Garmin today announced vivoactive HR, a GPS smartwatch that improves over its predecessor by a adding barometric altimeter and 24/7 wrist-based heart rate tracking without the need for a chest strap. The $250 male sized band also includes a clock, which technically makes it a smartwatch, but not really. Its main use it to keep track of active moments throughout the day, counting steps and floors climbed, intensity minutes, and monitoring sleep. But it also has built-in GPS-enabled sports apps for tracking activities such as walking, running, biking, swimming, golfing, paddle boarding, rowing, skiing and snowboarding. The fitness band calculates calories burned information as well as the intensity of fitness activities, providing proper credit for users’ array of workouts. With the Connect IQ store, users can easily personalize their vívoactive HR with free apps, widgets, watch faces and data fields.
The vívoactive HR’s always-on, touchscreen, sunlight-readable Garmin Chroma Display lets users track activity and stay connected anytime, anywhere. Its built-in GPS-enabled sports apps include:
- Running – Using a built-in accelerometer and GPS users can track runs either indoors or out. Additional features include Auto Lap, Auto Pause, and vibration alerts for heart rate, pace, run/walk intervals, and more. Post-run summaries include stats such as total mileage, calories, average pace and overall time.
- Cycling – The cycling app measures time, distance, speed and calories. It is compatible with speed and cadence sensors, and the Varia lights and radar (sensors and radar are sold separately).
- Pool Swimming – In addition to tracking total and interval time, distance, pace, stroke count and stroke type, the swimming app also features easy pausing for rests, complete with rest timers, and can calculate swolf, a measure of swimming efficiency.
- Golfing – Users can view a simplified view of the green, measure shot distance and be pointed in the right direction with PinPointer while golfing on one of the 40,000 course maps worldwide available for download from the Garmin golf course database.
- Stand Up Paddleboarding and Rowing – Users can easily track and view pace, time, distance, stroke count, stroke rate and distance per stroke. When using an indoor rowing machine, users can track time, stroke count and stroke rate.
- Skiing and Snowboarding – The skiing and snowboarding app measures 3-D speed by calculating the speed and distance on an incline versus latitude and longitude. It also provides splits automatically and features Auto Pause, which freezes the timer automatically when users stop or ride the lift.
With up to eight days’ battery life in watch/activity tracking mode (with 24/7 heart rate monitoring, no GPS) or up to 13 hours using GPS. The vivoactive HR also includes Garmin Move IQ, a new feature that continuously monitors for periods of sustained activity. With Move IQ, the vívoactive HR automatically recognizes walking, running, biking, swimming and elliptical training. Users can easily track their exercise throughout the day without needing to start a timed activity. Once synced with Garmin Connect, users can review their full day of activity in a convenient Timeline view.
The vívoactive HR is compatible with the Connect IQ platform for endless customization options. Through the Connect IQ store in the Garmin Connect mobile app, users can download any of the free apps, widgets, watch faces and data fields so their vívoactive HR can suit their individual needs.
Not to be forgotten are the smartwatch features, which include vibration alerts for including incoming calls, texts, emails, calendar reminders, social media alerts and more. Additional on-device smart capabilities allow users to check weather information, control music on their smartphone, control a VIRB action camera, locate their smartphone, and allow friends and family to track activities in real time with LiveTrack.
Throughout the day the vívoactive HR automatically syncs with paired mobile devices through the Garmin Connect Mobile app, so users can see a complete picture of daily activities. In Garmin Connect, a free online fitness/golf community, users can track workouts, sleep patterns and trends, join online challenges to compete against friends and earn virtual badges. They can also view Garmin Connect Insights, smart wellness insights that provide cues to help them reach goals, shout-outs when milestones have been met and relevant healthy tips from experts. Insights also show users how they are doing in comparison to people like them for extra motivation. The vívoactive HR is also compatible with corporate wellness offerings from Garmin.
Price and Availability
The Garmin vivoactive HR will begin available in Q2 2016 for $249.99. It will come in regular and extra-large fit black bands. Accessory bands will be available in black, white, force yellow and lava red for a suggested retail price of $29.99 each.