Garmin Vivoactive 3 Heartrate Monitor Fitness Tracker

Last updated: October 13, 2023

This fitness tracker offers tons of bells and whistles, including Garmin Pay, which lets you pay for things with your watch — no need to carry your wallet or credit card on an evening run. It comes with 15 preloaded sports apps, which is useful if you're looking for new ways to get active. We also loved the stylish interface and lightweight, flexible band.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Heartrate Monitor Fitness Tracker

We looked at the top Fitness Trackers and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Fitness Tracker you should buy.

Product Details

Key Takeaway: This fitness tracker boasts 15 preloaded sports apps, great for those looking for new ways to get active.

In our analysis of 64 expert reviews, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 Heartrate Monitor Fitness Tracker placed 3rd when we looked at the top 11 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

Garmin Pay™ contactless payment solution lets you pay for purchases with your watch¹. Personalize your watch with thousands of free watch faces, apps and widgets from our Connect IQ™ store. More than 15 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps, including yoga, running,. swimming and more. Monitor your fitness level with VO2 max and fitness age estimates, plus keep an eye on how you handle stress². Get connected features³ such as smart notifications, automatic uploads to Garmin Connect™, LiveTrack and more. Battery life4: up to 7 days in smartwatch mode; 13 hours in GPS mode

Our Expert Consultant

Stephanie Mansour   
Certified Personal Trainer, Health and Wellness Expert

Stephanie Mansour, host of “Step It Up with Steph” on public broadcasting, has been coaching women for over a decade on how to lose weight and make it last. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications with an emphasis on women’s studies and psychology from the University of Michigan. She holds certifications in life coaching, personal training, yoga and Pilates.

Expert Reviews

What reviewers liked

Battery life is rated at up to 7 days in smartwatch mode and 13 hours in GPS mode.
The Garmin Vivoactive 3 has a heart rate sensor, GPS tracking and a selection of built-in apps dedicated to keeping tabs on a range of sports activities, from running and indoor cycling to skiing and snowboarding.
An updated version of one of Garmin's most popular tracking watches that offers an attractive new design. Syncs easily to a smartphone, which is convenient for receiving important notifications. Tracks metrics for runners and is useful for monitoring other athletics such as swimming, cycling, and more. Reliable GPS.
In terms of all-day tracking, the Vivoactive 3 is noting the number of steps you take throughout the day, your resting and active heart rate, and the amount of sleep you’re getting overnight.
It's a GPS smart watch for the masses and I enjoyed my couple of weeks with it.
- ZD Net
Garmin, the 1.2-inch round display on the front is a fairly basic affair, but for two very good reasons: battery life and daylight visibility.
From a GPS accuracy standpoint, things generally look pretty good.
When connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth, the Vivofit 3 delivers full smart notifications with a vibration alert.
The vivoactive can keep track of stress levels over time thanks to heart rate variability monitoring, and additional watch faces, apps and more are available in the Garmin Connect IQ store, which is accessible via the companion smartphone app.
Battery life is superb, though, and this is where the Garmin Vivoactive 3 outdoes many of its smartwatch competitors.
Overall, the Vivoactive 3 improves on an already excellent device in almost every measurable way, making it a stonkingly good fitness-orientated smartwatch.
- Alphr

What reviewers didn't like

That music streaming (and downloading) is currently limited to iHeartRadio in the US, with Deezer coming soon for other territories - although the latter still hasn't launched at time of writing.
Battery life isn't the best. Some metrics aren't very accurate, such as heart rate and sleep tracking. Sounds good when it plays music, but it has been known to lose/delete files for no apparent reason.
On the downside, the light weight does mean the Vivoactive 3 feels a little cheap and flimsy, which is compounded by its plasticky construction (apparently, it’s a fibre-reinforced polymer).
The color display is fine for indoor and outdoor use, but it doesn't hold a candle to the brilliance of an Apple Watch, Fitbit Ionic, or Samsung Gear display.
- ZD Net
One other disappointing issue we found was in general connectivity.
One tricky area is laps though. As of this writing (October 13th, 2017), you cannot manually set a lap. Only auto-lap is supported, which is based on a distance you specify (I.e., every one mile).
The Vivoactive 3’s vibration alert is one of the weakest we’ve ever encountered.
It’s because it sits astride a few different wearable categories that price comparison is a bit more complicated than for a fitness tracker or high-end sports watch.
View our Fitness Tracker buying guide for in-depth advice and recommendations.

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