Garmin Venu SQ vs Venu | Image source: G&W; Garmin

Garmin Venu SQ vs Venu: why the big price difference?

Garmin Venu was launched in September 2019 as a premium looking fitness tracking watch. Fast forward a year and the company has already followed this up. However, both in terms of looks and the target audience, the successor is nothing like the original.

What’s more, Venu SQ comes in at a huge discount in price over the first generation device. Whereas you need to pay $350 for Venu, Venu SQ costs only $200 ($250 for the Music version).

Why the big price difference? Read on to find out.

Garmin Venu SQ vs Venu: Design and hardware

Put Venu SQ and Venu side by side and you’ll be surprised to hear they both belong to the same line of Garmin devices. This is because they look nothing like each other.

The original comes in a more traditional round shape, something that Garmin has adopted for most of its sports watch range. The Venu SQ, on the other hand, resembles Versa 3. It comes in a square-ish shape that is not as attractive but it is more functional.

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Garmin Venu SQ | Image source: Garmin

To keep the price down Garmin has opted to include a 1.3 inch touch-screen LCD panel on Venu SQ rather than a full OLED. Hence the not-too-impressive 240 x 240 pixel resolution. But you do have an optional always-on mode

The original, on the other hand, comes with a gorgeous 1.2 inch AMOLED display akin to what you’d find on an Apple watch. And this is the main reason for the much higher price.

Its pixel resolution is 390 x 390, so higher than what you’ll find on Venu SQ. This is despite the display size being smaller. Needless to say, this makes it much easier to read your fitness stats and messages.

The differences in design don’t end there. The first generation device is also built from slightly more premium material. Instead of an aluminium bezel it comes with a stainless steel one.

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Garmin Venu | Image source: Garmin

As far as actual dimensions, there’s very little in it. Venu SQ is slightly narrower, thinner and lighter of the two, so might suit those with more slender wrists.

Both watches can be navigated via the touch-display. This is combined with two physical buttons on the side.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

Under the hood you’ll find almost identical tech. The only extra on Venu are a barometric altimeter that is used for floor count and gyroscope for more accurate tracking. Both watches come with an accelerometer, optical heart rate sensor and SpO2. There’s also built-in GPS and NFC for contactless payments.

If you want music on the Venu SQ, you’ll need to throw in an extra $50 for the Music option. This comes as default on the original device.

As far as battery life, you’ll get between 5 and 6 days on a single charge on both of these. Venu SQ can keep going slightly longer but there’s not much in it. With GPS switched on, battery life falls to around 6 hours. One caveat, though. This battery life is for Venu is without the always-on screen option. Tweak this and it comes right down to between 2 and 3 days.

Here’s a table illustrating all differences between the first and second generation device.

Garmin Venu SQ Music Garmin Venu
Case material fiber-reinforced polymer fiber-reinforced polymer with polymer rear cover
Bezel material anodized aluminum stainless steel
Quick release bands 20mm silicone 20mm silicone
Physical size 40.6 x 37.0 x 11.5 mm 43.2 x 43.2 x 12.4 mm mm
Display size 1.3 inches (33.1 mm) diagonal 1.2″ (30.4mm) diameter
Display resolution 240 x 240 pixels 390 x 390 pixels
Display type Liquid crystal touchscreen Colour AMOLED touchscreen
Weight 37.6 g 46.3 g
Water resistance 5 ATM 5 ATM
Sensors Compass, accelerometer, thermometer, heart rate, SpO2, Ambient light sensor Barometric altimeter, gyroscope, compass, accelerometer, thermometer, heart rate, SpO2, Ambient light sensor
Other Microphones, speaker, vibration motor Microphones, speaker, vibration motor
Music storage up to 500 songs (4GB) up to 500 songs (4GB)
NFC Yes Yes
Battery life (base model) Smartwatch mode: Up to 6 days
GPS mode with music: Up to 6 hours
GPS mode without music: Up to 14 hours
Smartwatch mode: Up to 5 days
GPS mode with music: Up to 6 hours
GPS mode without music: Up to 20 hours
RRP $199 (Music $249) $350

Garmin Venu SQ vs Venu: Activity tracking and smart features

This section will be very short. Why? Because the two watches track pretty much the same things.

The one important addition that you get on Venu is the barometric altimeter. This means the device can track floors climbed whereas its successor can’t.

The other notable difference are the on-screen workout animations. The snazzy display of Venu makes it ideal for such a thing.

These are free, pre-made yoga, Pilates, cardio and strength animations. They come with step-by-step instructions that you can download to your watch to help you help you visualize routines. By following the movement instruction displayed on the screen, it is very clear what to do next!

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Garmin Venu SQ vs Venu: Verdict

Garmin Venu costs quite a bit more than Venu SQ and this is mostly due to its premium design. More precisely, the timepiece comes with a gorgeous, high-res OLED display whereas its successor only has LCD.

The functionality is pretty much the same, as is the battery life. The main extras that you get on the original device are the barometric altimeter for floor count, and on-screen workout animations. And let’s face it, this will not make much of a difference to most.

So the real question is whether you want to pay more for the snazzy display and premium look. If not and you don’t mind the square shape, Venu SQ presents itself as a nice cost-saving option.

Both watches are available on Amazon and Garmin.

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One thought on “Garmin Venu SQ vs Venu: why the big price difference?

  • October 1, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    Another important question is how long is Garmin going to bring support for new features in the original Venu. Garmin has a tendency to drop support for devices with successors, so I would be sceptical towards a device that is already 1 year old.


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