Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs. 4s: How To Choose The Right Fitness Watch

Whether you’re a newbie or a fitness freak, you need a smartwatch with accurate GPS and fitness calculations to assist and even motivate you through your workouts.

One of the worldwide leading brands in smartwatches is Garmin, and today we’ll look closer at their newest models: the Garmin Vivoactive 4 the Garmin Vivoactive 4s.

Specs Comparison

ModelGarmin Vivoactive 4Garmin Vivoactive 4s
Screen Size1.3 inch1.1 inch
Band Size22mm18mm
Battery LifeEight days on smartwatch’s mode
and 6 hrs on GPS + music mode.
Seven days on smartwatch’s mode
and 5 hrs on GPS + music mode.
Water Resistance5 ATM5 ATM
ConnectivityWifi, BluetoothWifi, Bluetooth


The main difference between the two products is easy to spot. Surprise, surprise, it’s the size!

The overall look of Vivoactive 4 is a little fierce with a 1.3-inch screen and 22 mm band, while the Vivoactive 4s has more of a delicate look with its 1.1-inch screen and 18 mm band.

If you have slimmer wrists or you like slightly smaller-looking watches that blend perfectly with your outfit, you can go with the Vivoactive 4s.

The screen of both watches is made of Gorilla Glass 3, which makes it damage resistant; however, it’s a bit more vulnerable than other Garmin watches such as the Fenix 6t’s.

Also, both screens are transflective (it reflects light). If you don’t know, this means that if you were running outdoors on a particularly sunny day, you wouldn’t have to struggle to read the screen (which is contrary to the LCD screen and OLED screens as you have to increase their brightness).

Winner: it really depends on your preference.


The band of both smartwatches is made of silicone material which you can remove and switch if you prefer a fancier or a less traditional look.

However, they both differ in their color options. The Vivoactive 4 comes in two primary colors, slate/black and gray/silver, while the Vivoactive 4s comes in white/rose gold, pink/gold, slate/black, and gray/silver.

The Vivoactive 4 and Vivo 4s come with two buttons to start tracks/laps, pause or exit a workout, and access workout info and the setting. Garmin solved one of the most frustrating problems with Vivoactive 3 and Vivo 3 Music by adding the buttons.

Previously, it was easy to stop tracking with touch screen swipes and pokes accidentally, but now, you won’t have to walk on eggshells while using your sports watch!

Moreover, both watches have 5 ATM water resistance which equals a depth of 165 feet. So, it’s not only okay to wear them while showering or during rainy weather, but you can take them swimming and make use of the swimming tracking feature.

Winner: Vivoactive 4 if you prefer primary colors and Vivoactive 4s if you prefer more color options.

Battery Life

Besides the difference in size, the second main difference between the two models is their battery life. Both smartwatches have a Lithium polymer battery, but Vivoactive 4’s battery lasts eight days on smartwatch mode and 6 hours on GPS and music modes, the Vivoactive 4s’s battery lasts seven days and 5hrs on GPS and music mode.

Keep in mind that if you tend to take long hikes and runs while blasting music on your headphones, the Vivo 4 will be a better fit, and even then, it won’t last for a very long time.

Winner: Vivoactive 4.

Health Functions

The Vivoactive 4 and Vivoactive 4s have the exact same health functions. Garmin continued to provide accurate health calculations and stats in these new devices, adding even more health functions. The new health functions include:

  • A Respiration Rate feature. It monitors the number of breaths you can take in a minute.  
  • PulseOx feature. It tracks the oxygen levels in your blood all day and even during your sleep. This feature can particularly help people with heart problems.
  • A Body Battery function. It gives you details about estimated energy spent during your exercise, how much energy you’re likely to have on your upcoming training, and how many hours of sleep you need to recharge. It also measures your stress levels.
  • Menstrual cycle tracking.

Winner: Tie.

Fitness and Music Functions

The same with health functions, both the Vivoactive 4 and Vivoactive 4s have the same music and fitness features.

In the Vivoactive 4 and 4s, music apps such as Spotify, Deezer, iHeartRadio, and Amazon Music are preloaded, besides 3.5 GB storage for offline music, an upgrade from the Vivoactive 3 where you had to buy the Vivoactive 3 music separately to listen to music.

As for the fitness apps, Garmin has made the right call in Vivoactive 4 and 4s by adding various sports such as in-door walking, Treadmill, elliptical, skiing, and yoga, in addition to the main intense cardio sports.

The Vivoactive 4 and 4s have more than 20 preloaded GPS and indoors, making them the best choice for the average person who likes to work out daily by switching between exercises without sticking to only one sport.

One of the new exercises that we were delighted with is Breathwork. It’s not simply breathing in and out. These exercises will help you breathe through intense workouts and help people who experience daily stress and struggle with anxiety and panic attacks.

Breathwork comes in three modes:

  • Coherence: it’s a 16 min exercise that helps you be more mindful by slowing down while noticing your thoughts and emotions from afar.
  • Relax and focus: this one has a 16 min and a 6-minute option. It simply helps you take a break while working to refocus.
  • Tranquility. This mode helps you sleep more efficiently.

Winner: Tie.

Read also: Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs 4: Which Smartwatch Is Better for You?

Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs. Vivoactive 4s: The Final Say

The Vivoactive 4 and Vivoactive 4s are both on the same level; even the difference in size, battery, and the price isn’t that big of a deal and depends entirely on your personal preference. Although, the Vivoactive 4 wins in the battery life and design compartments.