Garmin Vivosmart HR vs Vivosmart 3: Side by Side Comparison

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When it comes to wearables, Garmin is one of those brands that people instantly recognize. They come up with impressive fitness trackers that can help you keep an eye on your overall health and fitness levels.

Their Vivosmart 3 and Vivosmart HR devices are aimed at tracking the usual suspects like steps taken, heart rate, calories burned, and others with wellness and wellbeing as its core. Both these devices are less focused on sports but come with extra features like stress and sleep tracking, guided breathing exercises, and a lot more.

Impressive Wearables with a Small Footprint

These devices lean more on the side of fitness trackers rather than full-fledged smartwatches. They do come with a good set of smart features that allow you to check your phone notifications. Their tracking technology is definitely top-notch, giving you a good picture of your health and fitness.

Garmin Vivosmart HR vs Vivosmart 3

Let’s take a close look at how these two devices compare against each other so you can determine which is the better tracker for you.

Design Features

Design and Build

The Vivosmart 3 and the Vivosmart HR are wearables that attempt to fill up the market for those looking for a compact sized fitness tracker with some smartwatch features. They do not take up too much space on your wrist compared to traditional smartwatches, but they do provide you with an extra screen where you can view your most important phone notifications. Both these devices excel in that category, offering you the best of both worlds without the bulk.

Garmin Vivosmart 3

The Vivosmart 3 leans a bit on the practical side rather than style. Its textured rubber band gives it a more unibody look and blends well with the screen. It is not your first choice when you want to go out in the evening, but it is incredibly comfortable to wear so you can use it whenever you work out. Its design tends to attract dust and smudges, so you will have to spend some time keeping it clean.

This fitness tracker’s most notable feature is its impressive water-resistant capabilities. It can easily handle being in the water for a more extended amount of time. Additionally, it will be able to track all your swimming workouts.

Garmin Vivosmart HR

The Vivosmart HR is a bit on the chunky side. It comes with an unassuming design that you will surely not mistake for anything but a fitness tracker. This feature is also an advantage since it does not stand out, allowing you to wear other accessories with it. It has a sleek design and is extremely lightweight that you will not even notice that you are wearing it.

Similar to the Vivosmart 3, the Vivosmart HR is rated water resistant up to 5 ATM, allowing you to use it in the pool or in the shower. You do not have to worry about it if you like to track your runs even under the rain.

Garmin Vivosmart 3Garmin Vivosmart HR
Dimensions18.5 x 9.8 x 197 mm21 x 12.3 x 187 mm
Weight21.5 g32 g
Water Resistance5 ATM (up to 50 m)5 ATM (up to 50 m)
Compatible OSAndroid, iOSAndroid, iOS
SyncingBluetooth SyncingBluetooth Syncing
Bluetooth ConnectivityBluetooth 4.0Bluetooth 4.0
USB ConnectivityNONO

Our Pick: Garmin Vivosmart 3 for its slimmer and sleeker design

Display

As fitness trackers with some smartwatch features, the screen is an essential component. Although not as crucial as those found in smartwatches, being able to read some information like the date and time is helpful. Even though you will not rely on the display for the most part of the day, knowing that you have texts and missed calls are always welcome.

Garmin Vivosmart 3

Garmin Vivosmart 3

The Vivosmart 3 sports an OLED black and white screen with a 128 x 64 resolution. It may not be wide enough compared to full-fledged smartwatches, but for mostly checking the time, this is definitely enough. The display is also touchscreen allowing you to control it with taps and swipes rather than physical buttons.

The display on the Vivosmart 3 is bright that you can see what is on it clearly, even under the intense midday sun. Other than the time, you will also be able to check out other fitness data like step count, stair climbs, heart rate, and your fitness score for the day. If there is a problem with the screen on this device is that it is no longer always-on, which means that you will have to wake it up with a tap to view.

Garmin Vivosmart HR

The Vivosmart HR is equipped with a 160 x 68 pixel LCD display so you can check out the time and your fitness information at any time. One difference between this display and the one on the Vivosmart 3, is that this one has backlighting so you can read what is on screen in the dark. You will need to cover it with your hand first, so it lights up, it definitely does the job of presenting your stats.

The Vivosmart HR’s screen has an always-on capability, unlike the one on the Vivosmart 3, so you can use it as a watch. Similar to the Vivosmart 3, you will be able to view all your fitness stats like steps, sleep, stairs climbed, and heart rate.

Garmin Vivosmart 3Garmin Vivosmart HR
Display HardwareOLEDMIP
Display Size19.2 x 9.6 mm25.3 x 10.7 mm
Display Resolution128 x 64160 x 68
TouchscreenYESYES
Display Time of DayYESYES
Automatic DSTYESYES
Always OnNOYES

Battery

The battery life of both the Garmin Vivosmart 3 and Vivosmart 3 is roughly the same. Lasting up to five days, it is definitely impressive since they continuously track your heart rate all the time. Battery life also comes down to usage, so your settings can sometimes make a difference. If you always go for a run, you might need to charge at around that point. There are also times when you might not be able to maximize all of the workout features of both these devices, you can squeeze an additional day from the batteries.

Overall, a five-day battery life on a fitness tracker with smartphone notification support is remarkable, and not a lot of companies can put this type of performance on such a small device.

Garmin Vivosmart 3Garmin Vivosmart HR
Battery LifeUp to 5 daysUp to 5 days
Battery TypeLithium-ionLithium-ion
RechargeableYESYES

Our Pick: It’s a Tie. Battery performance between the two devices are similar

Connectivity

How your fitness tracker connects is always a big deal. Apart from collecting your data, you also want to store it and eventually crunch the numbers to give you detailed and easy to understand stats. Of course, Bluetooth is a must, and both the Vivosmart 3 and the Vivosmart HR has it to connect to your smartphone and the Garmin Connect app.

Unfortunately, both these trackers only connect via Bluetooth and do not have other connectivity hardware like GPS or Wi-Fi. One disadvantage of not having GPS is that if you love to run, you will not get a detailed map of your route. There is also a bit of a difference when it comes to distance traveled, but Garmin’s accelerometer has dramatically improved that the discrepancy is minimal.

Overall, both devices offer connectivity features that you would expect from a fitness tracker but lack in some areas. This, however, does not affect the performance of both these devices.

Garmin Vivosmart 3Garmin Vivosmart HR
BluetoothBluetooth 4.0Bluetooth 4.0
Bluetooth CallingNONO
GPSNONO
NFCNONO
Wi-FiNONO

Durability

As devices that you strap on your wrist and subject to a good amount of movement whenever you exercise, they need to be tough. Both the Garmin Vivosmart 3 and the Vivosmart HR are durable devices that can handle a lot of punishment.

Their most notable feature is their water resistance rating, which is a bit more than you expect from these small trackers. The rating that these two devices have is impressive as they can handle being submerged up to 50 meters. You can definitely wear any of these trackers in the pool and track your swimming workouts. Besides, you can also wear this if you like running in the rain. Lastly, you will not have to worry about taking these off whenever you shower.

The water resistance is definitely the highlight feature of both the Vivosmart 3 and the Vivosmart HR, as it is pretty impressive given the size and design of these trackers.

Garmin Vivosmart 3Garmin Vivosmart HR
Water ResistanceYESYES
Max Depth50 meters50 meters
ProtectionYES, Up to 5 ATMYES, Up to 5 ATM

Our Pick: It’s a Tie. Water resistance feature is remarkable for both devices

Other Hardware

The Garmin Vivosmart 3 and the Vivosmart HR are admittedly entry-level fitness trackers. However, they do come with some extra hardware that allows them to gather more data to give you a better picture of your health and fitness levels.

Not a lot of trackers that are at a similar price range as these two come with a heart rate monitor. This added piece of hardware is definitely a plus since it allows you to track your heart rate to give you a much better picture of your health.

These two devices also come with an altimeter, which makes stair climbing possible. This is also another feature that is not generally found on entry-level trackers, but these two have it.

Garmin Vivosmart 3Garmin Vivosmart HR
Heart Rate MonitorYESYES
Barometric AltimeterYESYES
AccelerometerYESYES
Ambient Light SensorYESNO

Fitness Tracker Features

Activity Tracking

One of the main reasons why you are going to get a fitness tracker is to monitor your activity on a day to day basis. At the core of all trackers, including the Garmin Vivosmart 3 and the Vivosmart HR, they will be able to track steps and heart rate as long as you wear them on your wrist. They will then display these stats on the display to keep you updated. If you are keen on monitoring these essential fitness and health stats, these are both excellent devices.

Garmin Vivosmart 3

The Vivosmart 3’s heart rate monitor is generally pretty good, giving your accurate readouts all throughout the day. It is particularly significant at tracking resting heart rate, giving you a better picture of your heart health on a regular uneventful day. It can also track your heart rate when you are in the middle of your workout, allowing you to hit heart rate zones.

Step tracking is also impressive on the Vivosmart 3 and comes close in numbers compared to other similar wearables. However, without GPS support, you will not get extremely accurate data when the number of steps is interpreted as distance traveled. Garmin’s algorithm is pretty robust, though, giving you a more reliable picture of your walking and running activities.

The built-in altimeter sensor also allows the Vivosmart 3 to record stair climb data. If you are into that and consistently take the stairs, you will be able to keep a good track of it.

All of these data are then crunched up by the app and provides you a good number of stats where you can compare against your goals. The Vivosmart 3 then displays processed data like active minutes, calories burned, and distance walked, which all come in handy as you keep track of your overall health.

Garmin Vivosmart HR

Garmin Vivosmart HR

Similar to the Vivosmart 3, the Vivosmart HR keeps a close eye on your heart rate throughout the day. It will be able to determine your resting heart rate, which is an excellent metric to keep tabs of especially if you are keen on improving your overall health. The sensors on the device are accurate and are capable of giving you resting heart rate data that you can rely on.

Step tracking on the Vivosmart HR is also accurate, especially when compared with other more premium options in the market. It gives you similar data without any significant discrepancy. This simply means that the sensors on the Vivosmart HR is reliable, and you can trust the data that it records. This way, you can determine your overall health and fitness levels.

Garmin Vivosmart 3Garmin Vivosmart HR
Step CounterYESYES
Move BarYESYES
Auto GoalYESYES
Calories BurnedYESYES
Floors ClimbedYESYES
Distance TraveledYESYES
Intensity MinutesYESYES
TrueUpYESYES
MoveIQYESYES
Fitness AgeYESNO
Stress TrackingYESNO

Our Pick: It’s a Tie. Very similar activity tracking profiles for both devices

Smart Features

If a wearable has a screen, there is a good chance that it comes with a couple of intelligent features. Most fitness trackers like the Garmin Vivosmart 3 and the Vivosmart HR are not full-fledged smart devices. However, they do support a few essential features that you can only find in larger devices.

Since there is a decent amount of screen space, both these devices are capable of displaying notifications from calls and texts. They also support a few third-party apps, so you will surely be alerted when you receive an email or a message. You can also use it for music playback control, allowing you to play, pause, forward, or rewind whatever it is you are listening to.

Both the Vivosmart 3 and the Vivosmart HR support the most basic of smart features. With the limited screen space, it can be difficult to read off messages on the screen. However, it does help to know that someone sent you a message so you can reach for your phone.

Garmin Vivosmart 3Garmin Vivosmart HR
ConnectivityBluetooth and ANT+Bluetooth and ANT+
Smart NotificationsYESYES
WeatherYESYES
Music Playback ControlYESYES
Find My PhoneYESYES
Find My WatchYESNO
Virb RemoteYESYES
Garmin Connect MobileYESYES

Our Pick: It’s a Tie. Smart features that you expect from a fitness tracker

Workout Tracking

Automatic workouts are one of the features that fitness trackers usually have, and both the Garmin Vivosmart 3 and the Vivosmart HR has this capability. They do come with a few activities and sports profiles and detect what you are doing and records that in the app. It will then provide you with a more detailed view of your movement. This way, you will be able to monitor your heart rate and other essential fitness stats.

Real time tracking, especially with your heart rate, is not the strong suit of either device. However, they can surely show you a snapshot, so you have a good idea of your health and fitness levels. If you are chasing heart rate zones on your workout, it may not be as accurate, but the summary it provides after your workout is a treat to look at and dissect.

Garmin Vivosmart 3Garmin Vivosmart HR
Gym Activity ProfilesYESNO
Automatic Rep CountingYESNO
Auto LapYESYES
VO2 MaxYESNO
Heart Rate ZonesYESYES
Heart Rate AlertsYESYES
Heart Rate CaloriesYESYES
Percent of HR MaxYESNO
BroadcastYESYES

Our Pick: Gamin Vivosmart 3 for added features like gym activity profiles and VO2 for stress tracking

Sleep Tracking

Sleep tracking is one of those newer features that not a lot of devices come with. Both the Garmin Vivosmart 3 and the Vivosmart HR is capable of tracking your sleep stats but in a more primitive way. It is excellent that this is included, but it is not as refined as other trackers with a more refined companion app that can crunch the numbers better.

It is still a welcome feature to have, especially since it tracks it automatically. It is definitely nice to know if you are getting enough sleep or if you are well rested every night. The sleep tracking feature for both devices does not utilize the heart rate sensors, so it is not capable of providing you advanced stats like the time you spend in REM sleep.

Garmin Vivosmart 3Garmin Vivosmart HR
Automatic Sleep DetectionYESYES
Basic Sleep TrackingYESYES
Resting Heart RateYESYES
Sleep Stages TrackingYESYES

Our Pick: It’s a Tie. A similar feature set for sleep tracking and reporting

Best Overall Tracker

These are incredibly similar devices with comparable feature sets, and it can be challenging to choose which one to get over the other. There are only a few differences between these two trackers, but this is where you should take a closer look for you to make an educated decision on what to get.

Most of the difference between these two devices is how the app interprets the data from the sensors. The Vivosmart 3 has a few automated activity profiles, while the Vivosmart HR does not support them. Although both come with reasonably accurate and reliable heart rate sensors, the Vivosmart HR has some stats that you will not be able to see. One example is the Percent HR Max metric, which comes in handy if you want to hit heart rate zones.

One of the most vital features that are not in the Vivosmart HR is stress tracking. The Vivosmart 3 is more of a health and wellness device that not only tracks your physical activity but can determine your overall wellbeing as well. It measures the difference in your heart rate for a period, and if it finds a lot of variances, then it will interpret that as stress. Undoubtedly a helpful feature that a lot of wearable users will look for.

Both are surely excellent trackers with reliable and sound sensors that you can trust. However, the Vivosmart 3, thanks to its support for stress tracking, is definitely the best overall fitness tracker between these two. The Vivosmart HR seems to lack a few other features giving a lot of the advantage to the Vivosmart 3.

Garmin Vivosmart 3Garmin Vivosmart HR
Retail Price$119
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$129
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Which Offers the Most Value

These two are on the older side of fitness trackers, but they still both come with excellent hardware and features that anyone can still use today. The great thing about these two is that they are often on sale, and you can undoubtedly score sweet deals on these. They are likely to be half priced than retail so, no matter what you get, you will definitely get a lot of value out of them.

You can never go wrong with Garmin wearables since they are well made and trusted by fitness buffs everywhere. However, between the two, there is definitely a clear winner when it comes to which one offers the most value for your money.

It is clear with its extra features, especially stress tracking, that it is the Garmin Vivosmart 3. It is also the slimmer and sleeker of the two, so you will not have a hard time matching it with your outfits. It is also the more affordable one between the two, giving you the absolute bang for your buck.

So, if you are looking for an affordable fitness tracker that you can get for a fantastic deal, go for the Vivosmart 3.

The Perfect One for Your Needs

Fitness trackers, especially the band types, are very much alike. They do not have a large enough screen to be full fledged smartwatches, but they do have the sensors that can track all of your activities and fitness stats. In the case between the Garmin Vivosmart 3 and the Vivosmart HR, they are pretty much similar.

If you are looking for a device that will track your overall health and fitness levels, any of these two will do the job for you. The Vivosmart 3 can surely offer you a bit more like stress and automatic workout tracking, but apart from that, you will get the same stats from both.

Any of these devices will definitely do and are perfect for your fitness tracking needs, but if you want the extras that the Vivosmart 3 provides, then go for it.

Wrap Up

Both the Garmin Vivosmart 3 and Vivosmart HR are fully featured fitness trackers that offer a little bit more. They can record fairly accurate fitness data so you can keep track of your activity levels, especially your resting heart rate. These are slim and sleek options that could pass off as one of your wrist accessories rather than a large smartwatch that will take up most of the space.

You can surely get either of these two fitness trackers, and they will be able to show you a snapshot of how your health looks like. However, the Vivosmart 3 does have a bit of an edge over the Vivosmart HR from its slimmer design to added features like stress tracking.

The price difference between the two is small, and there is a good chance that you will be able to grab any of them at a discounted price. No matter which of these devices you get, you will enjoy the same level of tracking and data reporting.