It is all concerning the show


(Pocket-lint) – The unique Garmin Venu used to be Garmin’s stab at one thing extra like a smartwatch. It used to be designed to handle the show above all issues, carrying an AMOLED panel – and taking a look higher than all of the different gadgets in Garmin’s vary.

The Venu 2 continues down the similar line, taking a look so as to add a spice up the show credentials over the corporate’s Vivoactive 4 – which is analogous in design and lines, however with out the wonderful show and a few bespoke visuals. So does it be triumphant?

Design and construct

  • Dimensions: 45.Four x 45.Four x 12.2mm / Weight: 49g
  • Sizes: 40mm and 45mm
  • Chrome steel bezel
  • Changeable straps

Look on the Venu 2 and it’s possible you’ll no longer know in case you are taking a look at a brand new watch or the outdated fashion. The total design is just about that very same – and it is a protected design.


The watch case sticks to polymer for the frame, crowned with a chrome steel bezel to present a top rate glance across the show. The large exchange is that there is now two sizes – 40mm or 45mm – so there is a Venu 2 for each wrist. That still sees a transformation within the straps you’ll be able to connect to it, with 18mm and 22mm supported respectively, permitting you to cut and alter to get the glance you need.

That chrome steel bezel is not only for adornment. Over the process dressed in this watch we’ve got picked paint off the bezel the place we’ve got scraped it towards doorframes and different surfaces. The bezel takes those knocks with out harm, saving the show from scrapes that it’s possible you’ll differently need to are living with.

As we stated of the unique Venu, the design is relatively protected. It does not slightly achieve the top rate seems that you simply get from the Apple Watch, however it is typical sufficient. We suspect a lot comes from the shut dating to the Vivoactive – with the Vivoactive Four additionally coming in the similar sizes.

Pocket-lintGarmin Venu 2 photo 8

There is a distinction, then again. The case of the Venu 2 now seems to be one piece, while earlier fashions had a separate backplate and frame, no longer that that makes an enormous distinction. For many who like to inspect sensors, there is additionally a brand new association to the Raise middle fee sensor at the again, which we’ve got no longer noticed in different Garmin gadgets.

There are two buttons at the right-hand facet of the frame and those are rectangular relatively than the spherical buttons generally discovered at the Forerunner fashions, however the interplay is a mix of contact and buttons.


  • 33mm diameter AMOLED touchscreen
  • 416 x 416 pixel solution
  • At all times-on choice

The 45mm fashion of the Venu 2 has a show that is 33mm in diameter for the visual space. There may be some bezel space underneath the glass that is not lively show, however Garmin has now added some markers in this space which assist to conceal that truth. Thankfully, as a result of that is AMOLED, the deep black of the show and that surrounding space merge in combination so that you actually do not understand it.

Pocket-lintGarmin Venu 2 photo 11

There are many watch faces at the software and plenty of extra to be had via Attach IQ, however we had been briefly taken through the Matrix-style face. You’ll be able to make a choice one thing extra classical in case you choose, you’ll be able to have ‘headaches’ at the watch face to turn you stats like steps or flooring climbed – mainly, you’ll be able to make the watch your individual.

There are 3 brightness ranges and an ambient sensor that may alter the display screen to fit the prerequisites you might be in. Those will also be accessed by means of a swipe in from the left, so they’re actually simple to get entry to – in all probability too simple, as we continuously appeared on the watch most effective to seek out it at the brightness adjustment display screen, as a result of it is so simple to cause.

There may be the choice for always-on show hiding within the menu underneath the Timeout settings, which can dictate how lengthy the show is on prior to it returns to inky darkness. It illuminates simply with a twist of the wrist, however it’s possible you’ll need to transfer from the fast choice in case you to find it turning off too briefly.

It is a touchscreen show, however you will have to use a mix of buttons and contact to navigate round. We are torn in this interplay: being a standard wearer of the Fenix with no touchscreen, the usage of contact and buttons does simply grow to be a bit extra fiddly than it must be – however you quickly get used to it and continuously the contact facets are to scroll or choose, which fits smartly sufficient.

Pocket-lintGarmin Venu 2 photo 10

The show actually is the explanation to shop for the Venu 2 over a few of Garmin’s different gadgets. It higher, visually, than gadgets within the Forerunner or Vivoactive classes – so in case you suppose that the ones gadgets shouldn’t have the punch or vibrancy that you need, you can indisputably get it right here. There are customized animations at the Venu, so you can to find it a bit extra enticing that a few of Garmin’s different gadgets too.

The comparability is continuously made to the Apple Watch, however it is value making an allowance for the wide variety of gadgets from different producers too. The Venu 2 holds its personal towards Samsung or Huawei software in relation to that show – the necessary factor past this is whether or not it does what you need it to.

Health options and function

  • Middle-rate, blood oxygen, GPS, ABC
  • Sleep, step, tension monitoring

In spite of pitching this watch as a smartwatch, the Venu 2 is loaded with all of the sensors to feed Garmin’s knowledge device. It’ll stay monitor of your actions – out of your steps on your HIIT workout routines – and come up with numerous knowledge. Necessarily, it is a health software first – and that is the reason what you’ll be expecting from a Garmin.

The mainstay is the guts fee (HR) sensor, which will stay monitor of your beats according to minute (bpm) during the day and evening to come up with an entire image of what is going down along with your frame. It’ll assist you to get within the zone if you find yourself understanding, it’ll assist spot if you find yourself wired, and it’ll additionally measure blood oxygen ranges (SpO2) – even supposing be warned that this calls for a large number of battery lifestyles, so most probably is not well worth the sacrifice, as a result of it is not a massively helpful metric.

We have now discovered the guts fee sensor to go back ends up in line with what we might excluding, evaluating favourably to the Fenix 6 Professional and the Polar Verity Sense, all handing over shut averages. That knowledge is then processed to make it significant, letting you swipe to look what zone you might be in, so you’ll be able to make sure that you might be coaching at the right kind depth.

GPS supplies your location for correct course tracing, so you know the way a ways and how briskly when monitoring all the ones outside actions; the accelerometer will come across movement, like steps or actions all over sleep; the barometer can come across altitude exchange; whilst the compass can sense which route you might be shifting in.

All of the knowledge gathered feeds numerous programs, which is the place Garmin actually turns into greater than only a health tracker. Your task will also be set within the context of your relaxation and restoration, with the Frame Battery gadget giving you a concept of ways smartly rested you’re. You’ll be able to carry out health assessments or get a glimpse at your health age, with some recommendation on exchange the ranking for your favour and make a way of life exchange for the easier.

You’ll be able to use Garmin’s training options, which means you’ll be able to sign-up to a programme on Garmin Attach and feature that driven on your watch, so you can see what you might be intended to be doing for your exercise for that day.

Garmin will provide a lot of knowledge at the watch, which it calls Glances. Those will permit you to take a look at on such things as your steps or flooring climbed, however are customisable so you’ll be able to see the tips you need, every letting you faucet via to look a bit extra. That may additionally come with your calendar – synced out of your telephone – and come up with fast get entry to to tune controls, which is actually helpful.

There is a complete number of sports activities supported, attaining past the mainstay of operating, swimming and biking. Once more that is absolutely customisable, permitting you to select yoga, indoor rowing or crosscountry snowboarding (and plenty of others) if that is what you might be doing. That no longer most effective tailors the show to the game, however makes it actually simple to stay monitor of your workout routines in Garmin Attach as soon as you might have completed, or by means of different synced products and services, similar to Strava.

Sleep monitoring is obtainable, providing you with breakdown of sleep phases and offering comments on the way you slept and recommendation to toughen sleep. However that implies dressed in the watch to mattress, which we are not large enthusiasts of doing. Some could possibly sleep whilst dressed in it, however we simply to find it too massive to be comfy. If you’ll be able to sleep in it, it’ll give you the knowledge for Frame Battery. You’ll be able to additionally upload sleep knowledge manually in Garmin Attach, when you have some other sleep monitoring gadget.

As a gadget it is onerous to knock Garmin’s health providing. Its complete, it is correct and for many, the knowledge accrued through the Venu 2 will go well with the majority of health enthusiasts or athletes. Some gadgets upper up the spectrum within the Forerunner sequence will be offering extra particular knowledge, in particular for runners with better coaching wishes, or onboard mapping (one thing the Venu 2 does not be offering) – however the greatest differentiator is longevity according to payment.

Battery lifestyles

  • 11 days in smartwatch mode
  • GPS as much as eight days

Battery lifestyles is the most important casualty of the spice up that comes from the Venu 2’s show. A brighter and extra lively show merely signifies that this watch may not closing so long as the Garmin Vivoactive Four or a similar Forerunner fashion. That stated, then again, Garmin is in truth just right with battery control. 

The professional stats say that you are able to monitor a GPS tournament for eight hours; that you’ll be able to run this as a smartwatch for 11 days. Neither of the ones constitute conventional use – you can most probably exercise thrice per week for an hour and between the ones occasions you can be dressed in the Venu 2 as a smartwatch. That signifies that normally you can escape with charging it weekly, in all probability, however that drops the extra you ask it to do – particularly in case you are doing lengthy occasions, like monitoring lengthy cycles or lengthy days climbing.

There are issues you’ll be able to do to increase lifestyles – restrict the display screen brightness, shorten the screen-on time – and scale back the notifications that the watch delivers. Every of those will also be switched off via Garmin Attach, saving interactions you do not want. You’ll be able to additionally flip off PulseOx – the blood oxygen sensor – in case you do not want it (it is not a massively helpful measure for most of the people and it does use a large number of battery lifestyles).

There may be some other factor that actually chews during the battery lifestyles: syncing tune. We downloaded a 200 music playlist from Spotify (which you must do over Wi-Fi) and this may necessarily devour all of the battery, as it is a very in depth activity for the Venu 2. When you need to sync tune, it is best to be attached to energy and provides it a while to transport all that knowledge over.

Total, we’ve got been pleasantly stunned through the battery lifetime of the Venu 2. As a seasoned Fenix wearer (with a competent 14 day battery lifestyles), it is nice that you’ll be able to nonetheless get per week from the Venu 2 with a lot of use. That is a a ways cry from the charge-every-night revel in that many Apple Watch wearers are living with, however on the identical time, the Venu 2 does not cross slightly as a ways with its smartwatch revel in.

Smartwatch options

  • Customized graphics
  • Garmin Pay
  • Tune make stronger
  • Smartphone notifications

Garmin gives a spread of options which might be much less sporty and extra smartwatchy. Those are not new or distinctive to the Venu 2, certainly maximum were delicate throughout best Forerunner and Fenix fashions over time. However those do entire the image and make sure that you are not lacking out on necessities. There may be make stronger for downloaded tune from Spotify (as we discussed), Deezer or Amazon Tune, letting you sync as much as 650 tracks – which is a rise over the former Venu fashion.

Best Garmin watch 2021: Fenix, Forerunner and Vivo compared

Pocket-lintGarmin Venu 2 photo 5

That implies you’ll be able to prepare playlists and feature them sync on your watch, so you’ll be able to pay attention to tune phone-free by means of Bluetooth headphones. You can also control music you might have on your phone, but for that disconnected experience, nothing quite beats running out the door and leaving your phone at home. We found the headphone connection to be solid and playback smooth. You can control music from the watch when exercising, but we’ve always found it easier to control that playback using the controls on the headphones – which works perfectly well.

Garmin Pay allows for mobile payments, so you can pay for that coffee on your way home from a long run – although there’s not a wide range of support for banks outside the USA, so it’s worth checking to see if you’ll be able to use your card.

We’ve mentioned Garmin Connect a couple of times already and once setup on your phone, you’ll be able to control notifications on your watch so you can stay informed. Those using an Android phone will be able to use Quick Replies to respond to messages too – these can be customised so you can send the exact message you want, meaning that when a text message comes in, you can shoot off the appropriate reply. 

That’s really the extent of the offering and it means that you’re not overloaded with functions that replicate experiences from your phone – but on an impossibly small screen. Yes, there are things you’ll get from Apple or other WearOS devices – such as voice controls – that Garmin doesn’t offer, but we still rate Garmin as offering a great smartwatch experience. Rather than other platforms running away from Garmin, many have crawled closer, offering well-being functions that Garmin has refined over a number of generations, with health and fitness being the core offering.


The Garmin Venu 2 is a great all-round watch, fusing together a great display that will outshine the rest of the Garmin family, without sacrificing the core fitness offering that Garmin is known for. It’s backed up by the essential smartwatch functions – notifications, payments, music – meaning that you’re not missing out by selecting a device that’s mostly about fitness. 

Some might find that the design is a little safe – we think some of the more aggressive Forerunner designs are more appealing – but we can’t help feeling that the aim here was to design a watch to appeal to the broadest group of users. You won’t get the full range of strap options that you’ll find on an Apple Watch, but using universal sizes and connections means you’ll still be able to customise easily.

Ultimately, the Venu 2 delivers on its aims. Sure, other Garmin devices will offer greater battery life, other Garmin devices will offer more detailed sports and mapping options, but if it’s a better display that you crave then the Venu 2 is well worth considering.

Also consider

Apple Watch SE

Apple’s SE version of the Watch is cheaper than the Watch 6, losing a couple of functions, but making it more affordable and a better choice for many. Apple Watch offers the closest experience to the iPhone for Apple users.


Garmin Vivoactive 4

The Vivoactive range has proved hugely popular for Garmin, offering a more lifestyle approach for those not entirely convinced they want a Forerunner-like device. That means you’ll get touchscreen interation, with a design that’s slightly less sporty than some other Garmin models.


Writing by Chris Hall. Editing by Mike Lowe.

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