Garmin Vivoactive 3 Vs. Vivoactive 4: Better Smartwatch

Garmin has established itself as one of the go-to brands for GPS smartwatches, with its Vivoactive series being one of the most popular lines. The Vivoactive 3 and 4 models have a lot of similarities but also some key differences that may make one a better choice over the other depending on your needs.

This guide will compare the Vivoactive 3 Vs. 4 in terms of design, features, performance, battery life and price to help you decide which is the right Garmin smartwatch for you.

A Brief Comparison Table

FeatureGarmin Vivoactive 3Garmin Vivoactive 4
Display Size1.2″1.3″
Display Resolution260 x 260 pixels260 x 260 pixels
Case Size43.4 x 43.4 mm45 x 45 mm
Case Thickness11.7 mm12.7 mm
Battery LifeUp to 7 days in smartwatch mode, 13 hours in GPS modeUp to 7 days in smartwatch mode, 13 hours in GPS mode
Heart Rate MonitorYesYes
Pulse Ox SensorNoYes
Respiration Rate TrackingNoYes
Hydration TrackingNoYes
Menstrual Cycle TrackingNoYes
Animated On-Screen WorkoutsNoYes
Garmin Coach Training PlansNoYes
Internal Storage16MB32MB
Garmin PayYesYes

Design And Display

Garmin Vivoactive 3
Garmin Vivoactive 3

The Vivoactive 3 features a stainless steel bezel and silicone band which gives it a classic sporty look. With a case size of 43.4mm x 43.4mm and thickness of 11.7mm, it has quite a sizable wrist presence. The 1.2” 260 x 260 pixel display is easy to read indoors and outdoors.

The Vivoactive 4 has a more modern, sleeker look with softer curved edges on its 45mm polymer case. It uses 20mm quick release bands compared to the Vivoactive 3’s 18mm bands. At 12.7mm thick, the Vivoactive 4 sits a little slimmer on the wrist too. It has a 1.3” 260 x 260 pixel display, so just a tad larger than the 3 but with the same resolution. The 4’s transflective display is also bright and color sharp.

Both watches have 5ATM water resistance, making them safe for swimming and showering. In terms of design, the Vivoactive 4 has a slightly more updated, streamlined look but they are quite comparable in display quality. Those with smaller wrists may find the Vivoactive 3 a little more comfortable.

Also Read: Comparison Between Garmin Fenix 6 Pro And Fenix 6X Pro.

Features And Sensors

The Vivoactive 3 is loaded with activity tracking features including GPS, GLONASS, optical heart rate sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, barometric altimeter and compass. It covers all the essential fitness metrics like steps, distance, calories, heart rate, floors climbed and sleep tracking.

You also get 15 preloaded GPS sports apps and the ability to load custom workouts onto the watch. Smart features include smartphone notifications, music controls and Garmin Pay contactless payments.

Garmin Vivoactive 4
Garmin Vivoactive 4

The Vivoactive 4 builds on all the core fitness and smartwatch functions of the 3. Key additions include pulse ox sensor for blood oxygen saturation measurement, respiration tracking, hydration tracking, menstrual cycle tracking and new sports apps like golf, skiing, indoor climbing, yoga and Pilates.

The Vivoactive 4 also introduces animated on-screen workouts and Garmin Coach training plans.

For health tracking metrics, the Vivoactive 4 clearly has the edge with its wider array of sensors and data. Both cover the basics very well but the 4 takes it further with advanced training analytics, health monitoring and additional sports profiles.

Performance And Battery Life

With the same processor inside, the general performance of the Vivoactive 3 and 4 are quite similar when it comes to things like UI responsiveness and GPS connectivity speeds. They are both quick to lock onto satellite signals at the start of an outdoor activity.

One difference is that the Vivoactive 4 has double the internal storage at 32MB compared to the 3’s 16MB. This allows you to store more offline playlists and apps on the 4. But for most users, storage space won’t be a huge factor.

Battery life is rated at 7 days in smartwatch mode and 13 hours in GPS mode for both models. In real world use, they can easily hit the claimed battery durations and you’ll comfortably get 5-6 days of use before needing to recharge. Quick charging gives you an hour of use from just a 10 minute charge too. Overall, battery performance is very similar.

Also Read: Is Apple Watch Series 4 Better Than Series 8?

Price And Value

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 has a current retail price of $229.99 while the Vivoactive 4 costs $349.99, so there’s a clear $120 difference. Given the 4’s extra health sensors, training features and improvements like added storage, the higher price is justified.

The Vivoactive 3 does offer better value for those who want a solid all-round fitness smartwatch at a budget-friendly price. But if you want the latest tech and features, the extra cost of the 4 is worth it.

Key Differences Between The Vivoactive 3 And 4

  • Design – Vivoactive 4 looks more modern while Vivoactive 3 has a classic sporty style
  • Display – Slightly larger 1.3” display on Vivoactive 4 Vs. 1.2” on Vivoactive 3
  • Features – Vivoactive 4 has additional sensors (pulse ox, respiration), hydration tracking, menstrual cycle tracking, on-screen workouts, Garmin Coach training plans
  • Battery Life – Same 7/13 days (smartwatch/GPS mode) battery rating on both models
  • Price – Vivoactive 4 costs $120 more than Vivoactive 3

So, in summary, the Vivoactive 4 wins out in terms of features and design with its newer health metrics, training tools and refined look. But the Vivoactive 3 still packs a punch for its lower price, offering core fitness tracking and smartwatch functions in a sporty classic package.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the difference between Garmin Vivoactive 4 and 3?

The main differences are that the Vivoactive 4 has extra health tracking sensors like pulse oximeter and respiration rate monitoring, hydration tracking, on-screen animated workouts, menstrual cycle tracking, Garmin Coach training plans and double the internal storage.
It also has a more modern, streamlined look Vs. the classic sporty design of the 3.

Is it worth upgrading from Vivoactive 3 to 4?

For existing Vivoactive 3 users, upgrading to the 4 would be worth it if you want the advanced health metrics like respiration tracking, pulse ox sensor data, menstrual cycle monitoring, on-screen workouts and Garmin Coach training plans. The newer modern design is also a nice bonus. Sticking with the 3 is fine if you don’t need the extra features.

Is the Vivoactive 3 still worth buying?

Yes, the Vivoactive 3 remains an excellent smart fitness watch, especially if you want to save some money compared to the 4. It provides comprehensive activity tracking, Garmin Pay, music support and all-day health monitoring in a sporty package.
Unless you specifically need the newest sensors and training tools, the 3 is still a very capable option.

Is Garmin Vivoactive 4 still good?

Even with the newer Vivoactive 5 now available, the Vivoactive 4 remains a very good smartwatch choice. It has almost all the same fitness tracking abilities and core features as the 5, just missing some of the latest additions like touchscreen input and animated workouts on the watch screen itself.
If you can find it at a discounted price, the Vivoactive 4 offers great value and long-term utility.

Also Read: Comparison Among Garmin Forerunner 45, 55 And 245.


When considering the Garmin Vivoactive 3 Vs. Vivoactive 4, both are great fitness-focused smartwatches. The Vivoactive 4 brings more advanced health metrics, training tools and a modern design. But the Vivoactive 3 still delivers fantastic core performance for less cost.

Think about which features matter most for your needs to decide if the 4 is worth the higher price over the excellent value 3. Either way, you’ll get a powerful fitness tracking smartwatch that can keep up with an active lifestyle.

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