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Garmin Vivofit 3 can automatically detect exercises, last an entire year (hands-on)

Garmin's latest fitness tracker has long battery life, can be worn in the pool and features interchangeable bands.

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Garmin's new entry-level fitness tracker builds on the success of previous models. The $99/AU$159 Vivofit 3 features a slight redesign and added features, such as automatic exercise detection and intensity tracking. It'll be around £90 in the UK.

The biggest advantage of owning a Vivofit has been battery life, and that hasn't changed. The third-generation tracker uses a traditional coin battery, which gives it up to a year of battery life. The downside is that you will have to manually replace the battery after a year, but that's a minor inconvenience considering you'll never have to charge it.

As with most of Garmin's other trackers, the Vivofit can also be worn in the shower and pool, meaning there's really no reason to take it off.

What's new?

Garmin made several changes with the Vivofit 3, the most obvious being a slight redesign. The display on the new model is noticeably smaller, which should make the band more discreet, although the device as a whole still looks a tad bulky.

There are even more changes under the hood. The tracker can now measure how long you rack up in moderate to vigorous intensity activities. It can also automatically recognize certain activities, including walking, running, biking, swimming and elliptical training. This is a feature similar to one Fitbit recently added to its Charge HR and Surge trackers.



All the other features are what you would expect from a basic fitness tracker. There's no heart-rate tracking, but it can measure the amount of steps you take each day, calories burned, distance traveled and your sleep at night. All of these metrics, along with the time of day, can be viewed on the tracker's always-on backlit display.

Other features include a stopwatch function and audible alerts to remind users when they have been inactive for too long. Unfortunately the tracker doesn't include vibration. That means you can't use the Vivofit as a silent alarm to wake you up in the morning, a feature that is included on trackers from Fitbit and Jawbone.

Katie Collins/CNET

Detailed information on activities and workouts can be viewed in the Garmin Connect app on Android and iOS. Here you can also challenge other Garmin device owners to mini competitions, as well as receive personalized smart coaching and feedback on your activities.

As with previous models, the Vivofit 3 supports interchangeable bands that allow you to customize your look. Additional bands will start at $30/AU$49 in the US for a pack of two.

The Vivofit 3 is expected to ship around April.

This story was originally posted on February 19, and updated on February 23 with hands-on photos and video.

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