CES 2015: Garmin’s Vivo Smartwatches Put Fitness First

When you think of Garmin, you probably think of GPS navigation gear, but if the company’s presence at CES 2015 is any indication, it wants to be known for more than that. At this year’s show, the company announced a new line of fitness-oriented smartwatches it calls Vivo.

Vivoactive, the flagship product in the Vivo line, has a minimalistic square-shaped watch face and a silicone band, making for a sporty yet classy look. The device has a color touchscreen and two soft-buttons for easy navigation through apps and watch faces. Inside is a GPS chip (because of course) and a step counter that keeps track of your daily movement and exercise, with support for tracking your cycling, running, walking, swimming, and golfing progress. The watch’s companion app supports over 38,000 golf courses from around the globe, so you can track your movements and keep track of your score, even if you’re halfway around the world.


Garmin Connect, the Vivoactive’s companion iOS, Android, and Web app, lets you save, share, and plan your fitness program. You can join online fitness challenges as well, which adds a bit of fun to your workouts. Garmin Connect integrates with MyFitnessPal too, so you can compare your calories burned to your calories consumed, keeping you on track with your weight loss goals.


Beyond just fitness, the Vivoactive has an app marketplace dubbed Connect IQ where you can download additional apps and custom watch-faces. Currently the selection isn’t great, but I’m hopeful that it will improve over time. Vivoactive also has built-in notification forwarding, so you can view text messages and other information from your phone in a pinch.

Garmin says that its smartwatch can run for three weeks on a single charge with GPS turned off. Turn GPS on, though, and the company says it’ll last about ten hours before it runs out of juice. It’s worth noting that you do not need to enable GPS for the Vivoactive to track your movement, so you can track daily movements for three weeks. Not too shabby. The Vivoactive is on sale now and retails for $250 on Amazon.


Garmin also launched two lower-end Vivo watches: the Vivofit 2 and Vivosmart. The Vivofit 2 is strictly a fitness tracker with step-counting, sleep monitoring, and an activity timer. The device has a one-year battery life and a wirstband-like design, and retails for around $130. The Vivosmart takes the design of the Vivofit and adds notification forwarding. It retails for $170.

Andrew is a geek, Apple enthusiast, blogger and coffee lover from Chicago.