The Garmin Approach X40 Vs. The Garmin Vivoactive 3

Garmin x40

It’s a conundrum that many gofers face these days. Do you get a straight up golf GPS watch or do you opt for a fitness watch? Fitness watches are becoming the new standard but they don’t help you with your golf game. Many modern golf watches are hybrids – also offering basic fitness tracking features.

So which one do you choose? The answer to that will largely depend on what you emphasize in your life. If golf is your passion and you play a lot, this will be something you have to consider when making a purchasing decision. If you are more concerned with physical training and fitness, you may lean the other way.

In any case, it is not an easy decision which is why we have composed this review that pits two different Garmin watches against each other. We will go over the features of each watch and compare their price and functionality to help you make an informed choice.


The Garmin Approach X40

Garmin x40 Golf GPS Watch Review

The Garmin Approach X40 is a unique golf GPS watch. It’s shaped like a straight up fitness watch but offers a bunch of useful golfing features. For instance, it can tell you your distance from the middle, back and front of the green.

It comes preloaded with course information from courses around the world. Using GPS, the X40 detects which course you are one, which hole you are on, gives the par and your distance to hazards and dog legs.

The auto shot tracking feature keeps track of your shots and their distances and neatly organizes them for you so you can see your stats and analyze your shots at the end of your round.

The X40 features a black and white touchscreen display that allows you to swipe through the different modes. As far as fitness tracking goes, it includes a pedometer, daily step goal setting, activity monitor, sleep monitor, calories burned monitor, and heart rate monitor.


The Garmin Vivoactive 3

Vivoactive 3 Review

The Garmin Vivoactive does more to help you stay in shape. It offers all the fitness features that the Approach X40 does and then some. In addition to monitoring your heart rate, it also gives VO2 max and fitness age information based on your activity.

It also tracks your heart rate variability which can help to identify instances where your mood or stress levels fluctuate. There are also preloaded sports apps that include running, swimming, stand up paddle boarding, cycling, yoga and more. You can even play music through the Vivoactive 3

And of course, when you are active, it keeps all pertinent stats including reps, distance traveled, speed traveled, laps and incline. It can even notify you when you should hydrate based on your physical output.

With this watch, you also get customization options and downloadable apps. You can download customized digital watch faces to change up the look of your Vivoactive. You can also download various workout and exercise programs.

Naturally, we downloaded a golf app that came in handy one Sunday during a round. You can also connect the Vivoactive 3 to an online Garmin forum that lets you compare stats and activities with other members of the community.


Price Comparison

These two watches vary in price depending on the retailer. But in general, we have found that most stores (online and physical) sell the Garmin Vivoactive 3 for significantly less than the Approach X40. Basically, you can expect to pay between $210 and $270 for the X40 and around $116 for the Vivoactive 3.


Performance Comparison

For starters, the designs of these watches are very different. The X40 has some sort of plastic display while the Vivoactive 3 features Corning Gorilla Glass. The touchscreen display on the X40 is black and white while the Vivoactive is full color.

The Vivoactive weighs 1.4 ounces while the X40 weighs 1.6. They are shaped differently as well. The Vivoactive has a round watch face while the X40 features a narrow, rectangular face, similar to a FitBit. Because of this difference in shape, they feel different on the wrist.

As far as functions go, one big difference between these two watches is music. You can play music through the Vivoactive (it doesn’t have speakers but you can pair it with a speaker or headphones etc.) which you can’t do with the X40.

The Vivoactive is waterproof and lasts about a week on one charge while the X40 is not waterproof and lasts about 5 days on one charge.


Garmin X40 Pros & Cons:

The X40 Golf Watch


  • Many golfing features
  • Sleek, modern fitness watch look and feel
  • Gives the shape of greens
  • Gives distance to hazards
  • Heart Rate Monitor
  • Compatible with iOS and Android
  • Features an alarm clock


  • No gorilla glass
  • Low screen resolution
  • Does not track incline
  • More expensive


Vivoactive 3 Pros & Cons

Garmin VivoActive 3


  • Lightweight
  • More affordable
  • Waterproof
  • Color display
  • Downloadable content
  • Various fitness features


  • It can misbehave when used in the rain
  • The charger it comes with is flimsy
  • Is not compatible with Windows phones
  • The sleep monitor does not work sometimes


Our Advice

VivoActive 3

This was a tough one. While we really liked the fact that the Approach X40 is first and foremost a golf watch, we didn’t like the way it felt on the wrist. It also got docked for its black and white display which to us, felt like we were using a device from a bygone era.

The Vivoactive 3 had a better look and feel and more options in terms of sports profiles. But even the golf profile didn’t provide some of the features that we have come to rely on in golf watches.

With that all being said, we have to recommend the Vivoactive 3. We would choose this watch based on aesthetic appeal and versatility. You can wear it anywhere and it will still look good. It’s also more durable and at times the X40 feels flimsy.

The Vivoactive 3 is overall a better designed watch and even though its use on the links is limited, we think it’s an overall better value. Check it out today!


You may want to consider the s40 or the s60 instead of the x40.


Garmin x40 watch


Check Out The Best Price For The X40 Here

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VivoActve 3

Check Out The Best Price For The VivoActive 3 Here

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