It’s good to be active. Everybody knows that. But if the popularity of the Fitbit has taught us anything, it is that it is also good to track your activity levels. Garmin watches can help you do just that.
The Garmin Vivosmart 3, which is 30 percent off today, “is Garmin’s thinnest HR-equipped activity tracker, a big plus if you want to avoid the arrogance that comes off when you wear an Apple Watch. It also measures VO2 Max, “which is widely recognized as an excellent measure of your aerobic fitness.” That, plus stress monitoring and a built-in strength training regime gives you all the tools to improve your wellbeing on a daily basis.
Here’s what the top reviewer has to say:
I’d been looking into fitness trackers for some time now but couldn’t find one that was cost effective for what I needed, until now. I’ve been wearing my Vivosmart 3 for a week now and have been impressed! Below are the features that *I* cared about and why I gave this a 5 star rating..
– Fit – I’m a 5’7″ 170 lb. male, and this fits me just fine. They recommend the device remain snug about 1-1.5″ above your wrist for proper monitoring. The device fits fine with about 6 “notches” to spare. It’s also very lightweight and easy to forget it’s on my wrist.
– Heart Rate: Tracks well throughout the day, and it’s also pretty accurate. Using a HR monitor at the gym and comparing it to what the Vivosmart detected, they were within 2 BPM of each other. It also detects HR throughout the day for stress monitoring and for getting a general average.
– Steps\Distance: Went for a hike and used a separate app to track my trail\distance\time. I was shocked when the tracking app matched the Vivosmart distance tracking, 3.01 miles on both! I like the accuracy of distance traveled and the device seems to track steps very well.
– Sleep tracking – the band has a nice breakdown of light and deep sleep, but also lets you edit your times. If youre sitting idle before going to bed (perhaps watching TV), the inactivity shows as light sleep in the app, but you can alter that for when you know you actually hit the hay.
– Battery Life: I’ve gotten 4-5 days per charge, and charge time is quick.. typically under an hour
– Multifunctional – Tracking an activity is quick, just double tap to turn on the device, press and hold to get to activity tracking, and then choose a basic category, walk, run, cardio or strength training. What I like is for bike rides, I can choose cardio, I get all the fitness monitoring, but in the app I can categorize as a cycling activity, provide distance traveled, and the rest of the metrics fill in for me. I also like the fact that when I’m in the yard playing with my kid, I don’t need to choose a particular activity, it still monitor’s heartrate and such, so I get a feel for how much activity I get and how much general “moving” I do…
The Garmin Connect App – while universal to all of their fitness trackers – is really good. I like the detail it provides and find it easy to use. I know this is a review for the Vivosmart 3, but a good band with a crappy app can lead to a bad experience, and that isn’t the case, I’ve liked using the app and found syncing to be quick (30 seconds or less).
To be clear, this is my first fitness tracker, so perhaps these functions are out of box on most bands now (but I don’t think thats the case), but for me, I’m happy to have dropped $150 on this device.
And here is another review:
I got the Garmin Vivosmart 3 on Friday (Bestbuy had it available before Amazon), and love it so far!
My favorite things about it are that 1) it fits me! And 2) it gives you an option of whether or not you want notifications while sleeping.
My wrist is super tiny, and this is literally the first band I’ve ever had that fits me. And there’s still 3 holes left where it can be tightened.
I’m on call for work a lot, and I hate when bands automatically turn off notifications at night.
Sleep tracking is good, it seemed to know when I was awake and asleep by what I remembered doing. I wore it at the same time as the Fitbit Alta hr for the first night, and it recorded about 45 minutes more sleep than the Fitbit, but the Fitbit had me waking up a lot during the night, which I don’t remember doing.
Yesterday morning, I wore both the Fitbit and the Garmin to do a Leslie Sansone walking DVD, because the Fitbit seems to work best during those. The heart rate on the Garmin was about 10 beats lower than the Fitbit, which “felt” more correct to me. The garmin seemed very responsive to heart rate changes for intervals, better than the Fitbit. Interestingly, whenever she said “you just did a mile” on the DVD, the Garmin buzzed that I just did a mile. I’ve done these videos a million times with a million different activity monitors, and the distance has never matched like that before.
So then I decided the Garmin was working well enough and took off the Fitbit.
The Garmin band is so light and comfortable I kept checking to see if I was still wearing it! Definitely the most comfortable I’ve ever had.
The band wanted me to a “brisk walk” to calculate VO2Max. I did one on Friday night, which it didn’t count for the score. Then I thought maybe the Leslie Sansone DVD would do it, but no. So I took it out for a quick light run. I went for 20 minutes. My actual distance was 1.55 miles, but the Garmin app said 2.0 miles. I edited the distance in the app, and it did adjust my pace in the activity log. I’m planning to do the same route today to see it it tracks the distance better. Anyways, it did use that run for the VO2Max. I’m guessing that a “brisk walk” just didn’t get my heart rate up enough. It gave me a score of 41, “excellent”, and said my fitness age is “excellent for a 20 year old”, which I am obviously pleased with. (My actual age is 42.)
The stress score is pretty fun to see. For yesterday, it said I had 11hrs of rest, 5 hrs of low stress, 3hrs of medium stress, and 2 hrs of high stress. It gave me an overall score of 31 and called it “balanced”.
I don’t think it actually does the breathing exercises that I’ve seen advertised. I messaged Garmin to ask about that, and they have not written back yet…
I’ve had a million different bands, most recently Alta hr, Withings hr, charge 2, and mio slice; and this is my favorite one ever!
Edit: I used the weightlifting function today, and it worked perfectly for Upper Body exercises. It chose the correct name for the exercise, and counted the reps correctly. Did not work well for lower body or core excercises, but that can all be edited in the app.
I also went for another run and wore a polar chest strap at the same time, and they matched pretty well, within 5 beats of each other.
Edit 4/17: I did find the breathing exercise today (thanks to a commenter!). It has you breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, then repeat. I did it for about 1 minute just to test it, and my stress score dropped by about 4 points, so I guess it works! Compared to the Fitbit version, this one doesn’t give you any kind of feedback of how you’re doing. With the Fitbit, you could see your actual breathing pattern, and get some sparkles/fireworks if you did well. This one is basically just a timer with instructions. However, I do like that it doesn’t vibrate at all because I like to use it to go to sleep at night, and the Fitbit would wake me up when it was finished.
Surely there are advantages to each brand of activity tracker. But at this one-day price point? Gotta go with Garmin.
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