Garmin Forerunner 245 vs vivoactive 3 – Which is Right for You?

 

The Garmin Forerunner 245 and vivoactive 3 are two of Garmin’s bestselling fitness smartwatches. Both of them have pretty high reviews and offer a lot of features, so it can be difficult to decide which one to buy between the two of them.

There are more similarities than differences between these watches, so we’ll go over more of the differences in detail to help determine if that makes a difference for you. After all, they are both great watches, so it’s probably going to come down to more specific details in what the watch can do for you.

Garmin Forerunner 245 vs vivoactive 3

Physical Description

Both of these watches have round faces, which is the more modern look these days, and their display type, size, and resolution are identical. They both have strap bands that are made of silicone and can fit the same size wrists, and they are close in how much they weigh.

Two differences you’ll find in these watches are the batter life. They both last the same amount of time in Smartwatch mode, which is up to 7 days. However, when switching to GPS mode, the Forerunner 245 battery life is almost double that of the vivoactive 3. So this may just mean charging your Forerunner less often if you happen to use GPS a lot.

Another difference that could be substantial for the runner that likes to track and review all their fitness data is in the memory storage. Forerunner 245 can store 200 hours of activity while the vivoactive 3 can track 7 timed activities, but 14 days of activity tracking. 200 hours is just over 8 days, so being able to track more days of activity might be important for some.

Finally, as far as physical display and options, the vivoactive 3 is more modern with a touchscreen display. The Forerunner 245 does not have touchscreen. Having some features accessed via a touchscreen can make using the watch a bit easier. Although they both have push buttons, so the vivoactive 3 uses those too for some features.

Read our full review of the Garmin Forerunner 245

Read our full review of the Garmin vivoactive 3

Activities

When it comes to using these watches to monitoring your activities, they both are actually really good watches for this and comparable to each other. They both have the things you would expect, such as the step counter, calories burned, distance and intensity tracking, and even stress tracking.

When it comes to activities other than running, both of them are comparable to each other, offering tracking during swimming and cycling. You can even track your cardio workouts and a variety of strength training options, like rep counting.

The primary differences you’ll find between these two is that vivoactive 3 has the feature of Floors climbed. This activity is only an advantage though to someone who actually likes track stairs of floors, which is a smaller majority of people.

Alternatively, the Forerunner 245 has a feature that is not in the vivoactive 3, and this is Body Battery Energy Monitor. This might not be used by everyone, but could be helpful to remind a runner that they should rest and relax at the moment. The Body Batter feature lets you know your energy might be too low for physical activity.


vivoactive 3


Hardware

Both of these watches will track your heart rate, to include when your heart rate has reached certain zones and calories burned. You can even send your heart rate data through to your paired devices, like your Smartphone. They also both have the accelerometer sensor which is necessary for accurate movement.

The Forerunner 245, however, has additional heart rate monitoring feathers like heart rate reserve, recovery time, and auto max heart rate. These extra features will give you a little extra data to digest and determine your energy spent and recovery time that might be needed so you can plan your workout better.

One new senor that is really interesting in the Forerunner 245 that the vivoactive 3 lacks is a Pulse Ox sensor. This sensor measure your blood oxygen saturation. This allows you in real time to evaluate your physical condition, which better helps you plan your workout goals and effort in the moment, and you can adjust your effort if needed.

Don’t cut the vivoactive 3 short though, they have a couple sensors that could come in handy that the Forerunner 245 is missing. You’ll find a barometric altimeter and thermometer on the vivoactive 3. The barometric altimeter can detect air pressure changes and elevation data, and of course it’s always nice bonus to know the temperature.

Software

Many standard training features are found in both of these watches, such as GPS speed, tracking laps, and downloading training plans and workouts.

Surprisingly, the vivoactive 3 is missing a popular option, so if this feature matters to you then you may want to get the Forerunner 245 because it has interval training. Interval training is a pretty popular way to workout, and being able to set timers and sets to your workout with that feature will really come in handy for athletes that train using intervals.

The Forerunner 245 also has several training features that are lacking on the vivoactive 3, which all center on being able to track your training. Plus the Forerunner has extra notifications and software, such as virtual partner and race an activity which can just give you extra fun ways to monitor your progress in other ways.


Forerunner 245


Extras

The Forerunner 245 is really focused on offering running features as they have quite a bit more data tracking options than the vivoactive 3. These are not features that everyone would use, but can still be interesting to review. These are features like stride length, cadence, or vertical oscillation and ratio – which tracks the amount of bounce in your running motion.

The vivoactive 3 on the other hand, has a whole extra tracking option that is not at all on the Forerunner 245. This will matter to some, but only those who enjoy playing golf. This covers a list of golfing features, such as yardage, a scorecard, and a round timer/odometer. The runner who is also a golfer would find this very useful.

The Forerunner 245 has a few outdoor recreation features that could be very useful, like point to point navigation, Tracback, or their bread crumb trail feature. All of these are useful when you are running outside and unfamiliar with the route. These and a few others are great features that the vivoactive 3 doesn’t have.

Both watches offer the same connectivity and phone features that you would want on the go. You can access weather, calendar, text responses, music, smart notifications, find my phone or watch, and many more features. However, the vivoactive 3 offers Garmin Pay, which allows you to pay for your stuff on the go at participating locations that use contactless card readers.

The Forerunner 245 and vivoactive 3 both have an important safety feature, called LiveTrack so you can always be located if something happens. But the Forerunner 245 has a few extra safety features: Incident Detection, Assistance, and Live Event Sharing (all while using your Smartphone).

Compatible Accessories

The Forerunner 245 does offer a useful accessory to use with the watch that vivoactive 3 does not. This is the Running Dynamics Pod, which is a small device you attach to your waistband that gives you accurate running dynamics data such as stride, cadence, or oscillation to help improve running stride.

Both watches are compatible with cycling accessories, which helps to better gauge your cycling activity. They each also have a heart rate monitor strap they are compatible with, but the Forerunner 245 has a few strap options there, where the vivoactive 3 only has one to purchase.

Price

So let’s talk dollars and cents for a minute. These watches are fairly close to each other in price; however, the Forerunner 245 happens to be about $50 higher. Is the Forerunner 245 worth that much more than the vivoactive 3?

This is definitely going to be a personal preference because it will matter what features you want in your Smartwatch. Overall, we’ve listed quite a few more features the Forerunner 245 has that the vivoactive 3 does not have. You’ll still find a few gems in the vivoactive 3 that the Forerunner 245 doesn’t have, but not as many.

They both have the same basic needs as a Smartwatch designed to track your activities. In summary, the Forerunner 245 is going to be worth that extra cost if you really want to get into the detailed tracking of all of your activities, with extra data to analyze what you are doing during your runs and any type of training.

If that extra data isn’t important, then there is no reason to spend the extra money. Primarily because the vivoactive 3 has all the things you might need, plus a touchscreen, golf tracking, and Garmin Pay. Both Smartwatches are great options, and we think you’ll enjoy using either one of them.


Garmin Forerunner 245

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Garmin vivoactive 3

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The Wired Runner