Vivoactive 3

8.5 score
(TheGearHunt) score (8.5)/10

Our TheGearHunt score is based on 3 different factors: Editor's rating after in-depth testing. User ratings submitted on this page Overall score from the "reviewmeter" based on reviews across the web the weight of each factor is: 40% editor rating 15% user ratings 45% reviewmeter.
Editor rating: 8.8 / 10
User's rating: based on 0 user ratings
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Vivoactive 3 Review Facts

There are plenty of fitness trackers out there, some of them waterproof. There are just as many smart watches out there, and some of them have fitness tracking capabilities within their function. But a fitness tracker combined into a smart watch that is also waterproof is a lot less plentiful a field to choose between. As if making up for this deficit, there are plenty of band and face appearances to choose from to customize this for you. If you opt to look even higher, there are even music-compatible options to look into, though those are even less common. This smart watch will do it all. The only visible concern is the shorter battery life when compared to other brands of fitness tracker or smart watch, whose lifespan is days even on their own versions of low power mode. Consider the potential problem this may cause, but consider it honestly: do you really need to pay more for a different tracking smart watch just so that you will only have to charge it every three days, instead of every night when you charge your cell phone as well? It is certainly something to consider, but by no means a deal breaker, at least not when compared to all of the amazing features and capabilities it offers. Do not make hasty decisions but have all of the information possible in order to decide with confidence.

Editor's Pros & Cons

Garmin Chroma Display

Garmin app compatible

Built-in GPS

Customizable faces 

Music or nonmusic version


Comparatively short battery life to other smartwatches


This smart watch is not only capable of helping the wearer go about their day, it will also perform fitness tracking tasks for both cardio and strength-based workouts. Unlike most smart watches, however, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 is also safe for showering and swimming, with a water rating of 5 ATM. Having all of these capabilities makes the Vivoactive 3 a very multi-functional smart watch for all of your workout or daily needs.

Basic Features

Like most smart watches these come with a clock, step counter, weather app, notifications for various apps on your phone, once linked, and a heart rate monitor. There is also a built-in GPS as opposed to a required separate app connection, and as such it can tell your distance, pace, location, and so on without being forced to link to your phone. These are the fundamentals of all smart watches and fitness trackers. While there cannot be complete overlap between what a smart watch offers and what a fitness tracker offers, there are so many great uses for this smart watch that are about fitness that it is hard sometimes to remember that this is not always the case.

Advanced Features

In addition to those basics, the Vivoactive 3 has much more to offer. The Garmin Pay app is included for contact-free payment, leaving you the freedom to leave your wallet at home while you are out exercising. There is also a sports app preloaded with fifteen different activities preloaded, including yoga, running, swimming, stand up paddle-boarding, and more. Additionally, the VO2 max and fitness age estimates monitor stress levels to tell you when you have a spike in stress and what might be causing it. Also, through Garmin Connect you can be online to find – and give – encouragement throughout the connected fitness community.


The features and quirks of this smart watch are impressive without connection to a phone, but they are perfectly capable of linking with your smart phone via Bluetooth. Naturally, the more you connect, the more you can do. With connection to a phone you have far less limitation with your smart watch. You can access smart notifications and upload them to Garmin Connect, keep up with what you are doing via Live Track sports, and if you connect to the Connect IQ store you can find thousands of free apps and widgets to add. There is also some built-in memory to the watch, meaning you can have seven timed activities and fourteen days of tracking data saved in the device before you need to think about transferring it elsewhere.


The Connect IQ store opens the doors to a lot of other apps and widgets that you can add to your smart watch. Some examples of connectable apps are an Uber monitor to see how far away your driver is; you can control your lights at home with Smart Things; you can check weather forecasts that are as up to date as possible with Accuweather Minute Cast; you can find widgets to customize your smart watch face via Face It. The possibilities are virtually limitless, especially as new apps are invented all the time. Garmin Pay is another useful app, if you find yourself out and about without your wallet and want to buy a beverage or quick snack. The apps for the Garmin Vivoactive 3 are designed to make this smart watch one of the most versatile and helpful accessories available. Additionally, through the Garmin Connect app, you can access the online fitness community for things like challenges, encouragement from others, and even sharing triumphs online. You can also find and customize cardio or strength workouts and download them to your watch. From there you can add them to your routine and begin them at the touch of the screen, just like any other device-standard apps. The preloaded indoor and GPS outdoor sports on your watch include yoga, running, swimming, stand-up paddle-boarding, and even golfing. There is all manner of versatility at your fingertips, with just the touch of a finger or the flick of a wrist.


This smart watch is built for form and function on a watch and fitness level, wet or dry. It stays in place with a silicone strap and a total weight of only forty-three grams. It is light enough that you could put it on and forget it was there, except for all of the things it can do for you on a daily basis. This waterproof strap will stay in place while swimming or showering, and you can wear it just as effortlessly to work, around the house, grocery shopping, or wherever the day may take you.


There are several appearances of Vivoactive 3, but not all of them are available with the same level of capabilities. Only certain appearances (which will of course cause a price increase) have the musical options. If you want the Vivoactive that has musical options, keep in mind that you must seek out the Vivoactive 3 Music – a standard Vivoactive 3 will not have those capabilities. Without mentioning which appearance combinations offer the musical options, they include several combinations of colors and metals. There’s the black with silver hardware, black with slate hardware, white with silver hardware, granite blue with rose gold hardware, and a white with rose gold hardware option.


There are strong, resilient materials built into every bit of this device, so be assured that your product is protected and strong. The bezel of the watch is stainless-steel. The case is made up of a polymer with fiber-reinforcement and a stainless-steel rear cover. The silicone strap is safe and waterproof. The display is made of an incredibly durable glass referred to as “Corning Gorilla Glass 3.” Being able to stand up to the wear and tear of being a watch and being able to stand up to the wear and tear of being a fitness tracker are two different sets of needs. Combining them is a tall order, but the Garmin Vivoactive 3 is managing nicely. There are other contenders out there that can do the same things as this device, but their price tags, features, and customization capabilities are likely all very different. If the durability of this model of smart watch is in question for you, be sure to look up online and compare it with other versions of smart watch to see which way the scales tip, so to speak.


The face of the Vivoactive 3 has a display screen of twelve inches in diameter, rendering two-hundred and forty pixels squared. That screen is legible even in direct sunlight outside and works via a side-swipe interface that offers quick scrolling and navigation of widgets and screens, so you can find your way through all of your information with ease and simplicity no matter where you are. In addition to these impressive specs, there are also the customization options to think about when considering the appearance of this smart watch. Thanks to a free app from the Connect IQ store, there are infinite ways to customize the face so that when you look down at your smart watch, what looks back up at you is exactly what you want to see.


The silicone waterproof strap of this smart watch and fitness tracker has been mentioned before, but there is more to it than simple waterproof material. The band comes in several colors that will always keep you looking good, but more functional than that they have a quick release band that is designed to hold in place but also let go quickly if there is a need. The band fits a minimum wrist circumference of one-hundred twenty-seven millimeters and a maximum wrist circumference of two-hundred four millimeters. The bands are a standard, same width all the way around, sitting at 43.4 x 43.4 x 11.7 millimeters. This simplicity in sizing means the purchasing process can be streamlined, and if it fits your wrist circumference, then it fits. If it is too small or needs to be too tight to wear properly, you may be forced to consider something else in the way of a smart watch or fitness tracker.

Ease of Use

Having a side-swipe interface, full customization of apps and widgets, and so many built-in functions, this Garmin smart watch is everything you will need in a simple, easy to use package. The tap of a button, the swipe of a screen, or the beep of a notification warning are all something most people are used to from their smart phones; applying such a familiarity to this technological device is a breeze. Essentially you simply need to look into a smaller screen and learn which order the swipes are in, and you are sure to wield this smart watch to its maximum potential. If you have experience with any other smart device, you will be able to figure out a smart watch without much trouble. There is no need to concern yourself with how easy or difficult it will be to use this device.


Like most smart devices, be they watches or phones or otherwise, the amount you use something will change how long the battery lasts. If you wield your smart watch in GPS mode – and remember, this is a Garmin, which is a known name in the GPS world – you will only have about thirteen hours of battery life. If you keep the GPS mode off, however, and wear your smart watch only as a smart watch without the GPS capabilities engaged, you will make it up to a week before you need to charge once more. Again, recall that “up to” a certain number of hours is not the same as saying “the maximum number of hours” between charges. Now, if you purchase this product and the battery only lasts a few hours in either mode, you have a problem on your hands. Just remember to be realistic in your expectations when you wield this smart watch and be honest with yourself when you judge how much time there should realistically be between charges.


Your appearance selections – the face coloration, hardware colors, and band colors – will have some sort of affect on your purchase price. Generally speaking, you can expect to see a price tag somewhere in the two-hundred dollar range for this particular device. The price will fluxuate further if you opt for the Music version of this device. Always remember to shop the price and do your research as much as possible before finalizing a purchase, and always try to confirm a retailer’s returns and exchanges policies. These seem like obvious things to mention, but buyer’s remorse can be very frustrating, and no one likes feeling like they got a sour deal. Compare and contrast. Do your research. That way when you know you have found exactly the item you want, you will be confident that it is a confirmed decision with your best answer being the conclusion you draw. You might find something better; you might not. You might find something cheaper that lacks only some features you do not consider important enough to spend more on; you might not. The fact of the matter is, no one knows but you which option is best suited to your personal needs. Educate yourself on all of the competitive products so that you can make the most informed decision about your purchase. Then there can be no doubt that this will be the correct device for your needs.


In terms of accessories there is not much to list that actually attaches to, alters, or omits this device physically. In terms of extra devices you can add to your Garmin Vivoactive 3, there are only a few available. There are other heart rate monitors on the market that could measure your bpm more strictly, specifically chest-strap heart rate monitors. There are also accessories specifically if you happen to be something of a cyclist. There are measuring devices to register your cadence and speed as you pedal, in addition to your normal activity tracker information being recorded. Additionally, your smart watch will also be compatible with the Garmin Smart Scale. Should you opt for the Vivoactive 3 Music version of this device, your smart watch will also be Bluetooth connectible.

Key Features

-Connect IQ offers thousands of free apps/widgets to add
-customizable in many ways
-Garmin Connect

Bottom Line

The bottom line is, this product is a farther-reaching version of a waterproof fitness tracker combined with a functional smart watch. The sturdy materials and components used in the construction of this device will keep it protected and functional on your wrist at all times. Having so many hours of the day without having to worry about recharging is a serious advantage over other smart watches, but the ability to turn on a GPS mode means you sacrifice the battery life, rendering it only about as long as a day’s use before needing to be put on a charging cycle. Of course, by morning it will be ready to go once more, so there is really little worry in terms of it dying on you in the middle of the day. Be realistic but firm in your expectations before purchasing. Generally speaking there are other models and makes of smart watch with fitness capabilities out there, but it certainly seems like this particular smart watch is an impressive piece of technology that lives up to expectation and price tag alike.