Garmin Venu 2 test: the most lifestyle of sports watches drives the point home

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At the end of 2019, the Venu arrived with an original proposal, that of a sports watch with an AMOLED touch screen embellished with health functions and similar in design to the more connected models. lifestyle, such as Apple Watch, Galaxy Watch and other Huawei Watch. A way to seduce a public of athletes looking for a watch adapted to their activities, all the same elegant and practical on a daily basis.

Launched at 400 €, i.e. 20 € more than its predecessor, the Venu 2 is also available in Venu 2S, more compact (40 mm against 45 mm) and at the same price. For an additional €50, the Came 2 More is inserted between the two formats (43 mm), but above all gains a microphone and a speaker to manage telephone calls, use voice dictation dedicated to messages and control the voice assistant of the smartphone.

The Venu 2 largely takes the design of its predecessor and we will not complain about it. Both sober and elegant, it contrasts with the more massive and sometimes convoluted designs of many sports watches. The finish is still of a very good standard with a stainless steel bezel bonded to a reinforced polymer case and encircling a Corning Gorilla 3 reinforced glass dial.

The Garmin Venu 2 connected sports watch.

The Garmin Venu 2 connected sports watch.

Although the plastic aspect of the case seems less prestigious than the metal of some watches, this does not affect the comfort or the resistance of the Venu 2.

In silicone, the bracelet sold with the tocante is quite classic, but pleasant to handle and wear. Its 18 holes allow a precise adjustment to the wrist and a metal buckle ensures its locking. A small clip comes to block the end of the bracelet. We appreciate that the 22 mm straps are in the standard watchmaking format, which allows easy changing and a very wide choice.

The Garmin Venu 2: steel bezel on a polymer case, silicone strap.

The Garmin Venu 2: steel bezel on a polymer case, silicone strap.

While the first Venu decided on a 43 mm format supposed to be suitable for all wrist sizes, the Venu 2 opts for 45 mm and is therefore more suitable for large wrists (from 135 to 200 mm). However, Garmin offers the 2S version of its Venue in 40 mm format (from 110 to 175 mm). This second version takes the opportunity to integrate a larger AMOLED panel, this time reaching 1.3 inches (3.3 cm) against 1.2 inches for the Venu. The occupancy rate of the screen compared to the total surface of the facade climbed three points, to 52%. Too bad there is a 3.5mm wide black ring all around, adding to the 2mm of the bezel. A next version without edges would not be refused. Nothing really shocking, however, thanks to the perfect blacks of the AMOLED technology, which thus merge with those of the border.

The Garmin Venu 2 on a wrist of approximately 17 cm in circumference.

The Garmin Venu 2 on a wrist of approximately 17 cm in circumference.

We still appreciate the quality of the AMOLED screen which offers excellent contrast, a beautiful display finesse and a satisfactory maximum brightness. However, the latter would benefit from further increasing to ensure sufficient readability in direct sunlight. A sensor is also responsible for adapting the brightness automatically. The various digital dials are thus in the spotlight and those displaying hands are strikingly realistic.

One of the Venu 2's needle dials.

One of the Venu 2’s needle dials.

Connectivity issue, no change: there is a proprietary connector for recharging the watch. Too bad Garmin did not opt ​​for a magnetic connector or wireless charging.

Always tactile, the Amoled screen of the Venu 2 remains its centerpiece. The interface takes full advantage of this, displaying a number of information using bright colors on a perfectly black background that highlights them. In addition to the date and time (digital or analog with hands), of course, the dial can also display other information such as the number of steps taken during the day, the heart rate, the remaining autonomy… The wide choice of dials in principle meets the expectations of the vast majority of users, who will also find others to download via the Garmin Connect app.

To obtain more information on our activities and our health, consult the weather forecast for the day or even access the latest notifications transmitted by the smartphone, you can access a multi-level menu with a simple swipe of the finger on the screen: from top at the bottom to access the beginning of the list and vice versa for the bottom of the list. A little disturbing if you’ve gotten used to the way systems like Google Wear OS and Apple Watch OS work, which instead display their notifications and settings respectively with those same gestures on the screen. But let’s not forget that the Venu 2 is above all a sports watch and therefore logically puts sports data in the spotlight.

The information displayed in the tiered menu.

The information displayed in the tiered menu.

The Venu 2 interface also uses the two physical buttons on the right side of the watch. Pressing the top one gives access to the activities which are then selected via the touch screen. Pressing the lower one corresponds to the cancel function and return to the previous screen. A long press on these buttons triggers their second function. The top button thus displays a crown of shortcuts for triggering a stopwatch, activating do not disturb mode, locking the watch, controlling music playback, and more. Note also that the Venu 2 has internal memory to store and play music without using the smartphone. A long press on the bottom button gives access to the choice of dial, clocks, history and general settings.

In general, the operating logic is acquired quite easily and the interface is pleasant to use despite a fluidity that is sometimes lacking.

It is possible to pay contactless with Garmin Pay on the Venu 2.

It is possible to pay contactless with Garmin Pay on the Venu 2.

The Venu 2 always synchronizes with the Garmin Connect application which also centralizes many other sports devices of the brand. Very complete, it is organized by tabs, the first grouping together all the information that seems important to us under the heading My day.

The Garmin Connect app, tab

The Garmin Connect application, “My day” tab.

The second corresponds to the challenges that we intend to take up to motivate ourselves and confront us with our contacts. Then comes the Calendar tab which gives an overview of our activities of the past days. The last tab displays the latest sports activities of our contacts, which can be commented on and appreciated with a little “like” which is always a pleasure.

Many training programs are also offered.

Many training programs are also offered.

The various health and activity records provide a large amount of information to analyze and compare. Garmin Connect is one of the richest apps at this level.

Despite its air of connected watch lifestyle, the Venu 2 is no less rich in sensors than other Garmin sports watches: heart rate monitor, GPS, gyroscope, accelerometer, compass, barometric altimeter and pulse oximeter (SpO2) are responsible for collecting as much information as possible to increase the relevance of activity analyses.

The small protuberance accommodating the sensors is not awkward on the wrist.

The small protuberance accommodating the sensors is not awkward on the wrist.

Less focused on health monitoring than some more specialized connected tocantes, the Venu 2 still provides stress and sleep monitoring which we thought was relevant. However, the analyzes have a sporting vocation, in particular to calculate a level of “body battery”, the theoretical energy that one can expend during a day.

Sleep tracking, SpO2 and

Sleep tracking, SpO2 and “body battery”.

A bad night’s sleep and not enough recovery from the previous day, and the watch will advise against engaging in demanding workouts.

Small

Little “get old” during the Christmas period!

We can also organize a whole training program thanks to the Garmin Connect application, the watch then taking care of compiling the data to help us in monitoring our performance and our state of form.

Sleep tracking, with a little admonishment about the late bedtime.

Sleep tracking, with a little admonishment about the late bedtime.

There is good GPS capture with a stable signal and a location that rarely deviates from the actual route. The barometric altimeter is also a plus in terms of the precision of the height difference measurement, complementing the GPS altimetry well. On the other hand, it is necessary to do without navigation, the Garmin Venu 2 still not embedding a base map and not being able to rely on the smartphone for this.

Analysis of a running race.

Analysis of a running race.

With regard to the heart rate monitor, same observation, the measurements obtained with the Venu 2 prove to be precise. During a single run at a steady pace, we measure only 0.6% difference compared to the data obtained with our reference Polar H10 chest strap. The difference rises to around 1% during a split race, the curve obtained via Garmin Connect following that of the Polar very well.

Running activity with changes in heart rate.  Garmin Venu 2 on top, Polar H10 on bottom.

Running activity with changes in heart rate. Garmin Venu 2 on top, Polar H10 on bottom.

Announced as much more autonomous than the first Venu of the name, the Venu 2 would be able to operate for up to 11 days in classic connected use and 12 days with energy saving activated. The use of GPS during an activity results for its part in an autonomy of 22 hours at most, dropping to 8 hours if you listen to music at the same time, again according to Garmin.

Our tests are consistent with these data since we exceeded the week of use after each full charge, with the default settings, automatic brightness, three to four sports activities per week and wearing on the wrist H24 (with sleep monitoring). Unless you run for a long time listening to music every day, you can reasonably only worry about charging the watch once a week. A fairly common performance in the world of sports watches, but remarkable in comparison with the autonomy observed with more connected models. lifestyle which often struggle to exceed two days of operation. Be that as it may, endurance enthusiasts will turn to sports watches offering two to three times more autonomy than this Venu 2, which is aimed at a wider and less extreme audience.

The Venu 2 is charged in just 1 hour with the supplied proprietary cable and a conventional smartphone charger.

At the end of 2019, the Venu arrived with an original proposal, that of a sports watch with an AMOLED touch screen embellished with health functions and similar in design to the more connected models. lifestyle, such as Apple Watch, Galaxy Watch and other Huawei Watch. A way to seduce a public of athletes looking…

At the end of 2019, the Venu arrived with an original proposal, that of a sports watch with an AMOLED touch screen embellished with health functions and similar in design to the more connected models. lifestyle, such as Apple Watch, Galaxy Watch and other Huawei Watch. A way to seduce a public of athletes looking…

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