At CES 2019, Garmin took a step in a new direction with its fitness watches, debuting its first smartwatch with 4G LTE connectivity. The new 4G version of the Vivoactive 3 Music allows you to check your text messages, download music and take advantage of new and improved safety features without having to carry around a phone. Verizon will provide the 4G LTE connection and, for the tech-heads, made possible by the integrated ALT1210 LET chipset from Altair.
Because it has 4G LTE, the Vivoactive 3 (Verizon) doesn’t rely on a phone to sync data but instead is always connected wherever there is a Verizon data connection. Garmin takes advantage of this near-constant connection by allowing music downloads over third-party music services like Deezer and Spotify which Garmin announced last year and plans to add in the future.
With an always-on connection, the Vivoactive 3 Music (Verizon) offers new safety features unique to this watch model. Assistance makes it easy for users to call for help when they need it. If an unexpected injury occurs or a medical emergency happens, a user can hold the watch button for five seconds to trigger an alert that is sent to selected emergency contacts. Not only does the watch send a call for help, but it also shares the person’s location in real time. A valuable feature if you need search and rescue or a similar agency to help you out of a tough spot.
The watch also offers impact detection which runs in the background until an accident is detected. Using the built-in sensors, the watch can identify when there is an impact from a hard fall during running, walking or cycling. It then will notify the designated emergency contacts with the user’s location so they can arrange for help. LiveTrack, a Garmin feature that lets friends and family follow your activity in real time, can also use this new 4G LTE connection to share location data directly from the watch.
The health and fitness features of the Vivoactive 3 Music (Verizon) are similar to the Vivoactive 3, which we reviewed last year. You get support for 15 indoor and outdoor activities, wrist-based heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and more. It also has GarminPay for on the on-the-go contactless payments. Battery life takes a hit when using the 4G LTE feature with 4 hours of run time when using GPS playing music, and using LiveTrack over the cellular connection. When used in smartwatch mode without the connected features, the watch will go up to five days before needing a recharge.
Pricing and availability for the Vivoactive 3 Music (Verizon) will be announced later in Q1 2019.