It is a portable workout smartwatch that you won’t want to take off when you hit the gym. You should wear it when you’re studying, but even when you’re doing your everyday job, walking around the city, to and from the stores, and while you’re sleeping. It can be used to log swims as well as walks, bike rides, and workouts, plus it provides alerts like a smartwatch – a job that’s remarkably good at. It’s not quite a smartwatch in the context of the Android Wear watch or Apple Watch since the number of applications that can be enabled isn’t as large; rather, think of it as a wearable that crosses the gap between fitness devices and smartwatches.
Connectivity technologies: Bluetooth, GPS
Other display features: Wireless
Device interface – primary: Touchscreen
Included Components: Na
- The Vivoactive 3 is lightweight and easy to wear and filled with practical features. The harness, for example, has a remarkable range of adjustment that ensures that it suits those with thick and slim wrists (from 107 mm to 204 mm in diameter, to be precise).
- It’s loaded with all the sensors you need for just about any fitness monitoring activity you can think of. However, the optical heart rate monitor is on the back and the GPS and GLONASS positional antennas, barometric altimeter, compass, accelerometer, and thermometer are on the inside.
- Additionally, the watch is waterproof to 5ATM (50 m) so you can float in the pool.
- General task control is outstanding. The watch keeps tabs on your steps, floors climbed and calories burned during the day, and constantly tracks your heart rate during the day and night, measuring your heart rate at one-second intervals. There’s also sleep monitoring, which tracks your movements to indicate when you’ve been in light or deep sleep, or when you’ve been awake in the night.
- The Vivoactive 3 also provides a stress ranking, records your average resting heart rate, and your approximate VO2 max – calculation of lung ability and thus your overall cardiovascular fitness. This will estimate the lactate threshold, a test of that.
- One area in which the Garmin Vivoactive is totally unconvincing is its appearance. If this is Garmin trying to get all the lifestyle on us, then it doesn’t work. The polished stainless steel bezel looks good enough, but the black panel covers the inside and the simple black polycarbonate shell does little to attract the eye. Nor does the stretchy black rubber wristband, although you can easily substitute it with something better, provided that the watch has a regular 20 mm strap fitting.
The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is just a great fitness watch. It ticks almost all boxes: it’s accessible and reliable, it has GPS, altimeter and heart rate sensors, it records your swims at the top of your daily exercise activities – plus a few additions – and it’s a great day-to-day activity tracker. How it does all this while still throwing in some degree of smartwatch usability is truly impressive, and while it’s not a stunning product to look at, it does pretty much everything I’d expect from a fitness-cum-smartwatch. The only real misfire is the lack of phone-free music streaming, and, honestly, it’s not going to bother anyone. Pretty sure if Garmin can figure out bank support for its NFC-based contactless payment program, it would be pretty much the ultimate all-rounder.