Garmin Venu 2 evaluate: sports and style
Within the nice pantheon of devices we connect to our wrists, two classes have jumped to the entrance: smartwatches and sports watches. Smartwatches are glossy and extra for the day-to-day, however they usually undergo horrible battery life. Sports watches are more durable, longer-lasting, and, nicely, sportier, however they are typically huge, cumbersome, and ugly. The Garmin Venu 2 is an try to shut the hole between the 2 product classes — and whereas it isn’t good, it’s the closest anybody has come but.
Let’s begin with the physique. There are two sizes to select from. The usual Venu 2 is available in at 45mm (1.77 inches), and the Venu 2S is 40mm (1.58 inches). Each watches value the identical $400 and are successfully an identical, however the 2S has a barely smaller display screen (1.1 inches versus 1.3 inches) and a nominally shorter battery life. I believed the common Venu 2 appeared good on me, however smaller-wristed folks ought to go for the S. Proper up entrance, the watches have a brilliant and colourful OLED touchscreen. It’s sharp and clear, and I used to be in a position to clearly learn it even in brilliant, direct daylight whereas working.
There are solely two bodily buttons, each on the correct facet of the watch. The highest button is the exercise begin / cease button, and long-pressing will get you proper to you a circle of shortcuts for settings and apps. The underside button is the again button, but it surely additionally doubles as a guide lap / set set off, and long-pressing will get you into your settings.
The remainder of the UI is navigated by contact, and it truly doesn’t suck! Which will sound like a low bar to clear, however the overwhelming majority of smartwatch person interfaces are objectively terrible. In distinction, Garmin’s is easy and intuitive. It borrows closely from its sports watches just like the Fenix 6 and the Enduro — together with its glorious widgets that present simply sufficient information — you simply navigate it with a touchscreen now.
The watch itself is discreet and engaging. It’s low-profile sufficient that it doesn’t catch on sleeves, and you may even get away with sporting it for formal events. Altering straps is fast and straightforward; there are many elegant leather-based sort choices along with the everyday workout-focused straps.
Fortuitously, it’s outdoorsier than it appears to be like. Along with being waterproof to five atmospheres (about 164 toes), it has mainly each sensor you may need, together with: GPS and GLONASS for satellite tv for pc positioning, a barometric altimeter for elevation, a compass for positioning, a gyroscope and accelerometer for movement monitoring, a thermometer, ambient mild sensor, a coronary heart fee monitor, and pulse oximeter. All of these work very nicely. The center fee monitor and pulse oximeter signify the primary use of Garmin’s new Elevate V4 sensor suite, which has upgraded infrared sensors (in addition to extra sensors) for higher accuracy. It tracked my runs and hikes precisely, and the center fee monitor was nearly as correct because the chest strap I wore (the Wahoo Tickr, which additionally has been glorious in my testing).
On the smartwatch facet, the Venu 2 checks many of the containers, although there’s nothing notably revolutionary about it. It shows notifications out of your smartphone, be it Android or iOS. When you’re utilizing Android (I used to be testing with my trusty Google Pixel 5), you may quick-reply to textual content messages and different notifications (you may program your individual quick-replies by way of the app), which is useful when a Sure / No / ”Name you again in a bit” will do. This works positive with texts, however after I tried this with Gmail messages, the replies by no means truly went via, regardless of it saying it had been despatched on the watch display screen. For what it’s price, Apple would like you purchase the Apple Watch, so it doesn’t permit you to reply to textual content messages by way of any third-party watch, which is annoying.
The Venu 2 has an NFC radio and Garmin Pay, which lets you retailer bank card information on the watch and faucet to pay if you’re with out your cellphone / pockets. It may well additionally retailer music (there’s sufficient storage for as much as 650 songs) and pair instantly with Bluetooth earbuds. Getting the watch arrange with Spotify was a little bit of a ache, however as soon as that was performed, I used to be in a position to shortly obtain an entire playlist and head out sans cellphone.
Whereas most smartwatches prime out round a day of battery life (perhaps two for those who’re conservative), the Venu 2 boasts 11 days of battery life in smartwatch mode (10 days for the Venu 2S), which is great. Clearly, utilizing the GPS for exercise monitoring will take a superb chew out of that, and I all the time did a mixture of each, however even with logging all of my GPS exercises, the battery by no means lasted lower than eight days between costs. That finally ends up being a giant deal on your 24 / 7 well being monitoring metrics. The Venu 2 has very detailed sleep monitoring, in addition to coronary heart fee, respiration fee, and extra, and it’s very nice to get a week-plus of uninterrupted measurements with out having to fret about taking it off to cost.
It’s price noting that there are some smartwatch options the Venu 2 doesn’t have, which might be inventory on one thing like Apple Watches or Google’s Put on OS. It doesn’t have any sort of voice assistant in-built. Actually, it doesn’t actually have a mic or a speaker, so there are not any voice calls or voice instructions. There are loads of customizable watchfaces to select from, and it could possibly show your upcoming calendar occasions, however you may’t add or edit occasions from the watch. Mainly, it’s smart-ish, however there are sacrifices.
On the sports watch facet, there are about 30 actions you may select from, together with working, strolling, climbing, pool swim, power coaching, snowboarding, snowboarding, and others, but it surely doesn’t come anyplace near the choices from most devoted sports watches, together with the Garmin Enduro or Fenix 6. For instance, there isn’t a possibility for path working, open water swimming, or browsing (that are a few of my commonest exercises), and there isn’t actually a superb purpose why. The Venu 2 has all the required sensors, and it has loads of storage for these tiny apps.
The Venu 2 additionally lacks not solely maps however even a easy track-back function for runs and hikes that will help you discover your manner again to your place to begin, one thing I sorely missed after I received misplaced on a run and ended up straining my knee whereas discovering my manner again. It does have a “Again to Begin” function, however that simply tells you your distance again to your beginning place and has an arrow to level you within the (allegedly) proper route. In apply, it’s primarily ineffective. As a result of it doesn’t show the trail you took, the arrow would continuously lead me down dead-end streets. Typically, it pointed within the precise other way of the place I began, despite the fact that the space was constant. This leads you to play colder / hotter as you’re looking for your manner again. It’s simply dangerous.
These are some huge omissions in my guide, and it looks as if Garmin solely made these decisions as a result of it doesn’t wish to cannibalize its gross sales of its higher-end sports watches, which is extraordinarily disappointing. This watch might entice much more folks if it simply included extra apps. For me, the dearth of my favourite exercises can be a deal-breaker, however that begs the query: who is that this watch actually supposed for? It contains issues like treadmill, indoor rowing, yoga, Pilates, stair stepper, and indoor climbing, however not kayaking or mountain biking. The watch additionally has downloadable HIIT and power coaching exercises with a muscle map to point out you what you’re going to work, intelligent animations to information you, and automated rep counting, however there isn’t a try at out of doors route-finding or navigation.
It looks as if this watch is extra aimed for metropolis folks moderately than those that wish to get out within the filth. Garmin successfully confirmed that to me, saying the Venu 2 was designed for extra of an “energetic life-style” versus an journey / out of doors buyer in thoughts.
When you have a look at the record of actions and you see that all your favorites are lined, then this watch is liable to be a superb exercise companion for you. The good options are good, the battery life is improbable, and the exercise monitoring is extremely correct.
However for those who, like me, want to get your train out in nature, then it’s price shelling out the additional cash for a Fenix 6. It’s an actual disgrace as a result of this watch might have been nice for each, and it might be a greater match for a lot extra folks if it simply had extra exercise choices. We’ll replace this evaluate if Garmin has a change of coronary heart and fixes that with a software program replace, however I wouldn’t maintain your meticulously tracked breath.
Images by Brent Rose for GadgetClock
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