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Garmin Vivoactive 3 review

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Garmin Vivoactive 3 is a continuation of Garmin’s legacy in sports tech. It features a heart rate sensor and GPS tracking. There are also a variety of apps that can be used to monitor a range sports activities such as running, indoor cycling, skiing, and snowboarding.

While the Vivoactive 3 may be focused on fitness, this wearable has many other features. These include smart notifications and an on-board payment system called Garmin Pay, as well as real-time and sleep tracking. Its design is sporty and smart, looking more like a watch rather than a heavy fitness tracker.

It is not surprising that the Vivoactive3 excels in fitness. Garmin is synonymous with GPS systems and high-end sports equipment, as well as GPS systems. Talk to any runner or triathlete, and they will likely mention one Garmin Forerunner or Fenix band as their favorite gadget.

  • Amazon Garmin Vivoactive 3 Black – US$249.99

Garmin hasn’t ruled out entering a consumer-focused market, however. The Vivofit, Vivomove, and Vivosmart devices may still be targeted at people who enjoy working out but could be considered lifestyle wearables since they are as concerned with steps, sleep, stress, and optimizing performance as they are about personal bests.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 has many features.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 is not a good choice for either of these categories. The Garmin Vivoactive 3 costs half of the high-end devices by the brand, such as the Fenix. However, it is still a very affordable option when it comes to tracking sports.


The watch has lifestyle features like stress tracking and sleep monitoring, but it is also equipped to compete with multi-purpose smartwatches by offering notifications and payment systems.

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 doesn’t have the same appeal as other devices. It retails at PS279.99 (AU$449), which is the same price as new devices from major brands in wearable tech.

The ‘Music’ edition costs around PS50/ $50 more at launch. The Music version adds music playback capabilities, but retains the same functions as the base model.

Currently, music streaming (and downloading), is limited to iHeartRadio US. Deezer will soon be available in other countries, although it has not launched as of this writing. You can only use MP3s if you have them, but you can store up to 500.

The Vivoactive 3 could be compared to the Apple Watch 3 and the Fitbit 1. Although they are not identical, all three are motivated by fitness and look great.

Garmin is a favorite among fitness enthusiasts, but it’s not clear if a multipurpose smartwatch like Vivoactive 3 will be as popular as Fitbit and Apple.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 prices and availability

  • Launched November 2017,
  • Starts at PS279.99/$249.99/AU$449

You have three options for Garmin Vivoactive 3 colors. There’s black silicone and slate, which is a premium-looking dark grey and costs PS299.99/$329.99/AU$499.

It also comes in black silicone and stainless steel, which is silver, as well as white silicone and stainless steel, which both cost slightly less at PS279.99/$249.99/AU$449.

This makes Garmin Vivoactive 3 slightly less expensive than other similar devices, such as the Fitbit Ionic and LG Watch Sport, and the Apple Watch 3 with just GPS capabilities.

It is also significantly less than some of the brand’s more specialized multisports ranges.

This watch face will instantly show you how your day is going.

For example, if you’re looking for a wearable to see you through a huge range of activities with super accurate tracking, the Fenix 5X might be your best bet at $699.99/PS629.99/AU$949.

The Forerunner 30 is available at PS129.99 (around $175/AU$225). Most runners will choose the Forerunner235 which is still cheaper than the Vivoactive 3.

There are many cheaper Garmin fitness devices available. However, you need to make sure fitness is your main focus before considering the Vivoactive 3.


  • Circular design
  • Comfortable strap
  • Screen blocks the glare

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 weighs in at 43g and is made from a stainless-steel casing. Once it’s on, it feels normal. This is a vast improvement on Garmin’s Vivoactive HR, which felt and looked in many ways more like a low-quality, blocky sports watch rather than a high-quality wearable.

This is the Vivoactive 3’s design theme. Although it has smart features and a host of sensors, it still looks and feels normal.

This is particularly true when compared to wearables designed solely for tracking like Garmin’s Vivosport and Vivosmart devices. The Fitbit Ionic and Apple Watch 3 both have square faces, making it look more watch-like.

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is flush against our arms at 11.7mm. The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is extremely comfortable thanks to its flexible silicone strap. This was true throughout the entire review period, including at night and in the gym.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 measures 11.7mm in depth

The silicone strap is very flexible and easy to put on and take off. It feels secure once it is on, even after a swim, run, or HIIT class. If you don’t love the strap, you can replace it with any 20mm quick release band.

Garmin Vivoactive 3’s screen is 1.2 inches in size and has a display of 240×240 pixels. This screen will fit most wrists, but you won’t have to strain to read the information.

The Vivoactive 3 features a color-transflective screen, just like other Garmin watches. This screen may appear a little dark, particularly compared to the Fitbit Ionic OLED display. However, it was designed to be easy to read in direct sunlight and to save battery life.

The display can be dimmed or turned on at will. When you turn your wrist up, the backlight turns on. It is useful for checking the time quickly, but it was too bright to be visible at night. You can change whether or not it turns on, and how long.

The screen has a small edge bezel with lines that shows the hours. There’s only one button on the screen, unlike many other similar devices. This is a great feature because you can choose whether to have the screen facing your body or your wrist or hand during setup.

You can adjust the settings to choose which side the button is on.

The Vivoactive 3 was worn on the left wrist. We chose to have the button closest to our hands to make it easier to press with our right. This button is important as it allows you access the sports menu, and can also be used as a back button.

While some people will love the minimal effect, others may not. Those who have been used to multi-functional watches with many dials and buttons might find it frustrating.

The Vivoactive 3’s underside has a four-pin charging port. It is small and cannot be felt on the skin. There’s also an optical heart rate sensor that sits flush against the wrist.

This is the charging port as well as the optical heart rate sensor.

The Vivoactive 3 in slate and black silicone was reviewed by us. This is a premium-looking, dark grey which costs slightly more than white silicone and stainless or black silicone and stainless.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 can be waterproof for up to 50m. This is great if you are a swimmer. It also makes it easy to wash and shower without having to worry about it getting wet.

You can rest assured that this device will withstand even the most strenuous workouts.

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is a great watch for design. It’s a premium looking watch, but it also feels very comfortable.


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