Garmin’s Vivoactive 3 could be an Apple Watch killer

The IFA 2017 tech conference in Berlin is in full swing, and Garmin has entered the fray with an anouncement that could worry both Apple and Fitbit. 

The company has created a smartwatch that looks like it contains all the best bits of what we’d expect from a Garmin fitness tracker, along with the latest conveniences offered by smartwatch technology.

Not only can you measure your heart rate while you’re running for the bus, you can track the Uber you'll have to call after you miss it. With the latest fitness technology from Garmin on board you can even keep track of your stress levels and your Vo2 max level (a measure of how your body consumes and utilizes oxygen).

In terms of its smartwatch capabilities, it does everything you’d expect; when partnered with a phone it will notify you of calls, emails and other alerts, and lets you read and respond to text messages.

You can also change tracks in your music apps if you need that extra push, and make contactless payments – without having your phone to hand – using Garmin Pay.

Just keeps running and running

Going back to the fitness tech, the Vivoactive 3 has more than 15 built-in sports apps for everything from snowboarding to yoga, while a new strength training feature will even measure your reps. 

The Vivoactive 3 is designed to sit well on either hand, and is safe to wear while swimming and showering. There are thousands of different watch faces, so you can customize it to suit your style, and it has a battery life of eight days.

Yes you did read that last figure right. If you’re using the Vivoactive 3 in GPS mode to track a run that battery life number comes down quite dramatically to 13 hours, but in ‘smartwatch mode’ you should get eight days on a single charge. Of course, we’ll be putting that claim to the test when we get one in for review. 

The Vivoactive comes in three colors – black, white, and slate – with prices ranging $299.99-$329.99 (£279.99-£299.99 AU prices to be confirmed).

If you'd rather something a bit more watch-y, Garmin has you covered there too, with an update on the Vivomove; the Vivomove HR.

According to Andrew Silver, Garmin EMEA Product Manager: "When we first introduced the vívomove last year, it was geared towards customers who wanted a beautiful timepiece first and activity tracking functions second. With the new vívomove HR, not only is the design as elegant as ever, the wearable technology is cutting edge. 

"We’re the first on the market to offer a hybrid smartwatch with both wrist-based heart rate and a digital touchscreen display. And you get all of that without losing the classic, timeless look of an analog watch.”

You still get all the call and text alerts, the heart rate monitoring, the VO2 max, just in a body you could happily wear with a suit.

The battery life isn't as impressive as the Vivoactive 3 at five days in 'smart mode', but you can boost it up to two weeks in 'watch mode'.

The Vivomove HR again comes in a range of colors and prices, ranging $199.99 - $299.99 (£169.99 - £249.99 AU prices to be confirmed).

Last but not least

If all of this 'smart' integration isn't your thing and you really just want a solid, dependable fitness tracker, Garmin has also released the Garmin Vivosport (yes everything is called Vivo).

The Vivosport is a no-nonsense fitness tracker with built in GPS. It's smart enough that it can measure when you start and stop activities without you needing to tell it, it has heart rate monitoring, stress monitoring, and even has a breathing relaxation timer to help you de-stress.

The Vivosport is available in a range of colors and will be $199.99 (£169.99 AU prices to be confirmed). All of the Vivo range are coming out later in the year, so will make perfect additions to Christmas lists. 

  • IFA 2017 is Europe's biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they're announced.