Garmin Cements Position As Fit Wearable Leader At IFA 2019

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Garmin brought the full force of its not-inconsiderable clout to bear at IFA 2019, showcasing no fewer than four new wearable device families that prove why it's one of the top players in that market.

The new series include a Marvel-inspired Legacy Hero Series, AMOLED-enhanced Venu, new entries in the vívoactive line with the vívoactive 4 and 4S, and a brand new luxury lineup for the style-conscious buyer.

The former of those will likely be the most enticing since the series, given the vívomove branding, is also a hybrid design. It also represents the widest diversity in terms of designs that are available. But each of the new wearable series entries the prodigious company is putting forward has quite a lot to offer.

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The Garmin vívoactive 4

vivoactive 4 family image
Garmin vívoactive 4

Building on years of fitness wearable tradition and innovation, the Garmin vívoactive 4 and vívoactive 4S are GPS-enabled smartwatches that deliver the most versatile fitness and health tracking to be put forward by the company yet. That also means that Garmin's latest offering is likely to be among the best-equipped devices in their class if not the best.

The two model designations here indicate size differences, with the "S" variant being the smaller of the pair at 40mm. The larger variant of the gadget measures in at 45mm. Regardless of the size purchased, there are multiple two-tone color configurations available. Hues are split between a stainless steel bezel and the rest of the design. The silicone band and the casing share the same color in each.

Because the frame varies in size, the screen size and weight differ here too. With the Garmin vívoactive 4S, buyers get a 1.1-inch Gorilla Glass 3 display. A 1.3-inch panel is in place for the larger variant. There's a 10.5-gram weight difference to match, with the Garmin vívoactive 4 tipping the scales at 50.5-grams. The package is 5 ATM regardless of which version buyers pick up.

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For the Garmin vívoactive 4S, buyers can choose between four color configurations. Wearers can choose between Light Gold and Dust Rose, Rose Gold and White, Silver and Powder Gray, or Slate and Black. The larger version features two color choices. One of those is the same Slate design found in the 40mm size while the other is a Silver and darker Shadowy Gray combination.

Irrespective of the style chosen, these new wearable devices come completely packed with all of Garmin's latest fitness-related features. Setting aside phone-free music playback and the ability to interact with phone-based apps, that includes more than 20 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps, in addition to useful on-screen animated workouts that users can follow.

Garmen has made all-day health monitoring possible too. That's true whether that's tracking energy levels, heart rate or oxygen levels, stress, hydration, menstrual cycles, respiration, advanced sleep tracking, and a lot more. History can be saved and still other features added via a connection with a smartphone too.

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And it really is all-day tracking too, thanks to the vívoactive 4's up to eight-day battery life. That's up to six hours with both GPS and music playback going. Garmin Pay is part of the mix as well for contactless payments.

For connections, Bluetooth, ANT+, and Wi-Fi are part of the package.

Venu delivers fitness wearable metrics via AMOLED

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Garmin Venu comes in four styles and features an AMOLED panel

Building on the standard set at IFA by the Garmin vívoactive 4 and 4S wearable family, the Venu takes things in a more style-friendly direction and tacks on an AMOLED screen. Available in four two-tone color configurations, the Venu comes in a single size with a 390 x 390 resolution 1.2-inch display. It also tips the scales in between the two above-mentioned wearables at just 46.3 grams.

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Battery life here is somewhat diminished too at just five days without music playback.

For that trade-off, buyers are getting an even clearer view of their fitness metrics and different style options with slightly better build materials. The same two-tone design applies as in those other gadgets but this time around that all starts with a Slate-on-Black design. There are also Rose Gold and Light Sand, Silver and Granite, or Gold and Black options to select from.

The band here is another notable difference since even though a quick-release design is still in use, Garmin has opted for a 20mm band instead of the standard 18mm band found in the vívoactive series.

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Garmin's wearable Legacy Hero Series has assembled for IFA 2019

Legacy Hero Series Smartwatches
Garmin Legacy Hero Series fitness wearables come in "Captain Marvel" or "First Avenger" styles

As with Venu, Garmin's new Legacy Hero Series is built to impress when it comes to fitness features and follows almost identically along with the vívoactive series. It's almost identical to the latter devices in terms of size availability, weight, and battery life too. The primary difference here is going to be style and the leather band.

Suitably for an IFA event, Garmin is releasing two versions of the Legacy Hero wearable series. Both are based on Marvel's cinematic universe. The first closely mirrors the Garmin vívoactive 4S at 40mm and is based on its namesake, Captain Marvel. It features a watch face to match that character and a "Danvers Blue" casing coupled with a gold trim to match that characters costume.

Mirroring the 45mm Garmin vívoactive 4, conversely, is the "First Avenger" entry in the new device family. That's based on Captain America, instead, with midnight blue casing, silver bezel, and a brown strap.

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The theming here stretches across more than just the watch face or frame and throughout the pre-installed UI, Garmin indicates. That means that the entire experience is going to match the outward appearance of this fitness wearable. That carries over the mobile app for Android and iOS too.

For the detail-oriented buyer, each also features its own "Hero's Words" on the backplate. For Captain Marvel, the engraving reads "Higher, further, faster." The First Avenger wearable reads "I can do this all day."

vívomove 3, Luxe, and Style deliver luxury fit tracking at IFA 2019

vivomove series collection
Garmin vivomove Series offers a wide selection of luxury hybrid functionality

The final Garmin wearable offering for IFA 2019 is a three-part step into the upper end of the luxury hybrid smartwatch market. That's encompassed under the vívomove branding. Specifically, those are the vívomove 3, vívomove Luxe, and vívomove Style.

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Now, fitness is still a key part of this. There is still a smartwatch-like screen as well as nearly the full suite of features users expect from Garmin. But these watches also include traditional watch elements such as mechanical hands and a watch dial for time-keeping.

There are a total of 16 styles with a confounding array of combinations stretching across the three variants. Each features an AMOLED "hidden" display panel tucked neatly behind a clean traditional watch aesthetic. So this looks like a standard luxury watch until the smart features are needed.

Smartwatch mode with this wearable is quite a bit shorter at up to just five days on a single charge. But the watch itself can continue being used as a timepiece for an additional week beyond that, Garmin says.

The biggest difference between the three types is going to come down to two things. Those are materials and size.

Starting with the more standard vívomove 3 and vívomove 3S, these are going to be similar in materials to the first two series' of devices listed above. However, these two gadgets come in more subtle 44mm or 39mm frame sizes, respectively. It has a single hidden touchscreen display.

Garmin's vívomove Style, on the other hand, is a 42mm aluminum device. Two touchscreen displays are placed behind the watch hands.

The vívomove Luxe builds on that and follows similar cues but is built of stainless steel. It also comes in a similar size but buyers can choose either Italian leather or Milanese metal for their watch strap. Garmin is topping the display with a domed sapphire crystal lens too. Both design decisions help provide an even more luxurious look and feel suitable for coupling with just about any outfit for any scenario.

Pricing and availability varies for Garmin's latest wearables

Pricing and availability for the new Garmin wearable gadgetry from this year's IFA event are going to vary just about as much as their styles.

The Garmin vívoactive 4 will be available this month and the smaller 4S model is already available directly from Garmin starting at $349.99. Garmin Venu follows the same trend in terms of timing. It also costs extra at $399.99 to match the material and display upgrades the wearable brings with it.

Perhaps surprisingly, the Marvel-inspired First Avenger and Captain Marvel versions of Garmin's new wearables will run the same price as Venu. Garmin doesn't expect to ship either of those until some time in October.

Finally, Garmin's new vívomove series fitness wearables will vary in price quite a lot depending on which version is bought. The vívomove 3 and 3S will start out at a respectable $249.99. The "Style" variant hits the wallet a bit harder at a still-understandable $349.99.

Garmin indicates the most expensive of its new gadgets will be the vívomove Luxe. The cost for that can range as high as $549.99 and starts out at $499.99. Pricing variances in the vívomove series will primarily depend on the watchband style.