Garmin Venu Sq vs Garmin Venu 2: choose your next smartwatch

The Garmin Venu Sq and Garmin Venu 2 are two of the best Garmin watches available right now, but despite being part of the same range, they're very different. That's why we've put together this guide comparing the key features of both watches, so you can choose the best one for you.

The Venu Sq (like the recently release Garmin Lily) is one of Garmin's most fashion-focused watches, with a smart design and a wide range of colors and finishes, but the Venu 2 is no slouch in the looks department either. While it more closely resembles a typical sports watch thanks to its round face, it's still sleek and minimal, and is available in two sizes for different wrists.

Price

The Garmin Venu Sq was released in September 2020 for $199 / £179 / AUS$349. There’s also a Venu Sq music edition (which we tested), which costs $249 / £229.99 / AUS$429 and has on-board storage for up to 500 songs.

The Garmin Venu 2 went on sale in April 2021 for $399.99 / £349.99 / AU$629. Both the 45mm and 40mm case sizes are the same price.

Design

The Garmin Venu Sq has a rectangular case that measures 40.6 x 37 x 11.5mm (almost identical dimensions to the smaller Apple Watch 6).

The Garmin Venu 2 has a round case (which is more typical of Garmin devices) and is available in two sizes: 45mm x 12.2mm, and 40mm x 12.1mm. The smaller of the two models is known as the Garmin Venu 2S.

Both the Venu Sq and Venu 2 have a fiber-reinforced polymer case with a metal bezel. The bezel of the Venu Sq is made from lightweight aluminum, while that of the Venu 2 is stainless steel. The watches come with a silicone strap as standard, but extra bands are available separately, and are easy to change via quick-release pins.

Both devices are operated via a touchscreen and two buttons on the right-hand edge. The lower of these serves as a 'back' button, moving to the previous menu or back to the home screen, while the upper button is context-sensitive and performs different functions depending on the app or widget currently in use. The buttons of the Venu 2 can be locked during workouts to avoid accidental presses.

Garmin Venu Sq vs Garmin Venu 2: choose your next smartwatch

Display

The Garmin Venu 2 has a vivid AMOLED touchscreen display with three brightness settings, and different sensitivity levels for waking it from sleep. The 45mm version has a 1.4in display, while the 40mm model is smaller at 1.1in.

The Venu Sq has a more traditional 1.3in color LCD display, which (although good), isn't as striking as OLED, and uses more power.

The Venu 2's display is also much higher resolution - the 45mm version has a resolution of 416 x 416 pixels, while the 40mm model has 360 x 360 pixels. By contrast, the Venu Sq has a resolution of just 240 x 240 pixels.

Both are good quality displays, but the difference is noticeable in testing, and the Venu 2 is capable of showing a lot more information in a similar space, with crisper text and graphics.

Smartwatch features

Both the Venu Sq and Venu 2 allow you to receive smartphone notifications from Android and iOS phones, and Android phone owners can also send text responses and reject calls with a text message (a useful feature if you're in the middle of a workout).

All the usual calendar, weather and stopwatch apps are present and correct, and both devices also allow you to make contactless purchases through Garmin Pay, once it's set up in the Garmin Connect app.

Both watches allow you to control music playback on your smartphone, and can stream songs from Amazon Music, Deezer and Spotify.

The standard Garmin Venu Sq has no internal storage for songs for offline playback, but the more expensive music edition has space for 500 tracks. The standard 45mm Venu 2 and smaller Venu 2S can both store up to 650 songs.

Both the Garmin Venu Sq and Garmin Venu 2 (plus the Garmin Lily) allow you to track your period, enter symptoms and see details of your cycle right on the watch, though all Garmin users can use the Garmin Connect app for the same purpose.

Fitness tracking

Both the Garmin Venu Sq and Garmin Venu 2 feature on-board GPS, which proved impressive in our tests. We found that it took a little while for the Venu Sq to achieve a lock, but once it did, results of the two were comparable.

Both watches have a step-counter, and will assign you a daily step goal based on your activity levels. However, only the Venu 2 has an altimeter, which means it's the only device capable of tracking how many stairs you've climbed. Again, you'll be assigned a goal to reach each day.

All-day heart rate monitoring is available on both watches, and both track 'intensity minutes', which is a measure of time spent in each heart rate zone. Both watches also have a pulse oximeter to measure blood oxygen saturation at night and during training sessions.

The two devices both have a wide range of workout profiles for indoor and outdoor activities, but the Venu 2 has more options, including HIIT workouts. It can also show on-screen workout animations, and muscle map graphics to show which muscle groups you've worked, helping you plan your training.

The Venu Sq and Venu 2 can both calculate your fitness age (a metric based on your BMI or body fat percentage, resting heart rate, and level of vigorous activity), but only the Venu 2 allows you to see it at a glance on your wrist. If you own the Venu Sq, you'll have to open the Garmin Connect app on your phone to see it.

The Venu 2 and Venu Sq both feature the Garmin Coach tool so you can follow training plans set up in the Garmin Connect app. You can also use the Challenges app to track leaderboards (this is preinstalled on the Venu 2, and Venu Sq users can download it from the Garmin Connect IQ store).

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