With its new Vívofit fitness tracker, Garmin's entering a market that's getting more and more crowded every day. But while other fitness bands allow motivated athletic types to set daily goals and strive to improve themselves, the Vívofit seems to cater to those of us who need a lot more encouragement to get off the couch, or leave our desks to take a quick walk around the block. And that's a good thing.
The Vívofit's always-on display lets you keep track of your steps taken, calories burned, how far you are from your fitness goal and other metrics — but it also features a thin red bar that slowly gets longer and longer after an hour of inactivity, reminding you to get up and at least go for a quick stroll to reset it.
But even more useful for those of us who don't exactly consider ourselves fitness enthusiasts is the Vívofit's ability to monitor a wearer's average activity level, and then automatically set achievable daily goals. As these goals are met, they increase from day to day, but at a pace that won't leave someone feeling frustrated or discouraged if they fail. It's like strapping a personal trainer to your wrist, but one that understands that staying active isn't easy for everyone, instead of screaming at you when you fail.
The Vívofit also tracks your sleep patterns at night — a metric that can be as important as your fitness level when it comes to your health — and of course all of this information is automatically and wirelessly synced to an app and Garmin's online Connect community so you can monitor your progress, or compete against friends.
Available in five different colours at launch, the Vívofit fitness bands will be available sometime in early 2014 and will sell for $US130, or $US170 if you want one with a bundled heart rate monitor. The bands are of course completely waterproof and can even be worn in the shower, and what might make the Vívofit the new must-have fitness tracker is that the non-rechargeable battery is good for an entire year before it needs to be swapped out for a new one. Australian pricing and availability is yet to be announced. [Garmin]