After several attempts at a hybrid fitness smartwatch, Garmin finally got it mostly right with the Garmin Venu 2. It’s properly usable, doesn’t look too bad either, and the battery life is pretty impressive for watch with a large AMOLED screen.
Aside from the usual step count, heartrate and sleep monitoring, the Venu 2 also measures stress, respiration and blood oxygen (SpO2), all with seemingly good accuracy. Sensor-wise, this is the first watch to feature the new Elevate v4 heart-rate sensor, which now has a few extra LEDs.
It does a great job on all the basic smartwatch features such as passing through phone notifications, providing weather info and swapping watch faces. The 1.3-inch AMOLED touchscreen display has a resolution of 416 × 416 pixels with an optional always-on mode.
The AMOLED screen really brings the widget view of the Garmin OS to life and all the milestone animations, such as when you hit your step goals, look way better on the pretty screen.
Battery life is excellent. Officially, it offers ‘up to’ 11 days in smartwatch mode; with GPS on, battery life is 22 hours, and eight hours if you listen to music as well. Now, this might not sound amazing but this is an AMOLED smartwatch, which tend to have a battery life of a day or two, max.
There are plenty of workout modes in the Garmin Venu 2, including the 25 preinstalled activity-tracking apps as well as high-intensity interval training, covering everything from casual gym goers up to more serious sportspeople.
As well as the new sport modes, the Venu 2 has the new Health Snapshot feature, which provides you with a snapshot of your heart rate, SpO2, respiration and stress levels, as well as heart-rate variability estimations. Body Battery, Garmin’s term for energy levels, is pretty precise, thanks to the Firstbeat Analytics algorithm. Granted, it’s still not a medical measurement of energy levels, but at least now poor sleep doesn’t always replenish the Body Battery as it used to.
Like most high-end sports watches, there is on-board storage for around 2 000 songs.
In the end, this is probably a sophisticated sports watch first and a good-looking smartwatch, with access to the small range of apps, second. If you’re looking for an all-day wearable that adds valuable metrics for your work and play, the Venu 2 is certainly Garmin’s best hybrid watch so far.
Step/heart/sleep, 1.30” AMOLED screen, stainless steel/polymer body, Gorilla Glass 3 face, 8 sensors, GPS, 5ATM waterproof, 49 g, R7 750