Ahoy game raisers, today I want to tell you about the Garmin Vivoactive 3. It’s no secret that I rely on this watch for all my health activity tracking and I can in good conscience, recommend it to you if you are also raising your game.

I am going to take an in-depth look into the features of this watch, check out the pros and cons and take a look at some alternative options to see how it stacks up. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases

What Is The Garmin Vivoactive 3?

Garmin.com tells us its a “GPS Smartwatch with built-in Sports Apps and Wrist-based Heart Rate”

Garmin listed features

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is a smartwatch supercharged with superior battery life, a heartrate monitor, an activity tracker, sleep tracking, and stress management features.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 As A Smartwatch

As a smartwatch, I believe the Vivoactive 3 to be middle of the road. While you can get all of your notifications on your wristwatch, the Vivoactive 3 doesn’t facilitate interacting with them so you still have to take your phone out of your pocket to respond to a text or answer calls. However, iPhone users could get around this problem by barking orders at Siri in response to the notifications received on your watch.

The Vivoactive does get extra points for Garmin pay, especially if you live in London because all public transport is contactless. However, whether you live in London or not, it is pretty convenient paying for goods with a wave of your wrist.

If your main criterion is smart in a smartwatch, then you may be better off going for the latest offering from your mobile phone manufacturers such as an Apple watch, something from Samsung, or even Huawei

The Vivoactive 3 As An Activity Tracker

Garmin Connect

This is where the Vivoactive 3 excels. As long as you are wearing it, the Vivoactive 3 will monitor and log your heart rate, your total number of footsteps, and your elevation, you can also tell if you want to log a specific activity such as going for a run, workout, or a long walk.

Your activity data is then sent via the magic of Bluetooth to the Garmin Connect app on your phone which has 2 humungous benefits:

  • You now have usable insights to track your fitness targets and raise your game.
  • Your activity data combines with your health data to give you even more insights.

The Garmin connect app also communicates with Strava so if you would like to post your activities onto a fitness social network, you are not limited to friends with a Garmin device.

The final benefit I will list in this category is the battery life. If you want to track activity like an all-day walk, 13 hours you will get from the Vivoactive 3 in GPS mode is excellent in comparison to most competitors. If you are not tracking activities, you can expect about a week of battery life in smartwatch mode.

If activity tracking is your key criterion, I recommend you look no further than the Vivoactive 3 available brand new on Amazon for £186.66 or even less if you don’t mind buying a reconditioned watch.

The Vivoactive 3 As A Health Tracker

Using the Garmin app on your phone, you can input your current weight and target weight and the app will give you a recommended amount of calories to eat each day. The Garmin then uses your current weight, heart rate, and activity data to estimate your calories burned.

I wasn’t sure if you could log your calories eaten directly into the Garmin Connect app so I googled it and it turns out you can’t but they can store that data, the way Garmin recommends you log is the way I have been doing it.

You can download an app called MyFitnessPal – which is created by the sportswear brand – Under Armour. I was using MyFitnessPal before I got a smartwatch because you can input your calorie intake by scanning the barcode on the packet or by manually entering them from the box. You can create recipes and manipulate portion sizes so you can accurately track the calorie content even when your food is homemade. Prior to getting my Garmin Vivoactive 3, I was also logging my activities manually using MyFitnessPal but it’s much easier now using the watch. The is fantastic as it means you can use your Vivoactive 3 to monitor your calorie intake and how your activities affect your calorie burn rate.

As long as you are wearing your Vivoactive 3, Garmin also tracks your quality of sleep and your stress levels so you will have an indicator of when you should take action to improve your quality of sleep or lower your stress.

I like the Vivoactive 3 for activities and health tracking but the benefits and features are part of the Garmin Connect app so you may want to check out a later model such as the Garmin Fēnix 6 Pro.

The Vivoactive 3 Price Point – How It Compares

The Vivoactive 3 is not the cheapest watch on the market or even the cheapest Garmin has to offer. The Vivoactive 3 is sold on Garmin’s website for £199.99, but you can get one cheaper on Amazon both new and reconditioned. Later models of Garmin GPS watches may well provide even more features but will be more expensive.

Depending on the brand you go for, you will get cheaper options on Amazon like the Fitbit for under £100, or this super budget Lintelek Fitness Tracker for under £30 but I will put money on the fact the quality is low and functionality will not measure up to the Garmin.

You can pick up the Apple Watch Series 3 for a similar price as the Vivoactive 3 with the later models being more expensive.

Samsung’s offerings range from about £45 to about £600 depending on age and features and Huawei are claiming to be the cheapest on the market but the cheapest offering is £95.


But Which Watch Is The Watch For You?

When the Vivoactive 3 was released, it was seen as a turning point for Garmin in the smartwatch market, it was the first of Garmin’s offerings to go toe to toe with Apple and Samsung. When it comes to Sports and Health, there is not a watch on the market that compares to Garmin and while the later models might be even better, the price goes up significantly. The Vivoactive 3 is the cheapest option from Garmin that stands up to the big players in the game.

However, the Vivoactive 3 is not the smartest smartwatch and not the cheapest smartwatch. Ultimately, it depends on which features you prioritize, what is your budget, and what is your brand loyalty.

If you have any thoughts on the smartwatch market, or you use smartwatches to track your fitness goals, I would love to hear from you, please post a comment below.