If you are looking for one of the latest fitness trackers, there is a good chance the Fitbit Charge 3 and Garmin Vivosmart 4 will be on your shopping list. These are two of the foremost recent offerings from two giants in the arena of fitness trackers – but which one comes out on top?
While neither of those is a smartwatch, they certainly have a wealth of clever features that make them some of the most technologically advanced fitness trackers.
They have appeal to fitness fans and the fashion-conscious while being similar in features and price. These are two of the foremost recent offerings from two giants in the arena of fitness trackers – but which one comes out on top?
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Who is Garmin
In 1989, Garmin Ltd was founded. In the beginning, its main business was GPS technology for the car, marine, aviation and outdoor activities markets. The shift towards the market of activity trackers is a recent one.
Garmin manufactures a good selection of GPS tracking devices with several applications and a range of fitness trackers as part of the Vivo series, including the Vivosmart, Vivofit and the Vivoactive.
Who is Fitbit
Based in San Francisco, California, Fitbit is a well known American manufacturer of fitness trackers and watches. The corporation has been around since 2007 and has since won many industry awards.
The first product that was launched by Fitbit was a tracker. However, the corporation now manufactures a wide range of products including; the Fitbit Zip clip-on tracker, and a variety of wristband style trackers including; the Fitbit Alta and the Fitbit Alta HR.
The Fitbit Charge 3 has a 22mm grayscale OLED touchscreen. This OLED touchscreen offers a resolution of 100 x 150 pixels. The Vivosmart 4 also features a grayscale OLED screen of 19.3mm and a pixel resolution of 48 x 128 pixels.
By default, the display of the Fitbit Charge 3 and the Garmin Vivosmart remains off. The display only turns on if the user raises a hand, taps on the screen or if there’s an alert of some type. The larger screen of the Fitbit charge 3 makes reading any alerts and stats easier than those displayed on the Vivosmart 4.
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Materials and hues
Firstly, The Vivosmart 4 has an aluminum case and features a polycarbonate lens and a silicone strap. The Charge 3 is lighter – 16g against 29g – with an aerospace-grade aluminum case and a Corning Gorilla Glass display. The buckle and housing of this tracker are made of anodized aluminum.
For the more fashion-conscious, the Vivosmart I is available in four different colorways. As is the Charge 3 – although one of these features a white band which may be less partial for many users. Furthermore, both trackers have easy-clean rubberized straps
Both trackers are very easy on the eyes and feature a slim, stylish and sleek design that makes them great for wearing with any outfit, not just sporting gear.
The Vivosmart has the smallest display, making it slightly harder to read. Since the menu on the Vivosmart scrolls in a horizontal direction, it can be easy to miss an alert if you are not paying attention.
Both trackers include a small and a large band, so there is no problem ensuring that you have a good fit.
The Garmin Vivosmart 4 only has basic tracking features. However, it does not have GPS (update on Garmin Site 20/12/20 – the Vivosmart4 will pair up with a smartphone for GPS). The Charge 3 can hook up with the GPS on your phone to log mileage and give you accurate estimates of distance for walking, bike riding and running.
Unlike the Charge 3, the Vivosmart 4 supports ANT+ connectivity so it can link with a chest strap to be used as a heart rate monitor. The feature of automatic tracking of walking and running type exercises makes it so there is no reason to launch a workout on the Garmin Vivosmart 4.
These are the main differences in features between the two trackers. The remainder of the features are similar, including water resistance up to 50 meters, sleep tracking and basic daily step counting.
Both trackers offer a similar battery life of around seven days. However, it is worth noting that because the Vivosmart 4 includes a Pulse Ox Sensor, the battery might not last as long as it is claimed. The reason for this is that the user’s blood oxygen saturation level is monitored while they sleep.
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Both trackers do have some smartwatch features. The Vivosmart 4 offers vibration alerts and notifications once you receive calls, texts, emails or social media alerts. It also offers Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ connectivity. You could also respond to or reject calls through the wristband, and could even control the music on your smartphone.
The Charge 3 allows you to look at calls, messages, social media updates and weather alerts – this is often done with a vibration alert. However, you would not be able to make calls or respond to them via the wristband. This watch also lacks a music control feature.
The Garmin Vivosmart 4
- Pulse Ox Sensor
- Body Battery energy monitor
- Offers advanced sleep monitoring
- All-day stress tracking, VO2 max estimates
- Water-resistant and swim-proof up to 50 meters
- Slimmer design
- No GPS features
- Smaller monitor
The Fitbit Charge 3
- The OLED monitor is larger
- 24/7 sleep tracking and pulse monitor
- Priced affordably
- The battery lifetime of 7 days
- Water-resistant and swim-proof up to 50 meters
- Features stopwatch, timers, app alerts and weather
- A limited number of watch faces
- No control over music
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You could pay around £100 ($128) for the Garmin Vivosmart 4 and £120 ($155) for the Fitbit Charge 3 – so the price is not much of a deciding factor between these two models.
If you are looking for something with GPS trackability, only the Charge 3 goes to offer you this feature. Likewise, if you need a tracker with heart rate monitor capabilities, then the Vivosmart 4 is the way forward.
The quality of these fitness trackers is top-notch; as expected from their respective manufacturers. So, if neither of these features is of particular importance to you; your final judgment may be swayed by the design of the tracker or the ease with which you can read the data provided. If, of course, you would like a particular feature, then the selection is crystal clear. The Vivosmart 4 is fantastic for tracking pulse or the Charge 3 might be best for its GPS capability.
How can we Test Smartwatches
We pride ourselves on the amount of time and effort we put into testing and reviewing smartwatches. We all know that you rely on us to give you the information you need to decide whether a model is right for your needs. That is why we put each one through its paces with a rigorous approach to testing.
We examine the planning of each watch to see whether these trackers are stylish and appealing while also remaining highly functional and easy to use. Is it comfortable to wear? How does it look on wrists of different sizes? Are there any customization options included? We examine all of those elements.
We look closely at integrated features and fitness tracking capabilities. Is there GPS? Are there LTE capabilities? Are you able to make contactless payments? Is there storage for songs and podcasts? Tracking sleep? Tracking activity for different sports? We test these elements and look at the effect that each has on the power, processing capacity, memory, and battery lifetime of each device.
Finally, we bring all this information together in an informative review so that you can make the best choice for you.