With the new vívofit, Garmin is rolling performance-tracking into a package that's significantly smaller and sleeker than its typical fitness watch. The GPS giant believes the bracelet is more than just a "me too" device in a swelling marketplace, explaining that it packs a few features that set it apart.
Garmin has been designing and selling sports monitors for years, but many of them could be described quite rightfully as ungainly wrist bricks. The new vívofit joins the likes of the Nike+ FuelBand SE and Jawbone UP in offering fitness monitoring in a thin, lightweight bracelet. Unlike many other Garmin devices, the vívofit does not include a GPS chip.
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Instead of simply tracking your movement, vívofit adds some intuition to your daily fitness routine. It creates attainable daily goals based upon your activity level, increasing the goals as you meet milestones. This way, you're inspired to keep striving for a fitter, healthier lifestyle.
"Vívofit is the only fitness band that automatically greets users with a personalized daily goal, tracks their progress and reminds them when it’s time to move," Garmin claims in a press release.
The vívofit's inactivity function provides a visual red bar after you've been inactive for an hour. The bar grows the longer you stay inactive, providing a reminder to get up and move around. Walk around for a few minutes and the inactivity tracker resets.
"Research shows prolonged periods of inactivity, such as sitting at a desk, decrease the body’s production of fat-burning enzymes," Garmin explains. "Taking frequent, short walk breaks throughout the day can reverse this."
Vívofit is designed to be a 24/7 monitor, tracking nighttime sleep patterns as well as daytime fitness. Its always-on curved display shows number of steps, goal countdown, calories, distance and time of day.
For a more in-depth analysis, the vívofit syncs wirelessly, via Bluetooth or included ANT USB stick, with the cloud-based Garmin Connect community. Here, users can review reports about their fitness, connect with other users, and participate in fitness challenges and games.
The vívofit is compatible with ANT+ heart rate models. It's powered by two replaceable CR1632 cells that Garmin says will last for more than a year.
The vívofit will hit the market in the first quarter of 2014 for US$129.99 or $169.99 for a heart rate monitor bundle.