Garmin Vivofit 3 Review – A Decent Tracker With Big Aspirations


Garmin Vivofit 3 Review
There’s something interesting happening in the wearables landscape these days. Given their better look and technical capabilities, the smartwatches should have replaced by now, the not so good looking fitness trackers and yet, it is not happening.
The “humble”, basic fitness tracker is still the winner of your wrist’s real-estate. However, if the aesthetic does not change much, in reality, nowadays fitness trackers are smarter, lighter, cheaper and today’s fitness tracker is the perfect example.
Designed for people who want access to detailed data and activity tracking that only fitness-specific gadgets allow without having to invest in a premium looking device, the new Vivofit 3 tracker from Garmin is a “smart enough” fitness tracker to compete with the likes of Fitbit Surge and Gear Fit 2. Read more below.

Garmin Vivofit 3 Review – Specifications

garmin vivofit 3 review design 3
The Garmin Vivofit 3 consists of a tracking module and an interchangeable strap with a simple buckle at one end. Maybe not as cool as the Misfit Shine 2, Garmin’s new gadget looks more like an activity tracker rather than a watch, but still, there’s a good look about it.
The Vivofit 3 comes in three colours. The white and the camouflage colours are available only in the regular sizes where the black covers the regular and also the XL. You can pop out the tracking module and wear without the band for more convenience. Both, the band and the module are water-resistant up to 50 m, so you can use the Garmin Vivofit 3 while swimming or scuba diving.
garmin vivofit 3 review design strap
The Vivofit 3 module weighs 26g; that is together with the strap which makes it just a bit lighter than the high-end Vivosmart HR, also from Garmin, which weighs 30g. Size wise, the Vivofit 3 is about 12mm thick, quite a big size for an activity tracker that does not have an HR sensor on board. In comparison, the Misfit Shine 2 is just 8 mm thick.
To interact with the fitness tracker you’ll have to use the central button, below the screen, that allows you to go through all the info on your device such as:

  • Day and date
  • Current steps count
  • Remaining steps to hit your daily goal
  • Distance travelled
  • Calories burned
  • Active minutes

Keeping the button pressed for a couple of seconds brings up the stopwatch function, while holding it even longer starts the sync with your smartphone. By the way, this is the only option to sync the device as starting up the app on your mobile does not start an auto sync, which is a little odd.

Physical dimensions   Regular wrist circumference: 5.4”-7.7” (137-195 mm);
X-large wrist circumference: 6.5”-8.9” (165-225 mm)
Display size, WxH  0.39″ x 0.39″ (10 mm x 10 mm)
Display resolution  64 x 64 pixels
Weight  Regular: 26 g (0.92 oz); X-large: 28 g ( 0.99 oz)
Water rating  5 ATM
Strap colours  Black, White, Camo, Gabrielle (style collection)

Garmin Vivofit 3 Review – Design

garmin vivofit 3 review design
In times when most fitness trackers manufacturers release better-looking devices, satisfying the market’s growing requests, Garmin’s Vivofit 3 lacks the much-needed look to appeal to the fashion-conscious buyers.
While out of the box the Vivofit 3 might not look as stylish as the Fitbit Alta for example, Garmin’s latest collaborations with well-known designers such as Jonathan Adler, gives you the option to chose from a large base of fashion orientated bracelets and customise your gadget to suit your needs.
Still, these “chic band” straps do not make the Garmin Vivofit 3 look any more attractive, at least not to my eye. If adding a leather strap to a Fitbit Alta makes an already good looking tracker better, these third-party bands for the Vivofit 3 make it look like something only my little sister would wear so I’d stick with the black strap.

Garmin Vivofit 3 Review – Display

garmin vivofit 3 review display
The previous two Vivofit trackers from Garmin featured screens that ran along the entire length of the body, making the simple task of reading your data quite challenging at times.
With the new Vivofit 3, Garmin changed the display orientation, making it look like a watch, but as a downside, the screen is smaller. However, despite its reduced size, the new display is easy to read, turning the Garmin Vivofit 3 into a useful everyday watch as well as a solid fitness tracker.

Garmin Vivofit 3 Review – Features

garmin vivofit 3 review design features
Coming to the specs part, the Garmin Vivofit 3 brings new and exciting features. To begin with, the Garmin Vivofit 3 sets your initial goal of daily step at 10.000. Then, a few days later, the Vivofit adjusts your goal – up or down – based on your daily totals. If you often exceed the 10.000 steps mark, your goal is going to increase.
Also, with the Garmin Vivofit 3 you’ll know – during the day – how many more steps you need to reach your goal and when you hit your step goal, the device beeps, and the screen displays a funny animation composed of the word “Goal” and a pair of feet.
If you hit your goal for a few consecutive days, the animation is changing to a calendar page turning. Cool, don’t you think so?
As a downside, the Garmin Vivofit 3 lacks the vibration sensor which makes the alarm function somehow useless. I much more prefer to be woken up by subtle vibrations rather than annoying beeps.
garmin vivofit 3 review features 2
Unlike the previous Vivofit trackers, the new Vivofit 3 can log your active minutes, helping you understand how good your workout was, whether it was just a run or just fast paced walk in the park.
Another interesting feature is the auto activity detection. This feature does not just log your active time, but also figures out the type of workout you are doing. So, when you start running, you do not have to tell your Garmin Vivofit 3 that you are running, it just knows that and add your run to your timeline, for that day.
However, the active-minute timer on the Vivofit 3 does not have a pause feature, and you can only start and stop it. True, the Garmin Vivofit 3 is a basic fitness tracker, and some functions are available only on high-end trackers like the Fitbit Blaze for example, but still, I do not think that being able to pause the timer is requires any extra costs.
Even though the Vivofit 3 doesn’t come with a heart-rate monitor, you can still connect your tracker with any ANT+ devices and then access your data in the Garmin Connect app.

Garmin Vivofit 3 Review – Software And App

garmin vivofit 3 software
The Garmin Connect app is regarded as one of the best in the fitness-tracking industry. Nevertheless, if you are new to the app, it might take you time to get used to the complex menu. Firing up the Garmin Connect app lets you have a quick look at the number of steps taken, sleep quality, active minutes, and all the calories burned.
Swiping the screen to the left or right allows you to see a more detailed data on any of the specific stats such as the steps over time, sleep quality for the past week, or recent activities like running and swimming.
As a downside, you will not be able to record your diet via the Garmin app, but still, you can link it to MapMyFitness app on your mobile, which offers a similar feature.
Overall, the Connect app settings could be quite hard to find and understand, however, once you become familiar with the way the app works, you’ll appreciate the endless choices and possibilities for data gathering and customisations.

Garmin Vivofit 3 Review – Battery

garmin vivofit 3 battery
One of the strong points of this fitness tracker, the Garmin Vivofit 3 has a coin cell battery, which lasts more than one year.
No more USB cables or chargers, when the time comes, the tracker signals the need for a new battery on the screen and the replacement should not take more than a minuted and cost you less than a pound.

Garmin Vivofit 3 Review – Conclusion

garmin vivofit 3 review conclusion
I could say that the Garmin Vivofit 3 is a decent fitness tracker with big aspirations. However, I feel that it does not live up to the expectations, and the $99.99 price puts it up against better-looking wearables such as the Fitbit Alta or the Misfit Shine 2.
Similar Read: Fitbit Alta Review
Still, this not so fashionable fitness tracker tracks provides more information than the Alta or the Shine 2 combined, sufficient enough to give it that competitive edge. So, if you want a basic fitness looking tracker and the top-notch Garmin Connect experience then I would recommend you the Vivofit 3.

Garmin Vivofit 3 Review – Gallery

[rwp-review id=”0″]
Check price on Amazon