Garmin dives into wrist-bound heart rate monitoring with Vivosmart HR

(credit: Garmin)

If fitness trackers are kneeling to smartwatches, you’d never be able to tell by the number of new products hitting the scene. Garmin is the latest to introduce a new device to its already strong family of trackers. The new Vivosmart HR is a dedicated activity tracker that is Garmin’s first to feature a built-in heart rate monitor. The company recently released a new trio of GPS watches with its “Elevate” heart rate technology, but the Vivosmart HR appears to be aimed at just about everyone rather than the hardcore fitness buffs targeted by Garmin’s other devices.

According to other reports, Elevate is Garmin’s optical heart rate technology that the company developed in-house. It continuously tracks your pulse, showing it on the touchscreen display throughout the day and during workout sessions. Previously, Garmin worked with Mio to provide heart rate technology in its products—which is known to make pretty accurate heart rate monitors—but it appears that more companies are switching to in-house sensors. Polar’s new A360 tracker also has an in-house heart rate monitor in the wristband, but it also lets you connect to a Polar H7 chest strap monitor via Bluetooth if you want. There’s no indication yet that Garmin’s Vivosmart HR will let you connect to one of the company’s chest straps.

While the Vivosmart HR most resembles Garmin’s Vivofit range of products, it has the core features of the original Vivosmart. It tracks steps, calories, distance, floors climbed, and sleep. When connected to a smartphone, the Vivosmart HR will receive calls, texts, and social media alerts, as well as provide controls for your music. It will also send users an alert when they’ve been inactive for too long. The Vivosmart HR is waterproof up to 50 meters as well, and Garmin claims it will last up to five days on a single charge.

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