Garmin is one of the best in the fitness tracking game, but its recent releases have been making the jump into smartwatch territory with classic watch designs and useful “smart” features. Released in 2019, the Venu brought a mainstream appeal, with its AMOLED display — a first for Garmin — meant to catch the eye of those looking for Apple or Galaxy Watch alternatives.
The Garmin Venu 2 refines the tried-and-tested formula and takes things to the next level. Now available in two models, the new Venu 2 series has a lot to offer. They come with enhanced activity-tracking features, make better use of the OLED display, and are better smartwatches. Here’s what you need to know about the Garmin Venu 2 series!
Our verdict: Garmin Venu 2 review — a worthy sequel
Garmin Venu 2 and Venu 2S at a glance
Garmin’s new mid-range multisport watch
Taking a page from its Vivoactive 4 playbook, two devices now make up the Venu 2 series. The Venu 2 and Venu 2S are functionally the same, with identical specs and all the new, exciting features available with both.
The big difference between the two is the size. The 45mm Venu 2 is ideal for larger wrists, while the 40mm Venu 2S will be at home on smaller hands. The Venu 2S is also the way to go if you’re looking for more colorful options, with its Light Gold/Light Sand, Silver/Mist Grey, or Rose Gold/White colorways.
On the other hand, the Venu 2 sticks to relatively standard offerings of Silver/Granite Blue and Slate/Black. The smaller watch understandably comes with a slightly smaller battery, but they both vastly improve on the battery life available with its predecessor.
You also get a host of new health and fitness tracking features. This includes up to 25 sports profiles, including the highly-requested HIIT mode, and modes to track hiking, indoor climbing, and even bouldering. Garmin has improved features like “my fitness age” and Body Battery, and has introduced a useful new feature called Health Snapshot. More on these below.
Is the Garmin Venu 2 worth buying?
Absolutely! As long as you’re willing to splurge, and know what you’re getting. At $400, the Venu 2 is one of the most expensive smartwatches you can get. However, it’s a health and fitness tracking powerhouse with decent smartwatch features, and third-party app support is growing by the day. If the high price tag is turn off, Garmin usually has excellent offers and discounts available during the holiday season.
The Garmin Venu 2 series is ideal for:
- Those looking for robust health and activity tracking features
- Anyone who wants a worthy alternative to the Apple Watch, Galaxy Watch, Fitbit watches, and Wear OS devices
- Anyone already invested in the Garmin ecosystem
The Garmin Venu 2 series may not be for you if:
- You’re looking for full-fledged smartwatch features
- You want an inexpensive smartwatch
Garmin Venu 2 vs Garmin Venu: What’s new?
There isn’t a whole lot that’s aesthetically different between the two generations. The biggest change in terms of design is that the Venu 2 comes in two sizes. The Venu 2 and Venu 2S come with 1.3-inch and 1.1-inch displays, respectively, with the older Venu splitting the difference with its 1.2-inch screen.
There are a few key changes under the hood as well. The most important is the fact that Garmin promises nearly double the battery that was available with the first-gen device, with a lofty goal of 10-11 days of usage. The other improvement comes in the form of fast charging. The Venu 2 series charges up much quicker than the older watch, and just a 10-minute charge will give you a full day of use. You also get more storage for your music, with the Venu 2 able to store up to 650 songs, compared to the 500 possible with its predecessor.
There are plenty of upgrades in the Venu 2’s fitness and health tracking capabilities that make it one of the best multi-sport smartwatches you can get. You can track up to 25 sports modes, including the highly requested HIIT mode, as well as hiking, indoor climbing, and bouldering. You can also take advantage of more than 75 on-device animated workouts, with exercises for Pilates, yoga, cardio, HIIT, and more.
Garmin has updated its Body Battery algorithm based on feedback from existing Garmin users. It’s now far more difficult to achieve a Body Battery score of 100. The algorithm takes sleep tracking data into account, so you’ll definitely need to be well-rested to hit that score. The “fitness” age feature has also been updated to include aspects like your weekly vigorous activity level, resting heart rate, and body fat percentage.
A fantastic new feature Garmin introduces with the Venu 2 is Health Snapshot. The Venu 2 takes a two-minute recording of your essential stats like heart rate, heart rate variability, blood oxygen levels, respiration rate, and stress. You can then view the results in Garmin Connect and even create a PDF to share with your healthcare provider. The Venu 2 comes with a new heart rate sensor that should provide more accurate readings than the former. You can also set it up to keep track of your blood oxygen saturation levels all day, all night, or both.
The Venu 2 might not look all that different from the first-gen device, but it brings plenty of new features and key hardware and software updates to make it a worthy successor.
What about the Garmin Vivoactive 5?
The Garmin Vivoactive 4 released at the same time as the Venu two years ago. The Vivoactive 4 was an excellent alternative to the original Venu. It missed out on the OLED display but was also more affordable because of it. Unfortunately, anyone hoping to get their hands on a potential Vivoactive 5 will have to wait. A Garmin spokesperson mentioned that for now, the company’s focus is on the Venu family, and offered no information about the next generation Vivoactive device.
Garmin Venu 2 specs
|Garmin Venu 2 and Venu 2S|
416 x 416 resolution
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
|Dimensions and weight||Venu 2:
45.4 x 45.4 x 12.2mm
|Build materials||Stainless steel bezel and hardware
Up to 11 days in smartwatch mode
Up to 8 hours in GPS mode + music
|Sensors||Garmin Elevate heart rate sensor
Ambient light sensor
Pulse ox blood oxygen saturation monitor
|Storage||Music: Up to 650 songs
Activity data: 200 hours
|Smartwatch features||Connect IQ-compatible
Text response/reject phone call with text (Android only)
Controls smartphone music
Plays and controls smartwatch music
Find my phone/find my watch
Silver bezel with Granite Blue case, Slate bezel with Black case
What are some good Garmin Venu 2 alternatives?
The Garmin Venu 2 is undoubtedly one of the best for health and fitness tracking. However, if you’re looking for a more well-rounded smartwatch, there are plenty of alternatives to consider.
- Apple Watch Series 6: This one’s the go-to if you have an iPhone. For iOS users, the Apple Watch is hard to beat. It trounces the Galaxy Watch 3 with third-party app support and rivals it in terms of fitness and smart features. It’s a seriously great wearable. If you’re on Android, though, the Galaxy Watch is your best bet.
- Fitbit Sense and Versa 3: Both Fitbit smartwatches are unsurprisingly excellent Venu 2 alternatives. They’re both cheaper than the Garmin watch, track a lot of the same metrics, and come with voice assistants on board. The Venu 2 dives into more detail though.
- Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3: The TicWatch Pro 3 is the best Wear OS watch you can buy. Its long-lasting battery life and smooth performance make this a great buy.
- Fossil Gen 5 or Skagen Falster 3: The Fossil Gen 5 and Skagen Falster 3 are two great Wear OS devices. They’re not the best smartwatches ever, but a beautiful design and solid features make these two stand out.
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 3: The Galaxy Watch 3 isn’t the best sports tracker out there, but is a great alternative if you’re looking for a more well-rounded smartwatch experience. It’s a particular no-brainer if you have a Samsung smartphone.
- Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: Not a fan of the Galaxy Watch 3’s high price tag or chunky design? The Galaxy Watch Active 2 gets you most of the same features in a slimmer, cheaper package.
Where to buy the Garmin Venu 2
- Garmin Venu 2 and Venu 2S: $399.99
Garmin’s new mid-range multisport watch
The Garmin Venu 2 and Venu 2S are priced at $399.99. You don’t get a discount for the smaller Venu 2S, but that makes sense since you get all the same features with both. It’s one of the more expensive options out there, but it’s worth the price for its comprehensive health and fitness tracking. Both will be available directly from Garmin or on Amazon.
If the price is too high for you, Garmin devices frequently go on sale during major retail holidays. Waiting for Black Friday/Cyber Monday is your best bet if you want to save a few dollars.
Top Garmin Venu 2 questions and answers
Q: Do the Venu 2 and Venu 2S support Garmin Pay?
A: Yes, you’ll be able to use Garmin Pay with both smartwatches.
Q: Are the Venu 2 and Venu 2S waterproof?
A: Yes, you can use both the Venu 2 and Venu 2S to track swimming. Both come with a 5ATM rating for water resistance.
Q: What watch straps work with the Garmin Venu 2 and Venu 2S?
A: The larger Venu 2 is compatible with industry-standard 22mm straps, while you’ll have to opt for 18mm straps for the Venu 2S.
Q: Are the Venu 2 and Venu 2S compatible with my smartphone?
A: Garmin Connect is available for both iOS and Android. You’ll need an Android device if you want to send text responses directly from the watch.