Garmin Vivoactive vs. Fenix 3 – Which One Is Better?


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Fitness wearable devices are now a hot topic in the tech market nowadays. Even big companies such as Apple and Samsung have an offering of their own in this market segment now.

And there weren’t many devices that are worthy of being an alternative to those high-end devices.Well, not until Garmin stepped into the market.

Garmin has reshaped the market by offering a reliable lineup of wearable fitness devices.

Two of the watches that most people fall in confusion are the Vivoactive and the Fenix 3. And, garmin vivoactive vs. fenix 3 is a common topic among all of those people.

Well, if you are one of them, then you will not have to worry anymore because you have just stumbled upon the perfect source. We will make the choosing process an easy task for you.

Garmin Vivoactive vs. Fenix 3 – Comparison

Garmin Vivoactive

Garmin Vivoactive

The manufacturer Garmin stepped into the realm of semi-high-end smartwatches with the introduction of the Vivoactive lineup.

These smart fitness wearables are packed with features and have competitive pricing. With that being said, let us have a look at the pioneer of the lineup.

First of all, let us talk about the display. It comes with an LCD panel that sports the memory-in-pixel technology.

That technology enables it to be highly readable even if the user is staying under direct sunlight.

The resolution of the panel is also up to par with the high-end watches that are out there. It is 205 x 148 pixels.

Feature-wise, it is packed with them. It has built-in sports apps. The apps include biking, running, swimming, and many more.

It can also monitor other activities and will display the organized stats directly on the screen.

The interface of this unit is relatively user-friendly. As the screen has a touch digitizer, you can navigate through each function smoothly.

Garmin completely ditched button navigation with this watch. Instead, they introduced capacity touch buttons on the more intuitive front. However, there is a power button on the side.

As it comes with a Bluetooth chip, it will allow you to pair it up with your smartphone.

After that, all the push notifications will be conveyed to the watch. It can show incoming calls, emails, texts, and it can also display social media push notifications too.

Apart from that, the watch is exceptionally customizable. From watch faces to custom workout plannings to modifying the widgets, you can do it all after connecting it with the ConnectIQ store.

Because of the included GPS and GLONASS sensor, it can provide accurate location data.

Those sensors will also allow you to navigate to a specific location easily.


  • Has a plethora of built-in sports apps
  • Features accurate location sensors
  • Highly customizable
  • Comes with a bright, highly readable display
  • Clean and user-friendly UI


  • Has some connectivity issues
  • Power button gets a bit stiff over time

Garmin Fenix 3

Garmin Fenix 3

The fitness devices that Garmin provided in the market mostly focused on the fitness segment.

But it changed with the introduction of the Fenix lineup of watches. These come with highly capable navigation sensors that make them more of a tool than just a fitness device.

To begin with, it sports the Omni-directional stainless steel antenna. It is accompanied by the latest GPS and GLONASS satellite receptors.

For that reason, it can track and locate the device even when the environment is a bit challenging for the GPS to operate alone.

Apart from that, the display panel has given a substantial upgrade when compared to what Garmin was offering.

It is now a Chroma Display that is 1.2 inches large and has a resolution of 218 x 218. Also, it boasts the memory-in-pixel technology to make it more readable under direct sunlight.

Other than that, it packs a plethora of sensors too. For that reason, it can track and provide data on various fitness training.

It can provide data on the VO2 level, stress level, and many more. You can not only monitor your stats but also will be able to push your limits further using it.

Just like most of the fitness devices that Garmin has, this one is highly customizable too.

After connecting it with the ConnectIQ store, you will be able to modify the watch faces, change the widgets, adjust the app library, and manage the data fields.

It also has different activity profiles. And as it has a higher waterproof rating, you can carry out all the activities in the rain.

It comes with a sizeable battery, which will let it operate for about 20 hours in the GPS mode and up to 6 weeks in the standby mode.


  • Has a remarkably accurate location tracking sensors
  • Waterproof up to 10 ATM
  • Packs a plethora of activity profiles
  • Highly customizable user interface
  • Features a relatively large battery


  • The altimeter tends to malfunction
  • Has a properly inaccurate heart rate monitor

Garmin Vivoactive or Fenix 3 Smartwatch?

Garmin Vivoactive or Fenix 3 Smartwatch

You might think that as both the smartwatches are from the same manufacturer, they will be practically identical.

Well, yes, they are but to some extent. Also, there are many factors that separate them. And the major ones are:


The first thing that will stick out when you look at both watches is the design.

First of all, the Vivoactive sports a fairly back-dated design. It has a boxy body and has a small screen to body ration.

On the other hand, Fenix 3 does look a bit more aesthetically pleasing. It carries a modern round body and has a higher screen to body ratio as well.

Apart from that, the Vivoactive has a body that is of polymer while the Fenix 3 features fiber-reinforced polymer.

Also, the bezel of the Fenix 3 is of stainless steel, which makes it look like a high-end device.

We are not saying that polymer is not that durable and all. What we are trying to imply is that the Fenix 3 will look better on hands. It seems a bit premium when compared to the Vivoactive.


The other factor where both devices differ a lot is the display. While both of them have the same technology embedded on the panel, which is the memory-in-pixel, the panel is different.

The Vivoactive has an LCD panel while the Fenix 3 sports a Chroma display.
On the other hand, the resolution of the Fenix 3 is much higher than the Vivoactive.

It is 205 x 148 for the Vivoactive and 218 x 218 pixels for the Fenix. That means texts are going to look much sharper and crisper on the Vivoactive.


Both devices are waterproof. But the Fenix 3 is more waterproof than the Vivoactive.

Now, what do we mean by that? Well, the Vivoactive has a waterproof rating of 5 ATM, whereas the Fenix 3 has 10 ATM. That means diving deep in a swimming pool will not be an issue for that.

Battery Life

Last but not least, battery life is a bit different for both watches. The Vivoactive can last for about 35 days in standby mode.

On the other hand, the Fenix can last for up to 42 days in standby mode.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the battery life like for Fenix 3 in GPS mode?

In GPS or training mode, the Fenix 3 will last for up to 20 hours.

And if you decide to keep it in watch mode, it can hold up for up to 6 weeks.

Are customizable widgets available for the Fenix 3?

Yes, customizable widgets are available for Fenix 3. You will have to connect with the Connet IQ store first if you want to make any customization on your watch.

How accurate is the GPS sensor of the Vivoactive?

The GPS sensor that Vivoactive sports is pretty accurate.

However, it does struggle a bit when the weather condition is not that normal.

Apart from that, if the weather is dry and sunny, it will be able to pick up your exact location within a matter of seconds.

Is Garmin Pay available for the Fenix 3?

Unfortunately, Garmin pay is not available for the Fenix.

For enjoying what Garmin Pay has to offer, you will have to get a Vivoactive 3 or something that came after that.

Are there any replaceable straps available for the Vivoactive?

Yes, you will be able to find replaceable straps for almost all of the fitness wearables that Garmin is providing in the market.


According to us, we think that the Fenix 3 will be a better purchase when it is compared to the Vivoactive.

It is modern and is better in most of the factors. With that said, we would like to wrap up our take on the topic garmin vivoactive vs. fenix 3 here by hoping that you stay healthy and active.


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