Best Garmin Vivoactive 3 Black Friday Deals 2021

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Our Verdict
The Vivoactive 3 is among the finest fitness-focused smartwatches available, however the Fitbit Ionic has music storage and the Apple Watch Series 3 has more apps.

Always-on watch face
Round design
Advanced workout-tracking
Garmin Pay supports few cards at launch
Inaccurate sleep-tracking
No onboard music storage
Garmin makes among the best fitness trackers in varying sizes and shapes for athletes of most stripes. Runners, swimmers, golfers: Whatever type of exercise you like, Garmin probably includes a device made to track your activity.

But now the business is diversifying its lineup, with more-versatile smartwatches, including the Vivoactive 3, which takes aim at both Apple Watch Series 3 and Fitbit Ionic, with features such as for example apps, smartphone notifications and the capability to buy things with the watch.

There is no doubt that Garmin handily beats both Apple and Fitbit in terms of tracking exercise, so that it is the very best smartwatch for fitness-tracking, however the Vivoactive 3 includes a few drawbacks when you look beyond workouts.

Editor’s note: Garmin’s next-gen $349 Vivoactive 4 is currently on sale. The smartwatch will come in two sizes and will be offering built-in music storage.

Fitness: Where Garmin shines
The Vivoactive 3 has built-in GPS and a heartrate sensor, which have become de rigueur for smartwatches nowadays. But Garmin has been outfitting its activity trackers with both of these features for a long time now, and the accuracy of the business’s sensors is well-proved at this stage. That is true for the Vivoactive 3, although the dissimilarities between Garmin’s devices and the ones of its rivals are shrinking.

MORE: Best Smartwatch – Top-Rated Watches for iPhone, Android

I wore these devices for three 3-mile runs and discovered that the Vivoactive 3 latches onto a GPS signal in under one minute and accurately tracks heartrate during exercise. You launch a good work out by pressing the watch’s side button and choosing from a litany of activities (seriously, it appears like Garmin can track almost anything). You can even design your own workouts in the Garmin Connect smartphone iphone app and sync them to the watch.

The Vivoactive 3’s display is superbright and simple to see even though you’re running outside. When you run, you can observe stats like mileage, pace and heartrate. After syncing your workout to the Garmin Connect app, you will see a map of your route.

The Vivoactive 3 uses its heartrate sensor to measure your V02 max score, or what your fitness age is, and monitor your stress levels during the day. The Garmin Connect iphone app stores public information from other Garmin users about popular courses and segments, and compares your computer data against them. I liked having the ability to observe how quickly other runners conquered a hard uphill stretch of a course I run regularly (although I’m just a little peeved that these were considerably faster than me).

Design: Simple, round, simple to use
The Vivoactive 3 shares many features using its rivals, the Fitbit Ionic and Apple Watch Series 3. The Garmin device’s interface uses combo of touch-screen controls and a side button or crown. For example, viewing a smartphone notification requires tapping on the watch face, but pausing a good work out happens with the press of a button. This is all easy enough to determine.

Unlike the Ionic and Apple Watch, the Vivoactive 3 includes a round watch face that means it is look similar to an analog watch when compared to a fitness tracker or smartwatch. You can install new watch faces in the Garmin Connect app, however the preinstalled one is merely fine. It always shows enough time, although the display dims if you are not actively using it to save battery.

Many smartwatches are bulky or maybe much too large on my fairly small wrist. That is true of the Ionic, which loses major points because of its gigantic square shape. The Vivoactive 3 is big, too, at 43 millimeters, but looks similar to a fashionably oversized analog watch than an clear Bluetooth device or an exercise tracker.

Pressing on the watch face reveals a menu; from here, you can transform your watch face, set an alarm, view your stats and change the watch’s settings. Swipe up from the watch face to see a synopsis of your entire day, check the elements or view your latest notifications.

I liked that the Vivoactive 3 would show me the entirety of a text or the entire text of an alert. More basic fitness trackers will let you know when you have a text but won’t demonstrate the whole lot. However, I wasn’t in a position to respond to messages from my wrist, which will be useful.

Downsides: Sleep-tracking no songs
Design and fitness are where Garmin’s Vivoactive 3 excels, but it isn’t a perfect smartwatch. These devices gets pretty decent battery life – around three days with GPS and heartrate use – therefore you can wear the watch overnight, however the sleep-tracking leaves too much to be desired. One night, I forgot to wear the watch, leaving it on a table. The very next day, these devices reported that I had slept solidly for 9 hours. Shouldn’t a wrist watch with a heartrate sensor have the ability to figure out a human isn’t wearing these devices, aside from sleeping while doing this?

The watch also lacks onboard music storage and does not have any integration with music apps. You can control song playback from your own smartphone using the Vivoactive 3, but in the event that you set off with just your smartwatch, you need to work out alone. Both Ionic and Apple Watch support local song storage, in order to exercise with out a phone nearby.

Garmin Pay: Simple to use, if you can
Like Fitbit and Apple, Garmin really wants to make its smartwatches with the capacity of doing more by themselves. The business introduced a mobile payment system with the Vivoactive 3 called Garmin Pay in order to pay for items on the run simply by holding your watch near a payment terminal. You can tell whether a store or restaurant accepts mobile payments if there’s an NFC icon on the checkout stand.

Establishing Garmin Pay in the Garmin Connect smartphone iphone app is fairly easy. You can include payment details manually or by snapping a image of your physical card, then verify your card with the lender or credit card company. The complete process takes simply a few minutes.

To really use Garmin Pay in a store, long press the Vivoactive 3’s side button and tap on the wallet icon. You can store multiple cards in your wallet and select from them by swiping down. You will see a photography of your card and its own last four digits to be sure to select the right one. I was in a rush when I used the Vivoactive to cover a pack of gum at Duane Reade, and using the watch to pay was far faster than digging into my bag to find my wallet and grab my debit card, especially given how slow chip card transactions have grown to be.

But Garmin Pay doesn’t support that lots of cards at launch, which limits its usefulness. Visa cards from Bank of America, Capital One and U.S. Bank and Mastercards from BECU, Bank of America, Capital One, First Tech Federal Credit Union, Security Service Federal Credit Union, U.S. Bank and VACU are supported. More credit card providers are being added in the coming months, however the roster is nowhere near as expansive as Apple Pay, that includes a lengthy head start.

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