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Garmin Vivosmart 3 Review



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Trusted Reviews Recommended


  • Discreet and comfortable design
  • Good battery life
  • Touch interface is easy to use
  • Water-resistant


  • Garmin Connect app is still messy
  • Can't respond to notifications
  • Rep counting feels tacked on

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £129.99
  • All-day activity and sleep tracking
  • Automatic exercise tracking
  • Stress-level monitoring and guided breathing exercises
  • OLED display
  • Five-day battery life
  • Water-resistant to 50m
  • Smartphone notifications
  • Automatic rep counting

What is the Garmin Vivosmart 3?

Garmin’s latest iteration of the Vivosmart can largely be thought of as a rival to the Fitbit Charge 2. It sports a similar design and feature set to the Charge 2, making it a good all-round fitness tracker for those not wanting the added expense of GPS.

Throw in some useful extras such as a water-resistant design and stress tracking and it has some distinct advantages over its Fitbit competitor – but, once again, it’s hindered by Garmin’s slightly overwhelming Connect app.

Related: Best fitness trackers

Garmin Vivosmart 3 – Design and Setup

Garmin has taken an inconspicuous approach to the Vivosmart 3 with a slim, seamless design. This does mean that any form of customisation goes out the window. Unlike the Fitbit Charge 2, the bands here aren’t detachable, meaning you’re stuck with whatever colour choice you opt for. The Vivosmart 3 is available in black, blue and purple models. You’ll also need to make sure you pick the correct size of Vivosmart for your wrist.

Garmin Vivosmart 3 3Garmin Vivosmart 3 fitness tracker on a copper stand

In terms of comfort, I didn’t really notice the Vivosmart 3 on my wrist during the day or overnight – which is a good thing. The band has plenty of stretch to it and is reasonably soft and supple; I never found it digging into my wrists.

In terms of subtlety, the Vivosmart 3 one-ups the Fitbit Charge 2 and Alta HR, helped in part by its matte screen. The touch display is discreetly integrated below the translucent surface of the band. It only turns on when needed; with the display off, the Vivosmart 3 is a solid, uninterrupted band in a single colour.

Annoyingly, I found the gesture to turn on the display required quite an exaggerated motion to work. Fortunately, a double-tap will also work, but when your hands are tied it’s still an annoyance.

The display is OLED, with a resolution of 64 x 128 pixels. Initially, I was a little concerned that the translucent coating might make it difficult to read, but day to day I didn’t encounter any such problems – even when under bright sunlight – thanks to its auto-brightness setting.

Garmin Vivosmart 3 9Garmin Vivosmart 3 fitness tracker on a wrist.

You can interact with the display through taps and swipes in a vertical interface and it’s all laid out in a logical manner. Swiping from the homescreen takes you through at-a-glance data such as your step count, floors climbed and distance covered, so it’s easy to get a quick update on your progress.

On the back of Vivosmart 3 is an optical heart rate monitor, as well as a magnetic charging point.

The Vivosmart 3 has the distinct advantage over the Charge 2 of being water-resistant, so it’s safe to wear in the shower, and even swim to depths of 50m. Disappointingly, there’s no actual swim tracking, but not having to take off he device to go anywhere near water is a convenience that shouldn’t be overlooked.

The Vivosmart 3 is designed to pair with iOS or Android devices through the Garmin Connect app. This entails pairing through Bluetooth and setting up a profile in the app.

Garmin Vivosmart 3 17Garmin Vivosmart 3 fitness tracker on wrist displaying heart rate.

Thereafter, you can have notifications mirrored to your wrist – although the vertical display does somewhat limit how easy it is to read anything beyond a few lines. You’re also not able to respond, not even with pre-canned responses.

Still, as a way of knowing whether or not it’s worth getting your phone out, it’s a welcome convenience. In addition, there aren’t any restrictions on what app notifications can be pushed to the Vivosmart 3 – which was an annoyance with the Fitbit Charge 2. You can also use the Vivosmart 3 for media controls.

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