Second chance for Garmin


Garmin VivoActive 3Truth be told, after my first experience the Garmin Vivosmart, I wanted to steer clear of Garmin. I bought three of the devices — one for me and two for my daughters and all had displays that malfunctioned just after a year of use. That’s not great value by any measure and is a red flag for me.

Based on this negative experience. I never thought that I would consider having another Garmin device. Since then, I’ve been using a Pebble 2, which is still running perfectly after more than two years. Of course, the sad part is that Pebble has since been sold to Fitbit and support is almost non-existent.

Back to Garmin. I was asked if I wanted the Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music as a gift. Believe me, I thought long and hard. There are many other options out there, including the over-priced Apple Watch, various Fitbit models and Samsung Gear devices.

After some research online, I decided to give Garmin a second chance.

It’s been a week since I started using the Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music and so far, the experience has been good. I won’t say “great” yet because I’m still trying to get used to the interface.

Here are five reasons why I like this smartwatch:

  1. Big enough screen. The 1.2-inch display is sufficiently large without being overwhelming. I don’t have a bulky arm so it looks just nice. My hope is that this screen will continue functioning for a long time.
  2. Long battery life. It’s supposed to have up to seven days of battery life, which is wonderful for a short trip overseas without needing to bring the cable. However, when GPS and always-on synching are activated, battery life is considerably shortened to a couple of days. The key is to keep it simple and cut out unnecessary features.
  3. Many pre-loaded settings. I was thrilled to see so many activity settings — walk, run, threadmill, indoor track, bike, bike indoor, walk indoor, floor climb, pool swim, and strength among others. This makes it easy to get started on many activities.
  4. Simple customisation. The Garmin Connect app is easy to use and allows downloading of apps, changing of watch faces and smart notification settings.
  5. Easy payment. I’m not talking about installment payment for the smartwatch but rather the Garmin Pay feature which enables contactless payment for purchases when tagged to a credit card. At the moment, only OCBC Bank in Singapore supports Garmin Pay, which is fine with me because I have the bank’s credit card.

I’ve yet to try out the music feature as I’m more accustomed to Spotify, which is currently not supported by the smartwatch.

Overall, the signs are good and I am optimistic that the Garmin Vivoactive 3 can at least match my sturdy Pebble 2’s shelf life.


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