When Sterdio started running ads for their new smartwatch, the Radiance A3, they set the internet on fire.
People were jumping on top of this offer left and right, snapping up what was promised to be a near clone of the Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch for a fraction of the price – just $40 (and sometimes even less than that).
There were some people that felt the offer was too good to be true, but most of those voices were drowned out completely as people get sucked into a feeding frenzy of sorts.
And then the trouble started.
Some watches were initially sent out that were halfway decent, but about two or three weeks after these advertisements started to run people were getting absolutely horrible watches – made of cheap plastic and most of the time not working at all – that didn’t meet expectations at all.
Every Sterdio watch review that came out bombed pretty hard and most of their ads were yanked right off of the web completely – though every now and again you can still find some renegade running them, cashing in on the scam.
We can tell you right now, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you want to STEER CLEAR of that obvious scam.
Those smartwatches aren’t smartwatches at all, and aren’t even smart purchases!
Thankfully though, you don’t have to spend a small fortune on a smartwatch to get something halfway decent.
The Next Best Thing – The Garmin VivoActive 3
Like we just mentioned a moment ago, you can get your hands on a quality smartwatch these days without spending a mountain of money on the new Apple iWatch or something from the folks at Samsung.
In fact, turns out that another technology giant – Garmin – puts out a fantastic smartwatch that can connect with both iOS devices from Apple as well as Android devices, too.
Sleek, streamlined, and loaded “under the hood” with plenty of power to give you the smartwatch experience you are looking for without a sky high price tag, this watch (the Garmin VivoActive 3) definitely deserves a closer look.
A Deep Dive Into the Garmin VivoActive 3
Engineered for people that like to live an active lifestyle, the Garmin VivoActive 3 is very much built from the ground up to be worn outdoors and in less than picture-perfect conditions.
Made from high-end construction materials (including aluminum, synthetics, and crystal glass that is both scratch and break resistant), the Garmin VivoActive 3 also happens to be one of the few smartwatches out there that is legitimately waterproof.
On top of all that, Garmin has integrated a lot of their top-tier GPS navigation technology into this watch so that you get a world-class fitness tracker, too.
A constant companion on all your runs, your walks, your hikes, your swims, your bike rides, your kayak trips, and even your time out on the golf course, the sky’s the limit when it comes to how you can use these fitness tracking capabilities.
Garmin also provides easy access to synchronize with devices from Apple as well as those running the Android operating system.
This means you’ll be able to use all of your favorite streaming apps, all of your favorite fitness apps, make calls and texts from your phone, and so much more.
You also are able to utilize Garmin Pay (their virtual wallet system) as well as both of the virtual wallet systems from Android and Apple.
Who’s It For?
This is very much a smartwatch designed for modern people leading modern (and active) lifestyles.
This is not a watch that you have to be delicate with, and it isn’t a watch that you have to baby.
Instead, this is a watch that you can beat up, that you can be rough with, and that you can count on to still keep on ticking when things get particularly nasty outdoors.
Of course, the styling and the aesthetics of this smartwatch definitely lend themselves to daily usage.
You won’t feel out of place wearing this watch to school or the office, just let you wouldn’t feel out of place wearing it on the golf course, in a swimming pool, or running on the track.
The versatility of this smartwatch is a big part of its attractiveness. This is very much the “real deal”.
What We Like About the Garmin VivoActive 3
For starters, the overall look and feel of the Garmin VivoActive 3 are fantastic.
For a relatively inexpensive smartwatch, you still get a lot of good looks, a really cool design, and a watch that looks like it would cost two or three times as much as it actually does.
Secondly, thanks in large part to the Garmin GPS capabilities, you are also going to get your hands on a watch that has super accurate metrics. We are talking about a watch that’s going to be able to measure your location, your progress, and all kinds of other pieces of fitness data that lower quality GPS units may not have been able to.
Finally, just the overall value that you get for your money with the Garmin VivoActive 3 is spectacular.
A lot of times people spend money on watches like this and end up being disappointed with the price tag. This is one of the few options out there that you feel like you got a real bargain on.
What We Don’t Like About the Garmin VivoActive 3
The lack of onboard storage space or dedicated media is a little bit of a pain, especially if you don’t have an unlimited data plan or weren’t intending on bringing your phone or your media player with you while you exercise.
Garmin Play is a neat little feature but it doesn’t have the widespread adaptation that Apple Pay or the Google Wallet has, so it’s kind of a wash – if not a hindrance. Getting set up with Garmin Pay instead of the other options actually limits your ability to conduct cash/cardless transactions.
Finally, the user interface could be polished a little bit.
It definitely doesn’t feel as slick or as simple to use as something from the folks at Apple or Google, but it’s not that far off. A couple of software refinements could really improve things quite a bit.
- Very sleek, very attractive modern design
- Has incredibly accurate metrics and data collection capabilities, providing real-time feedback
- Interfaces with both Android and iOS devices without a lot of difficulties
- Enjoys a top-tier battery life, one of the best in its class
- Loaded with special features that you’ll usually only find on significantly more expensive watches
- Tremendous value for the price
- Lack of onboard storage will become a nuisance at some point in time
- Push for proprietary apps like Garmin Pay are annoying
- The user-interface could use a little bit of polish for sure
You get a couple of important things in the box when you bind the Garmin VivoActive 3, including:
- The Garmin VivoActive 3 itself
- A USB data/charging cord
- A USB wall charging unit
- A quick start guide for using this smartwatch
Overview of Features
- Full satellite GPS tracking capabilities
- Bluetooth 4.2 wireless connectivity capabilities
- ANT Plus Connectivity options
- USB 2.0 ready right out-of-the-box
- Waterproof up to 50 m
- Smartly designed backlight
- Dedicated media control buttons
- Smart notification capabilities
- Fitness analytics, including VO2 max calculations and stress score details
- Built-in altimeter and accelerometer
- Built-in thermometer and barometer
- Full weather display capabilities
- 24/7 Activity sleep tracking features
All in all, there’s a lot to like when it comes to the Garmin VivoActive 3.
Stylish and simple, it has a real level of elegance that allows it to be worn in a couple of different situations that other smartwatches wouldn’t be as well suited to – all while maintaining that rugged and performance focus bent that active individuals love so much.
The thing that’s crazy about this smartwatch is that it has (almost) everything you would want from a smartwatch at a price point that is significantly lower than most everything else on the market today.
Aside from a couple of hiccups (like Garmin Play and the sometimes clumsy interface) there really isn’t anything to be disappointed with in this watch.
Sure, some extra onboard storage would have been nice (or even the ability to pop in a microSD card to add that storage space separately). But the trade-offs you get – including an oversized battery for extra life between charges – make those minor annoyances disappear almost completely.
At the end of the day, if you’re looking for a rock-solid smartwatch that’s going to perform light years above anything that the Sterdio promised (and never even came close to delivering) then you’re going to want to take a much closer look at all that the Garmin VivoActive 3 brings to the table.
There’s a reason why so many people are wild for this watch.
The odds are pretty good that you are going to really like all it has to offer, too!