Garmin is the well-established leader in terms of sports and fitness tracking, only paralleled by the new Apple watches. That said, not everyone wants to splurge and buy themselves the most expensive wearables out there. Garmin seems to be of the belief that compromise on budget should not equal compromise on quality and features. Thus, arose the Venu Sq 2- a midranger that packs on tons to appreciate. So let’s dive in and see exactly what this device brings to the table…
Garmin Venu Sq2 Music Edition Review
First up be prepared for people to mistake the Venu Sq 2 for the Apple Watch every now and then courtesy of its 40mm case and rectangular touch screen. It does sport a design that seems to have become all too familiar with the smartwatch industry these days, but hey, if it ain’t broke don't fix it, right? With lifestyle and fitness in mind, this watch has sleek bevelled edges and flushed buttons, keeping you safe from those pokes and prods during pushups or other wrist-contorting exercises.
As for the strap, it is the Garmin standard, with a breathable, textured silicone strap and plastic buckle which is all too familiar to Garmin users. It definitely sits snug and doesn’t particularly weigh down the wrist, the way some of the other larger smartwatches on the market do. It is comfortable and doesn’t itch or bite after a long day's use. Best of all, the strap comes with quick-release pins for easy swapping with other straps of similar size.
The watch sports a 1.41in AMOLED touchscreen display which offers 320 x 360 resolution. Protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 with always-on display support, the watch does a great job of adapting to all lighting conditions. It is clear in bright sunshine and doesn’t blind you at night either, thanks to the auto-brightness feature. The colours are punchy with the juxtaposition of the deeper blacks which do a commendable job of hiding the pretty noticeable bezels (more so on our black model, perhaps). These bezels blend in almost perfectly with the edges of the screen and have small lines to mark every two hours on the watch (convenient if you prefer an analogue display).
The display offers a pretty standard raise-to-wake gesture control, which worked smoothly and adequately, even during long swims or runs. It worked well enough to not feel the need to switch on the Always-on mode. Where the watch seemed to let down in terms of the display was the refresh rate and the slight jitters and lags while operating the touchscreen. The UI does leave room for improvement and is perhaps the only real complaint on this device.
Here is where the device shines, unlike most that have come before. The tracking on this device is incredibly accurate down to every metre. Running with this watch is nothing short of bliss, short of the fact that there is a lot of data packed in on the screen during the run, but this is adjustable depending on your eyesight requirements. You can completely customize your alerts, laps and timers, along with the ability to use pre-existing workout plans. It really is a great partner on a run. Similarly, for swimming, the data provided is extremely accurate on the condition that you are swimming freestyle with it. It seems to get a bit thrown off with the other strokes. It does give you accurate SWOLF readings and the 5ATM resistance rating really eases the stress of getting it wet through the day. The GPS tracking is incredible and doesn’t drain as much off the battery life as you would expect. Other sports modes on the watch include Walking, Biking, Strength and Cardio.
You also get a gamut of lifestyle tracking including continuous heart rate monitoring, stress level monitoring, Body Battery, Sleep and Step trackers, calories burned (resting + active), respiration and menstrual tracking. It truly does everything you could need in daily life and it is all laid out clearly for you on the Garmin Connect App, so you can track your health and progress through the day.
By far, the greatest perk of this watch would be its offline music playback feature. This simply allows you to ditch your phone and go and workout in peace. The watch does not pack in speakers so you can just pair your Bluetooth earphones and jam out on your run or during your workout. It offers storage for up to 500 songs which you can conveniently download from music streaming apps like Spotify, Prime Music, and so on through a few simple steps. The watch seamlessly pairs with earphones and offers reasonable playback without any latency.
Throughout the month of usage, the battery life was never a concern. With heavy use of sports modes, GPS and music there was only really need to charge the watch during Sunday siestas. An hour or two of charging should keep you going for at least the week. If the watch did get close to its last leg of life, you could switch on the Battery Saver mode that adds a couple of days of life onto the watch by disabling a few features like music, GPS and auto-activity start and lowering the screen brightness. So although the watch loses its smart capabilities to some extent in Battery Saver mode, it retains the functionality of a watch and tracker.
Customisation and other perks
For customization, there are several watch faces to choose from via the Connect IQ Store, all very different allowing you to add some personality to your wrist. While you may not get to answer calls on the device, you can easily enable your notifications to keep an eye on the buzz. You get weather updates, reminders and even the ability to pay via your credit card on your watch, though we didn’t really test out this feature in India yet.
The wearable also has Fitness Age 2.0 and a new health snapshot. The former needs just a few minutes to simultaneously capture important data like heart rate, heart rate variability, pulse oximetry, respiration, and stress before sending the report to your smartphone for additional analysis. Based on body fat percentage, BMI, resting heart rate, and activities, The Fitness Age 2.0 tells you whether your body is younger or older than you are and offers suggestions for improvement.
If you are an athlete looking for a great, accurate tracker, this is the way to go. Garmin has ditched the frills and thrills to create this well-thought-out workout companion to keep your fitness journey going. If you are looking for just day-to-day lifestyle features, this is probably not the way to go, but for accuracy, convenience and performance, there are few better than this at the price point.
An ideal athlete’s watch packing on most necessary features without emptying out your pockets.