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Garmin's Vívoactive 3 is a more well-rounded GPS smartwatch

The third generation of Garmin's Vívoactive moves to a circular design and has more robust smartwatch capabilities, including Garmin Pay.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Kobo e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Headphones, Bluetooth speakers, mobile accessories, Apple, Sony, Bose, e-readers, Amazon, glasses, ski gear, iPhone cases, gaming accessories, sports tech, portable audio, interviews, audiophile gear, PC speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
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Garmin's new smartwatch comes in three color options.


The first thing you'll notice about Garmin's new Vívoactive 3 GPS smartwatch is that it's round not square or rectangular like previous Vívoactive models. It's also packed with features, including a heart-rate monitor, 15 built-in indoor and outdoor sports apps and the company's new contactless-payment solution Garmin Pay. Additional free apps, widgets and watch faces can be downloaded via Garmin's Connect IQ store.

The Vívoactive 3 is available now in three color options: Black/stainless, white/stainless ($300) and black/slate for ($330). There's no word yet on UK and Australian pricing, but we'll add it as soon as we get it. 

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Garmin is marketing Vívoactive 3 as the "Smartwatch that lets you pay and play." (See YouTube video below). Enabled by FitPay, Garmin Pay works like other contactless payment solutions from Apple, Samsung and others, supporting Visa and Mastercard debit and credit cards from major issuing banks. (Go here for a complete list of supporting issuing banks). 

The Vívoactive 3 is fully waterproof and features Garmin's high-resolution Chroma touchscreen display, with a new Side Swipe control that the company says, "makes for quick scrolling and swift navigation of menus, widgets and stats." Battery life is rated at up to 7 days in smartwatch mode and 13 hours in GPS mode.

We'll have a full review of the Vívoactive 3 as soon as soon as we get a review sample. In the meantime, here's a look at its key specs and features:

  • High-resolution Chroma touchscreen display
  • Up to 7 days of battery life (13 hours in GPS mode)
  • Can be worn while swimming or showering (waterproof)
  • 15 built-in sports apps including new profiles for cardio, yoga, elliptical, stair stepper and strength training
  • 24/7 heart-rate monitoring
  • With Garmin Pay, the Vívoactive 3 smartwatch lets you make purchases on the go, no phone or wallet required
  • High-end fitness monitoring tools such as VO2 Max and Fitness Age and all-day stress tracking
  • Thousands of watch faces, widgets, data fields and apps available to download for free from the Garmin Connect IQ store
  • Includes LiveTrack5, a feature that alerts designated family members and friends where you are during your workouts in real time using the built-in GPS
  • Automatically syncs with the Garmin Connect mobile app throughout the day to save stats
  • You can control music on your phone from the Vívoactive 3, send an alert to locate a misplaced smartphone and remote control a Garmin VIRB camera (sold separately)
  • Available in black/stainless, white/stainless ($300) and black/slate for ($330)