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Garmin Vivosport vs. Vivosmart 3

Looking at Garmin’s releases from a few years back, it’s sometimes hard to differentiate between models—especially when you look at the Vivosport vs. the Vivosmart 3. These two devices are similar enough to confuse shoppers a bit; the two fitness trackers  were released within 6 months of each other in 2017, and though they do have some differences, they also share quite a few features overall.

 

Both are fitness trackers (as opposed to the smartwatches getting a lot of the spotlight) and at first glance, the duo seem to be very closely related. Let’s take a look at these two wearables head-to-head to help you make a decision between the two.

 

Price

For many shoppers, the price difference between these two is the biggest influencer. The Vivosmart 3 is the less expensive of the two, though there are good reasons for the bigger price tag on the Vivosport of course.

The Vivosmart 3 is under $150 when regularly priced. The Vivosport is just under $200 (it’s worth noting that both go on sale for around $50 off on occasion).

 

Design

 

The overall design of the two devices is very similar – both have a minimalist black band, slim design, and matching clasps. The Vivosport is slightly thinner (18.5 mm versus the Vivosmart 3’s 21 mm) but it’s also a tad heavier (24.1g versus 20.4g). There are a few color differences in the bands themselves, with the Vivosmart 3 coming in all black or all purple, and the Vivosport available in all black, black with fuchsia, and black with lime green.

 

The primary difference in this category is visible on the screen. The Vivosport has an always-on color screen and is easier to read in sunlight.  In contrast, the Vivosmart 3 has an on-demand screen that is not in color, and, while you can read it in the sunlight, it can be difficult to see at times.

 

In terms of user experience design, the Vivosport comes ahead again. Not only is the display better to look at, it’s also more responsive. However, because it’s always on, it can sometimes be too responsive, meaning bumping it or jostling it can change things on the screen (note: you can change screen settings to fix this, essentially turning off the always-on feature).

 

Features

 

As you might have guessed, the higher price tag of the Vivosport means that it comes with more features than the Vivosmart 3. Both are water resistant to 50 meters, track heart rate 24/7, and track activities including steps, workouts, and so forth. Both track sleep and stress, and both use the Garmin app to provide you with a ton of data.

 

The Vivosport has just a few more features, and they’re pretty important. The first is built-in GPS, which the Vivosmart 3 lacks. This extra feature means there are also some bonus tracking features such as LiveTrack; there are also a few others not dependant on the GPS but new nonetheless, like additional sports profiles and more options for auto-activity tracking and pausing. The Vivosport also has a longer battery life at a whopping 7 days (versus five days on the Vivosmart.) Do note that this will change if you use it in GPS mode – it’ll last 8 hours in that case.

 

Similarities

There are enough similarities between these two devices that you can be assured that they are both excellent fitness trackers. Here are a few of the key features you will get with either device:

 

  • Slim, lightweight, and discrete design
  • Activity tracking, including calories burned, floors climbed, and more
  • Sleep tracking
  • Stress tracking 24/7
  • Vo2 Max and fitness level scoring
  • Relax and breathing mode
  • Auto start for running and walking
  • Plenty of workouts to track (including rep counting)
  • Water resistant to 50 meters

 

We really like Garmin’s emphasis on overall wellness on these and other recent trackers, so either of these are great options for overall health tracking.

 

Differences

The Vivosport does everything the Vivosmart 3 does, and more, so the differences here are what the Vivosport can do that the Vivosmart cannot. These differences are:

 

  • Built-in GPS
  • Longer battery life
  • Always on display
  • Color 72 x 144 pixel, sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel display
  • Better sunlight visibility
  • Slightly thinner design
  • A few additional functions for fitness tracking

 

The GPS is a pretty substantive difference, and is one that will likely make the decision easy for some. The other big difference is in overall design, with the much better screen on the Vivosport being a fairly big deal.

 

Our Verdict

We really, really like the Vivosport. Garmin made significant improvements over the Vivosmart 3 (which we already really liked, too), so there’s very little to be disappointed in. The extra cost is well worth it to gain GPS and an improved display. If it’s in your budget, we say grab a Vivosport. Having said that, if you are looking for something at a lower price point and you don’t care about GPS, a Vivosmart 3 won’t disappoint. It’s still accurate in tracking even without the GPS, and you get all the other amazing features it offers. You might struggle a bit with the less-than-perfect display, but it’s honestly not that big of a deal.

Bottom line? The Vivosport gets our vote, but we think you’ll have a great tracker in either of these standout Garmin devices.

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