Mini review of the Garmin VivoActive 3 Music

So with a 30% through Vitality healthcare I decided to make the upgrade from the Garmin Forerunner 235 that had been my trusty watch for just over a year. 

First impressions, This was smaller but a bit more elegant. I was looking forward to having a more modern looking watch akin to an Apple watch (without it being an Apple watch). 

Being familiar with the Garmin’s Android Connect app, the initial setup was fairly quick. There is a lot of data in there and the main learning curve was around the UI on the watch itself as the watch only has a singular side button in addition to the touch screen. Having had many watches I think this is a great thing as usually the first thing that goes for me after a while of wearing them (on my left wrist where the crown can get pushed upwards if my wrist is bent back). 

Garmin Pay: I mentioned the initial setup was quick. The Garmin Pay part was a nightmare! I was getting going to the section in the app for Garmin Pay and not seeing the ‘create wallet’ as the instructions indicated I should. Holding the icon for the hand with watch over a payment terminal revealed that my device / Garmin account did not have a Fitpay account which must be provisioned in the background. Garmin support seemed just as baffled and it involved me uninstalling the app, unpairing the phone and literally starting over before the app would show me the option. I’m still not sure if that’s what did it or if Garmin support made changes to my account, although the didn’t indicate that to me if they did. Aside from that, once it was up and running the payments went through OK and i’ve had no issues with that since setup!

Music: I’ve not tried this yet even though I spent a little extra for the Music version of the watch. None of the apps apart from Deezer ring any bells. Amazon Music and Spotify wouldn’t go amiss if they were on there so that’s a shame not to see them. Connecting the device to your laptop does allow you to load music on which is what I suspect i’ll do, rather than stream. 

Connectivity: As this was an impulse buy I hadn’t done my research fully. I didn’t realise this had wifi as well as Bluetooth so that was a nice touch. My one bugbear is that the cable for charging and data transfer is a custom connector so if you want to be able to charge this at work as well as home, you need to take the cable with you or buy another. 

The battery life varies depending on usage but I think we all expected that so don’t take the 7 days quoted as under intense usage. 

GPS / tracking: The step counter is well… like any other decent one, and Garmin does a decent job of showing you the info and history via the app. The goals can be adjusted manually or by your historic activities Garmin’s metrics it uses to define your target. This also tries to indicate your stress levels which I didn’t have on the Forerunner. The jury is still out on this but I like that they are experimenting with this although without blood pressure I’m not sure how effective this is… With the GPS I’ve only used for cycling and linked the app to Strava which seemed to work flawlessly as you’d expect from a Garmin GPS device.

One particular feature I really like is the ‘find me phone’ feature which is surprisingly useful with a kid around the house. The simplistic but effective UI really does lend its self well to not being too fiddly while carrying some decent functions. It’s not trying to replace your phone, but be a good companion. Overall it’s a decent bit of kit and I would recommend it for those who don’t need something as expensive or flashy as an Apple watch. 

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