Garmin is looking to further fill out its line of fitness accessories — and challenge Fitbit's supremacy — with two new fitness trackers: the $99 Vivofit 3, which features interchangeable bands and automatic activity tracking, and the $249 Vivoactive HR, a top-end GPS watch with a heart-rate monitor and a color display that can keep tabs on everything from swimming to skiing to golfing. Both devices will ship this spring.
The $99 Vivofit 3 is essentially a newer version of the Garmin Vivofit 2. Interestingly, the Vivofit 3 has a smaller display than its predecessor, but this time around, text is arrayed horizontally, rather than vertically, which should make it easier to read without having to twist your wrist or neck.
While it lacks a heart rate-monitor, which the $149 Vivosmart HR (currently our favorite fitness tracker) does have, the Vivofit 3 has Garmin's Move IQ, which can automatically detect if you're running, biking, swimming, or on the elliptical machine. The Vivofit 3 is also water-resistant to 50 meters, and will have a one-year battery life.
Designed for those who want to make a bit of a fashion statement with their wearable, the Vivofit 's band can be swapped out. At launch, Garmin will offer several different band colors and styles, ranging from camouflage to several Jonathan Adler designs.
Garmin's $249 Vivoactive HR looks like it will directly compete with the Fitbit Surge for more dedicated athletes. Not only do both have similar designs, but, like Fitbit's device, the Vivoactive HR has both an optical heart-rate monitor and GPS. However, Garmin's watch will track a wider variety of activities, including running, biking, swimming, golfing, rowing, skiing and snowboarding.
Like its older Vivoactive, you'll be able to customize the Vivoactive HR with a number of widgets and watch faces through the Garmin Connect app. And, you'll be able to receive smartphone notifications on the watch, such as texts, emails, calendar reminders, and the like. However, unlike a bona fide smartwatch, you won't be able to respond to these alerts.
The Vivoactive HR has an always-on touchscreen, but the watch should last up to 8 days in activity tracking mode (with 24/7 heart rate monitoring), and up to 13 hours when using GPS, according to Garmin.
Both the Vivofit 3 and Vivoactive HR look like compelling additions to Garmin's lineup of fitness and activity trackers. We'll let you know how they perform in the real world once we get our hands on them.