Garmin announces Vivoactive HR with sleeker design, integrated heart rate monitor, and more

Garmin announced successors to the Vivoactive and Vivofit devices with the Vivoactive HR and Vivofit 3. The Vivoactive HR is a compelling GPS sports watch with enhancements consumers have been asking for.

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(Image: Garmin)

Garmin announced the Vivoactive successor, the Vivoactive HR, that includes Garmin's new integrated heart rate monitor and an improved form factor. Garmin also announced the Vivofit 3 tracker with 1-year battery life.

Last year I visited the Apple Store to try out an Apple Watch and then ordered a Garmin Vivoactive instead, see my full review. After a couple of weeks though, I returned the Vivoactive because it was missing a couple of things I found important in a daily tracker and GPS sport watch.

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(Image: Garmin)

The new Vivoactive HR has a sleeker form factor compared to the boxy Vivoactive while increasing in thickness to support the integrated heart rate technology, powered by Garmin Elevate. The display has also been improved, which was one area that disappointed me with the original Vivoactive. This touch screen display is sunlight readable with a resolution of 148 x 205 pixels.

The new Vivoactive HR also now tracks floors climbed, which is a metric that is very important to me and one that very few devices track. It has auto sleep monitoring, automatic daily step goal adjustments, auto pause while running, pace alerts, a 5 ATM water resistance rating, and smart notifications from your smartphone (email, text, social networks, calls, etc).

The battery life for GPS mode has been extended to up to 13 hours, was previously 10 hours, while the smartwatch mode with the 24/7 heart rate is listed at eight days. The smartwatch battery life is a bit shorter now, was three weeks, because of the heart rate monitoring feature. Battery life performance easily beats all smartwatches and is longer than most GPS sports watches as well.

The Garmin Vivoactive HR also supports Garmin's growing Connect IQ ecosystem. You can install Connect IQ watch faces, apps, widgets, and more to extend the functionality of the Vivoactive HR while also personalizing it for your needs. It will be available in Q2 2016 for the same original price as the Garmin Vivoactive last year, $249.99.

The new Garmin Vivofit 3 will also be available in Q2 for a price of $99.99. The Vivofit 3 is similar to the Vivofit 2 with additional support for intensity minutes and Move IQ. Move IQ is Garmin's technology that automatically detects and records activities without any user interaction required.

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