Garmin make a return to activity trackers for children with their latest outing, the Vivofit jr. 2. What’s changed since the original release last year, and is it a wearable that’ll encourage children to be more active? Here’s 6 differences when comparing the vivofit jr vs vivofit jr 2.
Disney designs children will love
The first vivofit jr release came in 3 colourful band patterns – a red “broken lava”, green “Digi Camo” and a floral “Real Flower” design. They certainly looked more designed for children than the plain black or whites you’d see on a Vivofit 3 or Vivosport. But colour can only take a design so far, using characters and branding they already enjoy takes things to the next level.
Partnering with Disney on the vivofit jr 2 release, means kids get wristband designs from three Disney owned franchises – Minnie Mouse, Star Wars and Marvel. There’s two designs for Minnie Mouse (both called Minnie Mouse!) and Marvel (Marvel Avengers and Captain America). For Star Wars fans, you can choose from three designs – BB8, The Resistance and First Order.
Buckle up on the Vivofit Jr 2
Depending on the wrist size of your child, you can opt for a stretchy or adjustable band.
- Stretchy Band – suitable for 4 to 7 years old, and fits a wrist up to 147mm. Available for Disney Minnie Mouse (red band), BB-8 and Marvel Avengers designs.
- Adjustable Band – has a buckle like a typical watch. Recommended for 6 years and older, these bands are for wrists measuring 130-175mm in circumference. Available on Disney Minnie Mouse (white band), The Resistance, First Order and Captain America.
On the original vivofit jr, buyers only had the choice to purchase stretchy bands in a normal size (up to 145mm) or XL (146mm to 170mm). Though the majority of sizes were covered, the watch buckle feels a little more grown-up, which older children may lean towards.
Which ever band style you choose, the activity tracker inside is the same, meaning that if your child happens to out-grow a band, you can replace it with another one. Buying an accessory band directly from Garmin will cost you $29.99 (£27.99) though i’m sure this will fall in price with time.
New app adventures
Whether you purchase a Vivofit Jr 2 or just one of the new band designs, you’ll get access to an adventure to play on the Vivofit Jr app. The core concept is the same, if a child achieves 60 minutes of exercise in a day, they unlock story content and digital badges. I’ve took the snippets off Garmin’s website, so you can see how each one differs.
Ultron’s Revenge: A Marvel Adventures Mission App
“With you as their sidekick, your little hero goes alongside Captain America and the Avengers as they tackle adventures in New York City and try to defeat Ultron. Meet the invincible Iron Man at Tony Stark’s lab, help Thor capture the mischievous Loki, and even accompany Black Widow on top secret S.H.I.E.L.D. missions.”
BB-8’s Adventure: A Star Wars Story App
“With you as their co-pilot, your little rebel goes alongside BB-8 and the pilot Zepha as they tackle adventures on the planet Jakku. Search abandoned starships for missing parts, meet the smuggler queen, Maz Kanata, and help rescue your friend BB-8 when his fate hangs in the balance.”
Mickey’s Birthday Surprise: A Disney Adventure App
With you as their helper, your little character goes alongside Minnie Mouse and her friends in adventures as they plan a surprise birthday party for Mickey Mouse. Decorate for the party with Daisy Duck, whip up the birthday cake with Goofy, and get everything ready — but make sure Mickey Mouse doesn’t find out!
It doesn’t matter whether you purchase the buckle band or the stretchy one. Both designs of one franchise come with the same game.
It’s great to see that Garmin have evolved the idea of the Adventure Trail which was present on the original Vivofit Jr. By using familiar, popular characters to incentivise and lead on the story telling, children will be more engaged in the experience.
Colour display on the Vivofit Jr 2
The original Vivofit Jr gave kids a basic black and white display. You could flick through options and see your step count against a picture of a dinosaur but I doubt it really captured the imagination of young ones.
Colour is a great way to make the device more engaging with a child. Seeing a green hulk on the display contrasting with a purple background – that’s pretty cool! How about BB-8 or Minnie Mouse? They appear on the display too, further enhancing the character experience which the Vivofit Jr 2 brings to the table.
The whole menu journey is brought to life in colour too. Whether its a reminder to clean teeth, or a step challenge, colour has the advantage of making the icons more distinct and easier to read.
To ease your expectations though, this screen won’t be shining bright with colour like an iPhone – that would drain the 1 year battery life down to days. Rather the screen is readable in normal light, though you can press the button to activate the backlight if you want to see the colours in more detail.
And for the spec hunters who really want to know, the Jr 2 has an ever so slightly bigger screen (11mm x 11mm, vs 10mm x 10mm) and a sharper display resolution. (88 x 88 on Jr 2, 64 x 64 on Jr 1)
Toe-to-Toe challenges on the Vivofit Jr. 2
If your child loves the challenge of a competition, then this is the feature for them. Toe-to-Toe is a timed challenge where two kids go head to head to complete as many steps as possible in a timed period. All you need to do is sync together two Vivofit Jr. 2 before and after the time to see who is victorious.
It’s a great idea in theory, but will ultimately depend on widespread success of the product for kids to challenge one another. If no-one your child knows has a Vivofit, there is the option to challenge themselves to a timed step competition, but I doubt it’s as fun as what Toe-to-Toe was intended for.
Update: The Vivofit 4, can go Toe to Toe against Vivofit Jr 2.
As per the usual, the more recent model commands a higher price tag. The vivofit jr range is one of Garmin’s lower priced product lines, so the difference isn’t as huge. The Vivofit jr. 2 has an RRP of $99.99 vs $79.99 for the original.
Can I use one of the new band designs on an old Vivofit Jr
If you already own the original Vivofit jr, like the new designs but don’t want to splash out on a whole new product, then you’ll be pleased to know you don’t have to! The new Vivofit jr 2 bands are compatible with the older model – simply push the computer unit out of your existing band and insert into one of the new Disney designs.
Though you won’t get the hardware benefits like a colour screen or Toe-to-Toe challenges, you can still redeem the code found in the band box to unlock one of the three adventures on the Vivofit jr app.
Verdict – Garmin Vivofit jr 2 vs Vivofit Jr 1
The Vivofit jr 2, clearly is a good progression from it’s predecessor. Whilst the original had the right features and principles, I believe the second iteration has the cool factor by leveraging well known franchises which kids already love. It’s a wise move from Garmin, and with the use of Marvel and Stars Wars, the Junior 2 activity trackers could appeal to slightly older children than the original Junior would have.