With full functions in the field of sports and sensors as reliable as ever, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 is not far from faultless. It must, however, justify a high price and very basic connected functions. The major product of this end of the year, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 is the new watch to do everything of the American brand. By relying on her cardio sensor and her GPS chip, she can track up to fifteen different sports, including swimming. The connected watch is available in two finishes: Silver (330 euros) and Gray (360 euros).
A Beneficial Design Change
Garmin’s watch does not have much to do with its older sister, the Vivoactive HR. The design has been completely redesigned to move closer to more classic watchmaking models, as Samsung can do with its Gear S3 and Gear Sport. The idea is to convince us that the watch can be assumed on a daily basis, exceeding the objective of monitoring our sports activities.
The mission is successful, at least in large part. As always at Garmin, the finishes are impeccable, especially with a stainless steel bezel. The dimensions of the Vivoactive 3 are reasonable enough that it can be forgotten, provided you do not have a wrist too thin. The brand is still far from Apple’s maturity in terms of design, but it has the merit of offering a less cleavage format than that of the Fitbit Ionic.
The copy is not perfect. It is unfortunate that Garmin is asking for another 30 euros to enjoy a case in the same material as the bezel. At 330 euros, you will only be entitled to the reinforced polymer (white or black), against steel if you pay 360 euros. In addition, Garmin only provides a silicone bracelet. Since this is a standard size (20 mm), you can change easily.
The slab of the Vivoactive 3 is more modest than those of competing watches, probably for the purpose of preserving autonomy. The resolution of 240 x 240 pixels is sufficient to read any content, but the screen does not shine by its contrast ratio. Its brightness allows nevertheless to consult the watch without difficulty, even in full sun.
Unlike models such as the Forerunner 235, the Vivoactive 3 is driven largely by its touch interface. The operation that is at least as much for everyday use as for sports. By scanning the home screen vertically, you can access the main widgets (heart rate, weather, notifications, music player, etc.). Each time, a support allows knowing more about the subject, by displaying, for example, the evolution of his pulse during the day or the weather of the week.
A long press on the home screen opens the settings menu, while a long press on the metal crown displays shortcuts to essential functions, such as brightness adjustment or Bluetooth. One of these functions is to find his phone by vibrating. Useful, especially if you have nobody on hand to give us a call.
Sports Sessions: Total Personalization
A simple support on the crown of the watch launches the menu dedicated to sports activities, with the most recent in the good position. A preset that avoids wasting time to select the sport practiced, especially if it is always the same. The Vivoactive 3 ensures – among other things – the follow-up of running, cycling, walking, swimming, elliptical, ski, yoga or even weight training sessions.
Each time, the possibilities of personalization are immense: according to its centers of interest, the user can choose which data to display during the exercise. In total, there are four screens each displaying four types of information that can be modified. We also appreciated the possibility of setting alarms, especially not to raise his heart rate to potentially dangerous levels.
An Ideal Cardio Sensor For Endurance …
We tested the Vivoactive 3 in racing, indoors and outdoors. We find some of the qualities of other products of the brand, such as the Forerunner 735XT. The first of these is the high reliability of cardio data measured during exercise. To better evaluate it, we also wore a cardio belt (Wahoo TICKR X) during our training. On the left side are, jumble, an HDMI video output, a wired network connection, the third USB 3.0 port, a USB Type-C connector, an SD card reader and analog audio jacks (stereo and microphone). A Wi-Fi module n / ac and compatible Bluetooth 5.0 comes, of course, complete the set.
A Good Screen, Fast, But Wide-Brimmed
The 15.6-inch screen of the Helios 300 Special Edition has good features on its datasheet. In addition to its full HD resolution (1920 by 1080 pixels) and its effective matte coating, it is most refreshing at 144 Hz. A good point for gamers who seek a better fluidity of display and more sharpness in the scenes of their favorite games. With the naked eye, the screen of the Helios 300 offers a good rendering of colors. However, as soon as its angle of inclination is varied, the lack of rigidity of the frame causes slight transient colorimetric deformations. This is particularly obvious when we display a black screen and move the slab back and forth.
Using our test probe, we measured brightness and contrast ratio. The first is 301 cd / m2 average maximum, a value in the current slab standard. The average maximum contrast ratio, it is greater than 1170: 1, a very good score.
A Rather Muscular Platform
Like all the laptops released in recent months in the trade, the Helios 300 opts for one of the new Intel processors. Between the yesterday’s Core i7-7700HQ and the current Core i7-8750H, Acer’s gamer notebook has gained two additional computing cores, from four to six units. Thus, games sensitive to the multiplication of hearts (like the last Assassin’s Creed for example) will turn better.
The rest of the configuration remains very classic. It consists of 16 GB of DDR4 memory, 256 GB of SSD, 1 TB of hard disk. Polygons and textures are entrusted to the good care of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, in its 6 GB version of GDDR5 memory. Graphics card whose operating frequency can be varied via the home interface, the Predator Sense.
Two boost levels preprogrammed by Acer are available, activated with a simple click of the mouse. However, do not expect to double the number of frames per second you get in games. At best, we saw a small increase of 5 to 6 fps between the Normal mode and the Turbo mode following the games, the 3D chip amounting up to 1900 MHz (against 1670 MHz announced by Nvidia).
As the overall performance score shows, Helios is doing well in all of our test applications. It’s as versatile as you’d expect. In games, his favorite field, he is doing well, with scores between 60 and 76 frames per second in The Division (details in High DX11) or Rise of the Tomb Raider (details in Ultra DX11). In less greedy titles, the 100 fps bar is largely reached. Exceeded, by far, in older games. Clearly, to play the latest AAA date or future, thoroughly, in Full HD, the Helios may suffer. But, by making good compromises and carefully refining the settings, all games turn. They are beautiful and fluid.
A Good Heat But No Throttle
As shown in the screenshot above, the PredatorSense also allows you to take control of the cooling system settings and keep an eye on the occupancy and temperature reached by the CPU and GPU. Basic Auto Normal mode is turned on, but two other sub-profiles exist and the PC activates them on the fly, as needed. In this mode of ventilation, the nuisances rise up to 40,1 dB, and the noise emitted by the fans is present (2,000 to 3,500 rev/min). If you activate the Max mode, the rotation rises to more than 5,000 rpm and our sound meter displays 46.2 dB. To activate only when you are alone, under the helmet, and in case of strong heat because the produced hum does not support more than a few minutes. In addition, you can also manually adjust the fan speed curve (Manual mode) according to the occupancy of the components.
If the mercury tends to have climbed well on the components, we have not seen any throttling phenomenon, both on the Core i7 and the GeForce GTX 1060, even if you overclock the latter via the PredatorSense. The opposite would have been unfortunate, especially for a gaming machine. Nothing is more annoying than experiencing sudden drops in performance because the ventilation fails to do its job and that the components are obliged to stay safe to avoid a big blow of hot be fatal to them.
Note, however, that mercury can climb up to 47 ° C under the machine, with the ventilation profile left on Auto. On the palm rests, the 33 ° C are reached without difficulty and the heat tends to spread quickly on the rest of the keyboard. Yellow card !…