Garmin Vivosmart 3

The Vivosmart 3 is Garmin's answer to Fitbit's Alta HR tracker. A smartwatch and fitness tracker rolled into one, the third version of the Vivosmart brings with it new features, improved tracking, and a slimmer profile. It's the perfect watch for the fitness-minded individual seeking a simple tracker. The Vivosmart boasts plenty of intelligent features (rep counting and stress detection are just two examples) and a waterproof design that makes it appropriate for swimming. If you want a watch that can log all your activity, including sleep times automatically, Garmin's Vivosmart 3 is a great solution.

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Pros & Cons
  • Sleek, simple design
  • Comfortable strap
  • Waterproof
  • Feature packed
  • Provides a bevy of fitness-related metrics
  • Cons
    • No GPS
    • Sleep tracking could be better
    • The small display is tough to read outdoors
    • Menu navigation isn’t super intuitive 
    • Can’t swap bands 
    • Key Features
      Track everything from walking, swimming, cycling, running, and elliptical training with the Vivosmart 3 on your wrist. The watch can also monitor and track strength-based workouts thanks to a new rep counting feature. The smartwatch is best used by fitness buffs for daily tracking. Without a GPS, though, it's best used at the gym. A built-in accelerometer can monitor distance traveled, but it's not as accurate as GPS tracking. Still, if keeping a close eye on your mileage isn't your top priority, the numerous other features packed into the Vivosmart can help you keep tabs on your health and fitness goals.
      Basic Features
      Garmin's newest smartwatches feature a similar rotation of features, and the Vivosmart 3 is no exception. Wearers can expect the standard stuff like time of day, a timer, and an alarm clock. New to the 3, is a basic stopwatch feature not included previously. The fitness tracker also provides users with step data (including floors climbed), sleep tracking, and information on calories burned. Common to most recent Garmin releases, MoveIQ finds its way into the newest Vivosmart model. This convenient feature automatically recognizes and tracks different exercises and activities. It makes for effortless tracking. If you want to keep tabs on how you're improving health-wise but don't want the headache of inputting data on your own, MoveIQ is a welcomed feature. In addition, the watch includes Garmin's standard 'move bar' along with move alerts and goal setting.
      Advanced Features
      We did say that the Vivosmart 3 is packed with features, didn't we? Fitness data nerds will not be disappointed. The wrist-based heart rate monitor gets an upgrade with Elevate HR technology and improved HR tracking (thanks to more frequent data readings). Wearers also get access to new VO2 max and fitness age calculations, which can help users track non-weight-based fitness goals more accurately.

      Also included in the new version of the watch are stress tracking and relaxation tools. Heart rate variability is used to monitor stress levels, and a helpful breathing timer aims to help users get their stress under control. Instead of merely monitoring your resting heart rate, the Vivo 3 provides users with tools to more accurately detect high-stress levels and, in turn, actively work to lower them.

      The watch also features strength-training specific rep counting so you can perform squats, pushups, and pull-ups and not have to worry about miscounting in your head.

      Users can also control their Smartphone music via the Vivosmart, keep tabs on the weather (requires a Smartphone connection), and receive phone notifications on the watch. You can't yet use the Vivosmart to answer calls or text messages and music storage isn't possible with this watch, but Garmin does have premium watches with these features.
      The Vivosmart 3 doesn't have a GPS function, but distance calculations are somewhat accurate considering this limitation. Users can input stride length to help improve accuracy. The watch uses an accelerometer in place of GPS to track movement. While the Vivo isn't pretending to be a GPS watch, users were still disappointed that phone GPS data could not be harnessed to get more accurate distance readings.

      For sleep tracking, users reported that sleep and wake times were not always accurately picked up by the watch. For heart rate, reviewers reported quite a bit of variability in readings but still found the data useful. According to reviewers, the watch provides very accurate rep counting, as long as proper form is used.

      Regardless of accuracy, Garmin's Connect application allows users to follow the trends in their progress. So even if your total distance isn't accurate to the kilometer or mile, you'll be able to visualize a general trend via the app's graph displays.
      The Vivosmart watch is Bluetooth, and ANT+ enabled, and users can utilize Garmin's Connect application online or on Android or iOS devices. While a great deal of data can be gleaned from the watch itself, the Connect app displays information in greater detail. The third Vivosmart watch is also TrueUP enabled. This means that users can wear more than one watch throughout the day (as long as the other devices are also TrueUP compatible) without getting duplicate readings. Want to wear a running specific watch with GPS for your marathon training then switch to your slimmer Vivosmart 3 for all-day tracking? That's possible with TrueUP.

      The Garmin Vivosmart 3 can be used with Garmin Connect either online or on mobile devices (iOS and Android). The app allows users to track and display fitness and health metrics in greater detail. Users are provided graphs of their data so they can visualize their progress and see whether they are improving or not. It takes a bit of time to get used to all the nooks and crannies of the app. It's incredibly detailed and not always easy to navigate, but it really does provide users with tons of information. Garmin's app is perfect for number and data geeks. For iOS and Android, the app is updated on a consistent basis and is continually being improved. Users can even customize the app's home screen to display the information that's uniquely important to them.
      The Vivosmart watch features a soft silicone band that sits comfortably against the skin. The band has a bit of stretch to it so that it fits easily on any wrist. The third version of the watch has a slimmer band (4mm thinner to be exact) and a smaller display, so it's a little less bulky than the previous iteration. For all-day tracking, users found the watch easy to ignore. We couldn't find any reports of irritation or allergic reactions to the band or watch. Users also noted that they were able to wear the watch and get reliable heart rate readings without having to tighten the band until it cut off circulation.
      A slimmer band (a difference of 4mm) gives the Vivosmart 3 a more refined look. While it's still not the most stylish fitness tracker option on the market, it doesn't appear or feel bulky, say reviewers. The watch is available in three colors, black, blue, and purple. The design includes a built-in strap, however, so it's not possible to swap out the band and change up the color should the mood strike. Note: the purple option is only available in the smaller band size, so those with larger wrists who prefer a purple hue are, unfortunately, out of luck.

      Overall, the Vivosmart 3 is a sturdy watch. The silicone band is resistant, the watch face won't easily shatter, and the entire unit is adequately waterproofed so swimmers can dive into the water without worrying about their watch. A waterproof casing means that you can take the Vivosmart anywhere without having to worry about it breaking down if exposed to moisture. While you'd expect most fitness trackers to have some kind of waterproofing, many lack this feature. Compared to similar trackers, the Vivosmart gets definite bonus points for this.
      The Vivo 3 features an OLED display with a resolution of 64 by 128 pixels. Compared to the previous version of the watch, the face is smaller (and sleeker). While the screen is responsive to touch, reviewers reported issues with visibility in sunlight. Indoors, the screen is bright and easy to read but outside expect to run into some problems. Some users also pointed out that the Vivo's battery saving feature gets in the way at times. A flick of the wrist is meant to wake up the device so you can check out the time or glance at your step count for the day. When you're not looking at your wrist, the watch is meant to go back to sleep. It sometimes takes a bit of a vigorous shake to bring the watch to life, however.
      The 3's band gets a sleek makeover. 4mm thinner, the silicone band takes up less wrist real estate than the previous version of the smartwatch and looks more refined. The band offers a nice degree of stretch for a comfortable fit and is easily adjustable via a standard buckle closure. One disappointing aspect of the Vivosmart is that the band is attached to the watch so it cannot be swapped out like some competitor smartwatch models.
      Sizes Available
      The band is available in small/medium and large sizes. The smaller band size weighs about 20.4 grams, and the larger unit weighs 21.5 grams. The band cannot be swapped out so make sure to pick the correct size when purchasing the Vivosmart 3.
      Ease of Use
      Some find Garmin's Connect app a little bogged down, and while the tracker is feature heavy, it does provide A LOT of information. It can be a lot to take in. Navigating the features on the watch may take some getting used to, as well. Menu navigation is a bit tedious. Those wanting to track strength training activities, for example, will need to dig through the watch menus to find the rep counter.

      Users also complained that because of the watch's battery save feature the screen is not always quick to wake up. Others reported issues with screen response in the rain or other moisture-heavy conditions (e.g., swimming).
      Power Source
      The Vivosmart 3 boasts a good battery life of 5 days. Users reported that this estimate was accurate. Charged via USB, reviewers found the watch quick to juice up. Battery life will, of course, change depending on which features are used. Smart notifications, for example, will cause faster battery drain.
      Compared to similar activity trackers, the Vivo 3 sits at a lower price point. The cost of the unit is reasonably attractive considering the number of features included in the watch. From daily 24/7 fitness tracking to heart rate monitoring and stress level data, the Vivosmart 3 offers up everything you might need to track your progress closely. In fact, the 3 has many features included in Garmin's more expensive trackers and watches. If you're reluctant to spend the extra cash for GPS tracking (or don't need it at all), why not choose a lower cost option like the Vivo with an array of useful features?
      The attached band on the Vivo 3 means that band swapping isn't possible. The watch is compatible with Garmin's VIRB 360 camera and can be used as a remote control to manipulate the sports cam.
      Key Features
      - Wrist Based HR (Elevate technology)
      - Bluetooth Smart & ANT+ connectivity
      - Waterproof (50M)
      - 5-day maximum battery life
      - USB charging
      - Time display
      - Alarm function
      - Music control (from phone)
      - Smart notifications
      - Steps, floors climbed, distance, calorie data
      - Stress Tracker
      - Breathing timer
      - Sleep tracking
      - VIRB Camera control
      - Move IQ auto-tracking
      - TrueUp Compatible
      - Rep counting
      Bottom Line
      The Vivosmart 3 is best for fitness enthusiasts who want simple tracking with smart notifications. The watch is a good choice for those who incorporate strength training into their routine and spend most of their time at the gym.

      Without GPS, the watch isn't a good option for serious runners obsessed with tracking exact mileage, but the smartwatch can undoubtedly help otherwise active individuals keep tabs on their progress, health data, and stress levels.

      A slimmer design, new metrics (like VO2 max and fitness age), stress level tracking, and better heart rate monitoring, make the Vivosmart 3 a worthwhile upgrade.
      Where to Buy
      Backcountry Link
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      Holabird Sports Link
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      Moosejaw Link
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      Road Runner Sports Link
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      By Steph Coelho
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 26. 2021

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