Finding the right fitness watch can be a challenge for many users. There are several preferences to keep in mind. Do you prefer form over features? Is there a budget limitation? What are the essential smart features that you would not compromise? What about the fitness features?
My preferred smartwatch is one with a sleek fit, accurate steps and fitness tracking, and some smart features. The Garmin Venu 2 Plus, which I’ve used for two weeks, is one such device that fits the bill. But is it the right fitness watch for you? Here’s my review
Garmin Venu 2 Plus review: Yes, it’s expensive
The Garmin Venu 2 Plus is not a watch for those looking to get a budget fitness device. This is for someone looking for a premium fitness watch and wants something that looks good. The version I got for review has a striking gold stainless steel bezel with an ivory case and a silicone band. There’s also a Silver and Slate coloured version for those who find the gold overwhelming.
I liked the gold and ivory colour tones, given it is a break from the monotonous black smartwatches I end up reviewing. It looks stylish enough to wear with an evening outfit, say even when I wear a sari, etc. The only thing I don’t like about the Venu 2 Plus is that it looks a little big for my wrist size. The company says this is suited for those with 135 mm to 200 mm wrists, but it looks a bit larger on mine (139 mm wrists, I measured).
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Still, the 1.3-inch diameter display (416 x 416 pixels resolution) is one of the best you’re getting, and there’s plenty of space to view notifications, messages, etc. This is a coloured AMOLED display with an Always-On mode.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus review: The smart features
It also comes with some smart features, including the ability to take calls on the watch. I took quite a few on this, and the audio quality can sometimes be a bit iffy. However, people on the other side heard me clearly on most occasions, though my colleague pointed out that my voice did sound different. The watch must stay connected to your phone. This one does not have LTE. But as long as the phone is within range, the call audio should be fine. I used this with an iPhone 12 Pro Max.
The Garmin Venu 2 Plus will also show notifications from your device, though you can only clear them from the device. There is no option for quick replies as such. This is something I don’t mind, given I view the Garmin device as more geared toward fitness. Plus, I’ve never been entirely comfortable responding to notifications from a smartwatch.
It can connect to WiFi on its own. You can also control music from the watch, and install Spotify on the device. I could control Spotify music playing on my iPhone from the watch, though you will have to link it via the Garmin Connect app. You will need a premium account on Spotify to access some features.
You can also store some songs from Spotify on the device (650 in total). But this proved to be quite a task, no matter what I did. The app kept insisting that I need to set up WiFi to download music to the watch. No matter how much installing-uninstalling I did, nothing seemed to fix the issue. For the record, when connecting WiFi, the watch showed the connection was successful. Eventually, I just gave up on this downloading music bit. I’m assuming there’s some technical reason why this didn’t work for me, because it worked fine with other Garmin devices, I’ve reviewed earlier.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus review: The fitness bit
There’s no doubt that this is an excellent fitness watch. There are several modes here to keep the average user happy. From swimming to running to treadmill, strength training to golf workouts, the watch covers more than enough for users. Step tracking is largely accurate, and yes, the watch will remind you if you’ve been stationary for too long. This is something I’ve needed more of in the last week, as I recover from yet another viral. The watch can also track stress levels, and it is mostly accurate. It figured out I was getting stressed while trying to sort out this WiFi issue. It can track period cycles, hydration levels, etc for those who like to get in deep.
I used the watch for swimming sessions and found the data largely accurate. It would sometimes add a jump to the distance count even when I was still, though the final number it reflected for the total distance I swam was accurate. It was accurate with data around walks and hikes. The auto-detect feature is spot-on, especially when you are out on a walk. The one bit that got the watch confused was the number of floors I climbed. While I was out during a trip to the mountains in Himachal, the watch was convinced I was climbing a lot of floors. I wasn’t, I was just on a very slow, rickety drive uphill.
Yes, the watch can also detect your blood oxygen level, which has become a must-have feature in today’s times. You can access this via the Health Snapshot feature on the watch.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus review: Software, battery
I’ve reviewed several Garmin watches now, and I can safely say the user interface hasn’t grown over me. It can get confusing for me. You can swipe down on the home screen and access all your stats for the day. You can press the top button once to start a new exercise session and keep your favourite exercise options on top of the list. All of this is fine. But I would have appreciated a simpler way to access all the apps and settings. For instance, I have to long-press the bottom button to get to the Settings. Just give users the option to go to Settings without having to jump around so many hoops. With this watch, I still find myself unsure of how to access some stuff, which is not ideal.
The battery life will easily last week for heavy-duty users. Garmin promises 11 days of battery life. This is all assuming you are not keeping GPS on for long durations. With GPS on all day and no music, the battery life promised is 22 hours.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus review: Should you get it?
The Garmin Venu 2 Plus is a good premium fitness smartwatch. It is stylish, comes with useful smart features, will let you take calls if needed, and the battery life should suffice for most users. This is meant for someone who does not want the same old Apple Watch or the Samsung Galaxy Watch Series, which is based on WearOS now. If you take your fitness game seriously and don’t mind spending a premium on the device in question, the Garmin Venu 2 Plus is a stylish one to consider. There’s also the Garmin Venu 2S, which is slightly cheaper but doesn’t come with the option for taking/making calls.