Quick facts about Garmin wearables
- Garmin offers a wide range of fitness-centric wearables, covering everything from simple trackers to more feature-rich smartwatch-style devices.
- Garmin isn't just a wearables company; you're probably just as familiar with it (if not more) for its range of GPS-centric automotive products.
Compare Garmin wearables
Types of Garmin wearables
Many wearables manufacturers only ever offer a few products at any one time, which means if you've settled on a brand, it's fairly easy to compare, because you're only looking at a few points of difference.
That isn't Garmin's style. It provides a huge range of wearables covering the entire spectrum, from basic fitness trackers through to entry-level fitness watches and higher-priced style choices, often tied into major brands. Sport and fitness is still at the heart of what Garmin does with its wearables, with a little something for every taste and budget.
How to compare Garmin wearables
Here's what to consider when choosing a Garmin smartwatch or fitness tracker:
Watch vs tracker
The most basic decision you've got to make when choosing a Garmin wearable is whether you're after a device that more closely resembles a watch or if an activity-band-style device will meet your needs. You'll predictably pay a little less for one of Garmin's vívo fitness trackers than you will for one of its watches, which cover a number of range names, from the high-end fēnix to the golf-centric Approach series.
As with any wearable, you're never going to be looking at a large display no matter which Garmin device you choose to buy, but there's still some variance between models. At the top end with its fēnix models, you're looking at a 1.3-inch display or thereabouts, whereas a more moderately priced vívofit tracker may only feature a 0.7-inch rectangular screen. Garmin also produces a number of themed wearables around popular IP such as Marvel or Disney Princesses, which often feature character-specific visuals tied to their screen sizes.
Most of Garmin's wearables will work across either iOS or Android, with Garmin's Connect app available for both platforms. However, you may find some features, such as automated text responses when you're working out only work on Android. Equally, if you're using a much older Android or iOS device, you may need to upgrade to connect to a Garmin device, but that's a similar story for just about any wearable device, so make sure to check precise OS requirements before buying.
Garmin offers a wide range of different wearables targeted at different activities and uses. You can go the whole hog if budget permits and buy one of Garmin's fancy fēnix multisport watches. Or, if all you want is basic step counting, a vívofit might meet your needs. If you're a keen golfer, then the Garmin Approach series will be a good match. Most of Garmin's naming schemes give a good idea about the feature set on offer. For example, its Forerunner watches are built for those who do a lot of (you guessed it) running, while its Swim watches are more for the floaty sports set.
Battery life on your Garmin wearable can vary widely depending on the model you buy, but the focus on fitness tracking means that they don't typically need always-on displays or lots of battery-sucking apps on board. That has a positive effect on battery life, with many models claiming seven-day battery life or more as standard. That may drop a little if you're using them for sleep tracking, depending on the model chosen.
Garmin has its own contactless payments system, Garmin Pay, which is supported by a number of financial institutions; you can check the worldwide financial institutions on board at Garmin's own Garmin Pay page.
Ask an Expert