The Vivoactive 3 was released over two years ago and has been a popular fitness tracker ever since. Now that there's a successor available, it's important to compare the two wearables so you can decide which one is the better pick. The Vivoactive 4 brings some subtle changes that are worth discussing, as well as some big changes that just might win you over.
From offering two different sizes to making music storage a standard feature, there are a lot of positive upgrades here. Both editions provide you with a solid all-around fitness smartwatch that's going to 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.
All the Garmin Vivoactive 4's new additions
With the previous model, the only size option was 43mm. The new Vivoactive 4 is available in 45mm and a model called the 4S, which is 40mm. The only difference between the two models is size and battery performance. It's worth noting that the color options vary a bit. The 4S offers a rose gold variant while the 4 is only available in slate and silver.
Like its predecessor, the new model comes with an always-on 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.
|Vivoactive 4||Vivoactive 3|
|Dimensions||45.1 x 45.1 x 12.8mm||43.4 x 43.4 x 11.7mm|
|Display||1.3", 260 x 260 pixels||1.2", 240 x 240 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|
The Vivoactive 4 offers an impressive eight days of battery life in smartwatch mode and six hours in GPS and music mode. The 4S dips down to seven days in smartwatch mode and 5 hours in GPS and music mode, which is what you got with the more expensive Vivoactive 3 Music model. The standard Vivoactive 3 gives you seven days in smartwatch mode and 13 hours in GPS mode.
As far as the similarities go, the Vivoactive 3 and the Vivoactive 4 both offer built-in GPS, 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. They both come with stress tracking, sleep tracking, and heart-rate monitoring.
Other than the physical differences, there are quite a few tracking improvements. The Vivoactive 4 now offers a Pulse Ox sensor for monitoring blood oxygen saturation levels and respiration tracking for monitoring the number of breaths taken per minute. The combination of these two features promises 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.
The Body Battery is a great new feature that allows you to check your energy levels throughout the day by collecting data from heart rate variability (HRV), sleep, stress, and activity. 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 the sports apps with preloaded workouts, preset workouts available to download from Garmin Connect, the ability to create customizable workouts, and Garmin Coach training plans.
Additionally, the Vivoactive 4 has over 40 on-screen workouts for strength training, cardio, yoga, and Pilates, which takes a page out of Fitbit's book. 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.
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.
How to decide between the Vivoactive 3 and Vivoactive 4
Not surprisingly, the price of the Vivoactive 3 has been significantly marked down since its successor hit the market. 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. Not to mention that you still get a lot of features for this low price point, including activity/sleep tracking, onboard GPS, and Garmin Pay.
However, if you're craving more details and 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.
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.
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.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.
Which Garmin Forerunner should you buy?
When you're a runner, it's important to find a watch that can keep up. We're here to help you decide which Garmin Forerunner is right for your needs.
Which Garmin fēnix model should you buy?
When you start shopping the Garmin fēnix lineup, you'll encounter numerous options. We're here to help you decide which model you should buy.
These are some fancy new bands for your Garmin Venu
Looking for a more comfortable or a more fashionable band for your Garmin Venu? Luckily there are plenty of options out there. Here are some of our favorites.