Garmin Vivoactive 3 Review: How Does This Watch Stand Out in the Vivoactive Series?

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Review

Garmin made waves when it released the original Vivoactive series, which improved upon design patterns and added an array of new features. Yet the new features were not all as necessary as many consumers needed. The Vivoactive 3 tailors these minor critiques and is made to appeal to a back-to-basics approach with all of the distinctive features of the Vivoactive series. What makes the Garmin Vivoactive 3 stand out in the Vivoactive line?

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 features many new features that expand upon the original Vivoactive smartwatch. Heart rate monitoring, altitude performance tracking, and even new and improved temperature readings are added to the new features. This smartwatch is also smaller and more lightweight.

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This multisport smartwatch scores high marks in all the important key points for rating a fitness watch. This article will explore everything that needs to be known about this product, including its pros and cons as well as if the watch is worth buying for your fitness needs. Read on to find out more.

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Pros of the Garmin Vivoactive 3:

  • New health statistics. The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is filled to the brim with new and exciting features, making this one of the most app-friendly models in all the many Garmin lines. With this model, you can now keep up with the new heart rate and step tracking features during your fitness session. Additionally, you can take advantage of the new underwater optical heart rate tracking.
  • Body temperature tracking. The Garmin Vivoactive 3 now allows for users to keep track of their body temperature. This can be incredibly important depending on the level of fitness users are experiencing. Additionally, if exercising outdoors, in either cold or hot temperatures, this feature can help you gauge when you are pushing yourself too hard or, if you are not pushing hard enough.
  • Great for multisport. The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is designed with users in mind who want the knowledge that their smartwatch will be able to keep up with a wide range of performance statistics across a triathlon if need be. Through updated and improved features to measure cadence, ground contact time, stride lengths, and all of the capabilities that sync with accurate heart rate readings and performance statistics.
  • Comes with preloaded activity profiles. Vivoactive 3 is designed to appeal to a wide range of fitness activities. Innovative and detailed activity profiles for swimming, running, bicycling, and triathlons, are all part of the profile selections that you can pick from with this model. This model also includes a range of recommendations if you wish to have some ideas to change up your fitness routine.
  • Barometric altimeter. This new addition to the performance tracking features in the Vivoactive line is a scientifically-backed and technologically astute assessment of performance tracking for elevated terrain. This feature of the Vivoactive 3 allows users to access rough outdoor terrain that increases fitness metrics during an activity. With Vivoactive 3, you can now track how hard you are working.
  • Innovative performance condition technology. Like most models in the Garmin Vivoactive series, the Vivoactive 3 also analyzes heart rate, heart performance conditioning, and heart rate variability based on a wide range of different performance types to give real-time assessments of how you are faring during your workout and how long you can continue before you reach various thresholds.

Cons of the Garmin Vivoactive 3:

  • Doesn’t work well with other apps. One of the convenient abilities that come with some smartwatches is the ability to customize the watch with other apps that track running or jogging in ways that you enjoy. With Vivoactive 3, you have to use its features exclusively.
  • Small watches aren’t for everyone. The Vivoactive 3 may be too small for some users. If you are looking for a medium to large watch, this model in the Vivo series is not for you.

Key Features

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 features many new updates to previous models in the Vivoactive line. For one, the watch itself is completely changed in its design scheme from a more square-shaped design to a circular shape, which is more in line with traditional wristwatches and is well-calibrated to handle the influx of new features.

What is also great about this model is the two available sizes that you can choose from, 40mm or 45mm. Not all runners wish to have a large and bulky wristwatch, even though the display screen is the same size, which works well with the many different types of performance capabilities that are compatible with this model.

Additionally, the Vivoactive 3 has pushable buttons, which eliminates the need to go through an app to change settings, you can now interchange settings and customizations through a simple push of a button. This comes in handy due to the overwhelming amount of new apps that can be accessed with this model.

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 was revamped from its original release and is now brimming with many additional features, and the improvements upon the design scheme of the watch are also great. With new additions to measure training effect, recovery time, and race predicting for triathlons, the Vivoactive 3 stands atop the series as one of the best models of the Vivoactive brand.

Should You Buy The Vivoactive 3?

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is all about variety; variety in fitness selections and variety when it comes to what you need to be tracked and monitored and how. The Vivoactive series is all about running and jogging, but this model is the one that many Garmin enthusiasts have been waiting for due to the inclusion of so many new apps for a wide variety of fitness routines and types.

If you enjoy cycling, you can now use the convenient cycling power meter to log and display your performance specifics and health targets when you are bicycling. If you want swimming mode, this model now has a fully integrated swimming mode performance meter to record your underwater movements and suggest ways to improve to reach targeted goals.

The Vivoactive 3 improves upon past exclusions in this popular Garmin line, and with this in mind, this makes the Vivoactive 3 a great investment. With new improvements in design and performance tracking, the Vivoactive 3 has helped to relaunch the Vivoactive series as a major line in the Garmin smartwatch family.

How Does This Model Stand Out in the Vivoactive Series?

So, what makes this model of Vivoactive watch stand out? The Vivoactive 3 is all about convenience; this model is a complete evolutionary upgrade in the line, which means that some previous concerns with other models have been improved upon for your convenience. Such as the inclusion of various types of sports and fitness performance dynamics as opposed to just running or jogging.

The technology is improved upon, which goes beyond simple velocity to even pinpoint performance targets in various areas of the body as opposed to just an overall assessment. The watch is comfortable and lightweight, therefore, you can rest assured that this model is definitely worth the purchase.

The Downsides

There are not too many downsides to this small watch. The aesthetic appeal may be a sticking point for some potential buyers, yet this should not be a determining factor. The watch is small and may be hard to read in dim light. The battery is not as great as other models in the Forerunner line for example, yet the battery is decent enough. Additionally, the screen resolution is a bit lower and hard to read than other models, even in bright sunlight.

Some users report difficulty in properly calibrating the new and improved altitude acclimation protocols of the watch. This feature is common across the newer models of the Forerunner series. It can be easily remedied by being sure your watch is connected to Garmin Connect Mobile during your fitness session. Do not let the small size and scaled-back design deceive you, this is a very compact and long-lasting watch.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is Garmin Vivoactive 3 a good running watch?

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is an excellent watch for running. With new animated workouts that accurately display performance suggestions for enhancing your run, this model is a comprehensive interactive smartwatch.

Q: Should I get the Vivoactive 3 or 4?

The biggest difference between these two Vivoactive models comes down to size; the Vivoactive 4 is much larger than the Vivoactive 3. If you want a smaller watch, then by all means choose the Vivoactive 3. Apart from size variations, there are no major differences between the two models but the Vivoactive 4 does feature V02 Max Indicator technology.

Q: Can you answer calls on Garmin Vivoactive 3?

Yes, you can easily answer calls from your Garmin Vivoactive 3. The watch has a built-in speaker and microphone that allows you to answer calls and speak clearly. Be sure to use Bluetooth if you want to make the call answering and speaking process easier.

Q: Can the Garmin Vivoactive 3 send text messages?

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 can text; however, this can only be done with compatible Android smartphones. To make the process a bit easier, you can select from a range of standard messages to send a reply to your text. In the Garmin Connect App, you can customize messages you wish to send.

Q: Can I wear my Garmin Vivoactive 3 to bed?

Yes, you can wear your Garmin Vivoactive 3 to bed. While you are sleeping, the watch is able to detect sleep and monitor your movements to calculate accurate sleep patterns and movements. For automatic settings, you can customize your sleep hours in the Garmin Connect App.


If you are looking for a GPS smartwatch that makes the process of checking your performance statistics easy to navigate with enhanced performance features and project charts, then the Garmin Vivoactive 3 is certainly a model worth considering. There are very few downsides to this watch, and the sheer compatibility enhancements of this model are hard to resist.

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