The Garmin Venu 3 is the latest in a line of smartwatches called Venu. And compared to its predecessor, the Venu 2, the Venu 3 has some big improvements. But even though some people might find these new features useful, the Venu 2 still has a case to be made for it. Maybe you already have a Venu 2 and are thinking if you should upgrade to the Venu 3. Or maybe you are thinking about buying your first smartwatch and want to know which one you should get.
Both gadgets have good points that can be made for them. The Venu 3 has most of the features of the Venu 2 Plus and a bit more. It comes in the same sizes as the Venu 2 line. It comes in two sizes, 41mm and 45mm. The Venu 3 is not a huge improvement, but Garmin has released a couple of new software features. But Venu 2 users need to know about some important changes.
Garmin Venu 3 vs Garmin Venu 2: Price and availability
The Garmin Venu 2 went on sale in April 2021 for $399.99/£349.99, but it can now be bought at a big discount. At the time of writing, it costs $349.99/£299, but during sales like Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day, it has been as low as $250/£220. The list price for the Garmin Venu 3 was $449.99/£449.99 when it came out in August 2023, and it’s likely to be a while before we see any big cuts.
Garmin Venu 3 vs Garmin Venu 2 Specifications
The Garmin Venu 3 is similar to the Garmin Venu 2 Plus in many ways. It has the same microphone and speaker for Bluetooth calls and voice orders to the smart assistant. It also has a third button for shortcuts. The Venu 3 costs $450, which is the same price as the Plus. However, it has extra features that the Plus doesn’t have, such as Sleep Coaching, the new Garmin Elevate v5 heart rate sensor, and suggestions for how to recover after a run.
|Spec||Garmin Venu 3||Garmin Venu 2|
|Display||1.4-inch or 1.2-inch AMOLED touchscreen||1.3-inch or 1.1-inch AMOLED touchscreen|
|Materials||Stainless steel bezel, fiber-reinforced polymer case||Stainless steel bezel, fiber-reinforced polymer case|
|Heart Rate Monitor||Yes||Yes|
|Battery Life||14 days||11 Days|
|GPS tracking||GPS-only or All-Systems GNSS||GPS only|
|Offline Media Storage||Yes||Yes|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi, NFC||Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi, NFC|
|Protection||5ATM, Gorilla Glass 3||5ATM, Gorilla Glass 3|
|Dimensions||45 x 45 x 12mm||45.40 x 45.40 x 12.20mm|
|Mobile payments||garmin pay||Garmin Pay|
|Check Price||Check Price|
Garmin Venu 3 vs Garmin Venu 2: Design and Build
Both models are almost the same size, with the Garmin Venu 2 being just a little bit bigger in every way. Both types are made to fit wrists that are 135 to 200 mm around. There are also smaller versions of both the Garmin Venu 3 and the Garmin Venu 2. The Garmin Venu 3S is 41mm by 41mm by 12mm and is made for wrists that are 110mm to 175mm in circumference. The Garmin Venu 2S is 40.4 mm by 40.4 mm by 12.1 mm, and it fits wrists between 110 and 175 mm in circumference.
The only difference between the S models is their size. The screen on the S models is smaller, which makes sense, and has a slightly lower resolution to fit. The S models also have batteries that last a little less long. All of the types have bezels made of stainless steel, a case made of fiber-reinforced polymer, and a face made of Gorilla Glass 3. All of them are waterproof up to 5ATM (50m), and the regular models use 22mm quick-release bands while the Venu 3S and Venu 2 use 18mm bands.
The Garmin Venu 3 and Garmin Venu 2 do look different in one important way, though. On the right side of the Garmin Venu 3, there is a third button that wasn’t there on the Garmin Venu 2. This button turns on the Garmin Venu 3’s built-in speaker. The Garmin Venu 2 doesn’t have this feature, but the Garmin Venu 2 Plus does.
Garmin Venu 3 vs Garmin Venu 2: Display
The touchscreen is the most obvious change to the Garmin Venu 3. From 1.1 and 1.3 to 1.2 and 1.4, both sizes give you an extra 0.1 inches of screen room. Garmin made the display border on the Venu 2 smaller, giving the Venu 3 more room to see without making it much bigger. In fact, it’s pretty amazing that Garmin made the Venu 3 slightly thinner than the Venu 2 while adding a built-in microphone and speaker. Compared to the 1.4-inch Venu 3, the 1.3-inch Garmin Venu 2 Plus is 0.6mm thicker and weighs 4g more.
Garmin Venu 3 vs Garmin Venu 2: Speaker and microphone
One last thing worth pointing out is that voice tools and the ability to make and receive calls have been added. Again, the Venu 2 Plus can do this, but neither the Venu 2 nor the Venu 2S can. If you pair your Venu with a smartphone that works with it (both the Venu 2 and Venu 3 work with Android and iPhone devices), you can make calls from your wrist instead of taking your phone out of your bag or pocket. On the Venu 3, you’ll also be able to answer text messages. You can also use the voice-controlled smart helper on your phone, like Google helper, Samsung’s Bixby, or Apple’s Siri, if you want to.
Garmin Venu 3 vs Garmin Venu 2: Fitness Features
The Garmin Venu series are basically serious sports watches with sleek, simple designs. They have most of the same workout tracking tools as any of the company’s mid-range gadgets. But there are some important changes. If you flip the two watches over, you’ll see that the Venu 3 has a better heart rate monitor. It has more LEDs and light receivers spread out over a bigger area, which Garmin says should give more accurate results. This is the same sensor that was used in the Fenix 7 Pro and Epix (Gen 2) Pro, which came out a few months earlier.
No matter which watch you choose, it will keep track of your sleep stages, restlessness, and blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) while you sleep. However, the Venu 3 has a new feature called Sleep Coaching that is meant to help you build better sleep habits by giving you personalized advice. The Venu 3 is also the first Garmin watch that can keep track of naps. If you nap during the day, you’ll need less sleep at night. Sleep Coaching may be added to other Garmin watches in the future through a software update, but I think this will only happen with watches that have the new heart rate monitor.
At the time this was written, the Venu 2 Plus had an ECG app that the Venu 3 did not. This lets you see if your heartbeat isn’t regular, which is something you might want to talk to your doctor about (it’s not meant to diagnose or treat health problems). Some other Garmin watches may have the hardware needed for the app, but as of this writing, only the Venu 2 has the app opened, and only in some countries.
New wheelchair mode and Nap detection on Venu 3
Garmin is adding something called “wheelchair mode” to the Venu 3 tracker. This makes the data and advice best for wheelchair users by recording pushes instead of steps and sending alerts when weight shifts. There are also a number of sports apps and workouts that are made just for wheelchair users. These include strength, exercise, HIIT, pilates, and yoga.
Garmin says it has even changed the algorithm to give wheelchair users more useful information, like how each workout affects your body and how much time you need to heal.
The first new software function from Garmin is called “nap detection.” One thing that has been said about Garmin watches for a long time is that they don’t do this. This is especially true when sleep affects the workouts your watch tells you to do. A Venu 3 will be able to “automatically” track these naps, though it remains to be seen how well it can do this for, say, a 20-minute power nap. How, after all, do you tell a nap from a meditation session? Maybe this is why Garmin says you can “automatically track or log your naps,” implying that you may need to do this sometimes by hand.
Venu 3 has a new sleep coach
The Garmin Venu 2 already had a couple of ways to track your sleep. It would give you a score for how well you slept and give you tips on how to sleep better.
The Venu 3 is a new sleep coach from Garmin, which is going even further into this field. In addition to the features we’ve already talked about, it now keeps track of your different sleep states and knows when you’re taking a nap. It will even tell you how long your naps should be for the best results.
The Venu 3 also gives you more detailed information, like how much oxygen is in your blood compared to your maximum capacity and how your heart rate variability is doing. With all of this information, the Venu 3 can give you personalized advice on how to improve the quality of your sleep.
Garmin Venu 3 vs Garmin Venu 2: Functionality
As you might think, the Garmin Venu 3 has a lot of the same key features as the Garmin Venu 2, like the ability to track Body Battery energy, stress, heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, hydration, and fitness age. Both watches also have many of the same apps for tracking sports, such as running, walking, swimming, riding, strength training, HIIT, and more.
The biggest difference between the Garmin Venu 3 and the Garmin Venu 2 is that the Garmin Venu 3 has a third button, which is also the key to one of the other biggest changes. This is because this is the button you press on the Garmin Venu 3 to turn on voice control. Voice control is offered on the Garmin Venu 2 Plus, but not on the Garmin Venu 2 or Venu 2S.
If you press and hold this button for a while, the voice helper on the phone you’ve linked to your Garmin watch will start working. People who use Android can use Google Assistant, and people who use Samsung can also use Bixby. Siri can be called up on an iPhone by holding down the center button for a while. You can use your voice assistant to take calls, play music, send messages, ask about the weather, and even run your smart home devices.
There are also new sleep coaching tools on the Garmin Venu 3, which replace the sleep insights that came with the Garmin Venu 2. You can get key, actionable information about your sleep habits to help improve the quality of your sleep and even find out how much sleep you need to recover from your workouts. One of the biggest changes is the addition of a feature that can track both your main night’s sleep and your naps.
Garmin Venu 3 vs Garmin Venu 2: Battery Life
All of these new features haven’t made the Venu 3’s battery life worse. The battery life of the Venu 2 isn’t bad. In smartwatch mode, it lasts about 11 days, which is longer than an Apple Watch, which needs to be charged every day or two. But the Venu 3 has made this last for 14 days, which is very amazing.
Even if you set the watch display to “always on,” which uses up the battery faster, Garmin says the Venu 3 will still last about five days between charges, while the Venu 2 will only last about two days.
GPS can quickly drain the power in your watch. In GPS-only mode, the Venu 2 lasts about 22 hours, while the Venu 3 lasts 26 hours. Even if you have All-Systems GNSS turned on, the Venu 3 will still last up to 20 hours.
Garmin Venu 3: Pros and Cons
- Speaker and microphone for calls and voice assistant
- Larger display with smaller bezels
- More stylish design
- More expensive than the Venu 2
Garmin Venu 2: Pros and Cons
- More affordable than the Venu 3
- Long battery life (up to 11 days in smartwatch mode)
- Durable and water-resistant design
- Lack of voice control and speaker/microphone
- Smaller display with larger bezels
Garmin Venu 3 vs Garmin Venu 2: which one should you consider?
When you upgrade to the Garmin Venu 3, you get All-Systems GNSS, much better battery life (especially when AOD is on), Sleep Coaching, a mic and speaker for Bluetooth calls, a third programmable button for pulling up your favorite widgets, a larger AMOLED display, recovery recommendations, and wheelchair exercises. In the future, you may also be able to get ECG and skin temperature readings.
Venu 2 users have a good reason to be tempted by the Venu 3, and anyone who is thinking about saving $50–$100 by buying a Venu 2 instead of a Venu 3 should think carefully about missing out on all these new tools.