If you're looking for a new smartwatch with an emphasis on GPS tracking and an athletic lifestyle, then you may well be preparing yourself for the release of the Garmin Vivoactive 5.
In an increasingly competitive market, Garmin has carved out its niche for its focus on health and fitness. But competitors are now trying to catch up, with the likes of the Amazfit GTR 4 Pro providing a range of fitness features, and the watchOS 9 expected to provide a host of new health monitoring features.
This puts some pressure on Garmin to make sure its next release continues to offer all the features consumers have come to expect, and more, at a compelling price.
With that in mind, here's what we know so far, about the rumoured Garmin Vivoactive 5.
Garmin Vivoactive 5 - Release date speculation
Garmin has so far remained tight-lipped about a potential release date for the Vivoactive 5. But there are still some tantalising clues out there which may give us some pointers.
Firstly, a quick look at the historical release schedule of the Vivoactive range. The original Vivactive watch was released in 2015, with the Vivoactive 3 in 2017 and the Vivoactive 4 in 2019.
This suggests a fairly consistent biennial release schedule. And given that no Vivoactive watch was forthcoming in 2021, it might indicate that one is imminent.
The much-documented global chip shortage could explain a delay in that release schedule. We are optimistic that if a Vivoactive 5 watch is being planned, Garmin will get it to us by early 2023 at the very latest.
And there's more. Documentation was recently filed with the US Federal Commission (FCC) for two new Garmin smartwatches, as first spotted by advnture.com.
Because these devices are capable of wireless communication, they have to be registered with the FCC. The two applications were published on June 10th 2022. Of course, it's impossible at this stage to say whether either of these relates to the Vivoactive 5, and there are plenty of other models that these could be.
Finally, it's worth thinking about what other smartwatch manufacturers might be doing. The Apple Watch 8 was released in September, as well as the Amazfit GTR 4 Pro. It could have made sense for Garmin to release something new around this time in an effort to compete with the market leaders, but it seems they thought it best not to.
Garmin Vivoactive 5 - price
Given the lack of concrete information, it's impossible to give a definitive price for the Vivoactive 5. But once again, there are some educated guesses that we can make.
The Vivoactive 4 and 4s launched at the $349.99 mark. It's a watch purposely priced more towards the mid-range sector of the market, and we wouldn't expect this to change. Of course, inflation may mean that the price goes up. But we'd be very surprised if Garmin didn't try to keep it under $400 at most.
The price will also be influenced by what competitors are offering and what new features might be included in the Vivoactive 5...which brings us neatly to our next section.
Predicted specs and things we'd like to see
The Vivoactive 4 was loaded with health monitoring features at a highly competitive price point. We certainly wouldn't expect a new watch to remove such functionality, so expect to see features such as body battery energy monitoring (essentially a monitor of your energy levels to judge when it is best to rest or be active), blood oxygen level monitoring, and stress tracking, among others.
Beyond these, we hope that Garmin will have improved battery life, as this is one area where smartwatches consistently struggle. The Vivoactive offered a relatively impressive battery life of up to 7 days. But we'd love to see this improved even further.
One thing which will have a significant influence on battery performance is the type of screen Garmin uses. There are rumours that they are looking to use an AMOLED display. This would improve brightness but could also dent battery life, which is a complicated tradeoff for a device like this.
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We might also see some new health monitoring features, such as body temperature monitoring. An ever-growing number of smartwatches are incorporating skin temperature sensors, and it's possible Garmin might decide to include this as well.
Other possible new additions might include blood pressure monitoring or an ECG app. And we'd expect further enhancements to workout animations and preloaded sports apps.
Finally, there are rumours that Garmin is considering including LTE in the Vivoactive 5. LTE means you can receive calls and messages even without your phone; this could be very appealing to anyone who wants to go for a long run or bike ride without taking their phone. It would also benefit safety features such as Livetrack and incident detection.
The aforementioned submissions to the FCC lend some weight to the possibility of LTE. This is certainly a growing trend in the smartwatch sector, with brands such as Samsung, Apple and Fossil all offering LTE versions of their watches.
It could make sense for Garmin to try and add this to their own devices. This would, however, almost certainly mean a trade-off against battery life.
There's plenty that we still don't know about the Vivoactive 5. But it could definitely position itself as a compelling alternative to the Apple Watch. As ever, we'll continue to update you as more information becomes available.
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