(Pocket-lint) – Garmin’s Venu family is pretty new to the line-up and fortunately only contains a couple of models, making it pretty easy to pick the right model for you.
But with so many of Garmin’s devices being so close on the spec sheets, it can be confusing. To cut through the noise, here’s a breakdown of how the Garmin Venu 2 Plus compares to the Garmin Venu 2.
Design and build
- Venu 2 Plus: (43mm) 43.60 x 43.60 x 12.60mm, 51g
- Venu 2: (45mm) 45.40 x 45.40 x 12.20mm, 49g; (40mm) 40.40 x 40.40 x 12.10mm, 38.2g
The Garmin Venu 2 Plus makes it pretty easy when it comes to size, because there’s only one. It has a 43mm body, sitting between the two sizes offered by the regular Garmin Venu 2.
As you can see from the dimensions above, the Garmin Venu 2 comes in 45mm (which is the regular version) and the 40mm Venu 2S (which is the smaller version). Although the sizes are different, the design and build are the same.
That’s true of all these models. There’s a fibre-reinforced body, with metal backplate and stainless steel bezel on all these watches. There are various colours offered across the different models.
All the watches offer 5ATM (50m) waterproofing and all use Garmin’s spring pin Quick Release straps. The Venu 2S is 18mm, the Venu 2 22mm and the Venu 2 Plus is 20mm.
Yes, it’s important to note that Plus in this instance doesn’t mean “plus size” – it instead refers to additional functionality.
There’s also another major difference between the Venu 2 and the Venu 2 Plus – there’s an additional button centre right on the Venu 2 Plus – and this is the button that unlocks the new functionality.
- Venu 2 Plus: 1.3in AMOLED, 416 x 416 pixels, touchscreen
- Venu 2: (45mm) 1.3in AMOLED, 416 x 416 pixels, touchscreen; (40mm) 1.1in AMOLED, 360 x 360 pixels, touchscreen
When it comes to the display, it might be surprising to learn that the Venu 2 and the Venu 2 Plus actually have the same size display at 1.3-inches. Both are AMOLED and both support touch.
The Venu 2S is naturally smaller, at 1.1-inches with a slightly lower resolution. However the pixel density is essentially the same across all devices, so all are equally proficient at displaying content.
That’s all there is to say about the display – the experience is very much the same, apart from the overall size.
- Venu 2 Plus: GPS, HR, ABC, sport and lifestyle tracking, voice support, speaker, microphone
- Venu 2: GPS, HR, ABC, sport and lifestyle tracking
The big difference between these devices, naturally, is that the Venu 2 Plus offers voice support. This is activated via that new central button with a long press.
That will trigger the voice assistant on your connected smartphone – Siri for iPhone or Google Assistant for Android; on Samsung devices you can use Bixby too. Garmin has designed the system for these voice assistants, but on Android if you have set Alexa as the default, you can also get the watch to trigger Alexa.
Supporting the new functions are a speaker and microphone on the watch, meaning you can take calls, dictate messages, use voice control for music and trigger other tasks via those voice assistants, like turning on the lights in your home.
Outside of voice control, the functionality of these devices is exactly the same – all have sensors for sports and activity tracking, all support Garmin Pay, all offer music downloads and Bluetooth for connection to headphones.
All also offer the same lifestyle tracking features, such as Body Battery and sleep tracking.
- Venu 2 Plus: 9 days
- Venu 2: (45mm) 11 days; (40mm) 10 days
There’s a slight difference in the battery life of these devices. The Venu 2 Plus has a slightly shorter life, offering 9 days in smartwatch mode, while the Venu 2 offers 11 days and the Venu 2S offers 10 days.
In reality, all these devices offer good battery life considering that they have an AMOLED display and all will give you a 8 hours of GPS tracking with music playback (7 hours on the Venu 2S), so there’s little to choose between them.
When it comes to choosing a Garmin Venu device, there are fewer to choose from compared to the Fenix or Forerunner. Venu is all about that AMOLED display and giving you graphically richer visuals.
The difference between the Venu 2 and the Venu 2 Plus is clear – the newer model introduces voice controls and unlocks new smartwatch functionality as a result. At the same time, it puts the same size display into a smaller body for a more compact device.
So the decisions is easy: if you want voice support for Siri or Google Assistant – or taking calls through your watch – then the Venu 2 Plus is the watch to choose. If you just want a Garmin with an AMOLED display, then the Venu 2 will do the job – but you might also want to consider the Garmin Epix, which is the AMOLED version of the Fenix.
Writing by Chris Hall.