Garmin Venu watch – a smartwatch for “everyone”

The Garmin Venu watch is a connected watch for the general public that incorporates a fine arsenal of sports tracking features. Garmin is obviously known for its range of products dedicated to sport, but is the manufacturer capable of making the Garmin Venu a smartwatch for “everyone” and to wear on a daily basis?

This is a real change in the way of doing things at Garmin which had little interest in the very consumer sector before. The manufacturer is back with a fairly “lifestyle” connected watch that still borrows a lot of features from its ultra-sporty sisters. The most striking example of this openness comes from its AMOLED screen, prettier, but above all easier to wear every day. The Garmin Venu thus aims to place itself between a good sports watch and a good urban smartwatch.

A halftone design

Aesthetically, difficult to find fault with it. Wearing, we emphasize all the same that the gray version is rather “cheap”. It is better to take the more expensive versions which go for a more premium look. These versions are: Gunmetal / Black, Rose Gold / Light Sand and Gold / Black with Gold buckle. It is the latter that is arguably the most successful of all.

As for the bracelet, the grip is universal, in 20 mm, with two pins to change it quickly.

Functions above all

We arrive at the strong point of this watch, the functionalities. Garmin did not curb this model much to make it mainstream. This is a great thing, since there are more than 20 basic integrated activities. You can do yoga, bodybuilding, running outdoors or on a mat, or even gardening.

Activities are therefore not limited to the outdoors. However, this watch reveals its full potential when used outdoors. Absolutely all the sensors you can imagine for a mainstream sportswoman are in this watch: a GPS chip, a heart rate monitor, an accelerometer, a compass, an altimeter, a gyroscope, a thermometer or even a pulse oximeter. In short, it is ultra-complete. So complete that it is intimidating at the beginning: you don’t know where to turn because there are so many possibilities. Fortunately, we end up finding our marks.

Having a lot of sensors is good, but having them perform well is better. On that note, the Garmin Venu is doing very well. The GPS, despite some slowness in the search for the signal is quite effective, especially after updating the watch. The heart rate monitor is very responsive and updates in real time with good accuracy. The rest of the sensors are generally accurate, although there are some issues with the sleep analysis function. Nothing too bad, but sometimes the watch will detect that you are asleep even though you are not even wearing it. To be fair, very few watches do this with precision when tracking sleep. In contrast, it is in activities like weight training that the watch fails. Depending on the movement, it will not necessarily capture a repetition and you will have to enter everything manually after each set. For example, by working the legs in a sitting position or by making a movement with the arm opposite to the watch, nothing happens. It is therefore not perfect in all areas.

Finally, there are music streaming services like Deezer or Spotify. You can also store around 500 pieces of music directly on the watch memory. The Garmin Venu also fits in well with the times thanks to the “Garmin Pay” contactless payment. To do this, you have to be one of the compatible banks or else very easily create a “Max” card (see our guide dedicated to Max and other neobanks).

Interface / software

The watch is controlled via its 30 mm diameter (1.2 inch) AMOLED screen, with a very classic definition of 390 x 390 pixels. The rendering is excellent, thanks to OLED technology which offers the best contrast, which allows to have an “Always on display” function with the time displayed all the time. Of course, this option can be deactivated, which will save a little battery.

For the rest of the controls, everything happens via the two buttons on the side, with more or less long presses depending on the desired menu. One press on the highest and you can quickly start an activity. The bottom button allows you to go back, or with a long press to display the parameters.

On the software side, Garmin stuck with its in-house “Connect IQ” operating system. Much less open than Android Wear, but more optimized for watch functions. As a bonus, this allows it to be compatible with Android and iOS.

Very complete, the Garmin Connect application available on Android and iOS provides easy access to all the statistics recorded by the connected watch (number of steps, heart rate, calories burned, quality of sleep, etc.). Garmin Connect also gives you the ability to create your own workouts and challenge your friends.

Comfortable autonomy

Autonomy is another strong point of the Garmin Venu. The manufacturer announces a comfortable 5 days in normal use, without GPS and without the Always On Display mode. Once the GPS is activated Garmin promises 6 hours. In fact, the watch holds up perfectly for 5 days and has managed to exceed 6 hours of use with the GPS used. It is rare enough to underline that the manufacturer announces figures lower than the reality. For recharging, it is done via a connector under the watch, unfortunately owner. Charging is done in about 1 hour, but it is unfortunate not to be able to charge it wirelessly for example.

Animation on AMOLED screen watch
On the competition side

Competition is rather thin in this specialized sector. But given that Garmin has decided to tackle the mainstream market, it is rubbing shoulders with Samsung and in particular its Galaxy Watch Active 2 which perfectly balances sportiness and urban style. There is even a model with 4G connectivity. For less than 200 euros, the Huawei Watch GT 2 also gets the job done with its many features (GPS, heart rate monitor, music player…) and its classic look.

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$269.99 1 new from $269.99
as of December 2, 2020 12:34 pm

as of December 2, 2020 12:34 pm
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Features
  • IN THE BOX: 1 x Garmin Venu (Granite Blue/Silver) GPS Smartwatch with AMOLED Display; Wearable4U...
  • Beautiful, bright AMOLED display and up to five-day battery life in smartwatch mode; up to six...
  • The broadest range of all-day health monitoring features keeps track of your energy levels,...
  • Keep an eye on your health 24/7 with the broadest available range of all-day health monitoring...
  • Always exploring the limits of a smartwatch battery life, it serves you day and night for up to 2...
  • Integrates a high quality 3D glass face to create the bezel-less vision. The fine craftmanship is...
  • With 15 professional sport modes, its a new breackthrough in personal training. Tracks your...
  • Display: OLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
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      Garmin Venu GPS Smartwatch with AMOLED Display and Wearable4U Ultimate Black Earbuds with Charging Power Bank Case Bundle

      Conclusion

      The Garmin Venu watch is rather expensive compared to its competitors, but it offers very successful sports functions. The number of pre-recorded activities is a real plus, especially given the quantity and quality of its sensors. Visually, it is better to opt for the more expensive versions than the one tested. In any case, Garmin has perfectly succeeded in transforming one of its ultra-sporty smartwatches into an everyday connected watch.

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