Wearables are currently a tricky proposition, as some brands fold and get out of the game entirely, while others double down with new releases, hoping to grab a piece of the market that’s slated to double by 2021.
Count Garmin in the latter group. The company just announced a diverse new round of releases that could put it in position to challenge industry heavyweights like Apple and Fitbit.
The three new vívo-branded wearables look to cover a wide range of uses, from a fashion-first hybrid to pure fitness and activity tracking. Garmin’s going all out with the devices, touting extra-long battery lives and new features to separate them from the rest of the wearable pack.
First up: the vívomove HR, a hybrid smartwatch that actually looks fashionable, which has long been a challenge for smartwatch makers. Garmin doesn’t skimp on smart or fitness-tracking features like some hybrid devices, either, giving the vívomove HR a heart rate monitor for high-level fitness tracking, along with advanced notifications, music controls, and other smart functions.
Garmin’s touting a ton of battery life along with the sexy new look — five days in “smart mode,” or a full two weeks when it’s worn like a normal watch. The vívomove HR comes in Sport or Premium options, which will run you between $200 to $300.
The vívoactive 3 smartwatch can’t match the aesthetic chops of the vívomove HR — but the gym-first wearable does have GPS tracking for phone-free runs and a new Garmin Pay feature for contactless NFC purchases for Visa and Mastercard cardholders. Those features put the vívoactive 3 on par with the latest offerings from competitors Apple, Fitbit, and Samsung, which all have GPS and on-watch payments so you can hit the gym or running trail without your phone or wallet and still pay for a snack after.
Garmin claims the vívoactive 3 has them all beat when it comes to battery life, hyping a full week’s use in smartwatch mode and 13 hours when using GPS. That could be a major perk for anyone sick of charging their smartwatch every single night.
That combo of functionality and battery life won’t come cheap. The watch costs from $300 to $330, depending on the configuration, making the lower end model just as expensive as Fitbit’s new Ionic and nearly pushing into Apple Watch Series 2 territory.
Finally, the new vívosport is a straightforward fitness tracker with a few features that could set it apart from basic trackers. The wearable looks like an updated version of Garmin’s vívosmart 3, which dropped earlier this year, adding an always-on color display to the familiar design profile.
The vívosport has built-in GPS connectivity along with heart rate monitoring and fitness-tracking features, which could give it an edge on other devices like the vívosmart 3 or the Alta HR. The vívosport clocks in at $200, significantly more than the other options mentioned above, which could be too steep for exercisers looking for an alternative to a full-blown smartwatch.
Garmin might not carry the same clout as Apple or Fitbit, but these new wearables look like they could have the stuff to compete with the bigger brands.