Garmin Vivoactive vs. Garmin Vivoactive 3

Vivoactive 3
 GarminVivoactiveBuy NowGarminVivoactive 3Buy Now

Basic Info

Suggested Price$250$299

Activity & Fitness

Cycling (Bicycling)


Duration14 hours to 11 days7 days


Windows Phonen/a




Resolution205 x 148240 x 240
Size1.38 inches1.2 inches


Audio Speaker


Barometer or Altimeter
Ultraviolet Sensor
Water Resistance5 ATM5 ATM




Operating Systemn/a

Comparing Vivoactive 3 and Vivoactive

The Garmin Vivoactive and Garmin Vivoactive 3 are two popular smartwatches designed for fitness enthusiasts, each offering a unique set of features and capabilities to help support an active lifestyle. As personal wearables, these watches are more than just timekeeping devices – they are fitness companions, helping to track progress, set goals, and stay focused on achieving personal bests.

Choosing the right smartwatch can be a daunting task, with numerous options offered by various brands. Garmin, a trusted name in the world of wearable technology, is renowned for its high-quality products tailored to outdoor and fitness enthusiasts. With a rich history rooted in GPS technology, Garmin has evolved into a leader in the wearable industry, focusing on creating reliable and practical devices.

This in-depth comparison will help discerning users make an informed decision when considering the Garmin Vivoactive and Garmin Vivoactive 3. The article will cover aspects such as design, build, features, performance, user interface, user experience, price, and value, to provide a comprehensive understanding of each device.

Design and Build

Garmin Vivoactive

The Garmin Vivoactive, released in 2015, features a sleek design and slim profile. It is built with high-quality materials such as a stainless-steel bezel and a lightweight, durable polymer case. The 1.38-inch color touchscreen display has a resolution of 205 x 148 pixels, providing clear visuals in various lighting conditions.

Garmin Vivoactive 3

Launched two years later, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 boasts an updated design with a more elegant look. It features a stainless-steel bezel, reinforced polymer case and a slightly smaller 1.2-inch touchscreen display with an increased resolution of 240 x 240 pixels. The Garmin Vivoactive 3 also introduced the additional benefit of side-swipe navigation for easier screen scrolling.

Comparison of Design and Build Quality

Both watches have a similar design and build, with high-quality materials and a stainless-steel bezel giving them a durable and stylish appearance. The Garmin Vivoactive 3 has a higher resolution screen and a slightly smaller display, enabling better graphics and visuals. However, the original Vivoactive is slightly thinner, potentially making it more comfortable for daily wear.

Features and Functionality

Garmin Vivoactive

The Garmin Vivoactive offers a range of functions to cater to various fitness enthusiasts. It supports Android and iOS compatibility, GPS, Bluetooth, and a variety of tracking features for activities such as swimming, cycling, distance traveled, and heart rate monitoring. Battery life is impressive, lasting up to 11 days in watch mode and 14 hours in GPS mode.

Garmin Vivoactive 3

In addition to the features of its predecessor, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 introduces several new functions. It does not support Windows or Mac compatibility but adds a barometer, making it a more-rounded fitness watch for users seeking advanced tracking capabilities. The battery life, although still commendable, is shorter with up to 7 days in watch mode.

Comparison of Features and Performance

Both watches are equipped with a host of fitness tracking features, catering to different activity types. The Garmin Vivoactive 3 includes a barometer, which is absent in the original Vivoactive, giving it an edge for outdoor enthusiasts. However, the Vivoactive has a longer battery life compared to the Vivoactive 3, which might be more suitable for those who prioritize extended usage between charges.

User Interface and User Experience

Garmin Vivoactive

The touchscreen display of the Garmin Vivoactive enables easy navigation through various features, apps, and customization options. It is compatible with both Android and iOS devices, allowing seamless connectivity for notifications, music control, and more.

Garmin Vivoactive 3

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 also offers a user-friendly experience through its touchscreen display and side-swipe navigation. While it does not support Windows or Mac connections, it maintains compatibility with Android and iOS smartphones, ensuring a smooth experience for the majority of users.

Comparison of User Interface and User Experience

Both devices provide pleasant user experiences with easy navigation and seamless smartphone connectivity. The primary difference is the side-swipe navigation introduced in the Vivoactive 3, which may make it a preferable choice for users looking for added convenience when scrolling through features.

Price and Value

Garmin Vivoactive

At a price of $250, the Garmin Vivoactive delivers excellent value for money with an extensive range of tracking features, compatibility, and impressive battery life. It is a great choice for fitness enthusiasts who want to keep track of their activities and remain connected without breaking the bank.

Garmin Vivoactive 3

For users seeking a more advanced fitness tracking experience, the Garmin Vivoactive 3, priced at $299, offers additional features such as a barometer and side-swipe navigation, while maintaining compatibility with Android and iOS devices.

Comparison of Price and Value

While both watches offer great value, the choice comes down to personal preference and the importance of specific features. The Garmin Vivoactive’s longer battery life and lower price may be more appealing to some users, while the additional functions and improved navigation of the Vivoactive 3 may justify the higher price for others.


Ultimately, the Garmin Vivoactive and Vivoactive 3 are both highly capable fitness watches with different strengths. Deciding between them depends on individual preferences and desired features. If an extended battery life and lower price are priorities, the Vivoactive might be a better choice. On the other hand, the Vivoactive 3's added features and enhanced navigation may be worth the higher price tag for those seeking a more advanced fitness tracking experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Garmin Vivoactive model is best for swimming?

Both the Garmin Vivoactive and Vivoactive 3 are suitable for swimming, featuring a 5 ATM water resistance rating, allowing them to be submerged up to 50 meters underwater.

Can I use the Garmin Vivoactive watches to control my music?

Yes, both watches allow users to control music playback from their connected smartphones, making it convenient to listen to tunes while on the go or during workouts.

Do the Garmin Vivoactive and Vivoactive 3 need a separate heart rate monitor?

Both devices have built-in heart rate monitors, eliminating the need to purchase a separate accessory for tracking heart rate during workouts.

Can I receive notifications on the Garmin Vivoactive watches?

Yes, both the Garmin Vivoactive and Vivoactive 3 watches can receive notifications such as calls, texts, and emails when connected to a compatible smartphone.

Do the Garmin Vivoactive watches work with third-party fitness apps?

While both watches have built-in fitness tracking features, they also support data sharing with popular third-party fitness apps through the Garmin Connect platform, giving users more flexibility with their fitness monitoring and goal-setting.

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