Garmin’s recent announcement about three new wearable devices is pretty exciting, even if it’s drowned out a little due to the new Fitbit and Apple Watch announcements. But the GPS smartwatch Vivoactive 3, which is replacing the, um, less aesthetic Vivoactive HR, is worth paying attention to.
We really loved the Vivoactive HR, so this update is simultaneously welcome and a bit concerning. Would Garmin change the things we love? What changes would they make and how would they affect the overall functionality of the device? And, when we first saw the device, one big question is, how is this different form the Vivomove HR?
Luckily, it appears that Garmin has only made good changes and kept everything we loved about the earlier iteration.
Looks-wise, the 3 is A LOT different from the HR – and that’s a good thing. The Vivoactive HR was not the prettiest device. The 3 has the round screen face and looks a lot more like a watch. The Vivoactive 3 is now primed to compete against the new crop of smartwatches from Fitbit, Apple, and Samsung. But before we compare it to anything else on the market, let’s take a look at how it stacks up on its own.
Like the new Vivomove HR, the Vivoactive 3 has a big emphasis on design. It has the rounded face shape instead of the square, blocky style of the Vivoactive HR, which is a welcome change for sure. It comes in three different colors/finishes, and the face itself is customizable. You can be sure you’ll find a style that fits yours.
One design area where the Vivoactive 3 cannot compete with other smartwatches is in the look of the display itself. While it has an always-on, readable screen, its sharpness and color do not match its competitors’. However, taken on its own, the screen display and design is perfectly acceptable.
In terms of comfort and function, the Viovactive 3 is worth checking out. It is comfortable to wear and the display functions are intuitive and easy to operate.
Related: Vivoactive 3 vs. Fitbit Ionic
In the tracking category, the Vivoactive 3 really excels, which doesn’t come as a surprise. The HR was well loved because of its tracking features; the 3 keeps and advances plenty of those. For example, the watch tracks 15 sports, including yoga and swimming, in addition to counting reps and tracking your golf game.
Because the 3 includes built-in GPS, the sports options are very useful and extensive. Some other sports included are stand-up paddle boarding and snowboarding – the Vivoactive 3 will carry you from spring to winter and keep track of all your activities.
There are some cool additions that Garmin has introduced on other devices, such as treadmill distance calibration and stress monitoring. All of these make for a really well-rounded smartwatch/fitness tracker.
Tracking and monitoring stress is enhanced by the Elevate Optical HR sensor – the most advanced HR sensor yet, which also tracks heart rate variability to help you focus on overall wellness and stress reduction. The Vivoactive 3 tracks sleep, too, of course, and all of that data is available through the Garmin app.
The Vivoactive 3 boasts a range of features that make it an appealing smartwatch. Here are some of the included features:
- Water Resistant: Rated SWIM, take the Vivoactive 3 in the pool or the shower
- Smart Notifications: See smart phone notifications and control music from your wrist
- Garmin Pay: The first Garmin device with contactless mobile payments
- Built-in GPS: Like its predecessor, the Vivoactive 3 includes built-in GPS
- Fitness Level Monitoring: Including VO2 max and fitness age
The Vivoactive 3 is chock-full of features – these are just a few of them. Battery life is estimated to be up to 7 days but will be significantly less when you’re connected to GPS or using other features.
This device has essentially all the features you want from a smartwatch, but it has a focus on fitness. This makes it a worthy opponent to any of the similarly-priced smartwatches out there.
It’s hard not to think about our overall impressions of the Vivoactive 3 without comparing it to the other recently announced smartwatches. It directly competes with the Fitbit Ionic because of price, tracking functions, and features. It is about $100 less than the Apple Watch but still has many of the same appealing features – adding Garmin Pay definitely ups the game. It stands on its own even without comparisons, though. It’s a well-designed and feature-rich smartwatch/fitness tracker.
Check the price of the Vivoactive 3