Tiny but mighty

Garmin Vivosmart 4

Bigger screen

Fitbit Charge 3

This little tracker is the full package with lots of smart features, despite its ultra-slim form factor. A pulse ox sensor tracks your blood oxygen saturation levels. The Vivosmart 4 boasts an accelerometer, altimeter, camera remote, Find My Phone feature, music controller, and "Body Battery" to optimize your energy levels.

$130 at Garmin

Pros

  • Excellent health and fitness tracker
  • Pulse ox sensor
  • Energy monitor
  • Ultra-slim

Cons

  • Cannot switch bands

The Fitbit Charge 3 has an important feature that the Garmin Vivosmart 4 lacks: the ability to tap into your smartphone's GPS to map your runs and bike rides. It also has a larger customizable screen, female health-tracking, auto-exercise recognition, and a band that can be changed to give it different looks.

$150 at Fitbit

Pros

  • Excellent health and fitness tracker
  • Utilizes smartphone's GPS
  • Larger screen
  • Swappable bands for different looks

Cons

  • More expensive

Both the Garmin Vivosmart 4 and the Fitbit Charge 3 are feature-rich, capable health and fitness trackers. Though neither is a smartwatch, they both offer several smart features such as notifications from your phone. So, how do they differ? There are many features provided by the less-expensive Garmin that the Fitbit doesn't have, but the Fitbit has the larger screen and swappable bands.

With a lower price point, slimmer profile, and a more significant number of features, the Garmin Vivosmart 4 will be the top pick for many. However, if you want a larger screen for easier reading and changeable bands for different looks, then the Fitbit Charge 3 is the way to go.

Similarities and differences

There are quite a few features shared by both the Garmin Vivosmart 4 and the Fitbit Charge 3. Connect either device to your iPhone or Android smartphone for detailed readings on everything the device is tracking. Both will track your sleep, steps, activity, calorie burn, floors climbed, a variety of exercises, and heart rate.

Either one will guide you through breathing exercises to help you relax. You can get notifications from your smartphone so you won't miss calls, texts, or app alerts on either device. Quick Reply to texts is a feature on both devices, but only if you're using an Android phone. The battery life on both is usually about a week.

Garmin Vivosmart 4 Fitbit Charge 3
Steps and activity Yes Yes
Calories burned Yes Yes
Floors climbed Yes Yes
Sleep tracking and stages Yes Yes
Female health tracking No Yes
Auto exercise recognition No Yes
Multiple exercise modes Yes Yes
24/7 heart rate tracking Yes Yes
Pulse Ox Yes No
Swimproof Yes Yes
Pace/distance with phone GPS No Yes
Altimeter Yes No
Notifications and alerts from phone Yes Yes
Quick replies to texts (Android only) Yes Yes
Find My Phone Yes No
VIRB® Camera Remote Yes No
Control smartphone music Yes No
Monitors your energy level Yes No
All-day stress tracking Yes No
Customizable clock face No Yes
Colors offered Four Two
Band can be changed No Yes

Both trackers will monitor your heart rate around the clock, but Garmin takes it further with a pulse ox sensor that gauges blood oxygen saturation levels. Note that if you're using the pulse ox sensor, battery life will be shorter. It also has an altimeter and an accelerometer. Additionally, the Garmin offers all-day stress tracking and a "Body Battery" monitor to optimize your daily activities based on your energy levels. Say "cheese!" The Garmin Vivosmart 4 also acts as a camera remote for your smartphone. Control your music from the Garmin as well.

The Fitbit Charge 3 uses the GPS on your smartphone to track pace and distance on screen during outdoor runs and bike rides. The Charge 3 automatically senses you're starting a workout and will start monitoring it. You can track your menstrual cycles with the Charge 3, which you can't do with the Vivosmart 4.

The Garmin Vivosmart 4 comes in four different colors: Gray with Rose Gold Hardware, Black with Midnight Hardware, Berry with Light Gold Hardware, and Azure Blue with Silver Hardware. However, these options are only available in the Small/Medium size. If you need a Large, your only option is Black with Midnight Hardware. Choose your color carefully, because it's what you'll be wearing every day. The band cannot be changed.

The Fitbit Charge 3 comes in two colors: Black/Graphite Aluminum or Blue Gray/Rose Gold Aluminum. However, it has a removable, changeable band. So, while the aluminum hardware color is what it is, you have an unlimited number of band options. Not only does Fitbit sell some, but there are third-party options as well.

Bottom Line

For most people, the less-expensive Garmin Vivosmart 4 will be the better pick. It has a host of health and fitness tracking features in an unobtrusively small package. Also, it has several smart features so you can interact with your smartphone from your wrist, some of which the Fitbit does not have. However, the Garmin's screen is tiny, so if you need a larger screen, then the Fitbit Charge 3 is the one for you. The Fitbit also has a removable band, so you like to change up your look, go for the Fitbit.

Tiny but mighty

Garmin Vivosmart 4

The slimmer option

This highly capable health and fitness tracker offers more features than the Fitbit Charge 3 in a slimmer, easy-to-wear, and less expensive device.

Bigger screen

Fitbit Charge 3

Easier to read

The Fitbit Charge 3 has a bigger screen while still maintaining a slim profile. If you like to change up your look, you can easily swap out the band.

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