Garmin is known for making great fitness smartwatches, but they command a high premium when compared to watches from Apple, Samsung, and Fitbit. But its latest wearable has a more affordable price.
While at IFA 2017 in Berlin, Garmin announced the Vivoactive 3. It's a round-faced fitness smartwatch that features built-in GPS, heart-rate sensors for both continuous monitoring and tracking sessions, a battery life of up to seven days in smartwatch mode or 13 hours in GPS mode, 15 different custom sports apps, stress monitoring, VO2 max calculation, and support for third-party watch faces and apps.
Yes, you'll find those features on other Garmin watches, so where the Vivoactive 3 really stands out is that it has a slim, minimalist watch face with a multi-colour, touchscreen Garmin Chroma display, as well as stainless steel metal details, and something called Side Swipe, which lets you swipe on the bezel to quickly scroll and navigate menus, widgets and stats - in addition to swiping on the touchscreen.
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Another major feature is Garmin Pay, currently only available on Vivoactive 3. It's a contactless payment technology that works like this: Tap your Garmin at an NFC payment terminal, and you can check out without having to swipe your credit card or even have your phone with you. Garmin said Garmin Pay supports Visa and MasterCard debit and credit cards “from major banks” at launch, but more are coming.
The main takeaway here is that the Vivoactive 3 is for fitness-minded people who also just want a stylish, useful smartwatch. It doesn't have advanced outdoor features like mapping or elevation tracking, but it clearly can be used for runs and staying healthy. It also sync to iOS, Android, and desktop software. Better yet, it only costs between $299.99 and $329.99, depending on the model.
That's inexpensive when you consider the Fenix 5S’s $600 price.