Polar M430 vs. Garmin Vivoactive 3

Vivoactive 3
 PolarM430Buy NowGarminVivoactive 3Buy Now

Basic Info

Suggested Price$255$299

Activity & Fitness

Cycling (Bicycling)


Duration30 hours7 days


Windows Phone




Resolution128x128240 x 240
Size1.4 inch1.2 inches


Audio Speaker


Barometer or Altimeter
Ultraviolet Sensor
Water ResistanceWR305 ATM




Operating System

Comparing Vivoactive 3 and M430

When it comes to choosing a fitness tracker or sports watch, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 and the Polar M430 are among the top contenders in the market. Both devices have their unique features, design, and functionality, making it challenging to decide which one fits your needs better. This article aims to shed light on their similarities, differences, and distinct advantages and help you make an informed decision.

Selecting the right wearable can greatly impact your fitness journey, as it can help you track your progress, set goals, and stay motivated. As Garmin and Polar are reputable brands known for their innovations in the world of sports watches and fitness trackers, comparing their products requires a closer look at various criteria such as design, functionality, user experience, and value for money.

Let’s delve into the brands themselves: Garmin, an American multinational technology company, has been a market leader for GPS technology, avionics, and wearables since its inception in 1989. On the other hand, Polar, a Finnish company founded in 1977, made its mark as a pioneer in heart rate monitoring technology for fitness training purposes. By exploring various aspects of the Vivoactive 3 and the M430, this article will help you understand these devices better and determine their suitability to your needs.

Design and Build

Garmin Vivoactive 3

Materials used: Stainless steel / Polymer, Glass
Size: 43.4mm diameter, 11.7mm thickness
Weight: 43 grams
Display/Screen: 1.2-inch diameter, 240x240 pixels, MIP, touchscreen, color display

Polar M430

Materials used: Plastic, Silicone
Size: 52mm diameter
Weight: 51 grams
Display/Screen: 1.4-inch, 128x128 pixels, LCD, black and white display

Comparison of design and build quality

While both devices offer a sturdy build, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 incorporates a stainless steel bezel and a glass screen, making it more durable and slightly more premium in appearance than the plastic and silicone design of the Polar M430. The Vivoactive 3 is also slimmer and lighter, which may be more comfortable for long-duration use. Additionally, Garmin’s MIP color touchscreen provides better visual output and ease of navigation compared to the M430's monochrome LCD.

Features and Functionality

Garmin Vivoactive 3

Operating System: Garmin OS
Sensors: GPS, GLONASS, Garmin Elevate (wrist-based heart rate monitor), Barometric altimeter, Compass, Thermometer
Battery Life: Up to 7 days (smartwatch mode), 13 hours (GPS mode)
Fitness Tracking: Steps, Calories, Distance, Sleep, Heart rate, Swim, Bike, and various other sports profiles

Polar M430

Operating System: Proprietary OS
Sensors: GPS, Optical heart rate monitor, Accelerometer
Battery Life: 30 hours (training mode with GPS and heart rate), 20 days (time mode)
Fitness Tracking: Steps, Calories, Distance, Sleep, Heart rate, Running, Swimming, and various other sports profiles

Comparison of features and performance

Despite sharing many common features such as GPS, heart rate monitoring, and fitness tracking, the devices differ in battery life and available sensors. The Garmin Vivoactive 3 provides a longer-lasting battery in its smartwatch mode, while the Polar M430 excels in its training mode battery life. Garmin also offers additional sensors, such as a barometric altimeter and compass, making it more versatile. Both devices offer multiple sport profiles, but the Vivoactive 3 has cycling tracking, which the M430 lacks.

User Interface and User Experience

Garmin Vivoactive 3

Display: Color MIP touchscreen, 240x240 pixels
Navigation: Touch and side-swipe controls
Apps and Customization: Garmin Connect, downloadable watch faces and widgets
Compatibility: Android, iOS

Polar M430

Display: Monochrome LCD, 128x128 pixels
Navigation: 5 physical buttons
Apps and Customization: Polar Flow, limited watch face options
Compatibility: Android, iOS

Comparison of user interface and user experience

In terms of user experience, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 takes the lead with its color touchscreen and side-swipe functionality, making navigation smoother and more intuitive than the button-based interface of the Polar M430. Garmin also offers more extensive customization options and app integrations for additional personalization.

Price and Value

Garmin Vivoactive 3

Cost: $299
Value for Money: Given its premium build, wide-range functionality, and sophisticated user interface, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 offers significant value for its price

Polar M430

Cost: $255
Value for Money: Offering an extensive range of features and excellent battery life, the Polar M430 provides excellent value at a slightly lower price point

Comparison of price and value

When considering price and value, both devices deliver impressive features and performance. The choice ultimately depends on users' specific preferences and priorities, such as build quality, design, user experience, additional sensors, and customization options.


In conclusion, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 and Polar M430 both have their unique strengths and weaknesses. While Garmin offers a more premium design, sophisticated user interface, additional sensors, and cycling tracking, Polar provides superior battery life in training mode and a lower price point. Ultimately, the right choice depends on individual preferences and intended usage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Garmin Vivoactive 3 suitable for swimming?

Yes, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 has a water resistance rating of 5 ATM, making it suitable for swimming and other water-based activities.

Does the Polar M430 have a touch screen?

No, the Polar M430 does not feature a touch screen. Instead, it relies on its five physical buttons for navigation and control.

Can the Garmin Vivoactive 3 store music internally?

Yes, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 can store music internally, allowing users to listen to their favorite tunes without needing a separate device.

Does the Polar M430 support cycling tracking?

Unfortunately, the Polar M430 does not come with dedicated cycling tracking functionality as the Garmin Vivoactive 3 does.

Are both the Garmin Vivoactive 3 and the Polar M430 compatible with Android and iOS devices?

Yes, both devices can sync with and function seamlessly with smartphones running Android or iOS operating systems.

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