Garmin Adds GPS to Its Latest Vivosmart HR+ Fitness Band

The $220 device also gains automatic activity detection and a wider range of data collection when the band is worn while running.

Garmin, Vivosmart HR+, wearables, fitness trackers, health trackers, Fitbit, GPS

Garmin has unveiled its latest fitness wearable, the Vivosmart HR+ activity tracker, which now includes GPS capabilities that were left out of the original Vivosmart HR when it was released last November.

The new $219.99 Vivosmart HR+, which is available immediately, costs $70 more than the original Vivosmart HR, but also gets upgrades including Garmin Move IQ automatic activity detection capabilities, as well as a wider range of data collection when it is worn while running.

Garmin Move IQ continuously monitors for periods of sustained activity and automatically recognizes when the band is being used during activities including walking, running, biking, swimming and elliptical training. That allows users to keep track of their time and data during activities without having to manually track their activities, according to Garmin. When used and synced with the Garmin Connect mobile app, users can review their full day of activity in a timeline view to analyze and plot their progress.

In addition, the Vivosmart HR+ includes Garmin Elevate wrist heart rate sensors and tracking for 24/7 heart rate monitoring, and also tracks a user's steps, distance traveled, calories consumed, floors climbed and activity intensity levels. The tracker includes an always-on 1-inch-long by 0.42-inch-wide display (160 by 68 pixels) that can be read in bright sunlight and is safe for use in water while swimming or bathing.

The expanded data collection capabilities while running include constant tracking of personal records; a virtual pacer to compare the current pace to a target pace; an Auto Pause feature that pauses and resumes the timer based on speed; an Auto Lap feature that automatically starts a new lap; and a walk/run mode. The Vivosmart's Elevate wrist heart rate tracking feature quantifies the intensity of users' fitness activities using "intensity minutes," which can help users monitor their progress against activity goals recommended by leading health organizations, according to Garmin.

The Vivosmart HR+ also provides users with vibration notifications of incoming calls, texts, emails, social media posts, calendar reminders and other notifications that come from a compatible Android, iOS or Windows 10 smartphone. Plus, users can control music on their smartphone through the fitness tracker and locate a lost phone using an audible alert.

The Vivosmart HR+ automatically saves its user data and syncs regularly with the Garmin Connect Mobile app to store and keep a user's activity statistics. Users can also log into the Garmin Connect free online fitness community to track their workouts, sleep patterns and sleep trends, or can join online challenges to compete against friends and earn virtual badges. Personalized Garmin Connect Insights are available that can provide cues to help users reach their fitness goals and audible shout-outs when milestones have been reached. The Insights feature can also display how users are doing in comparison to other people for extra motivation.

The device's lithium battery provides up to five days of use in the watch/activity tracking mode, including 24/7 heart rate monitoring and no GPS use, or up to 8 hours using GPS.

The activity tracker is available in size regular in black with a shark fin gray band, imperial purple with a kona purple band or midnight blue with a bolt blue band, or in extra-large in black with a shark fin gray band.

The activity tracker and fitness band marketplace is crowded with brands that also include Fossil, Fitbit, Microsoft, Sony and Huawei.