“This is a superb well being and health watch at an inexpensive worth.”

  • Dependable and correct exercise monitoring
  • In-depth information assortment and evaluation
  • Easy and light-weight design
  • Help for dozens of exercise sorts
  • Practically week-long battery life
  • $50 up-sell for music performance
  • Touchscreen might be finicky throughout exercises
  • Restricted “sensible” options and notifications

You’d be hard-pressed to seek out somebody who doesn’t know Garmin, and as a rule, they’ll know the corporate’s in depth line of fitness-focused smartwatches. It has a well-deserved popularity for making the highest-end and most-accurate watches for runners, bikers, triathletes, and each different attainable out of doors sport.

However Garmin doesn’t simply wish to play within the “professional” house. There’s purpose to consider the Garmin title can translate into gross sales on the inexpensive finish of the size, competing with entry-level smartwatches and high-end health bands. That is the place the Garmin Venu Sq is available in.

{Hardware} and options

You may’t see it every other means. The Venu Sq seems like an Apple Watch. I do know, there are solely so some ways to make a rounded-rectangle smartwatch, but it surely’s arduous to overlook. Only a couple days after getting the Venu Sq, I used to be at soccer follow, and a teammate requested how I appreciated my Apple Watch.

That isn’t a foul factor, although. In contrast to each different Garmin health watch, this isn’t a polarizing design. It’s easy, easy, and decidedly not rugged trying. You may put on one thing aside from exercise garments and maintain carrying the Venu Sq, with out explicitly shouting to everybody round you “You’re darn proper, I run!” Not everybody needs that recognition.

The plastic physique is efficient, albeit gentle and cheap-feeling (keep in mind, it’s solely $200). The brushed aluminum piece surrounding the curved-glass show masking is a pleasant little bit of distinction, although, and it’s neither thick nor bulbous across the again the place the sensor array is.

The show is simply 1.Three inches diagonal, with a 240 x 240 decision, but it surely positively will get the job finished. It has ambient brightness adjustment, and was simply viewable in daylight, whereas additionally getting lots dim at night time. There’s a big bezel across the display, which doesn’t look nice, however truthfully doesn’t have an effect on how properly you should use the watch contemplating how easy the software program is.

It is a fitness-first smartwatch, not a basic “little cellphone in your wrist” machine, so its sensible performance is primary. You may customise watch faces with some primary designs and information layouts, but it surely’s not practically as in depth as Apple’s. Notifications come to your wrist, and you may act on them when you’re paired to an Android cellphone, however in any other case you may’t do a lot outdoors of well being and health. No messaging, apps, or superior options right here. And the vibration motor is very loud.

Even with a colour touchscreen, the Venu Sq nonetheless has very good battery life by basic smartwatch requirements. Even with a relentless Bluetooth connection bringing in notifications from my cellphone, in a single day sleep monitoring, and 4-5 hours of GPS exercise monitoring, I used to be simply getting 5 days of battery life. That is with out the “all the time on” show, which might certainly lower a pair days off of that, however I discovered having a protracted delay on the show timeout to be a nice middle-ground.

Well being, exercise, and exercise monitoring

For a $200 health watch, the Venu Sq delivers the place it issues. Sensors and monitoring capabilities. You’re getting the identical core monitoring and analytics as a $600 Garmin Fenix 6, operating into the identical nice Garmin Join app in your cellphone. Fixed, correct coronary heart charge monitoring is right here, plus the same old step depend and energetic minutes studying. Garmin’s popularity for having correct GPS monitoring for operating and biking additionally held true in my testing, completely following my actions.

Garmin makes use of the concept of a “Physique Battery” to measure your total bodily situation, which might be enjoyable to trace from everyday. However you additionally get a bodily stress studying, energy burned, sleep evaluation, coaching load evaluation, and exercise solutions — once more, all an identical to far more costly Garmin watches.

Each in style exercise has a pre-made mode you may bounce to and begin monitoring with in a few faucets, from operating and biking to stand-up paddle board, cross-country snowboarding, rowing, observe, yoga, elliptical, golf, and extra. The listing is lengthy.

The Venu Sq additionally affords SpO2 (aka Pulse Ox) monitoring, like lots of its different watches, which is one thing you in any other case solely get on the newest Apple Watch Sequence 6. You shouldn’t put a ton of weight into an SpO2 studying from a client smartwatch, but when it’s one thing you’re centered on as half of your total well being image, it’s right here.

The one factor you’re lacking out on is a barometer, so you may’t get any type of elevation-related monitoring. No day by day stair climb monitoring, and extra importantly, any elevation info for hikes or operating/biking on trails. This isn’t so vital for most individuals, however anybody who takes their operating or biking significantly will actually miss getting exact elevation information and elevation-adjusted tempo evaluation.

Whereas the touchscreen is sweet for on a regular basis use and navigation, it isn’t the very best interface for coping with the watch throughout a exercise. Touchscreens work poorly with sweaty fingers and get unintentionally triggered by sleeves and rain. After unintentionally ending a run as soon as, I turned on the display lock, which sadly additionally disables the aspect buttons — an annoying trade-off, however an total enchancment. It could appear gaudy to have a watch with 5 bodily buttons, like Garmin’s different fashions, but it surely actually is the solution to interface with a watch whereas figuring out or carrying gloves.

Like most of its watches, Garmin has an up-sell cost so as to add music performance to the Venu Sq. You pay an additional $50 for native storage on the watch that may sync music to Spotify, Amazon Music or Deezer, and play again to your headphones straight. This isn’t a giant deal for me whereas operating or biking, because it doesn’t help YouTube Music (c’mon!) and I’ll all the time have my cellphone on me, however I do know many individuals wish to go phone-free and nonetheless have their Spotify playlists. With general-purpose smartwatches having music performance built-in throughout the board, a 25% worth premium to get it on the Venu Sq is tough.

Our take

The Venu Sq is properly positioned as a full step up from primary health bands, just like the Fitbit Encourage 3, with a watch-style form and huge display, however with out the large worth improve of shifting to a full-featured smartwatch from Apple or a high-end health watch from Polar or Garmin itself.

You get correct exercise, well being, and exercise monitoring, backed up by the aggregation and evaluation of Garmin’s smartphone app that provides you all the similar options you’d count on from a way more costly watch. But it doesn’t look like a hardcore health watch, which is probably going a bonus for folks trying to spend simply $200 on this type of wearable.

There are clear shortcomings right here when you take your health very significantly and want extra exact monitoring, extra sensors, or {hardware} buttons. However once more, keep in mind the worth. The Venu Sq is a good aspirational fitness-focused smartwatch that splits the distinction between informal and professional customers, whereas additionally trying extra like a general-purpose smartwatch.

Is there a greater various?

Garmin’s greatest competitor is undoubtedly the Apple Watch Sequence 3, which is comparatively previous however nonetheless absolutely supported and bought model new by Apple for $199. The Watch Sequence Three is clearly not as succesful for monitoring exercises and offering granular health information, however you probably have an iPhone it’ll supply a extra holistic life-style smartwatch expertise with higher apps, notifications, and interface. And the draw of providers like Apple Health+ can’t be understated.

If you wish to focus particularly on monitoring your runs, bike rides, and critical exercises, a extra devoted health smartwatch just like the Garmin Forerunner 245 will make extra sense. It’s costlier, at $275, but it surely has extra buttons, a non-touch display, and a transparent always-on show with low reflectivity in daylight.

How lengthy will it final?

As a reasonable health watch, the Venu Sq isn’t precisely constructed to final a decade. However it’s properly designed and constructed to be knocked round, and that bodes properly for its longevity. You could have to exchange a strap a pair years down the street, however that’s a reasonable proposition. Garmin additionally helps its Join app and platform properly, so so far as information retention and evaluation go you’ll proceed to have these options for years to come back.

Do you have to purchase it?

The Garmin Venu Sq is an effective fitness-focused smartwatch that is available in simply north of a health band funds. Some folks actually don’t wish to spend greater than $200 on a health tracker, however wish to get one thing that appears like a watch — the Venu Sq suits that market. Garmin’s exercise monitoring and app are nice, and that brings distinctive worth right here. Simply don’t count on an excessive amount of from the opposite “sensible” options outdoors of the well being area.

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