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Garmin Venu 2 and Venu 2S buyer's guide: Everything you need to know

Garmin jumps further into the mainstream smartwatch world with the Venu 2 series.
By
February 10, 2022
garmin venu 2 review watch face display on wrist 1
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

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 series refines the tried-and-tested formula and takes things to the next level. Now available in three models, the 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

Garmin Venu 2 series at a glance

Garmin Venu 2 press image
Garmin Venu 2
Garmin's new mid-range multisport watch
If you liked the original Garmin Venu, you're in for a treat with the Venu 2. It comes in two sizes, has lots of new features, and refines many of Garmin's existing health tracking modes to make an all-around more comprehensive wearable.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus family shot
Garmin Venu 2 Plus
Phone calls and a voice assistant on your wrist
The Garmin Venu 2 Plus takes all of the fitness- and health-tracking features of the original Venu 2 and adds the ability to receive phone calls and access your phone's voice assistant.

Taking a page from its Vivoactive 4 playbook, Garmin originally launched two models in the Venu 2 series in April 2021. The Venu 2 and Venu 2S are functionally the same, with identical specs and all the new, exciting features available with both. In January 2022, the company added a third product to this lineup with the Venu 2 Plus. As its name suggests, this model is functionally similar to the Venu 2 but does pack a few more smartwatch-like features.

The big difference between the Venu 2, Venu 2 Plus, and Venu 2S 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 2 Plus strikes the perfect compromise between the two with its 43mm face.

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 Silver/Granite Blue and Slate/Black offerings. The smaller watch understandably comes with a slightly smaller battery, but they both vastly improve the battery life available with its predecessor.

The Venu 2 Plus includes a new Cream Gold option but can be had in Silver or Slate, too.

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 its fitness age estimates and Body Battery features and has introduced a useful new feature called Health Snapshot. More on these below.

Is the Garmin Venu 2 worth buying?

garmin venu 2 review watch face display 2
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Absolutely! As long as you’re willing to splurge and know what you’re getting. At $400-$450, 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. Garmin usually has excellent offers and discounts available during the holiday season if the high price tags are a turn off.

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

Notably, the Garmin Venu 2 Plus goes some way to remedying its predecessor’s smartwatch feature failings, but Garmin still has a long way to go to challenge the likes of Apple and Samsung on that front.

Garmin Venu 2 vs. Garmin Venu: What’s new?

garmin venu 2 review strength training total body muscle workouts
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

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. The Venu 2 Plus also includes a 1.3-inch screen.

There are a few key changes under the hood. The most important is that Garmin promises nearly double the battery life 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 series able to store up to 650 songs, compared to the 500 possible with its predecessor.

See also: Garmin vs. Fitbit — Which ecosystem is right for you?

There are plenty of upgrades in the Venu 2 series’ fitness and health tracking capabilities that make it one of the best multisport 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 venu 2 review hiit workouts1
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Garmin has updated its Body Battery algorithm based on feedback from existing Garmin users. It’s now far more challenging 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 your weekly vigorous activity level, resting heart rate, and body fat percentage.

A fantastic new feature Garmin introduced 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.

Garmin Venu 2 vs. Garmin Venu 2 Plus: What’s the difference?

An image of the Garmin Venu 2 Plus in hand showing the voice assistant animation
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

As we mentioned above, there’s little to separate the Garmin Venu 2 and Venu 2 Plus on the aesthetic or health-tracking fronts. However, the Plus is head and shoulders the better smartwatch.

It brings on-wrist call support to the Venu 2 series, as well as voice assistant support. Both features make the Garmin Venu 2 Plus a better standalone smartwatch. Faster charging is also included, but this is necessary to make up for its weaker battery life. While the original Venu 2 offers up to 11 days per charge, the Venu 2 Plus settles for nine.

For a deeper look at the Garmin Venu 2 Plus, be sure to read our review at the link below.

Our verdict: Garmin Venu 2 Plus review

What about the Garmin Vivoactive 5?

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 was 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 Garmin Vivoactive 5 will have to wait. A Garmin spokesperson mentioned that 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 PlusGarmin Venu 2 and Venu 2S
Display
Garmin Venu 2 Plus
1.3-inch AMOLED
416 x 416 resolution

Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Garmin Venu 2 and Venu 2S
Venu 2:
1.3-inch AMOLED
416 x 416 resolution

Venu 2S:
1.1-inch AMOLED
360 x 360 resolution

Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Dimensions and weight
Garmin Venu 2 Plus
43.6 x 43.6 x 12.6mm
20mm band
51g
Garmin Venu 2 and Venu 2S
Venu 2:
45.4 x 45.4 x 12.2mm
22mm band
49g

Venu 2S:
40.4 x 40.4 x 12.1mm
18mm band
38.2g
Build materials
Garmin Venu 2 Plus
Stainless steel bezel and hardware
Silicone band
Garmin Venu 2 and Venu 2S
Stainless steel bezel and hardware
Silicone band
Battery
Garmin Venu 2 Plus
Rapid charging
Up to 9 days in smartwatch mode
Up to 8 hours in GPS mode + music
Garmin Venu 2 and Venu 2S
Venu 2:
Rapid charging
Up to 11 days in smartwatch mode
Up to 8 hours in GPS mode + music

Venu 2S:
Rapid charging
Up to 10 days in smartwatch mode
Up to 7 hours in GPS mode + music
IP rating
Garmin Venu 2 Plus
5ATM
Garmin Venu 2 and Venu 2S
5ATM
Sensors
Garmin Venu 2 Plus
Garmin Elevate heart rate sensor
GPS
GLONASS
Galileo
Barometric altimeter
Compass
Gyroscope
Accelerometer
Thermometer
Ambient light sensor
Pulse ox blood oxygen saturation monitor
Garmin Venu 2 and Venu 2S
Garmin Elevate heart rate sensor
GPS
GLONASS
Galileo
Barometric altimeter
Compass
Gyroscope
Accelerometer
Thermometer
Ambient light sensor
Pulse ox blood oxygen saturation monitor
Connectivity
Garmin Venu 2 Plus
Bluetooth
ANT+
Wi-Fi
Garmin Venu 2 and Venu 2S
Bluetooth
ANT+
Wi-Fi
Storage
Garmin Venu 2 Plus
Music: Up to 650 songs
Activity data: 200 hours
Garmin Venu 2 and Venu 2S
Music: Up to 650 songs
Activity data: 200 hours
Compatibility
Garmin Venu 2 Plus
Android, iOS
Garmin Venu 2 and Venu 2S
Android, iOS
Garmin Pay
Garmin Venu 2 Plus
Yes
Garmin Venu 2 and Venu 2S
Yes
Smartwatch features
Garmin Venu 2 Plus
Make and receive phone calls
Google Assistant, Samsung Bixby, and Siri support
Connect IQ-compatible
Smartphone notifications
Text response/reject phone call with text (Android only)
Controls smartphone music
Plays and controls smartwatch music
Find my phone/find my watch
Incident Detection
LiveTrack
Garmin Venu 2 and Venu 2S
Connect IQ-compatible
Smartphone notifications
Text response/reject phone call with text (Android only)
Controls smartphone music
Plays and controls smartwatch music
Find my phone/find my watch
Incident Detection
LiveTrack
Colors
Garmin Venu 2 Plus
Silver bezel with Powder Gray case, Slate bezel with Black case, Cream Gold bezel with Ivory case
Garmin Venu 2 and Venu 2S
Venu 2:
Silver bezel with Granite Blue case, Slate bezel with Black case

Venu 2S:
Slate bezel with Graphite case, Light Gold bezel with Light Sand case, Silver bezel with Mist Grey case, Rose Gold bezel with White case

What are some good Garmin Venu 2 alternatives?

garmin venu 2 vs fitbit sense
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
Garmin Venu 2 vs Fitbit Sense

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 7: This one’s the go-to if you have an iPhone. For iOS users, the Apple Watch is hard to beat. It trounces most watches with third-party app support and rivals the best in terms of fitness and smart features. It’s a seriously great wearable.
  • Fitbit Sense and Versa 3: Both Fitbit smartwatches are unsurprisingly good Venu 2 alternatives. They’re both cheaper than the Garmin watch, track many the same metrics, and come with voice assistants on board. The Venu 2 dives into more detail, though.
  • Fossil Gen 6 or Skagen Falster 3: The Fossil Gen 6 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 4 series:  The Galaxy Watch 4 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 or want a Wear OS 3 smartwatch with lengthy support.
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: Not a fan of the Galaxy Watch 4’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 review glances steps calories
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
Garmin Venu 2 press image
Garmin Venu 2
Garmin's new mid-range multisport watch
If you liked the original Garmin Venu, you're in for a treat with the Venu 2. It comes in two sizes, has lots of new features, and refines many of Garmin's existing health tracking modes to make an all-around more comprehensive wearable.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus family shot
Garmin Venu 2 Plus
Phone calls and a voice assistant on your wrist
The Garmin Venu 2 Plus takes all of the fitness- and health-tracking features of the original Venu 2 and adds the ability to receive phone calls and access your phone's voice assistant.

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. In terms of multisport watches, $400 is on the higher end, but it’s worth the price for its comprehensive health and fitness tracking. Both are available directly from Garmin.

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus is priced at $449.99. The additional smartwatch features fetch a $50 premium over the base Venu 2 and Venu 2S. Whether those additions warrant the price increase is debatable. There’s no denying that it’s an expensive smartwatch, though.

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

garmin venu 2 review spotify music playing
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Q: Do the Venu 2, Venu 2 Plus, and Venu 2S support Garmin Pay?
A: Yes, you can use Garmin Pay with all three smartwatches.

Q: Are the Garmin Venu 2, Venu 2 Plus, and Venu 2S waterproof?
A: Yes, you can use the three devices to track swimming. They come with a 5ATM rating for water resistance.

Q: What watch straps work with the Garmin Venu 2, Venu 2 Plus, 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. The Venu 2 Plus uses 20mm straps.

Q: Are the Garmin Venu 2, Venu 2 Plus, 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.

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