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Wearable Tech

Garmin's Vívosmart 3 may give Fitbit a run for its money

Garmin's next-generation Vívosmart activity tracker has a built-in heart-rate monitor and new fitness monitoring tools, including VO2 max and all-day stress tracking.

The Vívosmart 3 comes in two color options and costs $140.


If you've been keeping tabs on Garmin's Vívosmart line of activity trackers, you're probably aware that the original Vívosmart was followed by the Vívosmart HR and GPS-enabled Vívosmart HR+, which made it clear that the second-generation Vívosmarts included heart-rate monitors. Now we get the third-generation Vívosmart 3, which leaves off the HR naming scheme but still includes a heart-monitor and adds new, smarter features while returning to the slimmer design and hidden display of the original Vívosmart.

If that sounds a little confusing, it is. But all you need to know is that there was no Vívosmart 2 and the Vívosmart 3 is a better version of the Vívosmart HR that costs less, with a list price of $140 (instead of $200), £130 in the UK and AU$229 in Australia.

It comes in two colors, black and purple, although the purple is available in only small and medium sizes while the black also has a large option.

Just chillin'.


What's new? Well, aside from the ultra-slim design, you get higher end fitness-tracking tools such as VO2 max and fitness age, all-day stress tracking and a rep counter when pumping iron, doing push ups or pull ups.

Like its predecessor, this model is waterproof and features Garmin Elevate wrist heart-rate technology that provides 24/7 heart-rate monitoring and automatically tracks activity, including steps, floors climbed, calories burned, intensity minutes, sleep and more. As part of that 24/7 monitoring, the device will measure your heart-rate variability and translate it into a stress level, then prompt you to breathe and relax when that level is elevated.

This is the first product in the Garmin Vívo family to estimate VO2 max, a measurable indication of aerobic performance that was previously available only in higher-end Garmin running watches. Your VO2 max score translates into a fitness level, ranging from poor to superior, and it's also used to calculate your fitness age, "a relatable metric that puts a user's fitness level in terms of an age."

The idea, of course, is to increase your VO2 max and reduce your fitness age through a steady workout regime.

We'll see how the Vívosmart 3 stacks up against the similarly priced Fitbit Alta HR and Fitbit Charge 2 once we get our hands on a review sample. But on paper anyway it looks like a strong contender. Check out the teaser video below along with the Vívosmart 3's key specs, according to Garmin.

  • New slimmer profile
  • Hidden display only visible when activated via gestures, alerts or notifications.When not in use, the screen disappears from view.
  • Up to 5 days of battery life
  • Can be worn while swimming or showering (waterproof)
  • 24/7 heart-rate monitoring
  • High-end fitness monitoring tools such as VO2 max and fitness age and wellness monitoring with all-day stress tracking
  • Automatically tracks activity, including steps, floors climbed, calories burned, intensity minutes, sleep and more
  • New Strength Training activity keeps track of reps, sets and even rest times during your free weight and bodyweight exercises
  • In addition to tracking steps, heart rate, floors climbed, calories, distance and sleep, the Vívosmart 3 also measures activity intensity through Intensity Minutes which are measured against goals recommended by leading health organizations
  • Move IQ automatically recognizes activities like walking, running, biking, swimming and elliptical training and records the activity
  • Once synced with Garmin Connect, these recorded activities are viewable as part of a detailed timeline
  • The Vívosmart 3 automatically syncs with the Garmin Connect mobile app throughout the day to save stats
  • Available in black (small/medium and large) and purple (small/medium)
  • You can control music on your phone from the Vívosmart 3, send an alert to locate a misplaced smartphone and remote control a Garmin VIRBcamera (sold separately)
  • Price: $140, £130, AU$229

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