Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

Along with some pretty decent battery life comes the no-nonsense sports mode, which Garmin watches are known for, and Garmin Venu continues that legacy.

Brand: Garmin

Product: Garmin Location

Key specs: 1.2-inch AMOLED display (43 mm), Corning Gorilla Glass 3, stainless steel bezel, fiber-reinforced polymer housing, 5ATM water and dust resistance, smartphone notifications, optional always-on mode, GPS, compatible with Android and iOS.

Price: 37, 490

Rating: 3.5/5

Smartwatches should step that line between fitness bands and smartphones. While they track your steps and your heart rate, they also let you know when you get a text or a call. Some smartwatches also let you respond to a text and answer a call from your wrist, send smart SOS alerts in case you fall, save your music, and also guide you through your workouts.

What your smartwatch can do is directly related to how much you pay for it.

For example, the Apple Watch Series 5 is currently on sale for around € 40,000 and can do all the things I mentioned above. The Galaxy Watch 3 (from 29,990) can do most of it. But the Garmin Venu, priced at 37,490, can only do a few.

So how do you decide how much to spend?

It’s actually pretty simple: figure out what your smartwatch should do. If you want it to look good and tick off most of the basics – you’ve got the Apple Watch, the Galaxy Watch 3, the recently launched Oppo Watch and even the Fitbit Versa 2 with a slight aesthetic stretch (only Apple and Samsung let you make calls from the smartwatch does).

However, if you’re very no-nonsense about sports and your training and still want a smartwatch that looks good, the Garmin Venu is what you might want to check out.


The Garmin Venu comes in a few colors – black, blue, gray with rose gold, and black and gold.

The Garmin Venu comes in a few colors – black, blue, gray with rose gold, and black and gold. (HT Tech/Jhinuk Sen)

Garmin has put an AMOLED screen on the Venu (a standard 43mm), a first for the company, which is bright and clear. But there’s very little you can do on the screen. Navigating through it isn’t the easiest, I ended up swiping randomly around the screen many times, unable to figure out where is what. The touchscreen was also a little unresponsive at times, especially since I was using it after using an Apple Watch as a daily driver.

Without diving deep into the settings – a swipe up or a swipe down allowed me to cycle through my step count, health stats, etc in settings), a swipe to the right… did nothing. The Venu is very similar to the Garmin Vivoactive 4, but slimmer.


The Venu is very similar to the Garmin Vivoactive 4, but slimmer.

The Venu is very similar to the Garmin Vivoactive 4, but slimmer. (HT Tech/Jhinuk Sen)

Lines are engraved on the bezel, giving you the feeling that it can be turned, but it can’t. And then there are two more buttons on the right. The one at the top is for you to jump straight into activities and the one at the bottom is essentially your back button. You can use one of the buttons to activate the screen, or you can tap it to activate it. By pressing both buttons at the same time, you can take a screenshot of the watch face.

Now, the Garmin Venu comes with an always-on display, but the raise to wake feature wasn’t as intuitive as it was on the Apple Watch. But maybe one can learn to live with it.

An always-on screen, of course, means that the battery has to make some compromises, but I managed to get almost four whole days out of the Venu on a single charge. Although, I didn’t check any of my notifications on it. The main reason for this is: I was using the Venu with the iPhone and Apple doesn’t allow non-Apple devices to access messages or calls, so all I could see were basic notifications like SMS/WhatApp alerts, an alert from TrueCaller regarding an updated spam list or news alert from Wired. I can read the message and I can erase it, that’s all. There is no way to respond to the messages on the Venu.


I especially liked the stress function (which you can see here), although it insisted that I was stressed while cooking (which is very possible though) and the body battery function.

I especially liked the stress function (which you can see here), although it insisted that I was stressed while cooking (which is very possible though) and the body battery function. (HT Tech/Jhinuk Sen)

Speaking of notifications, scrolling through them on the Venu is cumbersome as you can’t exactly scroll up or down the list. You have to clear a notification to make room for the next one on the list, at a time when I could only see about three. On Android devices, the Venu can reject a call with a message from your wrist, but only on Android devices.

Long story short: bright, sharp screen, but there’s not much you can do about it. At this point, this probably all sounds like relatively bad news. Well no.


The Garmin Venu charges fat enough and easily lasts four days in a row.  The device promises a battery life of five days, we got about four.

The Garmin Venu charges fat enough and easily lasts four days in a row. The device promises a battery life of five days, we got about four. (HT Tech/Jhinuk Sen)

Along with some pretty decent battery life comes the no-nonsense sports mode, which Garmin watches are known for. The Venu has 20 preset activities with modes such as treadmill, cycling, cardio, golf, paddle boarding etc. You can also create your own custom workout. For this you need the Garmin Connect app (there is also the ConnectIQ app that helps you get new watch faces, apps, updates etc).

The Venu comes with animated workouts, but it’s a little hard to watch the 43mm screen and workout at the same time.

Activity tracking on the Venu includes a whole host of parameters such as heart rate, body battery, stress, steps, calories burned, activity etc and you can also use the smartwatch to track your sleep, menstrual cycle, weight changes, GPS tracking (for those runs) and the hydration. And despite its large dial, it’s ultra-light, which is a huge boon during exercise.


The Venu has 20 preset activities with modes such as treadmill, cycling, cardio, golf, paddle boarding etc.

The Venu has 20 preset activities with modes such as treadmill, cycling, cardio, golf, paddle boarding etc. (HT Tech/Jhinuk Sen)

I especially liked the stress function, although it insisted that I was stressed while cooking (which is very possible though) and the body battery function. The body battery feature provides insight into how ready your body is for activity and determines this based on stress, rest, sleep and physical exertion. On a 0-100, the feature uses your heart rate variability to let you know if you’re in for an intense workout or just doing some light stretches.


The 'My Day' page on the Garmin Connect app is very detailed and shows you all the important data you need at a glance.

The ‘My Day’ page on the Garmin Connect app is very detailed and shows you all the important data you need at a glance. (HT Tech/Jhinuk Sen)

I also found that the instructed breathing exercises were much more complicated than what the Apple Watch or even the Fitbit has, which is probably the point here.

The moment you open the Garmin Connect app, you get all your data in advance. And all this data is also accessible on your wrist. Since you can do little else on your wrist, the full focus is on activity and therefore training. Which is commendable. To be honest, if you’re not half that serious about sports, you probably won’t even consider a Garmin smartwatch.

The Garmin Venu is more of a reinforced fitness band than a handy smartwatch and that’s okay. It’s primarily aimed at people who keep sport and training central, with some smartwatch notifications and functionalities thrown into the mix.

Should you buy it?

If you’re not big on sports and fitness, you can skip this. If you’re using iOS, you can also give this a miss and stick with the Apple Watch. However, if you use Android and take your sport seriously, go ahead, you won’t regret it.

However, if you don’t want to spend, 37,490 on a smartwatch just for the data, there are other fitness equipment on the market and also other smartwatches that can get the job done but not as intensive.

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