Garmin Vivoactive 3 review

7.8/10 AVG.
RATING

  • Garmin Vivoactive 3
  • Garmin Vivoactive 3
  • Garmin Vivoactive 3
  • Garmin Vivoactive 3
  • Garmin Vivoactive 3
  • Garmin Vivoactive 3
  • Garmin Vivoactive 3

Specs / Features


Garmin Pay mobile payment solution lets you Pay for purchases with your watch | Personalize your watch with thousands of free watch faces, apps and widgets from our connect iq store | More than 15 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps, including yoga, running, swimming and more | Monitor your fitness level with Vo2 Max and fitness made estimates, Plus keep an Eye on how you handle stress | Get connected features such as smart notifications, automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, Live Track and more

Garmin Pay mobile payment solution lets you Pay for purchases with your watch | Personalize your watch with thousands of free watch faces, apps and widgets from our connect iq store | More than 15 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps, including yoga, running, swimming and more | Monitor your fitness level with Vo2 Max and fitness made estimates, Plus keep an Eye on how you handle stress | Get connected features such as smart notifications, automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, Live Track and more

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Specification

Brand Garmin
Model 010-01769-01
Warranty 12 months
Size 4.34 x 4.34 x 1.17 cm (1.7 x 1.7 x 0.5 in)
Weight 430 grams
(15.18 ounces)

The "1-Minute" Review

What's good

  • Round watch face
  • Water resistant up to 160 feet
  • Excellent fitness monitor with many features
  • Garmin Pay
  • Excellent battery life

What's bad

  • Heavier and thicker than predecessor
  • Low-resolution screen
  • Cannot customize apps notifications

If you’re tired of square smartwatches and want something that offers excellent fitness tracking, take a look at the Garmin Vivoactive 3.

The watch offers a simple yet attractive round face. Although it is minimalistic, it’s still quite large with a diameter of 1.75 inches. It’s also a bit on the bulky size at 0.5 inches thick and a weight of 43 grams. While this isn’t heavy enough to be a bother, the original Vivoactive weighed 7 grams less than the Vivoactive 3.

But with that extra weight comes an optical heart rate monitor. While not everyone will want to know their heart rate 24/7, for those who do, the extra weight might be worth the benefits. You can see your resting and active heart rate throughout the day, which can help you improve the effectiveness of your workouts.

A heart rate monitor isn’t a new feature for smartwatches. But, when experts compared it to others, it proved to be one of the most accurate on the market.

Besides the heart rate monitor, there’s also a built-in GPS. It’s also water-resistant up to 160 feet, so you don’t need to take it off when showering or a enjoying a dip in the pool.

While the watch sports some impressive features, the 1.2-inch, 240-by-240 pixel screen wasn’t a strong point in many reviews. It’s not the sharpest or most vibrant. But, it has decent overall brightness -- so you can use the tracker while jogging, hiking, or enjoying the outdoors.

With a screen this small, navigation also gets tricky. To make it easier, Garmin has introduced “side swipe” using a gesture sensor along the side of the watch. For the most part, it worked well. However, critics noticed it was easy to accidentally swipe screens. Luckily, it has the option to change to standard left swipes for navigation if you don’t like the side swipe feature.

Although Garmin has focused much of its attention on the fitness side of things, the Vivoactive 3 is also a smartwatch. Once paired with an Android phone, it mirrors all of your notifications. Sadly, there’s no way to toggle specific app notifications from the watch.

The biggest addition is the inclusion of Garmin Pay. This allows you to enter your card details for one-touch payment and works anywhere that accepts contactless payment.

You’d think with its various features the Vivoactive would require daily charging but that’s not the case. Reviewers could get around 5-6 days with GPS turned on only during runs. While good, it’s still below Garmin’s estimated 7 days. Once you kill the batteries, a half hour on the charger will get you back to full.

Overall, reviewers highly recommend the Vivoactive 3 for people who want a great fitness tracker with some smartwatch capabilities. PC Magazine states, “The Garmin Vivoactive 3 has just about every feature you'd want and expect from a fitness tracker… it's still one of the best fitness products we've tested.” Digital Trends adds, “The Vivoactive 3 is a powerful, small, mid range GPS multisport watch.”

Critic Reviews


Ausdroid

You really do get what you pay for

from Ausdroid

This is a really solid device – Great design, well thought through, exceptionally well engineered and links into the already existing Garmin ecosystem.

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This is a really solid device – Great design, well thought through, exceptionally well engineered and links into the already existing Garmin ecosystem.

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TrustedReviews

A well-featured sports watch with just enough smartwatch functionality

from TrustedReviews

As a sports watch first and ‘smartwatch’ second, the Vivoactive 3 gets plenty right. It features almost everything you’d want from a workout tracking perspective, save for some of the more advanced coaching aspects seen in Garmin’s more expensive dedicated fitness wearables.

Read full review

As a sports watch first and ‘smartwatch’ second, the Vivoactive 3 gets plenty right. It features almost everything you’d want from a workout tracking perspective, save for some of the more advanced coaching aspects seen in Garmin’s more expensive dedicated fitness wearables.

Read full review

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Alphr

Light, comfy and packed with features

from Alphr

Despite its sleek design, though, the Vivoactive 3 tracks practically every activity you could want (although some might be disappointed there’s no open-water swimming app) and has the best optical heart rate sensor I’ve tested in a wrist-borne tracker.

Read full review

Despite its sleek design, though, the Vivoactive 3 tracks practically every activity you could want (although some might be disappointed there’s no open-water swimming app) and has the best optical heart rate sensor I’ve tested in a wrist-borne tracker.

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ZDNet

A solid mid-range GPS sports watch with wireless payment support

from ZDNet

It accurately and reliably captures workout data for a number of sports and is an excellent option at $300.

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It accurately and reliably captures workout data for a number of sports and is an excellent option at $300.

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TechRadar

A subtle smartwatch built for life as well as fitness

from TechRadar

With smart notifications, GPS, sports tracking to rival high-end devices, an on-board payment system and a subtle, stylish design, Garmin has created a versatile wearable with true mainstream appeal.

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With smart notifications, GPS, sports tracking to rival high-end devices, an on-board payment system and a subtle, stylish design, Garmin has created a versatile wearable with true mainstream appeal.

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Expert Reviews

A brilliant all-rounder

from Expert Reviews

I’m impressed – the Garmin Vivoactive 3 really is one special fitness watch. It ticks pretty much all the boxes: it’s usable and accurate, has GPS, altimeter and heart rate sensors, it tracks your swims on top of all the regular fitness activities – plus a few extra &ndash...More

I’m impressed – the Garmin Vivoactive 3 really is one special fitness watch. It ticks pretty much all the boxes: it’s usable and accurate, has GPS, altimeter and heart rate sensors, it tracks your swims on top of all the regular fitness activities – plus a few extra – and it’s a superb everyday activity tracker.

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Tom's Guide

This Apple Watch rival wins on fitness

from Tom's Guide

Get this watch if fitness features are of paramount importance to you. The Vivoactive 3 is a much more capable fitness-tracking smartwatch than the Fitbit Ionic or Apple Watch Series 3. However, the Apple Watch Series 3 is still the best smartwatch for iOS users. $279.99Amazon

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Get this watch if fitness features are of paramount importance to you. The Vivoactive 3 is a much more capable fitness-tracking smartwatch than the Fitbit Ionic or Apple Watch Series 3. However, the Apple Watch Series 3 is still the best smartwatch for iOS users. $279.99Amazon

Read full review

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TechGearLab

A solid product, but it is a little pricey for our taste

from TechGearLab

The Vivoactive 3 is a great product that just seems a little lost, toeing the line between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch. It's one of the smartest — and priciest fitness trackers that we have tested, but it still has some work to do to claim an award.

Read full review

The Vivoactive 3 is a great product that just seems a little lost, toeing the line between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch. It's one of the smartest — and priciest fitness trackers that we have tested, but it still has some work to do to claim an award.

Read full review

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Wareable

A superb sports watch with improving smartwatch powers

from Wareable

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is a big improvement on the HR in design that also beefs up its sports tracking. Not only that, but it's better as an all-day health tracking device, and paired with the new Connect app.

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The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is a big improvement on the HR in design that also beefs up its sports tracking. Not only that, but it's better as an all-day health tracking device, and paired with the new Connect app.

Read full review

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Pocket-lint

Serious multi-sport tracking at a sensible price point

from Pocket-lint

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is just as comfortable being a high-end activity tracker as it is being your daily fitness tracking wearable. In this regard, it's one of the most versatile smart fitness watches around.

Read full review

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is just as comfortable being a high-end activity tracker as it is being your daily fitness tracking wearable. In this regard, it's one of the most versatile smart fitness watches around.

Read full review

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