Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music vs Garmin Vivoactive 4

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music vs Garmin Vivoactive 4

This is a simple product comparison between the Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music vs Garmin Vivoactive 4. While they are fairly well matched in terms of overall features, the newer watch definitely emerges victorious in this particular product battle. 

To kick things off as quick as we can, let’s take a look at all the key similarities and all the key differences, using some simple comparison tables.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music vs Vivoactive 4 - Key Similarities

Vivoactive 3 Music

Garmin Vivoactive 4


Wrist-based HRM

24/7 Activity Tracking

Sleep Tracking + Stress Tracking


Indoor + Outdoor Running

Indoor + Outdoor Cycling

Indoor + Outdoor Rowing

Pool Swimming

Barometric Altimeter

Accelerometer, Compass, Gyroscope


Garmin Running Coach

Golf Mode

Music Storage & Apps

Payments from watch

Incident Detection (Safety Tracking)

Bluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi®

Sports/Activity Modes



3rd Party Running Power

Stryd + RunScribe

Stryd + RunScribe

Garmin Running Power

Open Water Swimming

Triathlon Mode

Advanced Running Dynamics

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music vs Vivoactive 4 - Key Differences

Vivoactive 3 Music

Garmin Vivoactive 4


Less Expensive

More Expensive

Screen Resolution



Smartwatch Battery

7 Days

8 Days

GPS Battery Life

13 Hours

18 Hours

GPS + Music Battery

5 Hours

6 Hours

Body Battery Score

Pulse Oximeter

Incident/Safety Detection

V3 Garmin Elevate HRM

Underwater Wrist HRM

Male & Female Sizes

Enhanced Design

Vivoactive 3 Music vs Vivoactive 4 - Main Differences

In summary: the Viovactive 4 has a pulse oximeter, it gives you access go Garmin’s body battery score, it can measure your heart rate underwater (without a chest strap) and it comes in a male and female version. 

Now let’s take a look at these differences in greater detail. 

Body Battery Score - Vivoactive 4 Only

Garmin’s body battery score has become a core component of their latest GPS watches. It essentially combines your heart rate data, sleep metrics, training stats and stress levels into one overarching score of your body’s energy levels. 

In principle, it’s a pretty cool concept that can be quite fun to keep track of. However, it’s by no means perfect, so don’t take it too seriously. Ultimately, it’s just a fun way to keep track of a bunch of different health stats, in a way that’s super easy to understand. 

Pulse Oximeter - Vivoactive 4 Only

Garmin have started introducing Pulse Oximeters with all the GPS watches built with their V3 Garmin Elevate Heart Rate Monitor. 

The purpose of a pulse oximeter is to measure your blood oxygen saturation levels, which is a lot more useful at altitude than it is at sea level. 

Although this is a selling point for the Vivoactive 4, personally, I wouldn’t let this particular feature sway my decision. It’s more of a ‘nice to have’ than an absolute essential. 

Incident Detection (Safety Tracking) - Vivoactive 4 Only

This is another key feature in Garmin’s latest devices, and it’s now been added to the Vivoactive 4

In simple terms, incident detection picks up any major abnormalities in your movement pattern (ie an aprubt stop at high speeds, followed by zero movement whatsoever) and then uses this information to figure out if you’ve had an accident. 

If there is enough evidence to suggest that you’ve been involved in a crash, the watch then alerts your emergency contacts automatically. 

Side note – Your watch needs to be connected to your phone in order for this feature to work. 

Underwater Wrist-based HRM - Vivoactive 4

Garmin were actually a little bit late to the party here, but they’ve finally caught up with Polar and Suunto in this respect. 

Admittedly you can’t expect pitch perfect results when measuring your heart rate using the optical sensor underwater, but at least the option is now available. 

For most people it should be more than adequate, but if you do want more precise results, it would be best to invest in one of the following two accessories:

Male & Female Sizes - Vivoactive 4 Only

This is another trend that is becoming more and more popular with Garmin’s key product lines. 

Basically, you just need to look out for the letter ‘S’ at the end of the product title. This literally stands for ‘Small’, and a lot of women prefer the more compact design. In reality, the difference in size is approximately 5mm.

Garmin Vivoactive 4 White Rose Gold
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Garmin Vivoacitive 4 (45 mm)

Garmin Vivoactive 4 Black Silver
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Enhanced Design - Vivoactive 4

I can only speak for myself here, but I’m a massive fan of the Vivoactive 4’s design. It might even be its best feature.

The goal with every design iteration is to improve upon the predecessor, and with this particular attempt, Garmin have absolutely nailed it. 

The only thing left to do is show a few more variations of the design in all its glory. 

So which one should you buy?

This product battle actually draws to a fairly simple conclusion.

If you want the best value for money – The Vivoactive 3 is still packed with features and there’s never been a better time to hunt for a deal on this particular watch.

If you want the better looking more accomplished upgrade – Go for the Vivoactive 4. It’s a decent upgrade on the Vivoactive 3 Music and it’s much better looking.  

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