Garmin Vivoactive 3 Smart Watch Review

Back in January 2019 I decided to purchase a new Garmin watch. I wanted to use it for a good length of time to give a proper review (though I hadn’t planned on leaving it this long!).

For a start – why Garmin?
I was using a Garmin 220 and I like the Garmin interface. I’d also bought a second hand Garmin step tracker / hr monitor that had notifications on (can’t remember the model), to see if I liked having those functions. I’d decided to stick with Garmin, but wasn’t sure on model.

What features did I want?

  • GPS run tracking
  • Wrist based HR
  • Smart notifications
  • Elevation

Would be nice to have

  • Sleep tracking
  • Touch screen
  • Garmin pay
  • Nicer looking than the 220 as I would be wearing it all the time

All of this brought me to the Vivoactive 3. I didn’t go for the music version as I always have my phone with me anyway.

What do I think of it?
Overall I love it and am very pleased with it.

The run tracking is really easy to get to and start. I don’t have auto pause on, I do have auto lap. I’m a bit of a stats person so I like looking at my mile times / how my pace has been over all etc etc. I’ve found the heart rate tracking really good too, and tend to monitor my resting heart rate as an indication of health too.

Love the smart notifications! I was worried that they would make me look at my phone more but it has had the opposite effect. A quick glance at my wrist and I know if I can ignore the notification or if it needs attention. It is also really good for when I need my phone on silent (in the office / meetings etc) as the watch vibrates meaning I don’t miss anything important.

Garmin pay has been good too. I fairly regularly visit London with work and always run while I’m there – having the ability to pay with my watch means I don’t have to think about taking a bank card and I always have the option of jumping on the tube / on a bus if I need to. In the current situation of trying to be contactless it has been great too.

Touchscreen is really convenient and makes it very easy to use – no remembering which button to press.

I think it looks nice! I do wear it all the time, including when I’m in the office for work (not at the moment). I’ve added a picture below so that you can see the size on my wrist, knowing that is something that women particularly want to know. Note that I have pretty small wrists, but it looks fine.

Any bad points?
Elevation. It is currently completely wrong on the elevation tracking. I’ve tried calibrating it several times and it hasn’t made any difference. This is frustrating me more and more.

Touchscreen (yes this was in the good bits too) – it is very sensitive so I find I need to have the lock screen on, but would like to not have it locking all the time for convenience.

Would I recommend it?
Yes I would. It isn’t basic, but it isn’t the most advanced. I probably don’t use many of the features as I don’t do lots of different activities, but the ones I do use I like.

I may have had this watch for over a year, but I’ve only just worked out that even though it isn’t the music version I can control the music playing on my phone via the watch. This is brilliant as I listen to music whilst running and often want to skip a track – this means I don’t have to take my phone out to do so 🙂

Garmin Vivoactive 3


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