Here is our first look at Garmin Vivoactive 3

Garmin has announced not one, but a trio of new devices at the opening of IFA in Germany.

This includes the feature packed Vivoactive 3 sports watch, the hybrid Vivomove HR and in a surprise to many, the Vivosport smart band. The most high spec in the lineup is clearly Vivoactive 3, a Swiss army knife of activity tracking.

We caught a glimpse all three at the event in Berlin.

Vivoactive 3 is an updated version of Vivoactive HR. In terms of value for money, its predecessor is probably one of the best fitness trackers out there. There is only one problem – its ugly. And that’s putting it politely.

While that may not a problem for those who are more into functionality than style, Garmin has realised that it needs to introduce a more attractive form factor if it is to appeal to everyone. And on that count, the Vivoactive does not disappoint. Far from it.

The classy new design is more in line with Garmin’s Fenix and Forerunner range. My first impression on seeing it was that it perhaps most closely resembles the smallest of the Fenix 5 watches, the 5S. With its unisex look, measuring 43.4 x 43.4 x 11.7 cm, and coming in at only 43 grams, this is finally a sports watch that will appeal to both men and women equally.

The 30.4mm (diameter), sunlight visible, transflective, memory-in-pixel (MIP) screen is very vibrant and easy to read. Navigation is a combination of using the single physical button on the right and swiping on the touchscreen display.

Despite the relatively small form factor, Vivoactive 3 packs quite a bit under the hood. You’ll find a GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, altimeter, compass, thermometer and optical heart rate sensor.

This means you’ll have no problem getting all the fitness tracking basics steps, such as 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.

You’ll also get information on VO2Max and your fitness age. This is something that was lacking on the Vivoactive HR. The built-in GPS will ensure that distance, time and pace data is accurate.

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. The all-day-stress tracking in particular may prove to be a popular addition.

In terms of sports, Vivoactive 3 tracks everything under the sun. There are 15 built-in sports profiles, including new ones for snowboarding, cardio, yoga, eliptical and stair stepper, plus you can install others. Vivoactive 3 will also let you mix it up by creating customized workouts.

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.

What will surely be a disappointment to some Garmin has not includes other more advanced Firstbeat metrics such as Recovery, Training Load and others. My guess is that this is to keep its more advanced line attractive.

The watch runs up to a week on a single charge and 13 hours with GPS switched on. This is really great battery life and gives Apple something to aim for.

Starting at $299.99, the fitness watch comes in black/stainless, white/stainless. It will be available from Q4 2017.

You can pre-order on Amazon.

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

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