Garmin Vivoactive 3 SmartWatch Review – Better Than A FitBit?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

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As a loyal FitBit customer for the past 5+ years, this was not a review I ever expected to be writing!  As much as I enjoyed the FitBit challenges and camaraderie, the main reason I switched to Garmin was that I needed a tracker that was more durable.  My FitBit bands would break or malfunction on average once per year, and I was tired of paying to replace them that often.  A few months ago, I switched to the Garmin Vivoactive 3, and so far have been pleased.  I’ll share the specifics of how it compares to my prior FitBit bands below.

**Note: I have not received compensation of any kind from Garmin for this review, and I’m just sharing my honest feedback.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 SmartWatch Review.png

What I Like About Garmin’s Vivoactive 3

  • Water resistant – I’m not an avid swimmer, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve jumped in a lake or a pool and forgot to take off my Fitbit.  It’s nice to have a tracker that won’t get ruined in the water.  Some versions of FitBit ARE water resistant to a certain depth, but my Alta HR was not.
  • Effective alarm – Loud enough to wake me up but not too obnoxious.  Option to snooze is a bonus.
  • Activity tracking variety – Swimming, biking, running, paddleboarding, etc.  Garmin seems to encourage a wide variety of activity as far as movement goals instead of just basic step goals.  It also graphs your resting heart rate to show how your fitness has (hopefully) improved.
  • Touch screen display – It shows calls, texts, weather and calendar reminders.  You can personalize the face of the watch as well, which is nice to make it your own.
  • Adaptive goals – With FitBit, goals are static and based on what you set.  The Vivoactive keeps up with your daily activity and pushes you to do a little more each day.
  • Menstrual Cycle Tracking –  I love that it gives me customized nutritional and fitness advice based on what stage of my menstrual cycle I’m in and provides reminders of when my period will start.
  • Free Training –  I have utilized the 5k training program which you can completely personalize and set goals based on what time you want to achieve and when your next race is.

What I Dislike About Garmin’s Vivoactive 3

  • Challenges –  This was a huge selling point of FitBit for me.  I’m quite competitive, so joining step challenges with friends each week kept me motivated.  On my Garmin, their challenge interface is not as intuitive and was harder for me to join/invite friends.  I don’t know if not as many people use their challenge function or if it’s just that most of the people I know don’t use them.
  • Price point – It’s definitely more of an investment than the most expensive Fitbit if you buy direct from Garmin.  If you buy on Amazon you can definitely save some money. My hope is that it will last at least 3 years and be a worthwhile purchase to make up for my normal schedule of buying about 3 FitBits in that timespan when they broke each year!

Overall, I’ve enjoyed my Vivoactive 3 and its capabilities and I believe we will have a long and happy life together.

Do you wear a smartwatch or fitness tracker?  Let me know which one in the comments!  If you’re wondering if you can justify the cost of any of these trackers, you may want to check out my post about How To Monetize Your Movement.

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Until next time, thanks for reading!



  1. I wear the Garmin Vivoactive HR

    I love all of its features, mostly. It does start notifying me when battery is low. Battery burns up faster when I’ve used the GPS more on it.
    Love the heart rate monitor and tracking with it

    I do not like, but have no choice to use, is the strength/weight lifting app.
    The reps are wrong more than they are right. Its frustrating. I use it more to keep track of my activity time. It does have built in rest times between sets which sometimes frustrates me although its not a bad thing. I do love how many activities it tracks which is why I started with the first Garmin Vivoactive hr a couple years ago.
    Of course I also like all the other features like getting notifications and calls on it.

    Overall it’s been a good watch. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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