Whether you're diving into the world of Garmin GPS watches for the first time or you're looking to upgrade to a newer model, it can be tricky to find the watch that's just right for you. In this post, we'll break down three different Garmin smartwatch series to help you find the one that meets your needs.
Which Garmin Is Best for Me?
Garmin vivomove 3S and 3
The Garmin vivomove is a hybrid smartwatch with analog hands as well as a hidden touchscreen display, making it perfect for anyone who isn't a big fan of the high-tech look of many smartwatches. This is a great "intro-level" smartwatch that comes with a lot of practical features:
- iPhone and Android compatibility allows you to link the vivomove to your smartphone. When paired to a smartphone, vivomove watches can control the music on your phone and receive smart notifications. Android users can also respond to text messages and reject calls right from the vivomove!
- Activity tracking options include strength, cardio, and yoga workouts. Plus, when paired with a compatible smartphone, you can track the speed and distance of your outdoor walks and runs with a little help from your phone's GPS. The vivomove also tracks your steps and calories burned, and it learns from your habits in order to create auto goals for you. The move bar reminds you to stay active during the day, and the auto rep counting feature helps you keep accurate records of your workouts.
- Keep tabs on your exertion levels with a wrist-based heart rate monitor that can give you heart rate zone alerts as well as your percent heart rate max. The vivomove also monitors your pulse ox, sleep habits, stress levels, and VO2 max for a comprehensive overview of your daily health. It uses this data to support the Body Battery feature, which lets you know how much "juice" you have throughout the day.
- The 5 ATM water rating means you can wear your vivomove in waters as deep as 50 meters, making it the perfect companion for swimming, diving, and snorkeling.
- In smartwatch mode, the battery lasts up to five days; in standard watch mode it can last up to one additional week.
Garmin vivomove Style and Luxe
If you like the look of the vivomove 3, but you want just a few more bells and whistles—or maybe a couple of material upgrades—the vivomove Style and vivomove Luxe are great options. They come with all the great features listed above as well as a higher-end lens material and a color touchscreen. The Style and Luxe also come with Garmin Pay™ for easy transactions right from your wrist at participating merchants. So you can leave your wallet at home!
Garmin vivoactive 4S and 4
Building on the vivomove series, the vivoactive Garmin watch comes with all the same activity-tracking and health-monitoring features listed above and adds some really great upgrades like a sunlight-visible, memory-in-pixel (MIP) display, the ability to store and play up to 500 songs, and access to the Garmin Connect IQ™ app store for endless ways to tailor your watch to your goals and routine. The Garmin vivoactive series includes:
- GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo location technology that lets you log more accurate data during outdoor workouts. The vivoactive also uses a gyroscope and accelerometer to better track your activities.
- A thermometer so you can keep track of your temperature and monitor trends.
- Cadence information during walks and runs to help you improve your pace and keep tabs on your progress.
- On-screen workout animations you can follow anywhere and the ability to to lock the vivoactive's touchscreen and/or buttons so you don't accidentally interrupt your workout.
- A variety of new activities to track, including but not limited to: indoor and outdoor running and cycling, swimming with stroke type detection and distance alerts, snowboarding, stand-up paddleboarding, rowing, skiing, and advanced golf options like digital scorecards, shot distance, and round timer.
- LiveTrack option to share your location data with friends and family in real time for safety and encouragement—plus incident detection and assistance during select activities.
Understanding Garmin Watch Names
Each Garmin watch is named to let you know a few things before you even check out the details and features. It starts with the series name—vivomove, fenix, etc.
Next is a digit that represents the edition or generation (the larger the number, the newer the model).
If there is a letter with the number, that indicates a size smaller (S) than standard or larger (X) than standard. A digit by itself is essentially the medium or average-sized version of that watch.
Anything that follows will give you clues about the extra bells and whistles included: Pro is the next tier up from the base model. Sapphire is the next tier up from Pro, and you get more features with each added edition name.
Premium features are often listed in the name as well, such as the bezel, lens, or band material.
Garmin fenix 6S Pro, 6 Pro, and 6X Pro
The Garmin fenix watch series boasts an incredible array of features that are perfect for serious athletes, tech lovers, and anyone looking for a Garmin smartwatch that can do it all. It comes with all the standard features of the vivomove and vivoactive series and adds even more options for a suite of features that meets the needs of pretty much everyone who participates in physical activities. Each watch in the Pro series comes with a Corning Gorilla Glass lens and a silicone strap. Other upgraded features include:
- A 10 ATM water rating that allows you to wear the watch to depths of up to 100 meters; you can also wear the fenix Pro series while participating in high-speed water sports in addition to swimming, snorkeling, showering, etc.
- Storage for up to 2,000 songs that are playable right from your smartwatch.
- Heart rate-based recovery time information.
- Tons of new activity profiles like open-water swimming, trail running, mountain biking, triathlons, climbing, hiking, kayaking, and more!
- Advanced training settings that help with interval training and allow you to compare previous workouts to current efforts to track your progress.
- Outdoor features like bread-crumb trails in real time, "back to start" routing, point-to-point navigation, pre-loaded topographical maps, etc. to help you keep your bearings when you're exercising outside.
- Group LiveTrack so you and your friends can share your information together as well as dual-grid coordinates
The Garmin fenix 6S Pro comes with a 1.2" display, a 20 mm band, and it fits wrists 108-182 mm in circumference.
- Smartwatch mode: up to 9 days
- GPS mode: up to 25 hours
- GPS with music mode: up to 6 hours
- Max battery GPS mode: 50 hours
- Expedition GPS activity mode: 20 days
- Battery-saver watch mode: 34 days
The Garmin fenix 6 Pro comes with a 1.3" display, a 22 mm band, and it fits wrists 125-208 mm in circumference.
- Smartwatch mode: up to 14 days
- GPS mode: up to 36 hours
- GPS with music mode: up to 10 hours
- Max battery GPS mode: 72 hours
- Expedition GPS activity mode: 28 days
- Battery-saver watch mode: 48 days
The Garmin fenix 6X Pro comes with a 1.4" display, a 26 mm band, and it fits wrists 127-210 mm in circumference.
- Smartwatch mode: up to 21 days
- GPS mode: up to 60 hours
- GPS with music mode: up to 15 hours
- Max battery GPS mode: 120 hours
- Expedition GPS activity mode: 46 days
- Battery-saver watch mode: 80 days
Garmin fenix 6S Pro Sapphire, 6 Pro Sapphire, 6X Pro Sapphire
If you love all the features of the fenix Pro series but are looking for an option with premium materials, the Sapphire line is the way to go. Each Garmin GPS watch in the Sapphire series has a Sapphire Crystal lens, a titanium or diamond-like carbon (DLC) bezel, and several stylish band options like suede, titanium, nylon, and leather.