Smartwatches: they now exist in a crowded market. It’s difficult to make a case for a new device but here we are, looking at a new device.
The Garmin Vivoactive slides in at the top of the Garmin wearables range. Taking advantage of the GPS pedigree that Garmin is extremely proud of, the Vivoactive expands on the feature set of the Vivofit, Vivofit 2 and Vivosmart. Tracking all the usual aspects of your day (steps, distance, calories, active minutes), the Vivoactive expands the specification sheet with the inclusion of GPS tracking and custom apps for running, swimming, golfing and cycling. You’ll find no Android Wear here – Garmin have developed their own proprietary OS that supports ‘Smart Notifications’ from your phone. While they say the watch will pick these up from any “compatible Bluetooth device”, there is no mention of Windows Phone, only Android and iOS. The watch will plug into a very small handful of sport apps to offer supplementary information during workouts but that’s as far as that goes. These apps can be downloaded through Garmin’s Connect IQ ecosystem.
The headline is the battery life; while it’s not a patch on the entire year the Vivofit will run, the Vivoactive will keep ticking for up to 3 weeks away from the charging cable. An impressive feat for a smartwatch if all you do is keep your head in the Apple sand! However the watch will only keep this up if you keep away from the GPS functionality that the watch boasts. Turning on the aforementioned headline feature will yield just 10 hours of battery. Is the GPS really this hungry or does the Garmin OS just barely sip at the precious charge?
The watch checks in at £199.99 and you can order one right now directly from Garmin.