The Garmin Vivoactive is a number one best seller on Amazon, due to its intended function as a fitness smartwatch rather than a mainstream one. The high resolution, ultra-thin display is sunlight-readable and crisp, which is perfect for use outdoors where the glare will no long obstruct the time.

Brand: Garmin

Type/Model: Vivoactive

Purchase Link:



The Vivoactive by Garmin is popular among those serious about their fitness and who wish to keep track of their workouts. This fitness sports smart watch is an excellent alternative to standard smart watches, which are more expensive and contain features that runners and fitness buffs are not interested in. You can purchase this watch in Black or White designs, as well as with or without a Heart Rate Monitor (bundles include a chest strap heart rate monitor).

Technical Specifications and Features:

  • Ultra-thin, high resolution display
  • Display: Sunlight readable; Color touch screen
  • Size: 28.6mm x 20.7mm Display Screen
  • GPS-Enabled
  • Notifications: Alerts, Calls, Texts, Emails, Calendar Items, Social Media, and Other Apps
  • Water Resistance: 5 ATM
  • High-sensitivity receiver
  • Vibration Alerts
  • Music Control
  • “Find My Phone” feature
  • VIRB Control
  • Watch Functions: Time, Date, Calendar, and Alarm
  • Sensors: Heart Rate Monitor (for the HR model)
  • Features: Accelerometer, Shock Resistant, Auto Lap/Pause/Scroll, Pace Alert, Time/Distance Alert, Heart Rate Calorie Consumption, Calculation of Calories Burned
  • Sports Features: Bike Speed/Cadence Sensor (optional), Pool Swim Metrics, Golfing Metrics, Activity Tracking (Step Counter, Auto Goal, Move Bar
  • Sleep Monitoring
  • Garmin Connect Compatible (online community where user can categorize, analyze, and share their data), Automatic Sync (Data is automatically transferred to computer).


The battery on the Vivoactive is pretty incredible. Depending on whether you use the GPS, this battery can last for weeks.

Specifically, a full battery charge can last the user through all activities in watch/activity tracking mode for 3 weeks. When using the built-in GPS, this watch will last up to 10 hours, which is extremely impressive for such power usage.

The Garmin Fenix 3 GPS also has extremely impressive battery life similar to the Vivoactive. You can check out our review of this fitness smart watch here.

Garmin Vivoactive Screens Banner

The Good

The built-in GPS is an excellent addition. GPS-Enabled running, biking, golfing, swimming, and activity tracking applications for viewing your stats—even away from your phone.

When paired with your smartphone, you can keep track of incoming messages when you are on the go. The Vivoactive gently vibrates and displays the alerts for: incoming calls, emails, texts, calendar items, social media notifications, and alerts from other applications. These features can be customized.

There is also a plethora of on-device data screens, such as: daily step count, goal countdown, distance moved, calories burned, an inactivity timer, the time, heart rate (for models with HR monitor), VIRB action camera/remote, and music player controls.

These additions are highly sought-after by those who spend a lot of time outdoors, working out, and playing sports.

The built-in sports applications which include GPS-enabled running, biking, golfing, swimming, activity tracking, etc…makes it easy to gather data and later on, to view your stats even away from your smartphone.

With customizable watch face designs, applications, and widgets, users can simply visit the Connect IQ store to change out their look whenever they want.

The Bad

Some users find the screen to be too dim in low light, such as indoors. The display is duller in comparison to other smart watches, and is not as vibrant or bright. However, for most, this is not much of a deal-breaker considering that the screen can be seen very well in sunlight, which is what this watch was designed for (the most common usage).

Garmin has offered advice on how to get the most from the display, including tips on how to help with screen visibility. Users have the option of setting the back-light to “always stay on” when toggled, as well as the option to invert the contrast for each activity profile.

You do have to turn the Sleep Monitoring on and off with each use, but this a minor inconvenience.



One major highlight of the Vivoactive is the sheer volume of features that make this smart watch another excellent hybrid between a mainstream smart watch and a fitness tracker. With a top-notch notification system, music-player, social media apps, vibration technology, GPS-enabled data and stats, activity tracker, sleep monitor, built-in sports apps, Connect IQ, and a sunlight-readable display, the Vivoactive is an excellent show of Garmin’s ability to produce an outstanding product for fitness and sports use.

The battery life is certainly a highlight as well. With up to 3 weeks of battery charge in watch/activity tracking mode and 10 hours of battery charge when using GPS-enabled functions, the Garmin Vivoactive has an extremely impressive battery life that nearly all user will find more than satisfactory.


The functionality of the Garmin Vivoactive is a testament of Garmin’s ability to pump the right high-tech gear into this smart watch while maintaining a great price. Less expensive than mainstream smart watches and a little more expensive than some Pebble and Fitbit models, the Vivoactive ends up blowing them out of the water on the functionality and variety of features offered.

The Vivoactive has the best GPS-enabled features for fitness, and sports and activity trackers. However, many fitness watches would leave it at that. The Vivoactive includes mainstream smart watch features as well, which makes it easier for the user to keep track of their lives while they work out.

The functionality of the Smart Notifications is flawless, the potential for a plethora of applications to use are very positive, the sleep monitoring is excellent, and the user can even keep track of social media accounts, which most fitness trackers do not do.

The Garmin Vivoactive has had excellent reviews by users who are impressed with the functionality of each aspect of this smart watch.


You can purchase the Garmin Vivoactive without a Heart Rate Monitor for $177.99/$189.95 (for Black or White respectively), or with a Heart Rate Monitor for $240.00/229.00 (for Black or White). By taking a look at the varieties available and what is important for you to have in your Garmin smart watch, you can get the Vivoactive for a much cheaper price than other smart watches.

Check out the link to see current prices and watch options on

If you are seeking a better price tag or more variety, you can visit Garmin’s site directly for additional options at: Purchasing direct from Garmin, you can buy:

  • Black or White design for $219.99
  • Slate, The Biggest Loser Limited Edition for $219.99
  • Black Bundle with Heart Rate Monitor Built-In for $269.99
  • White Bundle with Heart Rate Monitor Built-In for $269.99

However, it is suggested that you price-match the exact design/model you want before purchasing—Amazon, for example, has the best price for the classic Black and White watches. However, the Slate/Biggest Loser Edition and the Bundles (which include a heart rate monitor chest strap), are not available on Amazon.

If you are seeking an all-in-one GPS fitness smart watch by Garmin with all of the bells and whistles, you can purchase the Garmin Fenix 3 GPS, but it will run you nearly $500 for the exclusive hardware and software.

Take a look at our review of the Garmin Fenix 3 to see if it is right for you.

Overall Impression

Overall, the Garmin Vivoactive is one of those rare hybrids that embody the complexity and features of a mainstream smart watch, as well as the battery life, specifications, smart controls, and tailor-made features of a fitness tracker.

The impressive Vivoactive is half the price of smart watches that do not offer fitness features on this scale, but it also offers notification and application features that most fitness trackers like Fitbit do not. This makes this hybrid a well thought-out creation by Garmin, who factored in the price, features, materials, design, and specifications when considering how to create the best smart watch available for a competitive price.

While the design itself is nothing to write home about, the sheer functionality and addition of excellent features and sensors are what makes this smart watch one to consider.

*For more options on the best smart watches for sports and athletic use that are geared towards mainstream wearable technology, check out our article: 


9.7Overall Score
Battery Life10
Functionality 10
Overall Quality9.9
Reader Rating 0 Votes