Garmin Venu 2 Plus Review

Garmin Venu 2 Plus Review
The Garmin Venu 2 Plus is as close as any Garmin wearable has been to becoming a fully-fledged smartwatch.

  • In-depth fitness tracking and analysis
  • Can take calls and access virtual assistant
  • Stylish, understated design
  • Up to a week of battery life
  • Workout UI isn’t user-friendly
  • Need multiple companion apps on your phone
  • No LTE model
  • Lack of non-fitness apps
Our Verdict
  • The Garmin Venu 2 Plus is a great all-rounder if you’re a fitness fan, with in-depth workout tracking and analysis across multiple sports, custom multi-week workout schedules and excellent performance from the HR monitor and GPS. However, fitness aside, it’s not the smartest watch around, lacking the breadth of apps of competing WearOS and watchOS alternatives.

When it comes to the fitness tracking market, Garmin is a household name, offering some of the best quality wearables geared towards health and exercise tracking no matter your budget – and it looks like that’s set to continue with the latest wearable from the company, the Garmin Venu 2 Plus.

Sold alongside the standard Venu 2 released last year, the Venu 2 Plus offers one big upgrade; a microphone. While it might not sound like much, you’re able to not only access your virtual assistant – including Google Assistant, Siri and Bixby – but make and receive calls directly through the watch.

Pair that with in-depth health and fitness tracking, a premium design and a great display and you’ve got a great – though not perfect – running-focused smartwatch.

Design & Build

  • Similar design to standard Venu 2
  • 43mm case only
  • New customisable button
At a glance, you might be hard-pressed to notice a difference between the Garmin Venu 2 Plus and the standard Venu 2. They both sport the same general look and feel with similar colour options available for both – but look closer and there are a few subtle differences.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus Review

The most immediately obvious, if you can call it that, is the case size. While the standard Venu 2 comes in 41- and 45mm variants, the new Plus model has a single 43mm case – big enough to do the job, but not so much that it overpowers smaller wrists.

In fact, the 1.3in AMOLED display at its heart is the ideal size for a wrist-worn wearable, with plenty of space to showcase custom watchfaces and display live exercise metrics. It’s detailed with a decent 414 x 414 resolution and it’s bright enough to be used in direct sunlight.

There’s even an always-on display mode, though that comes at a sacrifice to overall battery life.

Smaller changes can be found on the case itself. One of the big new features is microphone and speaker support, enabling extra functionality – that I’ll detail a little later – and the ability to easily access your virtual assistant with a new dedicated virtual assistant button.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus Review

That new button is nestled alongside the two standard stainless steel buttons that sit to the right of the display, and can be reassigned to another function if you don’t use your virtual assistant all that often.

When it comes to colour options, you’ve got a few to choose from; silver stainless steel with a grey strap (as photographed), cream-gold stainless steel with an ivory strap or slate stainless steel with a black band.

The stainless steel is a nice touch, adding a premium look to the buttons and outer bezel of the display, but the plastic body of the watch might put some off at such a premium price.

As with alternatives, the standard straps are made from sweat-resistant silicone, but you can also opt for something made from suede, leather or metal if you pay a little extra on the Garmin website.

Smartwatch Features

  • Can access virtual assistant or make calls from your wrist
  • Basic smartwatch functionality
  • Most apps tailored towards health and fitness
As alluded to earlier, one of the big differentiating features between the Venu 2 and Venu 2 Plus is the inclusion of a microphone and speaker, allowing you not only to access your virtual assistant via your wrist but make and receive calls too. It might not sound like much, but it’s a move that brings it to new heights in the smartwatch world, with it being one of few non-Apple wearables to offer the functionality.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus Review

Of course, with no LTE support, you’ll have to be in Bluetooth range of your smartphone, but it’s a start. The call quality is impressive too, with no real complaints from recipients about my microphone quality, and the speaker embedded into the left of the case is loud enough for quick chats.

There’s also the safety aspect to appreciate, allowing you to use your smartwatch in areas where you might not feel comfortable getting your phone out of your pocket or bag.

You’ve also got the ability to set an emergency contact that you can call quickly if needed, and when running and cycling, you’ve got an Apple-style automatic incident detection that’ll detect when you’ve fallen. It helps bring peace of mind, not only when exercising but in daily life.

It’s not just a glorified speakerphone though; there are plenty of smart features on offer from the Venu 2 Plus.

Expect the standard features, like basic notification support, customisable watchfaces and the ability to find your phone remotely alongside Garmin-designed fitness tracking apps.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus Review

However, it’s certainly focused more on health than general smart features with a lack of support for popular third-party apps and other smart features you’d associate with a traditional smartwatch.

There isn’t an app store on the watch itself, but you can download the Garmin Connect IQ app (a separate app from the Connect app used to set up the watch) to download a range of apps. Although there are a few surprises like Spotify, Deezer and Amazon Music for streaming, don’t expect to see the same popular apps you’d see on the App Store or Google Play – the vast majority of apps available are fitness-based.

If you aren’t a fan of streaming music, the Venu 2 Plus comes with enough built-in storage to store up to 350 of your favourite tunes, allowing you to stream directly to a pair of connected Bluetooth headphones without the need for a smartphone.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus Review

Another benefit is support for Garmin Pay, Garmin’s contactless payment method built into the Venu 2 Plus. It’s great to see, allowing you to leave your phone at home and be able to pay for transport and other goods, but support among banks is a far cry from what we see with Apple Pay and Google Pay.

There are a handful of supported banks in the UK, of which I’m not a user, but there is better support among banks in the US.

Health And Fitness Tracking

  • Impressive HR monitor & GPS performance
  • Tailored multi-week workout plans
  • New visual guides for pilates and yoga
  • Workout UI can be confusing to newbies
Being a Garmin smartwatch, it should come as no surprise that the Venu 2 Plus truly excels when it comes to health and fitness tracking – it’s the company’s bread and butter, after all.

You can start a workout from the watch itself, tracking running, cycling, pilates, yoga and more, but the more advanced functionality comes via the Garmin Connect companion app for iOS and Android.

From the app, you can set up training plans for 5K, 10K and half-marathon runs and long-distance cycling with a tailored multi-week workout plan designed around your capabilities.

It’s much more in-depth and personalised than the standard couch to 5K apps, with voiceovers from top trainers around the world that provide genuine insight and motivation on runs. You can tweak the plan as you go if you need to miss a day, and crucially, it’s completely free to use.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus Review

In fact, that’s a theme across the Garmin Venu 2 and its Connect companion app. In a world where more and more companies – like Fitbit – are putting advanced features and metrics behind a monthly paywall, it’s refreshing to be able to access all your data whenever you like without reaching for the credit card.

When it comes to tracking workouts, the Venu 2 Plus is an extremely reliable bit of kit. The optical heart rate sensor embedded on the bottom of the case is impressively responsive during workouts, a particular benefit for HIIT and other HR zone-based workouts.

You do have the option to hook up a chest strap (sold separately) but I never felt the need to during my time with the watch.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus Review

The built-in GPS is accurate, even when running in built-up city streets like I do, with a map-based GPS heat map available post-run to not only show your route and overall distance, but when you were pushing yourself most.

Though there isn’t turn-based navigation like with the high-end Garmin Fenix 5S Plus, the watch makes use of GPS to provide a return-to-start feature that’ll guide you back to your starting point when exploring unfamiliar areas.

The only pain point is that it’s not always clear how to activate features like HR Zone-based runs from the watch ahead of workouts, with the workout UI seemingly relying on prior knowledge of how Garmin tech works – and that’s not always going to be the case.

After a bit of swiping and tapping, you’ll get used to it as I did, but I do wish it had an easier onboarding process for those new to the Garmin family.

Running aside, another new addition is animated workouts for Pilates and Yoga that you can follow in real-time on your watch. It might sound awkward, but the large display of the Venu 2 Plus is ideal, though there are only three sessions in each to at the time of writing so it’s more tailored to beginners than dedicated yogis.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus Review

Aside from dedicated exercise tracking, the Venu 2 Plus will monitor your vitals throughout the day and night, with all-day heart rate tracking, (optional) blood oxygen tracking, steps taken, energy used, sleep tracking and even the ability to track your water intake – though the latter will require some manual input.

This data is available by swiping up or down from the watch face on the app, giving a great snapshot of your activity level on any given day, and you can use the Garmin Connect app to drill down into the specifics.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus Review

All the data collected, from dedicated workouts to general fitness tracking, can be shared with third-party apps including Apple Health, Strava, MyFitnessPal and more, with automatic syncing whenever you open the Garmin Connect app – a huge plus if you rely on multiple apps to track your health.

Battery Life & Charging

  • Up to a week of charge
  • Expect less if you enable features like spO2 monitoring and always-on display
  • Awkward proprietary charging port on the rear
As with any smartwatch, the battery life of the Garmin Venu 2 Plus varies depending on what you’re doing and the functions you have enabled. With its default setting – i.e., with the always-on display disabled – Garmin claims you’ll get up to a week of use, and that’s about right in my experience.

I’ve found it drops down to around the five-day mark when enabling extra functionality like the always-on display and blood oxygen monitoring, and it’ll also drain faster the more you use the advanced fitness tracking functionality mentioned above.

For context, Garmin claims that it can last 24 hours using GPS to track exercise, which should be enough for most, though it drops down to just 8 hours if you decide to play music from the built-in storage. Maybe leave the music playing to your smartphone…
Garmin Venu 2 Plus Review

When it comes to charging, the Venu 2 Plus utilises the same proprietary port on its rear as the rest of the Garmin collection. It snaps into place just fine with no worry about it falling out before it has finished charging, but it’s nowhere as slick as the contact charging employed by most smartwatch rivals – especially at a premium price point.

The good news is that it’ll go from flat to full in a little over 90 minutes, so at least you won’t need to do it all that often.


The Garmin Venu 2 Plus is a premium smartwatch that comes in at a not-insignificant $449/£399, making it one of the more expensive smartwatches available in 2022. That puts it up against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, Apple Watch Series 7 and Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro.

The good news is that Garmin is keeping both models of Venu 2 on sale side-by-side. That way, if you like the idea of the Venu 2 Plus but don’t want features like a built-in mic, you can save yourself $50/£50.

If you’re tempted, you can buy the Garmin Venu 2 Plus directly from Garmin as well as third-party retailers like Amazon at a discounted $415/£298 at the time of writing.

For more inspiration, take a look at our pick for the best smartwatch and best fitness tracker.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus Review


The Garmin Venu 2 Plus is a great all-rounder if you’re on the market for a smartwatch that focuses on health and fitness. It’s ideal for runners and cyclists, with custom multi-week workout plans available, accurate HR readings and impressive GPS performance – even in built-up city streets.

It’s not just for runners though, also capable of tracking everything from rowing to golfing and skiing, and the new animated yoga and pilates exercises are a nice touch.

New additions including a microphone and speaker improve the smarts on offer, with on-demand virtual assistant requests and the ability to take calls mid-run without reaching for your phone. The only downside is that, without LTE, you’ll need a Bluetooth-connected smartphone nearby.

However, if you’re not much of a fitness fanatic and you’re after something that’ll run your favourite apps, provide smart home shortcuts and more, you’d be better off looking elsewhere.

While there is a Garmin Connect IQ app store, the vast majority of apps are fitness-focused, and at this price, you could buy a more capable Samsung Galaxy Watch or Apple Watch.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus Review Garmin Venu 2 Plus Review Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on September 26, 2022 Rating: 5


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