I have not spent much time covering wearables like smartwatches and fitness trackers this year, mostly because I find they have too many flaws at this stage. Back in 2016, I found many had a short life time, they would just stop working after a few weeks or months, even the fairly popular Xiaomi Mi Band 2 only lasted 2 months after an ill-fated firmware upgrade. In my case, I also found activity / fitness trackers did not have the motivating factor I thought they’d have, so I don’t think I exercise more or less with one. Finally, another annoyance is that most need to be charged every couple of days or weeks, and I’m frequently leaving the one I’m still using (SH09) run out of battery, losing recent data.
The best solution to address the latter issue would be some type of energy harvesting, so that we would never need to charge the device ever again. It does exist thanks to Matrix PowerWatch harvesting energy from your body heat, but it can only be used for the simplest of devices, and implementation into more devices in uncertain in the near future. Another promising technology that will become available later this year thank to companies such as PowerCast or Energous are mid-field (1 meter / desk) and far-field (several meters / room) wireless transmitters/chargers, which should be good enough to keep your compatible wearables and other accessories charged at all times.
But while waiting for those new developments to come to market, we have to find the efficient devices with long battery life, and one of the them is the just released Garmin Vivofit 4 activity tracker that promises over one year of battery life.
Key features / specifications:
- Display – 11x11mm sunlight-visible, transflective, 8-color display with 88×88 resolution
- Memory – 4 weeks of activity data
- Connectivity – Bluetooth Smart and ANT+
- Sensors – Accelerometer
- Battery – 2x SR43 user-replaceable batteries good for about a 1 year
- Strap dimensions – 19 mm (width) x 9.4 mm (thickness); Circumference (small/medium): 122-188 mm | (large): 148-215 mm
- Weight – ~25 g
- Water rating – Swim
The device supports the usual clock/alarm/timer/stopwatch functions, as well as activity tracking features such as step counter, estimated distance and calories burned, and sleep monitoring. It can pair with iOS or Android smartphones, and is compatible with Garmin Connect Mobile.
As a swim- and shower-safe device, Vivofit 4 can be worn at all times, and long battery life is achieved thanks to periodic synchronization, instead of continuous synchronization.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.