Image source: Garmin

Garmin Venu 2 vs Venu: key differences

Garmin has launched the second generation of its premium looking fitness tracking watch earlier today. Venu 2 comes in a choice of sizes, more battery life and space for music, along with the latest generation heart rate sensor. It also has a slightly higher price-tag.

The company refers to the original Venu as a GPS watch for those with an active lifestyle. And that’s a pretty accurate description. In many ways the device is a more fancy version of the Vivoactive. The first generation was revealed nearly two years ago at IFA 2019 in Berlin so was well due for a refresh.

Essential reading: Best fitness trackers and health gadgets

Should you upgrade if you own the original? Are the improvements worth it? All is explained in this article.


Garmin Venu 2 vs Venu: Design and hardware

Two two generations of Venu looks practically the same. The both come with a circular design coupled with a fiber-reinforced polymer build and stainless steel bezel. The watch is very attractive – along with the Vivoactive 4, it is Garmin’s answer to the likes of the Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa.

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Garmin Venu | Image source: Garmin

Unlike the original which only comes in 43mm diameter size, the second iteration comes in a choice between two models. Venu 2 packs a 45mm shell while Venu 2s a 40mm one. The depth of the three watches is around 12 mm and they are all water resistant down to depths of 50 meters.

Beautiful AMOLED display

A highlight of this watch is its gorgeous AMOLED display. The original has a 1.2 inch 390 x 390 pixel resolution one protected by Gorilla Glass 3. This has been bumped up to 1.3 inches 416 x 416 pixels for Venu 2, while the smaller edition packs a 1.1 inch 360 x 360 pixel display.

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

Garmin is trying to appeal to a wider category of buyers with this latest watch, hence the size choices. The 2s version is obviously meant for women.

This is reflected in the color choice that is available, namely Light Gold Stainless Steel Bezel with Light Sand Case, Silver Stainless Steel Bezel with Mist Gray Case, Rose Gold Stainless Steel Bezel with White Case. Plus, the watch weighs only 38 grams.

The 49 gram Venu 2 comes in more manly options. These include Silver Stainless Steel Bezel with Granite Blue Case, Silver Stainless Steel Bezel with Black Case. All of this is coupled with a silicone band.

Garmin Venu 2, 2s vs Venu: what’s new and different?
Garmin Venu 2 | Image source: Garmin

Venu 2 and 2s come with Elevate 4.0 technology

Under the hood you’ll find almost identical tech. As far as sensors, the only upgrade is the Elevate 4.0 heart rate sensor on the second generation. It will be interesting to see what improvements this brings as far as accuracy during exercise.

Other than that, you get a Barometric altimeter, gyroscope, compass, accelerometer, thermometer, SpO2 and Ambient light sensor. There’s also GPS/GLONASS/GALILEO and NFC for contactless payments.

More storage space for music

Another slight improvement is to do with music storage. You now get space for 650 songs whereas before you were limited at 500 songs. It’s not a huge change but it might make a difference to some. Music and offline playlists can be downloaded through services Spotify, Deezer and Amazon Music. As long as you have appropriate subscriptions, of course.

Battery life is much better

Moving on to the all-important battery life and this is one of the most important upgrades of the second generation. Version one has enough juice to go between 5 and 6 days on a single charge. 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.

Garmin Venu 2 vs Venu: key differences

Garmin Venu
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The second generation pretty much doubles this. GPS mode battery life has also been improved by a few hours. The watch comes with a quick-charging mechanism so refueling is speedy.

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

Venu 2
Venu 2s
Venu
 
Garmin Venu 2, 2s vs Venu: what’s new and different?  
Material
fiber-reinforced polymer, stainless steel, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
fiber-reinforced polymer, stainless steel, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
fiber-reinforced polymer with polymer rear cover, stainless steel bezel, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Quick release bands
22mm silicone
18mm silicone
20mm silicone
Physical size
45.4 x 45.4 x 12.2 mm. Fits wrists with a circumference of 135-200mm
40.40 x 40.40 x 12.10 mm.
Fits wrists with a circumference of 110-175 mm
43.2 x 43.2 x 12.4 mm. Fits wrists with a circumference of 125-190 mm
Display size
1.3″ (33.0 mm) diameter
1.1″ (27.90 mm) diameter
1.2″ (30.4mm) diameter
Display resolution
416 x 416 pixels
360 x 360 pixels
390 x 390 pixels
Display type
AMOLED
AMOLED
AMOLED
Weight
49.0 g
38.2 g
46.3 g
Water resistance
5 ATM
5 ATM
5 ATM
Sensors
Barometric altimeter, gyroscope, compass, accelerometer, thermometer, heart rate (4th generation), SpO2, Ambient light sensor
Barometric altimeter, gyroscope, compass, accelerometer, thermometer, heart rate (4th generation), SpO2, Ambient light sensor
Barometric altimeter, gyroscope, compass, accelerometer, thermometer, heart rate, SpO2, Ambient light sensor
Built-in GPS
GPS + GLONASS + GALILEO
GPS + GLONASS + GALILEO
GPS + GLONASS + GALILEO
Other
Microphones, speaker, vibration motor
Microphones, speaker, vibration motor
Microphones, speaker, vibration motor
Music storage
up to 650 songs
up to 650 songs
up to 500 songs
NFC
Yes
Yes
Yes
Battery life (base model)
Smartwatch mode: Up to 11 days
Battery saver smartwatch mode: Up to 12 days
GPS mode with music: Up to 8 hours
GPS mode without music: Up to 22 hours
Smartwatch mode: Up to 10 days
GPS mode with music: Up to 7 hours
GPS mode without music: Up to 19 hours
Battery Saver Smartwatch Mode: Up to 11 days
Smartwatch mode: Up to 5 days
GPS mode with music: Up to 6 hours
GPS mode without music: Up to 20 hours
Colors
Silver Stainless Steel Bezel with Granite Blue Case; Silver Stainless Steel Bezel with Black Case
Light Gold Stainless Steel Bezel with Light Sand Case; Silver Stainless Steel Bezel with Mist Gray Case; Rose Gold Stainless Steel Bezel with White Case
Slate Stainless Steel Bezel with Black Case; Rose Gold Stainless Steel Bezel with Light Sand Case; Silver Stainless Steel Bezel with Granite Blue Case; Gold Stainless Steel Bezel with Black Case.
RRP
$399
$399
$350

Garmin Venu 2 vs Venu: Functionality

More health functionality

Any Garmin watch will do a good job at tracking your fitness, sleep and activity around the clock. The company has this side of things nailed down. The Venus come with most of what Garmin has on offer, including blood oxygen, respiration rate and more.

The company has improved the sleep tracking function with the second generation. This is probably helped by the latest generation 4 of the Elevate heart rate sensor which should ensure better accuracy. Users also get a Sleep Score and insights. This now uses Firstbeat algorithms. Body Battery is also said to be better.

Garmin Venu 2, 2s vs Venu: here’s how they compare

Another addition is that Fitness Age is available on Venu 2 on the watch itself. This combines info on your age, activity, resting heart rate, BMI to let you know if your body is younger or older than your chronological age. If you are trailing behind Garmin will offer some advice on how to be younger.

Garmin Venu 2, 2s vs Venu: here’s how they compare

Another novelty is something called Health Snapshot. This is a short 2 minute test that captures info on heart rate, heart rate variability, blood oxygen, respiration and stress. The metric is design to show you at-a-glance where you stand. It might even be a good gauge on how rested or fatigued you currently are.

Garmin Venu 2, 2s vs Venu: here’s how they compare

More sports modes

Venu 2 has a total of 25 sports modes. This includes running, cycling, swimming, golf and more. There are three new ones that come in the form of HIIT, hiking and bouldering.

Garmin Venu 2, 2s vs Venu: here’s how they compare

Finally, Garmin has added some features to target the gym crowd. This includes an Advanced Strength Training activity profile that lists PRs right at your wrist plus shows on-screen graphics that picture what muscle groups you worked.

Venu 2
Venu 2s
Venu
 
Garmin Venu 2, 2s vs Venu: what’s new and different?  
Fitness age
Yes
Yes
Yes (in app)
Sleep Score and Insights
Yes
Yes
No
Health snapshot
Yes
Yes
No
Garmin Connect Challenges App
Yes
Yes
No
Gym activity profiles
Strength, Cardio, HIIT and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing, Yoga, Pilates and Breathwork
Strength, Cardio, HIIT and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing, Yoga, Pilates and Breathwork
Strength, cardio and elliptical training, stair stepping, floor climbing, indoor rowing, yoga, Pilates and breathwork
HIIT workouts
Yes
Yes
No
On-screen workout muscle maps
Strength only
Strength only
 
Outdoor recreation profiles
Hiking, Indoor Climbing, Bouldering, Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing
Hiking, Indoor Climbing, Bouldering, Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing
Skiing, snowboarding, XC skiing, stand-up paddleboarding, rowing

Garmin Venu 2 vs Venu: Design and hardware: Verdict

Garmin Venu 2 is a great watch for those that want an attractive GPS health device on their wrist. The second generation improves on the original in a number of ways.

The upgrades include the new Elevate heart rate sensor, much improved battery life, more storage space for songs and some additional health functionality that comes in the form of software updates. The choice of a large and a small size means now there’s something for everyone.

Garmin Venu 2 vs Venu: key differences

Garmin Venu 2
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There’s only a $50 price difference between the generations so not much in it (check price on Amazon). Therefore, if you are in the market for a new watch, we suggest going for Venu 2 or 2s.

But what if you have the original? Are the upgrades enough to entice you to sell your watch and buy the new one? We suspect not for most people.

Finally, keep an eye on discounts. We suspect Garmin will aggresively cut prices of the first generation.

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