Credit: Digital Trends
The Garmin Venu 2 was already a great fitness tracker. It’s one of the finest Garmin watches because it’s both a great training buddy and an attractive lifestyle gadget, a balance that the Apple Watch 7 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 have nailed.
The $449 Garmin Venu 2 Plus adds on-wrist calls and voice assistants to better compete with its big-name competition. The Venu 2 Plus is now a better sell for people who want their smartwatch to work as an extension of their smartphone while maintaining Garmin’s reputation for complete fitness tracking and reliable GPS.
Embracing new communication features is a huge step toward nailing the whole smartwatch experience, even if Garmin still lacks a robust third-party software store and continues to avoid LTE compatibility. As you’ll see in this Garmin Venu 2 Plus review, this wearable offers all the necessary features to compete with the best smartwatches on the market.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus Review
Price and Availability
The Garmin Venu 2 Plus costs $449 right now. The basic Venu 2 costs $399, making the Venu 2 Plus a significant upgrade over the Venu 2 launched last year. However, it looks that the Venu 2 will remain on the market.
Overall, the Garmin Venu 2 Plus resembles the Garmin Venu 2 and, before that, the original Garmin Venu. The series serves as a bridge between Garmin’s restricted lifestyle watches and its best GPS watches. It recalls me most of the non-classic Galaxy Watch 4 with its round face, side buttons, and elegant hardware elements.
Size variations are a key design distinction between the Venu 2 and Venu 2 Plus. The Venu 2 comes in two sizes: 40mm and 44mm, whereas the Venu 2 Plus is only available in 43mm. I like bigger smartwatches, so 43mm isn’t a deal-breaker for me however, I can imagine buyers preferring a more subtle size.
A third control button has been added to the Garmin Venu 2 Plus. Two of the buttons are used to assign apps or shortcuts, while the lower one is used to return to the previous display. With a long press, all three buttons open other functions, such as a tool menu or settings. Although this wristwatch includes a touchscreen, I seldom used it because the buttons are necessary for navigation. At the very least, this meant fewer fingerprint smudges and fewer accidental taps from sweaty hands.
The color AMOLED screen on the Garmin Venu 2 Plus includes numerous brightness settings and an ambient light sensor that can automatically alter the brightness based on your surroundings. More crucially, the Venu 2 Plus display is resistant to direct sunlight when worn outside, which is a key shortcoming of Garmin’s more fashion-forward models but a famous quality of Garmin’s more fitness-focused models, such as the Garmin Fenix 6 or Garmin Instinct. Even better, the Venu 2 Plus offers an always-on display option, which I disabled for battery life reasons.
Features and Health Tracking
Like all the best fitness trackers, the Venu 2 Plus features virtually the same fitness monitoring as the Garmin Venu 2, enabling daily step counts, move objectives, and stair climbs. It also comes with over 25 built-in training types and a library of over 1,400 more presets that can be downloaded. The watch will show perfect techniques for over 75 different workout kinds with instructive animations. Visual assistance is not Garmin unique, since it is available on a couple of the top Fitbit watches. It is, however, a well-executed feature.
While the Venu 2 Plus isn’t the most robust of Garmin’s running watches, it’s well-suited for most training routines thanks to its pacing and routing functions. You may utilize the Garmin Coach’s free adaptive training programs to learn how to run a 5K or how to train for a marathon. The Venu 2 Plus, like the Venu 2, has an extremely precise GPS that loads in seconds. The results matched my treadmill distance measurements as well as the odometer on my bike.
The Venu 2 Plus has a health-tracking function called Health Snapshot that I really appreciate. Health Snapshot records a two-minute snapshot of essential health parameters and displays them on a single screen. It reminds me of the Amazfit GTR 3 Pro’s all-in-one health readings, and it’s a feature I hope other smartwatches would copy.
Body Battery, Garmin’s energy tracking score that keeps track of how sleep, stress, and exercise affect your preparedness, is one of the indicators gathered in Health Snapshot. It’s comparable to Fitbit’s new Daily Readiness Score and the Oura Ring Generation 3’s readiness score, however, Garmin’s score doesn’t provide nearly as much practical information.
The Venu 2 Plus can measure your sleep phases, SpO2, and respiratory levels throughout the course of the night. It’s close to the mark. But, like my Apple Watch 7 or Oura Ring, I wish the watch featured a wind-down or advised bedtime based on Body Battery and sleep scores.
Smartwatch Features and Calling
Unlike most other Garmin watches, the Garmin Venu 2 Plus offers a more connected smartwatch experience. Making and answering calls from my wrist was simple thanks to Android and iOS phone call capabilities. Many call-supporting smartwatches are only compatible with iOS or Android phones, not both, however, this is changing. I just tried out the Amazfit GTR Pro 3, which, like the Venu 2 Plus, works with both Android and iOS smartphones.
The Venu 2 Plus pairs with smartphone assistants in addition to being able to make a call without digging for a phone. Siri was awakened by a long press of the watch’s center button, allowing me to send texts and manage the finest HomeKit gadgets with my voice. Those who have devices with Google Assistant and Bixby should be able to take use of the same ease.
The Venu 2 Plus can store up to 650 songs, including Spotify, Amazon Music, and other playlists. The user interface also includes Garmin Pay, mirrored notifications, and utilities like timers. The Garmin Connect IQ store allows for the installation of more programs, while the third-party software selection is still restricted when compared to the watchOS and Google Play wearable app shops. If you’re looking for interesting watch faces for the Venu 2 Plus, Garmin Connect could be a better option.
Garmin smartwatches are notorious for their long battery life, and the Venu 2 Plus is no exception. The watch is designed to last 10 days under typical conditions and 8 hours of continuous GPS operation. In comparison to my other favorite long-lasting smartwatches, the Venu 2 Plus sits between the Fitbit Sense (7 days) and the Amazfit GTR 3 Pro (8 days) (12 days).
I chose to charge mine after 8 days to guarantee that it would survive overnight for sleep monitoring and would be ready to track work the next morning.
As someone who has followed the Venu series since its inception, it’s amazing to see the Garmin Venu 2 Plus debut with connection features that were previously only available on a select few smartwatches. It’s also one of the few smartwatches that’s ideal for iOS users while simultaneously being one of the best for Android users.
The Garmin Venu 2 Plus sits in a sweet spot of simply athletic and practical for everyday usage if you prefer taking calls from your wrist but also requires a smartwatch with a comprehensive suite of fitness- and health-tracking capabilities.