Premium lifestyle pick

Samsung Galaxy Watch

Budget-friendly option

Garmin Vivoactive 3

If you're someone who prefers the look of a traditional watch with a rotating bezel, you'll love the Galaxy Watch. It's available in two large sizes with a beautiful screen, onboard GPS, heart-rate monitoring, mobile payments, and optional LTE connectivity.

$279 at Amazon

Pros

  • Optional LTE connectivity
  • Onboard GPS
  • Mobile payments
  • Rotating bezel
  • Two size options

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavy and bulky

The Vivoactive 3 isn't the newest wearable on the market, but it's a great budget-friendly watch with key features. You'll have access to 15 preloaded sports apps, onboard GPS, heart-rate monitoring, Garmin Pay, and activity/sleep tracking.

$132 at Amazon

Pros

  • Onboard GPS
  • Mobile payments
  • Great battery life
  • Reasonably priced
  • 15 preloaded sports apps

Cons

  • Lacks LTE connectivity
  • Music storage isn't standard
  • Not as durable

The best way to choose a smartwatch is to determine how you plan to use it. The Samsung Galaxy Watch, for example, is designed for those who want a luxurious timepiece that is equipped with many attractive features. If you're looking for LTE connectivity, military-grade durability, music storage, and mobile payments, this is the watch for you.

Alternatively, if you'd like to keep things simple and save a few bucks, you might be better off with the Garmin Vivoactive 3. It has GPS, heart-rate monitoring, activity/sleep tracking, and mobile payments. Both of these wearables have their perks, but the Samsung Galaxy Watch wins in terms of features and functionality.

Samsung Galaxy Watch: A premium experience

Samsung Galaxy WatchSource: Android Central

Nowadays, many people buy a smartwatch so they can stay connected without having to rely on their phones. The Samsung Galaxy Watch was made for those people. Having LTE connectivity on your wrist is becoming more and more popular. This means you'll be able to take calls and stream music without having your phone nearby. As you might've guessed, that means this smartwatch has both a microphone and speaker built in.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Garmin Vivoactive 3
Display 46 x 49 x 13 mm 43.4 x 43.4 x 11.7 mm
Dimensions 1.3" AMOLED display 1.2" transflective color display
Sensors GPS, GLONASS, accelerometer, barometer, gyroscope, heart rate, light GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Garmin Elevate wrist heart rate monitor, altimeter, compass, accelerometer, thermometer
Battery life 3 to 4 days Smartwatch mode: 7 days
GPS mode: 13 hours
Water resistance 5 ATM 5 ATM
Optional LTE ✔️
Music storage ✔️
Mic & speaker ✔️
Mobile payments ✔️ ✔️

Another perk is that the Galaxy Watch is available in two different stainless steel case sizes: 42mm and 46mm. It has a beautiful AMOLED display with a touchscreen and rotating bezel for effortless navigation. The battery life will last approximately 3-4 days depending on your usage. It's waterproof up to 50 meters as well.

The Galaxy Watch is capable of tracking your activity and health stats.

The 22mm interchangeable bands are easy to swap out when you feel like changing your style up. It's worth noting that this watch can feel pretty bulky and heavy on the wrist, especially during high-intensity workouts.

It may not look like a fitness tracker, but the Galaxy Watch is capable of tracking your activity and health stats. In addition to onboard GPS and heart-rate monitoring, your wearable can also track your sleep patterns and stress levels. It can automatically detect and track six different workouts. There are 39 other workouts to choose from on the Galaxy Watch, too.

Garmin Vivoactive 3: The affordable route

Vivoactive 3Source: Android Central

If you're buying a smartwatch for the first time or you'd rather not spend a lot of money, you might find yourself considering the Garmin Vivoactive 3. You won't get higher-end perks like LTE, a mic/speaker, or military-grade durability, but it excels in many other areas. It comes in a 43 mm stainless steel case with 20 mm quick release bands. It has a standard transflective color display with an easy-to-use touchscreen.

The Vivoactive 3 comes with 15+ preloaded sports apps that are ready to use.

Some of the main features include onboard GPS, 5ATM water resistance, heart-rate tracking, 7-day battery life, sleep monitoring, and female health tracking. The Vivoactive 3 comes with 15+ preloaded sports apps that are ready to use, including outdoor running, treadmill, biking, pool swimming, rowing, skiing, yoga, and more.

You'll be able to control your phone's music from your watch, but there is no onboard storage available. If this is a must-have feature, you'll need to pay more for the music version of this wearable. You'll have notifications on your wrist and you can answer or reject a call when it comes in, but you'll need to have your phone on hand or be connected to a Bluetooth headset to take it.

Bottom line

Both of these smartwatches are full of features, but your decision will come down to what type of experience you're looking for in a wearable. Those who love the look and feel of a luxury watch that keeps you connected on the go will appreciate the Samsung Galaxy Watch. With LTE connectivity, you can take calls on your wrist and stream music without your phone. The military-grade durability ensures that your watch is built to last. Other noteworthy features include Samsung Pay, GPS, heart-rate monitoring, and 5 ATM water resistance.

While there is a fair amount of overlap between the two, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 is more of a standard smartwatch. You won't have premium features such as LTE connectivity or music streaming, but it succeeds in other aspects. It's great for those who want to start tracking their health and fitness. It offers a week of battery life, GPS, heart-rate monitoring, Garmin Pay, and 5 ATM water resistance. Whether this is your first time buying a wearable or you're shopping on a budget, the Vivoactive 3 is great for basic tracking and smartwatch features.

However, it's worth noting that there's a new version of the Vivoactive 3, called the Vivoactive 4, which comes with music storage, more preloaded apps, and better overall tracking.

Premium lifestyle pick

Samsung Galaxy Watch

Live in luxury

Want a luxurious smartwatch that keeps you connected when you're on the go? The Samsung Galaxy Watch comes in two sizes and offers optional LTE connectivity. You also get GPS, heart-rate monitoring, Samsung Pay, and music storage.

Budget-friendly option

Garmin Vivoactive 3

Great price, great features

If you're looking for a watch that can track the basics with other helpful features, you can't go wrong with the Vivoactive 3. It lacks LTE connectivity and music storage costs more, but it has stellar battery life, heart-rate monitoring, GPS, and Garmin Pay.

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