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Garmin Vivoactive HR vs. Vivoactive 3 vs. Fenix 5: Which one should I buy?

Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs. Fenix 5

Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs. Fenix 5

Some athletes are faced with the question of: Garmin Vivoactive HR, Vivoactive 3, or Fenix 5, which one should I choose? After all, the decision could be very interesting in terms of price, especially around Christmas time when the sports watches mentioned above can be given as a gift.

We tested all 3 models extensively, if you are interested in all the details:

That is why we compare the three attractive sports watches with each other and emphasize the differences.

Don't forget to check Amazon's Fitness-Tracker & Wearables Best Sellers including well-known manufacturers like Garmin, Fitbit, Polar, Mio and much more!

Optics and Design

The outer appearance alone can suffice for a decision between the models. Angular versus round:

 

Compared to the Vivoactive 3 and Vivoactive HR, the Fenix 5 is considerably more massive and heavier, but overall it makes a more solid impression. But there is also the lighter and more elegant version: Fenix 5S. This is slightly flatter and lighter, but has a smaller battery and therefore lasts less.

Handling

Then there is the handling: the Fenix 5 has 5 buttons and does not require a touch display. For wet environments and intensive sports training, it is the better choice.

The Vivoactive HR has two buttons and a touch display. If you have very large fingers, you may experience difficulties with the handling. It is partly not so intuitive.

The Vivoactive 3 has a button (right), a touch-sensitive left side of the housing (called Side Swipe) and a touch display. Side Swipe is used when you want to scroll through the pages and widgets and to set values in data fields. In addition, Side Swipe can help to handle the watch, even if you have wet or sweaty fingers. Side Swipe does not need to be used, however, as the watch can be handled very comfortably and completely via the touch display.

Garmin Vivoactive HR vs. Vivoactive 3 vs. Fenix 5

The following table lists some important distinguishing features. Green indicates an improvement:

Vivoactive 3 vs Fenix 5 vs Vivoactive HR
VIVOACTIVE 3FENIX 5VIVOACTIVE HR
Watch glassCorning Gorilla Glass 3Glass or sapphire glassChemically hardened glass
Dimensions43,4 x 43,4 x 11,7 mm

127 to 204 mm circumference

47 x 47 x 15,5 mm

Fenix 5S: 42 x 42 x 15 mm

30,2 x 57 x 13,5 mm

M: 137 to 195 mm circumference

XL: 161 up to 225 mm circumference

Weight43,0 gSilicone band: 85 g

Metal band: 156 g

Fenix 5S: 67 g

M: 47,6 g

XL: 48,2 g

Waterproof5 ATM10 ATM5 ATM
Display type
  • Clearly legible, transflective MIP display (memory in pixels) when exposed to sunlight
  • 30.4 mm (1.2 inch) diameter
  • 240 x 240 pixels
  • Clearly legible, transflective MIP display (memory in pixels) when exposed to sunlight
  • 30.4 mm (1.2 inch) diameter
  • 240 x 240 pixels
  • Clearly legible, transflective MIP display (memory in pixels) when exposed to sunlight
  • 20.7 x 28.6 mm (0.8 x 1.13 inches)
  • 205 x 148 pixels
Touch screenyesnoyes
Battery life
  • GPS mode: Up to 13 hours
  • Smart mode: Up to 7 days
  • Smart mode: Up to 2 weeks
  • GPS/HF mode: Up to 24 hours
  • UltraTrac mode: Up to 60 hours without HR measurement on the wrist
  • GPS mode: Up to 13 hours
  • Smart mode: Up to 8 days
Ambient light sensoryesnono
Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and Stress Levelyesyesno
Rejecting and automating calls Send text (only Android)yesnono
Smartphone compatibility
  • Android
  • iPhone
  • Android
  • iPhone
  • Windows Phone
  • Android
  • iPhone
  • Windows Phone
Garmin Payyesnono
Pre-installed gym activity profiles
  • Elliptical training
  • Stair Stepping
  • Floor Climbing
  • Indoor Rowing
  • Yoga
  • Cardio Workouts
  • Strength training
  • Automatic repetition counter
  • Indoor Rowing
  • Cardio Workouts
  • Strength training
  • Automatic repetition counter
Indoor Rowing
VO2maxyesyesno
% HF max.yesyesno
Recording of heart rate during swimmingnoyes
(with HRM-Tri and HRM-Swim)
no
Running Training Programsyesyesno
Runtime forecastyesyesno
Virtual Partner & Virtual Racernoyesno
Advanced Running Metrics

(running efficiency, ground contact time and balance, vertical movement)

noyesno
Route guidance on routesnoyesno
Extended training statements (recreation time, training condition, training load, training effect)noyesno
Outdoor & Navigation Functions
  • Back to start
  • Total ascent/descent
  • Back to the start
  • Total ascent/descent
  • Height profile
  • Distance to destination
  • Height profile
  • Thunderstorm warning
  • Waypoint projection
  • and more
  • Back to the start
  • Total ascent/descent
Golf features
  • Yes, significantly expanded:
  • Digital scorecard
  • Stat tracking (strokes, putts per round, greens and fairways hit)
  • Green View with manual pin position
  • Hazards and course targets
  • PinPointer
  • Yes, significantly expanded:
  • Digital scorecard
  • Stat tracking (strokes, putts per round, greens and fairways hit)
  • Green View with manual pin position
  • Hazards and course targets
  • PinPointer
yes
Swimming metrics (tracks, distance, pace, number of moves/trains, calorie consumption, swimming style recognition)yesyesyes
Swimming exercisesnoyesno
Amazon LogoProduct pageProduct pageProduct page
Our reviewVivoactive 3Fenix 5Vivoactive HR

 

All in all, it can be seen that the Fenix 5 offers much more advanced fitness and outdoor features that are intended to appeal to ambitious athletes and outdoor fans.

If you are looking for a good all-rounder with running training programs, you would probably rather choose the Vivoactive 3.

If you want to keep an eye on the price, you can have fun with Vivoactive HR, without having to forego a lot of things.

Reading tip: Choose the right Garmin Tracker

 

 

By |2019-01-26T10:07:05+00:00November 21st, 2017|Categories: Recommendations|Tags: |Comments Off on Garmin Vivoactive HR vs. Vivoactive 3 vs. Fenix 5: Which one should I buy?

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