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Garmin vívoactive 3 GPS Smartwatch - Black & Stainless
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- Garmin Pay mobile payment solution lets you Pay for purchases with your watch
- Personalize your watch with thousands of free watch faces, apps and widgets from our connect iq store
- More than 15 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps, including yoga, running, swimming and more
- Monitor your fitness level with Vo2 Max and fitness made estimates, Plus keep an Eye on how you handle stress
- Get connected features such as smart notifications, automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, Live Track and more
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From the manufacturer
Garmin vívoactive 3
GPS Smartwatch with Contactless Payments and Wrist-based Heart Rate.
GPS Smartwatch with Contactless Payments and Wrist-based Heart Rate
From playing to paying, vívoactive 3 is the smartwatch for your active life. Make contactless payments with ease, right from your watch, and with more than 15 preloaded sports apps — you can choose how you like to get fit. Built-in GPS lets you record the distance, pace, location and more for your outdoor activities.
Fits You and All You Do
Feel free to take this watch outside in all kinds of weather. Not only is it safe for swimming and showering, its Garmin Chroma Display is easy to read — even in direct sunlight — and housed under extra-durable Corning Gorilla Glass. It also features the Side Swipe interface, which makes for quick scrolling and swift navigation of menus and widgets. Whether you scroll with your thumb or index finger, you can choose how to wear it. Comfortable, convenient and easy to see — vívoactive 3 just fits.
Download and Create Workouts
Keep your workout schedule fresh and invigorating. Create your own custom running, cycling, cardio or strength workouts, and download them to your watch. Then, your vívoactive smartwatch will keep track of the exercises, reps, sets and rest time for you.
- Garmin Pay contactless payment solution lets you pay for purchases with your watch
- Personalize your watch with thousands of free watch faces, apps and widgets from our Connect IQ store
- More than 15 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps, including yoga, running, swimming and more
- Monitor your fitness level with VO2 max and fitness age estimates, plus keep an eye on how you handle stress
- Get connected features such as smart notifications, automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, LiveTrack and more
- Battery life: up to 7 days in smartwatch mode; 13 hours in GPS mode
Pay Your Way
vívoactive 3 is our first wearable to feature Garmin Pay, which lets you pay for purchases with your watch. Use it just about anywhere you can tap your card to pay. So, if you left your wallet in your locker or just forgot it, that post-run morning caffè latte can still be yours. Just tap and go.
Make It Yours
vívoactive 3 is compatible with our Connect IQ store, where you can download watch faces, widgets and apps that make it go from smartwatch to your watch. Keep tabs on when your Uber is arriving, turn on your lights at home with the SmartThings app, and even use the AccuWeather MinuteCast app to find out when the rain will start.
Play More Sports
With more than 15 preloaded sports apps, finding a fun way to stay active is easy. Hit the golf course, go for a bike ride, take a yoga class, or even try your hand at stand-up paddle boarding. When you head outside, built-in GPS lets vívoactive 3 track the details of your chosen activity — with no phone connection required. From snowboarding to swimming and at least a dozen other options in between, this watch is the perfect playmate.
Daily Fitness and Stress Tracking
With help from Elevate wrist-based heart rate technology, vívoactive 3 lets you monitor key aspects of your fitness and stress to show how your body responds under various circumstances. For example, it’s able to estimate your VO2 max and fitness age — 2 indicators of physical fitness that can often improve over time with regular exercise. It also tracks your heart rate variability (HRV), which is used to calculate and track your stress level. vívoactive 3 can make you aware when physical or emotional sources cause your stress level to rise so you can find a way to relieve the pressure.
Life doesn’t have a pause button, so stay connected with your vívoactive 3 smartwatch while you’re playing hard or working out. Once paired with your compatible smartphone, you’ll be able to receive and even respond5 to text messages and see social media updates, emails and more right on your wrist. Find your phone, access music controls and let friends LiveTrack your sports. Your finished activities will even automatically upload to our Garmin Connect online fitness community.
Share and Compete
Syncing your activities to Garmin Connect is for more than just storing your data. Garmin Connect is a thriving online community where people on the go can connect and compete by joining challenges, encourage each other’s successes and even share their triumphs via social media. Garmin Connect is free and available on the web or on your smartphone with the Garmin Connect Mobile app.
|vívoactive 3||vívoactive HR||vívomove HR||vívosport|
|Water rating||SWIM, 5 ATM||SWIM, 5 ATM||SWIM||SWIM|
|Wrist-based heart rate||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Connect IQ support||✓||✓|
|Battery life||Up to 7 days; 13 hours GPS||Up to 8 days; 13 hours GPS||Up to 5 days||Up to 7 days; 8 hours GPS|
Garmin vívoactive 3 GPS Smartwatch - Black & Stainless
Top customer reviews
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AESTHETICS: I’m a female who works in a fairly dressy office environment, so one of the original reasons I had upgraded to the Fenix 5s was for the dressier look of the watch. I simply felt silly wearing the obviously plastic “I might go for a run later” Forerunner 235 with a suit, though I also wanted to wear my Garmin all day for activity tracking, resting heart rate, etc. The look of the Fenix 5S and the Vivoactive 3 (“V3”) are very similar, with the circular watch face being close in diameter/size, and the black casing with stainless steel rim giving the watch a dressy enough look to work in any office environment. The V3 is thinner than the Fenix, though, and boy is it lighter. SO MUCH LIGHTER. While the Fenix 5S weighs less than the larger Fenix 5 (67g vs 87g), the V3 comes in at a much more sprightly 43g. Yes, that’s less than half the weight of the Fenix 5. Even at “just” 50% lighter than the Fenix 5S, I can tell a huge difference in the weight on my wrist, and it’s generally more comfortable to do wrist-bent exercises like push-ups in. Now, if you’re really just going for what wearable out there is most beautiful, look hard at the Apple Watch or new FitBit Ionic that was just announced; both give Garmin a run for the money in aesthetics (and frankly, usually win). But in my opinion Garmin trumps the others in athlete-focused options/data/accuracy, so for those reasons if you’ve chosen to go Garmin, this V3 is by far my favorite in comparison to the Forerunner & Fenix.
WORKOUT FUNCTIONALITY: While the Forerunner at the time of its release was (in my opinion, at least) a great balance of price and technology features, there were a few things that bugged me about it. The GPS was always spot on, and for runners it was an all-around great watch. But for the more general athlete, it lagged in a couple areas, especially for gym exercise. The exercise modes for Forerunner were very limited; you could select from Run / Run Indoors / Cycle / Cycle Indoors, as well as a couple others, but there weren’t modes for “Elliptical”, “Cardio”, or “Strength”, and no way to add them. Yes, I could choose “run indoors” when I wanted to cross train on the elliptical (and I did), but the watch had a hard time trying to equate all the wrist movement into a run distance. And forget strength training, where in “indoor run” mode the Forerunner basically told me I’d burned no calories and really should stop slacking and start moving. The Forerunner also struggled the most of the 3 models with heart rate tracking during interval training. Now, I will say that the Forerunner was MUCH better than the Fitbit Surge I had at first in terms of HR accuracy for interval & body weight exercise training. Much, much better. (I had several memorable cross fit workouts where my heart rate was in the 160s and my Fitbit Surge consistently logged 85-90. Um, no.) But while better than Fitbit, the Forerunner would still drop off periodically and lag rather significantly during Insanity/HIIT style training. I hoped the Fenix 5S would do a better job with that and it was an improvement, but still not perfect. In an hour HIIT workout I’d typically notice 2-3 times where the Fenix either lost HR or was way off for 30-60 seconds til the algorithm corrected itself. The V3 has finally achieved what I consider is excellent accuracy on heart rate monitoring. In a recent workout that combined an outdoor run to the gym, followed by elliptical, weight reps, and body weight exercises (ie push ups, etc, that usually trip up optical heart rate monitors), the V3 did fabulously. Very quick to pick up on HR changes, minimal lags. It was honestly the first time in the multiple wearables that I’d felt like the data was 95%+ accurate. (As a side note, the Mio Fuse I owned was probably the most accurate technology for its time (~ 2014), but it has since been replaced with the Mio Slice, which has much more mixed reviews, so not much sense on dwelling on the Fuse days of olde in this review.)
MODES: Like the Fenix 5 series, the V3 offers a wide variety of workout modes, and during setup you can use the V3 touchscreen to select which favorites you want to display on the watch. I chose Run/Treadmill/Cardio/Strength/Elliptical/Yoga, but there are a ton to choose from. The V3 also lets you create structured workouts and have them loaded onto the watch – previously this was something only the more expensive Garmin lines like Fenix had offered, so it’s a nice touch to have them on the more reasonably priced Vivoactive line. Other nice upgrades of the V3 even over my way more expensive Fenix 5S include strength reps; once you start the strength mode, it will automatically count your reps based on the repetitive movement it detects. This hasn’t performed perfectly on the V3; out of a set of 15 reps I’ve noticed that the V3 will usually be 1-2 reps over or under, but a great new feature in the V3 is the ability to change the workout stats right from the watch. As soon as the rep count is done you can hit “edit” and easily adjust the rep # or add in a weight amount and the watch corrects the stats on the fly. Super handy (you can do the same correction in treadmill mode, by the way, to adjust the watch estimate of distance to your actual distance).
VISIBILITY: The V3 has a color screen, similar to the Fenix line. One nice feature on the V3 is an automatic backlight. If you lift your wrist up so its parallel to the floor a backlight automatically turns on, which is great for hikes/runs in the dark, etc. I did find that the backlight wasn’t terribly sensitive, so I had to not only lift my wrist but also tilt it slightly towards my body to get the backlight to turn on. Not a huge deal to me, it’s easy to get used to, and helps prevent the light from turning on all the time and draining battery. See pic below of "Run" mode at night to get a sense of the backlight.
ACTIVITY TRACKING ACCURACY: Historically I’ve felt Garmin products have been front of the pack for athlete data/use but “ok not great” on activity tracking. The V3 definitely improves accuracy over the Forerunner and I noticed a little bit of improvement over the Fenix 5s. I have two small kids, and both the Forerunner and Fenix would usually miss any steps I took pushing a cart, stroller, or carrying a toddler (and that’s annoying if I’ve done a 4 mile run with a jogging stroller and my watch then yells at me 10 minutes later to move since it didn’t count any of the steps from the stroller run). The V3 definitely does a better job and catches probably 75% of the cart/stroller steps the other Garmin watches missed. But let’s be honest here – if what you want is really a great activity tracker and you’re not that interested in the more athlete-focused features, you’ll get better results with a Fitbit. While I found the workout & heart rate accuracy of the Fitbit really struggled in comparison to Garmin, Fitbit shines in activity tracking. Their app is much, much sleeker and more intuitive than the Garmin app, there are easy community networks & challenges to engage friends in step challenges, more useful “gamification” of notices around steps/goals, and the list goes on. For me, I’d rather have all the athlete features and consider the better V3 step tracking accuracy as icing on the cake. But if what you really want is a great activity tracker, go check out Fitbit. They just announced the new Fitbit Ionic, which is at a similar pricepoint to the V3.
SMART NOTIFICATIONS: The V3 is the first Garmin touchscreen I’ve owned (neither Fenix nor Forerunner are), so in that sense smart notifications are easier to interact with than the buttons-only models that got clunky trying to get a text or call notification working. The V3 can also be turned 180 degrees and set up on either wrist with the button on either side, which is also sort of nifty. But in general I think Garmin’s smart watch notifications are pretty mediocre. There isn’t nearly the 3rd party app support that something like Apple has. And yes, the V3 has GarminPay, but one can only imagine the banking partnerships (still to be announced) will be much more limited than Fitbit or Apple. The V3 can play music from another device but doesn’t permit internal music storage like several other brands. And, of course, doesn’t offer LTE connectivity like the newly announced Apple Watch 3. Like fitness tracking, if what you want is really primarily a smart watch, Garmin probably isn’t the best fit. I’d go Apple Watch – or an android alternative like the Samsung Gear line – for pure smart watch functionality.
OVERALL: For the person who just wants a gorgeous smartwatch that gives great app support & phone notifications, go get an Apple Watch 3. For the person who primarily wants activity tracking & community/steps interaction, go get a Fitbit – perhaps even the recently announced Fitbit Ionic. But for the athlete who wants solid data for their workouts – be they run, cycling, cross fit, or general gym work – I’d definitely recommend the V3 as a moderately priced but excellently featured watch. In my view, Garmin has done a great job pairing athletic functionality & technology from their traditionally more expensive lines with a more reasonably priced Vivoactive.
I still stand by my original 4 star review, this is still a fairly nice device. I have definitely had to work through a few brand new device bugs that have caused some issues:
Biggest problem was the battery life. It was dropping so fast that it wasn’t even going to last one day on a single charge. I did a factory reset and battery life was back to normal. But, the issue returned again the next day, just not as bad. After 2 other factory resets I figured out the problem. It seems that any of the apps in the Connect IQ store that you can download are not properly formatted for this new device yet. After the 3rd factory reset I installed no additional apps and the battery life rocked. Around 10% drop per day and that was with some GPS. After 5 days, battery life was still at 47%. So the moral to the story is install any additional apps at your own risk.
Other than the battery issue, this watch has been great. I have ordered a couple additional bands to accessorize and they fit great (look for 20mm bands). Once I figured out the best way to arrange the data screens, the GPS has been great as well.
All things considered, if you are looking for a great fitness device with half way decent smart notifications, I highly recommend this watch.
I preordered this watch the day it was available from the store who had the first exclusive deal to sell them (it starts with a B and rhymes with west). I have owned every fitness device from every manufacturer over the last few years and I have always found myself coming back to Garmin devices. My most recent watch was the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier and it was a good smart watch but the GPS side of it was horrific. I ditched that and have been using the original Vivoactive until this watch was released.
I have had this watch for 1 day now and here is what I think so far:
Beautiful watch that looks like a regular watch on my wrist. Not too thick like the S3 was and very lightweight, the stock band is super soft and comfortable.
GPS is excellent, just like Garmin devices always are.
Battery life is good, not as good as the original Vivoactive but still really good considering the size and what it does. After 24 hours off the charger and going on 1 four mile run, the battery is at 67%. I imagine I will get just under a week between charges at this pace.
Display is good and the backlight is plenty bright. I have it 40% brightness and it's fine there.
Data fields are good, very similar to original Vivoactive.
My biggest complaint is that for $300, I was hoping the smart watch features would be better. You can reply to a text message with preset replies, it would be nice to be able to use more than the preset replies though. Also, I have found no way to delete an email on the phone from the watch. This was a great feature on the S3, to be able to delete email on my phone without having to pull it out.
Some of the apps in the Garmin store do not work right with this watch yet, even though the app says it's compatible . Example is the stopwatch app, there is no way to reset the time or add laps. I'm guessing this will get sorted out as apps are updated and more come out.
In summary, so far I like the watch. The looks and weight of this watch are really top notch! I'm hoping some of the smart watch functions improve via firmware updates.
I'll update this review in a week after I'm able to spend more time with the watch.
Most recent customer reviews
1. The VO2 max calc doesn't do it for me.Read more