When it comes to Android smartwatches, our choices that can come up close to the Apple Watch Series is quite limited, with the closest being the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active series. Which is why the Garmin Venu is pretty interesting, as it looks poised to be the next best smartwatch overall.
Toppling the Apple Watch series isn't an easy task, but Garmin has really went all out with the Garmin Venu in being a smartwatch that's dedicated to being your companion for fitness and lifestyle. But is it enough to make it the best smartwatch overall?
The Garmin Venu definitely has a great design, with its overall look feeling more like a stylish watch than one for fitness. There are plenty of colour themes to look out for, with my favourites being the Light Sand and Rose Gold looking especially feminine while the Black and Gold looks especially luxurious. I had the blue granite and silver option and thought this was a great look for those who want a more fitness looking colours. The downside is that you definitely can't customise the straps, so you're stuck with the colours that you have so choose carefully.
The round screen is definitely a looker, with a 1.2-inch AMOLED display that looks really good with a 390 x 390 resolution. Colours pop out well, and brightness levels are always acceptable. It's just a pity there aren't a lot of face watch options, but it's a small problem overall in that aspect. The bigger problem I had was how the screen was a little finicky, where I would tap or slide once but it reads it as twice, or the exercises start before I properly press start.
The smartwatch also comes with an always-on display, a trend that's also visible on the Apple Watch Series 5 and the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2. On the bright side (get it?), it doesn't affect the battery life of the Garmin Venu as it can last up to five days which is definitely a lot better than the Apple Watch Series 5 or even the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 that can barely last two days.
When it comes to fitness, the Garmin Venu is the best there is so far. Sure, it's not really for the heavy fitness users, but it does a pretty good job in tracking a variety of workouts such as running, swimming (as it has water-resistance rating of 5ATM), and many more.
The best part is that for exercises like cardio, strength, yoga, and Pilates, you can get a guided workout with an animated person showing you what to do - be it poses or exercises. Overall, the workouts shown were easy to follow, but don't expect it to tell you off or give you a chance to try again if you mess up as it's just meant to be a guide. The Venu vibrates after every activity and displays your next move and how long it will take to complete, and if you miss that timing, you can press the bottom button to go back with no issues!
Regardless, the Garmin Venu's guided workouts is definitely a plus for those who would like to do their workouts without having to deal with people or having to look up at other people or screens. If that's what you prefer, then this is a good option to consider.
To be honest, this is a really great smartwatch to consider getting, had it not been for the price tag. While I understand it has some great features, it’s a little hard to push the watch when it comes with a similar price for the Apple Watch Series 5 which has a lot more features to offer with that price, and gets even worse when you consider that the Apple Series 3 is a lot cheaper than the Garmin Venu.
Overall, I foresee only big fans of Garmin getting the Garmin Venu. Other than that, I would recommend the Garmin Venu for those who like to do workouts at home on their own, as long as you have the discipline the Garmin Venu’s guided workouts is really great. Other than that, if all you want is a simple and stylish fitness smartwatch, there are better ones out there for much, much less.