Garmin Vivosmart 3 App: Sport Science
All the data, hokey or not, ends up in the Garmin Connect app. I think of this as the Excel spreadsheet of fitness tracking software, because it’s pretty boring unless you’re into stats. Really into stats.
Fitbit has a knack for making metrics seem fun, and using them to motivate you. Garmin… not so much.
With a real lightweight fitness band, this is a real turnoff, like buying a book on string theory for your niece who just wanted a My Little Pony plush.
Still, the Vivosmart 3 is an appealing middle ground between a basic tracker and a super-intense “I run ultra marathons for fun” one like the Fenix 5. Garmin Connect is not a fun place to hang around in, but at least it has established places for all the band’s data and can fling charts and graphs your way until your eyes glaze over.
It’s particularly good at charting your progress over weeks, months, even a year. But, to reiterate, it’s not fun.
The app also lets you make some important changes to the watch. For example, there are several watch faces, eight of them. Some are plain clocks, both analogue and digital.
Others add your step count, the weather or your heart rate. You can also choose whether the display is arranged in portrait or landscape. I prefer the more watch-like portrait mode, but have to admit the landscape view is much less cramped if you use a more stat-packed homescreen.
Don’t want to use the Vivosmart 3 as a watch? You can choose any of the interface pages as the default display, and cut out any pages you don’t need. This doesn’t stop the band from recording any data, but does make the interface easier to flick through. When you first fire it up there’s 11 pages of gumpf, which is a bit of a finger workout by itself.
Garmin Vivosmart 3 verdict
The Garmin Vivosmart 3 is a fitness band with several personalities. It’s a step counter. It’s a semi-hardcore fitness band. It’s a basic smartwatch. Heck, it’s even a mindfulness coach.
All of this fits into an innocuous black band that lasts most of a week between charges.
Fitbits are more fun and stylish, the Vivosmart 3’s touch interface is fiddly and not having an always-on screen is annoying when the screen isn’t super-responsive. But it does most things well enough to make it one of the richest, most useful fitness bands out there.