Garmin Venu 2 review 

Seriously impressive sports tracking without breaking the bank

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The Garmin Venu 2 was first released in April 2021, as the successor to the original Garmin Venu. With an RRP of £349.99, it sits amongst established smartwatches such as the Apple Watch Series 8 (RRP from £419) and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 LTE (RRP £319).  

Garmin is well known for its range of sports-focused devices, and the Venu 2 sits in the middle of the range – not as expensive as their Fenix 7 series, but slightly pricier than their Vivoactive 4S watch.   

Garmin describes the Venu 2 as a “GPS smartwatch with advanced health and fitness features”. Despite being nearly two years old at time of testing, it still offers a wealth of features that means it holds its own against many newer rivals.  

Garmin Venu 2 GPS smartwatch on a stony backgroundCredit: Saga Exceptional
The Garmin Venu 2 GPS smartwatch

Garmin Venu 2


There’s very little not to like about the Garmin Venu 2. Incredibly detailed health and fitness tracking and measurements, a beautiful touchscreen, and a very impressive battery life make this a great all-rounder. This is an excellent alternative to the likes of the Apple Watch, Fitbit Sense, or Samsung Galaxy Watch.  





Who’s this for?

The Garmin Venu 2 is suitable for almost all but the most dedicated sports enthusiasts. It’s suite of health and fitness features mean it is comprehensive enough for most people looking to track their exercise and activity. But it also offers features for anyone who just wants a good-looking smartwatch for everyday use.

Our likes and dislikes

  • Beautiful and bright display.
  • Battery can last a full week between charges
  • Incredibly accurate GPS
  • Comprehensive sports tracking
  • Limited app availability compared to other smartwatches
  • No ECG function
  • Can’t make or take calls on the wrist

Expect to pay

RRP: £349.99 The Garmin Venu 2 has an RRP of £349.99. We have seen it available for as little as £229.95, if you’re willing to wait for sales to come around.

Garmin Venu 2 Review method

How we test

We tested the Garmin Venu 2 (as opposed to its siblings, the Venu 2S or the Venu 2 Plus) and used it for general everyday wear. The watch was set up to receive notifications, track health metrics and workouts, and test the GPS functionality. We also tested it during exercise, walking and sleeping. 

Alongside wearing the watch, we regularly used the Garmin Connect app. We were able to wear it alongside a Withings ScanWatch (a ‘hybrid’ smartwatch that we are also in the process of reviewing), to provide a reference point for how it measured heart rate, steps, and other metrics, and try to gauge its accuracy and consistency.

We also tested how well the battery lives up to expectations, using the watch for a few weeks before reaching our verdict.  


Garmin Venu 2 Setup

Quick and painless

Setting up the Venu 2 was straightforward. Download the Garmin Connect app, and register an email address to create an account (if you don’t have one already).

Enter details such as your gender, height and weight, to allow the app to calculate things like your estimated calorie burn.  

Then, turn on the smartwatch and pair it with the app. You’ll be asked a few questions, such as your normal bedtime and wake up time, and what goals you’d like to set – these include floors climbed, steps, fluid consumption, and minutes of exercise per week.

You’ll have the opportunity to see some brief tutorials on using the watch. It’s a very straightforward process, and within a few minutes the watch was ready to use. 

Garmin Venu 2 smartwatch sitting on a leather notebookCredit: Exceptional
The Venu 2 is very simple to set up

Garmin Venu 2 Design

Understated and elegant

The Venu 2 has a classic smartwatch design, with a round face, silicone strap, and stainless-steel bezel. We tested the 45mm watch which comes with a 1.3-inch screen.  

Its smaller sibling, the Venu 2S, has a 40mm case and 1.1-inch display, making it a better option for those with thinner wrists, while the Venu 2 Plus offers voice functionality and a 43mm case, but the display remains at 1.3-inches. 

The 416 x 416-pixel touchscreen itself is a beautiful, bright AMOLED display (for comparison, the Google Pixel Watch offers a 450 x 450 resolution, while the Apple Watch Series 8 is 430 x 352). As a result, viewing and understanding your data on your wrist is extremely easy, which is handy, because this watch offers a lot of data. 

There’s a wide variety of watch faces to choose from, and you can select whether to have an always-on display (which means it will always keep the watch face data visible) or turn this off to preserve battery, with the screen only illuminating when you raise your wrist to check it. 

Garmin Venu 2Credit: Exceptional
The watch has plenty of faces to choose from

There are only two buttons on the Venu 2: the upper right button allows you to access workouts and other functions on the watch. The lower button acts as a ‘back’ command when you short press it (you can also go back by swiping right on the touchscreen) and if you hold it down, it opens a settings menu. 

Swiping up on the home screen shows you a more detailed summary of the health metrics your watch is monitoring – with a progress bar to show how close you are to your daily targets. 

It’s a clean, simple design that works well. The watch is quite light (at 49g) and comfortable on the wrist. It’s smart enough to wear in more formal settings, but also durable enough (with Corning Gorilla Glass 3) for use when you’re being more active.  

The watch we tested came with a comfortable silicon strap, which feels well-made and robust. Garmin also offers a leather strap. They use a quick release system that makes them easy to swap, and there are plenty of compatible third-party straps available online. It was easy to wear and remove with the watch using a standard watch buckle, helping it feel secure on the wrist.  

Garmin Venu 2 Companion app

Garmin Connect

The Garmin Connect App is simple to use and easy to read. The main screen summarises the day’s metrics, and tapping on any given measurement provides a more detailed breakdown of the data.  

Further down the screen is a summary of the previous day’s measurements, and below that is a 7-day moving average.

At the very bottom is a menu which lets you load challenges, your calendar (which gives you a snapshot of data from each day), a ‘news’ feed which records any activities you’ve completed, and an inbox for notifications.

Garmin Venu 2 app screensCredit: Exceptional
Some of the many screens found on the Garmin Connect app

Finally, a menu bar at the top left lets you access a range of other features including activities, health and performance, training and planning, and gear.

You can also access Garmin Golf (a separate, subscription-based app that lets compare your performance with golfers on over 42,000 courses around the world and can also provide feedback on your swing after every shot), and Garmin Pay, for example. 

Overall, we liked the way Garmin sets everything out. The data is easy to interpret without overwhelming you.

If you want all the detail, it’s simple to access. The side menu has a lot of options, with plenty of sub-menus, but they are logically laid out and easy to navigate.

Garmin Venu 2 Features


The Venu 2 has many of the features that you’d expect from a smartwatch, including alerts for calls, texts, emails and other notifications. Unlike some competitors, it lacks a voice assistant and the ability to make phone calls from your wrist (these are, however, available on the Venu 2 Plus).  

It also offers some basic text responses that you can send directly from the watch (things like ‘Yes’ ‘No’ and ‘Can’t talk now’).  

These responses work with many messaging apps – we tested it on an Android phone with texts, WhatsApp, Gmail, and Facebook Messenger. But it’s important to note that Garmin says customised text replies only work with Android devices, not iPhones.  

The watch supports music apps by Spotify, Deezer and Amazon, but not Apple Music. You can either play music via the apps on your phone, and use the watch to play, pause and skip tracks, or you can download songs directly onto the watch (as long as you have a premium subscription to Spotify or Deezer). For Amazon Music, you must be the main Amazon Prime account holder.  

If you download music onto the phone, you won’t need your phone when you go for a run. You can just connect a pair of Bluetooth headphones to enjoy your chosen playlist. 

Garmin also offers its own contactless payment system called Garmin Pay. While in theory, this allows you to use your watch for contactless payments, it’s currently only supported by 11 UK banks, with Santander and Starling the best known. For many (including us), it won’t be compatible with your bank account. 

The Garmin Connect IQ app store allows you to select additional apps to install onto the Venu 2. It offers far less than the Apple App Store or Google Play, and there’s a very sports-focused emphasis in terms of its offering. If you want the sort of apps that are available on other smartwatches, there’s a good chance you won’t find a lot of them. 

There’s even a ‘Gear’ option in the menu, which allows you to, for example, add a pair of shoes and track their lifespan, so you know when it’s time to replace them. Again, this may be a more niche feature, but for anyone who runs a lot, knowing when to replace your running shoes could be invaluable to minimise the risk of injury 

Garmin Venu 2 workout screenCredit: Exceptional
There are workout routines to follow on your watch

Health and fitness features

The Garmin Venu 2 offers impressive health and fitness tracking. It covers a wide range of activities, including indoor sports such as treadmill and indoor track, outdoor activities like hiking and cycling, and even pursuits such as bouldering (a type of free climbing), pickleball and padel. You can choose your favourites during setup, so you can quickly access them when you’re ready to exercise. 

The Garmin Connect App offers a selection of workouts and training plans. The workouts state if they are beginner, intermediate or advanced, and you can get a detailed overview of all the moves involved before starting. This is helpful when deciding what’s appropriate to tackle, based on your current fitness level and experience.  

Categories include HIIT (high-intensity interval training) Pilates, yoga and strength training. There are on-screen animations to show you how to do each move, but it won’t correct your form if you are doing things wrong.

Garmin Venu 2 workout animationsCredit: Exceptional
The animations help to explain what you should be doing

Form matters when you exercise

Poor form means your body is potentially misaligned during exercise, which can increase the risk of injury.

Good form also ensures you are working the right muscles during your exercise routine, and helping you get the most from your workout. 

If you’re unsure of your form, consult an expert, for example a personal trainer. You can also check your form by recording yourself, or using a full length mirror. 

Additionally, there are running and cycling training plans. Garmin Coach helps you tackle a 5k, 10k, or even a half-marathon, and adapts to your ability as you train. You can complete them quickly, or over a longer period, to suit your level of fitness and how often you can fit in training sessions each week.  

The 5K plan, for example, can be completed between six and twenty weeks. Input how far you run on average each week (ranging from beginner, to more than 40km). If you’ve never run before, it asks you to set a goal to achieve by the end of your training plan. If you do run already, it will ask you to confirm your average running pace, before setting your goal (a choice of run/walk, run, or run with a time goal). 

Once you’ve set a goal, choose a coach and how quickly (or slowly) you want to complete the plan. You can then specify which days you are available for running, and which day works best for your ‘long run’.  

Once we’d synced the training schedule to the watch, getting started was simple – just start a run, and it will let you start your training for the day. The watch tells you what to do (for example, warm up, run hard, cadence drills) and how long for. For beginners, a lot of this may seem confusing, but Garmin offers some instructional videos to explain, which you can watch before starting your run.  

We found it relatively easy to follow the training guidance, although it doesn’t tell you what a ‘light jog’ looks like, or whether you may need to slow down or speed up during your runs.  

Overall, we can see these training packages being extremely beneficial for beginners who need a helping hand as they get started. We can well imagine that seasoned runners and cyclists, who may just want to try and shave a few seconds off a PB, might also enjoy this.  

Garmin Venu 2 workout selection screenCredit: Exceptional
It’s easy to start a workout on the watch

Standard health monitoring

In more general wellbeing terms, the Venu 2 tracks most health metrics you’d expect from a smartwatch: sleep, heart rate, step count and calorie burn, as well as stress, a body battery (which estimates your changing energy levels through the day) blood oxygen levels, breaths per minute, and stairs climbed.  

It also offers a health snapshot, which is a two-minute check of your heart rate, heart rate variability, blood oxygen, breathing and stress levels.  

While this gives you plenty of information, it doesn’t really provide anything actionable. It offers no advice or insight into whether the numbers are good or bad, or how you might improve them. 

Notably, the Venu 2 doesn’t offer ECG (electrocardiogram), or blood pressure monitoring, which are available on other devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5.  

Garmin Venu 2 Performance

Excellent tracking

Garmin is known for its satellite navigation systems, so it’s little surprise the GPS tracking on the Venu 2 is excellent. The Venu 2 uses GLONASS and Galileo satellite systems to support GPS when tracking outdoor activities.  

If you start a walk or run on the watch, it will automatically look for a GPS signal – it generally took just a few seconds to connect. When we used GPS, we found it impressively precise in recording where we had gone.  

When you finish a workout, the watch presents you with a set of data, which may (depending on the activity) include a map, distance covered, steps, average pace, average heart rate, and estimated calorie burn. 

Garmin Venu 2 app fitness tracking screensCredit: Exceptional
Sports tracking is particularly good

The app provides a more detailed breakdown of each activity, and it estimates your VO2 Max and Fitness Age, to show you how you compare to your actual age. These are potentially helpful for monitoring the effectiveness of a training regime over a period of time. The VO2 Max estimate was consistently in line with the estimate shown by the Withings ScanWatch.  

Fitness Age was also consistent over the time we tested the Venu 2. The app makes suggestions for improving your Fitness Age, such as increasing how much exercise you are doing and reducing your BMI. Our numbers didn’t change much while we were testing; however, we wouldn’t expect to see big changes over such a relatively short period of time, so the consistency in the numbers is a good sign.  

As well as being impressed with the accuracy of the GPS, the Venu 2 closely tracked our heart rate, and we didn’t experience issues with losing connectivity (as we have with other devices).  

While the accuracy of fitness trackers is still variable, the Venu 2 was generally in the right ballpark when tracking activities, based on our levels of perceived effort, and when compared with other devices.  

Sleep tracking gives you a breakdown of how long you spent in deep sleep, light sleep, REM sleep (which is when you dream), and time spent awake. It also measures your average breaths per minute. Finally, the app provides a ‘sleep score’ which is a number between zero and 100, to quickly tell you how well or badly you slept.  

It also offers a bit of advice on ways you may be able to improve your sleep (for instance, reducing fluid intake a couple of hours before bed to reduce night-time disturbances).  

The watch was comfortable to wear at night, but interestingly, we found that it offered very different results to the Withings Scanwatch. Generally, though, it felt like it provided the more accurate reflection of how we’d slept.  

Garmin Venu 2 GPS smartwatch worn on wristCredit: Exceptional
The Venu 2 has excellent battery life

Battery life

Battery life is one area where the Venu 2 really shines. Garmin claims using the watch in Smartwatch mode will give you up to 11 days battery, without the always-on display.  

GPS mode with music will give you up to 8 hours, which is more than enough for most long-distance runs (though perhaps not an ultra-marathon). There’s also a Battery Saver Smartwatch Mode, which can further extend the time between charges by disabling certain functions.  

In testing, after a full week of using the Venu 2 for notifications, tracking sleep, steps, and four different workouts, plus a one hour walk with GPS activated, the battery had dropped from 92% to 23%. GPS for one hour with the screen always on reduced the battery by just four percent. So even if you are going for longer runs or bike rides, this watch should be more than capable of handling it. 

In ten minutes, we charged the battery from 23% to 41%, which is easily enough for an extra day or two of smartwatch mode use. In total, it took an hour of charging to go from 23% to 100%. 

If you turn everything on, or use GPS for several hours at a time, you may need to charge the Venu 2 every couple of days. But for moderate users, the battery will last at least a few days, and could be sufficiently topped up while you’re having a bath or a shower, to make sure you can have it available when you need it. It makes this watch stand out against many of its competitors as a result. 

Garmin Venu 2 Value

Not the cheapest

£300-£350 for a device that’s nearly two years old does feel quite steep, especially when you consider newer devices such as the Pixel Watch and the Apple Watch SE are available for less. These devices offer many of the features of the Venu 2 (although weaker battery life), as well as having far more comprehensive app stores at their disposal.  

But if you simply look at the Venu 2 in its own terms, it’s a stylish device with almost all the main features you’d need in a fitness tracker, with some basic smartwatch elements thrown in for good measure. And crucially, it has excellent battery life. So even though this isn’t the newest watch on the block, it still has a lot to offer.  

If you’re happy to wait for sales, we have previously seen the Venu 2 drop as low as £249 – so come Amazon Prime Day or Black Friday (Nov 24, 2023), it may be worth seeing if the price falls again. 

Garmin Venu 2 Competition

You might also like…

Apple Watch SE

Apple Watch SECredit: Apple
The back of the Apple Watch SE

As one of the most popular smartwatches on the market, the Apple Watch SE offers many of the same health and fitness tracking elements as the Venu 2. Additionally, it has crash detection, a far more comprehensive app store, a voice assistant, access to Apple Fitness Plus, and many of the other benefits of a full-featured smartwatch.   

It also has Apple Pay, which is supported by far more banks than Garmin Pay. It’s a great alternative for anyone who owns an iPhone. And it’s cheaper, with a starting RRP of £259. 

It won’t be suitable if you own an Android device, and it still suffers from much more limited battery life. If you want to be able to go more than a day between charges, this isn’t ideal. 

Withings ScanWatch

four different versions of the Withings Scanwatch next to each otherCredit: Withings
The Withings ScanWatch comes in two different sizes and colours

The Withings ScanWatch is more of a ‘hybrid’ than a traditional smartwatch. It lacks many traditional smartwatch features, such as apps and a touchscreen. In our review, we also felt it didn’t track exercise as accurately as the Venu 2. It isn’t going to be for you if you want the full smartwatch experience.  

However, it is designed to function much more like a traditional watch. Battery life is even more impressive than the Venu 2, lasting several weeks between charges. And it’s also one of the most stylish smartwatches available. It’s a great choice if you want a smartwatch that looks and feels like a traditional watch.    

Polar Vantage 2

Polar Vantage V2 watch in redCredit: Polar
The Polar Vantage is very sports focused

If you’re looking for a smartwatch that offers huge amounts of data from your sporting activities, the Polar Vantage 2 is worth looking at. With tools to help you optimise training, to make sure you don’t overdo things, and performance tests to monitor your progress, this is a watch for anyone who is serious about their sports. 

It does lack a few features, however – perhaps most notably there is no blood oxygen monitoring (a standard metric for smartwatches to measure these days) and there is no local music playback feature. It’s also a little more expensive, with an RRP of £429. 

Garmin Venu 2 Final verdict

An excellent smartwatch for fitness fans

Nearly two years after its release, the Garmin Venu 2 remains a superb fitness-focused smartwatch. It’s stylish enough to be suitable for almost any occasion, but it’s more than just a fashion accessory. It’s comfortable, attractive to look at, and the superb screen is bright and clear. 

As part of the Garmin stable of wearable devices, it has some of the most comprehensive health and fitness tracking on the market. It’s very accurate, and caters especially well to runners, thanks to its impressive GPS tracking.     

For those who like comprehensive data around their health, fitness and general wellbeing, the Venu 2 has almost everything you could ask for – the two omissions being blood pressure monitoring and ECG. Also, if you are a dedicated sportsperson, you may prefer an even more comprehensive sports tracking device. And Garmin Pay will only work if you have certain bank accounts, so for many, it won’t be suitable for contactless payments.  

And finally, battery life is excellent, perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to worry about remembering to charge every night, or that they might run out of battery in the middle of a workout. 

It lacks a more comprehensive app store, especially when compared to the big-name smartwatches, you won’t find the same level of choice as you do with watchOS on the Apple Watch, or wear OS on many Android-powered watches. 

Overall, though, it’s a very compelling package, and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to those in the market for a fitness-focused watch which offers more than a traditional fitness tracker. 

Buy this if: 

  • You want a long-lasting battery. 
  • You’re looking for comprehensive insights into your health and fitness. 
  • You want a subtle design that will suit any occasion.    

Don’t buy if: 

  • You want the fullest smartwatch experience. (contactless payment, app store, voice control) 
  • You’re not interested in exercise.
  • You want more detailed data insights into your performance metrics. 

Garmin Venu 2


There’s very little not to like about the Garmin Venu 2. Incredibly detailed health and fitness tracking and measurements, a beautiful touchscreen, and a very impressive battery life make this a great all-rounder. This is an excellent alternative to the likes of the Apple Watch, Fitbit Sense, or Samsung Galaxy Watch.  


Classic design, quality materials, and a beautiful screen.


Excellent fitness tracking, but it’s not the smartest smartwatch


Accurate activity tracking, excellent battery life, and a user-friendly app


A little pricey, especially when compared to newer competitors

Who’s this for?

The Garmin Venu 2 is suitable for almost all but the most dedicated sports enthusiasts. It’s suite of health and fitness features mean it is comprehensive enough for most people looking to track their exercise and activity. But it also offers features for anyone who just wants a good-looking smartwatch for everyday use.

Our likes and dislikes

  • Beautiful and bright display.
  • Battery can last a full week between charges
  • Incredibly accurate GPS
  • Comprehensive sports tracking
  • Limited app availability compared to other smartwatches
  • No ECG function
  • Can’t make or take calls on the wrist

Expect to pay

RRP: £349.99 The Garmin Venu 2 has an RRP of £349.99. We have seen it available for as little as £229.95, if you’re willing to wait for sales to come around.

Garmin Venu 2 Specs

Weight 49g
Dimensions 45.4 x 45.4 x 12.2 mm
Screen size 1.3in
Screen resolution 416 x 416
Removable strap? Yes
Operating system Proprietary Garmin OS
Compatibility Android and iOS
Workouts tracked More than 25 different workout types
Wi-Fi Yes
Bluetooth Yes
Cellular No
Battery life Up to 11 days
Steven Shaw

Written by Steven Shaw he/him


Steven Shaw has been a freelance writer for a variety of outlets, most notably TechRadar. His degree in Medieval History prepared him less adequately for his career than you might expect, but the years spent working in technology focused retail were much more helpful.

Outside of work, Steven is passionate about health and fitness, and particularly enjoys high-intensity interval training, weight training, and increasingly, spending time recovering. Steven loves reading, films and a wide variety of sports. A particular highlight was watching Viv Richards and Sachin Tendulkar batting together in an exhibition match.

He wishes he could travel more. He can also tell you a lot about the Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and Carolingians. Most of his non-work time is spent with his young children, who are the living embodiment of high-intensity training.