit X Sports Modes||Vivoactive 4 Sports Modes|
|01) Strength Training||01) Strength Training|
|02) Circuit Training||02) Cardio Training|
|03) Cross Trainer||03) Elliptical Training|
|04) Indoor Climbing||04) Stair Stepping|
|05) Functional Training||05) Floor Climbing|
|06) Indoor Rowing||06) Indoor Rowing|
|07) Pilates||07) Pilates|
|08) Yoga||08) Yoga|
|09) Running||09) Running|
|10) Treadmill Running||10) Treadmill Running|
|11) Track and Field Running||11) Indoor Track Running|
|12) Trail Running||12) Walking|
|13) Hiking||13) Skiing|
|14) Orienteering||14) Snowboarding|
|15) Mountain Biking||15) Cross Country Skiing|
|16) Skiing||16) Stand Up Paddleboarding|
|17) Snowboarding||17) Rowing|
|18) XC Skiing||18) Cycling|
|19) Windsurfing||19) Indoor Cycling|
|20) Rowing||20) Pool Swimming|
|21) Kayaking||21) Advanced Golf Mode|
|25) Indoor Cycling|
|26) Mountain Biking|
|28) Pool Swimming|
|29) Open Water Swimming|
|30) Basic Golf Mode|
|31) View All Grit X Sports Modes|
1. Pool Swimming + Open Water Swimming
2. Triathlon Capabilities
The Polar Grit X is comparable to the Polar Vantage V in terms of triathlon capabilities. In other words, it tracks all 3 disciplines, you can switch between each sport seamlessly and it gives you rich training data in real time and when reviewing your performance through the Polar Flow app.
Long story short, you can’t go too far wrong with the Polar Grit X if you’re a triathlete. The battery life is awesome and the endurance tracking features are excellent.
3. Running Power From The Wrist
At this point in time, there are only two watches in the world that support running power from the wrist, namely:
- Polar Vantage V
- Polar Grit X
This is by far one of the biggest selling points of the Grit X. Instead of having to invest in an accesory, by choosing the Grit X you gain access to one of the most coveted stats in endurance sport, namely running power.
4. Over 100 additional Sports Modes
The sports modes comparison table a bit further up the article should make it sufficiently clear that the Polar Grit X supports more than 100 additional sports modes than the Garmin Vivoactive 4.
Admittedly both watches should cater to the needs of most sports people, because the Vivoactive 4 is a very well-rounded sports watch. That being said, when looking purely at the numbers, the 130+ sports modes on the Grit X is impressive.
5. FuelWise & Energy Sources
FuelWise In A Nutshell: When you’re doing a long training session or race, it’s crucial to maintain adequate energy and hydration levels. FuelWise™ is a smart fueling assistant that helps you find the optimal way to refuel your body during a longer session so you’ll be able to keep going and perform at your best (sourced from Polar.com).
Energy Sources In A Nutshell: See how your body uses different energy sources during a training session. Polar Grit X divides your energy usage into carbs, proteins and fats (sourced from Polar.com).
FuelWise and Energy Sources are new additions to Polar’s ecosystem. The main benefit is ultimately for ultra long distance runners and trail runners, who need to keep a close eye on physical energy levels to perform optimally on race day. It’s might not be relevant to all users, but if you participate in ultra marathons (on the road or on the trail), FuelWise could be helpful when training and racing.
6. Hill Splitter (Big Win For Trail Runners)
The whole point of hill splitter is to get detailed data about your performance on the uphill and downhill sections of your training session or race.
Right now, the Polar Grit X is the only watch in their line-up which includes this feature. The main benefit here is for trail runners and mountain bikers that tackle challenging vertical terrain. It’s nice info to have when you are training, and it’s also great for post run analysis.
Lastly, it’s worth pointing out that Hill Splitter is particularly useful for trail runners. When combined with the trail running mode, it’s safe to say the Grit X is the better watch for trail runners specifically.
7. Military Grade Construction
By introducing military grade construction to the Grit X, Polar are essentially taking their cues from the Garmin Instinct and the Garmin Fenix 6. Given how well these watches have performed for Garmin, it’s easy to understand why.
The primary benefit is that the Polar Grit X is literally the most durable GPS watch that Polar has ever made. It smashes the Vantage V and the Vantage M in this respect. While there is nothing wrong with the build quality of the Garmin Vivoactive 4, it can’t compete with the Grit X in terms of overall durability.
Main Reasons To Choose the Vivoactive 4
1. Music Storage & Music Apps
The Vivoactive 4 offers on-board music storage and support for popular apps like Spotify, Deezer and Apple music. If you enjoy listening to music when you train, this is a very nice feature to have on your activity tracker. You can store about 500 songs (3.5GB).
2. Body Battery Score
Garmin’s body battery feature basically adds all your training data, sleep data and heart rate data into one overarching metric called your body battery.
It isn’t necessarily the most accurate feature of the watch, but it’s a pretty nifty benefit and it can raise the alarm on your lifestyle choices if you do start burning the candle at both ends. Ultimately if your body battery is drained, it might be time to tone it down a notch and find more time for sleep and rest in general.
3. Pulse Oximeter (Blood Oxygen Measurement Device)
The Elevate V3 heart rate monitor packed into the Vivoactive 4 can measure your blood oxygen levels. The watch can then use this information to help assess your stress levels, and also monitor how your body is adjusting to altitude changes.
4. ANT+ Connectivity and WiFi Connectivity
ANT+ Connectivity: The main benefit here is that the Garmin Vivoactive 4 is compatible with significantly more 3rd party cycling accessories than the Polar Grit X.
This is a longstanding weakness with Polar products, and something they will have to address at some point. For this reason, the Vivoactive 4 has a distinct advantage for cyclists, who are likely to want or own cycling accessories that require ANT+ connectivity to work property.
WiFi Connectivity: This might not seem like such a big deal, but WiFi connectivity is super convenient when compared to the cumbersome data transfer through Bluetooth. Once everything is connected, data transfer between your watch, your phone and your PC should become pretty seamless. Don’t underestimate how much time you can save and how much hassle you can avoid by using WiFi for data transfer.
5. Proper Golf Mode
Polar list golf as one of the sports tracks by the Polar Grit X, but the simple reality is that these two watches aren’t comparable in this regard. The Grit X will basically summarize your movement patterns, calories burned and miles walked during a round of golf.
Conversely, the Vivoactive 4 will give you all the same fitness stats, and very valuable golf data, including:
- Yardage to the whole
- Yardage to hazards
- Automatic measurement of shot distance
- Digital scorecard
- Round timer
In other words, the Vivoactive 4 has pretty much all the same features that you would expect in a dedicated GPS golf watch. The same cannot be said for the Polar Grit X.
We’ve completed a pretty extensive comparison of these two sports watches. If you’re still struggling to make a decision, these final buying tips might help.
Go for the Polar Grit X if:
- You’re a trail runner
- You do triathlons
- You need open water swimming
- You want access to significantly more sports modes
- You’re a dedicated endurance sport athlete looking for a watch that will compliment your training and lifestyle
- You want a super durable sports watch with military grade construction
If you’re leaning toward the Polar Unit, you might be interested in this Polar Grit X Review. It lists all main features of the watch, together with video summaries and thoughts from popular reviewers.
Go for the Vivoactive 4 if:
- You enjoy training with music
- You are planning to use cycling accessories that requires ANT+ support
- You play golf regularly
- You want the stress tracking, body battery score and pulse oximeter that make the Vivoactive 4 a better activity tracker
- You want additional apps, widgets and watch faces that are available through Garmin Connect.