Home » Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs Forerunner 235: Which GPS Smart Watch is Better?

Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs Forerunner 235: Which GPS Smart Watch is Better?

A watch with a step counter is certainly a good start to monitoring your physical activity but if you are looking for more in-depth insights, a sports watch is a great all-round solution. Garmin has created a range of sports watches that have tones of features for all levels of training.

Two, in particular, are the Garmin Vivoactive 3 and the Garmin Forerunner 235. We are going to compare all of the features of these sports watches such as appearance, tracking, and battery. We will include a side-by-side chart for quick viewing and some pros and cons before our final verdict.

Let’s begin by looking at the similar features of the Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs Forerunner 235.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs Forerunner 235

Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs Forerunner 235 – Similarities

GPS

As the Garmin Vivoactive 3 and the Garmin Forerunner 235 both have GPS, you can live track your workouts and get real-time updates.

Tracking

While wearing the Garmin Vivoactive 3 or the Garmin Forerunner 235, you can monitor both workouts and your daily activity. They will track VO2 max, stress, heart rate, personal records, cadence (combined left and right steps in a minute), distance, and speed. For well-being, they will monitor daily steps, calories, and sleep.

Connect IQ App

Both the Garmin Vivoactive 3 and the Garmin Forerunner 235 are compatible with the Connect IQ app. Once you have downloaded the app, you can customize watch faces with personal photos, access widgets, and other apps as well as plenty of data fields to advance your workouts.

Side by Side Comparison

Let’s quickly recap the specifications.

 

 

Garmin Vivoactive 3

Garmin Forerunner 235

IMage Garmin Vivoactive 3 Garmin Forerunner 235
Display Size 1.2-inch diameter 1.23-inch diameter
Weight 1.44oz 1.6oz
Color Black and stainless steel, black and granite, white and rose gold, white and stainless steel, black, granite blue Black and gray, frost blue
GPS Yes Yes
Water Rating Swim, 5 ATM Not stated
Garmin Pay Yes No
Tracking VO2 max, stress, heart rate, personal records, cadence, distance, speed, location, steps, calories, sleep VO2 max, stress, heart rate, personal records, cadence, distance, speed, location, steps, calories, sleep
Clock features Alarm and stopwatch, countdown timer Alarm
Notifications Yes, plus reply to texts and accept/reject calls Audio prompts
Activity Profiles 15 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps Running and cycling

 

Battery Life Up to 7 days or 13 hours in GPS mode Up to 9 days or 11 hours in training mode
Connect IQ App Yes Yes
Warranty 1-year limited 1-year limited
Price

We will now turn our attention to what makes the Garmin Vivoactive 3 and the Garmin Forerunner 235 different.

Differences Between Garmin Vivoactive 3 and Forerunner 235

Appearance

These are sleek, modern-looking sports watches and though the size doesn’t differ that much, there are a variety of color options.

Garmin Forerunner 235 Review

Garmin Vivoactive 3

The screen display is 1.2-inch in diameter, and the overall weight is 1.44 ounces. There are 6 color options including black and stainless steel, black and granite, white and rose gold, white and stainless steel, black, and finally granite blue.

Garmin Forerunner 235

The diameter of the screen is a fraction bigger at 1.23 inches and the weight difference is unnoticeable too at 1.6 ounces. You can choose between black and gray and frost blue.

The Winner Is- The Garmin Vivoactive 3

Also read – Garmin Forerunner 620 vs 230: Which Smart Watch is Better?

Water Rating

Having a sports watch isn’t just about being able to wear it while swimming. Water-resistance will help with sweat and rain.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Comparison

Garmin Vivoactive 3

This watch can be worn for swimming. It has a water rating of 5 ATM.

Garmin Forerunner 235

There is no information about the water rating of this sports watch.

The Winner Is- The Garmin Vivoactive 3

Also read – Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs Vivoactive 4: Which GPS Smart Watch is Better?

Garmin Pay

The option to pay from your sports watch means you really can leave your mobile and cards behind as you exercise.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS Smart Watch

Garmin Vivoactive 3

An awesome feature of this sports watch is the ability to link your cards and make payments.

Garmin Forerunner 235

Garmin Pay isn’t an option, unfortunately.

The Winner Is- The Garmin Vivoactive 3

Clock Features

For those looking for some of the more traditional watch features, these sports watches have some solutions.

Garmin Forerunner 235 Comparison

Garmin Vivoactive 3

You can set an alarm, use the stopwatch and the countdown timer.

Garmin Forerunner 235

The product information only lists an alarm as an option.

The Winner Is- The Garmin Vivoactive 3

Notifications

Again, if you plan to leave your phone at home, it’s handy to receive notifications on your sports watch.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Review

Garmin Vivoactive 3

As well as notifications, you can reply to text messages and accept or reject calls. Answering calls will require your mobile to actually speak to the other person.

Garmin Forerunner 235

There are audio notifications for things like texts, emails and reminders.

The Winner Is- A Tie

Activity Profiles

The number of activity profiles will help to provide feedback based on your different activity

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Contactless payments watch

Garmin Vivoactive 3

There are 15 different profiles, everything from running to paddle-boarding.

Garmin Forerunner 235

You can select a running and cycling profile, but the exact number isn’t stated.

The Winner Is- The Garmin Vivoactive 3

Battery Life

The battery life for both is impressive

Garmin Forerunner 235 GPS Running Watch

Garmin Vivoactive 3

In GPS mode, the battery will last for up to 13 hours and in watch mode for up to 7 days.

Garmin Forerunner 235

In training mode, you will have up to 11 hours but in watch mode up to 9 days.

The Winner Is- A Tie

Pros and Cons

Though the winner seems apparent, we will still go over some pros and cons of these Garmin GPS sports watches.

Garmin Vivoactive 3

Pros:

  • You can set water alerts to remind you to drink
  • Very simple to use
  • GPS is extremely accurate

Cons:

  • The step counter isn’t as accurate

Garmin Forerunner 235

  • Faster connection to GPS
  • It has great durability
  • The battery charges quickly

Cons:

  • The cycling profile is a little off

The Final Verdict

It’s not often that we have such a clear winner as we do today. The Garmin Vivoactive 3 not only has more color options, but it also has more features. With such an excellent range of activity profiles, it really is suitable for those who are looking to track their fitness levels for more than just running. Above all, we found the Garmin Pay to be not only useful but reassuring in case you are ever in an emergency and don’t have money on you. You may even be able to pick up the Garmin Vivoactive 3 for a little less.


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