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A Garmin Venu 3 hangs on a jewelry holder displaying a stock watch face.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
Garmin Venu 3

Garmin Venu 3 review: Should you buy it?

Garmin's best smartwatch to date delivers accuracy and smarts.
By

Published onMarch 6, 2024

Garmin Venu 3

Garmin Venu 3

By combining the best of the Garmin Venu 2 and 2 Plus and adding in a few key upgrades, the Venu 3 offers the most robust smartwatch experience yet from the fitness tracking giant. Popular tools such as HRV status and Body Battery make the watch a powerful workout companion, while other new features such as automatic nap detection and Daily Summary are completely new to Garmin's stable.

What we like

Highly accurate GPS and heart rate sensors
Automatic nap detection and sleep coaching
On-device phone call and voice assistant support
Up to 14-day battery life
Larger display

What we don't like

No ECG app
Pricey compared to competitors
No LTE model
Garmin Venu 3

Garmin Venu 3

By combining the best of the Garmin Venu 2 and 2 Plus and adding in a few key upgrades, the Venu 3 offers the most robust smartwatch experience yet from the fitness tracking giant. Popular tools such as HRV status and Body Battery make the watch a powerful workout companion, while other new features such as automatic nap detection and Daily Summary are completely new to Garmin's stable.

Garmin Venu 3 review: At a glance

  • What is it? The Garmin Venu 3 usurps its predecessor, the Garmin Venu 2 Plus, as the best smartwatch available from Garmin. It brings back key features like phone call and voice assistant support and adds in a fair amount of hardware and software upgrades. The lineup also reintroduces a second case size so more users can find the perfect fit.
  • What is the price? Both the Garmin Venu 3 and Venu 3S are priced at $449.99.
  • Where can you buy it? The Garmin Venu 3 series is available now from Garmin.com and third-party retailers like Amazon.
  • How did we test it? I tested the Garmin Venu 3S for four days. The review unit was supplied by Garmin.
  • Is it worth it? The Garmin Venu 3 is a great buy for anyone with a Venu 2 or even older Garmin smartwatch. It's a well-rounded device with key smartwatch features and a robust health and fitness tracking toolkit. Highlights include a larger display, better battery life, automatic nap detection, sleep coaching, an upgraded heart rate sensor, and a handful of improved Garmin features.

Update, March 2024: We’ve updated our Garmin Venu 3 review with details about alternatives now available in the market.

Should you buy the Garmin Venu 3?

Garmin Venu 3 review watch face
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

We weren’t shy about our appreciation of the Garmin Venu 2 or the Venu 2 Plus here at Android Authority. In many ways, these devices marked Garmin’s biggest steps into true smartwatch territory. The Venu 3 delivers everything that worked well on the older models, plus more refinement and a few new tricks.

First, the Venu 3 reintroduces a second size to the lineup (variety missing from the Venu 2 Plus), offering 45mm and 41mm options. The larger model features a 1.4-inch AMOLED display, while the smaller option boasts a 1.2-inch touchscreen. These displays are genuinely attractive, with a full rainbow of colors and great contrast. Beyond their sizes, both models offer identical user experiences regarding features and daily use. Their only other difference is battery life.

A Garmin Venu 3 rests next to its charger.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

AMOLED displays tend to suck battery life, leaving smartwatch users tethered to their chargers (looking at you, Apple). And yet, Garmin managed to improve battery life on the Venu 3, offering up to five days between charges and even longer with the always-on display disabled.

With overnight SpO2 tracking and the always-on display enabled, plus more than one hour of GPS workouts per day, my Garmin Venu 3 test unit lasted just about four days. I can’t emphasize enough what an advantage this puts the Venu 3 at compared to other leading smartwatches. I can take a long weekend trip stress-free without packing a charger (and I did).

Despite their vibrant AMOLED displays, the Venu 3 and 3S offer fantastic battery life, especially compared to other brand's leading smartwatches.

Once powered up and on-wrist, the Venu 3 and 3S are sleek, lightweight, and comfortable. The drop from five buttons on Garmin’s sportier watches to three buttons on the Venu line leaves an elevated impression that aligns with popular smartwatches. You can even customize the buttons, which keeps the user experience highly intuitive. Likewise, you can also customize the swipe-right function on the display.

A user access their voice assistant via their Garmin Venu 3.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Like the Venu 2 Plus, the Venu 3 offers on-wrist phone calls and voice assistant support (Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri) as long as your paired phone is within Bluetooth range. Unfortunately, we did not see an LTE model land this year. Still, these tools work well and separate the Venu 3 from the rest of Garmin’s watches, including its high-end lines.

Another feature available even without connectivity is offline music playback. Using compatible streaming services or personal MP3s, users can build motivational playlists for on-the-go listening. I found all these smartwatch features worked well over the device’s built-in speaker, but I tended to pair Bluetooth headphones for privacy. The Venu 3 also offers Garmin Pay, photo support for Android texts, and an onscreen flashlight. I didn’t fall head over heels for the flashlight as I have over Garmin’s built-in LED versions, but it’s a useful feature nonetheless.

In addition to its smartwatch smarts, the Garmin Venu 3 adds many new health and recovery features. For starters, introducing overnight heart rate variability (HRV) makes the device a more powerful fitness companion. Garmin also upgraded Body Battery, adding more detail about daily events, workouts, and rest. The tool now issues prompts and feedback based on users’ tracked behaviors. Meanwhile, a new feature called Daily Summary offers a nightly breakdown of each day. Think Morning Report but at night. My summaries typically reflected how much exercise I did each day and offered recovery guidance accordingly.

Which brings me to the real kicker. One of the headlining new features of the Venu 3 is also completely new to Garmin’s stable in general: automatic nap detection. I don’t nap often, but the idea of an accidental snooze factoring into my wellness stats is glorious. By integrating nap data into users’ recovery data, naps become a healthy decision, even when I simply nodded off because the sunbeams felt great. If you’re more intentional than me, you can manually log a nap by starting a nap timer.

The Venu 3 also adds sleep coaching for personalized insights and recommendations. The sleep data I collected during this Garmin Venu 3 review aligned well with my Oura Ring 3, a notably accurate sleep tracker. In light of many Americans’ chronic exhaustion, it’s exciting to see a fitness giant like Garmin continue to refine its sleep-tracking platform.

A Garmin Venu 3 displays the Meditation activity screen.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Of course, fitness is where the Venu 3 shines compared to the competition. For any athletes shopping the lineup, Garmin added a host of tools, including Recovery Time, Workout Benefit, custom interval workouts, and Perceived Exertion. The Venu 3 also offers additional support for power meters, smart trainers, and eBikes. Garmin also slipped in a few more activity profiles, including open water swim, and support for tracking wheelchair pushes and wheelchair-specific activities. Though relatively beginner level, the added Meditation activity is particularly enjoyable with timed sessions and audio guidance.

A Garmin Venu 3 rests face down displaying its heart rate sensor.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Whether you’re aiming to lower your heart rate or raise it, the Venu 3 utilizes Garmin’s latest Elevate Gen 5 heart rate sensor. This upgraded hardware has already been seen on much pricier Garmin wristwear, and as I’ve come to expect after testing a bunch of them in recent years, it delivers exceptional accuracy.

Garmin Venu 3 vs 2 Plus HR

Heart rate data from the Venu 3S matched my Polar H10 strap and Apple Watch Series 8 nearly flawlessly in my tests. Resting heart rates consistently lined up, as did my data on basic runs and indoor cycle workouts. During the intense interval work charted above, the Venu 3 struggled with a few peaks towards the end of my workout but overall aligned well with the chest strap’s data.

Although not originally available at launch, the sensor is also FDA-approved for use in ECG recording. Now, all devices with the Gen 5, including the Venu 3, join the Venu 2 Plus in offering on-device readings via Garmin’s ECG app.

Garmin Venu 3 vs Venu 2 Plus vs Apple Watch Series 8 GPS data
Venu 3 vs Ser

Naturally, heart rate data is far from the only accuracy you’ll find on this device. The Venu 3 offers multi-GNSS (though not multi-band GNSS) with the precision we’ve come to expect from Garmin devices. Each GPS workout I undertook delivered top-level results. Notice on the map above how the device closely follows my actual running route, lining up with my Apple Watch Series 8. The Venu 2 Plus, on the other hand, wanders off, venturing into yards and widening turns. The reliability of the Venu 3’s GPS, combined with its broad toolkit for detailed analysis, makes the watch a powerful workout tool.

The Garmin Venu 3 is an easy smartwatch to recommend, especially for fitness-focused buyers.

Finally, while less exciting to read about than explore, Garmin’s updates to the line’s interface make a significant difference. Throughout my time with the Venu 3, I audibly sighed at how easy the watch was to navigate instinctively. The new Sports/Apps menu simplifies navigation by separating out the mixed mess of the old one-size-fits-all menu. The added Recents menu makes it easier to tap into favorite features and most used widgets. Garmin even expanded its Shortcut options so users can personalize navigation even further. I’m also a fan of the added live Garmin watch faces, which offer a broad selection of classy designs. My only complaint is that you can’t set the device’s new HRV status as a watch face complication.

Overall, the Garmin Venu 3 is an easy smartwatch to recommend, especially to fitness-focused shoppers. It’s a fantastic follow-up compared to the Venu 2 and 2 Plus, with a broad list of wellness and recovery tools and astounding accuracy. It may not boast the same level of third-party app support or smartphone integration as the Galaxy Watch or Apple Watch, and it’ll set you back a few more bucks at MSRP, but it easily hits all the basics of a well-rounded smartwatch experience combined with some of the best of Garmin’s fitness and health tracking.

See price at Amazon
Garmin Venu 3
See price at Garmin
Garmin Venu 3S

What are the best Garmin Venu 3 alternatives?

Garmin Venu 3 alternatives include options from Apple, Samsung, and Garmin itself.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

The smartwatch scene is easily the most competitive when it comes to wearables. If the Garmin Venu 3 doesn’t sound like the right fit, check out these alternatives below:

  • Apple Watch Series 9 ($392.67 at Amazon): For iOS users, the Apple Watch Series 9 offers the best smartwatch experience hands down. Its seamless iPhone integration, unmatched app support, and robust health and fitness tools make it an easy pick for anyone with an iPhone.
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 ($299.99 at Samsung): For everyone else, the Galaxy Watch 6 represents the best Wear OS smartwatch experience available. The device taps into the top tools Google offers, including the Google Play Store, and leverages a powerful sensor package for detailed health and fitness tracking.
  • OnePlus Watch 2 ($299.99 at OnePlus): Another option from the Wear OS family is the latest generation from OnePlus. This device features unique dual-chip architecture to offer fantastic battery life.
  • Garmin Forerunner 265 ($449.99 at Garmin): The Garmin Forerunner 265, on the other hand, is not quite as smartwatch-forward as the Venu 3. However, it is technically more advanced for athletes. With multi-band GNSS, added training feedback, additional sport profiles, and five-button navigation.

Garmin Venu 3 specs

Garmin Venu 3Garmin Venu 3S
Display
Garmin Venu 3
1.4-inch AMOLED, optional always-on
454 x 454 resolution

Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Garmin Venu 3S
1.2-inch AMOLED, optional always-on
390 x 390 resolution

Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Dimensions and weight
Garmin Venu 3
45 x 45 x 12mm
22mm band
47g
Garmin Venu 3S
41 x 41 x 12mm
22mm band
40g

Build materials
Garmin Venu 3
Stainless steel bezel
Fiber-reinforced polymer case
Silicone band
Garmin Venu 3S
Stainless steel bezel
Fiber-reinforced polymer case
Silicone band
Battery
Garmin Venu 3
Up to 14 days in smartwatch mode (5 days with always-on display enabled)
Up to 26 days in Battery Saver Smartwatch mode
Up to 11 hours in all-Systems GNSS mode + music
Garmin Venu 3S
Up to 10 days in smartwatch mode (5 days with always-on display enabled)
Up to 20 days in Battery Saver Smartwatch mode
Up to 8 hours in all-Systems GNSS mode + music
IP rating
Garmin Venu 3
5ATM
Garmin Venu 3S
5ATM
Sensors
Garmin Venu 3
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 3S
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 3
Bluetooth
ANT+
Wi-Fi
Garmin Venu 3S
Bluetooth
ANT+
Wi-Fi
Compatibility
Garmin Venu 3
Android, iOS
Garmin Venu 3S
Android, iOS
Garmin Pay
Garmin Venu 3
Yes
Garmin Venu 3S
Yes
Smartwatch features
Garmin Venu 3
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 3S
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
Colors
Garmin Venu 3
Silver bezel with Whitestone case
Slate bezel with Black case
Garmin Venu 3S
Soft Gold bezel with French Gray, Dust Rose, or Ivory case
Silver bezel with Sage Gray case
Slate bezel with Pebble Gray case

Garmin Venu 3 review: FAQ

The Garmin Venu 3 features a 5ATM water resistance rating. This makes it safe to shower or swim to depths up to 50 meters while wearing a Garmin Venu 3.

Yes, the Garmin Venu 3 can play music via Bluetooth headphones or directly through the watch’s speaker.

The Garmin Venu 3 is compatible with both iPhones and Android phones.

Yes, like its predecessor, the Garmin Venu 3 supports on-device phone calls when a paired phone is nearby.

The Garmin Venu 3 features multi GNSS (though not multi-band GNSS).

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