Garmin is bringing GPS to as many fitness tracking devices as possible, with the company having only unveiled the Forerunner 735XT just a few days ago. Now, Garmin is back to transform its fitness tracker collection and bring GPS to the Vivosmart line with the Vivosmart HR+.
The Vivosmart HR+ doesn't have much different from the Vivosmart HR: it still maintains the same 1-inch, always on display along with calorie, steps, distance, and activity tracking, as well as phone notifications, music, and so on. Garmin does track floors climbed, one tracking metric that sets it apart from most fitness and smartwatch tracking performances. The one difference between the Vivosmart HR and the Vivosmart HR+ is that the latter has GPS whereas the former does not. The Vivosmart HR+ also comes with a virtual pacer that tells you to "keep the pace," auto lap and auto pause, as well as Move IQ for automatic activity tracking and monitoring.
The Vivosmart HR+ will last 5 days if you disable GPS (but this contradicts the reason to buy the HR+ anyway, right), but those who love GPS tracking can expect up to 8 hours on a single charge. Sure, it'll work for your run and some small time out on the town, but don't expect it to have the battery life of, say, Pebble's own Classic, Steel, and Pebble Time and Pebble Time Round smartwatches -- nor the 2-3-days on average performance of the Samsung Gear S2. Even the first-generation Android Wear-powered smartwatches such as the first-generation Moto 360 or the LG Watch Urbane will provide nearly 4 times the battery life of the Vivosmart HR+. Garmin's own Forerunner 235, announced last Fall, gives you twice the battery life but costs about $110-$120 more - and the non-GPS Vivosmart HR will give 5 days (but this isn't much in the absence of GPS, right?).
The Vivosmart HR+ will set you back $219.99, but, at that price, an LG Watch Urbane would likely suit you just as well if not better. The buying choice is up to you, but there are better options out there than Garmin's latest option (even with its auto tracking capabilities). You could also save $70 and get Garmin's new Vivomove luxury smartwatch that, with an entry level of $150, provides 1 year of battery life.
You can see the new Garmin Vivosmart HR+ photo gallery below.