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Garmin launches new Vivoactive 3 smartwatch with Garmin Pay

Enlarge (credit: Garmin)

Ahead of this year's IFA conference, Garmin announced new additions to its Vivo family of wearables. Most notable is the new Vivoactive 3, an update to the Vivoactive HR, that turns the device into a true smartwatch with a round case, NFC payment system, and more. This fall seems to be ripe for new, higher-end wearables: Fitbit just announced its Ionic smartwatch, and rumor has it that Apple will launch a new model of its Apple Watch soon as well.

Garmin's new Vivoactive 3 takes what Garmin does well and adds some necessary smartwatch features into the mix, in the hopes that it will be seen as a competitor for Fitbit's and Apple's devices. The company has transformed the boxy Vivoactive HR into a friendlier-looking timepiece that falls more in line with its Fenix family than before. The Vivoactive 3 has a new circular case and a Chroma display, along with a new mechanism called "side swipe" on the left side of the case's circumference. Users can run their finger over this textured portion of the case to scroll up and down on the display.

The device has a full-color touchscreen, but there always instances when your hands are sweaty or wet and you don't want to touch the display. Most other devices have physical buttons as alternative input mechanisms, but side swipe seems like a unique solution to a common problem. The Vivosmart 3 only has one button on the right side of the circumference, presumably for powering on the device.

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Garmin’s new Fenix 5 multisport tracker will finally fit my small wrist

Enlarge (credit: Garmin)

LAS VEGAS—Garmin has updated its Fenix line of high-end multisport watches annually for the past few years, and 2017's update will be welcomed by all those with smaller wrists (myself included). This week Garmin announced the new Fenix 5 line of fitness watches, including the Fenix 5, 5S, and 5X, all of which were redesigned to be more compact than the existing Fenix watches. The new offerings should be easier for women and people with smaller wrists to wear.

Garmin's Fenix line combines the widest feature set with arguably the most inoffensive design out of Garmin's wearable family. However, Fenix watches are big watches—so big that whenever I put one on, the gigantic face weighed down my wrist and the metal band would leave a gap so large around my wrist my index finger could fit through it. The company is tackling that issue with the Fenix 5 line (no, there were no Fenix 4 models, you're not missing anything), which measure 42mm (Fenix 5S), 47mm (Fenix 5), and 51mm (Fenix 5X).

The Fenix 5X may be the size of a typical Fenix 3 HR, but the other two models are made to be compact and take up less wrist real estate. They all come in a variety of colors and finishes, and they all have sapphire versions that use scratch-resistant lenses. All of the watches are waterproof up to 100 meters and can be interchanged between leather, metal, and silicone bands depending on how you're wearing them.

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