Garmin Vivoactive: Everything you need to know about the sporty all-rounder

The specs, price and release date details for the new Vivoactive fitness smartwatch
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Garmin was keen to cover all the wearable tech bases during CES 2015. Not only did it reveal the feature packed Fenix 3 and out new, chic, designs for its Vivofit 2 band, but it has also announced the multi-sport-tastic smartwatch, the Garmin Vivoactive as well.

Essential reading: Garmin Vivoactive HR vs Fitbit Blaze

With Android Wear-esque styling, GPS connectivity and a go-it-alone OS and app store, Garmin obviously thinks it's on to a winner. With so many sporty bases covered, as well as notifications and music controls, the Vivoactive may well be the jack-of-all trades you've been waiting for.

Garmin Vivoactive: Design

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Smartwatches have moved on from the time when Sony could get away with a blank, black square on a strap but Garmin doesn't seem to have got the message, sadly. While the Vivofit 2 gets all sorts of colours and patterns, the Vivoactive comes in just black or white models, albeit with a fairly thin 8mm body. Its full dimensions are 43.8 x 38.5 x 8mm and it weighs just under 40g.

Wareable verdict: Garmin Vivoactive

It does have interchangeable straps though, and it's not half as chunky as the likes of a Fenix 3 which makes for much more of an everyday design that can be hidden under shirt sleeves. It's also lightweight enough to be suitable to the sports its designed to work with - but more of that later.

Garmin Vivoactive: Colour touchscreen

As with the Fenix 3, the Vivoactive uses a colour LCD that Garmin says is easily readable in direct sunlight. The difference here is that the Vivoactive's is touchscreen. There are two capacitive buttons below the screen, as well as buttons on either side, but otherwise swiping and pressing icons is how you will navigate the device.

Wareable guide: Running better with Garmin Connect

The display is a fairly mediocre 1.38-inch, 205 x 148 pixel one, giving a ppi count of 183. To put that in perspective, even the original Android Wear smartwatches - the LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live - beat this easily.

However, you're not likely to be interested in the Vivoactive for its display - it's the sports features that you're after.

Garmin Vivoactive: Sports and fitness

Garmin makes great GPS running watches. It also is a dab hand when it comes to golf wearables and, with the Vivofit and the Vivosmart, the company has proved its credentials when it comes to fitness tracking as well. So why not combine the lot? That's exactly what the Vivoactive does, and some...

Running

The Garmin Vivoactive is more than a casual running aid - it's actually got a lot in common with the dedicated running watch, the Forerunner 620 - as it offers not only GPS run tracking but also advice on pace and cadence. You'll have to strap a separate heart rate monitor strap on to make the most of the bpm training but, for everyday runners, there's plenty on board the Vivoactive to be excited about including post-run summaries containing calories burned and personal records.

Golf

The Vivoactive takes the features of the company's basic golf wearable - the S2 - and adds them to the list of functions of the new device. So that's details of more than 38,000 courses around the world, with real-time on the course information on pin yardage and dog-leg and hazard lay-ups. There's also a digital scoreboard and you can record your drive lengths with one tap of a button.

Cycling

The GPS-powered cycling app records your time on the bike, the distance covered, and your speed and calories.

Swimming

Don't worry about your SWOLF, the Vivoactive has that covered too. The accelerometer combines with an algorithm to determine distance, laps, calories burned, session average, interval and length pace; as well as the number of strokes per length and interval and session averages.

Fitness tracking

Of course, this being a Vivo branded device, basic activity tracking is on board too - so steps, calories and so on, and the Garmin Move Bar - designed to keep you, er, moving - is also present and correct.

Garmin Vivoactive: Smartwatch skills

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On top of the sports and fitness features, the Vivoactive also acts as a basic smartwatch with notifications from your smartphone for incoming calls, emails, calendar reminders and texts popping up on the display. Social media updates from Twitter and Facebook are also officially on board and we're told other third party app notifications will be available too.

Wareable verdict: Garmin Forerunner 920XT review

Music playback controls are available to the user and there will also be functions to control a Garmin VIRB action camera.

Garmin Vivoactive: Connect IQ platform

Like the Fenix 3, Connect IQ is present on the Vivoactive, which means a host of apps and add-ons will also be available. The fact that Garmin's new software is open source means that the Vivoactive will evolve over time too - as developers tap into the SDK.

Custom watch faces will also be part of the Connect IQ platform and, of course, all the activity data is synced to the powerful Garmin Connect ecosystem - check out our comprehensive guide to Garmin's online portal.

Garmin Vivoactive: Battery life and extras

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The rechargeable battery lasts up to 3 weeks in the basic activity-tracking mode, or up to 10 hours using GPS functions. That's pretty impressive, we're sure you'll agree - we will of course test these claims during our full review.

It's 5ATM water resistant rated, that means it's good in up to 50m of water.

Garmin Vivoactive: Price and release date

There's no exact release date at the moment, all we know is that the Vivoactive is coming in the second quarter of 2015.

As for price, it's launching at a very decent $250 in the US, £199.99 in the UK.


Paul Lamkin

By

Wareable Media Group co-CEO Paul launched Wareable with James Stables in 2014, after working for a variety of the UK's biggest and best consumer tech publications including Pocket-lint, Forbes, Electric Pig, Tech Digest, What Laptop, T3 and has been a judge for the TechRadar Awards. 

Prior to founding Wareable, and subsequently The Ambient, he was the senior editor of MSN Tech and has written for a range of publications.


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