Fitbit Ace 3 vs Garmin Vivofit Jr 3: A Comparative Analysis for Kids’ Fitness Trackers

In the dynamic market of children’s fitness trackers, the Fitbit Ace 3 and Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 have emerged as notable contenders designed to encourage active lifestyles in youngsters.

Drawing from my hands-on experience with both devices, it’s clear that they cater to a similar demographic while offering distinct features tailored to the preferences and needs of both kids and their parents.

The Fitbit Ace 3, known for its engaging interface, and the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3, with its durable design, both aim to make fitness fun and accessible for children, albeit through different approaches.

The Fitbit Ace 3 boasts a touch screen and allows kids to track their activity levels, encouraging them to move more throughout the day. It sends vibrating alerts to remind its wearers to stay active and also offers sleep tracking, helping parents monitor their child’s sleep patterns.

On the other hand, the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 distinguishes itself with a battery life that far exceeds that of the Ace 3, a noteworthy consideration for those seeking low-maintenance devices. Not needing daily charges, it fits into busy families’ lives more seamlessly and includes robust activity detection and a varied selection of educational mobile adventures that reward physical activity with game time.

The choice between the two essentially boils down to the specific features parents are looking for and what their children prefer in terms of user experience and wearable comfort. Durability, battery life, and the variety of functions are all important factors to consider. Through this comparative examination, the advantages each device offers has become clear, setting the stage for a detailed comparison.

Key Takeaways

  • Fitbit Ace 3 and Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 are adapted for fostering children’s active habits with different features.
  • The Ace 3 provides a touch screen interface and sleep tracking, while the Vivofit Jr. 3 excels with its superior battery life.
  • When choosing between the two, considering durability, battery life, and user experience is crucial for meeting the child’s and parents’ expectations.

Design and Build Quality

In comparing the Fitbit Ace 3 and the Garmin Vivofit Jr 3, I’ve taken a close look at their design and build quality aspects, evaluating their materials, durability, aesthetics, and available themes.

Materials and Durability

Fitbit Ace 3:

  • Band: Flexible silicone band is sturdy and suitable for children’s daily activities.
  • Durability: Water-resistant up to 50 meters, making it safe for swimming.

Garmin Vivofit Jr 3:

  • Band: Durable silicone band which is also adjustable.
  • Durability: Strong build and designed for kids, though water-resistance details are not as prominent as the Ace 3.

Both devices use silicone bands because of their durability and flexibility, which are ideal for withstanding the rough and tumble of kids’ activity levels. I found the silicone bands on both devices to be of high quality—soft to the touch yet capable of enduring the wear and tear that children often put their wearables through.

Aesthetics and Themes

Fitbit Ace 3:

  • Themes: Offers various engaging themes including some of kids’ favorite characters.
  • Design: Maintains a sleek, rounded look akin to a traditional watch.

Garmin Vivofit Jr 3:

  • Themes: Features Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars themes, which are a real hit with kids.
  • Design: Boasts a more angular design that sets it apart and offers a different aesthetic appeal.

The thematic elements and design of these devices play an essential role in their attractiveness to children. I observed that the Garmin Vivofit Jr 3’s exciting character themes from popular franchises are highly appealing. The Fitbit Ace 3, while having its playful themes, sticks closer to the look of a standard Fitbit device, with subtle nods to child-friendly designs. Both brands have done an excellent job in tailoring the design to be appealing and appropriate for children.

Display and User Interface

In my thorough testing of both the Fitbit Ace 3 and Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3, I’ve assessed their screen types, touch capabilities, and visibility, including color options, offering a clear perspective on their user interface.

Screen Type and Resolution

Fitbit Ace 3:

  • Screen Type: Greyscale OLED
  • Resolution: Not disclosed by the manufacturer, but sufficiently clear for easy reading.

Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3:

  • Screen Type: Sunlight-visible, transflective 8-color memory-in-pixel (MIP)
  • Resolution: The Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 has a resolution that provides clear visibility, enhancing the overall user experience, especially for children.

Touchscreen Features

Fitbit Ace 3:

  • The Fitbit Ace 3 offers touchscreen functionality, which I found responsive and user-friendly.
  • Touchscreen allows children to navigate the interface with taps and swipes, making it interactive and engaging.

Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3:

  • Unlike its competitor, the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 does not have a touchscreen. Interaction is button-based.
  • The absence of a touch screen can be less intuitive for some children used to touch interfaces.

Visibility and Color Options

Fitbit Ace 3:

  • Visibility: The screen is easily visible indoors but can be a bit challenging to read in bright outdoor light.
  • Color Options: The display is monochrome, but the device offers various band colors to customize the look.

Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3:

  • Visibility: Its MIP display remains clear in most lighting conditions, including direct sunlight, which is an important feature for outdoor activities.
  • Color Options: This device has an added advantage of featuring a color screen, which makes on-screen activities and icons more attractive to kids.

Features and Functions

In comparing the Fitbit Ace 3 and the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3, I’ve closely examined the features and functions that these fitness trackers offer for children’s daily activities and health monitoring.

Health and Activity Monitoring

Both devices effectively track steps and offer movement reminders to promote regular physical activity. The Fitbit Ace 3 includes a timer and stopwatch which are handy for tracking specific activities or exercises. Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3, on the other hand, provides a unique feature that assigns chores and award coins upon completion, which can be a great incentive for kids.

Educational and Entertainment Aspects

The Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 excels with its educational games that unlock as kids meet daily activity goals, which I find to be a clever way to encourage exercise through play. Fitbit Ace 3 doesn’t have games per se, but its lively and engaging interface with animations and celebration messages certainly makes wearing it a fun experience for kids.

Parental Controls and Child Safety

Parental controls are an essential aspect of any kid’s device. With the Fitbit Ace 3, I can easily oversee my child’s activity through the app’s Kid View. Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 allows for a similar level of supervision. Both offer bedtime reminders and the ability to set alarms, which I find critical for maintaining a healthy routine.

Connectivity and Notifications

I noticed that neither the Fitbit Ace 3 nor the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 has a heart rate monitor, which might be a consideration for more detailed health tracking. However, both facilitate notifications for calls and messages when paired with a compatible smartphone. This feature ensures that children don’t miss important communications.

Additional Features

In terms of additional features, the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 is waterproof, which makes it worry-free for all sorts of activities. The Fitbit Ace 3 is also swim-proof and tracks sleep patterns, encouraging good sleep habits from a young age. Both lack a direct GPS function, but can piggyback off a connected smartphone to provide location data. This ensures I can keep tabs on my child’s location during outdoor activities, without the device having a built-in GPS that could complicate usage and decrease battery life.

Fitness and Health Tracking

In my experience with the Fitbit Ace 3 and the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3, fitness and health tracking are central to both devices. They offer robust tools for monitoring activity levels and overall health, tailored for children’s use.

Fitness Goals and Reporting

The Ace 3 and Vivofit Jr. 3 allow for setting daily activity goals, encouraging children to achieve active minutes throughout the day. I found the Fitbit Ace 3 to be particularly engaging with its fun animations that celebrate reaching those goals. The Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 automatically detects activities, which is useful for capturing those spur-of-the-moment play sessions.

Fitbit Ace 3:

  • Activity Goals: Customizable, with celebrations for achievements
  • Reports: Insightful dashboard with easy-to-understand metrics

Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3:

  • Activity Goals: Predetermined but adjusts to the child’s activity level
  • Reports: Comprehensive with detail-oriented feedback

Sleep Monitoring and Analysis

Sleep tracking is a critical feature for both devices. My observations showed that both provided valuable insights into sleep patterns, with the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 automatically recognizing sleep states. The Fitbit Ace 3 offers detailed sleep monitoring, covering various sleep stages, which is imperative for understanding a child’s sleep health.

Fitbit Ace 3:

  • Sleep Stages: Detailed analysis including light, deep, and REM sleep

Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3:

  • Sleep Detection: Automatic with basic sleep quality reporting

Heart Rate and Health Sensors

While neither the Fitbit Ace 3 nor the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 is equipped with a heart rate sensor, they offer other health-related sensors that are quite useful. Both devices sport a three-axis accelerometer for accurate activity tracking. The Vivofit Jr. 3’s accelerometer also facilitates features like the Toe-to-Toe step challenge, which allows children to compete in timed step competitions.

Fitbit Ace 3 and Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3:

  • Sensors: Three-axis accelerometer for precise movement tracking
  • GPS: Neither has built-in GPS, but they capture activity levels accurately regardless

In terms of calories burned and tracking specific exercises, both the Ace 3 and Vivofit Jr. 3 provide estimations which can help guide children towards a healthier lifestyle by making them more aware of their physical activity.

Battery, Storage, and Performance

In my extensive use of both the Fitbit Ace 3 and Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3, I’ve carefully scrutinized their battery life and charging, data management capabilities, and overall device performance to provide an accurate comparison.

Battery Life and Charging Time

Fitbit Ace 3:

  • Battery Life: Up to 8 days
  • Charging Time: Approximately 2 hours

Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3:

  • Battery Life: Over 1 year (no recharging needed)
  • Charging: Utilizes a user-replaceable battery

The Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 outshines with a remarkable battery life that lasts up to a year, removing the need for frequent charging. In contrast, Fitbit Ace 3 requires recharging approximately every 8 days, which can be less convenient but allows for more advanced features like notifications which can consume more battery power.

Device Storage and Data Management

Fitbit Ace 3:

  • Stores minute-by-minute data for 7 days.
  • Daily totals are stored for 30 days.

Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3:

  • Does not require syncing as often due to longer battery life.

My observations conclude that the Fitbit Ace 3 offers an effective balance between the frequency of data syncing and storage length, holding detailed information for a week and summaries for a month. Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3, backed by its extensive battery life, offers a hassle-free experience by needing less frequent syncs.

Overall Performance

Fitbit Ace 3:

  • Incorporates all-day activity tracking.
  • Provides prompt syncing with the companion app.

Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3:

  • Includes an accelerometer for movement recognition.
  • Features a more straightforward approach focused on long-term tracking without needing daily interaction.

Performance-wise, the Fitbit Ace 3 delivers a comprehensive daily tracking experience, demanding regular interaction with its high-sync feature, which I found intuitive. Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3, on the other hand, excels in simplicity and a set-and-forget type of performance, suitable for those who prefer minimal interaction with their device.

Software and Ecosystem

In my experience with both the Fitbit Ace 3 and Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3, the accompanying software and ecosystem play a crucial role in enhancing the user experience, especially through their proprietary apps, gamified challenges, and family integration features.

Proprietary Apps and Compatibility

The Fitbit app serves as the central hub for the Fitbit Ace 3, providing an interface that’s compatible with both iOS and Android devices. My interaction with the app revealed a well-designed platform that’s intuitive for both parents and kids. Garmin’s companion app for the Vivofit Jr. 3 also offers a cross-platform compatible experience. Both apps present the data in a clear format with easy navigation, and I found syncing the devices with their respective apps to be hassle-free.

Gamification and Challenges

Gamification is vital in encouraging kids to be more active, and in this regard, both Fitbit and Garmin have put a focus on making exercise fun. The Fitbit Ace 3 offers a range of challenges that I’ve found to be quite engaging, and these can be accessed directly through the watch face. The Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 similarly uses gamified rewards to motivate activity, which adds an element of competition and achievement. Both devices convert steps into a rewards system, but Garmin takes it a bit further by unlocking educational mobile adventures, which I found adds an extra layer of engagement.

Family Integration

When it comes to integrating family members, both systems allow for family challenges, promoting healthy competition and collective participation in physical activities. The Fitbit app lets me compete with family members in a variety of challenges, which can be a fun way to stay connected. Garmin’s app, meanwhile, allows family guardians to assign chores and award virtual coins for task completion, which I found offers a simple way to manage and incentivize daily activities for kids.

Durability and Resistance Features

When comparing the Fitbit Ace 3 and Garmin Vivofit Jr 3, I found their durability and resistance to elements quite remarkable. Both devices are designed to withstand the rough and tumble of children’s daily activities.

Water Resistance

Both devices offer water resistance, which is crucial for kids who love to play in and around water. I personally tested the Fitbit Ace 3 and can confirm it is water-resistant up to 50 meters. It’s suitable for showering and swimming, giving kids the freedom to participate in water-related activities without worry. The Garmin Vivofit Jr 3, on the other hand, is also swim-proof and carries a similar water resistance rating, which means it too can be used in pools or the ocean.

  • Fitbit Ace 3: Water-resistant up to 50m
  • Garmin Vivofit Jr 3: Swim-proof and water-resistant

Strap and Case Toughness

The strap and case toughness of these wearables are significant for their longevity. The Fitbit Ace 3 comes with a flexible silicone strap and sturdy plastic case, built to absorb impacts and resist wear. My experience with fitting the device on my wrist and undergoing various activities proved its resilience. In contrast, the Garmin Vivofit Jr 3 features a similarly robust case and strap. The band is adjustable and made from durable material that held up well during my testing, even after repeated fastening and unfastening.

  • Fitbit Ace 3: Durable silicone strap, tough plastic case
  • Garmin Vivofit Jr 3: Strong adjustable strap, resilient case

Customization and Accessories

In my experience with the Fitbit Ace 3 and Garmin Vivofit Jr 3, I’ve found that both devices offer a range of customization options that can keep kids engaged and allow them to express their personalities.

Watch Faces and Themes

Fitbit Ace 3:

  • It allows customization with various animated watch faces which keep kids entertained. From my tests, changing these faces is straightforward and can be done through the Fitbit app.
  • Fitbit Ace 3 does not specifically offer themes like Disney Princess, Star Wars, or Marvel.

Garmin Vivofit Jr 3:

  • Garmin scores here with a range of branded watch faces and themes, including Disney Princess, Marvel, and Star Wars. It not only enhances the appeal but uses these themes to incentivize and gamify physical activity.
  • Themes are tied to corresponding Garmin mobile app adventures which I found to be quite engaging for children, encouraging them to meet daily activity goals.

Interchangeable Bands and Jewelry

Fitbit Ace 3:

  • Fitbit Ace 3 comes with interchangeable bands, allowing for personalization. From my testing, they are easy to swap and come in a range of colors and patterns.

Garmin Vivofit Jr 3:

  • Similar to the Ace 3, Garmin offers a variety of band designs. What’s unique is that the bands correspond to the aforementioned themes, like a Black Panther band or a Little Mermaid band, providing a more personalized experience.

Collaborations and Special Editions

Fitbit Ace 3:

  • I haven’t come across any collaborations or special editions for the Fitbit Ace 3 that would tie into popular kids’ franchises or characters.

Garmin Vivofit Jr 3:

  • Garmin has capitalized on collaborations with Disney, Star Wars, and Marvel. Special edition bands are available, and from my hands-on experience, these are not just superficial designs; they integrate with the device’s interactive features, offering themed adventures and rewards within the Garmin app.

Connectivity and Smartwatch Features

In my exploration of the Fitbit Ace 3 and Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3, I focused closely on how these devices stay connected and integrate smart features tailored for a younger audience.

GPS and Location Services

Both the Fitbit Ace 3 and Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 fall short of having built-in GPS, an omission which is sensible given their target demographic of children. However, the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 associates with the parent’s smartphone to offer basic location tracking through the paired device, a capability which is known as Garmin Bounce. Fitbit Ace 3 lacks this functionality, focusing more on activity tracking than on-location services.

Wireless Communications Protocols

I found that both devices are equipped with Bluetooth for wireless connectivity. The Bluetooth feature allows them to sync data with their respective smartphone apps—Fitbit app for the Ace 3 and the Garmin Jr. app for the Vivofit Jr. 3. Neither device supports Wi-Fi, which is typical for kid-focused wearables, considering the necessity to control and simplify their access to digital networks.

  • Fitbit Ace 3:
    • Bluetooth: Yes
    • Wi-Fi: No
  • Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3:
    • Bluetooth: Yes
    • Wi-Fi: No

Smart Notifications and Alerts

The smart notification features are relatively basic on these devices, with both smartwatches providing some level of alerts. The Fitbit Ace 3 offers call notifications when linked to a smartphone. In contrast, the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 extends its functionality to include alert reminders for chores and homework through the app, serving more as an interactive tool for parents and children. Vibrating alerts are present in both models, serving as a discreet method of notification.

  • Fitbit Ace 3:
    • Call notifications: Yes
    • Chore reminders: No
    • Vibrating alerts: Yes
  • Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3:
    • Call notifications: No
    • Chore reminders: Yes
    • Vibrating alerts: Yes

Pricing and Value Proposition

When considering the Fitbit Ace 3 and the Garmin Vivofit Jr 3 for children, the key factors are often price and overall value. I’ve thoroughly explored both devices, scrutinizing their cost-effectiveness and long-term benefits.

Cost Comparison

The Fitbit Ace 3 and Garmin Vivofit Jr 3 are priced competitively, but there can be variations based on retailers and available discounts. In my research, I’ve found that Fitbit Ace 3 tends to be slightly more expensive than the Garmin Vivofit Jr 3, which may influence a buyer’s decision depending on their budget. It’s key to compare prices from multiple sources before purchasing to ensure the best deal.

  • Fitbit Ace 3: Average retail price around $79.95
  • Garmin Vivofit Jr 3: Average retail price around $79.99

Prices may fluctuate due to sales and promotions, which are common for these devices.

Long-Term Value Analysis

When examining the long-term value, I consider factors like battery life, durability, and feature sets. The Garmin Vivofit Jr 3 boasts an impressive battery life, lasting up to a year without needing a charge, which considerably reduces the hassle of frequent charging and potential extra costs for replacement batteries. In contrast, my testing shows that the Fitbit Ace 3 requires charging approximately every 8 days, which could influence the long-term convenience factor.

Another aspect of long-term value is the set of features each device offers. While both include activity tracking and sleep monitoring, the Ace 3 sports a touch screen, making it potentially more engaging for children. However, the Vivofit Jr 3 automatically detects activities and has a removable battery, which can be a practical feature over time.

Here are some considerations based on my experience:

  • Garmin Vivofit Jr 3:
    • Longer battery life reduces maintenance.
    • Automatically detects activities, adding to ease of use.
  • Fitbit Ace 3:
    • Regular charging needed; could affect long-term convenience.
    • Touch screen can make the device more interactive for kids.

Final Comparisons and Verdict

Having extensively tested both the Fitbit Ace 3 and the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3, I can provide specific insights into their performances, particularly in how they cater to the needs of the children’s activity tracker market.

Overall Pros and Cons

Fitbit Ace 3:

  • Pros:
    • Touch screen interface for easier navigation
    • Vibrating alerts for notifications and reminders
    • Tracks active minutes and sleep patterns effectively
    • Fun incentives such as virtual badges
  • Cons:
    • Less emphasis on educational content
    • No task and chore management features

Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3:

  • Pros:
    • Educational adventure games promote physical activity
    • Task and reward system for chore management
    • Customizable color screen to display a variety of watch faces
    • Exceptionally long battery life without the need for charging
  • Cons:
    • No touch screen; navigation is less intuitive
    • Slightly bulkier design which may not appeal to all children

Recommendations Based on Needs

For parents and children prioritizing ease of use and interactive features, the Fitbit Ace 3 may be the most suitable choice. It’s a robust device that resonates with children who are familiar with touch-enabled devices and who seek a straightforward and rewarding experience for their daily activities and sleep patterns.

On the other hand, if the goal is to encourage kids toward an active lifestyle with an educational twist, the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 stands out. The integrated task and reward system can be an excellent tool for parents who wish to track and incentivize their children’s chores and tasks, while the emphasis on battery longevity ensures less downtime and more consistent usage.

The verdict ultimately hinges on the specific desires and habits of the child using the device. Each has its own strengths that cater to different aspects of daily activity and engagement in a fun and accessible way for children. I find that both are competent devices, but they shine in different circumstances based on the child’s and family’s preferences.


After extensive testing of both the Fitbit Ace 3 and the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3, I can confidently say that each device offers a strong set of features tailored towards keeping children active and engaged. The decision between the two will largely depend on individual needs and preferences.

The Fitbit Ace 3 stands out with its touchscreen interface which makes navigation intuitive for children. Its ability to automatically detect activities coupled with vibrating alerts helps in keeping the young users motivated. For parents concerned about screen time, the inactivity alerts are a useful feature.

On the other hand, the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 excels with its remarkable battery life, lasting up to 357 days without needing a recharge, thereby reducing the hassle of frequent charging. The physical robustness and activity challenge features are additional strengths, especially if your child enjoys gamification.

Both devices are lightweight, with the Vivofit Jr. 3 being 45g lighter, potentially making it more comfortable for all-day wear. While neither device has built-in GPS, the Garmin model acquires GPS data more quickly when connected to a compatible smartphone, which is beneficial for tracking outdoor activities.

Ultimately, I found that both fitness trackers serve their purpose effectively. The choice comes down to whether you prefer longer battery life and durability (Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3) or a more interactive experience with a touchscreen (Fitbit Ace 3). Here’s a brief comparison to encapsulate my findings:

FeatureFitbit Ace 3Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3
Automatic Activity TrackingYesNot Specified
Inactivity AlertsYesYes
Vibrating AlertsYesYes
Battery LifeNot SpecifiedUp to 357 days longer
WeightNot Specified45g lighter
GPS AcquisitionNot SpecifiedFaster

It is advised for parents to consider their child’s preferences and activity levels when making the selection for a suitable fitness tracker.


  • Matthew

    Meet Matthew, a wearable tech & fitness enthusiast passionate about transforming health through innovative devices. With an engineering background and a love for fitness, Matthew shares in-depth reviews, tips, and news on the latest wearable tech to help you achieve your fitness goals.

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