Ahead of this year’s IFA conference, Garmin announced new additions to its Vivo family of wearables. Most notable is the new Vivoactive 3, an update to the Vivoactive HR that turns the device into a true smartwatch with a round case, NFC payment system, and more. This fall seems to be ripe for new, higher-end wearables: Fitbit just announced its Ionic smartwatch, and rumor has it that Apple will launch a new model of its Apple Watch soon as well.
Garmin’s new Vivoactive 3 takes what Garmin does well and adds some necessary smartwatch features into the mix in the hopes that it will be seen as a competitor for Fitbit’s and Apple’s devices. The company has transformed the boxy Vivoactive HR into a friendlier-looking timepiece that falls more in line with its Fenix family than before. The Vivoactive 3 has a new circular case and a Chroma display and only has one button on the right side of the circumference for powering on the device. The Vivosmart 3 also comes with a new mechanism called “side swipe” on the left side of the case’s circumference.
With “side swipe,” users can run their finger over this textured portion of the case to scroll up and down on the display. While the device has a full-color touchscreen, this side-swiping feature is helpful because there will always be instances when your hands are sweaty or wet and you don’t want to touch the display. Most other devices have physical buttons as alternative input mechanisms, but side swipe seems like a unique solution to a common problem.