Garmin Venu 2 Plus Review: For Fitness Enthusiasts

Garmin smartwatches and fitness wearables have been around in India for quite some time. While I had heard about these being popular among fitness enthusiasts, I have rarely spotted one in use. So, when the Garmin Venu 2 Plus came in for review, I was surprised to see the feature list and the price. Priced at Rs. 46,990 in India, it goes up against the Apple Watch Series 7, which we and many others have rated highly. So, is the Garmin Venu 2 Plus the right smartwatch for you, or would you be better off with an alternative? I put it to the test to find out.

Garmin Venu 2 Plus price in India

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus is priced at Rs. 46,990 in India and is only available with a 43mm dial. You can choose between Graphite Black, Cream Gold, and Powder Gray, and each one comes with a matching strap.

Garmin Venu 2 Plus Design

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus has a circular dial with a 1.3-inch AMOLED display. Surprisingly, it’s only available in a single 43mm dial size; you don’t get other options like you do with the Apple Watch Series 7 (Review) and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 series. This happened to be just perfect from my hand, but many people might find it too small or too big.

The Venu 2 Plus has a metallic bezel with a textured pattern, which looks and feels premium. There are three buttons on the right, whereas the left only has the speaker. The case is made out of polycarbonate and uses standard 20mm straps. The supplied strap has quick release pins which make it easy to swap without needing any tools. Garmin has used metal for the underbody of the Venu 2 Plus, and this is where you’ll find the health sensors. This area also has charging contacts in a recess. Garmin’s cable clicks into place easily for charging, which eliminates any fumbling.

garmin venu2 plus buttons gadgets360 Garmin Venu 2 Plus Review

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus has a 1.3-inch AMOLED display

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus weighs 51g which means it is quite a bit heavier than the Apple Watch Series 7. Compared to the Apple Watch, the Garmin Venu 2 Plus has a commanding presence on your wrist. The strap is well designed and did not cause any skin irritation during the review period. It also kept the watch pretty snugly against my wrist, which helped with accuracy when measuring my heart rate and SpO2 levels. The Venu 2 Plus is rated for 5ATM water resistance and can track swims too.

Garmin Venu 2 Plus software, features, and ecosystem

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus runs on proprietary software and can be used with an iPhone or an Android smartphone. You can use all its features when paired with an Android phone, but if you use an iPhone certain features are not available, such as the ability to reply to messages. You can use the speaker and microphone on the Venu 2 Plus to answer incoming calls on your wrist, but you will need to raise the watch quite close to your face to hear the caller clearly. The Venu 2 Plus has Bluetooth as well as Wi-Fi connectivity and can connect to known networks independently. There is no cellular connectivity on the Venu 2 Plus like you can get with the Apple Watch and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 series.

I paired the Garmin Venu 2 Plus with a Samsung Galaxy S21 (Review) smartphone for a week and then switched to an Apple iPhone 12 Pro (Review) the following week. The Garmin Connect app is almost identical on both platforms, and it was easy to set up. The home screen of the app is a dashboard that shows all the health parameters that the Garmin Venu 2 Plus has recorded. It displays the number of steps taken, number of floors climbed, heart rate, Body Battery (energy level), stress level, and even sleep details. You can tap on any of these to see additional information. There is even a calendar view of all these stats, which can be viewed at a glance.

garmin venu2 plus sensors gadgets360 Garmin Venu 2 Plus Review

The underside of the Garmin Venu 2 Plus has multiple sensors to measure heart rate and SpO2

The app lets you participate in fitness challenges and even allows you to create your own. You can add friends and compete with them. If you do so, their fitness activity shows up in the news feed tab of the app. You can also use the Garmin Connect app to change watch faces, customise quick shortcuts, set activity goals, and toggle different tracking features.

On the Garmin Venu 2 Plus, you can swipe up or down on the home screen to access “Glances” which are essentially widgets that showcase information such as your SpO2 level, heart rate, sleep stats, and more. The UI also has a widget that clubs all notifications from your paired smartphone making it easy to glance at all of them in one go, however interacting with them requires an additional step. You can customise these widgets using the Garmin Connect app.

The middle button on the Garmin Venu 2 Plus activates the voice assistant of the paired smartphone. The in-built speaker makes it possible for the assistant to reply to your commands through the watch. The topmost button on the right brings up a Favourites menu with a short press, while a long-press opens up a control menu. The lower button takes you back a step in the UI, but you can also swipe right on any screen to go back. Long-pressing it takes you to the settings. I found this navigation scheme to be overwhelming when I first started using the Venu 2 Plus, and finding the right setting took some searching. The learning curve is slightly steep compared to an Apple Watch but things got better after some use.

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You can summon the personal assistant on your paired smartphone using the Venu 2 Plus

You can track a wide range of workouts on the Garmin Venu 2 Plus ranging from basic exercises such as walking and running to strength training. You can also create custom routines by clubbing different strength training exercises using the app or the Garmin Connect website. It’s easier to create custom workouts on a PC and sync them with the Venu 2 Plus, which is a huge benefit of such an ecosystem.

Garmin Venu 2 Plus performance and battery life

I used the Garmin Venu 2 Plus for over three weeks, tracking my walks almost every day, and compared the results with those of an Apple Watch Series 7 to check its accuracy. The Garmin Venu 2 Plus uses its built-in GPS for tracking outdoor exercises. Locking onto a GPS signal took less than 30 seconds on most occasions. Distance tracking was accurate, and the Venu 2 Plus recorded exactly 1km for every 1km I walked. Step tracking wasn’t far off at all, and the watch displayed 999 steps for the 1,000 that I counted manually.

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus can continuously track your heart rate and it was accurate when compared to the Apple Watch Series 7. The Venu 2 Plus was also quick to detect changes in heart rate while I was working out. You can monitor your SpO2 level on the Venu 2 Plus and even track this throughout the day, automatically. This is disabled by default. I found the SpO2 readings to be on par with those shown by a medical-grade pulse oximeter.

garmin venu2 plus sleep tracking gadgets360 Garmin Venu 2 Plus Review

You get a complete breakdown of your sleep cycle if you wear the Venu 2 Plus to bed

Sleep tracking was accurate and the Garmin Venu 2 Plus managed to track different phases of my sleep too. The app breaks this down into deep sleep, light sleep, REM, and waking periods. You can even enable SpO2 tracking while you sleep. The Garmin Venu 2 Plus claims to track stress as well, and the results shown were in line with how my day felt. While all these parameters made the analytical side of me very happy, the sheer amount of information was overwhelming at times. Garmin should find a way to streamline how it presents all this data to the user. Perhaps adding personalised insights in the app would make it easier to understand all the stats a bit better, especially for novice smartwatch users.

The battery life of the Garmin Venu 2 Plus was impressive. With my usage, which consisted of tracking evening walks almost every day, notifications from my paired smartphone, heart rate tracking enabled all the time, and even tracking sleep, I still managed to make the watch last around six days per charge. This is much higher than what the Apple Watch Series 7 is capable of – I needed to charge it every other day. I do expect the battery life to be lower with all-day SpO2 tracking and the always-on display feature enabled. Charging the watch with the supplied cable and my own 10W power adapter  resulted in a 45 percent charge after 30 minutes, and the watch was fully charged after roughly another hour.

Verdict

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus is a very capable smartwatch for fitness enthusiasts. It can track a wide range of health parameters and works across Android and iOS. To top it all off, battery life is very good for the features it offers. Priced at Rs. 46,990 in India, it is expensive and might only appeal to a niche audience. The lack of LTE connectivity could also deter some buyers – the Apple Watch Series 7 (Review) offers this but at a higher price.

If you are an athlete or a fitness enthusiast who actively wants to track workouts and health-related parameters, then the Garmin Venu 2 Plus could be a worthwhile investment. iPhone users who only want to casually monitor their fitness and want a simpler user interface might find the Apple Watch Series 7 a solid alternative. Those on a budget can consider the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and the Apple Watch SE (Review) instead.

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