With the Apple Watch Series 3, Fitbit smartwatch and Garmin Vivoactive 3 just around the corner, the competition for your wrist space is heating up.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets for 2017
Here is a recap on what do we know about the upcoming devices.
The above are the final renders of Fitbit’s first proper smartwatch.
Due out this fall, the yet unnamed device will be arriving with upgraded heart rate technology that appears to have two infra-red lights in the middle, as well as a blue light along the bottom. Because red light technology can penetrate deeper, heart rate and heart rate variability measurements should be more accurate. This also opens up the possibility that the device may monitor blood oxygenation.
Essential reading: Apple Watch Series 3 or Fitbit smartwatch – rumoured spec comparison
Previous reports have suggested that Fitbit’s smartwatch will include built-in GPS, a high-res colour display, activity, sleep and heart-rate monitoring, contactless payments and on-board storage for music. The company’s CEO, James Park, has confirmed that the device will be water-resistant down to 50 metres (5 ATM), but that it will not include a cellular wireless connection in order to save on battery life. Park also promised an app store at the start of this year, and his company looks set to deliver.
Apple Watch Series 3
No, that’s that’s not an image of Apple’s third generation smartwatch. Unfortunately, no credible leaked pics have emerged. Expectations are that the device will be launched alongside the iPhone 8 in September.
Lots of rumours have been circulating on potential features we might see. In terms of health, these include non-invasive glucose sensors, respiration sensors, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tracking (to give users nutritional information about foods), an altimeter for counting floors and sleep tracking. We are sceptical, though, that we will see some of the more advanced features this year.
The device may also include a cellular connection, a front facing FaceTime camera, smartbands and hopefully a boost to battery life. A longer battery life is essential if the watch is to keep tabs on sleep. We can also expect Apple Watch Series 3 to come with a faster processor and more RAM.
WatchOS4 is also coming soon, and this in itself brings a host of goodies. The Workout app will be upgraded with better coaching, monthly challenges, fancier visuals and a new mode for High Intensity Interval Training. And lets not forget the enhanced swim tracking. Apple’s smartwatch will also play nice with a variety of connected devices via Bluetooth and gym equipment via NFC.
So lots to look forward to from Apple.
Garmin Vivoactive 3
We also have the first images of Garmin’s new multi-sport watch.
Reportedly, this will be the successor to the Vivoactive HR, a Swiss knife of activity trackers. In our review, our main gripe with this device was its chunkiness and retro-1980s look. Its safe to say, aesthetics are not its strong point. While this may not be so much of a problem for men into fitness, Garmin has realised that it needs to introduce a less bulky form factor if it is to appeal to a larger demographic.
The renders reveal a classy new design, something that closely resembles Garmin’s Fenix and Forerunner line. The Vivoactive 3 even sports the same charger and heart rate sensor. The inclusion of only two physical buttons, though, indicates that it may sport a touch screen.
Unfortunately, no details have emerged about actual specs. It’s safe to assume the watch will take all the features of its predecessor, and build on these with some more advanced metrics such as VO2 Max and perhaps stress monitoring. It will probably incorporate some more advanced running metrics such as Recovery Time, but Garmin will want to hold back on some of these in order to keep its more advanced line attractive.
A fourth quarter pre-holiday buying season release would make more sense than an early 2018 launch.
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