Garmin has recently released the second iteration in its Venu range. Venu 2 comes in a choice of sizes and various improvements under the hood.
The device is the Garmin choice for those after a premium looking smartwatch that packs lots of health and fitness functionality. Another device that fulfills this criteria is the Apple Watch. Now on its sixth generation it also comes full to the brim with features.
Which is better for you? Read on to find out how they compare.
Garmin Venu 2 vs Apple Watch Series 6: Hardware
Venu 2 adopts a circular design, Apple Watch a square one
Unlike its predecessor Venu 2 comes in a choice of sizes. You can pick between the regular variant which measures 45.4 x 45.4 x 12.2 mm or the 2s version which comes in at 40.40 x 40.40 x 12.10 mm. The device is unisex but the 2s is better for those after something that won’t look too bulky on their wrist. Measuring 38 grams it is also 11 grams lighter.
Both of these adopt the same circular shape and are identical in terms of design. The only difference is the size.
Garmin has added an additional button on Venu 2 as compared to the original. Which leaves you with two along the touch-display to navigate the menus.
The most stunning aspect of Venu 2 is its high-res AMOLED display. A thing of beauty, it measures 1.3 inches on the larger version and 1.2 inches on the smaller one. The Venu range is the only Garmin wearable to come with an AMOLED screen.
Moving on to the Apple Watch and we get a very different look. The Cupertino outfit has adopted a square design for its smartwatch range.
Once again you get two size options. Series 6 can be picked up in a 44mm and a 40mm variant. The size choices are actually very similar to the Venu 2. But the Apple Watch is slightly thinner.
The other difference is that instead of the two buttons you get a rotating crown. You’ll need to use this and the touch-screen to interact with the thing – the combination works well.
We had some excellent praise for the display that can be found on Venu 2. But the Apple Watch Series 6 manages to surpass this. Plus, the square shape allows more for screen space. So the larger 44mm variant comes with a 1.78 inch screen and the smaller a 1.53 inch one.
This is an always-on Retina display with Force Touch, LTPO OLED display (1000 nits). And yes, Venu 2 also has the always-on option in case you were wondering.
All things considered, there’s not really too much in it when it comes to looks. Both Venu 2 and the Apple Watch are attractive timepieces with beautiful screens and have the same 5 ATM water-resistance rating. We would put Apple slightly ahead but if you are after a more traditional look, the circular Venu 2 might fit the bill better.
Under the hood there’s quite a bit going on. With each passing year wearable manufacturers are managing to squeeze more tech into a tiny space.
Sensors that Venu 2 and Apple Watch Series 6 have in common include an accelerometer, gyroscope, barometric altimeter, optical heart rate sensor, blood oxygen sensor, compass and an ambient light sensor. A long list, indeed.
The addition that you get with Venu 2 is a thermometer. However this is not used for health purposes. But the electrical heart rate sensor on the Apple Watch is. It can be used to take an electrocardiogram, similar to what you’d get in a doctor’s office.
What’s really impressive about Venu 2 is its battery life. Despite the high-quality display, the watch is good for 11 days in smartwatch mode on a single charge. This comes down to a respectable 8 hours with GPS switched on. Battery life is one of the main improvements of Venu 2 versus its predecessor.
It’s worth noting, the battery life for Venu 2 that you can see above is not with the always-on option. Toggle this setting and it comes down by a half.
Apple Watch has been struggling with battery life since its beginnings a few years ago. In that respect Series 6 is no different. You are able to squeeze out a measly 18 hours with normal use so you will need to charge it quite often. It is possible to prolong this life if you don’t use too many features but we really do hope Apple manages to improve on this with Series 7.
Here’s a table comparing the main specs of Venu 2 and Apple Watch Series 6.
Apple Watch Series 6
Venu 2: 45.4 x 45.4 x 12.2 mm
Venu 2s: 40.40 x 40.40 x 12.10 mm
44mm: 44 x 38 x 10.4 mm
40mm: 40 x 34 x 10.4 mm
fiber-reinforced polymer, stainless steel bezel
Aluminium, stainless steel, titanium and ceramic options
Venu 2: 1.3″
Venu 2s: 1.2″
Venu 2: 416 x 416 pixels
Venu 2s: 360 x 360 pixels
44mm: 448 x 368 pixels
40mm: 394 x 324 pixels
Always-On Retina display with Force Touch, LTPO OLED display (1000 nits)
Venu 2: 49.0 g
Venu 2s: 38.20 g
Case weight: 30.1g (for 40mm version); 36.7g (for 44mm version)
Venu 2: martwatch 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
Venu 2s: 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
18+ hours (based on 90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 mins of app use and a 60 mins workout with music playback)
Barometric altimeter, gyroscope, compass, accelerometer, thermometer, heart rate (4th generation), SpO2, Ambient light sensor
Optical heart rate sensor (plus SpO2), Electrical heart sensor, improved accelerometer up to 32 g‑forces, improved gyroscope, barometric altimeter, SpO2, ambient light sensor, compass
GPS, GLONASS, Galileo
GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS
up to 650 songs
Yes (Stream Apple Music direct to watch)
Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi
Bluetooth, Wi-Fi on 5Ghz, LTE and UMTS cellular radio
Venu 2: Silver Stainless Steel Bezel with Granite Blue Case, Silver Stainless Steel Bezel with Black Case
Venu 2s: 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
A number of aluminum finishes anodized in silver, gold and space gray. You can also pick up the device in gold stainless steel with a matching Milanese band, joining the silver and space black stainless steel models.
Garmin Venu 2 vs Apple Watch Series 6: Functionality
Activity tracking features
Both of these watches of these are great for someone looking for something with lots of health and fitness functionality. Now that Apple has native sleep tracking it also covers all the bases. You also get some more advanced functionality such as blood oxygen tracking, with the addition of estimated respiration and stress tracking on Venu 2.
Apple Watch Series 6
Sports and fitness tracking is Garmin’s strong point. In that sense it comes with lots of sports modes and these have their own performance analytics. Gym activity profiles, training/planning/analysis features, running features, detailed golfing features, outdoor recreation, cycling, swimming is all there. Apple is no slouch in terms of sports tracking but it does lag behind Garmin.
The Cupertino outfit is better, though in terms of general health features and its software eco-system. The one important addition it has over the Garmin is the FDA-cleared ECG sensor. We are yet to see a Garmin wearable with such functionality. The Series 6 also looks for irregular heart rhythm and can alert you if your heart rate goes above or below a certain value. Finally, there’s also the fall detection feature. Garmin has this one covered, though, with its own Incident Detection.
In previous years we would have put Garmin clearly ahead of Apple when it comes to sports, fitness and health tracking. However the gap has narrowed. The stumbling block for Apple remains battery life. If you’re primarily after fitness tracking, its a huge advantage to have something that doesn’t need to be charged every night!
When it comes to smart functionality though, it’s pointless comparing the Series 6 to Venu 2. That’s because the Apple device is hands down the best smartwatch you can buy today. It has a plethora of third party apps, watch faces covering everything imaginable.
Then there is the optional cellular connectivity. Apple Watches with this built in allow you to connect to the world when you are away from your phone. Third party apps can tap into the cellular signal as well.
Having said this, Venu 2 does have some smart functionality. Just like the Apple Watch it comes with smartphone notification support, local storage for music, an NFC chip for contactless payments, calendar alerts and more. But Apple is the clear winner on this count.
Here’s a run-down of the differences when it comes to activity tracking and smart functionality.
Apple Watch Series 6
Stress and recovery
On-screen workout animations
Underwater wrist based heart rate
Irregular heart rate detection
Low/high heart rate alerts
Compatible with iOS and Android
Garmin Venu 2 vs Apple Watch Series 6: Verdict
Garmin Venu 2 and Apple Watch Series 6 come from wearable tech titans. These are excellent all around watches with little to separate them in terms of price, quality of design and sensors under the hood.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
The choice really depends on what you are after. Do you want a watch that puts multi-sports and activity tracking first? Or are you more interested in smart functionality?
For the first group we would recommend Garmin Venu 2. The device comes with everything you need to track your activity around the clock. On top of that you get a gorgeous design, vibrant AMOLED screen and excellent battery life. Plus there are features such as respiration rate and stress that you will not find on its rival.
Garmin Venu 2
The Apple Watch is improving each year when it comes to fitness and health. It’s strongest point, though, is the smart functionality. This includes an excellent operating system, plethora of third-party apps and features such as optional cellular connectivity. The caveat is the poor battery life. But it is the winner if you want a smartwatch with fitness tracking functionality.
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