The Garmin Venu and its successor, the Garmin Venu 2, look extremely similar at first glance, but there are some key differences you should know about when deciding which one is right for you.
These are two of the best Garmin watches available, and both offer a good blend of everyday smartwatch features and advanced fitness tracking, plus a vivid AMOLED display. However, while the original Venu only comes in a single size, the Venu 2 offers two options, including a 40mm model that's a good choice for smaller wrists.
When it comes to fitness tracking, the newer Garmin Venu 2 is the more capable of the two, putting more information on your wrist. It allows you to take a two-minute health snapshot any time, includes women's health tracking, and displays 'muscle map' graphics that show which major muscle groups you've been training and help you plan your next session. It also features several new workout tracking modes, including dedicated options for hiking, climbing, and bouldering. If you're into outdoor activities, it should be your top choice.
However, there is a price difference to consider. The Venu 2 is more expensive than the original Venu, and you'll often find the older watch discounted at third-party retailers, making it even better value.
Read on to learn about all the most important differences, so you can pick the Venu that's right for you.
- Garmin Venu 2 slightly more expensive at launch
- Garmin Venu often on offer at third-party retailers
The Garmin Venu was released in September 2019, and was priced at $349.99 / £329.99 / AU$649. It's often available at a discount from third-party retailers like Amazon, and we're likely to see some good deals around Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday if you're willing to wait that long.
The Garmin Venu 2 launched in April 2021, priced at $399.99 / £349.99 / AU$629 for both the 40mm and 45mm case sizes.
Design and display
- Very similar design
- Same materials
- Venu 2 is available in two sizes
The original Garmin Venu is only available with one case size (43.2mm), while the Venu 2 is available in 40mm and 45mm versions. The smaller model is known as the Garmin Venu 2S, and is a good choice for smaller wrists.
The cases of both devices are made from fiber-reinforced polymer, with a smart stainless steel bezel. The standard straps are silicone, but bands made from other materials are available to buy separately if you want a different look.
Both devices are controlled via a touchscreen, plus two physical buttons on the right-hand edge. The lower of these serves to navigate backward through menus, while the top one is context sensitive depending on which app or widget you're using. Its current function will be shown by a small on-screen icon.
The choice of case sizes means a small variation in weight. The Garmin Venu weighs 46.3g, the Venu 2 is 49g, and the Venu 2S is 38.2g.
- Both watches have AMOLED displays
- All displays are high resolution
- Only Venu 2 has always-on mode
Both the Garmin Venu and Garmin Venu 2 have AMOLED displays, which are bright and vivid in all lighting conditions, but only the Venu 2 has an always-on function that makes it easier to view stats at a glance (at the expense of a little battery life).
Whichever watch you pick, the pixel density is roughly the same. The display of the original Venu measures 30.4mm, and has a resolution of 390 x 390 pixels. The screen of the 45mm Venu 2 measures 33mm, with a resolution of 416 x 416 pixels, while the 40mm Venu 2S has a 27.9mm display, with a 360 x 360 pixel resolution.
The amount of data that can be displayed on-screen at one time is limited by the display's size, but all three options are sharp and clear.
- Venu 2 has much longer battery life than original Venu
- Venu 2 has optional battery-saver mode
- Venu 2S has slightly shorter battery life than larger Venu 2
The Garmin Venu 2 has much more impressive battery life than the original Venu. It also has a new battery-saver mode that enables it to go even longer between charges while sacrificing a few of the watch's more advanced features.
The original Venu can run for up to five days in smartwatch mode, and up to six hours in GPS mode with music.
The Venu 2 lasts up to 11 days in smartwatch mode, which can be extended to 12 days in battery-saver mode. It can run for up to eight hours in GPS mode with music, and up to 22 hours in GPS mode without music.
The Venu 2S has a slightly smaller battery than the full-size version. It can run for up to 10 days in smartwatch mode, or up to 11 days with battery-saver enabled. You can work out with GPS mode and music for up to seven hours, or up to 19 hours with GPS alone.
- Both support apps from Garmin Connect IQ
- Venu 2 has much more music storage space
The Garmin Venu and Venu 2 are both compatible with iOS and Android smartphones, and allow you to download additional apps and watch faces through the Garmin Connect IQ store.
You can receive smartphone app, call and text notifications on either watch, and Android device owners can also send text replies, or decline calls with a text response (particularly handy during workouts).
Both the Garmin Venu and Venu 2 have internal storage for music, but the Venu 2 has a much larger capacity. The original Venu has space for up to 500 songs, and the Venu 2 can store up to 2,000. You can control your phone's music player from either watch, or stream songs from Amazon Music or Deezer after installing the appropriate app through Garmin Connect IQ.
Both devices allow you to make contactless payments via NFC (provided your bank is one of those supported (opens in new tab)).
- Venu 2 offers extra outdoor workout modes
- Venu 2 has 'muscle maps' for training
- Venu 2 has improved menstrual tracking
The Garmin Venu and Garmin Venu 2 offer a similar range of workout tracking modes, but the Venu 2 also includes dedicated modes for hiking, hill-climbing and bouldering.
The Venu 2 includes 'muscle map' graphics too, which show you which major muscle groups you've been working and help you plan your next session. Both support downloadable training plans too, plus customizable workouts.
Both the Venu and Venu 2 are ANT+ compatible, allowing you to sync data with extra sensors such as chest strap heart rate monitors or cycling power meters. They are also capable golf watches when the Garmin Golf app is installed on your phone
In terms of workout safety, both watches offer Livetrack so a friend or family member can follow your progress via GPS, plus incident detection, which will send a message to an emergency contact with your GPS location if it detects a fall and you don't cancel the alert.
Owners of any Garmin device can track their menstrual cycle through the Garmin Connect app, but the Venu 2 allows you to enter symptoms on the device itself through an optional widget available through the activities menu. This is even more detailed than the tool available on the women-focused Garmin Lily.
Both watches have all-day stress tracking, but the Garmin Venu 2 also allows you to take a 'health snapshot' at any time. Just select the option on the watch screen, then hold still for two minutes and the device will capture stats including your average heart rate, stress level, and respiration rate.
- Need more fitness features? Check out our guide to the best running watches