Fitbit Charge 3 vs Garmin Vivosmart 4
When it comes to fitness trackers that have it all Fitbit have certainly made a name for themselves. I remember by first clip-on step counter and it was a tiny little device from Fitbit.
These days, not only have fitness and health trackers come a long way, there is also a lot more competition. Not surprisingly also from none other than Garmin – the makers of top-notch GPS devices. But in this case, the GPS functionality has taken a back seat to the health, wellness and fitness applications that we all know and love. Plus a whole lot more.
The Differences Between
The Fitbit Charge 3 & Garmin Vivosmart 4
There are a lot of very similar specifications on these two watches, so the easiest and fastest way to see how they compare is with a quick table showing you the most important things.
The Screen, Materials & Battery Life
Let’s take a quick look at these fitness trackers overall, to give you a quick idea of how they compare.
The Screen & Case
Not much separates the two in terms of screen. But sometimes it all comes down to the details.
Both use a grayscale (ie. black and white) OLED screen that is relatively small, but big enough to show you what you need to know. The Fitbit Charge 3 wins here with a wider screen overall, that is also made of Corning’s famous Gorilla Glass. Hard to scratch and break!
Both screens auto-sleep when not being used, and are touchscreens as you would expect.
The Fitbit Charge 3 is again a little more modern in its style and presentation with an Aluminium case with the screen reaching all the way to the edge. It looks more stylish, but of course is not as well protected as the rubber skin on the Vivosmart 4.
Another important feature to note is that they are both 50m water resistant and designed to handle a swim. Although I normally would not recommend swimming with only 50m resistance (read more here) both manufacturer’s have stated that it is ok.
So, if you need to be able to wear your fitness tracker absolutely everywhere, then go right ahead!
However, the Fitbit Charge 3 offers a range of strap types from standard rubber, a more breathable sports silicone, leather & a woven nylon.
As you probably know by now, both fitness trackers connect to your phone and offer a lot more information in the apps. You can see an example of this above in the sleep tracker. They also connect to the phone’s GPS to get location information.
But where it gets interesting is their integration with your phone’s capabilities like messages, social media, calls etc.
The Vivosmart 4 has a built-in vibration alert and notifications when you receive
- preset replies (Android only)
- social media alerts
- control your music
The Charge 3 also has the ability to view on iPhone, Android and Windows:
- incoming calls
- text messages
- quick replies (Android only)
- social media updates
- weather alerts, calendar
As mentioned earlier, it also has FitBit pay on some versions.
Features Of The Charge 3 vs Vivosmart 4
Both the Fitbit Charge 3 and the Garmin Vivosmart 4 have very similar features. But there are some big differences in certain areas like Sleep Tracking and a few other Health Apps.
Fitness Tracking, Heart Rate, HRV & Oxygen Levels
Of course, both the Charge 3 and Vivosmart offer the basics when it comes to fitness tracking. They have a variety of sports applications to help with goals, and fitness tracking in general. This means knowing your speed, distance, and steps. Depending on what you are doing of course.
The Charge 3 also measures your heart rate (24/7 actually) and tells you how many calories you have burned (estimated of course) as well as your fat burn, cardio and peak zones for your workouts. Super helpful if you really want to get fit or lose weight. You can read more about it on the fitbit site.
The Vivosmart 4 has the ability to estimate oxygen levels via a sensor that lies against the wrist. It is of course not as accurate as true medical devices, but it’s a good start for the home user.
HRV is a big thing in the biohacking world and Garmin have included this in the Vivosmart 4. It is a measure of how “ready” you are when you wake up for the day ahead. The theory goes that you can measure variability in your pulse which indicates whether you are stressed or not. If you are less relaxed (ie. stressed) then your body is not 100%. You can read more about it here.
Not something you would have seen on the original Fitbit, sleep tracking has become all the rage lately. With the ability to figure out whether you are getting a good night’s sleep or not, and whether this means you are ready for training, why not use them?
But do both the Charge 3 and the Vivosmart 4 offer the same functions?
Both have the following, which offers the basics of sleep tracking:
The Vivosmart 4 takes it a level further with a Pulse Ox measurement which is used to determine your blood oxygen levels, and they use this in combination with other heart rate measurements to give you a better overall health tracking device.
This is a quick one as they are both the same. There is no built-in GPS, they instead connect to your phone and use the GPS there.
So, although they can provide information about position, speed, distance etc. it all comes from your phone. So, you need to have that with you and it needs to be able to connect and function together.
Although this is not ideal, if you have a smartphone of almost any flavor, it certainly should not be an issue.
Which Should You Buy?
The Charge 3 or Vivosmart 4
In many ways you can’t go wrong with either of these fitness trackers. Especially if you are just looking for an all-round tracker that integrates with the basics of your phone.
The devil is always in the detail, so here is my take on why you would get one over the other.
Style & Screen
If style is important, and that includes both how it looks on your wrist, and customization, then the FitBit Charge 3 wins hands down. It looks not only more modern and stylish, but has a huge range of strap options. All of which can be interchanged.
The FitBit also has a larger screen, which is always a plus in my opinion
Sleep, Fitness & Stress
In terms of basic fitness apps, there is not much between them. If you have a specific requirement, I would dive into the specs before buying to ensure I can do exactly what I want for my specific sport. However, if you only need the basics, either is fine.
Sleep is similar, in that they both have the ability to track how well you sleep and show you detailed charts on your phone the next morning.
Where it gets more interesting is with the Vivosmart 4 – it has more focus on wellness, stress and using the HRV to ensure you live a better life overall.