The Garmin Venu 2 is a smartwatch that is also a serious fitness watch. It has a stylish round face that comes in two sizes, a bright AMOLED screen, and a lot of ways to track sports and activities. It also works with both Android and Apple devices. But at $400, the Venu 2 is on the expensive end of smartwatches, and it has to compete with other watches that are even smarter and cost less.
Garmin Venu 2: Description
The health features and longer battery life of the Venu 2 make it stand out, but don’t expect it to be a true second screen for your phone. The first Venu only came in one size, but the Venu 2 comes in two: the 45mm Venu 2 and the 40mm Venu 2S. Aside from the name and the size of the screen, they both have the same features, but the 2S has a smaller battery, which makes it less useful.
The silicone band and etched stainless steel bezel of the Venu 2 make it comfortable to wear all day and night. The AMOLED screen has three levels of brightness and a light sensor that changes the brightness automatically based on the amount of light in the room. Even in bright sunlight, it was easy for me to see how my workout was going.
Pros and Cons
- High-resolution AMOLED display
- Super accurate GPS
- Wide range of wellness tools
- Limited choice of third-party apps
- Minor design upgrades
Garmin Venu 2: Specifications
|Battery life||11 daysvs7.52 days.|
|Resolution||416 x 416pxvs119.38KP.|
|Waterproof depth rating||50mvs45.31m.|
Garmin Venu 2: Design
The Garmin Venu 2 looks a lot like its predecessor. It has a classic look that makes it stylish enough to wear during the day but also useful enough to wear while working out. The silicone band, metal bezel, and polymer case aren’t anything new, but the new watch fixes one of our biggest problems with the original Venu: it only came in one size.
The standard Venu 2 has a 44mm case and a 33mm screen, but the Venu 2S, which we are testing here, is smaller and has a 40mm case and a 27.9mm screen. Garmin’s standard 18mm bands fit both sizes, so you can switch out the standard strap for an alternative. There are two colour combinations for the 44mm version: slate with a black case and granite blue with a matching case.
Both have a stainless steel bezel that is silver. The 40mm Venu 2S comes in four different colours: graphite with a slate bezel, light sand with a light gold bezel, mist grey with a silver bezel, and white with a rose gold bezel. When you order a watch in the US, you can put together a “custom” design by choosing different straps and cases and putting them together in a way that works for you.
The watch can be controlled by a touch screen and two buttons on the right side. The lower one is a “back” button, and the one on the top right responds to the current situation. Icons appear on the screen to show what action it will take at that time, similar to the Garmin Instinct’s dual-screen display. There are several nice watch faces to choose from, including some that move when the watch wakes up. If you don’t mind the extra battery drain, you can also set the watch to always be on.
Garmin Venu 2: Display
These are the same kinds of materials used in more expensive watches, but this isn’t Garmin’s most durable design. There is no lip around the screen to protect the glass, and Gorilla Glass 3 is older than the Gorilla Glass DX used in the base of the Fenix 7.
The display technology in the Garmin Venu 2 Plus is not new. It has a 416 x 416 pixel OLED screen that is sharp, bright, and bold. It looks much better and has a much higher resolution than Garmin’s transflective displays.
On very sunny days, it is bright enough to see clearly. But you have to give something up. The “always on” screen mode of the Garmin Venu 2 Plus is our favorite way to use it. In this mode, the watch face is shown all day. This cuts the battery life down by a huge amount, from well over a week to just 3 or 4 days.
The main thing we didn’t like about the first Venu was that Garmin didn’t do enough with that gorgeous OLED screen. With the Venu 2, all of that has been fixed. The smartwatch has a brand-new interface with new animated watch faces and fun animations on the boot screen. A lot more colour has been added to the list of widget glances.
Each one is outlined in neon to help it stand out against the dark background. Color has been added to almost every part of the watch. It feels good. I need to point out that the software on my Garmin Venu 2 review unit was pre-release, so animations were sometimes jerky. Garmin has told me that this will be fixed before early buyers get their devices.
Overall, the watch worked just fine. Using the Venu 2 is nowhere near as easy as using an Apple Watch. The performance is about the same as what you would get from a Fitbit smartwatch. Garmin is making better use of the touch screen. When you tapped on a data page like heart rate or sleep on the first Venu, a simple seven-day graph of your stats would show up.
The watch wasn’t all that easy to read. The Venu 2 now has a more detailed graph that scrolls from left to right. This makes it much easier to see your daily stats than before. It’s a small change, but it’s important for those of us who like to look at our heart rate or stress graphs throughout the day.
Garmin Venu 2: Fitness tracking
The Garmin Venu 2 can track dozens of indoor and outdoor workouts. During setup, you’ll be asked to choose a few of your favourites, which is a helpful feature that keeps you from having to scroll through a long list every time you want to work out.
In our tests, the accuracy of GPS was very good; it matched our pre-measured 5 km route to within 10 metres (a margin of error easily accounted for by the width of the roads and footpaths). We’ve come to expect that from a company built on its satellite positioning technology, so it’s good to see that it’s still the same.
After you finish a workout, you’ll see a small map (if it was tracked by GPS) and information about the distance, time, steps, pace, calories, and heart rate. If your watch is hooked up to an ANT+ sensor, like a power metre, you’ll be able to see the data at a glance.
One of the best things about Garmin Connect is that it lets you set up training plans to help you reach a specific goal, like hitting a certain time in your next half marathon. These plans include workout suggestions that change based on your fitness level and how well you’ve done in the past. If you look through the Venu 2’s optional widgets, you’ll find a Garmin Coach shortcut that lets you see your training plans on your wrist and quickly start your next planned workout.
Garmin Venu 2: Performance
Like the Fenix 7, this model’s SpO2 monitor gives inaccurate results, so you can’t trust its blood oxygen readings. We also found that the number of floors it went up was way off. On two different days, it got 27 floors and 29 floors. On those days, we did go for a run, but we were definitely not climbing mountains.
Other numbers that were kept were much better. We found that the Garmin Venu 2 Plus was just as good at tracking heart rate as the Fenix 7. This is not a surprise, since it uses the same Elevate 4 HR array technology. It’s sometimes a little slow to pick up sudden jumps in heart rate when you’re doing interval training, but we think it’s pretty reliable for a wrist tracker.
The numbers for its resting heart rate are also good. You can also use Bluetooth or ANT+ to connect a chest strap if you want to know your heart rate even more accurately. It’s one of the cool things about Garmin.
We also have no complaints about how well GPS works. It’s easy to triangulate, the connection is strong, and it’s as accurate as Garmin’s best watches. How long do the batteries last? Garmin says that the Venu 2 Plus can be used as a smartwatch for up to nine days. This means that it can’t use GPS to track workouts. We did, in fact, keep track of our workouts on a regular basis. If you track an hour’s worth of GPS runs every other day, the watch should last about a week.
Price and availability
On April 22, 2021, Garmin showed off the Venu 2 and the smaller Venu 2S smartwatches, and you could order them that same day. The Venu 2 is 45mm and the Venu 2S is 40mm, but they were both priced at $399.99 when they were first released.
The larger version comes with either a silver stainless steel bezel and a granite blue case and band, or a slate stainless steel bezel and a black case and band. The smaller version has bezels that are slate, light gold, silver, or rose gold, and bands that match.
After being on the market for just over six months, the price of the Garmin Venu 2 has finally gone down. At the moment, the Venu 2 and 2S can be bought for $350 at places like Amazon, Best Buy, and B&H or Garmin’s website itself.
Price is the only other important thing to think about. At £300, there are a lot of other options. If you have an iPhone, the Apple Watch SE (£250) looks very appealing. It has almost every smart feature and app you could want, but its battery life won’t come close to that of the Venu 2.
If you have a Samsung phone, the Galaxy Watch 4 is the most advanced watch you can buy. It costs just £290, which is $10 less than the Garmin. Even with all of that, the Garmin Venu 2 is still a very good choice. It has everything we liked about the Vivoactive and Venu series over the years in an attractive, feature-packed, and comfortable package.
Is Garmin Venu 2 better than Apple Watch
Garmin works with fitness tech. And by “does,” we mean “always improves.” Here’s why we think the Venu 2/2S is the best sports watch and not the Apple: During the day, you can accurately track your steps, calories, floors, heart rate, stress, blood oxygen levels, breathing rate, and more.
Which is better Venu 2 or Venu 2S?
The size is the main difference between the Venu 2, the Venu 2 Plus, and the Venu 2S. The 45mm Venu 2 is perfect for people with bigger wrists, while the 40mm Venu 2S is best for people with smaller hands. The 43mm face of the Venu 2 Plus is a great middle ground between the two.