Fitbit Charge 3 vs Garmin Vivoactive 3: Which is Better for You?

Fitbit Charge 3 vs. Garmin Vivoactive 3

Fitbit and Garmin are two of the most popular names in the world of activity tracking and fitness devices. Once you hear the name of the brand, you know you’ll be getting a device that’s accurate and reliable.

Of course, wearables, in general, aren’t perfectly accurate all the time, but if you’re looking for a device that’ll deliver great estimations, either of these two is a superb option, in its own way.

So, between the Charge 3 vs. the Vivoactive 3, which makes the better option? Let’s see how they stack up.

FeatureFitbit Charge 3

Fitbit Charge 3

Garmin Vivoactive 3

Garmin Vivoactive 3

Display Size0.72-in.1.2-in.
Water Resistance165 feet165 feet
Battery Life7 days7 days
Heart Rate MonitoringYesYes

Fitbit Charge 3 Overview

Fitbit Charge 3


  • Superb ecosystem
  • Accurate heart rate monitoring
  • Swim-proof
  • Smartphone notifications
  • Simple design


  • Not many color options
  • No built-in GPS

The Fitbit Charge 3 has an amazing ecosystem, is swim-proof, and has a sleek design. If all of these features do not make you excited about it, we do not know what will.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Overview

Garmin Vivoactive 3


  • Great smart features combined with fitness tracking
  • Color display
  • Built-in GPS
  • NFC payment capability


  • More expensive

Another great smartwatch by Vivoactive. The Garmin 3 has an amazing fitness tracking system alongside a built-in display, color display, and a lot more.

Fitbit Charge 3 vs. Garmin Vivoactive 3 – Short Answer:

Between these two devices, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 definitely shines brighter. It’s jam-packed with fitness features, offers decent smart ones, and has a much more attractive display and design.

Fitbit Charge 3 vs. Garmin Vivoactive 3 – Full Comparison:

1. Design and Display

If you’re into the simple, vertical design of fitness trackers, you’ll love the Fitbit Charge 3. It comes with this minimalistic design, but with many features that are far from the basic.

It’s pretty durable with an aluminum body and a Gorilla Glass 3-treated MIP screen. It employs a woven material that’s pretty comfortable to wear and is swappable if you wish to change it.

On the other hand, the Vivoactive 3’s display comes with chemically-strengthened glass, while it has a silicone strap with a stainless-steel bezel and a fiber-reinforced polymer case.

Its OLED display beats the Charge 3’s, especially that it flaunts a 240 x 240-pixel resolution and displays metrics in colors, unlike the grayscale display of the Charge 3 with a 66 x 18-pixel resolution.

Winner: The Garmin Vivoactive 3

2. Fitness and Health Features

For more in-depth feedback on your activity, you can go on the apps of each device: The Fitbit App or Garmin Connect for the Charge 3 and Vivoactive 3, respectively.

On either app, you can check the information that your Charge 3 gathered about your heart-rate and different activities, including walking, running, dancing, playing football, or swimming.

The Charge 3 comes with a couple of swim-tracking metrics as well, including laps and distance lapsed.

It goes without saying that both the smartwatches are water-resistant up to 165 feet to enable swimming without any damage being inflicted on their inner workings.

Both trackers come with GPS capabilities, but the Vivoactive 3 has the edge over its rival as it offers built-in GPS. Contrarily, the Charge 3’s GPS capability is only available when connected to a smartphone.

The Fitbit Charge 3 does come with a SpO2 sensor that detects the amount of oxygen in your blood. This helps it form better estimations regarding your athletic level, how effective your circulation is, and how well you sleep.

On the other hand, the Vivoactive 3 uses %HR Max to inform you about the best exercise intensity for every workout you do.

It comes with VO2 max as well, which measures the amount of oxygen your body is able to burn during intense activity levels, and consequently helps you burn calories more efficiently.  

This also enhances its efficiency in estimating sleep duration and quality. However, instead of automatically tracking your sleep and stages (REM, light, and deep) like the Charge 3, the Vivoactive 3 prompts you to enter your usual sleeping hours in the Garmin Connect app.

Not only that, but it also sends you notifications whenever your heart rate rises above or falls below a certain level or target zone.

Moreover, the Vivoactive 3 comes with Move IQ that is quite similar to the SmartTrack feature on the Charge 3. Both are able to automatically detect and log various activities, except that Move IQ is a little more accurate and includes more activities.

Besides running, cycling, and walking, the Vivoactive 3 can also track activities as specific as golfing where you can keep track of yardage, strokes, putts per round, greens, and fairway hits. It even displays a digital scorecard.

As for swimming, it also beats the Charge 3 as it keeps track of more metrics and data, including lengths, distance, pace, stroke count, and calories. Not only that, but it’s also capable of recognizing the stroke you’re using to swim, such as butterfly, backstroke, and freestyle.

The best part about the Vivoactive 3’s activity tracking is that it keeps your stats for a period of 14 days or 7 times activities and enables you to draw a comparison between them, which gives you a better insight into your progress.

But that doesn’t mean that the Vivoactive 3 absolutely beats the Charge 3, as the latter comes with female health tracking and guided breathing sessions that focus on regulating your breath and, consequently, your heart rate. This is especially helpful if you’re a person that’s prone to stress in a fast-paced environment.

Winner: Garmin Vivoactive 3

3. Smart Features

In terms of smart features, the Charge 3 offers the basics and a little more. But the Vivoactive 3 offers way more than its rival.

Both devices display call, text, and calendar notifications to keep you up to speed about your appointments, events, meetings, and communication.

Moreover, both also allow you to make online payments using NFC technology. However, this feature is only available on the Charge 3’s Special Edition model.

If you pair your Charge 3 with an Android smartphone, it’ll give you the added advantage of sending quick replies right through your wrist.

Similarly, the Vivoactive 3 allows you to respond or reject phone calls with a short text from Android phones.

Moreover, there’s a “Find My Phone” feature that makes life so much easier if you happen to misplace your phone.

Winner: The Garmin Vivoactive 3

4. Battery Life

With the Charge 3, you’ll get around seven days of functionality on a single charge. That’s also the case with the Vivoactive 3 when you use its smartwatch mode. However, the Vivoactive 3 comes with a GPS mode, which, when activated, shortens the battery life to only 13 hours.

Winner: Tie

Fitbit Charge 3 vs. Garmin Vivoactive 3: Final Thoughts

The bottom line is, if you’re looking for the perfect combination of smart and fitness features, you should definitely opt for the Garmin Vivoactive 3.

However, if you’re not concerned with all the extra capabilities of the Vivoactive 3, you might want to save a handsome amount of money and opt for the Charge 3.

Although the Vivoactive 3 looks more visible, this makes its display clearer. Not to mention, its display is generally much more attractive than that of the Charge 3 anyway.