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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 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 3 chemically strengthened glass
Bezel Material stainless steel  
Case material fiber-reinforced polymer and stainless steel polymer
Physical size 43.4 x 43.4 x 11.7 mm 30.2 x 57.0 x 13.5 mm
  Fits wrists with a circumference of 127-204 mm Regular: 137-195 mm circumference
    X-large: 161-225 mm circumference
Weight 43.0 g Regular: 47.6 g
    X-large: 48.2 g
Water rating Swim/5 ATM 5 ATM
Display size 1.2" (30.4mm) diameter 0.8" x 1.13" (20.7 x 28.6 mm)
Display resolution 240 x 240 pixels 205 x 148 pixels
Battery life GPS mode: Up to 13 hours GPS mode: Up to 13 hours
  Smartwatch mode: Up to 7 days Smartwatch mode: Up to 8 days

Sensors

   
Ambient light sensor   Yes

Daily Smart Features

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

Activity Tracking Features

   
Fitness Age yes (in app)  

Fitness Equipment/Gym

   

Preloaded gym activity profiles

Strength Training, Cardio Training, Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing and Yoga Indoor Rowing
Cardio workouts Yes  
Strength workouts Yes  
Automatic rep counting Yes  

Training, Planning and Analysis Features

   
Customizable activity profiles Yes  
Advanced workouts Yes  
Downloadable training plans Yes  
Manual lap   Yes
Configurable lap alerts Yes  
V02 max Yes  

Heart Rate Features

   
% HR max Yes  

Running Features

   

Preloaded run profiles

Running, Indoor Track Running, Treadmill Running Running, Indoor Running
Run workouts Yes  

Golfing Features

   
Stat tracking (strokes, putts per round, greens and fairways hit) Yes  
Garmin AutoShot™ Yes  
Green View with manual pin position Yes  
Hazards and course targets Yes  
PinPointer Yes  
Round timer/odometer Yes  

Swimming Features

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

FULL vivoactive 3 vs vivoactive HR Spec Sheet

Lens Material

Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 chemically strengthened glass
Bezel Material stainless steel  
Case material fiber-reinforced polymer and stainless steel polymer
Strap material silicone silicone
Physical size 43.4 x 43.4 x 11.7 mm 30.2 x 57.0 x 13.5 mm
Fits wrists with a circumference of 127-204 mm Regular: 137-195 mm circumference
  X-large: 161-225 mm circumference
Weight 43.0 g Regular: 47.6 g
X-large: 48.2 g
Water rating Swim/5 ATM 5 ATM
Touchscreen Yes Yes
Display type sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
Display size 1.2" (30.4mm) diameter 0.8" x 1.13" (20.7 x 28.6 mm)
Display resolution 240 x 240 pixels 205 x 148 pixels
Color display Yes Yes
Battery life GPS mode: Up to 13 hours GPS mode: Up to 13 hours
Smartwatch mode: Up to 7 days Smartwatch mode: Up to 8 days
Memory/History 7 timed activities, 14 days of activity tracking data 7 timed activities, 14 days of activity tracking data

Clock Features

   

Time/date

Yes Yes
GPS Time Sync Yes Yes
Automatic daylight saving time Yes Yes
Alarm clock Yes Yes
Timer Yes Yes
Stopwatch Yes Yes
Face It™ watch face creator Yes Yes

Sensors

Yes Yes

GPS

Yes Yes
GLONASS Yes Yes
Garmin Elevate™ wrist heart rate monitor Yes Yes
Barometric altimeter Yes Yes
Compass Yes Yes
Accelerometer Yes Yes
Thermometer Yes Yes
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) Yes Yes
Smart notifications Yes Yes
Text response/reject phone call with text (Android™ only) Yes  
Calendar Yes Yes
Weather Yes Yes
Music controls Yes Yes
Find My Phone Yes Yes
Find My Watch Yes Yes
VIRB® remote Yes Yes
Smartphone compatibility iPhone®, Android™ iPhone®, Android™, Windows®
Compatible with Garmin Connect™ Mobile Yes Yes
Garmin Pay™ Yes  

Activity Tracking Features

   

Step counter

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

Fitness Equipment/Gym

   

Preloaded gym activity profiles

Strength Training, Cardio Training, Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing and Yoga Indoor Rowing
Cardio workouts Yes  
Strength workouts Yes  
Automatic rep counting Yes  

Training, Planning and Analysis Features

   

GPS speed and distance

Yes Yes
Customizable data pages Yes Yes
Customizable activity profiles Yes  
Auto Pause® Yes Yes
Advanced workouts Yes  
Downloadable training plans Yes  
Auto Lap® Yes Yes
Manual lap   Yes
Configurable lap alerts Yes  
V02 max Yes  
Customizable alerts Yes Yes
LiveTrack Yes Yes
Touch and/or button lock Yes Yes
Auto scroll Yes Yes
Activity history on watch Yes Yes

Heart Rate Features

   

HR zones

Yes Yes
HR alerts Yes Yes
HR calories Yes Yes
% HR max Yes  
HR Broadcast (broadcasts HR data over ANT+™ to paired devices) Yes Yes

Running Features

   

Preloaded run profiles

Running, Indoor Track Running, Treadmill Running Running, Indoor Running
GPS-based distance, time and pace Yes Yes
Run workouts Yes  
Foot pod capable Yes Yes

Golfing Features

   

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

Yes Yes
Yardage to layups/doglegs Yes Yes
Measures shot distance (calculates exact yardage for shots from anywhere on course) Yes Yes
Digital scorecard Yes Yes
Stat tracking (strokes, putts per round, greens and fairways hit) Yes  
Garmin AutoShot™ Yes  
Green View with manual pin position Yes  
Hazards and course targets Yes  
PinPointer Yes  
Round timer/odometer Yes  

Outdoor Recreation Features

   

Preloaded outdoor recreation profiles

Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing
Back to start Yes Yes
Total ascent/descent Yes Yes

Cycling Features

   

Preloaded cycling profiles

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

Swimming Features

   

Preloaded swim profiles

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