The combat to make the perfect all-purpose smartwatch has by no means been harder. There are a variety of latest wearables across the $300 mark that wish to be your gadget of selection for each health and all-day put on. Since health continues to be probably the most sensible use for wearables, most corporations comply with the identical sample: make the perfect health gadget for the cash and complement it with different good options that will be most helpful to the plenty.

Garmin’s newest try and execute that plan is the $300 Vivoactive three, a tool poised to tackle the $329 Apple Watch Collection three (with out LTE) and the $300 Fitbit Ionic. It has critical health chops—as most would count on from a Garmin gadget—in addition to a bunch of typical smartwatch options. The stakes are excessive for Garmin, given the Vivoactive’s value and its competitors: the gadget should give customers the perfect worth for his or her cash by being each a stable health watch and good gadget, whereas additionally being distinctive sufficient to steer potential customers away from related gadgets. A number of the Vivoactive three’s health and smartwatch options are Garmin signatures (and will be discovered on different Garmin gadgets), however others are options essential to sustain with the Joneses within the wearable area.


The Vivoactive three is a breath of contemporary air in comparison with the Vivoactive HR. Whereas Garmin’s earlier gadget was boxy, cumbersome, and usually unattractive, the Vivoactive three is a large enchancment. It seems to be and looks like an everyday watch, however is not as heavy or giant as some wearables masquerading as timepieces. Some Android Put on gadgets which have conventional watch designs are enormous in comparison with these common timepieces. However Garmin’s Vivoactive gadgets have at all times been the corporate’s greatest rivals to high-end Apple and Fitbit wearables. I used to be pleased to see Garmin step up its recreation with the Vivoactive three’s design as a result of the Vivoactive HR felt overwhelming and unattractive in comparison with the competitors.

The Vivoactive three’s chrome steel case measures 43.four x 43.four x 11.7 mm and weighs simply 43 grams. It is the right measurement for my small wrist. Though I like bigger watches, I additionally do not wish to have a distracting, behemoth of a tool on me always. My evaluation unit had black and silver , however you may also get the Vivoactive three with white/silver , or a slate case with black accents. The complete design is waterproof as much as 50 meters as effectively, so it may possibly monitor swimming workout routines and you may safely bathe with it.

The gadget has one button on the case that is used to entry the wheel-like show menu and sport profile menu. Garmin additionally added a “facet swipe” mechanism that allows you to scroll by screens by gently rolling your finger up and down alongside the other facet of the watch’s case. It is barely textured so you will have some tactile suggestions, and it really works effectively as an alternative choice to the Vivoactive three’s touchscreen.

Utilizing facet swipe was a bit clumsy for me, however that is as a result of I wore the Vivoactive three with the button positioned near my wrist bone, going through away from my physique. Throughout the gadget’s preliminary setup, you possibly can select the most well-liked orientation of the gadget in your wrist. Should you’re right-handed like me, and you propose on utilizing facet swipe usually, I like to recommend turning the case so the textured facet faces your wrist bone and hand.

The 1.2-inch, 240 x 240-pixel show is not as vibrant as these of comparable gadgets just like the Fitbit Ionic or the Apple Watch Collection three, however it’s backlit and visual in direct daylight. When resting, the show is at all times on however dimmed so you possibly can nonetheless see the watch face. The show’s backlight robotically comes on whenever you flip your wrist as much as test the time and the sunshine is customizable, letting you select how lengthy it stays on earlier than it turns off robotically once more.

Contained in the Vivoactive three are the same old sensor suspects: accelerometer, barometric altimeter, compass, thermometer, GPS/GLONASS, and Garmin’s Elevate heart-rate sensor. The underside of the Vivoactive three exhibits Garmin’s exhausting work in minimizing the area between your wrist and the optical heart-rate monitor. Very similar to Fitbit’s Ionic smartwatch, the Vivoactive three does not have any raised edges, bumps, or unevenness beneath the case so the gadget lays fully flat towards the wrist. This could higher stop strain pockets from forming, or area and air coming in between the gadget and your wrist, each of which might breed inaccurate heart-rate readings.

I desire the look of the improved heart-rate monitor on Garmin’s gadget over the Fitbit Ionic’s, as a result of the previous’s underside nonetheless narrows earlier than turning into completely flat. Because of this, the Ionic is seems to be and feels thicker than the Vivoactive three, to not point out it is awkwardly formed as effectively. The Vivoactive three’s flatness makes it extra comfy than different high-end wearables, whereas additionally rising its heart-rate monitoring accuracy.

The Vivoactive three additionally helps commonplace 20mm quick-release bands to allow them to get replaced with bands of various colours and supplies. Garmin additionally claims the gadget’s battery will last as long as seven days on a single cost, or 13 hours in GPS mode. After updating the Vivoactive three’s firmware, I had a problem with its battery: it was depleting like loopy, lasting solely 24 to 36 hours at most. Earlier than the issue began, my gadget received about three to 4 days on a single cost—not dangerous, however not so good as the Fitbit Ionic’s seven-day battery life.

Garmin is conscious of the difficulty and is engaged on a repair for it, and the corporate suggested me to cost the gadget totally earlier than turning it off and again on once more. After doing so, the battery life appeared to bounce again: after two days of consecutive day and evening use (together with day by day exercise, exercise, and sleep monitoring, in addition to about 20 minutes of GPS use), the battery life was right down to 62 %.

The bands and the general case design make the Vivoactive three the closest factor you will get from Garmin (by way of design and options) earlier than leaping into the costly Fenix household. Whereas Garmin additionally sells the Vivomove HR, it is clearly focused to ladies due to its “hybrid smartwatch” branding, metallic colorways, and the truth that it is categorized beneath “ladies’s wearables” on Garmin’s web site. The Vivoactive three is the extra highly effective, unisex model of the Vivomove HR, and the extra accessible model of the Fenix 5 wearable that begins at $599.

Itemizing picture by Valentina Palladino


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