Garmin goes straight at Fitbit with its new Vivosmart 3 fitness tracker

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It’s been a few years since Garmin first launched its Vivo-branded line of activity trackers, which are more lightweight, less expensive alternatives to Garmin’s serious sport watches, and they’ve generally received positive reviews. Today Garmin announced another Vivo wristband, the Vivosmart 3, and it not only adds advanced heart rate tracking features, it records some strength training exercises.

It’s also $140. In other words: this should be making Fitbit’s heart rate go up a little bit.

The Vivosmart looks to be made of the same flexible elastomer as the previous Vivosmart bands. It tracks all the stuff you would expect it to: steps, calories burned, floors climbed, intense exercise activities, sleep, and more. It’s waterproof up to 50 meters — it can be worn in the shower or pool, though it won’t track swimming — and Garmin is claiming the battery will last five days on a charge. Like last year’s Vivosmart HR, it has optical heart rate sensors built in.

What’s new about the Vivosmart 2 is that it calculates your VO2 max, or oxygen uptake, making it the first Vivo-branded product that does this and also one of the few lightweight wristbands on the market that does this. It also counts reps during strength training sessions, and has a guided breathing function.

Photo: Garmin

Some of these features are available in a variety of other fitness trackers, as well. Almost all connected fitness trackers and smartwatches show notifications from your smartphone, now. Fitbit’s $150 Charge 2 wristband has a “Breathe” function and assigns you a Fitness Cardio Score (or VO2 max) based on your activity levels and heart rate. Some wearables even do automatic strength training recognition, like the LG Watch Sport. But Garmin has managed to package it all into one wearable. This one’s also waterproof, not just splashproof. On the downside: the Vivosmart 3 doesn’t have built-in GPS.

The Vivosmart 3 goes on sale today, costs $140, and is available in black and purple. We haven’t had the chance to test it yet, but we (okay, I) will try it out as soon as we can.



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