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Garmin’s Venu 2 Plus is a sporty Apple Watch alternative with voice assistant support

Talk to the hand

Garmin’s Venu 2 struck a brilliant balance between smartwatch and sports tracker. Fronted by a sharp AMOLED display, the ticker delivered a full set of fitness features, training aids and wellness tools, together with music playback, smart notifications and (some) third-party app support. The only thing missing? Voice assistance.

Garmin’s listened – and so can the Venu 2 Plus: addressing the Venu 2’s biggest omission, the new edition ships with a built-in mic and speaker, so you can now talk to your hand.

Paired with your smartphone, the Garmin Venu 2 Plus will play nice with Siri, Google Assistant and – in a boon for the handful who use Bixby – Samsung’s own smart helper. Need instant wrist assistance? Just talk to your Venu 2 Plus to start timers, send texts or set connected lights to a different shade.

And the voice functionality isn’t restricted to pestering your virtual PA. With an active Bluetooth connection, the new mic and speaker setup means you can use the Venu 2 Plus to make and receive calls. Handy when your phone is at the bottom of your backpack. Or you want to pretend you’re working for MI6.

Besides the talky tricks, the Venu 2 Plus is otherwise pretty much identical to the Venu 2. That means you get in-depth all-day activity tracking, a whole host of sports modes, plus customisable workouts with demonstration animations. It also supports Garmin Pay for contactless payments, offline music from the likes of Spotify and Deezer, as well as changeable faces from the Connect IQ store.

Whether the added voice support justifies shelling out an extra £100 ($100) – and sacrificing two days of battery life – will depend on how vocal you like to be. But it certainly makes the Garmin Venu 2 Plus an even closer contender for Apple’s smartwatch crown.

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