Vivofit 3, the latest version of Garmin’s entry-level activity tracker


[Article updated: August 2023]
Garmin presents its Garmin Vivofit 3 connected bracelet, an improved version of the previous Vivofit 2.

It’s an activity tracker in the entry-level range, with a price tag of under $100. It rivals other low-cost trackers such as the Fitbit Alta, Fitbit Charge or Misfit Ray.

This model stands out for its new feature, the Move IQ. This is a sophisticated piece of software. It automatically detects different activities, such as walking, running or swimming.

Thanks to this function, this tracker can accurately estimate the calories burned during exercise.

Like last year’s predecessor, this tracker does not offer GPS. It offers neither heart rate tracking nor vibration alerts.

It’s a basic activity tracker.

Garmin Vivofit 3: a new facelift

garmin-vivofit-3If you follow the evolution of this range closely, you’ll notice that Garmin Vivofit 3 comes with two important changes.

The first concerns the design, and more specifically the screen.

The latter has shrunk considerably in size since the first version, as has the display resolution.

This is a bit of a step backwards for the brand, since users appreciated the old screen. But apparently, this change comes in response to the new facelift undertaken by the brand.

The brand has always favored substance over form. They’ve always focused on sturdiness, durable design and given little importance to design. But times are changing.

Faced with other rivals who have rethought and perfected their designs, the brand has found itself obliged to rethink its style.

So its designers decided to break away from the austere model of the classic activity tracker. The result is a beautiful, fabulous little object with interchangeable bracelets and a special selection for women.

There’s even a selection by designer Jonathan Adler.

However, the finish of this new model remains more textured. The patterns, too, are far from posing a real threat to FitBit or Misfit. The brand continues to supply additional bracelets, which still look inexpensive.

On a positive note, the strap is lightweight and comfortable to wear. It comes in two sizes (regular and extra large). This makes it easy to adapt to any wrist size.

The new clasp mechanism provides added security.

For those of you who swim, it is waterproof to 5ATM standard. In other words, it’s waterproof to 50 meters without worry.

Above the screen is a single physical button. This is the only way to navigate and explore the tracker’s various functions.

Garmin Vivofit 3: Activity tracking

Garmin Vivofit 3 : Activity trackingWhen it comes to activity tracking, Garmin Vivofit 3 offers basic functionality.

These are the same features found in all basic activity trackers, with the addition of a few little extras.

For example, it counts floors climbed, distance covered and calories burned. It also tracks sleep duration and quality.

The integrated accelerometer can also be used to measure treadmill activity, although accuracy on this point leaves something to be desired.

The absence of heart rate and altimeter tracking means you’ll have to rely on your old cardio band to monitor these measurements.

It automatically records your activities, as well as minutes of intense activity. It also supports Move IQ.

This automatically recognizes the type of activity you’re doing, and allows you to record your statistics via the associated Garmin Connect application.

Tested in practice, this functionality remains basic and limited. In fact, it only records activity duration and start time.

Sleep tracking

This connected bracelet analyzes your sleep. And the results are satisfactory.

The step counter is no less satisfactory. Clearly, the algorithms used in activity trackers differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. Precision too.

At this stage, you just have to make sure that the data collected is not anarchic or far from reality.

Statistical accuracy is, of course, relative for models of this kind.

Activity reminder

On the other hand, the trackers designed by this brand are renowned for their efficiency. They stand out in particular for their motion alert bar.

Once this inactivity bar is full, the tracker sends out a beep to invite you to get moving. Even though the bar is small and unobtrusive, this doesn’t prevent the beep from fulfilling its role as a marvellous alert.

Last but not least, the ability to customize goals according to your progress is a strong point of this new range.

User interface and application

garmin-vivofit-3-user-interface-and-applicationGarmin Connect is a little more complicated to use than the FitBit or Misfit.

This application contains a lot of drop-down menus. This makes it very difficult for a beginner to the world of activity trackers to use.

The instant tab gives a quick overview of the steps you’ve taken and how long you’ve slept. In particular, it allows you to connect to MyFitnessPal to access calorie data.

If you keep swiping, you’ll have access to even more detailed data.

Obviously, we won’t be able to visit every section offered. Some seem unnecessary, such as the Garmin Connect IQ store. This store is specially dedicated to the brand’s high-end products and smartwatches.

Garmin Vivofit 3 also offers the possibility of customizing certain basic functions. These include deactivating the Move alert tones or choosing a different watch interface.

However, the split-screen mode is of little use on such a small screen.

One last point to mention: Garmin Insights.

The manufacturer makes it clear that it’s not enough to record your activity statistics, you have to put them into context.

Hidden away in the settings, this option allows you to receive notifications based on the progress you’ve made and the goal you’ve set.

Let’s face it, it’s not the best in terms of intelligent coaching. But it’s another positive point to add to your account.

On the minus side, it would have been nice if this option were easily accessible.

Autonomy and battery

With this model, you don’t need a cable or any recharging time. This device uses CR1632 batteries, usually found in analog watches.

So you don’t have to worry about getting them from your local store. These batteries relieve the user of the hassle of charging, and offer a fairly long service life.

The manufacturer claims a battery life of 1 year for this model.

Garmin Vivofit 3: Prices and accessories

garmin-vivofit-3-prices-and-accessoriesAvailable online, Garmin Vivofit 3 is on sale on the manufacturer’s official website for $99.99.

Interchangeable wristbands cost between $29.99 and $39.99 and are available in 9 different references.

Other accessories are available from the manufacturer’s official store. These include the storage bag, which costs $15.99, and the belt clip, which costs $29.99.

The prices of the accessories and bracelets are a little high. Apparently, this is the new wave on which all activity tracker manufacturers are surfing.

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