Would you get the Garmin Vivomove 3 over an Apple Watch?

A number of Garmin wearables have hit the Malaysian market in recent times, and it can be a little hard to keep track of it all. But if you look carefully, each model has a distinct set of offerings, with features that are seemingly targeted towards different audiences in the market. The Fenix 6 series is for serious activity tracking (as I found out), the Marq series for the upper-end of the market, and the Venu for the casual smartwatch wearer.

So where does the new Garmin Vivomove 3 series find its niche? The Garmin Vivomove 3S, 3, and Style, are 3 variants of the latest Garmin smartwatch, and the series appears to be an option for those of you who want the functionality of a modern smartwatch—but in the body, and design, of a conventional timepiece.

All variants share much of the same features, but one of the key differences is that the Vivomove 3S has a 39mm case size, while the Vivomove 3 measures in at 44mm. The Vivomove Style, meanwhile, is 44mm is size—and boasts an AMOLED display.

And with the top-end variant of the Vivomove style going for around the same price as an Apple Watch Series 5, would you go for one of Garmin’s new smartwatches over an Apple Watch? It depends.

A hybrid approach

If you watch the videos above, you’ll know that the Vivomove smartwatches are “hybrid smartwatches”—essentially a combination of a traditional timepiece and a smartwatch. Raise your wrist or double tap the watch face to bring up the “smart” element of the watch, including menus and widgets, or leave it looking like a traditional watch.

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According to Garmin, the series maintains much of the functionality of a modern smartwatch: smart notifications, fitness features, as well as Garmin’s advanced health monitoring.

This includes Pulse Ox tracking, Body Battery readings, menstrual tracking, and a lot of Garmin’s suite of fitness features. Unfortunately, the Vivomove 3 series doesn’t come with built-in GPS, so the watches use a connected smartphone’s GPS for tracking functions—which means that you won’t be able to use them as truly standalone devices.

Durability-wise, the Vivomove Style uses Corning Gorilla Glass, which should mean that it will be reasonably durable. You also have the option for a nylon strap, which is the more expensive option on the Style. Meanwhile, the Vivomove 3 and 3S only have monochromatic LED displays, as opposed to the coloured AMOLED display on the Style.

All models are compatible with Android and iOS devices, and work along with the Garmin Connect app that other Garmin wearables use. Garmin also promises up to 5 days of battery life in smartwatch mode, with an additional week of battery for standard watch mode.

Ultimately, the Vivomove 3 series might appeal to those of you that want something with the aesthetic appeal of a conventional watch, and some of the smartwatch features are right up there with the more premium smartwatches. But without built-in GPS, the series is somewhat inhibited by its inability to function as a standalone device—unlike many smartwatches, including the Apple Watch.

If you’d like to pick one up, the Garmin Vivomove series is now available in Malaysia at authorised retailers, with pricing as follows:

Vivomove 3S – Navy with Rose Gold Hardware – 1,250.00
Vivomove 3 – Black with Slate Hardware – 1,250.00
Vivomove Style – White with Rose Gold Hardware – 1,499.00
Vivomove Style – Moss Green with Silver Hardware – 1,499.00
Vivomove Style – Blush Pink Nylon with Light Gold Hardware – 1,750.00
Vivomove Style – Black Pepper Nylon with Slate Hardware – 1,750.00

Visit the Garmin Malaysia website here.