Garmin Just Entered The Smartwatch Race With The $250 Vivoactive

Meet the Vivoactive. This is Garmin’s answer to the Apple Watch, the Fitbit Surge and all the rest of the smartwatches. And seriously, the Vivoactive seems like a contender.

The Vivoactive is packed with the standard fitness-focused accruements including a pedometer, heartrate monitoring capability, GPS and a touchscreen display Garmin says is readable in sunlight. The watch band is interchangeable and Garmin came up with different bands for different activities. The overall design and functionality is reminiscent of the MotoActive. The Garmin Vivoactive even packs functions for golfers like the now-defunct MotoActive.

This is Garmin’s latest product in its affordable fitness tracker line, which started with the budget-friendly Vivofit and the smartwatch-ish Vivosmart band.

The Vivoactive will compete directly against the Fitbit Surge smartwatch. While the products are priced the same, they’re several distinct differences. The Fitbit model packs an integrated heartrate monitor where the Garmin version requires a chest strap — a $50 add-on that’s likely more accurate too. The Garmin seemingly has a wider range of uses including a golf mode. Garmin is also rolling out Connect IQ to allow users to change the watch faces and add apps to the watch.

The Vivoactive is entering a space that’s set to explode in 2015. Yet there should be room for multiple players to carve out their own space.

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