Garmin Vivoactive 3 Review – New look GPS smartwatch and activity tracker

Garmin Reviews & Comparisons

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Review

Garmin’s Vivoactive 3 is one of the most advanced sport smartwatches on the market today. For all the tech and fitness lovers out there, this wearable is your dream come true.

It can be hard to choose which wearable to buy when you’re looking for something to decorate your wrist and help you with your daily activities. Keep reading this Garmin Vivoactive 3 review to learn why this GPS smartwatch is one of the best on the market for fitness and sports tracking…

After getting my hands on this watch, I can tell you that it is a step up from previous Garmin wearables first and foremost regarding design. Unlike the Garmin Forerunner 35 and the Vivoactive HR, the Vivoactive 3 has a beautiful, round design that makes it feel more like a true watch. To kick this Garmin Vivoactive 3 review off, let’s highlight some of the pros/cons:


  • Built-in sports apps
  • Wrist-based heart rate
  • Stylish design looks like a normal watch
  • Connected smartwatch features
  • Garmin Connect & Strava compatibility
  • Customize with Connect IQ app store


  • No music storage (can only control)
  • Only Android users can respond to texts on watch
  • Wrist heart rate not very detailed
  • Lacks advanced metrics

garmin vivoactive 3 review

Garmin’s Vivoactive 3 has a lot of handy features up its sleeve. If you have an iPhone or Android, you can connect your phone to your Vivoactive and enjoy easy access to your phone from your wrist.

From your watch, you can receive and respond to text messages, follow social media updates, and keep track of your emails. You can even see who’s calling you and either answer or decline the call.
Take advantage of syncing with Garmin Connect, the online community where you can share your activities with others. You can also participate in challenges, share your activities on social media sites, and encourage others in their fitness activities.

Garmin Connect is free and available online as well as through the Garmin Connect Mobile app for your smartphone.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Comparison

Garmin Vivoactive Comparisons

The Vivoactive 3 is a solid choice for a Garmin wearable. Compared to previous Garmin wearables, the Vivoactive 3 has unique features like contactless payments and preloaded activity profiles. The Vivoactive 3’s lens is made from Corning Gorilla Glass 3, while the Forerunner 35 and the Vivoactive HR feature only chemically strengthened glass.

Compared to wearables like the Fitbit Ionic and the Apple Watch, Vivoactive 3’s main strength is in the fact that it’s designed for people who enjoy multiple and specific sports. Sports apps like golfing, running, yoga, and more allow you to track your progress in each activity. The GPS feature of the Vivoactive 3 also helps it determine which exercise you are performing based on your speed and track followed.

The Vivoactive 3 is also in a league of its own when it comes to battery life. Not only does it have three times the amount of battery life compared to the Fitbit Ionic, it has a whopping 12 times longer battery life for simple watch usage compared to the Apple Watch.

Notable Garmin Vivoactive 3 Specs:

  • Touchscreen
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Stainless steel bezel
  • Swim/5 ATM water rating
  • Sunlight-visible and color display
  • 1.2” diameter display
  • 240 x 240 pixels display resolution
  • Up to 7 days of battery life without GPS usage
  • Up to 13 hours of battery life with GPS usage
  • Compass
  • Thermometer
  • Music controls
  • Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ connectivity
  • iPhone and Android compatibility
  • VIRB remote
  • Step counter
  • Sleep monitoring
  • Touch/Button lock feature
  • Contactless Payments capability
  • Fits wrists with a circumference of 12.7-20.4 cm

Features and Benefits of the Garmin Vivoactive 3

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is for anyone who seeks technological assistance in multiple areas of life. Whether you’re a fitness lover or a tech-savvy professional who’s always on the go, this smartwatch has a robust set of advanced features and benefits to help you manage your life’s agenda.

Garmin Pay

Contactless Payments with GarminPay

If you tend to forget your wallet a lot or you prefer to not carry one at all, then the contactless payments feature of the Garmin Vivoactive 3 will make you very happy! This feature stood out to me the most when I got this wearable since it’s a rather impressive feature to incorporate into such a small piece of technology. Currently, Vivoactive 3 is Garmin’s only wearable with a contactless payment feature.

GarminPay is the technology that allows you to make these contactless payments. It’s a fast and safe alternative to traditional payment methods. Add your credit and debit cards to your Garmin digital wallet, and use them anywhere contactless payments are accepted. Simply enter your passcode, choose your desired card, and hold the watch near the point of payment to complete your purchase.

Pay confidently knowing that Garmin assigns unique card numbers to your cards and different transaction codes to your purchases. Your card numbers are never stored on your watch, passed onto merchants, or kept on any servers.

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Apps from Connect IQ and Garmin Connect

Apps and Widgets from the Connect IQ Store

The Vivoactive 3 is customizable through the Connect IQ store, where you can download hundreds of free apps, widgets, and watch faces. Vivoactive 3 is also compatible with the Garmin Connect App and Strava.

Uber ETA

Keep track of your Uber ride through your watch. Find out the ETA of your ride, your driver’s information, make and model of the car, license plate number, and more.

AccuWeather MinuteCast

This app uses your exact street address to tell you exactly when rain will start and end.

Samsung SmartThings

Configure your home’s routines and activate them through your smartwatch. Turn on your home’s lights even when you’re not at home.

Find My Car

This app can guide you back to your car by saving your car’s exact location once you park. It’ll store the location for you even if you quit the app.

Visual HR Zones

Provides a visual representation of your current heart rate and heart rate zone.

Connect IQ Apps

Vivoactive 3 Fitness and Stress Tracking

Garmin Elevate, the wrist-based heart rate technology found in this watch, helps you monitor your fitness activity as well as your stress levels and heart rate.

This watch was designed to give you a VO2 max score to help you analyze your personal health. A VO2 max score is a super useful number that can tell you how fast your body can absorb oxygen, and therefore how fast you can move during your workouts. A high VO2 max score means that you have superior performance capabilities, while a low VO2 max score means you have low to poor fitness capabilities.

That being said, your VO2 max score is definitely something you can change. It directly correlates with how healthy you live your life. While individuals who are professional athletes may not have a lot of room to improve their VO2 max score, the rest of us can work every day to be more active and improve our VO2 max scores.

Once your VO2 max score is established, your different fitness apps can give you a target training time for your specific level of fitness. Along with giving you a VO2 max score, your watch can monitor your heart rate no matter your physical activity status. It also monitors your heart rate variability (HRV) to determine your stress levels.

Your Vivoactive 3 can also keep track of your custom workouts. Create a custom workout online and download it to your watch. Once you begin your workout, your watch will keep track of your reps, rest times, and more for you.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Sports

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Frequently Asked Questions

Is Vivoactive 3 waterproof?For the most part, yes. The Vivoactive 3 is certified Swim/5 ATM water resistant. This means that it is suitable for the shower, rain, snow, swimming, diving, snorkeling, and splashes. It is not suitable, however, for scuba diving or intense water sports.

How big is the Vivoactive?The Vivoactive measures 4.34 x 4.34 x 1.17 cm. It fits wrists with a circumference of 12.7-20.4 cm. It weighs 1.5 ounces.

Does Vivoactive have any buttons?This model only has one physical button, located on the side of the watch’s face.

What does Vivoactive come with?The box includes the Vivoactive 3, a USB charging/syncing cable, and user manuals.

What clock features does Vivoactive have?The Vivoactive 3 features time & date, GPS time syncing, automatic daylight savings switching, alarm clock, timer, stopwatch, and a customizable watch face.

What colors does Vivoactive come in?The Vivoactive 3 comes in Black with Stainless Hardware, Black with Slate Hardware, and White with Stainless Hardware. A variety of bands and straps are also available separately, including moss, azure, dark brown, and light brown quick-release bands.

What kind of smart features does Vivoactive have?

  • Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ connectivity
  • iPhone and Android compatibility
  • Connect IQ
  • Garmin Connect
  • Smart notifications
  • Garmin Pay
  • Find My Phone
  • Find My Watch
  • Music controls
  • Weather
  • Calendar

What kind of activity tracker features does Vivoactive have?

  • Step counter
  • Floors climbed
  • Calories burned
  • Distance traveled
  • Intensity minutes
  • Sleep monitoring
  • Daily auto goals
  • Move bar

What are some of the preloaded activity profiles?

  • Running profiles include running, treadmill running, and indoor track running.
  • Cycling profiles include biking and indoor biking.
  • Outdoor profiles include rowing, skiing, snowboarding, stand-up paddle boarding, and XC skiing.
  • Swimming profile includes pool swimming.
  • Golfing profile measures shot distance, yardage to F/M/B, yardage to layups/doglegs, and much more.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Review Bottom Line

Garmin has made a wearable that can comfortably compete with other top wearables on the market. We hope you found this Garmin Vivoactive 3 review both informative and insightful. The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is indeed one of the best wearables money can buy.

You may also be interested in the Garmin Vivoactive 4 Review.

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