Last Updated:  April 18th, 2020
fitbit charge 3 vs garmin vivosmart 4

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.

So, if you are in the market for a new fitness tracker, then this comparison of the Fitbit Charge 3 vs Garmin Vivosmart 4 will break it all down so you can quickly choose the right one.

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.

Fitbit Charge 3 Fitness Activity Tracker, Graphite/Black, One Size (S and L Bands Included)
Garmin vivosmart 4, Activity and Fitness Tracker w/ Pulse Ox and Heart Rate Monitor, Black
Battery Life
7 days (varies with use)
7 Days (varies with use)
Display
Grayscale OLED (22mm) touchscreen – 100 x 150 pixels (Gorilla Glass)
Grayscale OLED (19.3mm) – 48 x 128 pixels
Weight
1oz / 29g
0.7 oz / 20.4g
Strap
Stainless steel
Silicone
Case
Aluminium
Polycarbonate
Water Resistance
50m / 165ft – Can Swim With It
50m / 165ft – Can Swim With It
Fitness Features
24/7 Heart Rate, Calorie & Step Counter
HRV, Blood oxygen saturation level
Sleep Tracking
GPS
Connects with phone’s GPS
Connects with phone’s GPS
Exercise Modes
Run, bike, swim, yoga, circuit training and more
Walks, runs, strength training, yoga, pool swims and others
Smartwatch Features
Fitbit Pay, Syncs with Phone, Call & Text Alerts, Notifications
Vibration alerts for All notifications, including calls, text message. Check the weather, control your music & social media on Android
Fitbit Charge 3 Fitness Activity Tracker, Graphite/Black, One Size (S and L Bands Included)
Battery Life
7 days (varies with use)
Display
Grayscale OLED (22mm) touchscreen – 100 x 150 pixels (Gorilla Glass)
Weight
1oz / 29g
Strap
Stainless steel
Case
Aluminium
Water Resistance
50m / 165ft – Can Swim With It
Fitness Features
24/7 Heart Rate, Calorie & Step Counter
Sleep Tracking
GPS
Connects with phone’s GPS
Exercise Modes
Run, bike, swim, yoga, circuit training and more
Smartwatch Features
Fitbit Pay, Syncs with Phone, Call & Text Alerts, Notifications
Garmin vivosmart 4, Activity and Fitness Tracker w/ Pulse Ox and Heart Rate Monitor, Black
Battery Life
7 Days (varies with use)
Display
Grayscale OLED (19.3mm) – 48 x 128 pixels
Weight
0.7 oz / 20.4g
Strap
Silicone
Case
Polycarbonate
Water Resistance
50m / 165ft – Can Swim With It
Fitness Features
HRV, Blood oxygen saturation level
Sleep Tracking
GPS
Connects with phone’s GPS
Exercise Modes
Walks, runs, strength training, yoga, pool swims and others
Smartwatch Features
Vibration alerts for All notifications, including calls, text message. Check the weather, control your music & social media on Android

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.

Water Resistance

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!

fitbit charge 3 straps
Standard, Sports, Leather or Woven Straps on the Fitbit Charge 3

The Straps

Both the Charge 3 and the Vivosmart 4 use rubber or silicone on the standard straps, as you would expect for a device intended for fitness.
However, the Fitbit Charge 3 offers a range of strap types from standard rubber, a more breathable sports silicone, leather & a woven nylon.
 
Sure, the Vivosmart 4 still comes in a fun variety of colors, which is fine if you like the style of the strap (integrated with the case. But for those wanting a little more customization then the Fitbit is a better choice.

Phone Features

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

  • calls
  • texts
  • preset replies (Android only)
  • emails
  • social media alerts
  • weather
  • 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.

Battery Life

Another thing worth mentioning is the battery life. Both the FitBit and Garmin claim to have 7 days worth of charge. Of course, it depends on usage, but even if you get a little bit less, it’s a lot more than an Apple Watch, which typically needs to be charged daily.

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.

fitbit charge 3 sleep tracking
FitBit Charge 3 Sleep Tracking
vivosmart 4 sleep tracking
Vivosmart 4 Sleep Tracking


Sleep Tracking

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.

GPS Connectivity

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.

Fitbit Charge 3 Fitness Activity Tracker, Graphite/Black, One Size (S and L Bands Included)

Garmin vivosmart 4, Activity and Fitness Tracker w/ Pulse Ox and Heart Rate Monitor, Black

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.

Phone Features

There is again little to separate them here. However the Vivosmart 4 can control your music, which the Fitbit can’t. Although, the Charge 3 has calendar functionality in addition. It’s up to you if one of these is important. 
 

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