Garmin’s first AMOLED sports watch is smart
The Garmin Venu is a great all-around activity tracker, with a bright display, strong battery life, and a full set of fitness features, it’s unbeatable. The Apple Watch’s app library and touch interface will not be a problem, but Venu is a great smartwatch for people who are more athletic. The Venu is also more functional than the similar-named Garmin Venu Sq in terms of both looks and functionality. It can store up to 500 songs and has a variety of outdoor navigation sensors.
Vibrant AMOLED display
Complete suite of fitness features
Support for offline music
The design is somewhat generic
Apps limited in number
Touchscreens can be tricky
Review in two minutes
Garmin Venu is the first Garmin watch with an AMOLED display. It’s also paired with a solid collection of fitness tracking and general smartwatch functions that make it a great all-rounder.
The Garmin Venu2 has now followed suit – a watch even more capable than the original Venu, which we found difficult to fault in our tests. However, the original Venu is still a great option, especially if you don’t have the budget for the newer model.
Garmin is known for its active wristwear but its fitness trackers and running watches are moving closer to being smartwatches. The Garmin VIvoactive 4 was a multi-sport ticker that included smart notifications, offline music, and Garmin Pay. It is just a few steps away from a full-fledged smartwatch.
Garmin Venu continues that evolution by adding an AMOLED touchscreen. The Venu’s distinctive display is sharp and bright, making it a smartwatch. It’s supported by decent battery life, and all the fitness features you would expect.
Garmin’s Venu Sq was launched in late 2020. Garmin launched the more affordable Garmin Venu Sq in late 2020. For more details check out our complete guide: Garmin Venu vs Garmin Venu Sq.
Garmin Venu release date and price
Garmin Venu was announced in September 2019, and is now available for purchase. You can choose from four color options: Granite Blue with Silver Hardware; Black with slate hardware; light sand and rose gold hardware; or black with gold hardware.
It was launched at $349.99 / AU$649 for the US and Australia. The granite blue option is available in the UK for PS299.99. Other colour options will cost you slightly more at PS329.99.
Venu can often be found cheaper at third-party retailers. If you wait until Black Saturday you may find a particularly great deal.
Garmin Venu Design
- Case dimensions 43.2 x 43.2x 12.4 mm
- 5ATM water resistance
- Lightweight at 46.3g
Design Score: 4/5
The Garmin Venu is a more subtle tracker than a timepiece. The circular polymer body, which has a grooved stainless-steel band around the bezel and is not immediately distinguishable from Vivoactive 4, is pared back.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you want a smartwatch that doesn’t stand out. Although it is less striking than the Apple Watch, it has a more subtle look than the Suunto 7’s bold front. The Venu is easy to wear from gym to work. Its 12.4mm thickness means that it can be worn under a sleeve. While the quick-release catch allows you to change your look easily with 20mm straps.
The Venu’s metal ring adds an extra touch of quality to the case. Meanwhile, the Venu weighs in at 46.3g. It can be worn all day without causing wrist pain.
The Venu ships in a single size, unlike the Vivoactive 4. Although some may find this restrictive, the Venu ships in a single size.
Garmin Venu: Interface, screen and controls
- 1.2-inch 390 x 390 AMOLED touchscreen display
- Customizable watch faces and widgets, as well as a home screen shortcut
- Touchscreen can also be used.
Screen and interface: 4/5
The Venu’s 1.2 inch AMOLED touchscreen is stunning. It is sharp, bright, and vibrant. This screen transforms the user experience compared to other Garmin watches that use memory-in-pixel technology. The screen can be read even in the hottest of sun by the additional brightness.
The 390×390 pixel resolution makes widgets and watch faces crisp. It also puts the Venu in the same ring as the Fossil Gen 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 3. This display is perfect for smart watches with minimalist faces.
Garmin’s proprietary software looks great and is easy to use. Widgets are displayed in a vertical list that can be accessed by moving up or down from your home screen. You can reorder this on the watch, or via the app. However, scrolling to the widget at the top of the list requires more scrolling than an icon-based interface. Although the transition time between swipes is very short, it feels a little less seamless.