With smartwatches and phones gaining activity tracking capabilities, dedicated fitness trackers have needed to find new gimmicks to stay relevant. Batteries that lasted a full year without charging was a great start, as is the Move IQ technology in Garmin's new vívofit 3 that can recognise your different activities.
Although the vívofit 3 appears to have a smaller backlit display than its predecessor, it's still water-resistant to a depth of 50m, has the same audible and visual alerts when the wearer is inactive for too long and tracks the usual basic fitness metrics like steps, calories and estimated distance.
What might make the $US100 ($140) wearable (for the basic black band version, the fancier coloured straps will cost extra) worth the upgrade is that while the vívofit 3 is tracking those metrics, it's also keeping tabs on long durations of sustained activity. When detected, it will automatically document them based on the activity it detects you performing, including walking, running, biking, swimming and elliptical training.
So when you're using the Garmin Connect app and online service with the vívofit 3 to analyse your fitness regime over the past few days, you'll have a better idea of how much time was spent on your various activities. The data can also be shared and compared with friends, letting users have friendly competitions over who spent more time at the gym, or who spent the week slacking off.
Also seeing an update is Garmin's vívoactive smartwatch/fitness tracker hybrid with the new HR edition that introduces an integrated optical heart rate monitor on the back to more accurately track and calculate calories burned during a workout or just your regular daily routine.
The original vívoactive featured a design more reminiscent of a watch with a distinctly separate strap. But the vívoactive HR sways back into fitness tracker territory with a much-improved and more stylish form factor that sees the strap better integrated into its overall design.
Also like the original version, the vívoactive HR can download apps and widgets from Garmin's Connect IQ store to further enhance its fitness tracking prowess. And despite the addition of added heart rate monitoring functionality, at $US250 ($351) the vívoactive HR is priced exactly the same as the original vívoactive, which makes waiting for the new version to be released in a few months a no-brainer.
Update: The vívoactive HR will begin shipping to Australia in April with a suggested retail price of $399. Accessory bands in extra colours will be available for a suggested $49 each.
The vívofit 3 will be available in Australia from March/April. Bundled with a regular or extra large sized black band and white band the vívofit 3 will cost $169, or $159 with a regular sized white or black band.