Vivofit 3 is a basic inexpensive waterproof fitness tracker from Garmin which does a good job with basic fitness tracking like steps, calories, distance and sleep. Unlike Fitbit Charge HR, it doesn’t have any advanced features like altimeter or a heart rate sensor.

Garmin Vivofit compared with Fitbit Charge

Garmin Vivofit 3 key features and drawbacks

  • Inbuilt watch showing you the time and date.
  • Tracks all day steps, calories burned, distance travelled intensity minutes, sleep and heart rate if paired with an ANT plus heart rate monitor.
  • Daily steps goal that Garmin automatically adjusts based on your activity level.
  • Move bar and audible move alerts.
  • No vibrating alarms, however audible beep alarm is present.
  • Workout monitor tracks your effort level and calories burned.
  • Move IQ feature automatically detects certain activities.
  • Swappable bands for different colors and styles.
  • Water resist down to 50 meters.
  • Backlight option for low light areas.
  • Secure snap on locking mechanism on the wristband.
  • Syncs automatically via Bluetooth or ANT plus using a USB stick.
  • Powered by a coin cell battery which generally lasts about a year.
  • No smart notifications.
  • Includes stopwatch and timer functions.
  • It does not have an in-built HR sensor.
  • Motivates you to move around after a period of inactivity.

Garmin Vivofit 3 vs. previous generations

The previous two generations of Garmin Vivofit series of activity trackers Vivofit and Vivofit 2 had a horizontal screen orientation. However, Vivofit 3 has a vertical screen orientation which is ideal for most people. Vivofit 3 also has five different watch faces that can be easily changed according to your preference.

Vivofit 3 can automatically sync all your workout information with the phone application. This was done manually with Vivofit 2 which can be quite inconvenient.

Fitbit Charge HR key features and drawbacks

  • Tracks calories, active minutes and heart rate throughout your workouts.
  • Step counting with built-in pedometer.
  • OLED display showing time, date and fitness stats.
  • Built-in Bluetooth for data synching to Android and iPhone devices.
  • Clock, timer and stopwatch functions.
  • Optical HR sensor on the underside.
  • Battery life is around 5 to 7 days depending on usage.
  • Proprietary charging cable.
  • Automatically logs your sleep patterns.
  • Relays your phone notifications.
  • Silent alarm function as the band vibrates to wake you without disturbing your partner.
  • It lacks a GPS sensor but instead uses your Smart phone’s GPS to calculate distance.
  • Native food logging system included in Fitbit app.
  • Not suitable for swimming as its only splash resistant (1ATM).
  • Automatic sleep tracking and wake detection.
  • Charge HR does not have inactivity alerts.
  • It can be used as a running watch if you carry your smartphone.
  • The wristband uses a clasp which resembles a traditional watch.
  • There is no touchscreen but you can tap or double tap on the display to change screens.
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Fitbit Charge HR vs. Garmin Vivofit 3

Garmin Vivofit 3 fitness band is better for your training workouts because it pairs wirelessly with most ANT plus enable heart rate monitors and therefore you get spot on calories burned data during your workouts. It also displays your heart rate zone.

Another advantage is that you can go swimming or take a shower with your Vivofit as it is water resistant up to 5ATM. Garmin Vivofit is much more customizable than Fitbit Charge HR. You have the option to set different screens for your device. You can also customize the home screen from the application.

You do not need to charge your Vivofit activity tracker as it is powered by a non chargeable battery. However you will need to replace it after around 12 months. Charge HR on the other hand needs to be charged every 5 to 7 days.

Fitbit Charge HR has a built-in optical heart rate sensor which gives you 24/7 heart rate data. The HR data from an optical sensor is less accurate than an external chest strap HR sensor. However the optical sensor data is better than just having accelerometer data for basic activities.

Both Charge HR and Vivofit 3 can automatically synchronize your workout statistics with the phone app using Bluetooth. Both of these wearable devices have auto sleep and wake detection.

Fitbit Charge HR can detect stairs climbed while Vivofit devices cannot track elevation as they lack an altimeter.

Charge HR has a small call notification smartwatch feature which Vivofit lacks. Vivofit also lacks the silent alarm technology as it does not have a vibration function.

Lastly, Fitbit application is very user friendly and is among the best in terms of usability and it has a great layout. The Garmin mobile app is much cluttered and difficult to navigate.