Garmin Vivoactive 3 Smartwatch
Product DescriptionNote - To extend the life of the battery: reduce the backlight timeout, reduce the backlight brightness, turn off Bluetooth wireless technology when you are not using connected features, turn off activity tracking, limit the smartphone notifications the device displays, stop broadcasting heart rate data to paired Garmin devices and turn off wrist-based heart rate monitoring. From playing to paying, vasoactive 3 is the smartwatch for your active life. Make mobile 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. Physical size - 43.4 x 43.4 x 11.7 mm. Fits wrists with a circumference of 127-204 mm. Display size - 1.2 inch (30.4mm) diameter
- Garmin Pay contact less payment solution lets you pay for purchases with your watch (available for supported cards from participating banks)
- Personalize your watch with thousands of free watch faces, apps and widgets from our Connect IQ store.; Memory/History : 7 timed activities, 14 days of activity tracking data
- More than 15 pre loaded GPS and indoor sports apps, including yoga, running, swimming and more; Lens material: chemically strengthened glass, bezel material: stainless steel, case material: fiber reinforced polymer with stainless steel rear cover
- Monitor your fitness level with VO2 max and fitness made estimates, plus keep an eye on how you handle stress; Fits wrists with a circumference of 127 to 204 millimeter
- Get connected features such as smart notifications, automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, LiveTrack and more when paired with a compatible smartphone
- Battery life: up to 7 days in smartwatch mode; 13 hours in GPS mode; Connectivity Bluetooth Smart and ANT plus. Smartphone compatibility iPhone, Android. Display size:1.2 inch diameter
Top ReviewsTraining for a triathlon.... LOVE this watch! :-)
by Debeck (4 out of 5 stars)
February 17, 2018
I spent a lot of time deciding between the Fitbit Ionic and this Vivoactive 3. I've had a vivofit 2 for just counting steps and sleep, and I had a forerunner I swapped out for runs. As I'm training for a triathlon now, I felt it time to upgrade to something that does it all. After comparing this watch vs the Ionic online, it seemed like most people agreed that Fitbits are for app lovers, and Garmin are better sport trackers.....so, my decision was made! && I LOVE THIS WATCH SOOOO MUCH! I had to get used to the larger watch face compared to the vivofit 2 I've worn for 3 years, but now that it has been a few months, I'm completely attached to it. Here are the sports I use it for with some pros/cons I have found to be true:
Running: I LOVE THIS WATCH FOR RUNNING. It is seriously a step up from the forerunner. I can customize my activity screen to all my favorites with laps, heartrate, and target zones. I can sent alerts for distances, drinking water, and much more. The GPS is spot on. I love the break down of each mile with speed and elevation. My only con: When I run in the rain, the screens change on their own. After a 10K race last month in an absolute downpour, my screens and watchface had been completely changed. It took me a while to reset everything back to my preferences. My fix: if it's raining, I lock the screen after starting the activing.
Biking: I already have a WAHOO Cadence reader attached to my biking shoe. The activity for biking on this watch also syncs to this 3rd party cadence tracker. Though, it is not the most relable. While riding indoors on a tripod, cadence tracks well however once outdoors and on a windy day, it looses connection for brief periods of time.... this may honestly be WAHOO's problem but I thought I'd mention it in case others have experienced the same. Still love the GPS plus heartrate while on long, tough workout bike rides! (See pic of cadence attached)
Swimming: I'm not sure why other reviews say their watch does not track laps, because mine does beautifully! It tracks, times, and gives me a good reading/evaluation of how hard I pushed myself after 2500 meters in a 25m long pool. :-) my only complaint is that I DO wish heartrate was available in swim mode....Maybe in the future?? I also wish outdoor/open water swimming could be tracked via GPS....Maybe also in the "future". :-) I still use it while swimming open water but don't have the benefit of distance.
Also, as for sleep, it seems to be a lot more accurate than the vivofit 2....probably because of the heartrate. My only complainthere is the back light that turns on whenever I move in my sleep. I want to still see what time it is when needed, so I change the lighting to 10%, however sometimes when I move the watch seems to light up the room. I'm just about used to it now, but still a bit of a bother. This is even while I've set it to DND or "do not disturb" mode.
Overall, if you want a watch that does it all, choose the Vivoactive 3! I have had this watch for 2 months now and am still VERY happy I chose it! :-)
Vivoactive 3 vs Forerunner 235 from avid runner
by Amazonaddict (5 out of 5 stars)
March 17, 2018
I was very skeptical to order this watch based on reviews I had read. I am an avid runner training for a marathon and have been currently using the Garmin Forerunner 235.
I have also been incorporating other activities such as yoga, spin and strength training. While I do really enjoy using the 235 the lack of additional work out features was very frustrating for me personally. I took a chance on this watch and must say that I am very pleased as I am very picky.
This watch is very sleek and visually appealing but at the same time very easy to use. You can customize the data screens to each workout to your specific needs or wants just like the 235.
You must remember that no watch will ever be perfect but when set up correctly this is a really great watch and I would highly recommend it.
EXCELLENT WORKOUT/TRAINING WATCH THAT YOU CAN WEAR 24/7 (updated)
by TWW (4 out of 5 stars)
January 30, 2018
[UPDATE after over owning for over a year and Garmin has made sw updates and the newer Vivoactive 4 and Apple Watch 5 were just released]
Comfort: very comfortable (not too big like some other gps sports watches) and definitely can wear 24/7. It looks nice enough to wear to work/going out (especially if you replace watchband with metal quick release one). It does not scream sports watch.
Battery: very good battery life (but short of what was advertised. Garmin says you get 13 hours of use in gps mode. You don't, it's about 10-11. Still, it's MUCH better than Apple Watch!
Sports tracking: I swim/bike/ride regularly plus play team soccer (not a good idea but i leave the watch on to track how much i run). The watch records and provides most important metrics (pace/distance/hr/altitude/etc) for all of the sports it says it does (and there are alot). Garmin website is quite good.
Swim: only pool swims, but records laps without issue and you can see avg pace for 200 m/yds after. gives Swolf score too and some other metrics. No problem for me here.
Cycling: You can use the watch to record the ride and it does a great job. It's just difficult to glance at watch while riding. I use mine to broadcast the optical HR to my bike computer and this works great.
GPS accuracy: not perfect, but definitely on par with (if not better than) other gps/ohr watches.
Music: Not really all that important to me but nice to know I can leave phone at home and listen to music on a run with BT headphones. Nice bonus is Garmin has added Amazon music so I can download music (if Prime member).
Altitude: the watch has a barometric altimeter that does a decent job. NOTE the non music Vivoactive 3 has issues with altitude because it is different design, so get this one (VA3 music) if that's important to you.
Visibility: I have "more experienced" eyes and have trouble seeing in dimmer light, but you can adjust backlight brightness to compensate. just be careful as very bright will decrease battery life. All in all, it's good and no real problems seeing what I need to see when running/ swimming.
Daily activity (steps, stairs) and Sleep: works great, appears to be accurate and good to know, but I'm that big into it.
Phone notification alerts: For me, it's just right. I can see who's texting/calling and decide to "pickup" the phone from the watch. I don't need to talk or respond with a watch.
Garmin pay: not all credit cards can be linked, but if you are lucky to have a card that does, the option works well. I was able to get my Wells Fargo ATM card to link. Not my first choice for paying, but I guess ok if I need to in a pinch. [update: they added some more cards and I was able to add another visa card]
Optical Heart Rate (OHR): seems to work fine most of the time, but does have "dropouts". Also, I think it's a bummer user does not have option to turn on/off optical heart rate (OHR) during pool swims (this is a very picky "con")
Bottom Line: I think this is an excellent watch for the occasional to semi-serious athlete who wants to get most or all of the important metrics from various sports and activities. Can be used to train for (but NOT record) a triathlon or just occasional 1-2 workouts per week. The newer VA4 has added features but not worth the extra $ IMHO. I also prefer this watch over Apple Watch 3 (which is now same price as this one) simply because of battery life.
Good-looking runner's smartwatch with some flaws
by Mr. A. Milne (4 out of 5 stars)
October 27, 2017
When I was researching activity tracker/ smartwatches online, I was confused by the lukewarm reviews of the Vivoactive 3 - very few people seemed to really love the watch, but it offered good functionality at a low price and didn't seem to have anything particularly wrong with it (at least compared to the also-new Fitbit Ionic). After owning one for 10 days now, I still like it, but I kind of share the lukewarm sentiment I encountered in other reviews, so hopefully I can now explain why.
I previously had a Fitbit Charge HR, which was cheaper and did a reasonable job of tracking sleep and heart rate, but didn't offer much beyond the basics, and besides, it looked kind of clunky and was starting to fall apart. What I was hoping to find was a GPS HR tracker that looked good enough to wear with a suit, that offered better running metrics and offered a bit more in the way of smartwatch features without being too pricey.
In these respects, the Vivoactive 3 does fit the bill. It looks great (most people don't even notice that it's digital, much less that it's a running watch), it tracks my runs and other activities well and - as far as I can tell - it offers all the functionality of the more expensive Forerunner 235 and most of the features of the still-more expensive Fenix 5. Plus new features like stress measurement and GaminPay!
Well... that's all more or less true. But. For one thing GarminPay isn't set up yet and even when it is, it won't work with every bank and at every retailer. I don't think I'd actually use it much even if it was functioning, but given that it isn't, it can't really be viewed as an improvement, and if it's important to you to be able to pay with your watch, the Fitbit Ionic or Apple watch are probably safer choices. Other options in the same price range mostly offer built-in music storage which the Vivoactive does not. Also, the battery life is advertised as being 7 days - this may be true if bluetooth is off and you don't use the watch at all, but as far as the real world is concerned, 7 days is kind of a fiction. If you don't switch bluetooth off, it will last about 24 hours. If you do, you need to go in and switch it on every time you want to sync the watch (not actually a big task, but still irritating). At the moment I'm getting about 4 days out of each charge with moderate use. And stress measurement? Some reviews have claimed that this is subjectively accurate, but that hasn't been my experience. Every time I get up to make a cup of tea, the resulting increase in heart rate is listed as 'med' or 'high' stress. And I'm British, so that's quite a lot of the day. If I'm sitting down and writing a difficult e-mail or giving a presentation, it generally shows low stress. Perhaps it needs to learn a bit more (it has now managed to cut out any walking of more than a few minutes), but so far it's been pretty wildly off.
There are other irritations - sleep tracking has failed on 4 of the 10 days, the side swipe button (which be useful in winter with gloves but otherwise isn't much use) can be triggered by loose clothing and start skipping through menus and actually reset the time once, the 'move' reminders can be irritating. Even features I expected to be top notch have struggled at times - for example I did a run yesterday starting up 6th avenue in midtown New York, and the GPS showed me going along 6 1/2th avenue (yes, that is a real thing). Sure, I was weaving around tourists, but the difference is about 200ft and it really is supposed to be more accurate than that. To be fair, it was on target the rest of the way and has been close enough on my other runs.
As mentioned above, some of its competitors seem to offer more functions for the non-runner. An Apple watch, Samsung or Fitbit will offer more apps, built-in music storage and in some cases personal coaching sessions which are lacking from the Vivoactive 3 (although you can create workout plans on Garmin Connect and put them on the watch). Personally, I use a phone for most apps, don't have wireless headphones and don't need in-watch coaching. Similarly, the more expensive garmin products offer more advanced metrics, more accurate GPS, open swimming tracking, etc and so offer more for the more serious athlete.
Having said all of that, this is still a good watch and some of its flaws will be fixed in time as patches are released, more apps become available on Connect IQ, etc. It is easy to use as a regular watch, it's light and comfortable and looks great. It offers most of the features of the Fenix 5 at half the cost, and all the fitness features you'd find on anything cheaper. You can reply to text notification while out jogging (although only with a standard reply) and might one day be able to buy your post-run rehydration with Garmin Pay. I can't resist using it to check the weather at every opportunity, and I've always wanted a watch with an in-built compass. It is leagues ahead of the Fitbit I used to own, although Fitbits have moved on in that time too.
So in conclusion, it is a good watch that has its flaws and is surrounded by competitors with potentially superior features. If you are a serious runnner/ cyclist/ triathlete, etc you probably need a greater range of metrics and activity apps (although the Vivoactive 3 can be paired with accessories quite easily to cover some of this data). If you are into fitness more generally and want something to track gym/ cardio sessions, the new Fitbit probably has you covered and offers a little bit more for the same price. But if you exercise outdoors at a casual to intermediate level and want a watch that covers all your fitness needs while looking great in the office and future-proofing you with smartwatch capabilities, the Vivoactive 3 is the watch for you.
My FAVORITE watch
by CraftyMoose (5 out of 5 stars)
November 24, 2018
Update: 8 month check in! I still love it! It tracks gym work outs, road workouts, yoga and more. I can track my sleep and heart rate when I'm stressed and so much more. Still love it!
Original review: I have had this watch for 6 months and I wear it daily. I absolutely LOVE this watch. I researched for months before purchasing one and I'm so glad I got this one. I previously had a Garmin Forerunner and while it did the job I didn't love it. Before that I went through FitBit watches left and right. They definitely are not built to last. My only regret with the VivoActive is that I didn't buy a watch base in white, I purchased black.
The battery life isn't awesome. Mine lasts a full 4 days, maybe 5 if I don't workout as much. But since I work from home that's no big deal. I do have to take the cord with me when I travel. PSA: take off your watch before you go thru security at the airport. It gives me trouble every single time. Phone notifications seem to drain the battery. I wish I could tell the watch "only give me call, text and amazon delivery notifications." But your watch options are to receive all notifications that come to your phone or no notifications.
This thing is durable and I purchased different bands that I love. These bands tuck into themselves so there's no bulk on my wrist. I also purchased a protective film for the glass, but I ordered that one "door frame" too late and got a nick in the glass of my Garmin. The film cover is great and I forget it's even there. The touchscreen still works just fine with the cover on it.
I keep the charging cord in my car. I recharge my watch while driving. It charges pretty quickly.
The green heart rate lights can be a little annoying at night. I'm sure there's a way to turn them off but I haven't figured it out yet.
I also downloaded a different watch face. I like that I can see everything in one place: Time, date, HR, steps, battery life, and it even shows that I have 1 alarm set.
I like the app where I can see what all I've done on the calendar view. If you don't synch a few times a week the sync process can a bit. Maybe 5 min at the most for several week's worth of data.
I'm still very pleased with this Garmin. I wear it every single day!
Not worth it. Terrible product.
by Raphael Badagbor (1 out of 5 stars)
May 22, 2018
My vivoactive 3 out of the box was just a very good looking product. Functioning wise, I might have had a defective product or something. Till date, no sleep tracking data even though I slept with it every night. The battery life is nothing close to as advertised to be. Stress measure barely worked. The HR reading is blank most of the time... I can go on and on but I regret recommending Garmin to people. I had the vivoactive HR and never had any problems and battery life was great. I thought I was getting an upgrade, but I guess not!
Wanted to like it, but nope...
by SKIMill (2 out of 5 stars)
October 11, 2018
I've had this for 6 months now and really wanted to like it. I use it for biking, running, swimming, walking, strength training and everyday tracking. My first vivoActive was a great watch. This one has issues. The biggest one is that the HR monitor doesn't work well during ANY type of activity. I've tried it in all positions on my forearm, inside and outside the wrist, left and right arm, and at all tightnesses. It just rarely gives a stable and accurate heart rate. The watch continually drops the connection with my bike cadence sensor. The band is textured but it has already worn smooth in places. It occasionally irritates my skin. The button is showing signs of wearing out, not always working on the first press. The touchscreen isn't particularly accurate so I often end up choosing something I didn't intend to press, and the "strength training" workout requires a double-tap of the screen that almost never works. This is all too bad because it's not a bad looking watch and seems durable. It just doesn't function as advertised. Although I've been a loyal Garmin user, my next watch may be a fitbit.
Just received yesterday and have been using for 24 hours.
by D. Maseman (4 out of 5 stars)
September 16, 2017
****Update after a week.
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.
Find something else
by Scott E. (1 out of 5 stars)
July 23, 2018
Half the time I'm working out, the heart rate goes way off, counting 30-50hbpm lower than it should and even resetting it makes no difference. Then for some reason a while later, it pops back to normal. I know it's way off because I check it with the machine I'm working on and one nearby just for a sanity check as well as a quick heartbeat read and calculation. You'd think it's just some kind of craziness because of an intense workout (which it should still be able to handle) but it's not.
Several times a day that I'm sitting in front of my computer and just checking my stress levels, it tells me that I need to sit still so it can read them but it can't until some random time later when I've stopped trying. I've even moved it to sit on my inner wrist but that's no help. Even more annoying is that when I'm working out, my sweat and moving my wrists will cause the menu to activate without my knowledge, causing music volume to change, widget and app choices to be changed, etc. Don't even try to wear it into the shower or in the rain because the menus change and randomly select things every few seconds.
Buggiest device I've ever owned - piece of crap
by Melissa C (1 out of 5 stars)
October 15, 2018
I purchased this watch for two reasons: to track my runs and to listen to music while I run without having to carry my phone. This device fails on both accounts.
For tracking my runs, it worked fine for the first few weeks. I would start an activity, the GPS would connect right away and off I go. However, it hasn't worked for the last 10+ times I tried it. I go to start an activity, get the "wait for GPS" message, but GPS never connects. I'm in the city, in an open area without buildings or trees blocking anything, but still never connects. I just spent an hour on tech support with Garmin while they tried to fix. Ended support session, went outside to test and still won't connect.
For music, the music will play just fine, but it has now somehow deleted every stored file on the watch 4 times in a row. I get ready to go for a run, see that my music somehow disappeared, so spend the next 20 minutes reloading ~50 songs. Go for a run, works great. A week later I get ready to go for a run again, music is gone, start over from step 1. 4 times this has happened now.
While those are the two issues that bother me the most, this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of items that don't work correctly. Won't sync with iPhone app (Connect), Connect doesn't keep step count for previous days even after syncing (shows the steps I have today, but nothing for any previous days, even if I synced on those days), settings change/reset themselves regularly without me doing anything. I could go on, but I've wasted enough time with this watch already.
I wish I could return this piece of crap, but unfortunately it worked for the first few weeks and then gave it time in hopes I could get it working properly, and missed the window to return.
Very surprised by this experience. Wife has a Forerunner 235, daughter has a Vivoactive 3 and both work great. This one, not so much.
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