Home / Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs Fenix 5 Comparison: Which Is Better for You?

Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs Garrmin Fenix 5

The comparison between the Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs Fenix 5 isn’t an easy one, because both trackers are produced by the same company, which is well-known for its high quality and good performance. In this article, we’ll be going through the differences that could help you make your choice.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs Garmin Fenix 5

Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs Fenix 5

Vivoactive 3 vs Fenix 5: Design

Garmin Fenix 5:

The Garmin Fenix 5 is made of plastic –which doesn’t make it very durable-, and a silicone band. It has a sapphire version though, which is quite superb. Its dimensions are 1.9 x 0.6 x 1.9 inches and it weighs about 12 ounces.

Garmin Vivoactive 3:

The Vivoactive’s lens is made of chemically strengthened glass while its strap is made of smooth silicone. Its bezel is a stainless steel one, and its case is made of fiber-reinforced polymer with a stainless steel rear cover.

It’s about 1.7 x 0.5 x 1.7 inches in dimension and weighs 1.5 ounces, so it’s quite more portable than the former while it’s more durable because of its strong build.

Winner: The Garmin Vivoactive 3.

Garmin Fenix 5 vs Vivoactive 3: Display

Garmin Fenix 5:

The Fenix 5’s display is a strong, colorful one. It still gives you great visuals and visibility in sunlight and always stays on and works great on the low power mode. Its resolution is a good 240 x 240 pixels on a screen that is about 1.2 inches.

Garmin Vivoactive 3:

Displayed on the screen of the Vivoactive 3 would be the mileage, pace, heart rate, and a map of the route you’ve taken after you connect to the Garmin Connect app. There is no hard time reading the info because its display is vivid and bright with nice and attractive colors to motivate you for your workout.

Moreover, it’s a touchscreen which makes navigating easy and smooth. Its resolution is like the Fenix 5’s at 240 x 240 pixels on the same 1.2 inches screen.

Winner: Tie.

Click here to check out our list of the best smartwatches in 2019.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs Garmin Fenix 5: Heart rate monitor

A very crucial feature in any fitness tracker is the heart rate monitoring feature. It gives you all the information and stats you need to form a general idea on your heart’s healthiness and wellbeing through keeping an eye n your heart rate throughout the day and during activity.

Both trackers provide you with heart rate stats and send you alerts to notify you if your heart rate is above or below a custom range you specify or a target zone. They also keep info on the heart rate zones that can indicate the heart rates that most efficiently burn fats for you.

They also broadcast your heart rate data over ANT+ to any paired devices so that you get your information on all the devices.

Garmin Fenix 5:

The Garmin Fenix 5 delivers 24/7 hear rate monitoring and tracking. It also has VO2 max to measure the oxygen levels in your blood, which is a feature that’s really important to determine how athletic you are. Furthermore, it has a stress and recovery advisor.

Garmin Vivoactive 3:

The Vivoactive has an advantage because it’s equipped with % HR max to tell you which exercise intensity is best for each workout you do with precise estimation. This is better than the traditional 220-age multiplied by particular percentages, which proved to be an unreliable way to calculate your heart zones.

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is also equipped with VO2 max which is the measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen that your body is capable of burning during intense activity.

Winner: The Garmin Vivoactive 3.

Fenix 5 vs Vivoactive 3: Activity tracking

Garmin Fenix 5:

The Fenix 5 tracks your activities such as steps taken, distance moved, and calories burned. It has multi-sport tracking including running features such as a virtual pacer, VO2 max estimate, a recovery advisor, a race predictor, running dynamics, and calculations for indoor workouts, personal records, and virtual partner or racer.

It also displays swimming information such as lengths, distance, pace, stroke count and rate, stroke type –which it identifies on its own-, as well as open water swim metrics and swim-related workouts.

Garmin Vivoactive 3:

The Vivoactive 3 is equipped with Move IQ which automatically recognizes activity patterns and can distinguish between various patterns like running, biking, swimming, and elliptical training (with a minimum of 10 minutes to be detected).

Next to walking, running, and cycling, the Vivoactive 3 also has the capability to track golfing activities such as yardage, displaying a digital scorecard, tracking scores, putts per round, greens and fairways hit. Moreover, it can also track swimming activities and is equipped with swim profiles.

It displays information like lengths, distance, pace, stroke count, and calories. It can also detect the stroke style you choose to swim with such as freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly.

Winner: The Garmin Vivoactive 3.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 or Fenix 5: Floors Climbed

Both the Garmin Fenix 5 and the Vivoactive 3 have an altimeter sensor to keep track of the number of floors you’re climbed during the day. This is a nice addition to any tracker as more effort is put into floor-climbing.

Winner: Tie.

Which Is Better Garmin Vivoactive 3 or Fenix 5: Notifications

Both trackers allow you to receive notifications of your phone such as calls, texts, calendar events, reminders, and more.

Winner: Tie.

What’s The Difference Between Garmin Vivoactive 3 and Fenix 5: GPS

Both trackers are equipped with GPS sensors that keep track of distance, time, and pace. When you connect them to the Garmin Connect app, they send a map of your route.

Winner: Tie.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 and Garmin Fenix 5 Comparison: Water Resistance

Garmin Fenix 5:

As the Fenix 5 displays swim metrics, it’s only natural that it is swim-proof and water resistant, extending to a range of 10 ATM.

Garmin Vivoactive 3:

The Vivoactive is both water-resistant down to 5 ATM and swim-proof. This means you can go swimming with it and take showers or baths while you’re wearing it.

Winner: The Garmin Fenix 5.

Sleep tracking:

Enjoy a detailed feedback on your sleep including the movements you make during your sleep, the time, and duration spent sleeping and in each sleeping phase (light, deep, and REM).

You can simply do that by setting your usual sleep hours on the Garmin Connect app, and after that, the trackers detect your sleep patterns automatically and allows you to view them later on your Garmin Connect account.

Winner: Tie.

Battery life:

Garmin Fenix 5:

The Garmin Fenix 5 can last up to 14 whole days on smartwatch mode, but only 24 hours on GPS mode. It has an advantage though, where there is an UltraTrac battery saver mode that extends the battery life to up to 75 hours on GPS mode.

Garmin Vivoactive 3:

With the two modes available on the Vivoactive 3 also, you get 7 days of functioning on the Smartwatch mode and 13 hours on the GPS mode.

Winner: The Garmin Fenix 5.


Garmin Fenix 5:

With the Fenix 5, you get connectivity through Bluetooth and WiFi. You can control your music via the tracker, and find your misplaced phone via the “Find My Phone” feature. It’s also equipped with a capability to track physiological measurements such as a stress score, performance condition, and lactate threshold.

Garmin Vivoactive 3:

The Vivoactive 3 keeps activity data on its storage for 14 days so you can go back and compare your stats. It also delivers 7 timed activities.

Winner: The Fenix 5.

Which Is Better Garmin Vivoactive 3 or Fenix 5 overall?

The features that both trackers have to offer aren’t worlds apart. After all, they’re made by the same company. But the differences lie in that the Garmin Fenix 5 would seem like a more preferred option for people that are concerned with practicality like the extended battery life, water resistance, and helpful extra features.

Garmin Fenix 5 is also considered as one of the best smartwatches for Galaxy S9.

Whereas the Garmin Vivoactive 3 appeals to people that care about the stylish design it has to offer, and the more detailed tracking it has to deliver.

To keep in mind these prominent differences and to decide which ones you’re in the favor of would be the best way to decide on which trackers wins the battle between the Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs the Garmin Fenix 5.

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