Garmin Venu 2 evaluation: A formidable health tracker that thrives outdoors the health club

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Garmin makes among the finest health trackers round, however they often surrender critical fashion factors within the title of performance. Thankfully, that’s not the case with Garmin’s Venu 2, which was launched in April 2021. It’s a wearable health and well being tracker with GPS that not solely tells the time, however it additionally displays a wealth of biometric knowledge, can plan exercises, play music, sync up messenger and calendar capabilities, and improve its performance with downloadable apps. The Garmin Venu 2 includes a attractive AMOLED full-color touchscreen, steel bezel, and interchangeable 22mm bands. It’s a robust and fashionable improve to the unique Venu that appears at house within the health club, but additionally received’t stick out like a sore thumb when the costume code requires one thing extra refined than health gear.

I wore the Garmin Venu 2 smartwatch for many of a month whereas jogging, bike driving, and packing up and shifting to a brand new condominium (a lot of heavy containers). I’m additionally knowledgeable cameraman and I by no means knew what number of energy I burned simply lugging gear till this Garmin smartwatch provided me perception into my each day actions. However I additionally wore it throughout much less strenuous moments, like assembly with producers, speaking to condominium brokers, and simply going about my day. By all of it, I discovered the Venu 2 struck a wonderful steadiness between practical and trendy.

Garmin Venu 2 design

I used to be impressed by the Garmin Venu 2’s appears to be like, with its polymer case and engaging ridged, steel bezel. It’s uncluttered and understated, with solely two small buttons situated on the aspect of the case. At 45mm, the watch follows the development towards bigger faces. Whereas I didn’t discover it uncomfortable to put on, it did lure sweat on longer, hotter days. Anybody with smaller wrists or who merely likes sporting smaller timepieces will need to take a look at the 40mm Venu 2S. Each have the identical options.

Garmin is aware of how one can construct watches and, regardless of their minimalist look, the Venu 2 and 2S watches are sturdy and designed for powerful exercises. They’ve a 5 ATM water-resistance ranking and might stand up to strain equal to a depth of 164 toes—utilizing the watch within the rain, snow, or bathe, when swimming or snorkeling received’t trigger any issues. The AMOLED display screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3, the identical materials used on many smartphone display screen protectors. 

Observe your entire actions on the Garmin Venu 2. Brian Stillman

The Venu 2’s fantastically expressive AMOLED touchscreen actually caught my eye. Shiny and colourful, it shows a wealth of knowledge that I had no hassle studying throughout exercises. Nonetheless, that fashion comes at a value—maintaining the show energetic on a regular basis will shortly drain the battery. Garmin guarantees the Venu 2 lasts 11 days in smartwatch mode however has simply 22 hours of energy in GPS mode, and eight hours in GPS mode with music. And the Venu 2S ought to final about 10 days in smartwatch mode, 19 hours of energy in GPS mode, and seven hours in GPS mode with music. Whereas I by no means took the watch into the backcountry, I did use it continually over a four-day weekend, together with some tracked health actions, and by no means discovered myself worrying it could die. If close to that time, the Venu 2 may be set into battery-saver mode, which disables the “always-on” display screen so it’s able to lasting longer with out paring again on options or proscribing monitoring; it simply places the show to sleep. (And 10 minutes of quick-charge can get you a day of smartwatch mode or an hour of GPS mode in a pinch.) 

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Additionally, as a lot as I cherished all the intense colours, it generally felt like somebody was throwing a rave on my wrist, so I made a decision to benefit from some customizable shows that deliberately cut back the variety of energetic pixels. This preserves battery life and makes the watch a bit extra delicate. A helpful low-power mode darkens the display screen when not in use. Some folks may like that, however after testing it for a few hours, I made a decision it was a bit too delicate.

Garmin put lots of thought into the Venu 2’s consumer interface, and I used to be impressed by how simply I navigated its options utilizing an intuitive swiping movement. Good bonus: utilizing it on a wet day or when sweaty didn’t get in the best way of the touchscreen’s sensitivity. 

The Venu 2 is offered in slate or granite blue, whereas the 2S is available in graphite, gentle sand, mist grey, and white. The two makes use of a 22mm strap, and the 2S has an 18mm strap; each are simply changed with the numerous, many choices (of assorted supplies, colours, and costs, beginning at $29.99) obtainable by Garmin and third events. 

Establishing the Garmin Venu 2

I had no hassle getting began with the Venu 2. Earlier than something, I used the included USB cable (that includes a proprietary port, so don’t lose it) to cost the watch, which comes partially charged. It doesn’t embrace a wall adapter, so that you’ll want to provide your personal or plug it into a pc. As soon as the watch was topped off, I downloaded the free Garmin Join app to my cellphone (there are variations for each iOS or Android), and created an account. 

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The app routinely synced with my watch by way of Bluetooth and walked me step-by-step by the set-up course of. If that is your first time utilizing the app, it establishes baseline biometric knowledge like peak, weight, stride size (all of which I needed to double-check for accuracy), and coronary heart price with a view to higher observe your health in a while. I used to be testing one other Garmin operating watch and, as soon as my account was arrange, I used to be in a position to swap between the 2, synching knowledge to every, with the contact of a button. By connecting to my cellphone, I additionally gained management over my music, messages, calendar notifications, and information apps. The Garmin Join app additionally supplies entry to a complete on-line neighborhood and opens up further layers of customization. 

Shifting to a greater Venu

garmin venu 2 tracking
Your stats at a look. Brian Stillman

Like the unique Garmin Venu, the most recent model displays coronary heart price, Pulse Ox (to spot-check blood oxygen saturation), respiration, stress, step numbers, and sleep patterns. Not surprisingly from an organization recognized for its navigation techniques, the Venu 2 has a wonderful GPS with GLONASS and Galileo choices. When synced to your iOS or Android smartphone, it delivers messages and notifications, supplies management over your music, and interfaces with the highly effective Garmin Join app for better well being metering and suggestions. 

The watch now makes use of Garmin’s Elevate V4 optical heart-rate sensor and has two sensors to extend the accuracy of the heartbeat oximeter. These fancy AMOLED graphics profit from a extra sturdy processor and GPU. The Garmin Venu 2 has a bigger show space than the unique, in addition to extra storage for downloaded music (rising from about 3 GB to 7 GB). Widget Glances present snapshots of biometric knowledge, sleep monitoring has improved, and there’s additionally a brand new strength-training profile that features a muscle map for planning exercises, in addition to added exercise profiles.

Monitoring greater than your battery’s vitality ranges

garmin venu 2 smartwatch
Brian Stillman

I typically really feel like I’m operating on fumes. It’s a part of an unhealthy sample of staying up late, waking up early, and pushing myself laborious through the workday. The final month wasn’t helped by a transfer to a brand new house and a return to movie manufacturing now that I’m vaccinated. So I used to be notably intrigued by one thing referred to as a “Physique Battery” vitality rating. The Garmin Venu 2 combines a wide range of metrics—together with coronary heart price, stress ranges, exercise ranges, and high quality of sleep—to estimate my vitality reserve all through the day. If the quantity is low—like mine was—it means that some way of life adjustments could be so as. In my case, the sleep tracker prompt that I wanted extra time within the sack. Seeing it graphed out in wonderful colour, and among the correlating well being metrics, hammered house the purpose and helped inspire me to do one thing about it. (Much less caffeine within the evenings, for starters, mixed with higher time administration.)

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Exercises are all the time simpler once you’ve received a cheer squad at your again, and the Garmin Join app helps present this by gaining wearers entry to a web-based neighborhood. I linked up with some mates who additionally put on Garmin watches and we have been in a position to compete in challenges and observe one another’s progress. We determined to maintain it straightforward and compete for essentially the most variety of steps, and it was nice motivation to get off the sofa and interact in slightly pleasant rivalry. 

A function referred to as Garmin Coach downloads coaching plans for folks at any stage of expertise, and that is the primary Garmin watch to offer muscle-map graphics to assist illustrate and reinforce what teams you’re working at a health club. Swimming buffs will love that the watch supplies underwater heart-rate monitoring and stroke detection. 

So who can buy it?

The Garmin Venu 2 smartwatch is one of the best Garmin GPS look ahead to individuals who need a full-featured health tracker and sports activities watch that appears nearly as good on an evening out as on the enjoying discipline. Its intuitive interface is simple to make use of, and it comes with a full flight of options that compete with some other health tracker. With an MSRP of $399, the Venu 2 prices the identical as an Apple Watch 6, however can sync to Android telephones, which means it received’t restrict you to Apple’s ecosystem. For some folks, that alone makes the Venu 2 a must have over any wearable made by Apple. Nonetheless, even some Apple loyalists could also be swayed by the Garmin’s sharp appears to be like, and enormous, colourful display screen. Actually, as an Apple fan myself, I discovered the Venu 2 to be a classy, versatile smartwatch that I take pleasure in rocking on my wrist. 

Brian S. Hawkins is a journalist and documentary maker who focuses on know-how and popular culture. He has contributed product opinions and suggestions to Well-liked Science since early 2020.