Garmin Vivoactive 3 Review (2023 – DISCONTINUED)

PS! Garmin Vivoactive 3 has been DISCONTINUED


Garmin Vivoactive 3 is a GPS activity and fitness tracking multisport smartwatch that lasts up to 7 days in normal use and up to 13 hours with GPS enabled.

Granted, Garmin has launched many watches before and after this one. However, if you were looking for a relatively affordable decent smartwatch from Garmin Brand with an excellent set of features, it’s still a fine option.

For a more extensive look at budget-friendly options in this category, be sure to check out our article on the best cheap triathlon watches, where we explore a range of choices suitable for different needs and preferences.


What Can Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS Do? Which Activities Are Support?

I can understand that you wish to know the activities that Garmin Vivoactive 3 can support to know whether it will help with your exercise routine. With the support it extends to activities like walking, running, cycling and swimming one of which most of us follow in our daily regimen to keep ourselves fit;

Garmin vívoactive 3 Smartwatch with GPS Review

Garmin Vivoactive 3 For Swimming

With preloaded swim profiles, this smartwatch has been designed to watch your pool swimming sessions to evaluate the level of fitness you have achieved from a given session. It is designed just to measure pool swim metrics like the calories you burn during pool swimming, stroke count or rate, pace, distance and lengths and it will not work for outdoor swimming. The reason is that before you begin swimming for the first time, you will have to provide the watch with details about your pool size, such that it will measure the pool swim metrics for you.

Even, it will detect the stroke types that you use in pool swimming like breaststroke, backstroke, freestyle and butterfly stroke. With a basic rest timer and water rating of 5 ATM, it can withstand pressures equivalent to a depth of 50 meters. It means that you can wear this watch when swimming in your pool when you do not reach more than 50 meters of depth. With the wrist-based heart rate monitoring, it will keep a watch in your heart rate when you swim in your pool. With the water rating, you can wear this watch even when you take a bath.


Garmin Vivoactive 3 For Cycling

If you are interested in cycling, you can, of course, use the Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS for evaluating your cycling sessions. The good thing about this smartwatch is that you can keep your workout schedule invigorating and fresh with it. Yes, you are right; you can create your own custom cycling workouts and can download the same to your watch. Once you do this simple thing, your Garmin Vivoactive 3 will take care of the rest. Yes, it will keep track of your rest time, sets, reps and workouts. As you can customize the watch using a suitable app, you can very well use it for tracking both indoor and outdoor cycling. You can get to know your intensity minutes and calories burned with this watch. You can set goals for your cycling sessions. Once you reach the set goal, the watch will raise a trigger alarm.

Not just for your cycling fitness sessions, if you are a woman, you can use this watch to keep track of your menstrual cycle details as well.


Garmin Vivoactive 3 For Running

The excellent feature worth using in Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS smartwatch is that you can manage activity profiles favorites. When you wish to run as your activity on a given day, you can just press the activity button on the right side of the face of the watch. Then, you have the option called select your favorites. From this list, you can choose running as your activity from a huge list of activities. You can use it for tracking your running be it outdoors or indoors. When you choose indoors, you can go for a treadmill, biking and many other choices. The device will help with tracking your running activity with its preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps.

Further, the watch will help you keep track of your heart rate with the help of the Elevate Wrist-Based Heart Rate Technology. With this technology, you can get to know how your body reacts to different situations. Even, it can measure your heart rate variability, which will help with tracking your stress levels as well.


Garmin Vivoactive 3 For Walking

Having a cool morning walk with friends can be a highly exciting workout for many of us. Can you track your walking regimen with Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS Smartwatch? Yes, it is possible. Again, you can track your walking both indoors and outdoors and you can get heart rate monitored as well with this smartwatch from Garmin. You can even get to know the number of steps you have taken during your walking session on the steps widget in this watch. The step count will be updated periodically.

When all your triathlon tracking becomes easier with Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS smartwatch, nothing can stop you from getting fit anymore with this watch coming handy.


How Accurate Is Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS Multisport Smartwatch?

When talking about the accuracy of this product, I should mention the heart rate sensor and GPS features first.

One of these two features is an essential feature for smartwatches these days. However, the good thing about Garmin watches is that the brand brings its watches with both these features. Here, the accuracy of the brand’s sensors stands out from the rest without any doubt. This sensor works well for Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS smartwatch as well without any doubt.

I personally wore this device for a three-mile running session. I found that the watch quickly latches to the GPS signal within no time and starts accurately tracking the heart rate. Not just running, this happens in any activity for which you use this watch for tracking. The reason is that Garmin allows you to design your workouts using the Garmin Connect Smartphone App and then you can sync them to the watch for accurate and quick tracking.

Even though activity tracking is good in Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS, it lacks in sleep-tracking. Many smartwatches and fitness watches from other brands accurately track the sleeping pattern and warns the user when he/she lacks sleep. But, this functionality is not accurate in Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS.


What Are the Features of Garmin Vivoactive 3?

Of course, features are essential to compare before you shop for a fitness watch. It will not be an overstatement to say that in addition to some basic features, this watch is also blessed with some advanced features.

  • Timer:
    You can set the timer for any activity in Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS. The countdown timer feature will help you start and stop competitions. When talking about the timer, the Auto Lap feature will help you adjust the distance between laps.
  • Distance Tracking:
    The activity tracking feature of Vivoactive 3 will help you record your daily step count in addition to calculating the distance you have traveled.
  • Activity Tracking:
    When you turn on the activity tracking settings, you can get motion alerts, steps alerts, intensity minutes, move IQ and Auto Activity start features.

Garmin does not stop with these basic features, some of the additional features that you can expect from this smartwatch include:

  • If you are more into online shopping, you can just shop through your watch with the help of the Garmin Pay Contactless payment solution.
  • The Connect IQ Store will help you customize the watch with thousands of free widgets, applications and watch faces.
  • With more than 15 preloaded indoor and GPS sports apps including, swimming, running and yoga, you can choose any type of workout in a given day and can keep track of the calories burnt and many other useful data from this watch.
  • With VO2 Max and fitness age estimates, you can keep an eye on your fitness level along with this you can watch how you handle stress as well with the activity tracking feature.
  • Get connected features like LiveTrack, automatic uploads to Garmin Connect and smart notifications.



You can establish a connection of this watch with your smartphone as it is a Bluetooth-enabled watch. When it comes to establishing a connection with other devices, you can sync your activities to the Garmin Connect app. It will help you achieve more than just keeping a record of your fitness regimen. Yes, Garmin Connect is an online community, where people on the go can associate and can challenge each other by becoming part of challenges and by motiving the successes of each other and even they can share their triumphs through social media.

The get connected features like automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, smart notifications and LiveTrack are added features. You can stay connected with this watch even when you are working hard and playing. Once paired with a compatible smartphone through Bluetooth, you will get and even you can respond to text messages and can get to see social media  updates, emails and more just on your wrist. Even, you can use the find phone feature, can access music controls and can let your friends LiveTrack your sports. Once your activities are finished, it will be automatically uploaded to your online fitness community. Not just Bluetooth connectivity to your phone, but also ANT+ and Smart connectivity are possible.


Apps & Widgets of Garmin Vivoactive 3

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS comes preloaded with widgets. They will provide you information at a glance. To work some of these widgets need a Bluetooth connection to a smartphone that is compatible with the watch. Some widgets are not visible by default. Nevertheless, you can add them to the widget loop manually. Here is the list of pre-installed widgets:

  • Last Sport
  • Intensity minutes
  • Heart Rate
  • Golf
  • Floors Climbed
  • Calories
  • Calendar
  • Weather
  • Music Control
  • VIRB Controls
  • My Day
  • Stress
  • Steps
  • Notifications

In addition to widgets, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS is pre-installed with some apps and activities as well. The apps that are pre-installed in the watch will provide you with some interactive features like easy navigation of saved locations. Moreover, you can add features to your watch when you install apps from the Connect IQ Mobile App with many features.


Construction of Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS Multisport Smartwatch

The size of the watch is 43.4 x 43.4 x 11.7 mm and it has been designed by Garmin to be suitable for wrists with a circumference of 127-204 mm.

The strap in this watch is made out of silicone material. The quick-release bands included in this unit is of 20 mm industry standard size.

The lens in this watch has been made with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 to ensure break resistance. The Bezel Material is stainless steel and the case in this watch is a fiber-reinforced polymer with stainless steel rear cover. The touchscreen display unit is of size 1.2″ Diameter and the display resolution is 240 x 240 Pixels. The display has been designed in such a way that you can get to see the display even in sunlight.


How Long Does the Vivoactive 3 Battery Last?

The watch comes equipped with a lithium metal battery. The battery life promised by Garmin for this watch in smartwatch mode is up to 7 days and when you use it in GPS mode, the battery will last up to 13 hours.

Even though the battery life stated above is promised by the manufacturer, it might vary based on the usage and selected performance mode. One of the users has commented that in GPS watch, the battery holds power less than the promised time. However, it is still better than Apple Watch.


How Long Does This Watch Last Overall?

To this question, I should answer that when you use it as per the recommended specifications, it will last for long with you. The right charging, recharging and the right use of its features will ensure the best performance of the watch for a longer period.


What’s Included With the Purchase of the Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS Multisport Smartwatch?

In the Box, you will, of course, get Vivoactive 3 and along with it you will get a data/charging cable. Also, Garmin would have provided your box with the essential manuals.

However, you will not get some items compatible with this watch from Garmin, but they are not included and you will have to get them separately under different categories like apps, bands, sensors, cycling accessories, heart rate monitors, cables and chargers.

To sum up, Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS can take your fitness to a new level for sure!


Extra Reading

(links open in a new tab)

The TOP 10 Best Cheap Triathlon Watches | post | TriathlonsWay
Is a Cheap Triathlon Watch Worth It? | post | TriathlonsWay
Do You Need a Triathlon Watch? | post | TriathlonsWay
How Does a Triathlon Work? | post | TriathlonsWay
Why Get Into a Triathlon? | post | TriathlonsWay
Benefits of a Tri Watch | post | TriathlonsWay
What Is a Triathlon? | post | TriathlonsWay
Triathlon Safety | post | TriathlonsWay


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