Garmin is introducing a wearable that blurs the line between activity tracker and smartwatch. It's called the Vivosmart and while it looks simple, it has a number of great features.
While most fitness trackers so far have a minimalistic design, they also have minimal features. Garmin clearly aims to change that with the Vivosmart.
Garmin first introduced its Vivofit fitness tracker last year, and the company builds on that tech with its new device. While both devices are waterproof and track movement, the Vivosmart adds a much nicer display as well as vibrating alerts.
Those vibrating alerts are not just related to fitness, however. The Vivosmart also notifies the user of calls, texts, emails and calendar events, much like a smartwatch would. It will even deliver a preview of the notification to the wearer's wrist.
The idea behind the vibrating alerts is that Garmin wants to help the wearer stay fit. Because of this, the device alerts the wearer whenever they need to get up and move around.
"Research shows that prolonged periods of inactivity, like sitting, decrease your body's production of fat-burning enzymes. That effect can be reversed with frequent, short walk breaks," Garmin says. "You might lose track of time but vivosmart remembers. After 1 hour of inactivity, vivosmart vibrates to let you know that it's time to move. Walk just a couple of minutes to reset the timer."
Of course, like a fitness device, the Vivosmart will track steps taken, active time, calories burned, and heart rate if its paired with a Garmin heart monitor. All of this data can be uploaded to the Garmin Connect app, which is available to both iOS and Android users.
This is something that sets Garmin's devices apart from other fitness trackers - Garmin's ecosystem. The Vivosmart can connect with a number of other devices, including a bike speed sensor. It can even connect to a GoPro camera to remotely control it. Some users might find this connectivity extra helpful, although others may have no need for it.
Unfortunately, the addition of all these new features comes at the price of battery life. While the Vivofit coul last a year on a single charge, the Vivosmart has to be charged every week. This could effectively change the wearer's fitness results, however once a week really is not that bad, especially when compared to some other fitness tracking options.
The Garmin Vivosmart will go on sale in November of this year, and will cost $169.99, or $199.99 if bought with a Garmin heart rate monitor.