At the IFA 2014 expo in Berlin, Garmin announced a new wearable gadget that combines the communication features of a smartwatch with the fitness centric capabilities of an activity tracker. The Vivosmart is a wide plastic bracelet that sports an OLED display which stays hidden most of the time and illuminates either by gesture, touch, or an incoming alert from a connected smartphone.
The Vivosmart does everything that Garmin’s fitness-focused Vivofit bracelet does. It records the number of steps taken in a day, distance traveled, calories burned, hours slept and your progress towards goals you set. Also similar to other fitness trackers, it has a vibration sensor, which you can use to set wake-up alarms. It monitors your eating habits too, provided you connect your existing MyFitnnessPal account inside the Garmin Connect app, available for Android and iOS.
Another interesting feature in the new Vivosmart is the “move bar,” a line that appears on the screen. It shows five segments that fill up slowly if you’ve been sitting still for too long. After an hour of inactivity, the tracker vibrates and prompts you to move a bit. The Vivosmart also alerts you when you receive calls, text messages and emails and will provide preview of the notifications on its horizontal screen. You can also use the device to control your smartphone’s music player, as well as the VIRB action camera, Garmin’s GoPro competitor.
The band is waterproof up to 50 meters, and another unique feature is that Vivosmart’s battery lasts for seven days, thanks to two user-replaceable coin cell batteries. The smart band will be available in five different colors. The device will go on sale at Best Buy starting in mid-September for a price of $170 or $200 for a version that comes with a heart rate monitor.