In today’s post, we’ll be writing about the Popular Garmin Vivosmart 3 review. It does not matter if you’re a complete novice in exercising, or a former fitness addict, Garmin’s new Vivosmart 3; with its groovy features and wellbeing kits; can greatly help you achieve a fitter lifestyle. From its rep counting to its stress breathing exercises, calorie burning, and step tracking tools, this tiny smartwatch will enable you to achieve greater results.
As you might already have known, sticking with a fitness schedule when you have kids is nearly impossible – besides, if you can’t snatch 5 minutes to peacefully take a shower, how in God’s name can you ever cope with a workout?
Now, as a busy mom of 2, squeezing out sometime between kindergarten clubs, work, and everyday routine of life only indicates that there is little to no time left to indulge my desire for workout and exercise.
That doesn’t mean that I am not on the go, however, you are most likely to find me hurrying on the school run these days, rushing to collect the shopping and squeezing in an hour’s workout at the gym when the entire household is still asleep. With a little time at my disposal, I wanted to figure out exactly how active I was being on a daily basis, and probably more crucially how more active I needed to be.
In actual sense, with the Garmin Vivosmart 3, the company is gradually shifting its attention back to the fitness tracker with wellness at its heart. It’s focused is less on the sport than the GPS-toting Garmin Vivosport, with guided breathing exercises, stress tracking, rep counting, sleep monitoring joining exercise detection, and of course a heart rate monitor.
This wearable is clearly built to compete with the popular Fitbit Alta HR. It does leave the GPS as a result, sadly limiting its potential as a running device. It also very affordable, so Garmin is typically targeting the lower end of the fitness tracking industry.
With that out of the way, let’s quickly and deeply analyze the Garmin Vivosmart 3 to learn more about its numerous features:
Garmin Vivosmart 3 Review | The Watch Design
Vivosmart 3s’ design is very functional, but not its most powerful suit. The textured rubber strap has a more uni-body appearance than its antecedents, making way for a smoother black strip down its middle that camouflages the screen. When turned off, the monochrome display becomes totally invisible, but it’s a bit small when switched on and stops short of the curve.
Whilst it might not be necessarily too motivating to look at, it’s waterproof enough for swimming and also insanely comfortable. Sadly, it equally attracts dust and stains like they’re becoming obsolete – it’s seriously challenging to keep this stuff clean.
Furthermore, you have two versions to choose from which include small/medium, or large, but its uni-body design means you’re trapped with whichever size you pick, so ensure you choose the right one for you. Aside from that, you can equally choose in a choice of purple or black, but the former comes in the smaller of the 2 sizes only.
One other difference, however, is that the display is no more always-on, but needs either a raise or a tap on the wrist to wake up. Good enough, it’s strikingly bright, even with the noontime sun showering on it. But it’s equally one of the Vivosmart 3’s weakness, as it can be annoyingly unresponsive, and it happens mostly on the “raise to wake” gesture.
Essentially, you can skip through the different screens with a swipe up or down of your finger, and then a little tap to see more information. For instance, with data such as stair climbs and step count, you can simply tap to see your score for the previous day, or by tapping on heart rate, you will be given a tiny readout for the past hour alongside your lowest and highest readings.
So far we’ve discovered that it misinterprets taps for swipes quite often, or just doesn’t respond at all sometimes. Moreover, you’ve got to be bold and direct in your movements, although it seems to get worse when water gets involved. For example, we were caught up by the rain at one time and had to fight with the screen to get it to do what we wanted.
Unfortunately, it does not look good as the Garmin Alta HR, the device it feels like it’s directly competing with.
Garmin Vivosmart Review | Strength & Running Exercises
Can Garmin Vivosmart 3 stand up as a strong running device without GPS? There was only one way to know. Daily heart rate tracking is already tested and trusted – but high-intensity activity is yet another thing to consider, and that’s where heart rate often falls down.
But before you access the tracking quality, you can either start activities automatically or manually. You can also set the parameters for auto-tracking right in the app – Mine is set to track walking once it notices I’ve been walking for about 10-minutes, and also to measure running after 2-minutes. Basically, with a long press and then a few swipes down to the tiny running person, you can equally start a run on the device itself.
Then a few of taps later (excluding any miss-swipes) you are away. When working out, you can equally decide what information should be displayed on the screen by going into the “Activity Options” in the app. Once you tap on Run, you’ll be able to select where you want different metrics to appear such as heart rate zones, timer, reps, and heart rate.
So first of all, what’s the performance of distance like? I used Garmin Vivosmart 3 for a couple of runs and compared it with Garmin Fenix 5X, Wahoo Tickr chest strap, Fitbit Alta HR (which equally lacks GPS), and Apple Watch Series 2. On a single short run, I discovered that Garmin Vivosmart 3 read 0.23 miles higher than the Fenix 5X, and 0.2 miles higher than the Apple Watch. However, on another 5K run, it performed much better, coming within 0.18-miles of all the other watches. Essentially, by default Garmin Vivosmart 3 will estimate your stride length but you can equally manually adjust it in the app, and I’d suggest you do so for the best accuracy.
Interestingly, distance tracking accuracy came as a little of a surprise just like the fact that Garmin abandoned GPS on the Vivosmart. It’s obviously aware that its accelerometer data was up to snuff out, or at least better. You might notice a little more difference in the results if you take the Vivosmart 3 out for a 3-hour run, but otherwise, it does a good job.
It’s quite unfortunate that Garmin does not allow you to make use of the GPS on your smartphone like Fitbit does with the Blaze and Charge 2. It appears like a little thing to include that could make a bunch of difference.
Coming to the heart rate, of all the devices we tested, Garmin Vivosmart 3 had the biggest propensity to jump high on heart rate. For instance, on one of the runs, it hit a max of 170 bpm and an average of 150 bpm, whilst the chest strap came out at 146 bpm and 166 bpm. The other sports watches came in between.
However, on another run, the Vivosmart 3 arrived at 154 bpm and a max of 184 bpm on average, whilst the chest strap hit a max of 170 bpm and an average of 151 bpm. On that comparison, the Apple Watch series 2 averaged highest of all the other watches with 156 bpm, but it’s apparent that the Vivosmart 3 have a tendency of jumping a little too high sometimes.
Apparently, you won’t get a map after the run in the app without GPS, but you can still examine your other metrics such as pace, heart rate, and speed on both the app and online Garmin website.
Furthermore, I’ve had the app crash on or freeze up me too many times, and I equally have a problem with some of its layout. It’s certainly not the most intuitive to use, and I always find myself gazing at the loading screen while going from menu to menu.
Apart from running, Garmin Vivosmart 3 is fortified for some strength exercises such as weightlifting and more. I warmed up my muscles and gave this a turn, and it’s excellently accurate provided you’re keeping your extensions full and nice. Sometimes, it failed to pick up reps once I stopped thinking about it and allow my form to loosen a bit. You’re required to touch the screen to let it know you’re taking a break between sets, before tapping it again to begin the next set.
Vivosmart Review | Activity tracking
Furthermore, one other way Garmin is presenting this device as more of a wellbeing and health tool is in stress tracking. It basically measures your heart rate variability to figure out your stress level, with a score between 0 and 100. Moreover, you can equally swipe left to view a little graph of the levels of your stress over the past one hour – and if you feel a little bent down beneath the weight of it all, you can simply kick off “Relax Timer,” which is the guided breathing feature of Garmin.
I’ve discovered that the stress tracking is more of a hit than miss. It’s done an excellent job of grabbing some of my most stressful moments, however, there have been a few times when I was calm and it’s read highly – and also some stressful moments where it said I was fine. But I think you’ll get way more value in checking out your graphs at the end of the day, either in the online portal or in the app, to have an overall idea of exactly how stressed you are daily.
For instance, you may experience less stress on time spent outside of the office than during work hours, or perhaps your mornings tend to be less stressful than your afternoons. Although I don’t really find the guided breathing exercises all that useful – I do feel like taking a breather every now and then, but I often prefer doing it without the use of technology). Clearly, some people may find it handier to get a push to take some time out to relax, however.
Interestingly, VO2 Max is yet another new feature on this device, and a feature we saw Fitbit introduce on the Charge 2 series. This function is actually being used on some of the other Garmin’s devices for some time now, and it’s simply a measurement of the maximum oxygen volume your body can exploit during exercise. And when accurate, it can be a better stat to use in measuring your fitness. Although, you’ll be required to do a little workout, be that a run or a walk, before Garmin can properly gauge your level.
These days, my VO2 Max score on Fitbit is 54. I began in the mid-40s on Garmin’s platform, but it has crawled up towards Fitbit’s score as I’ve used it the more. Therefore, expect to see an increase in your score over a period of time as well. And yes, it’s unlikely this will be 100 percent correct outside of a lab with all the appropriate equipment, but it’s indeed a better way of evaluating your fitness in relation to other people in your gender and age bracket – and Garmin will let you know your position amongst your peers in the app.
Vivosmart 3’s Battery life
According to Garmin, we should expect 5-days usage from this device before charging, yet I was able to use it sparingly for 6 days. While I applaud myself for this, it still goes to explain how small exercise I was able to do over the week!
Interestingly, charging the device was fast and easy to do as I simply plugged the cable into my everyday USB charger. Also, it was exciting to notice that even when I was mid-workout and the battery became low, the device didn’t stop working. Rather, the screen just locked while letting me continue to track until I finished.
Comparison Vivosmart 3 to Others Similar Devices
When I made up my mind to buy a sports watch, Garmin devices was exactly what came top of my list. However, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t consider other available products on the market. I was specifically enchanted by the Fitbit Charge 2 in terms of affordability and appearance.
Similar to Garmin Vivosmart HR, the Fitbit Charge 2 put functionality ahead of fashion and while it provided a much better analysis as regards to sleep tracking, the single fact that it wasn’t waterproof was a real showdown for me. Because of my frantic lifestyle, I was looking for a smartwatch that could be on my wrist all day, every day regardless of what activities I was engaging in.
Furthermore, another strong rival was the Vivosmart HR+, which happens to be the “elder brother” to Garmin Vivosmart 3. The disparity between both watches are insignificant, but if you are a serious and determined runner and understand your leading light from a streaker, then the need for an inbuilt GPS is perhaps key.
However, if you would rather prefer people didn’t keep checks on you, then Garmin Vivosmart 3 with its extra touchscreen, more than suits. Additionally, the exciting news is that the Vivosmart 3 is also the more affordable choice.
Watch a short video review of Garmin VivoSmart 3 Review:
Conclusion about Garmin Vivosmart 3 Review
Garmin Vivosmart 3 is perfect for fitness lovers who want a simple tracking with smart notifications. The device is a great choice for those who include strength training into their schedule and spend the majority of their time at the gym.
With the absence of GPS, the wristwatch is not the best option for serious runners who are passionate about tracking exact mileage, but it can undeniably otherwise help active individuals keep a check on their progress, stress level, and health data.
A thinner design, better heart rate monitoring, stress level tracking, and new metrics such as fitness age and VO2 Max, make the Vivosmart 3 a worthy upgrade.
This brings us to the end of the Garmin Vivosmart 3 review. I believe by now, you’ve been given every information you need to decide if this is the right smartwatch for you or not. Therefore, you need to make that decision now, and if you have any question regarding the watch, feel free to ask us in the comment section.