Garmin Venu Sq is a new GPS smartwatch that takes the fight directly to Fitbit

Garmin Venu Sq
(Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin has launched a new mid-range GPS smartwatch, the Garmin Venu Sq, which looks like a direct rival to the recently released Fitbit Versa 3.

The Venu Sq is available in two versions: the standard edition and the Venu Sq Music Edition, which has on-board storage for up to 500 songs. You can also use it to control music playback on your phone.

This year we've seen fitness trackers and smartwatches make moves towards helping you manage your mental as well as physical wellbeing, and the Venu Sq is no exception. It can guide you through breathing exercises if you're starting to feel the pressure, like the Fitbit Versa 3, but with the addition of all-day stress tracking so it can chime in when you're feeling the pressure and could benefit from a little mindfulness.

Garmin Venu Sq

(Image credit: Garmin)

A pulse oximeter tracks blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) while you sleep, which can help spot any problems with breathing that might be leaving you feeling tired in the morning. The watch isn't a medical device, but it can provide an early warning to book an appointment with your doctor.

Unlike the Versa 3, which only monitors SpO2 at night, the Venu Sq also lets you perform spot checks during the day, when it can provide a useful indicator of your overall cardiovascular fitness.

Let's get physical

Both Garmin and Fitbit's devices offer profiles for over 20 different sports, but the Venu Sq comes with pre-loaded workouts for cardio, strength, yoga and pilates that you can follow from your wrist. The Fitbit companion app includes an even wider range of workouts that you can follow on your phone, but most of these require a Fitbit Premium subscription.

Another difference between the Garmin Venu Sq and Fitbit Versa 3 is incident detection and assistance, which sends real-time location data to emergency contacts if you have an accident while you're out. There's also Garmin LiveTrack, which lets friends and family monitor your location, whether it's for safety or just to see how you're doing in a race.

Garmin Venu Sq

(Image credit: Garmin)

Both the Versa 3 and Venu Sq offer contactless payments (through Fitbit Pay and Garmin Pay respectively), menstrual tracking, notifications from your phone, and 24/7 heart rate tracking. The Venu Sq promises a battery life of up to six days in smartwatch mode (the same as the Fitbit Versa 3), and 14 hours in GPS mode (compared to 12 for the Versa 3).

The Venu Sq costs $199.99 / £179.99 / AU$349, and the Venu Sq Music Edition is priced at $249.99 / £224.99 / AU$429. It's available now in the UK and US, and will be available in Australia later this year. The Fitbit Versa 3 sits in between the two at $229 / £199.99 / AU$399.95.

Can't choose between the two? Check out our Fitbit vs Garmin guide to help you make the right decision.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)