1.  Pricing and latest deals
  2. Design differences
  3. Smartwatch features
  4. Sports, fitness, and wellness features
  5. Battery life
  6. Which should you buy?

Garmin Venu 2 Plus v Venu 2: Key differences explained

Here's the lowdown on the key differences
Wareable Venu 2 and Venu 2 Plus side by side
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Garmin has added to its Venu smartwatch family, with the launch of the Venu 2 Plus.

The Venu 2 Plus joins the Venu 2 (main picture left) and the Venu Sq 2, but adds voice calling from the wrist and virtual assistant support for a more complete smartwatch experience.

We've put the Venu 2 Plus through its paces already, and having spent plenty of testing time with the Venu 2, we've got a good sense of how different these two Garmin watches really are.

If you're weighing up whether you should go Venu 2 or Venu 2 Plus, here's a closer look at how the latest members of the Venu family match up. And make sure you read our best Garmin wearables round-up.

 Pricing and latest deals

So, how much does the Venu 2 Plus cost, and how does it compare to the Venu 2?

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Design differences

WareableGarmin Venu 2 Plus v Venu 2: Garmin smartwatch face-off

Garmin Venu 2 Plus (left) and Venu 2 (right)

If you like your smartwatches sporty looking with shiny bezels, then that's pretty much what the Venu 2 and Venu 2 Plus offer in terms of design.

They both use polymer in their round case designs, with 20mm quick-release bands with silicone, and leather band options up for grabs on the Venu 2 Plus. The Venu 2 is larger, with a 22mm strap.

The Venu 2 Plus is the smaller of the two watches, measuring 43mm, compared to the 45mm size case on the Venu 2. The Venu 2 does also come in a smaller Venu 2s version, which offers a smaller 40mm case.

Despite the difference in case sizes, Garmin has managed to plant on the same 1.3-inch, 416 x 416 AMOLED touchscreen display, which in our testing time offers much the same in terms of responsiveness, brightness and overall quality. Both can be used in always-on modes too, which will see a drop in battery performance.

WareableGarmin Venu 2 Plus v Venu 2: Garmin smartwatch face-off

Garmin Venu 2 Plus (left) and Venu 2 (right)

You're getting three physical buttons on the Venu 2 Plus compared to the two on the Venu 2, which is mainly to accommodate new voice features.

It also means that Garmin has been able to move its Shortcut feature, so getting to your fave mode or feature is now a button press away instead of a screen swipe.

Garmin has packed on the same software offering the same UI with its glances (widgets) and dedicated data screens dominating navigation proceedings.

The Venu 2 Plus measures in at 12.6mm thick and weighs 51g compared to the 12.2mm thick Venu 2, which weighs in slightly lighter at 49g. Both offer the same 5ATM water resistance rating making them safe for swimming and having room for the same 200 hours of activity data.

Side-by-side, it's the case size and the extra button on the Venu 2 Plus that separate them. While 2mm may not sound much, but it's a big difference in smartwatch terms. If you have small wrists, and you're worried about comfort and bulk, you should probably pay more for the Venu 2 Plus.

Smartwatch features

WareableGarmin Venu 2 Plus v Venu 2: Garmin smartwatch face-off

Garmin Venu 2 Plus (left) and Venu 2 (right)

This is where the key big difference lies between the two Venu 2 watches. If you want the richest smartwatch experience that Garmin currently has to offer, then it's the Venu 2 Plus.

While the sports tracking and core features are the same across the two watches, The Venu 2 Plus adds a microphone and speaker (not included on the standard Venu 2), which unlocks the ability to make and receive calls from the wrist, and access your smartphone's voice assistant via your watch.

It's currently compatible with Google Assistant, Samsung Bixby and Apple's Siri. So this is functionality that works across Android and iOS devices.

Outside of that voice support though, the Venu 2 and the Venu 2 Plus are level-pegged. You're getting Garmin Pay, a music player with room for up to 650 songs and support for streaming services like Spotify, the ability to view notifications and respond to them when paired to Android phones, and finally, get access to Garmin's Connect IQ store.

These perform the same from a smartwatch perspective, outside of those voice features you'll get on the Venu 2 Plus.

Sports, fitness, and wellness features

WareableGarmin Venu 2 Plus v Venu 2: Garmin smartwatch face-off

Garmin Venu 2 Plus (left) and Venu 2 (right)

From a sport, fitness and wellness point of view, everything you get on the Venu 2 Plus is on the Venu 2.

That includes the same satellite support for outdoor GPS tracking, heart rate monitor technology and the ability to monitor blood oxygen levels continuously or during the night.

The performance of those features we'd say are similar too. They're solid sports tracking companions, you're getting good (but not perfect) heart rate monitoring for exercise, and wellness features like stress and respiration tracking are useful to have but lack some handy actionable insights.

The sports and fitness tracking department both offer 25+ sports tracking modes including a dedicated HIIT mode that offers structured and freestyle options.

There are on-screen animated workouts for the likes of Pilates and Yoga and runners have access to Garmin Coach, letting them access personalized run training plans.

For insights into your level of fitness, you can grab VO2 Max scores, and see your fitness age along with tips to improve it, although both miss out on the more advanced training analysis you'll get from pricier Forerunner watches like the 745 and 945. These are jack-of-all-trades smartwatches, designed to offer an entry-level Garmin experience.

Both Venu 2 watches are well-equipped for accurately tracking things like runs and swims, with a heart rate monitor that works well for moderately intensive workouts, but struggles for accuracy at high intensity.

You do have a the ability to pair to a chest strap to improve that accuracy though.

WareableGarmin Venu 2 Plus v Venu 2: Garmin smartwatch face-off

Garmin Venu 2 Plus (left) and Venu 2 (right)

If you care more about your general health and wellness, the watches match up again, with Garmin's Body Battery energy monitor, blood oxygen monitoring, respiration tracking, women's health tracking, all-day stress tracking, and step and sleep monitoring all covered here. Both offer Garmin's Health Snapshot feature, which captures heart rate, stress, respiration rate, and blood oxygen from one reading.

Some of those features still lack the advice we'd like to see to help make sense of that data, while sleep monitoring still feels a little generous at times with capturing duration.

While both offer similar safety features with Garmin's Assistance and incident detection on board to raise the alarm when your watch is connected to your phone, the Venu 2 Plus will let you make contact from your watch if you can't get your hands on your phone.

Bottom line, if you want something that works as a fitness and sleep tracker and can offer some insights into your general health without offering clinical-grade data, then both of these watches are equipped to do that.

They're both in this particular department and it's hard to really separate them at all.

Battery life

The Venu 2 Plus gives you up to 9 days in battery life in smartwatch mode and up to 8 hours of battery life when using the GPS.

Garmin doesn't usually quote battery performance when you switch to the power-sapping always-on display mode, which does see that battery drop. In our experience, it worked out to about 3 maybe 4 days based on the use of other tracking features on top.

With the Venu 2, you're looking at up to 11 days in smartwatch mode, but the same 8 hours of GPS battery life.

The Venu 2S is 10 days in smartwatch mode and 7 hours of GPS battery life. When that always-on mode is enabled, we say you can expect 3-4 days again.

Both of these watches offer a quick charge feature getting you a day's play from a 15-minute charge.

These are two smartwatches that are more than capable of lasting you for a week's worth of training and more. The Venu 2 will technically give you longer, but we'd say the experience is not hugely different between the two in our testing.

Which should you buy?

In terms of that overall experience you're getting from these two watches, whether it's design or tracking, they are very similar on most fronts. They're two solid options in Garmin's collection that definitely veer more towards behaving more like smartwatches than other options. If you've got to pick between though, here's how we see it:

Buy the Garmin Venu 2 Plus if...

For our money, the smaller case size is the key reason to buy the Venu 2. If you really want those added voice features, this is obviously the watch to go for – however, it's not a feature we'd shell out an extra $100/£100 for.

Buy the Garmin Venu 2 if...

If you're not fussed about those voice extras, like a larger case design and you want more day-to-day battery life, just stick with the standard Venu 2.


How we test



Michael Sawh

By

Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of T3.com.

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.


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