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New Garmin Vivoactive 3 – What’s Changed

vivoactive 3
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Posted: 05/09/2017 at 4:32 PM   /   by   /   comments (2)

Price and Australian Release - Vivoactive 3

Holy Battery life. You had me at seven days.

Garmin has made a huge spring entrance, with lots of announcements about their new product line-ups. Garmin has announced the vivoactive 3 which I’ll be talking about in this article, but they have also shown the new vivomove HR and the vivosport which I’ll cover in separate articles. In this article, I’ll include a quick spec comparison sheet between the old vivoactive HR and the new vivoactive 3.

Garmin has now released a music version of the vivoactive 3, more information available here. 

Garmin has added an entirely new feature with this watch which will be their first wearable to add contactless payment capabilities (NFC) with ‘Garmin Pay.'

The watch has an Australian RRP of $449 and is currently set to release late October.

vivoactive 3 Stainless Steel
vivoactive 3 Gunmetal HR optical sensor
vivoactive 3 White

What’s changed

I’ll list here the biggest changes from the previous iteration the vivoactive HR

  • It’s round.
  • One button on the side instead of two at the base
  • Side Swipe
  • Garmin Pay
  • Watch can be flipped 180 degrees (This is ideal for those of you who might prefer to have the watch button facing a certain way or on a different arm)
  • Fitness Age
  • Preloaded Gym Activity Profiles (Strength, Cardio, Elliptical, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Yoga)
  • Cardio Workouts, Strength Workouts
  • Automatic Rep Counting
  • Training plans and Analysis (customizable activity profiles, advanced workouts, downloadable training programs, manual lap, configurable lap alerts, VO2 Max)
  • % HR Max
  • Treadmill Running Profile
  • Run Workouts
  • Golf Features
  • Swimming features and Pool swim workouts

The biggest things worth noting here are the V02 max estimation, automatic rep counting and the new structured workouts. I’ve yet to get my hands on one for an in-depth review, but the side swipe option looks helpful, especially when one gets a little sweaty from a long run.

vivoactive 3 garmin pay

What you want to know

In addition to the new features mentioned above the vivoactive three also has GPS (GLONASS Constellation) connectivity for workouts it also has a barometric altimeter (stair counting). They have also updated the firmware for the wrist-based HR on the back making it a lot more accurate than the original firmware, it has better battery management which means the optical sensor will record at 1-2 second intervals. The optical sensor is also used to measure your HRV  (Heart Rate Variability) specifically focused on Stress score.

The watch is also rated for 5/atm which is classified as Garmin's swim (Garmin's waterproof classifications.) You also have access to a bunch of third party apps via Garmin’s Connect IQ App Store, a unique one I’ve seen the UBER app. While you can’t order your ride, it will remind you and tell you the distance your ride is.

The battery life is slightly less than the vivoactive HR, but that’s a tough comparison considering all the extra features packed into the new model. In the Smartwatch industry, a 7-day battery life is almost unheard of. For example, the battery life on the new Ionic Fitbit is maximum four days and 18 hours on the Apple Watch.

Garmin Pay

Garmin Pay has now been adopted by all four of the major Australian banks (ANZ, NAB, Westpac and Commonwealth). Garmin Pay has also been adopted by Bendigo Bank and Latitude Finances. I've detailed how to use the method here but in short, you need to add your card to your watch via the Garmin Connect App. From there you will receive a verification code which you will need to respond, set a pin and that's it. The security in place for this system is actually quite cool, when you enter the pin the watch is unlocked for 24 hours. You still need to open the app each time to make a payment but not enter the pin (you're not walking around with an active NFC connection). Another security protocol is that if the watch fails to detect a heart rate the payment system is locked and the pin is required again.

Another significant part of the vivoactive 3 are the preloaded workouts included and the new rep counting function. Garmin has also started to build more focus around social aspects being able to check how well your friends are performing. However, they have still got a fair way to go when compared to brand leaders for Social engagement like Fitbit.

Summary

Overall this is an evolutionary step forward when looking at the previous iteration. After dominating the niche industry for hardcore athletes and stats nerds, Garmin has brought themselves forward into the consumer industry for Smartwatches. My only point against the vivoactive 3 is the lack of music capability; I would prefer to be able to run an app or have an internal library for my music rather than still relying on my phone when I’m running. You can control playback from the phone via the watch which is helpful.

 

DIFFERENCES vivoactive 3 vs vivoactive HR Spec Sheet

Lens Material

Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3chemically strengthened glass
Bezel Materialstainless steel 
Case materialfiber-reinforced polymer and stainless steelpolymer
Physical size43.4 x 43.4 x 11.7 mm30.2 x 57.0 x 13.5 mm
 Fits wrists with a circumference of 127-204 mmRegular: 137-195 mm circumference
  X-large: 161-225 mm circumference
Weight43.0 gRegular: 47.6 g
  X-large: 48.2 g
Water ratingSwim/5 ATM5 ATM
Display size1.2" (30.4mm) diameter0.8" x 1.13" (20.7 x 28.6 mm)
Display resolution240 x 240 pixels205 x 148 pixels
Battery lifeGPS mode: Up to 13 hoursGPS mode: Up to 13 hours
 Smartwatch mode: Up to 7 daysSmartwatch mode: Up to 8 days

Sensors

  
Ambient light sensor Yes

Daily Smart Features

  
Text response/reject phone call with text (Android™ only)Yes 
Smartphone compatibilityiPhone®, Android™iPhone®, Android™, Windows®
Garmin Pay™Yes 

Activity Tracking Features

  
Fitness Ageyes (in app) 

Fitness Equipment/Gym

  

Preloaded gym activity profiles

Strength Training, Cardio Training, Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing and YogaIndoor Rowing
Cardio workoutsYes 
Strength workoutsYes 
Automatic rep countingYes 

Training, Planning and Analysis Features

  
Customizable activity profilesYes 
Advanced workoutsYes 
Downloadable training plansYes 
Manual lap Yes
Configurable lap alertsYes 
V02 maxYes 

Heart Rate Features

  
% HR maxYes 

Running Features

  

Preloaded run profiles

Running, Indoor Track Running, Treadmill RunningRunning, Indoor Running
Run workoutsYes 

Golfing Features

  
Stat tracking (strokes, putts per round, greens and fairways hit)Yes 
Garmin AutoShot™Yes 
Green View with manual pin positionYes 
Hazards and course targetsYes 
PinPointerYes 
Round timer/odometerYes 

Swimming Features

  
Stroke type detection (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly)Yes 
Pool swim workoutsYes 

FULL vivoactive 3 vs vivoactive HR Spec Sheet

Lens Material

Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3chemically strengthened glass
Bezel Materialstainless steel 
Case materialfiber-reinforced polymer and stainless steelpolymer
Strap materialsiliconesilicone
Physical size43.4 x 43.4 x 11.7 mm30.2 x 57.0 x 13.5 mm
Fits wrists with a circumference of 127-204 mmRegular: 137-195 mm circumference
 X-large: 161-225 mm circumference
Weight43.0 gRegular: 47.6 g
X-large: 48.2 g
Water ratingSwim/5 ATM5 ATM
TouchscreenYesYes
Display typesunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
Display size1.2" (30.4mm) diameter0.8" x 1.13" (20.7 x 28.6 mm)
Display resolution240 x 240 pixels205 x 148 pixels
Color displayYesYes
Battery lifeGPS mode: Up to 13 hoursGPS mode: Up to 13 hours
Smartwatch mode: Up to 7 daysSmartwatch mode: Up to 8 days
Memory/History7 timed activities, 14 days of activity tracking data7 timed activities, 14 days of activity tracking data

Clock Features

  

Time/date

YesYes
GPS Time SyncYesYes
Automatic daylight saving timeYesYes
Alarm clockYesYes
TimerYesYes
StopwatchYesYes
Face It™ watch face creatorYesYes

Sensors

YesYes

GPS

YesYes
GLONASSYesYes
Garmin Elevate™ wrist heart rate monitorYesYes
Barometric altimeterYesYes
CompassYesYes
AccelerometerYesYes
ThermometerYesYes
Ambient light sensor Yes

Daily Smart Features

  

Connectivity

Bluetooth® Smart and ANT+®Bluetooth® Smart and ANT+®
Connect IQ™ (downloadable watch faces, data fields, widgets and apps)YesYes
Smart notificationsYesYes
Text response/reject phone call with text (Android™ only)Yes 
CalendarYesYes
WeatherYesYes
Music controlsYesYes
Find My PhoneYesYes
Find My WatchYesYes
VIRB® remoteYesYes
Smartphone compatibilityiPhone®, Android™iPhone®, Android™, Windows®
Compatible with Garmin Connect™ MobileYesYes
Garmin Pay™Yes 

Activity Tracking Features

  

Step counter

YesYes
Move bar (displays on device after a period of inactivity; walk for a couple of minutes to reset it)YesYes
Auto goal (learns your activity level and assigns a daily step goal)YesYes
Sleep monitoring (monitors total sleep and periods of movement or restful sleep)YesYes
Calories burnedYesYes
Floors climbedYesYes
Distance traveledYesYes
Intensity minutesYesYes
TrueUp™YesYes
Move IQ™YesYes
Fitness Ageyes (in app) 

Fitness Equipment/Gym

  

Preloaded gym activity profiles

Strength Training, Cardio Training, Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing and YogaIndoor Rowing
Cardio workoutsYes 
Strength workoutsYes 
Automatic rep countingYes 

Training, Planning and Analysis Features

  

GPS speed and distance

YesYes
Customizable data pagesYesYes
Customizable activity profilesYes 
Auto Pause®YesYes
Advanced workoutsYes 
Downloadable training plansYes 
Auto Lap®YesYes
Manual lap Yes
Configurable lap alertsYes 
V02 maxYes 
Customizable alertsYesYes
LiveTrackYesYes
Touch and/or button lockYesYes
Auto scrollYesYes
Activity history on watchYesYes

Heart Rate Features

  

HR zones

YesYes
HR alertsYesYes
HR caloriesYesYes
% HR maxYes 
HR Broadcast (broadcasts HR data over ANT+™ to paired devices)YesYes

Running Features

  

Preloaded run profiles

Running, Indoor Track Running, Treadmill RunningRunning, Indoor Running
GPS-based distance, time and paceYesYes
Run workoutsYes 
Foot pod capableYesYes

Golfing Features

  

Yardage to F/M/B (distance to front, middle and back of green)

YesYes
Yardage to layups/doglegsYesYes
Measures shot distance (calculates exact yardage for shots from anywhere on course)YesYes
Digital scorecardYesYes
Stat tracking (strokes, putts per round, greens and fairways hit)Yes 
Garmin AutoShot™Yes 
Green View with manual pin positionYes 
Hazards and course targetsYes 
PinPointerYes 
Round timer/odometerYes 

Outdoor Recreation Features

  

Preloaded outdoor recreation profiles

Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, RowingSkiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing
Back to startYesYes
Total ascent/descentYesYes

Cycling Features

  

Preloaded cycling profiles

Biking, Indoor BikingBiking, Indoor Biking
Time/distance alerts (triggers alarm when you reach goal)YesYes
Compatible with Varia Vision™ (head-mounted display)YesYes
Compatible with Varia™ radar (rear-facing radar)YesYes
Compatible with Varia™ lightsYesYes
Speed and cadence sensor support (with sensor)YesYes

Swimming Features

  

Preloaded swim profiles

Pool SwimmingPool Swimming
Pool swim metrics (lengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories)YesYes
Stroke type detection (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly)Yes 
Pool swim workoutsYes 
Swim efficiency (SWOLF)YesYes