Garmin VivoActive 3 brings new design, interface and features

Latest smartwatch features Garmin Pay plus tech from higher-end options

Garmin has today announced its Vivoactive 3 smartwatch, bringing NFC payments as well as a fresh, clean design, new controls and an updated user interface.

Garmin VivoActive 3 specs

To start, here’s a quick run down of the key specs of the new smartwatch:

  • Lens: Corning Gorilla Glass
  • Bezel: Stainless steel
  • Case: Reinforced polymer or stainless steel
  • Strap: Sillicone
  • Size: 43.4 x 43.4 x 11.7mm
  • Waterproof: Rated for swimming only
  • Screen: Sunlight visible, 1.2” diameter, 240x240px touchscreen
  • Battery life, GPS mode: 13 hours (claimed)
  • Battery life, ‘Smart mode’: Up to 7 days
  • Memory; up to 14 days of activity tracking
  • Sensors; GPS, GLONASS, Garmin Elevate HR monitor, altimeter, compass, accelerometer, thermometer
  • Connectivity; Bluetooth, ANT+

A full breakdown of the features can be found on the Garmin website.

New ambidextrous design

The watch is far less chunky than the outgoing model
The watch is far less chunky than the outgoing model

The Garmin Vivoative 3 presents a radical design departure from the boxy, dare we say it, rather clunky looking Vivoactive 2, with the new watch featuring a circular metal bezel and a premium looking silicone strap.

The case is available in either black or silver with the strap coming in black or white.

The main page features a watch and 'gauges' showing how much progress you've made towards your fitness goals
The main page features a watch and 'gauges' showing how much progress you've made towards your fitness goals

The Vivoactive is almost entirely controlled via its touchscreen, with only one button on the exterior of the case to speak of.

The display can be flipped, so you can wear the watch on either your left or right arm, with the watch straps being detachable to suit whatever orientation you prefer. Flipping of the display and most other settings can be controlled via the Garmin Connect mobile app.

New controls, updated user interface

There is also a new control area on the outside edge of the case that Garmin is calling Side Swipe. This small, ribbed surface offers haptic feedback and is designed to be an easier way to scroll through menus during training.

The watch’s user interface has been slightly modified to reflect these changes, but we reckon it’ll a pretty easy transition for those accustomed to how Garmin’s other products work.

Screens can be customised to include the metrics you're interested in
Screens can be customised to include the metrics you're interested in

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 features two styles of customisable pages — one with two fields and the other four. These can be customised via the watch itself, but it’s not totally clear whether these can also be modified via the Garmin Connect app yet.

Leave your wallet at home with Garmin Pay

The watch now includes NFC connectivity, so you can pay for your trendy post-ride beverage without having to reach into your wallet or for your phone. This isn’t a groundbreaking feature; the Fitbit Ionic and Apple Watch both offer contactless payment, but it is a first for Garmin, and it's a welcome addition.

Right now, Garmin Pay is only available on the Vivoactive 3, though we suspect it'll make it into the next iterations of Garmin's other smartwatches, and perhaps some of its fitness bands, too.

Trickle-down tech

Ever wanted to quantify just how stressed out you are?
Ever wanted to quantify just how stressed out you are?

The Vivosmart 3 includes Garmin's new optical HR sensor
The Vivosmart 3 includes Garmin's new optical HR sensor

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 sees some trickle-down tech from the brand’s more expensive watches, including VO2Max estimation, stress monitoring, fitness age estimation, the new Garmin Element optical HR sensor and more.

Like the new Edge 1030, you can now quickly reply to texts via pre-programmed replies
Like the new Edge 1030, you can now quickly reply to texts via pre-programmed replies

Like we saw with the new Garmin Edge 1030 GPS, you can now reply to messages from a set of pre-programmed responses built into the

As you would expect, the watch has both Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity.

Garmin Vivoactive price and release date

The Garmin Vivoactive is expected to ship towards the end of this year with pricing starting as follows;

  • US: $299
  • UK: £279.99
  • Eur: €329.99
  • Aus: $449

We’ll be getting one of these new watches in for review soon, so well give you our full verdict once we've put some miles on one.

Related Articles

Back to top