Garmin Vivoactive 3 Review

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Review That You Need to Read Now

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is the third-generation Vivoactive and it sports marked improvements over its predecessors.  Is it a smartwatch with buying?  Read on and find out! 


garmin vivoactive 3

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is a step up from both the original and second-generation Vivoactive when it comes to design.  It has an expensive look with its metal case and a snug fit to make sure that the watch stays in place when you are exercising.   

The round smartwatch also has a single button now, making it look more like traditional watches.  It is also lighter and thinner than the previous Vivoactive models.  There are three color schemes you can choose from.

There’s black with stainless steel casing, black with a slate casing, and white with stainless steel casing.  You can, however, buy $30 bands to add more variety to your Vivoactive 3.  There are bands in moss green, azure, dark brown, and light

Design specifications

Lens Material  Corning Gorilla Glass 3 
Bezel Material  Stainless steel 
Case material  Stainless steel  and fiber-reinforced polymer  
Strap material  Silicone 
Physical size (mm.)  43.4 x 43.4 x 11.7 
Water rating  5 ATM 
Touchscreen  Yes 
Display size  1.2″ (30.4mm) diameter 
Display resolution  240 x 240 pixels 
Color display  Yes 


Track your fitness and monitor your health 

With the vivoactive, you can easily monitor your fitness and wellness.  The Vivoactive 3 can keep tabs on: 

  • The number of steps you have taken. 
  • Total hours of sleep and how much movement you had while sleeping. 
  • The number of calories burned. 
  • The number of floors you have climbed. 
  • The distance you have traveled. 
  • Your intensity minutes, or the minutes you spent doing both moderate and vigorous activities. 

There are other fitness-related features that help make the Vivoactive 3 the sports and fitness activity tracker to beat.  These include: 

  • Move IQ, which allows the Vivoactive 3 to automatically recognize your activity, whether it is biking, swimming, or just walking. 
  • TrueUp, which allows you to sync fitness and wellness data from other devices.  This means that you can use another device for a certain activity and then send the data to your Garmin Vivoactive 3 to make sure that you get complete and accurate tracking. 
  • Fitness age.  Using the app, you can get your fitness age.   

On top of these, you also have the move bar.  The move bar appears when you have been inactive after a certain period.  If you want to get rid of it, you would have to walk for a few minutes in order remove the bar.  The Vivoactive 3 also studies your activity level and then assigns you a daily step goal.  The goal is to make sure that you get fitter as time goes by.   

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
09/27/2022 08:31 am GMT

Get notifications  

If you connect your Vivoactive 3 to your smartphone, it can inform you of your schedules for the day and display text messages and e-mails.  It will also notify you if you have a phone call.  And if you’re using an Android phone, you can reject calls or respond to text messages using your smartwatch.

You can also control the music using your watch and also use the Vivoactive 3 to find your phone, and vice versa. 

Garmin Pay 

Garmin Pay is a way to pay for your purchases without having to take out your wallet.  Using near-field communication technology, Garmin Pay allows you to pay just by tapping your watch on compatible POS terminals.  Sometimes, you don’t even have to tap it, just bring it close enough to pay! Have fun with preloaded apps 

There are more than a dozen preloaded indoor sports and GPS apps that come right out of the box, allowing you to explore your smartwatch’s capabilities. 

Personalize to your heart’s content 

You can make your Garmin Vivoactive 3 truly your own by downloading the watch faces you want, installing apps and widgets that you can use.  Everything is easily available from the Connect IQ store! 

Long battery life 

The battery you have on the Vivoactive 3 gives you up to seven days of use in smartwatch mode.  If you keep the GPS turned on, you get 13 hours of operations.  This is much longer than Apple Watch’s 18 hours of normal use . 

To wit, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 has the following features: 

  • Clock and time feature: time/date, GPS time sync, automatic daylight saving time, alarm clock, timer, stopwatch, and watch face creator. 
  • Activity tracking features: Auto goal, calories burned, distance traveled, fitness age, floors climbed, intensity minutes, move bar, Move IQ, sleep monitoring, step counter, and TrueUp. 
  • Smart features: Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ connectivity, calendar, Garmin Connect Mobile,  Connect IQ, Find My Phone, Find My Watch, Garmin Pay, music controls, smart notifications, compatibility with iPhone and Android devices, and weather. 
  • Planning, training, and analysis features activity history, advanced workouts,  Auto Lap, Auto Pause, auto-scroll, configurable lap alerts, customizable activity profiles, customizable alerts, customizable data pages, downloadable training plans, GPS speed and distance, LiveTrack, and V02 max. 
  • Heart rate features HR zones, HR alerts, HR calories, and % HR max. 

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 also tracks data specific to running, golfing, cycling, swimming, and outdoor recreation.  It uses a wider variety of sensors such as GPS, GLONASS, barometric altimeter, compass, accelerometer, thermometer, and Garmin Elevate™ wrist heart rate monitor. 

What you would like about the Garmin Vivoactive 3 

Garmin Vivoactive 3

The Vivoactive 3 is designed for ruggedness and comes with a polymer and stainless steel case, a stainless steel bezel, and a silicone strap.  You can safely take it swimming and there is no need to take it off when you shower because it is waterproof.   

You would also appreciate how the Vivoactive 3 can expertly track your fitness.  You can run, do yoga, play golf, and workout at the gym, among other exercises, and it will give you the most accurate numbers for your exercise.  The Garmin Pay is a great feature as well.

Just imagine that you can go on a run and leave your bulky wallet at home.  This contactless payment feature should be great if you need to buy a bottle of Gatorade while exercising. You will also love the heart rate monitor that is constantly checking on your pulse, which gives you a very accurate measure of your beats per minute.  The heart rate sensor is also used to check your stress scores.   

The Vivoactive 3 also allows you to download customized workouts and training calendars for you to follow.  That is on top of the pre-loaded workouts that you can get with the watch out of the box, which allows you to have cardio, strength, bike, and running workouts even without downloading anything.   

What could be better 

If you are using a Windows Phone, then you will either need to skip getting an incompatible Vivoactive 3 or get a new iOS or Android smartphone. 

The color touchscreen display measures 1.2″ in diameter and gives you a resolution of 240 pixels by 240 pixels.  While you can see the display even under direct sunlight, you will find that the colors are quite dull. 

While the Garmin Pay feature is a useful one, there might be a limited number of retailers that can accept payments with it.  This is because the Vivoactive 3 is one of the first to have the technology. 

Before you buy 

It won’t be surprising to see the Garmin Vivoactive 3 compared with the Fitbit Ionic because of the timing of its release. Vivoactive 3’s strong points lie in its sports modes and in the accurate heart rate monitor.

It has supports for footpads and cycling sensors, which the Fitbit Ionic does not have.  While the Fitbit Ionic and the Garmin Vivoactive 3 have preloaded workouts and allow you to know your fitness age, the Ionic does not have rep counting, custom workouts, and stress monitoring.   

If you like to work out to music, then you might be turned off by the Vivoactive.  With a price range of $300 to $330, you would have expected that the smartwatch would be able to store music onboard.   

Fitbit Ionic is also more ideal for those who are into general fitness, and less into sports.  Fitbit is known for its strengths in activity tracking, a prettier watch and display, and making things very easy to use.

If you want to compete with your friends or share your fitness journey with other people, then a Fitbit will be your best bet as there are more Fitbit users.  It also integrates with Pandora’s music streaming service and can store music files.   

Final recommendations on the Garmin Vivoactive 3 

Garmin Vivoactive 3 is just perfect for people who plan to have some variety in their exercise.  It can track your yoga, gym workouts, and run, as well as other exercises.

If you want a watch solely for running, Garmin has dedicated running watches that you should check out such as the Garmin Forerunner 220 and the Garmin Fenix 3 Sapphire. You can also check out the Sony Smartwatch 3 SWR50, or the Fitbit Surge.

However, this would mean missing out on Garmin Pay, which could make paying for stuff easier for you even when you are not exercising. 

If you own any one of the previous Vivoactive models, you would certainly want to update to the Vivoactive 3 because it has improved looks and more features.

The second-generation Vivoactive focused on sports features and functionality, while the 3rd generation builds on that and improves the features that are not associated with running like the customized and preloaded workouts, and the rep counting, and the other features that put it over the top such as the stress scores, the heart rate monitor and the NFC payments.   

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is a very capable smartwatch that allows you to get accurate heart rates along with the fitness tracking data you have come to expect from sports and fitness bands.  If you are athletic and into sports, then the Garmin Vivoactive 3 is perfect for you.

The fact that it allows you to leave your wallet and your smartphone at home while you go on a run is a bonus.   

How does Vivoactive 3 Compare to Others