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Garmin Vivomove Style and Luxe review: Even more style for a price

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
260
to £480 inc. VAT

These stylish smartwatches look better than the Vivomove 3, but don't offer much more by way of features

Pros 
The most beautiful hybrid watch around
Double screens are vivid and brilliantly concealed
Cons 
Expensive
Still fiddly for sports tracking
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Late last year, I reviewed the rather excellent Garmin Vivomove 3. Although the company is better known for its more functional-looking GPS running watches, the Vivomove series is all about looks. Sure, it has some smart features but its real triumph is offering it while not looking out of place on the shelves at H.Samuel.

Now, Garmin has sent us the next models up: the Vivomove Style and the Vivomove Luxe. While these don’t bring much extra to the table, they sure do bring a whole lot of style.

This will be a shortish review given most of the points from the Vivomove 3 review (pros and cons) apply here so do read that if you want more background info.

Garmin Vivomove Style and Luxe review: What you need to know

There are only minor differences between the Vivomove 3 and its Style/Luxe brethren in terms of features: chronograph and Garmin Pay. The former feels unnecessary and the latter almost certainly will too when you see the paucity of supported banks in the UK. The big, most obvious difference is that there are now two digital displays and both are in colour.

The second OLED screen means the watches can display their smarts in both the top and bottom halves of the face. While the Vivomove 3 has a single 64 x132 display, both the Luxe and Style have two screens for a total of 200 x 200 – which means despite the smaller 42mm case both are quite a bit easier to read.

Data, be that texts or graphs showing the amount of steps you’ve done in a week, display vibrantly with a double-tap, and it’s a markedly better experience than with the monochrome, single-screened Vivomove 3. These are watches that don’t look like they’re hiding a screen, and while most other hybrids I’ve dealt with manage this by making the watch face black, our review Luxe achieves the same feat with a silver watch face. The transformation from regular timepiece to digital display is nothing short of magical.

But, given the technology is the same as the Vivomove 3, style is the reason you’d want to pay extra, frankly, and how much extra depends on how much style you want. The cheaper Vivomove Style has aluminium casing, while the Luxe goes all-in on precious metals, with a silver or 18-24 karat gold frame.

I was sent the silver version of the Luxe. It arrived with a blue leather strap and it’s a handsome thing indeed. In fact, I can’t remember any wearable I’ve used attracting more admiring comments than this and those admiring comments soon turn to disbelief when you light up those hidden displays. The Luxe is reassuringly weighty, too, the case on its own tipping the scales at 44.5g.

The Vivomove Style, on the other hand, is quite a bit lighter at 25.5g for the case. Compare the two side by side, and it’s not much of a contest but, on its own, I daresay it would attract just as many compliments as the Luxe, as long as you get rid of the nylon strap it comes with. The one my review sample was supplied with has to be among the most unpleasant fabric I’ve ever experienced in my life. It’s easy to replace given the industry standard 20mm spring pin connectors but it feels a bit nasty for such a pricey wearable.

One other difference: while the Style has standard Corning Gorilla Glass 3 covering the watch face, the Luxe uses domed sapphire crystal.

Otherwise, the same pros and cons apply that I highlighted in my Vivomove 3 review. Although both watches can be used for tracking exercise, they’re more than a little fiddly and neither has built-in GPS, requiring a smartphone for accurate measurement of your outdoor activities. If you have a separate Garmin running watch, however, you can swap between the two and have your fitness progress tracked across wearables, which is undeniably neat.

Garmin Vivomove Style and Luxe review: Price and competition

So, to the million-dollar question: how much do they cost? The good news is that the answer isn’t contained in the previous question; alas, neither the Style nor the Luxe is cheap.

The Vivomove Style starts at £260 for the rose gold or silver model and rises to £300 for the graphite aluminium version pictured. The Vivomove Luxe, meanwhile, will set you back £440 for the silver, rose gold or gold watches with leather straps, or £480 if you want rose gold or silver with a Milanese band. For comparison, the Vivomove 3 (44mm) and 3s (39mm) sell for £220 each.

Garmin Vivomove Style and Luxe review: Verdict

The Garmin Vivomove Style is the most handsome hybrid watch I’ve come across. Well, it would be if the Luxe wasn’t sat next to it, showing it up.

The point is this: if you’re looking for a dressy watch that looks like you’ve bought it from a jeweller’s rather than PC World, then you’ve come to the right place. The smarts are superbly hidden away, and only appear when you want to consult them. The rest of the time, it’s just a beautiful timepiece.

But there’s no denying these are pricey and if you’re attracted to the Garmin brand because of the fitness tracking, then you’ll most likely want to pair this with another wearable if you want to do much more than step tracking. And when you’re already paying £260 to £480, that may feel like too big an ask.

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