Garmin has been kicking major booty in the wearable tech space for a while now. There line of GPS watches continues to grow with different features and styles. We review & compare two of their newest ones: Vivosmart HR vs Vivofit 3

vivosmart hr vs vivofit 3


a side by side comparison

I spent the last three days trying to figure out which one of these new Garmin running watches I am going to upgrade to. So instead of keeping all my research to myself, here you go. My detailed description of these new running watches.

Garmin entered the wearable market early enough before other manufacturers even thought of putting GPS in the hands of regular people. This wearable strategy focuses on purpose-built devices to help consumers measure and enhance daily life activities like cycling, walking, running, golfing or simply increasing activity. They have announced the new Vivosmart HR and Vivofit 3 devices. I bring you the detailed review and comparison of the two Vivosmart HR vs Vivofit 3 – Deciding Factors as well as general differences.

Battery Life:  5 day max

Features: With Calorie Counter, With Sleep Tracker, Water Resistant, Bluetooth

Colors: Black, Imperial Purple, Midnight Blue

  • Heart Rate Monitor,
  • Pedometer

Rating via reviews:

Battery Life:  12 month max

Features: With Calorie Counter, With Sleep Tracker, Water Resistant, For Swimming, Bluetooth

Colors: Black, Camo, Style Collection - Gabrielle, White

  • Pedometer
  • Heart Rate Monitor

Rating via reviews:


This new device came out in 2016 and is designed to be worn 24/7. It has a water resistant design, and the battery can last a year. It is personalizable with so many eye-catching accessory bands that are easy to interchange. Several changes have been made including the slim design, smaller display; however, the whole device looks bulky.

It features the Move IQ and Intensity Minutes; this makes the tracker able to measure the movement length in both moderate and intense activities. The Move IQ recognizes certain activities like running, walking, swimming and biking. You no longer need to push button to tell it what activity you are up to.

With this device, you get all the benefits of a fitness tracker including the number of steps taken, the calories you have burned, the distance traveled and the amount of sleep at night, you can view all of these on the tracker’s backlit display. It also features stopwatch function and an audible alert for when you have been inactive for too long. Even though it is an entry-level tracker, it is still a great device though it lacks a vibration function meaning it cannot be used as a wake-up tool in silent mode. This video below shows some of its features.


With the launch of this device, Garmin has officially joined the crowded market of writs based heart rate fitness trackers. It was launched in 2015 and includes activity and sleep tracking, heart rate monitor and smart notifications. It adds an internal optical HR sensor based on seven day rolling average. It also includes a barometer to count stairs and the intensity minutes.

Its battery is lithium rechargeable with a five-day cycle. This is slightly lower than the seven days battery life the original Vivosmart tracker offered, though it compares well with the competition. All of these accurate data is displayed on a crisp new screen. This video below gives a visually engaging review of this marvelous fitness device.

Vivosmart HR vs Vivofit 3 – Deciding Factors


Right from the onset, you will notice the differences in the name and physical features. The Vivosmart Hr is a bit wider, has an internal optical heart rate sensor on the back side. It also uses the elevation sensor to count the number of steps you take.

JayBird Freedom Bluetooth Earbuds


Vivosmart HR

This device is thicker than the previous version, but there is a reduction in width. Nathan Spendelow says that the strap for the Vivosmart HR has a proper buckle that secures it for any physical activity and keeps it tight enough to ensure the heart rate monitor works without squeezing your wrist too much.

The Vivofit 3, on the other hand, was designed to be the smallest GPS watch ever hence its smaller size. It feels comfortable to wear especially with the inward rotating watch band pins; this allows smaller wrists to wear it without feeling the hard plastic like some watches do. It comes with three wrist bands choices that can easily be interchanged.


According to DC Rainmaker, Vivosmart HR has rotated the screen sideways from the previous design but with some tweaks to make the display have improved contrast. The touch screen on top of the display has been improved making faster and more responsive while also improving the look of the display right below it. It can be swiped left or right to reveal plenty of information and functionalities.

Vivosmart HR

There is also an ambient light sensor that changes backlight brightness depending on the lighting conditions around. The screen is always on making it easy to check the time without the need to touch the screen. However, the Vivofit 3 lacks backlight making it difficult to use in poorly light conditions like early in the morning or when on a late evening run.

24 Hour Tracking

Vivosmart HR comes with all the goodness of Connect IQ app that tracks your daily activities and offers a 24-hour functionality in addition to tracking intense activities. When you climb stairs, the internal altimeter will how it on your tracker as well as the Garmin Connect app too.


The Vivosmart HR is built with a very reactive and fast touch screen making it easy to navigate around the watch functionalities.

Vivofit 3 on the other hand has a small screen with an analog clock face screen with different IU designs.


Vivosmart HR just like its name is built with an intelligent app that allows it to detect different types of activities like paddle-boarding, skiing, snowboarding and rowing in addition to running, walking, resting and sleeping. These activities are detected automatically without the need to select on the device.

Vivofit 3 is not left behind either even though it is a basic device; it comes with auto activity detection for running, cycling, swimming and elliptical training among others. It also has intensity minute metrics to measure the intense sessions and differentiates them from regular exercises

Weather Resistance

The Vivosmart HR is rated as waterproof meaning you can wear it completely submerged in water without any adverse effect on the device. The Vivofit 3, on the other hand, is water resistant to mean it can withstand water splash, rain, shower and sweat, however, it is not recommended for swimming or any activity that will require complete submersion in water.


Both gadgets are fairly light weight weighing below the average fitness tracker at 44 grams or 1.5 ounces.

1.5 Ounces


Vivosmart  HR has an ability to re-broadcast the heart rate sensor over ANT+ making it possible for Garmin Edge and other devices to see the data. It is compatible with ANT+ straps for activities like cycling. This device has a better ease of syncing with other devices compared to theVivofit3.

The Vivofit 3, on the other hand, allows for the manual creation of standalone workouts. It also can connect with ANT+ HR straps or activities that don’t involve swimming. It does however require pressing just a few buttons for example time remaining then step distance then calories and you are good to go.

Platform compatibility

Marko Maslakovic says that the Garmin Vivosmart Hr is compatible with OS X, Windows, Android, iOS and Windows Phone . However the Vivofit3 is only compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows phone.

Additional features

Whereas the Vivosmart HR has goal setting, online portal, smartphone notifications, social integration, alarm clock, vibrate alarm, clock, and reminders, Vivofit 3 only features Alarm clock, clock and reminders.

Battery type

Vivosmart HR has a rechargeable lithium battery that lasts an average of 5 days while the Vivofit 3 features a button cell battery lasting one year of daily use.

5 Days
Between Charges

The Vivofit 3 has not added many features since it is designed as a basic fitness tracker; however, the Vivosmart HR comes loaded with plenty of goodness including:

  • The ambient sensor that allows the display brightness to change depending on prevailing light situation.
  • A feature that uses wrist turn to turn on the backlight.
  • A dedicated physical lap button.
  • The processor RAM has slightly been increased to make it faster in performance.
  • While swimming, the HR function is not active.
  • The GPS battery life has been increased to 13 hours from the 8 hours is the previous version.
  • The optical HR sensor has seen some upgrades making it more accurate and sensitive.
  • It features “my last workout” widget as well as “my day” widget to help you assess your performance and calories burnt.


The two fitness trackers are all great performers depending on individual requirements. The Vivofit 3 may not have as many features as the Vivosmart HR, however, it serves its purpose well. Its price is also very fair as low as $80 a piece and you are sure of the quality and durability. According to fitness trackers, the Vivosmart HR cost around $100.

The Vivosmart HR being slightly new in the market, is expected to generate one or two bug issues but that is normal and are usually corrected; however the features and performance so far are very impressive and covers almost every angle a person would like covered during a day of activity and inactivity alike.

According to shufflerun none of the devices supports a multisport mode, you have to stop one activity and start another. But the Vivosmart HR virtually does that for you by managing any changes you make in activity and intensity. When it comes to voting, I will choose the Vivosmart HR due to its comprehensive coverage of activities, smart detection of activities, heart rate monitor, and syncing abilities.


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