With today’s announcement of the Venu 2 Garmin released their second generation AMOLED smartwatch. It comes in two sizes now and packed with a much improved battery, improved storage for music, a bunch of new widgets, activity profiles and sleep tracking. I’ll go over all the differences and features in this article so you can decide if you want the original Venu or the new Venu 2 or Venu 2s. It goes without saying, but no features were scrapped.
Display and Battery life
Since the Venu comes in two flavours now, you will see a lot of tables first. As the two sizes only impact screen and battery. Other than that, they are exactly the same in functionality. The display itself is still an amazing, bright AMOLED display, but given the two new sized a bit bigger or smaller. The glass is still Gorilla Glass 3, I’m wondering when that will go to 4, 5 or higher.
|Venu||Venu 2S||Venu 2|
|Display Size||1.2″ (30.4mm)||1.1″ (27.9 mm)||1.3″ (33.0 mm)|
|Resolution||390 x 390||360×360||416×416|
Where the screen got a slight improvement, the real gain is in battery life. Not so much during your activities, but in smartwatch mode. The battery life has doubled. And with battery saver on, you get another 10% more (roughly a day).
|Venu||Venu 2S||Venu 2|
|Smartwatch Mode||5 days||10 days||11 days|
|GPS||20 hours||19 hours||22 hours|
|GPS + Music||6 hours||7 hours||8 hours|
On top of an increased battery life, the new Venu 2 watches get “Rapid Recharging”. This basically means that in 10mins of charging you get enough in there for 1hr in GPS mode or a whole day in watch mode. This is great if you’re about to go on your run, see your watch is low. Then pop it on the charger, get changed and by the time you’re ready, so is your watch. I mean, it’s not gonna sit at 1%, so it will probably have enough for that session.
The new Venu 2 has more storage on board for offline music. Meaning you can take the watch and listen to music while leaving your phone at home. This works with Spotify, Amazon and Deezer (and you probably need a paid subscription there). This was already a feature of the Venu so there’s nothing new there. But the Venu 2 and 2S have a bit more memory to store music.
|Venu||Venu 2 / 2S|
|Storage||4 GB||8 GB|
|Music Storage||up to 500 songs||up to 650 songs|
But keep in mind that this is just an estimate, if you put Bohemian Rhapsody, Purple Rain or Daft Punk’s ‘Too Long’ on there, you probably wont make that number. Gives me chuckles, so if you want to try, here are some other suggestions.
New widgets and features
As with any new watch, or new generation, the Venu 2 comes with a whole slate of new features, widgets or what you want to call them. I’ll list them here and explain what they do. None of these features exist on the Venu and it’s unlikely that Garmin will add these later.
This is a feature to record your key data. The Health Snapshot includes your heart rate, heart rate variability, Pulse Ox (SpO2), Respiration rate and stress. Then you can generate a report of this. So you can share it with a health professional if they’re not there with you. This feature is also useful if you feel ‘off’ and want to share that moment with your doctor. Start a recording and you can show it later. Because as we all know, problems disappear when the doctor is in.
New Activity Profiles
The Venu 2/2S now supports Hiking, Indoor Climbing and Bouldering. And then has Advanced Strength Training and HIIT. As the first three are nothing new to the Garmin realm, I’ll just explain the new-new profiles.
Advanced Strength Training
The Advanced Strength Training profile allows you to see your PR’s right at your wrist. But not only that, it will also show you the overview of the workout, the animation how to do the exercise and it will even show you what muscles you’re working on directly. Not all of this is new, but the addition of the muscle groups is.
This new activity profile has different timers to track your HIIT workouts, including AMRAP, EMOM, Tabata and custom. You can set the number of rounds, work/rest intervals and more.
Garmin has widgets for all kinds of data. Your Body Battery, Weather, Training load, Music, etc. In all watches you swipe through these one by one. With the new Widget Glances you get a list that you scroll through, smoothly I might add, and then can tap the widget for more information. This list can already give you some brief information itself. For instance, the sleep widget will show total sleep hours and your sleep score. Then, on a tap, you can get your stages, stress, etc. To be honest, this isn’t super new in the Garmin world, as the Forerunner 745 also has this, or ‘ish’. It really is a nice feature!
Personally not sure what the added value is, besides a party gimmick at this time, but the Fitness Age takes your actual age, your weekly vigorous activity, resting heart rate and BMI (or body fat percentage) to estimate if your body is younger or older than you are. And you can get tips to lower your fitness age. I guess it’s nice to be young again.
Advanced Sleep Tracking
The AST ties in with the Body Battery feature and uses Firstbeat to track your quality of sleep. This makes it the second Garmin watch to do so. Thy are committed to adding it to other devices soon, not all, but the Forerunner 745 has it in public beta now. It keeps track of the different sleep stages as well as heart rate, stress, Pulse Ox (SpO2) and respiration rate. Get a score for the night and insights on how you can do better.
As with all my comparisons, I always say I don’t know your budget. And as with all new generation watches, it usually means the previous generation gets a price drop, or MRSP price drop or even clearances as shops will want to avoid being left with old stock. The price difference at the moment is quite substantial. You pay $130 less for a Venu. However, personally, the long term of the Venu 2 looks brighter. You immediately get the Advanced Sleep Tracking and a much, much improved battery. Not to mention more future updates. Then the choice between the 2 or 2S, I like the S versions better, usually, but I have tiny man-wrists.
Prices and Availability
Both Venu 2 and Venu 2S are available immediately on Garmin and Amazon. And, both watches cost the same with an MRSP of $399 or €399. On the Garmin site you can make a whole bunch of nice combinations, however, I’m only listing the base models as the number of possibilities is insane. The MRSP of the Venu is still $349, but it’s currently listed on Amazon for a mere $260.
|Venu 2S Silver||$399 on Amazon|
|Venu 2S Slate||$399 on Amazon|
|Venu 2S Light Gold||$399 on Amazon|
|Venu 2S Rose Gold||$399 on Amazon|
|Venu 2 Silver||$399 on Amazon|
|Venu 2 Slate||$399 on Amazon|
Just a note about the “links to buy” in this article, as they are sponsored. I do look for the lowest price I can find at the time of writing in a handful of stores, but by using the links I earn from qualifying purchases made through these links.