Fresh perspective

Garmin Vivoactive 4

Garmin Vivoactive 4

Classic outlook

Garmin Vivoactive 3

Garmin Vivoactive 3

The Vivoactive 4 is changing the way you track, or more specifically, what you track. You can now track hydration, respiration, blood oxygen saturation levels, and more besides the typical fitness routine. Did we mention on-screen workouts and music storage? It's pricy but given the upgrades, it's worth it.

From $257 at Amazon

Pros

  • 20+ preloaded sports apps
  • Body Battery Energy Monitor
  • Respiration and hydration tracking
  • Music storage
  • Garmin Pay
  • Built-in GPS

Cons

  • Expensive
  • 45mm has fewer color options

The Vivoactive 3 was an instant hit when it was first released in 2017. Today, it still has plenty to offer in terms of tracking and smartwatch features. You'll enjoy 15+ sports apps, onboard GPS, Garmin Pay, heart-rate monitoring, plus activity, sleep, and stress tracking.

$125 at Amazon

Pros

  • 15+ preloaded sports apps
  • Built-in GPS
  • Garmin Pay
  • More affordable than ever

Cons

  • Music storage isn't standard
  • Lacks onscreen workouts

Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs. 3: Understanding the differences

The Vivoactive 3 is almost four years old, but it's still one of the best Android smartwatches on the market, especially if you're on a budget. However, if you're all about having the latest and greatest features, you might prefer the Garmin Vivoactive 4 instead.

From offering two different sizes to making music storage a standard feature, there are a lot of positive upgrades here. Both the Vivoactive 4 and Vivoactive offer a solid fitness tracking experience that will meet the needs of most casual lifestyle athletes. If you were a fan of the Vivoactive 3, you'll certainly appreciate all the features that come with the new model. It's got a hefty price tag, but it may just be worth it for all that you get this time around. It's easily the better choice as far as features are concerned.

The Garmin Vivoactive 4: Tons of new features

Garmin Vivoactive 4 Source: Courtney Lynch / Android CentralPictured: Vivoactive 4

With the Garmin Vivoactive 3, the only size option was 43mm. You'll be glad to know the Vivoactive 4 is available in 45mm and a smaller 40mm, which is referred to as the 4S. The only difference between these two models is the size and overall battery performance. It's worth noting that the color options vary a bit as well. The 4S comes in Light Gold, Rose Gold, Slate, and Silver. However, the standard Vivoactive 4 only comes in Slate and Silver.

Like its predecessor, the Vivoactive 4 models have a sunlight-visible, transflective display. However, you'll now have two buttons on your watch instead of one. The upper right button is for selecting, stopping, and starting while the lower right button is for going back and lapping during workouts. There are multiple third-party Garmin Vivoactive 4 bands to pick from, but both models come with a silicone band.

Vivoactive 4 Vivoactive 3
Dimensions 45.1x45.1x12.8mm 43.4x43.4x11.7mm
Display 1.3", 260x260 pixels 1.2", 240x240 pixels
Sensors GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Garmin Elevate wrist heart rate monitor, altimeter, compass, gyroscope, Pulse Ox, accelerometer, thermometer GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Garmin Elevate wrist heart rate monitor, altimeter, compass, accelerometer, thermometer
Battery Smartwatch mode: 8 days
GPS with music: 6 hours
Smartwatch mode: 7 days
GPS: 13 hours
Connectivity Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi Bluetooth Smart and ANT+
Water-resistant 5 ATM 5 ATM
Touchscreen ✔️ ✔️
Notifications ✔️ ✔️
Garmin Pay ✔️ ✔️
Music storage ✔️
On-screen workouts ✔️
Incident detection ✔️

Another notable difference to be aware of is battery performance. The Vivoactive 4 offers an impressive 8 days of battery life in smartwatch mode and 6 hours in GPS and music mode. Being that it's slightly smaller, the 4S dips down to 7 days in smartwatch mode and 5 hours in GPS and music mode.

Other than the physical differences, there are quite a few tracking improvements. The Body Battery is a great new feature that allows you to check your energy levels throughout the day. This will help you schedule workouts and rest at the most ideal times. Speaking of which, you'll have plenty of options for workouts, including over 20 preloaded workouts, preset workouts that can be downloaded through the Garmin Connect app, the ability to create customizable workouts, and Garmin Coach training plans.

The Vivoactive 4 offers a Pulse Ox sensor for monitoring blood oxygen saturation levels.

The Vivoactive 4 offers a Pulse Ox sensor for monitoring blood oxygen saturation levels and respiration tracking for monitoring the number of breaths per minute. The combination of these two features results in more insightful sleep data. You'll also have Body Battery Energy monitoring, hydration tracking to log daily water intake, and underwater wrist-based heart rate for swimming.

Additionally, the Vivoactive 4 offers a plethora of on-screen workouts for strength training, cardio, yoga, and Pilates. You can follow along with your watch as it demonstrates proper form and technique for a selected workout. It also provides you with new breathwork activities that are intended to promote focus and relaxation while reducing stress levels.

Last but not least, music storage is standard on both the Vivoactive 4 and 4S instead of charging you more for a model with this feature. You'll be able to download your favorite playlists and songs from third-party services such as Spotify, Deezer, and Amazon Music. This means you can now enjoy phone-free music when you're working out. Finally! This is a highly-desired feature among fitness enthusiasts, and Garmin delivered.

The Garmin Vivoactive 3: Great for basics

Garmin Vivoactive 3Source: Android Central Pictured: Vivoactive 3

If you're on a budget or you simply don't want to spend a lot on a smartwatch, you might find the older Vivoactive 3 to be a better choice. At the core, it's still an excellent fitness smartwatch that's ideal for basic tracking. As long as you won't miss some of the more premium perks that are available on the successor, it's a great deal.

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 only comes in one size.

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 only comes in one size, which is 43mm. The watch comes in Rose Gold, Slate, and Silver. It's also easy to find third-party Garmin Vivoactive 3 bands when you feel like changing things up. Music storage isn't a standard feature, so you'll have to pay more for a model with that perk. The standard Vivoactive 3 gives you seven days of battery life in smartwatch mode and 13 hours in GPS mode.

As far as the similarities go, the Vivoactive 3 also offers built-in GPS, activity/sleep tracking, heart-rate monitoring, stress tracking, smartphone notifications, Garmin Pay, and 5 ATM water resistance. You'll have access to some of the same workouts as well, including strength, cardio, and elliptical training along with stair-stepping, floor climbing, indoor rowing, and yoga.

Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs. 3: Which should you buy?

Garmin Vivoactive 4Source: Courtney Lynch / Android Central

Not surprisingly, the price of the Vivoactive 3 has been significantly marked down since its successor was released. If you're content with the more basic tracking and features offered by the predecessor, it's an unbeatable deal for those who are on a tight budget or buying a Garmin smartwatch for the first time and don't want to break the bank. Not to mention that you still get a lot of features for this low price point, including activity/sleep tracking, heart-rate monitoring, GPS, and Garmin Pay.

However, if you're craving more details and you don't mind spending a bit more, the Vivoactive 4 is an excellent pick with a lot to offer. It boasts many well-deserved improvements, like two size options, standard music storage, and a long list of tracking features that help you get an in-depth look at the state of your overall health and fitness. If the price tag doesn't deter you, you're going to be more than happy with the Garmin Vivoactive 4.

Fresh perspective

Garmin Vivoactive 4

Garmin Vivoactive 4

Track every little detail

If you liked the Garmin Vivoactive 3 but were left wanting more, you may want to think about upgrading. The new Vivoactive 4 tracks every little detail to give you a complete overview of your health and fitness.

Classic outlook

Garmin Vivoactive 3

Garmin Vivoactive 3

Cover all the basics

Not too concerned about tracking every little detail? The Vivoactive 3 might be right up your alley. With that said, it lacks more detailed tracking and you'll have to pay more for a model with music storage.

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