Garmin’s Vivoactive three held one of many high stops in my listing of final 12 months’s finest wearables. With its glossy design, complete health capabilities, GPS navigation, and NFC funds, the three greater than held its personal in opposition to the Apple Watch Collection three and the Fitbit Ionic.

Right this moment, Garmin introduced a brand new model of the Vivoactive three with a characteristic that brings the system up-to-par with the most recent variations of its competitors: music storage.

The brand new $299 Vivoactive three Music is a smartwatch with the entire options included on the unique Vivoactive three plus area for about 500 songs. It additionally has Garmin’s new superior sleep-monitoring know-how, which makes use of heart-rate variability (amongst different items of knowledge) to extra precisely decide sleep levels all through the evening. I wore the Vivoactive three Music for a number of days forward of its debut to get a really feel for a way a lot of an impression these small, but vital, updates have on an already stellar system.

Garmin did not mess with the Vivoactive three’s design an excessive amount of, however instantly noticeable on the brand new system is the glass-like bezel surrounding the touchscreen. The unique Vivoactive three had a steel circle and side-swipe options on the left facet of its case—each of these are gone now, changed by a seamless black case that seems to bleed off its circumference. The system is extremely mild, and its conventional watch design helps it mix into almost any outfit. I appreciated the unique Vivoactive three’s design as a result of it was leaps and bounds higher than the chunky Vivoactive HR. The small adjustments that make the Vivoactive three Music distinctive additionally characterize one other step ahead in Garmin’s hardware-design journey.

Music storage

Garmin launched music storage on the $449 Forerunner 645 Music earlier this 12 months, and that characteristic begins to trickle down into different units with the Vivoactive three Music. Contemplating the unique three had Garmin Pay capabilities, the one different superior characteristic it was lacking was music storage.

The Vivoactive three Music can maintain about 500 songs (supporting .mp3 and .aac file sorts) downloaded out of your PC utilizing Garmin Specific or from supported streaming providers. At the moment, the system helps iHeartRadio and Deezer, so Spotify, Pandora, and different subscribers are nonetheless out of luck.

Nonetheless, the music expertise is almost equivalent to that of the Forerunner 645 Music, which is to say that it is fairly strong. Connecting the system to your PC and opening Garmin Specific permits you to do plenty of issues: obtain music, set up software program updates, handle Join IQ apps, and alter system and profile settings. The Music program routinely identifies the default music program in your PC (in my case, that is iTunes) and mirrors the folders you might have in that program equivalent to playlists, albums, songs, and extra. Select playlists, albums, a whole artist’s archive, or particular person songs to import onto the watch, and inside minutes, the songs switch to the system and are prepared for playback.

After utilizing the Apple Watch, the Fitbit Ionic and Versa, varied Put on OS units, and the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music, I do know that the uncomfortable a part of the music expertise usually comes when downloading music to a tool. The instruments an organization makes use of to get accessible music onto a wearable are lower than perfect, however Garmin’s is likely one of the least offensive and most democratic. Customers are restricted solely to iTunes and Apple Music when utilizing an Apple Watch, and Fitbit’s music software in Fitbit Join is clunky and gradual to switch music to a related wearable. Garmin made downloading as straightforward as checking and unchecking packing containers so as to add music to a tool, and particular person tracks switch in only a few seconds.

In my expertise, playback high quality is determined by the standard of your headphones. Within the brief time I’ve had with the Vivoactive three Music, the smartwatch by no means prompted any glitches or breaks in music playback and my related wi-fi headphones produced wealthy sound. From the on-screen music participant, you possibly can shuffle songs, skip tracks, and scroll via playlist and album monitor lists to pick out the track you need to take heed to.

Superior sleep monitoring

Along with music storage, the Vivoactive three Music can have Garmin’s new, superior sleep-monitoring know-how. Most Garmin wearables monitor sleep, however the firm improved on its strategies by incorporating metrics like heart-rate variability to higher estimate time in mild, deep, and REM sleep. At the moment, sleep graphs and charts in Garmin Join already account for sleep levels and awake time, however the brand new characteristic ought to make this data extra correct than it was earlier than.

Superior sleep monitoring wasn’t prepared in time for me to check it out, however Garmin says it is coming quickly. On paper, the up to date characteristic takes a direct shot at Fitbit, which has targeted extra on correct sleep monitoring and evaluation over the previous 12 months or so. I am to see how way more in-depth Garmin’s sleep graphs will probably be as soon as it contains knowledge captured with the brand new know-how and if Garmin Join will use the brand new knowledge to push out extra customized sleep suggestions or recommendation. I did sleep with the Vivoactive three Music on each evening that I used to be testing it, and its light-weight design and stretchy band made it a snug sleep companion. Nonetheless, some might want thin-and-light bands to trace sleep, just like the Fitbit Alta HR or the Garmin Vivosmart three.

Itemizing picture by Valentina Palladino

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