Garmin has announced a trio of new devices in its Vivo series today at IFA.
The most high spec in the lineup is Vivoactive 3, a Jack of all trades GPS smartwatch which throws Garmin Pay into the mix along with a beautiful new design. Vivomove HR is a beautiful hybrid smartwatch with activity tracking, wrist-based heart rate, notifications and a touchscreen display. Finally, Vivosport is a smart wristband with GPS and wrist-based heart rate. While the first two were widely expected, the third came as a bit of surprise.
Garmin is definitely not one to be left behind. The news follows hot on the heels of Fitbit’s Ionic smartwatch release, and yesterday’s news on Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro and Gear Sport. Fitbit, Samsung and perhaps Apple with its Apple Watch Series 3 expected to launch on September 12th, definitely have something to worry about. Garmin has been making leaps and bounds with its activity trackers.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets for 2017
The three new devices have certain commonalities. All sport a touchscreen and will provide you with fitness tracking basics, so think steps, calories, distance, heart rate, activity, floors and sleep. Smartphone notifications will keep you connected to your loved ones, plus you have music control, find my phone and other standard smartwatch features.
All three will also dish out information on VO2Max and your fitness age. To keep you calm, there is all-day-stress monitoring along with workout tracking for gym rats. These two features made their debut in April with the introduction of Vivosmart 3. In September, they will also for the first time become available for Fenix 5 and Foreruner 935.
Finally, Vivoactive 3 and Vivosport come with built-in GPS. This will provide you with GPS based distance, time and pace for more precise tracking of your activity.
Garmin Vivoactive 3
Vivoactive 3 is 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. 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. And on that count, the Vivoactive 3 does not disappoint. With a classy new design, it closely resembles Garmin’s Fenix and Forerunner line.
Apart from the design, the main news here is the inclusion of Garmin Pay, a first for the company. Which means Garmin customers can finally pay for purchases with their timepiece. The new functionality is enabled by FitPay and supports Visa and Mastercard debit and credit cards from major issuing banks.
There are 15 built-in sports profiles, including new ones for snowboarding, cardio, yoga, eliptical and stair stepper. Vivoactive 3 will also let you mix it up by creating customized workouts.
Other new features include VO2Max and stress/workout tracking. Unfortunately Garmin has opted not to include other Firstbeat metrics such as Recovery, Training Load and others. In all likelyhood, this is not due to technology but so that the new device does not eat into sales of the more advanced, and much more pricey Fenix 5 and Forerunner 935 line.
Starting at $299.99, the fitness watch comes in three colours, black/stainless, white/stainless. It will be available from Q4 2017.
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Garmin Vivomove HR
Mechanical watch lovers may not be so keen to join the technology craze, but there is a solution. Hybrid watches are traditional looking timepieces that combine style with behind the scenes digital smarts.
Garmin’s first generation Vivomove is a smart looking hybrid device designed with simplicity in mind and the second generation timepiece looks to be no different. The stylish watch has a circular body, no digital crown and swappable bands. As the name implies, Vivomove HR throws heart rate tracking into the mix. So far the only hybrid timepiece to track heart rate is Nokia Steel HR.
The watch also has the ability to show smartphone messages on a tiny and discreet screen along with info on your activity. You can even send quick replies to messages via the touch screen.
There are two versions to choose from, the sleek Vivomove HR Sport ($199.99) and the more upscale Vivomove HR Premium with leather straps and a full steel body ($299.99). Both will be available in Q4 2017.
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For those who prefer to workout with a slim fitness band, Garmin has come out with Vivosport. This is a device with some pretty decent specs under the hood. In terms of fitness tracking, it actually includes everything you get with Vivoactive 3 minus some of the apps for individual sports.
The device can be seen as an upgraded version of Garmin’s popular Vivosmart 3 and Vivosmart HR+ trackers. In a sense, with the inclusion of GPS and a snazzy new design, Garmin has taken the best from these two devices and come up with an entirely new fitness band.
Vivosport has a suggested retail price of $199.99, and is available from Q4 2017.
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