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Garmin Vivomove 3 vs Garmin Vivoactive 4

Garmin Vivomove vs Garmin Vivoactive
(Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin has produced a huge range of smartwatches, running watches and fitness trackers, all designed with specific people in mind, but two models are particularly similar, and if you're in the market for a new activity watch it might be hard to know which to choose: the Garmin Vivomove 3 or the Garmin Vivoactive 4.

Both of these are stylish watches that look smart enough for everyday wear, and at first glance they seem very similar, but there are some very important differences between the two.

Here's everything you need to know about the Vivomove 3 and the Vivoactive 4, so you can choose the right one for you.

Summary

Summary

The Garmin Vivomove 3 is the more stylish of the two, with a classic-looking design that features both an analog dial and digital display. It has lots of handy tools for everyday health and wellbeing (such as step tracking, stress monitoring, mindfulness exercises) plus several exercise tracking profiles, but it lacks on-board GPS and has fewer sport-specific features than the Vivoactive.

If you're a keen sportsperson who favors practicality over looks, you'll prefer the Garmin Vivoactive 4. It has GPS (plus GLONASS and Galileo) for accurate navigation, plus an array of extra sport-specific training features to help you measure and improve your performance. It also has storage for up to 500 songs so you can leave your phone at home while you train.

Display and design

Display

  • Vivomove 3 has a hybrid display with physical hands
  • Vivoactive 4 is has an all-digital display

Perhaps the most obvious difference between these two watches is that the Vivomove 3 has a hybrid design, meaning it has both analog hands to show the time, and a hidden digital display for important information such as app notifications, text messages, and fitness stats. The hands move out of the way automatically to show the digital display, and return to their proper positions afterwards. You can opt for a black-and-white screen, or a color version if you pay a little extra.

By contrast, the Vivoactive 4's display is entirely digital. You can choose an analog-style watch face design if you prefer a classic look (as shown in this article's header image), but these are pixels on a screen; there are no moving parts.

The Vivoactive 4's display measures 33mm in diameter, and has a resolution of 260 x 260 pixels. The Vivomove 3's 8.90 x 18.30mm digital display has a resolution of 64 x 132 pixels.

The Vivomove 3's lens is made from generic chemically-strengthened glass, while the Vivoactive 4 features Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

Garmin Vivomove 3

The Garmin Vivomove 3 is a hybrid watch, with both an analog dial and digital display (Image credit: Garmin)

Design

  • Almost identical dimensions
  • Stainless steel bezel and silicone strap as standard
  • Vivoactive 4 is marginally heavier

The Vivomove 3's case measures 44 x 44 x 11.3mm, while the Vivoactive 4 is 45.1 x 45.1 x 12.8mm, meaning it has a smaller face but is slightly thicker. The difference is minimal though, and you're unlikely to notice it in everyday wear.

Both the Vivoactive 3 and Vivomove 4 have a stainless steel bezel with a plastic rear cover and silicone strap - a combination that strikes a happy balance of stylish looks and light weight. The Vivoactive 4 weighs 50.5g, while the Vivomove 3 is slightly lighter, tipping the scales at 46.1g.

The Vivoactive 4's band is an industry-standard 20mm wide, while the Vivomove 3's is a little wider at 22m. Both have a quick-release mechanism so you can switch the strap easily if you want a change from the standard silicone.

If both of these watches sound too large, check out their smaller counterparts, the Vivoactive 4S (40 x 40 x 12.7mm) and Vivomove 3S (39 x 39 x 10.9mm).

Features

Smartwatch features

  • Vivoactive 4 supports contactless payments
  • Vivoactive 4 has internal storage for 500 songs

The Vivoactive 4 and Vivomove 3 have similar sets of smartwatch functions. Both watches offer smart notifications, the ability to control music from your phone, calendar, a weather app, find my phone, find my watch, and text response/reject call with text (for Android only).

The Vivoactive 4 has some extra features though, including Garmin Pay for contactless payments. Its usefulness will depend on whether your bank is supported, but if you're in the US then yours likely is.

You can also store up to 500 songs on the Vivoactive 4, so you can enjoy tunes as you work out without carrying your phone. There's no storage for music on the Vivomove 3.

Garmin Vivoactive 4

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 has on-board GPS and a host of sport-specific training tools (Image credit: Garmin)

Fitness tracking features

  • Vivoactive 4 has many more activity profiles
  • Vivoactive 4 has on-board GPS
  • Vivomove 3 is built more for general wellbeing

Both watches feature a step counter, all-day stress tracking, heart rate monitoring, and sleep tracking. However, the Vivoactive 4 is definitely designed more with sports enthusiasts in mind. For starters, it features on-board GPS, GLONASS and Galileo location tracking, making it a better watch for keen runners and cyclists than the Vivomove 3, which only offers connected GPS that piggybacks off your phone.

The Vivoactive 4 can broadcast heart rate data to paired devices, and is compatible with tracking pods fitted to your running shoes (such as the Garmin Running Dynamics Pod).

It also has many more activity profiles than the Vivomove 3, including a raft of options specifically for golfers (digital scorecard, hazards and course targets, Garmin Autoshot etc). For cyclists, there's compatibility with Varia rear-facing radar and lights, and support for speed and cadence sensors.

The Vivomove 3, on the other hand, is intended for more casual exercise and general wellbeing. Unlike the Vivoactive 4, it has a pulse oximeter to measure blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) at night, and in spot-checks during the day. It also provides relaxation reminders, with breathing exercises to try if you're starting to feel the pressure.

Price

Price

  • Vivoactive 4 is more expensive
  • Deals expected on Black Friday

The Vivomove 3 (44mm, black and white display) currently starts at $199.99 / £219.99 / AU$399 on Garmin's website, while the the Vivoactive 4 (45mm) starts at $349.99 / £259.99 / AU$579.

Both watches may be available more cheaply in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. We'll be bringing you all the best deals on smartwatches and fitness trackers as soon as they become available.