Interested in Garmin Vivoactive 3? Don’t Get One Until You Read this Updated Review

A subtle smartwatch built for life as well as fitness


With smart notifications, GPS, sports monitoring to rival high-end units, an on-board cost system and a delicate, fashionable design, Garmin has created a flexible wearable with true mainstream attraction.


  • Subtle, circular, stylish design
  • Good GPS and heart rate monitor
  • Tracks a range of activities


  • Can’t choose which apps get alerts
  • iOS customers can’t reply to texts
  • Base model cannot assist music playback

In step with Garmin’s sports tech legacy, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 has a coronary heart price sensor, GPS monitoring and a selection of built-in apps devoted to conserving tabs on a spread of sports activities actions, from running and indoor biking to skiing and snowboarding.

The Vivoactive 3’s focus could also be on health, however this versatile wearable additionally has loads of different features to shout about, together with smart notifications, an on-board cost system referred to as Garmin Pay in addition to each sleep and real-time stress monitoring. And its design displays its sporty yet smart credentials, because it seems extra like a watch than a cumbersome health tracker.

Read more: Garmin Forerunner

It is no shock that the Vivoactive Three does health properly. In any case, the Garmin model is as synonymous with high-end sports activities units as it’s with GPS programs these days. Communicate to any runner or triathlete and they‘ll doubtless cite one among Garmin’s Forerunner, and even Fenix, bands as their favourite gadget.

What about Black Friday 2020?
The Garmin Vivoactive Three is a superb smartwatch, and one that will properly see low cost on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Health trackers are sometimes among the many finest Black Friday offers, and the Vivoactive Three is a very stylish instance of the kind. At the proper value, it is well value your consideration.

However that hasn’t stopped Garmin from venturing right into a extra consumer-focused area both. Units in the Vivofit, Vivomove and Vivosmart ranges should still be geared toward those that like figuring out, however might be described extra as lifestyle wearables given they care as a lot about step counts, sleep and stress as private bests and optimizing performance.

The Garmin Vivoactive Three doesn’t match neatly into either category. At around half the worth of the model‘s high-end health units, just like the Fenix 5X, the Garmin Vivoactive Three is a extra inexpensive possibility and yet nonetheless packs a punch on the subject of sports activities monitoring.

It has on-board way of life features, like sleep and stress monitoring, however can be geared as much as compete with related multi-purpose smartwatches with its notifications and cost system.

As you’d anticipate, the Garmin Vivoactive Three is not occupying this interesting area all by itself. Retailing at £279.99 ($249.99, AU$449) it entered at the same price level to new units from a few of the greatest names in wearable tech.

There’s additionally a ‘Music’ model, which price around £50 / $50 extra at launch. This provides in music playback capabilities however maintains the identical perform set of the bottom model we have reviewed here.

That music streaming (and downloading) is presently restricted to iHeartRadio within the US, with Deezer coming quickly for different territories – though the latter nonetheless hasn’t launched at time of writing. Meaning you are caught using MP3s, if in case you have any around, and you may chuck as much as 500 on there.

With that now on board, you would argue the Vivoactive Three rivals the Apple Watch 3, in addition to the Fitbit Ionic. They’re on no account identical, however all three are pushed by fitness, look good, are designed to be worn 24/7 and are smart.

Garmin could also be a agency favourite amongst these severe about health, however the query now’s whether or not a multi-purpose smartwatch just like the Vivoactive Three has the on-board specs, fashion and mainstream visibility to compete with the likes of Apple and Fitbit.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 value and availability

  • Launched November 2017
  • Starts at £279.99/$249.99/AU$449

There are three completely different colours of the Garmin Vivoactive 3 to select from. There’s black silicone and slate, which is a premium-looking darkish gray and prices £299.99/$329.99/AU$499.

It additionally is available in black silicone and stainless-steel, which is silver, in addition to white silicone and stainless steel, which each price barely much less at £279.99/$249.99/AU$449.

That makes the Garmin Vivoactive Three rather less than related units that additionally straddle the road between health tracker and smartwatch, just like the Fitbit Ionic, LG Watch Sport and the Apple Watch 3 (with simply GPS and not mobile capabilities).

It is also significantly lower than lots of the model‘s more specialised multi-sports ranges.

For example, in the event you‘re on the lookout for a wearable to see you thru an enormous vary of actions with super correct monitoring, the Fenix 5X might be your finest bet at $699.99/£629.99/AU$949.

However, in the event you‘re solely on the lookout for a tool for operating and nothing else, you would go for the Forerunner 30 at £129.99 (around $175/AU$225). However most runners would need to go for something just like the Forerunner 235, which still undercuts the Vivoactive 3.

In brief, if you want a Garmin health machine there are actually cheaper choices. However you’d have to make sure that health is your solely focus, otherwise it could make sense to contemplate the Vivoactive 3 instead.


  • Round design
  • Comfy strap
  • Screen counteracts glare

At 43g, and made with a stainless steel casing, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 feels weighty sufficient to be premium, however like a standard watch as soon as it is strapped on. It is a world away from Garmin’s earlier Vivoactive HR device, which in some ways felt and seemed extra like an affordable, blocky sports watch than a top quality wearable.

That’s the operating theme when it comes to the design of the Vivoactive 3, though full of smart features and a bevy of sensors, it seems and appears like a ‘regular‘ watch.

That is particularly the case in comparison to wearables constructed solely for monitoring, like Garmin’s newest Vivosport or Vivosmart units. It even seems extra watch-like than its closest opponents, which is likely to be as a result of each the Fitbit Ionic and Apple Watch Three have sq. (or square-er) faces.

With a depth of 11.7mm the Garmin Vivoactive 3 sits flush towards our arms. This mixed with a brilliant versatile silicone strap makes for a really snug put on. That was the case all through our entire review interval, even at evening and on the gym.

The silicone strap is versatile and really simple to get on and off. However as soon as it is on it feels safe, even after a run, swim and a HIIT class. But in the event you do not just like the strap, it is potential to exchange it with any other 20mm fast launch band.

The Garmin Vivoactive 3’s display screen measures 1.2 inches and has a 240 x 240 pixel display, which is a measurement that fits a range of wrists each massive and small, and yet nonetheless serves up information with out you having to squint to see the stats.

Like many different Garmin watches, the Vivoactive 3 has a shade transflective screen. At first this seems a bit darkish, especially in comparison with the Fitbit Ionic’s OLED display, however it‘s been created that approach with a purpose to make it simpler to learn, even in direct daylight, and to make a giant saving on battery life too.

The display is always-on, however dimmed. The backlight comes on while you flip your wrist up. That is helpful for rapidly checking the time, however we discovered conserving that setting on meant it got here on loads throughout the evening. However, you may customise whether or not it comes on or not, in addition to how lengthy for.

There is a small bezel spherical the sting of the display screen with traces on it to indicate the place the hours are. And in contrast to a whole lot of related units, there’s simply the one button on the facet of the display screen. The great thing about that is you get to resolve throughout setup whether or not you need it going through towards your body, or going through towards your wrist and hand.

We wore the Vivoactive Three on our left wrist, so selected the button to be closest to our hand to make it simpler to push with our proper. This button is fairly vital as a result of, amongst different issues, it means that you can entry the sports menu and likewise works as a again button.

Some persons are certain to like the minimal impact this gives, others who’re used to multi-functional sports activities watches with numerous buttons and dials might discover it missing.

On the underside of the Vivoactive 3 there is a 4 pin charging port, which is small and cannot be felt in your pores and skin, in addition to the machine‘s optical heart rate sensor, which once more, sits flush against your wrist.

Right here
you may see the charging port and optical heart rate sensor.

We reviewed the Vivoactive 3 in black silicone and slate, which is a premium-looking dark gray that prices barely greater than black silicone and stainless-steel or white silicone and stainless-steel.

The Garmin Vivoactive Three is waterproof as much as 50 meters, which is good in the event you‘re a swimmer and makes it simpler to bathe and wash-up with out worrying about taking it on and off on a regular basis.

Add to that the actual fact the display screen is Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and the case is constituted of a bolstered polymer and you have got one sturdy machine in your wrist that’ll face up to essentially the most grueling of exercise classes.

In the case of design, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 actually ticks all the proper bins and justifies the worth level, offering a watch that appears premium, however most significantly for a 24/7 wearable, feels snug.