Garmin’s New Venu 2 Smartwatches Are Everything the First One Should’ve Been

The new Venu 2 and 2S watches
Garmin

In September of 2019, Garmin released the Venu smartwatch—its first wearable to feature a (gorgeous) AMOLED display. Today, just a short 19 months later, the company unveiled the Venu 2 and 2S. As a current Venu owner, it looks like basically everything I wanted from the original.

You’d be forgiven for having a hard time making sense of Garmin’s ever-expanding line of fitness trackers, smartwatches, running watches, and multisport watches, as the company seems to announce a new watch or variation pretty often. A rolling stone gathers no moss, I guess.

The Venu 2 and 2S, however, make a lot of sense. This pair of watches, which are essentially identical aside from the size (the 2S is smaller), bring some welcome features to the Venu line and are designed to sit alongside last year’s Venu Sq.

Both watches keep the AMOLED panel that made the original Venu a winner among its wearers (which isn’t exactly a given since the Sq model uses an LCD instead) but bring multiple improvements otherwise. To start, there are now two display sizes: 1.3-inches for the larger 2, and 1.1-inches for the smaller 2S. The original Venu has a 1.2-inch display, so the pair splits the difference.

The biggest hardware improvement in both models is Garmin’s new Elevate V4 heart rate sensor, which should be more accurate and all that good stuff. GPS and GLONASS are still along for the ride in the Venu 2 and 2S and appear to be using the same Sony chip as the original. For music lovers, the onboard storage has also more than doubled—from 3GB to 7GB—so you can keep your tunes offline and ready to go without the need to tether a phone.

Thanks to better integration between the CPU and GPU, the Venu 2 is also more powerful so it offers better support for on-watch apps. Battery life is also improved here, with the larger model offering up to 11 days in smartwatch mode and the smaller up to 10. Both models also support rapid charging, which is another one of those small but welcome changes (it’s not like smartwatches in general charge slowly in the first place.

On the software side, there are some killer features here that will almost certainly be the envy of first-generation Venu owners, including Firstbeat Sleep Tracking and Sleep Score. This is Garmin’s next-generation sleep tracking that is already found in many of its multisport and running watches, and I really hoped that it would come in an update to the original Venu. Alas, those dreams are not crushed, as I don’t expect Garmin to give the original watch any of the new features from the new one. Sigh.

Otherwise, the new model gets updated Fitness Age metrics, an improved Health Snapshot, better on-device workouts (including HIIT and more strength training), and more activity tracking profiles. There’s also support for Connect IQ 4.0 apps. According to DC Rainmaker, the Venu 2/2S are the first Garmin devices to offer this. Neat.

The biggest downside of these new watches is the price—they’re $399, regardless of which model you choose. In the past, some Garmin watches have been a little more affordable for the smaller variants, but since the Venu 2 and 2S share identical specs otherwise, that’s not the case here.

Overall, there appears to be a lot to like with the new Venu line—enough to have this writer already planning the upgrade. The Firstbeat sleep tracking improvements and new HR sensor are both enough to sell me on the newer models, so all the other stuff is just the icing on the cake.

Garmin Venu 2/2S

Garmin’s new Venu 2 and 2S are worth upgrades from the original Venu. Price starts at $399.

Cameron Summerson Cameron Summerson
Cameron Summerson is the Editor in Chief of Review Geek and serves as an Editorial Advisor for How-to Geek and LifeSavvy. He’s been covering technology for nearly a decade and has written over 4,000 articles and hundreds of product reviews in that time. He’s been published in print magazines and quoted as a smartphone expert in the New York Times. Read Full Bio »

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