Garmin Boasts of Always-on Watch

Garmin has developed a new device that combines watch and fitness tracker functionality. The Vivoactive HR is a GPS smartwatch with Garmin’s Elevate heart rate technology. As well as heart rate, the device counts steps, monitors sleep and features built-in GPS apps for walking, running, cycling, swimming and more.

Heart rate is tracked 24/7; this data is used to calculate calories burned, as well as the intensity of fitness activities. More apps can be downloaded from the Connect IQ store.

Garmin says that the watch has an always-on display, and we have asked for clarification of what display technology is being used. Battery life is up to eight days in watch/activity tracking mode (no GPS) or up to 13 hours with GPS.

As well as the built-in heart rate sensor (the previous Vivoactive required a chest band to be worn for this), the watch can track metrics for activities such as cycling, running, skiing and swimming. Move IQ is a new feature that continuously monitors for periods of sustained activity; the watch will automatically recognise when the wearer is exercising.

Garmin will begin to sell the Vivoactive HR worldwide in Q2, for $250.

Update 4/3/16

We have been told that Garmin’s smartwatch uses a transflective LCD display; this means that ambient light illuminates the screen (which acts as a reflective lens). However, when there is no ambient light the user can turn on a backlight.