Garmin is at it again. After recently announcing its Vivomove smart analogue fitness tracker, it’s now adding the Vivosmart HR+ to the mix.
It’s essentially exactly the same as the Vivosmart HR, except it’s now adding built-in GPS, which means you can accurately track runs and get many of the same running metrics available on Garmin’s Forerunner watches like the Forerunner 235 and the 630.
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It also inherits the same Garmin Move IQ auto activity detection that’s included on the Vivoactive HR smartwatch, to recognise when you’re walking, running, biking, swimming or when you’re dabbling in some elliptical training.
Aside from the added GPS sensor, it still features Garmin’s Elevate optical heart rate technology, to offer 24/7 heart rate monitoring and measure intensity during workouts. You’ll be able to monitor steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed and activity intensity.
You can view progress on the always-on display and it has a water rating of 5 ATM, which means you jump in the shower with it and take it swimming up to 50 metres depth.
Additional running features include the ability to record personal records, use a virtual pacer along with auto pause, auto lap and walk/run modes also included.
There’s plenty of smartwatch support here so you’ll feel a vibrating buzz to let you know an incoming call, text, or email has come through. You’ll also be able to see calendar reminders and social media updates. You can control music from your smartphone and all of your data is synced to the Garmin Connect Mobile app.
While we’re glad to see the addition of GPS, the biggest worry is what impact it’s going to have on the battery life. The original Vivosmart HR offered five days of battery life, although we found that it managed 2.5 days on occasions in our testing. The Vivosmart HR+ will offer up to eight hours with GPS in use and the same five days when it’s turned off.
Available in regular and extra large sizes in black, purple, blue colours, the Vivosmart HR+ will cost $219.99. To put that into perspective, the original Vivosmart HR costs $149.99. That means you’re looking at paying an extra $70 for the addition of GPS.
The Vivoactive HR smartwatch, which also offers built-in GPS, is priced at $249.
Garmin has clearly got the wearable bug and we’re sure this won’t be the last of the new trackers we write about this year.
It’s also good that Microsoft finally has some GPS competition in the fitness band space. Don’t forget the rumoured Samsung Gear Fit 2 will come packing GPS connectivity as well.