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Home Buyers Guide Garmin Forerunner 645 Vs Vivoactive 3

Garmin Forerunner 645 Vs Vivoactive 3

The Forerunner 645 vs vivoactive 3 are some of the best GPS running watches out right now, but choosing between the two isn’t quite a cut and dry decision. The Forerunner 645 is primarily a runner’s watch and the VA3 is truly built for someone that wants to engage in a variety of fitness activities.

Both the Forerunner 645 and the Vivoactive 3 each have advantages and disadvantages, despite the fact that they look nearly identical and without a close inspection you cannot tell them apart.

So in this Forerunner 645 vs Vivoactive 3 comparison article, I have broken down the key differences along with the things you have to look out for when deciding between each of this fitness GPS watches.

 Garmin Forerunner 645 vs Vivoactive 3 key features

GARMIN FORERUNNER 645

GARMIN VIOVACTIVE 3

MSRP

$400 or $450 for Music Version

Starts at $270

Check Price

Amazon

Amazon

Size

42.5 x 42.5 x 13.5 mm

43.4 x 43.4 x 11.7 mm

Weight

42.2 g

43.0 g

Touchscreen

No – Buttons Only

Yes + Buttons

Water Resistant Down to

50 Meters

50 Meters

Battery Life

Up to 7 days in smartwatch mode or up to 5 hours in GPS mode with music on

Up to 7 days in smartwatch mode or up to 13 hours in GPS mode with HR on

Interchangeable Bands

Yes – 20mm

Yes – 20mm

GPS & GLONASS

Yes

Yes

Wrist HRM

Yes

Yes

Pairs with external HRMs

Yes

Yes

Pairs with Bluetooth & ANT+ sensors

Yes

Yes

Built-In Music Storage

Yes

No

Music Storage

Personal, iHeartRadio All Access, Deezer coming soon…

n/a

Garmin Pay

Yes

Yes

Connect IQ

Yes

Yes

All-Day Activity & Sleep Tracking

Yes

Yes

Smartphone Notifications

Yes

Yes

Advanced Running Dynamics

Yes w/ HRM-Run or Running Dynamics Pod

No

Golf Support

No

Yes

LiveTracking

Yes

Yes

VO2 Max

Yes

Yes

Support for Pool Swimming

Yes

Yes

Support for Open Water Swimming

No

No

Firstbeat – Training load/Status

Yes for running

No

Garmin Forerunner 645 vs Vivoactive 3 deals

Garmin Forerunner 645 music deals

Garmin Forerunner 645 Music Power Bundle | Includes HD Screen...
  • GARMIN FORERUNNER 645 MUSIC ($449.99): Garmin Forerunner 645 Music (Cerise) Running GPS Watch & USB Charging Cable
  • PLAYBETTER BUNDLE ($20.00): HD Glass Screen Protectors (2-Pack) & PlayBetter USB Portable Lipstick Charger

Garmin Vivoactive 3 deals

Hot Deal
Garmin 010-01769-01 Vivoactive 3 GPS Fitness Smartwatch (Black &...
  • Garmin AUTHORIZED DEALER - Includes Full Garmin USA WARRANTY
  • Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS Fitness Smartwatch (Black & Stainless)

Forerunner 645 vs Vivoactive 3 design

Whilst both the FR645 and the Vivoactive 3 share a similar design, both GPS watches offer different things in terms of design and you would engage with the watches. 

Spec

Garmin Forerunner 645

Garmin Vivoactive 3

Size

42.5 x 42.5 x 13.5 mm

43.4 x 43.4 x 11.7 mm

Weight

42.2 g

43 g

Case material

fiber-reinforced polymer

fiber-reinforced polymer with stainless steel rear cover

Bezel

Stainless steel

Stainless steel

Screen size

1.2″

1.2”

Resolution

240 x 240 pixels

240 x 240 pixels

Screen material

Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3

Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3

Touchscreen

Yes

No

Strap material

Silicon (Third party available)

Silicon (Third party available)

Removable strap

Yes, Quick release

Yes, Quick release

Strap size

20 mm

20mm

Button material

Stainless steel

Stainless steel

 

Above is a table that shows the specs of both the Vivoactive 3 and the Forerunner 645 and as you can see, both fitness watches share lots of similar design features> However both the Vivoactive 3 and the Forerunner 645 have some key differences when it comes to design

Vivoactive 3 has a touchscreen and Sideswipe

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 has a touchscreen and only features one button. Based on my use with the touchscreen on the VA3, it was responsive and worked well. However I found when my hands were wet from sweat during exercise or in the pool, the touchscreen would not perform that well. The VA3 only features one button and this is used in the main to accept menu items or during an activity.

Must read guide: Connect IQ store

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In addition, to featuring a touchscreen, the Vivoactive 3 features sideswipe at the side of the watch. This can be used to swipe through menus and can be used during an activity.Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs Forerunner 645

Garmin 645 has buttons, but no touchscreen

Whilst lots of people are fans of touchscreen’s on fitness watches, I prefer the buttons and the Forerunner 645 features 5 of them to be used to help navigate the various menus and to be used during activities. Use of the buttons on the FR645 allows for precise navigation and start and stop of activities.Garmin Forerunner 645 cerise

Garmin 645 vs Vivoactive 3 – Music

There are two versions of the Forerunner 645. There’s the standard model of the Forerunner 645 and the Forerunner 645 Music, which incorporates music storage for offline playback during exercise when paired with a pair of Bluetooth headphones.

The 645 Music will be able to store up to 500 songs directly on the watch for phone-free workouts. You then just need Bluetooth earbuds and you’re good to go. At present the Vivoactive 3 does not support music, however, based on latest rumours the Vivoactive 3 music maybe arriving sometime in the summer of 2018.Garmin FOrerunner 645 vs Vivoactive 3 music

However, if Music is a must-have feature then Forerunner 645 music will give two options for listening to your music. Firstly, you can load your personal music onto the watch. This music needs to be DRM free and does question how many people will actually use the Forerunner 645 music in this way. The other option is to link your iHeartRadio account and download playlists a to the watch.

 

Based on my use with the Forerunner 645 music, it is easy to use for music playback, however, I don’t think Garmin has got it right just yet and it may take a few more software revisions to get it bang on to compete with something like the Apple Watch

Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs Forerunner 645 fitness features

When it comes to the Garmin devices, like the activity tracking the fitness tracking features are pretty similar. Both Garmin wearables feature a load of fitness profiles from running, swimming, cycling and many many others.

The Forerunner 645 and the Vivoactive 3 also feature gym workout profiles along with strength tracking that tracks how many reps you have performed during a workout. I have found it worked well on both watches, but you do need to correct the reps every not and then.

When it comes to what both fitness watches don’t support, the list is pretty similar;

  • Both watches do not support power meters for cycling.
  • The Forerunner 645 and the Vivoactive does not support Garmin HR Tri or Garmin HR run for swimming, but you can still connect them and get HR data for other activities such as running and cycling.
  • Both watches do not have an open water swimming mode nor they support triathlons

Advanced Running Dynamics and Firstbeat

If you are wanting advanced running data like Garmin running dynamics then the Forerunner 645 is the better choice over the Vivoactive 3 which does not support this feature. You also get FirstBeat built into the Forerunner 645 which gives you training load and training status but be mindful you only get this for activities that has HR data collected, so swimming would not be included in this.Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs Forerunner 645 fitness features

Data screens

Whilst both watches give you the ability to have data presented on the watches, its only the Forerunner 645 that will give you more control on customising the data and how it is presented. Yes you can customise the data on the Vivoactive 3, it is pretty limited with only the ability to change the data presented in the middle data fields.Garmin Vivoactive 3 hands on review data screens

Vivoactive 3 Supports Golf

If you plan to play golf with the watch at all, the Vivoactive 3 wins since it tracks golf. You can download courses directly from Garmin Connect and get all sorts of golf-specific stats, including distance to the front, middle, and back of the green. I was a little surprised when I first discovered didn’t support golfing features and given this feature is normally featured on the higher priced devices, this is a good feature to have on the Vivoactive 3. 

Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs Forerunner 645 battery life

When it comes to a fitness watch, battery life is a just as important as its fitness features and the Forerunner 645 and the Vivoactive 3 offer varying levels of battery life.

Garmin Forerunner 645 music battery life

  • Smartwatch Mode: Up to 7 days
  • GPS mode without music: Up to 14 hours
  • GPS mode with music: Up to 5 hours

The battery on the Forerunner 645 was lasting about 5 days during my testing, but it would dip under than with music playback

Garmin Vivoactive 3 battery life

  • Up to 7 days in smartwatch mode
  • Up to 13 hours in GPS mode with HR

I have used the Vivoacitve 3 and I got about 4 days of battery and that is with a mixture of sports tracking both GPS on and off.Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs Forerunner 645

Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs Forerunner 645 Music conclusion

When it comes to deciding which fitness watch to buy between the Forerunner 645 vs the Vivoactove 3 it all comes to what you are going to be using the fitness watch for and what activities you be doing.

Why buy the Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs Forerunner 645

First of all, you have the price difference, the Vivoactive 3 is cheaper than the Forerunner by at least £100 in some cases. The Vivoactive 3 also offers very similar fitness tracking and performance metrics and if you wanting a fitness watch that gives you good fitness and activity tracking then I cannot see much reason to by the Forerunner 645 over the Vivoactive 3

Hot Deal
Garmin 010-01769-01 Vivoactive 3 GPS Fitness Smartwatch (Black &...
  • Garmin AUTHORIZED DEALER - Includes Full Garmin USA WARRANTY
  • Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS Fitness Smartwatch (Black & Stainless)
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Why buy the Garmin Forerunner 645 vs Vivoactive 3

The Forerunner 645 offers music storage for a start and whilst rumours are circulating about a Vivoactive 3 music, these are just rumours. As I have already pointed out the Forerunner 645 shares very similar fitness features to the Vivoactive 3, however with the FR645 you get FirstBeat which includes training status and training load to give you better insight into your training impact along with Garmin running dynamics, which is helpful for runners.

Garmin Forerunner 645 Music Power Bundle | Includes HD Screen...
  • GARMIN FORERUNNER 645 MUSIC ($449.99): Garmin Forerunner 645 Music (Cerise) Running GPS Watch & USB Charging Cable
  • PLAYBETTER BUNDLE ($20.00): HD Glass Screen Protectors (2-Pack) & PlayBetter USB Portable Lipstick Charger

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Jon Ratcliffe
I am Jon R and the editor of Active JR that covers wearables, fitness tech and smart home. I have a huge passion for technology having worked in the sector for over 18 years in a variety of roles and I like combining this with fitness.My reviews and information will talk about how the product works in reality and not just what the marketing departments want you to think.You can contact Jon on Twitter @ActiveJR1

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