Has the fledgling wearable market already reached a saturation point, with only so much a device manufacturer can do to improve the many awfully similar smartwatches and smart bands around? Probably, or rather, hopefully not, though Garmin seems to be stuck incrementally upgrading its robust Fitbit and Jawbone competitors.
There’s of course nothing inherently wrong with small revisions of successful products, and it’s way worse when an OEM tries to fix what isn’t broken. Well, the Garmin Vivoactive was sure not broken, so it’s nice to see the Vivoactive HR pick up a built-in heart rate monitor and essentially recycle the original “GPS smartwatch’s” other features.
The new timepiece, while remodeled to add some curves to a bland, square design, is still far from a fashion icon, and it’s best pitted against “basic” fitness trackers instead of full-fledged, fancy smartwatches.
Wrist-based HR supervision naturally comes with a massive battery life downgrade, from 3 weeks to 7 days, whereas specific sports apps tracking your every movement in running, biking, swimming, golfing, cycling and even skiing remain high on the selling point list.
Meanwhile, the Garmin Vivofit 3 follows in the footsteps of the affordable Vivofit 2 with a reshaped, tiny backlit display, 24/7 progress monitoring, 1-year battery endurance, personalized daily goals, automatic synchronization to the Connect app, water resistance, and most intriguing of all, a rich collection of swappable bands.
Actually, two collections, including one designed by Jonathan Adler, both meant to “coordinate your Vivofit 3 to your wardrobe.” Interesting approach for a smart band priced as low as $100, with the Vivoactive HR disregarding style and choice at $250. Shipping will be underway in 5 to 8 weeks.