Garmin Vivoactive 3 Review

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Updated June 27, 2022
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90 Expert Rating

Are you looking for a good smartwatch to measure all the fitness data you need, whilst also getting a bunch of other features? Something that is both easy to use and pretty durable? Well, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 is here with a number of upgrades from the previous model, a better looking design, waterproof resistance upto 50meters underwater and even numerous workout programs. And so with all that as well as the pretty good screen and GPS, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 makes for one of the best smartwatch out there.

Why We Like It – Garmin Vivoactive 3 Review

GPS system capability along with a heart rate monitor allows the Garmin Vivoactive 3 to measure and monitor almost all the fitness data you’ll ever need. Along with stress and sleep tracking and even the numerous workout apps, it makes it much easier for you to lead a fit and healthy life. And so, with all that as well as the capability to reply to texts through the stylish design of the Vivoactive 3, you’ll be glad to have made it your smartwatch. And if the idea of a mechanical smartwatch hybrid sounds interesting, take a look at our review of the 7 things to know about the Kairos smartwatch hybrid.

  • Great GPS system
  • Good fitness tracking with heart rate monitor
  • Solid and Stylish design
  • Not fully compatible with iOS
  • You don’t get music playback through the base model


Being one of the simplest yet very functional smartwatches out there, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 makes for one of the best fitness trackers out there. It tracks everything ranging from your sleep and stress to your heart rate through the sensors on its underside. And paired with the many sensors like the compass, barometric altimeter, thermometer, gyroscope as well as the GPS, it provides you with all the data you need to monitor throughout your day.

Related: If you like this smartwatch, check out our Letscom Fitness Tracker review.

Moreover, with the numerous workout programs pre-installed and one’s you can create yourself, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 makes exercising a whole lot better, with much better and more accurate data than most other smartwatches. When it comes to the app functionality of the Garmin Vivoactive 3, you can easily download the Garmin app which allows you to download many more apps as well as watch faces and widgets from the Garmin Connect IQ store to customize your sports watch. Now, while the apps and their use reach nowhere near that of the Apple Watch Series 4 or the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier Smartwatch, it makes for fitness tracking on par with the Fitbit Ionic sports watch.

Moving onto the other functionalities of the Garmin Vivoactive 3, it also comes with features like music playback capability in a new watch model which sells for around $30 more than the base model. This makes it possible for you to store upto 500 songs on board and listen through your bluetooth headphone without having to take your phone with you. Apart from that, you can also access iHeartRadio in the US and even Deezer which may still be coming soon to many regions. Now while these Garmin watches do come with an activity tracking specialty, they also show it through a beautiful color transflective screen. It measures to be around 1.2 Inches in size and has a resolution of 240 x 240 pixels which although a bit dim compared to the OLED display on the Fitbit Ionic, makes for easy viewing in the sunlight. And being a touchscreen in itself, it allows you to easily control the watch, while a side button and a side swipe feature also add further controls within the interface.

Related: Also check out our Fossil Sport review.

Furthermore, this GPS smartwatch Garmin has brought to us, also comes with a flick feature of turning on a backlight on the display whenever you flick your wrist up. And other than that, being an activity tracker, the Garmin Connect App and the display on the watch itself allows you to see data like your heart rate in a breakdown within days and weeks in terms of both the actual data and graphs. This makes for a better assessment of your fitness condition giving you what stands out as the Garmin Vivoactive 3’s selling point.

Finally, the Vivoactive 3 also offers you the capability of contactless payments through the Garmin App feature, the ability to reply to smart notifications or rather texts, directly through the watch in itself. You also get a pretty good battery life of about six days with normal use and upto 13 hours straight with the GPS on. The only drawback that remains evident in the Vivoactive 3’s interface is the non compatibility of replying texts when connected to iOS devices.


Measuring to be about 11.7 mm in depth and weighing about 43g, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 comes with a pretty good round design which fits perfectly onto your hand with the silicone strap. The Gorilla glass screen, reinforced Polymer case and stainless steel build makes the Garmin Vivoactive 3 pretty durable, even upto 50 meters underwater which is great if you’re someone who swims often. You don’t have to worry about it falling off, as the silicon strap will hold onto your hand tightly, whilst also providing you with a solid yet comfortable grip. While you can change the straps if you want to, with a sweat proof capability as well as the circular design of the body, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 makes for a much better looking smartwatch compared to the Vivoactive HR.


Priced at about $132, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 is a pretty affordable smartwatch right now. It offers almost everything you can ask for in a fitness tracker and a whole lot more. You get to make contactless payments through the Garmin Pay feature, and the use Garmin Vivoactive 3 offers doesn’t stop there. Along with the solid design that is waterproof and also the comfortable yet solid straps, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 makes for one of the best value fitness trackers out there, that is if you don’t need the extra features that the Apple Watch series offers.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Review Wrap Up

While it may not have the standard fit band design like the Letscom Fitness Tracker, or the best app availability out there, with a solid build that is both durable and stylish as well as the fact that it also survives upto 50 metres underwater with the stainless steel build, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 is more than flexible in terms of use. You get access to both an easy to use system as well as the added benefit of a GPS and battery life. And so with all that at a pretty good price right now, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 makes for one of the best smart watches out there.

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