Garmin Vivofit 3 Review

Garmin Vivofit 3 ReviewThe changes that the Garmin Vivofit 3 makes to stand out seem like steps backwards, but the overall features of the installment to the Vivofit line stay true to accurate and helpful basic activity tracking. It’s a good fitness tracker for those with low to moderate activity levels and just want a little extra insight to their exercise, or those hoping to get motivation to get fit. Helpful alerts and customized goals ensure you stay on track with your health, but the poor design choices have made some think the prior versions are better purchases. If you’re a serious athlete, this might not be the best fit for you, since the features are all very bare-boned and generalized.


  • Year-long battery life
  • Inexpensive
  • Accurate data
  • Waterproof
  • Always-on display
  • Great automatic goal tracking


  • Screen is too small
  • No smartwatch features
  • Only one button for navigation
  • Limited features and lacks a heart-rate monitor
  • No built-in GPS


The biggest different that jumps out about the Garmin Vivofit 3 that makes it unique from the first two bands in the line is the design style. It’s very different from the way the other bands look, mostly due to the reduction in screen size. Garmin was probably going for something more sleek, elegant, and stylish, but now it’s just hard to read the information all packed into the small screen. Though the band is slimmer, it is still pretty bulky and unoriginal compared to other models on the market with the same basic tracking features. For a company who mainly produces powerful running and multisport fitness trackers and smart watches, Garmin didn’t do too bad, and it even comes with a collection of interchangeable bands by designers. The new diamond pattern imprinted on the standard band is a nice little change, too, though subtle.

Compared to most of Garmin’s other lines of fitness trackers, the Garmin Vivofit 3 is pretty light on features, and is rendered as a basic tracking device. It doesn’t have any sort of smartwatch capabilities, not even silent alarms or vibrations, which is a disappointment. However, with such a small screen, it’s probably best this way. What the fitness tracker does offer is accurate data on the basic tracking needs that are pretty much standard to any tracker on the market.

Garmin probably didn’t intend this fitness tracker to be used by serious athletes who require extensive data on their training. Instead, they are trying to appeal to those lighter on activity who exercise a little more casually and don’t need in-depth metrics and analysis and features galore hanging out on their wrists. It’s not a bad idea, and the Garmin Vivofit 3 really does the job well for the targeted audience. The information it gives you is reliable, and the in-depth insight offers more than other models by other brands on the market, and the low price makes it easier to purchase for those who don’t necessarily need a fitness tracker.


The features of the Garmin VivofitĀ 3

Garmin has always been one of the best at delivering accurate data, and that stays true in the Garmin Vivofit 3. It lacks a lot of the things that more powerful watches provide, but what it does do is helpful and reliable. The built-in accelerometer measures your distance for indoor workouts, counts your steps taken daily, and calculates how many calories are burned. All of these are very basic recording features that can be found pretty much in any fitness tracker, but the band was designed to only deliver the basics anyway.

Garmin Vivofit 3 FeaturedEverything that the Garmin Vivofit 3 tracks is automatically synced to the companion app, Garmin Connect. There, you can access all of the information gathered and see it laid out for you in comprehensive reports. It even shows graphs which give information about the sleep tracking feature, showing how many hours you got and where your sleep was the deepest. It doesn’t have as many metrics as other apps from other brands, and the Garmin Connect app has always been a little difficult to navigate, but it does well for this sort of generalized data analysis.

The feature that makes this band stand out the most is the auto-goals and move bar function. Garmin is one of the only software that actually gets to know the user and creates customized step goals that change gradually depending on your success at reaching them. This sort of insightful feature makes the Garmin Vivofit 3 really stand out against it’s competitors, and it’s really great for seeing how you improve overtime and feeling proud of that. The little move bar at the top of the screen fills up the longer you’re inactive, and if you’re stationary for an hour, an audible alert will remind that you need to get moving. Even just a brisk, brief walk will lower the bar and you’ll be good to go.

Another thing that really drives the Garmin Vivofit 3 into being one of the best fitness trackers for basic metrics is the exceptional battery life. Most watches have to be charged every few days, but since this one lacks power sucking functions like notifications and a built-in GPS, you have a year of battery life before needing to manually replace it. Just like a real watch, right? It’s nice not to have another device to remember to charge every so often.


Other options

It’s hard to beat the attractive design of the Fitbit Flex 2 or the Fitbit Alta, so if you’re still wanting something stylish, those are our top suggestions on where to look.

For a smartwatch and more fitness tracking features, the Garmin Vivosmart HR is an excellent choice and has an optical heart-rate monitor instead of the chest strap you can pair up with the Garmin Vivofit 3.