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Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music vs 4 vs 4S Compared

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Perhaps the last sets of smartwatches from Garmin in the year 2019, the Vivoactive 4 alongside the Venu and the hybrid Vivomove are the latest smartwatches from the tech giant joining the Forerunner and Fenix 6 series that were released few days ago. The Vivoactive 4 consists of the bigger Vivoactive 4 and smaller Vivoactive 4S. These two will succeed the Vivoactive 3 models.

The Vivoactive 4 comes with newly added fitness tracking features, pulse ox sensor and a longer battery life that would last a bit longer than the older Vivoactive 3. One of the new features is the animated workout modes that can coach you through your favorite moves. We compare the Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs 4 vs 4S specs and features, so you know the differences.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs 4 vs 4S Specs Compared

 Garmin Vivoactive 3 MusicGarmin Vivoactive 4Garmin Vivoactive 4S
garmin vivoactive 3 music vs vivoactive 4 vs 4s
Credit: Garmin
garmin vivoactive 3 music vs vivoactive 4 vs 4sgarmin vivoactive 3 music vs vivoactive 4 vs 4s

EDITOR'S RATING

Design:
4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)
Battery:
3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5)
Fitness tracking:
4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)
Features:
4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)
Price:
3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)
Average:
4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Design:
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Battery:
4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)
Fitness tracking:
4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)
Features:
4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)
Price:
3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)
Average:
4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)
Design:
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Battery:
4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Fitness tracking:
4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)
Features:
4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)
Price:
3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)
Average:
4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

WHERE TO BUY

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ABOUT DEVICE

Device nameGarmin Vivoactive 3 MusicGarmin Vivoactive 4Garmin Vivoactive 4S
Device typeSporty/Fitness smartwatchSport/Fitness smartwatchSport/Fitness smartwatch
PredessesorGarmin Vivoactive 3Garmin Vivoactive 3 MusicGarmin Vivoactive 3 Music
SuccessorGarmin Vivoactive 4Garmin Vivoactive 4Garmin Vivoactive 4
Released dateJune, 2018September, 2019September, 2019
Ideal forUnisexUnisexUnisex

DISPLAY

Display typeTransflective memory-in-display (MIP)Transflective memory-in-display (MIP)Transflective memory-in-display (MIP)
Display size1.2 inch 1.3 inch 1.1 inch
Screen resolution240 x 240 pixels260 x 260 pixels218 x 218 pixels
Density------
Input typeTouchscreen plus 1 physical buttonTouchscreen plus 2 physical buttonTouchscreen plus 2 physical button

BODY

ShapeCircularCircularCircular
Dimension43.1 x 43.1 x 13.6 mm45.1 x 45.1 x 12.8 mm40.0 x 40.0 x 12.7 mm
Weight39 grams 50.5 grams 40 grams
Casing materialPolymerFiber-reinforced polymer with polymer rear coverFiber-reinforced polymer with polymer rear cover
Strap/band materialSiliconeSiliconeSilicone
Bezel Material--Stainless steelStainless steel
Strap size20mm22mm18mm
Screen protectionCorning Gorilla glass 3Corning Gorilla glass 3Corning Gorilla glass 3
Water resistant/ProtectionYes, 5ATMYes, 5ATMYes, 5ATM
Swim-proofYes, recommendedYes, recommendedYes, recommended
Color(s)Black, grayBlack/blackLight gold/pink
Rose gold/white
Silver/gray

MEMORY

RAM------
Internal storage4GB4GB4GB
Memory card slot------

CONNECTIVITY

BluetoothBluetooth smart v4.2 LE, ANT+Bluetooth smart v4.2 LE, ANT+Bluetooth smart v4.2 LE, ANT+
Wi-FiYesYesYes
NFCYesYesYes
GPSGPS/GLONASS/GalileoGPS/GLONASS/GalileoGPS/GLONASS/Galileo

CELLULAR TECHNOLOGY

TechnologyNoNoNo
SIM slotNoNoNo
BandNoNoNo

NOTIFICATIONS

Email alertYesYesYes
SMS alertYesYesYes
Calls alertYesYesYes
Event reminderYesYesYes
Weather forecastYesYesYes
Third-party appsYesYesYes

FITNESS TRACKING

Sleep trackingYesYesYes
Heart rate monitoringYesYesYes
Distance coveredYesYesYes
Steps climbedYesYesYes
CaloriesYesYesYes

MEDIA

Audiomp3/mp4mp3/mp4mp3/mp4
Bluetooth musicYesYesYes
RadioNoNoNo
LoudspeakerNoNoNo
MicrophoneNoNoNo
CameraNoNoNo

SENSORS

Accelerometer YesYesYes
Altimeter--YesYes
Heart rate monitor (HRM)YesYesYes
BarometerYesYesYes
Gyroscope YesYesYes
Ambient lightYesYesYes
Other sensorsCompass and ThermometerCompass and Thermometer
Pulse Ox.
Compass and Thermometer
Pulse Ox.

PLATFORM

Operating system (OS)Proprietary OSProprietary OSProprietary OS
Chipset------
CPU------
GPU------

BATTERY

Type of batteryNon-removable Li-ion batteryNon-removable Li-ion batteryNon-removable Li-ion battery
Battery capacity ------
Battery lifeSmartwatch mode: Up to 5 days
GPS mode with music: Up to 4 hours
Smartwatch mode: Up to 8 days
GPS mode with music: Up to 6 hours
Smartwatch mode: Up to 7 days
GPS mode with music: Up to 5 hours
ChargingUSB charging cableUSB charging cableUSB charging cable
Charging timeAbout 1-2 hoursAbout 1-2 hoursAbout 1-2 hours

MISC

Payment systemGarmin payGarmin payGarmin pay
Compatibility Android 4.4+ and iOS 8.0+Android 4.4+ and iOS 8.0+Android 4.4+ and iOS 8.0+
Companion appGarmin connect appGarmin connect appGarmin connect app
Customizable watch faceYesYesYes
Interchangeable band Yes, 20mmYes, 22mmYes, 18mm
Voice commandNoNoNo

BOX CONTENTS

Garmin Vivoactive 3 musicGarmin Vivoactive 4Garmin Vivoactive 4S
StrapsStrapsStraps
USB charging cableUSB charging cableUSB charging cable
Quick start guideQuick start guideQuick start guide

PRICE COMPARED

Price$250About $350About $350

What’s the Difference?

Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs 4 vs 4S Features Compared
The difference between the Vivoactive 4 and 3 is that the former comes with pulse ox sensor that result in more insightful sleep tracking, as well has more fitness tracking features, and a longer battery life than the 3.

  1. Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs 4 vs 4S: Design

  2. Nothing much has changed in the design with the release of the Vivoactive 4, transflective memory-in-display (MIP) still powers the display on each of these three which is very bright and easy to read outdoors.

    However, the Vivoactive 4 is a more durable smartwatch than the Vivoactive 3. Fiber-reinforced polymer with polymer rear cover material has been used for the case which is stronger than the polymer case of the Vivoactive 3. Moreover, the Vivoactive 4 with stainless steel bezel is more durable and attractive than the ceramics bezel of the 3, and leaves it with a classier appearance.

    In addition, the Vivoactive 4 is slimmer than the 3, and as a result is sleeker and more attractive watch which buttresses my initial claim that the Vivoactive 4 is a more stylish and attractive smartwatch than the 3.

    However, the Vivoactive 3 weighs slightly less than the 4 which makes it a more comfortable wear. Although, each of these three is very lightweight and a comfortable wear all day long.

  3. Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs 4 vs 4S: Fitness Tracking

  4. The pulse oximeter sensor seen on the latest Forerunner series, Fenix 6 and 5x plus is also available on the Vivoactive 4. Plus additional activity tracking features that comes with the Vivoactive 4 that the 3 lacks.

    No doubt, just like all Garmin smartwatches, each of these three is fitness-focused, and well equipped to comprehensively track your active life. Each of these three will track the following activities,

    • Steps, calories, fitness age, sleep monitoring, and all day stress tracking.
    • Available indoor gym activities include; indoor rowing, strength training and cardio training.
    • Training and planning features include training load, training effect, and activity history on the watch.
    • Running features include running, treadmill running, and trail running.
    • Heart rate sensor tracks your heart rate variability to give you insight on your heart rate zones, max heart rate and recovery time to help you manage the intensity of your training so that you can achieve more fitness goals without breaking down.
    • Outdoor recreational features include hiking, climbing, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, xc skiing, stand up paddleboarding, rowing, and jumpmaster. And cycling features such as biking, indoor biking, mountain biking, triathlon.
    • Loads of golfing features are also available.
    • In-depth swim tracking features including stroke detection and SWOLF.
    • Just like the Vivoactive 3, you can log your period with the Vivoactive 4 enabling you to monitor and track changes in menstrual cycle which can help you understand yourself better.
    • The incident detection feature introduced to the new Forerunner series is also available on both the Vivoactive 3 and 4 which can help you get the needed assistance when there’s an accidental fall. It sends your location to preset emergency contacts.

    However, below are new activity tracking features present on the Vivoactive 4/4S, but not on the Vivoactive 3.

    Garmin Vivoactive 3 Garmin Vivoactive 4/4S
    Lacks pulse ox sensor and features that comes with it. The Vivoactive 4/4S come with pulse ox which serves two functions; A. for altitude acclimation, where it can help you know when it’s not safe to continue climbing and B. sleep monitoring to help you see the quality of your sleep. The Pulse ox sensor achieves these functions by monitoring how well your body absorbs oxygen.
    Lacks battery energy monitor. The Vivoactive 4/4S feature the body battery energy monitor that uses data from heart rate variability, stress, sleep and other data to gauge when you’re ready to be active or when you may need to rest, ensuring you get to train at the appropriate time, so that you train and achieve more without breaking down.
    Lacks hydration tracking. The Vivoactive 4/4S features hydration tracking which is important for your well-being. It lets you log your daily water intake to help you stay hydrated and see how consistent you are from day to day.
    Lacks respiration tracking. The Vivoactive 4 features respiration tracking which lets you see how you’re breathing throughout the day, during sleep and breathwork, and yoga activities.
    Lacks wrist based swimming heart rate tracking. The Vivoactive 4/4S has the ability to track your heart rate while you swim which lets you see a better overview of your swimming activities.
    Lacks animated workout modes. Garmin added animated workout modes to the Vivoactive 4 that coach you through some of your favorite workout modes. The Vivoactive 4/4S features easy-to-follow, animated cardio, strength, yoga and Pilates workouts you can view on the watch screen. Choose from preloaded animated workouts, or download more from Garmin Connect online community. So, you don’t really need to watch videos, it saves you money, yet very effective.
    Features 15 preloaded workout modes. Features 20 preloaded workout modes.
    Although, some of these fitness tracking features found on the Vivoactive 4 might come to the Vivoactive 3 in future updates.

  5. Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs 4 vs 4S: Battery Life

Garmin boosted the battery life of the Vivoactive 4 which will see it last a little longer than the Vivoactive 3. Although, each of these three has an impressive long battery life that lets you go days on a single charge which is akin to Garmin smartwatches and a great deal for fitness enthusiasts especially those of us that are involved in extreme workout activities.

The Vivoactive 4 has the longest battery life that’ll keep you going for over a week compared to the Vivoactive 4S with a slight lesser battery life of about a week and even longer than the Vivoactive 3 with about 5 days long battery life.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Smartwatch mode: Up to 5 days
GPS mode with music: Up to 4 hours
Garmin Vivoactive 4 Smartwatch mode: Up to 8 days
GPS mode with music: Up to 6 hours.
Garmin Vivoactive 4S Smartwatch mode: Up to 7 days
GPS mode with music: Up to 5 hours
Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs 4 vs 4S: Which is Better?

No doubt, each of these three will make a fantastic choice as a fitness tracker and comfortable and decent wear all day long. Each of these has got onboard music, in-depth activity tracking features and a long battery life to back it up.

However, the Vivoactive 4 is clearly a better choice than the Vivoactive 3. Its sleeker and more attractive. Also more durable, has a longer battery life, plus more activity tracking features, including more sport modes that make the Vivoactive 4 a more comprehensive activity tracker than the 3.
Moreover, the Vivoactive 4S with the smallest case size is compact and the best choice for women and those with smaller wrist.

While the Vivoactive 4 with the longest battery life is the best choice, and a great choice for those with fatter wrist.

On the other hand, The Vivoactive 3 is a cheaper alternative. It’s a comprehensive fitness tracker with long battery life.

Our Pick

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 with the longest battery life, and being a comprehensive fitness tracker is our preferred choice.

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