Garmin’s new Vívomove Trend fixes my biggest issue with its smartwatches

June Wan/ZDNET

There’s no beating the practicality of a smartwatch — it can tell time, nudge you to get your steps in, and even make calls at times of trouble — but it’s a product category that has become notorious for being messy; messy in that there are now too many proprietary charging cables and docks involved. 

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While most smartwatches, for fitness or not, come with dedicated chargers, the problem lies with how they’re designed — usually in the form of a charging puck, or a magnetic pin, or a jumble of both. And even if they do support wireless charging, it’s often a proprietary format that prevents the watch from working with third-party accessories. (It’s also another cable that you’ll have to manage, whether it’s situated on your office desk, kitchen, or bedside.) Garmin’s Vívomove Trend, dare I say, bucks the trend.

The $270 Vívomove Trend is the company’s latest hybrid smartwatch, meaning it layers the traditional analog watch design of motorized hands with a one-inch touchscreen that displays the date, battery level, workout statistics, and more. More importantly, it’s the first (yes, the first) Garmin smartwatch to feature wireless charging. The watch works with most, if not all, Qi-enabled docks

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The Vívomove Trend doesn’t have the fastest wireless charging tech I’ve seen — and it still includes a USB-C power clip for those who prefer the wired method — but it’s good enough to affect my day-to-day experience with the wearable for the better. There’s simply no beating the ease of setting the watch on my wireless charging dock after a day of doing “fitness” things!

Garmin Vívomove Trend on the wrist.

June Wan/ZDNET

Alright, maybe I didn’t run a marathon with the Garmin watch or climb the tallest mountain, but I did test the scope of the Vívomove Trend’s sensors and robust workout modes, including monitoring blood oxygen levels and heart rate, tracking my sleep and steps taken, and the metric that proved the most useful, Garmin’s Body Battery. It’s a clever, fun scoring system that’s calculated based on your sleep data, stress levels, physical activity, and more, to suggest when your body is capable of exerting more energy and when you should take a backseat.

Also: What is the best sports watch and how does the Apple Watch Ultra compare? 

All of these fitness and health features are available across Garmin’s smartwatches, but I was quite impressed with how naturally they worked with the Vívomove Trend’s hybrid style. In ways, I appreciated the focus on digital well-being here, with the lack of bright, distracting, and colorful screen animations, alongside my daily health metrics. 

The only times that I really needed to tap and swipe around on the watch face was when I was accepting an incoming call, paying my bus fare with Garmin Pay, or manually starting a workout (which I didn’t have to do often given how reliable the watch’s auto workout detection was), all while the physical hands adaptively rotated around the screen to present text and graphics.

June Wan/ZDNET

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows with the company’s new hybrid smartwatch though. Whenever I did have to interact with the one-inch screen, I had a longing for a physical knob or dial to browse through lists and tickers. Even a “select” button on the right side of the watch would’ve been fantastic to have. There were also moments when the watch would ignore my input entirely. Some wake-up taps or a flick of the wrist did the trick, but those minor occurrences added up to prevent this watch from being perfect for me.

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While the Vívomove Trend probably isn’t what comes to mind when you think of a Garmin smartwatch, it still delivers on the brand’s core values like reliable fitness and health tracking, premium build quality, an app experience to match, and in a package that’s stylish and less jarring to wear.

At a starting price of $270 (my Cream Gold review unit sells for $300), the Trend is nearly $100 more than last year’s Vívomove Sport. But if the improved battery life (I averaged four days of usage per charge), higher quality material, and hassle-free wireless charging matter to you, then I can wholeheartedly recommend the newer model, because they certainly do to me.

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