Image source: Garmin

Garmin Venu 2 Plus vs Venu 2 vs Venu: key differences revealed

Garmin Venu 2 Plus vs Venu 2? Should you upgrade if you own the first or second version of the device? We’re here to help.

As expected, Garmin has launched an interim generation of its premium looking fitness tracking smartwatch earlier today at CES 2022. Unlike its predecessor, Venu 2 Plus only comes in a single size but with the addition of a speaker and microphone.

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. The next one came in April 2021 and this latest iteration coincides with CES 2022 in Las Vegas.

Here are all the differences explained.


Garmin Venu 2 Plus vs Venu 2 vs Venu: Design and hardware

The Venu range is pretty consistent as far as looks. All three versions 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, Samsung Galaxy 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 all these watches is just over 12 mm and they are water resistant down to depths of 50 meters.

As far as physical dimensions, Venu 2 Plus goes back to its origins. It only comes in a single 43mm diameter size.

An important difference between the latest version and the first two is the addition of a third physical button on the right-hand side. The first two generations have only two buttons. But more about this and the functions of the third button later in this article.

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 Venu 2s packs a 1.1 inch 360 x 360 pixel display.

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Despite the smaller 43mm body, Venu 2 Plus manages to squeeze the 1.3 inch display thanks to a narrowing of the bezel around the edges. The resolution is exactly the same as you’ll find on Venu 2.

You navigate the menus via the touch-display. This is combined with the above mentioned physical buttons.

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

Garmin is trying to appeal to a wider category of buyers with this watch, hence the size choices on the second generation. The 2s version is obviously meant for women. You don’t get that choice with 2 Plus so if you are after a small form-factor, the 2s is your best choice.

The wider appeal is also reflected in the color choices that are available for 2s. You get 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.

The 51 gram Venu 2 Plus comes with a similar choice. This includes a Slate Stainless Steel Bezel with Black Case; Cream Gold Stainless Steel Bezel with Ivory Case and Silver Stainless Steel Bezel with Mist Gray Case.

Garmin Venu 2 Plus vs Venu 2
Garmin Venu 2 Plus | Image source: Garmin

Venu 2 and 2 Plus come with Elevate 4.0 technology

Under the hood you’ll find almost identical tech. As far as sensors, the only upgrade over the original is the Elevate 4.0 heart rate sensor. This brings improvements as far as accuracy during exercise on Venu 2 and 2 Plus.

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 on Venu 2 and 2 Plus

Another slight improvement over the first generation device 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 pretty good

Moving on to the all-important battery life and this is one of the most important upgrades of the second generation over the first. 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.

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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. Around 10 minutes of charging adds up to 1 day of smartwatch mode battery life and about an hour of GPS with music tracking.

The Plus version is no slouch, either, on this count. It can go for around 9 days in smartwatch mode so 2 less than Venu 2. In GPS mode the battery life is identical. The slightly shorter battery life is due to the smaller size and additional functionality.

Here’s a table illustrating all differences and similarities between Venu, Venu 2, 2s and Venu 2 Plus.

 
Venu 2 Plus
Venu 2
Venu 2s
Venu
Material
fiber-reinforced polymer with stainless steel rear-cover & bezel, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
fiber-reinforced polymer, stainless steel bezel, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
fiber-reinforced polymer, stainless steel bezel, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
fiber-reinforced polymer with polymer rear cover, stainless steel bezel, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Quick release bands
20mm silicone
22mm silicone
18mm silicone
20mm silicone
Physical size
43.6 x 43.6 x 12.6 mm. Fits wrists with a circumference of 125-190 mm
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
1.3″ (33.0 mm) diameter
1.1″ (27.90 mm) diameter
1.2″ (30.4mm) diameter
Display resolution
416 x 416 pixels
416 x 416 pixels
360 x 360 pixels
390 x 390 pixels
Display type
AMOLED
AMOLED
AMOLED
AMOLED
Number of physical buttons
3
2
2
2
Weight
51.0 g
49.0 g
38.2 g
46.3 g
Water resistance
5 ATM
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 (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
GPS + GLONASS + GALILEO
Microphones & speaker
Yes
No
No
No
Music storage
up to 650 songs
up to 650 songs
up to 650 songs
up to 500 songs
NFC
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Battery life (base model)
Smartwatch mode: Up to 9 days
GPS mode with music: Up to 8 hours

GPS mode without music: Up to 22 hours
Smartwatch mode: Up to 11 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
Smartwatch mode: Up to 5 days
GPS mode with music: Up to 6 hours
GPS mode without music: Up to 20 hours
Colors
Slate Stainless Steel Bezel with Black Case; Cream Gold Stainless Steel Bezel with Ivory Case; and Silver Stainless Steel Bezel with Mist Gray Case
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
$499
$399
$399
$350

Garmin Venu 2 Plus vs Venu 2 vs Venu: Functionality

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.

There is no difference as far as health and fitness tracking when it comes to Venu 2, 2s and 2 Plus. But there is difference when you compare these two to the original Venu.

The company has improved the sleep tracking function with the second generation and Venu 2 Plus. This is 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.

Another addition over the first generation device is that Fitness Age is available on Venu 2 and 2 Plus 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.

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.

More sports modes

Venu 2 and 2 Plus have a total of 25 sports modes. This includes running, cycling, swimming, golf and more. There are three additional ones over the original come in the form of HIIT, hiking and bouldering.

Finally, Garmin has added some features on Venu 2 and 2 Plus 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 Plus
Venu 2
Venu 2s
Venu
Fitness age
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes (in app)
Sleep Score and Insights
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Health snapshot
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Garmin Connect Challenges App
Yes
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, 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
Yes
No
On-screen workout muscle maps
Strength only
Strength only
Strength only
 No
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
Hiking, Indoor Climbing, Bouldering, Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing
Skiing, snowboarding, XC skiing, stand-up paddleboarding, rowing

Smart functionality

As mentioned, the Venu range is Garmin’s answer to the likes of the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch. Granted, they don’t even come close as far as smart functionality. But they make a decent effort for what is primarily a fitness-focused watch.

The Venu comes with the ability to display smartphone notifications and respond to text/reject phone call with text on Android. There’s also Bluetooth, Ant+ and Wi-Fi connectivity and downloadable watch faces, data fields, widgets and apps via Connect IQ. Other functionality includes calendar, weather, Find my Phone, Find my Watch and more. In addition to controlling smartphone music, you can also upload your tunes to the watch itself. Finally, the Venus support Garmin Pay for contactless payments.

The Venu 2 Plus comes with some important additions. This is the only Venu with a speaker and microphone which allows for smartphone and digital assistant voice control. You can ask questions, control smart devices, all hands-free – by summoning Siri, Google Assistant or Bixby when your smartphone is in Bluetooth range. Plus you can reply to messages with your voice, answer and make phone calls. The functionality is activated via the third physical button.


Garmin Venu 2 Plus vs Venu 2 vs Venu: 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.

Venu 2 Plus takes all this functionality and upgrades it with a built-in microphone and speaker. These can be used for making calls, texting and interacting with your voice assistant when connected to your smartphone. The functions might be important to some, but not to others. The price difference between Venu 2 and 2 Plus is quite hefty – around $100 (check price on Amazon). .

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Garmin Venu 2
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If you are in the market for a new watch, we suggest going for Venu 2 or 2s. You get a nice choice of sizes, so something for everyone there.

If you feel you will benefit from the voice functionality and are not bothered by the $100 price difference, go for Venu 2 Plus (check price on Amazon). But remember, you only get one size option which lands pretty much between Venu 2 and 2s. The size of the screen, though, is identical to Venu 2 so that is an improvement.

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. Garmin will aggresively cut prices of the first generation and you will be able to pick up some nice discounts on Venu 2 and 2s.

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