Garmin Vivomove 3 first look: Hybrid gets pricey, but doubles up on screen estate

Garmin’s first Vivomove was a valiant first attempt at making a hybrid smartwatch. But it was the Vivomove HR, which followed it in 2017 that brought us the kind of union between analogue and smart watch design that we truly appreciated. So much so that it snapped up our Hybrid Watch of the Year award that year and deservedly so.

So two years on at IFA 2019, Garmin is ready to give the Vivomove a freshen up and it’s done that in a few big ways. There’s now more options to choose from and if you’re willing to spend big, you’ll be able to see more of your data in a more elegant frame.

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At the more affordable end of the spectrum is the the new Vivomove 3 and the smaller Vivomove 3. These are the ones that will feel most familiar to Vivomove HR owners. There are some subtle changes, but ultimately, you’re getting just that one screen at the bottom of the watch face where the traditional analogue watch hands smartly move out of the way to reveal your data.

Garmin Vivomove 3 first look: Pricey hybrid discreetly doubles up on screens

Garmin Vivomove 3 pictured above

Then you’ve got the Vivomove Style and the pricier Vivomove Luxe where Garmin is truly innovating with its hybrid. You now get a screen on the top and bottom halves of the watch face that can combine to show one piece of data or show multiple data fields. A simple double tap on the screen, and you can start swiping to see your health, fitness and smartwatch-style information. We’re talking step counts, notifications and stress measurements. But there are new features here as well, like the ability to input your water intake during the day.

Garmin Vivomove 3 first look: Pricey hybrid discreetly doubles up on screens

If you go for the Vivomove Luxe, you’re also getting a splash of color on that concealed smart AMOLED display, which certainly makes that information a little easier and more vibrant to read or glance at. That touchscreen is nice and responsive too and overall it feels like another Garmin hybrid that’s going to be an enjoyable device to live on your wrist.

One thing that we have been critical in the past with the Vivomove is the design itself. The first was very masculine but not all that stylish. So Garmin decided to change that on the Vivomove HR by adding options for both men and women. With the Vivomove series, you really don’t have to worry about having options to choose from because there are a lot.

Garmin Vivomove 3 first look: Pricey hybrid discreetly doubles up on screens

Garmin Vivomove Luxe (above)

All models come with interchangeable bands and whether you go Vivomove 3/3S, Style or Luxe, these are a darn sight better looking than what we’ve seen before. They still feel like designer watches made by a sporty tech brand, but they definitely feel and look more elegant when they’re around your wrist.

Garmin hasn’t just focused on improving the design and adding more touchscreen real estate either, it’s bringing more features that don’t appear to impact on that relatively svelte form factor. You’ve now got features like the hydration tracker as mentioned, a pulse ox sensor to offer richer sleep metrics and the ability to map your outdoor activities if you’re willing to lean on your phone’s GPS (which we imagine a lot of people will).

Initial verdict

The pricing seems generally reasonable with the Vivomove series until you start looking at the Luxe model. That hybrid gets you a fuller (color) touchscreen, but you’re going to be handing over around £500 to own one. That’s a lot of money to pay for a watch, let alone a smart one.

People may be more willing to look at the models priced closer to the £250 mark like the 3/3S and the Style where you will miss out on the more impressive screen and a more luxurious build.

Garmin: Garmin Vivomove Luxe
Garmin: Garmin Vivomove Luxe

What our small time with the Vivomove series tells us is though is that along with Withings, Garmin has once again shown how to make a truly desirable hybrid smartwatch from a design and features point of view. It’s whether people will be willing to spend big for the Luxe, which is clearly the standout model of its new hybrid family.

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