Garmin vivoactive 3 music – What’s changed from the original

The new watch announcements continue with Garmin’s latest smartwatch iteration with the vivoactive 3 music. This new version of the vivoactive 3 comes with one significant change and it’s, you guessed it, the ability to add your own music to the local storage on the watch (there was a clue in the name somewhere). The Australian version of the device will have an RRP of $499 (same as the vivoactive rose gold and gunmetal versions) and expected arrival date of 20/06/18.

*Update 22/02/19 Garmin vivoactive 3 Music watches now support Spotify*

Garmin vivoactive 3 Music - AUD $499, Expected 20th of June – Box Contents:

  • vivoactive 3 Music, Charging/Data cable, Documentation

vivoactive 3 music black

vivoactive 3 music black garmin pay

vivoactive 3 music black garmin pay

What’s changed from the other vivoactive 3 watches

Apart from the music change, there are a couple smaller additions and tweaks that have been made to the watch. This is the only Garmin watch without a full bezel, the whole face is glass. From everything we have seen so far, this looks very sleek and makes the watch a little lighter. The edges also seem to be slightly curved (think Samsung Galaxy edge panels) which also adds to the look.

Another change from the original vivoactive is the Bluetooth chip. The original version has Bluetooth LPE (Low power energy) which is specially designed for low power consumption and can only transfer small amounts of data. The vivoactive 3 music will likely have the same Bluetooth chip as the forerunner 645 music which allows for larger and constant data streaming which allows for Bluetooth headsets to connect to the watch. This is also the reason why Bluetooth headset support won’t be added to the original vivoactive 3. There is also the lack of internal memory the vivoactive 3 music has 3.5GB while the original vivoactive had negligible internal storage.

Finally, you have a couple of changes in functionality from the original vivoactive 3, the watch cannot be flipped 180 degrees (to make the button on the left or right) there is no side swipe strip on the side of the watch. Personally, I've found the swipe pad almost to be of very little actual use, and the loss of it would go pretty much unnoticed.

Garmin vivoactive 3 Music Black
Garmin vivoactive 3 Music Black
Garmin vivoactive 3 Silver Bezel and Black Band (Non-music)

Vivoactive 3 music functionality

We have a full breakdown of the original vivoactive 3 functionality on the blog here, but I’ll do another quick summary of the main features here.

Garmin Pay (Works as of today with Commonwealth Bank, NAB, ANZ, Westpac, Bendigo and Latitude Financial Services – Garmin’s list is available here)

Structured workouts and Preloaded and Custom workouts with Rep counting (These are great, and rep counting has seen some improvements since it first launched. Still a no-go on leg exercises though.

Music (Up to 500 songs)

Preloaded Sports Profiles (Run, Treadmill, Strength, Bike, Swim, Yoga, Row, Ski and more)

VO2 Max, Fitness age estimates, stress tracking

Activity tracking, sleep tracking, move tracking

Battery life: up to 7 days in smartwatch mode and up to 5 hours in GPS with music mode

Touchscreen display

Connects to ANT+ and Bluetooth sensors

Golf Feature support (Yardage to F/M/B, Yardage to layups/doglegs, digital scorecard, shot tracking, green view with manual pin position, hazards and course targets)

How to add music

The process for adding music is relatively simple and having used the Forerunner 645 music it’s the exact same process to add the music. The only difference between how music functions on the vivoactive 3 music and the forerunner 645 music is the app navigation. Instead of buttons, it’s touchscreen functionality which for all intents and purposes though they are the same.

The vivoactive 3 music comes with onboard 3.5gb internal storage, which should allow for up to 500 songs on the device. The vivoactive 3 music supports the following music file types:

  • MP3, M4A, AAC, ADTS, WAV, M3U, M3U8, WLP, ZPL, PLS

To actually get the files from your PC onto the watch you will need to plug the watch into your computer and open up Garmin express. From there you need to specify where your music is. If you have iTunes, it will automatically detect all your playlists and owned music. Keep in mind that you need to ‘own’ the music any music from streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music have DRM protection which means that won’t run unless you use their app/program directly *this is subject to the rules and regulations of your country.

At the moment the vivoactive 3 music works with subscription services like iHeartRadio (or Deezer soon if you’re in Europe). There is always potential for future services to be added as well like Pandora and Spotify.


The vivoactive 3 music is finally the complete package. The biggest criticism the vivoactive 3 received was the missing onboard music. Most runners and gym-goers want the freedom to leave their phone behind. With onboard music and Garmin Pay, the vivoactive 3 music has solved this issue and gives the watch far more potential to be your use-everywhere device. It works perfectly at home, in the gym and on-the-go. This watch is perfect if you’re only into casual exercise looking to use the walking and running metrics all the way up to hardcore athletes who might be more interested in training plans and workouts.

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