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Fitbit Charge 4 vs Garmin Vivoactive 3: Which Is the Better Tracker?

With Fitbit’s Charge 4 going on sale globally starting April 15, health and fitness aficionados are submitting their pre-orders as we’re writing this article since pre-orders were available on March 31. However, the question remains: is the Fitbit Charge 4 worth the buzz it’s garnering?

There’s no better way to gauge the formidability of a product than to put it head to head against products that have already proved their worth, which is exactly what we’re about to do today. In this article, we’re putting the newly-released Fitbit Charge 4 vs. Garmin Vivoactive 3. 

Fitbit Charge 4 vs Garmin Vivoactive 3 – Short Answer:

The differences between the Fitbit Charge 4 and the Garmin Vivoactive 3 are too subtle in terms of features that we think the selection process should be based on personal preference. Choose the Vivoactive 3 if you’re looking for a smartwatch, but for a fitness tracker, opt for the Charge 4. 

Fitbit Charge 4 vs Garmin Vivoactive 3 – Specs Comparison:

ProductWeightDimensionsDisplay TypeResolutionBattery Life
Garmin Vivoactive 343 g43” x 43” x 12”LCD240 x 2407 Days
Fitbit Charge 430 g29” x 43” x 13”OLED100 x 1607 Days

Fitbit Charge 4 vs Garmin Vivoactive 3 – Full Comparison:

Before we start this comprehensive comparison, we’d like to point out that we’re very fond of the two brands and that selecting a favorite is subjective. With that out of the way, let’s get started.

1. Style and Design

In our Fitbit Charge 4 vs. Charge 3 comparison article, there wasn’t very much to cover as far as style and design since the two devices looked almost like carbon copies of each other. However, we’re comparing two completely different devices today, so we’ve got a lot of dissecting to do. 

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 flaunts minimalist, round-faced construction that makes it come across as a conventional timepiece, which a lot of traditionalists can dig. The unit is pretty lightweight at 43 grams and measures in at 43 x 43 x 12-inches. Overall, it’s quite compact and decent-looking. 

Fitbit’s Charge 4, on the other hand, screams activity tracker right from the moment you lay your eyes on it, with its rectangular-faced design and super lightweight construction. Fitbit’s Charge 4 weighs in at only 30 grams and measures in at 29 x 43 x 13. It’s compact and neat-looking as well. 

Here’s where the whole thing about personal preference comes in. The Fitbit Charge 4 may look great in the gym or while you’re exercising in general, but when it comes to pairing your unit with other styles of clothing, we feel like the Vivoactive 3’s minimalist design is far-better suited. 

Both Fitbit Charge 4 and Garmin Vivoactive 3 have water-resistant construction up to 50 meters, so you can wear either one while in the shower, beach, or swimming pool. You can also use any of the two to track swimming. In terms of build quality, both units are quite solid and durable. 

When it comes to band swapping, both units offer detachable straps that you can easily replace. For the Vivoactive 3, you can choose between 20 different band options for Garmin and the unit is compatible with 20mm straps in general, no matter the size, color, or material type. 

Winner: Stalemate

2. Display Screen

When it comes to comparing the display of two wearables, the first thing we like to inspect is the display type. With the Fitbit Charge 4, you get a rectangular OLED display that offers a 100 x 160 resolution. The Vivoactive 3, on the other hand, offers a circular, 240 x 240 LCD display. 

OLED panels utilize independent-illuminated pixels in order to display visuals, while LCD panels use background lighting to display visuals. LCDs tend to offer brighter highlights, but OLEDs are vastly superior when it comes to the overall contrast ratio, thanks to its richer levels of black. 

Another primary difference between the two units we’re discussing today is color. Fitbit’s Charge 4 features a grayscale panel, whereas the Vivoactive 3 features color display. It’s hard to say no to color displays, but we find ourselves learning more towards Charge 4’s more vivid display. 

Winner: Fitbit Charge 4

3. Device Navigation 

Both the Fitbit Charge 4 and Vivoactive 3 are super easy to navigate. In fact, their configuration for navigation is quite similar in the sense that both units feature fully touch-enabled panels and a side button that offers pressable navigation through menus, features, and functionalities. 

By fully touch-enabled panels, we mean that you can swipe and tap on the touchscreen in order to navigate your way through the interface. The Fitbit Charge 4’s side button allows you to jump straight to settings, enable Fitbit Pay, and dismiss alarms. All in all, we call it a draw. 

Winner: Stalemate

4. Featured Sensors

When it comes to sensors, both the Fitbit Charge 4 and Garmin Vivoactive 3 are strapped with a good range of sensors that will offer you a great deal of convenience. However, thanks to its use of Galileo and Glonass, the Vivoactive 3 gains the upper hand as far as navigation sensors. 

SensorGarmin Vivoactive 3Fitbit Charge 4
Built-In GPSYesYes
NFCYesYes
AltimeterYesYes
Heart Rate MonitorYesYes
Vibration MotorYes (Weak)Yes
SpO2 SensorYesYes
AccelerometerYesYes
GLONASSYesNo
GALILEOYesNo
ANT+ SensorsYesNo

GLONASS is short for the Global Navigation Satellite System, and it’s a Russian satellite-based system that works in unison with GPS in order to improve position information. GALILEO is also a navigation system that’s similar to GLONASS, but it’s geared towards Europe. 

Winner: Garmin Vivoactive 3

5. Apps & Notifications

Aside from a few extra apps, the Fitbit Charge 4 doesn’t capitalize much on the number of perks that the Fitbit Charge 3 offered. It might not offer as many apps as the Fitbit Versa, but Charge 4 does a pretty good job of covering the basics, so you won’t feel short-handed whatsoever. 

With the Fitbit Charge 4, you’ll have access to apps such as Exercise, Alarms, Timers, Weather, Relax, and Settings, similarly to its predecessor. What’s new, however, is Spotify and Agenda. If you have a Spotify Premium account, you’ll definitely appreciate the Spotify app. 

While sufficient, the Fitbit Charge 4 seems to pale when compared to the Garmin Vivoactive 3 in terms of apps. The Vivoactive 3 allows you to use Connect IQ, which is Garmin’s own app store. Connect IQ offers you access to a ton of additional features to the ones already present. 

As far as notifications, both devices can receive and manage notifications from smartphones. All you need to do is enable the functionality on your smartwatch. Both devices are compatible with iOS and Android devices. Overall, the win goes to Garmin, thanks to its impressive library of apps. 

One thing we’d like to note about the Garmin Vivoactive 3 houses a weak vibration motor, which means that if you often rely on silent smart notifications and vibration alarms in order to wake up every morning or be reminded of certain tasks, we wouldn’t recommend the Vivoactive 3.

Winner: Garmin Vivoactive 3

6. Health & Fitness

When it comes to health and fitness tracking features, both devices are nothing short of superb. However, we’d like to remind you that the Vivoactive 3 is a smartwatch, while the Fitbit Charge 4 is a full-fledged health and fitness tracker, so we’re leaning a little bit more towards it. 

Both units offer heart rate tracking, sleep tracking, auto activity tracking, swim tracking, and a lot more. Both units are also able to track female health, but with Garmin’s Vivoactive 3, you’ll have to download the Menstrual Cycle Tracking widget from Garmin’s Connect IQ store.

Winner: Fitbit Charge 4

7. Battery Lifespan

Whenever you conduct some research about the longest-lasting trackers and smartwatches, it’s guaranteed that the Garmin Vivoactive 3 is going to be on that list, with its 7-day battery life. The thing is, however, the Fitbit Charge 4 offers a similar battery life, so which one to opt for?

The verdict between the two units when it comes to battery life is GPS runtime. Fitbit’s Charge 4 grants you 5 hours of GPS runtime, while Vivoactive 3 offers 13 hours of GPS runtime. With that in mind, it’s safe to say that the Garmin Vivoactive 3 is the superior unit as far as battery life. 

Winner: Garmin Vivoactive 3 

8. Pricing

Like we’ve already stated, the Fitbit Charge 4 is set to hit the market on April 13 and is available for pre-order right now. The standard version will be $149.95, and the Special Edition version will go for $169.95. The difference between the two versions is in the straps, not the features. 

The list price for the Garmin Vivoactive 3 is $279.99, so it’s priced notably higher than Charge 4. From our viewpoint, we feel like the Vivoactive 3 is a little overpriced, as it doesn’t really offer a whole lot that the Fitbit Charge 4 doesn’t offer, so we’re learning towards Fitbit’s new unit. 

Winner: Fitbit Charge 4

Fitbit Charge 4 vs Garmin Vivoactive 3 – Pros and Cons:

1. Fitbit Charge 4

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • TagBright
  • Vivid display
  • Built-in GPS
  • NFC Reliable
  • Activity tracking
  • Very sleek construction

Cons:

  • Lacks color display
  • Same old Charge design

2. Garmin Vivoactive 3 

Pros:

  • Minimalist construction
  • Remarkable navigation
  • Reliable activity tracking
  • Access to tons of apps
  • Substantial battery life

Cons:

  • A little overpriced
  • Weak vibration alert

Fitbit Charge 4 vs Garmin Vivoactive 3 – Final Thoughts

Both the Fitbit Charge 4 and Garmin Vivoactive 3 are wonderful in their own ways. They share a lot of the same features, but they’re quite different aesthetically. In other words, you should base the selection process more on design preferences and less on features and functionalities. 

If you’re looking for a unit that boasts minimalist construction and that comes across as a watch, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 is the obvious choice. However, if you’re looking for something that can help you visually stand out from the pack, the Fitbit Charge 4 is your best bet. 

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