Garmin’s new Venu 2 watches have better battery life and more features

Garmin has upgraded its premium Venu smartwatch for 2021 (via DC Rainmaker and Ars Technica). It now comes in two sizes instead of a single 43mm-sized model. The 45mm Venu 2 houses a 1.3-inch 416 x 416 OLED screen. For smaller wrists (or those who just prefer a less wrist-dominating device), the 40mm Venu 2S has a 1.1-inch 360 x 360 OLED screen. Both watches have an optional always-on mode, and they are available now for $399.99, which is the same price as the original Venu.

Other than the differences in case sizes, there isn’t much else distinguishing the Venu 2 lineup visually from the predecessor. They’re slick-looking touchscreen wearables with Gorilla Glass 3-covered touchscreens that feature two buttons. One of the biggest gen-to-gen improvements is its battery performance. The original Venu could last five days in smartwatch mode, but Garmin’s bigger 45mm Venu 2 watch doubles it (and then some) to a claim of 11 days of operation if you’re just using it for getting phone notifications with light usage otherwise. If you’re using its built-in GPS and streaming music from the watch to your headphones via Bluetooth, Garmin predicts up to eight hours of battery life, up from six in the previous model.

Garmin Venu 2
A close-up of the larger Venu 2.
Garmin

Surprisingly, the smaller 40mm Venu 2S also has better battery life than the original, with 10 days of use expected in smartwatch mode or up to seven hours in GPS mode with music. Garmin has a whole page that backs up how it makes predictions on battery life, telling you what to expect depending on the kind of activities you’re doing. Garmin is also touting faster recharging for both models, with 10 minutes of charging giving you up to one day of use in smartwatch mode or an hour of GPS usage with music. Both models can store up to 650 songs from Spotify, Amazon Music, or Deezer, up from 500 in the Venu and the 2020 Venu Sq.

The Venu 2 watches are packed with sensors, featuring a heart rate sensor, GPS (GLONASS and Galileo), a wrist-based pulse ox sensor to measure blood oxygen, a barometric altimeter for altitude, compass, gyroscope, accelerometer, thermometer, and an ambient light sensor. Each watch also features NFC for the Garmin Pay contactless payment feature. These watches work with iOS and Android, but only on Android can you respond to text messages.

In terms of new software features coming to the watches, Garmin’s Sleep Score will give you an aggregate score based on tracking your sleep stages, heart rate, stress, respiration, and your blood oxygen levels. The Venu 2 series can estimate your “Fitness Age” based on your level of activity and can guide you through high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and advanced strength training.

Correction: We originally quoted a $319.99 price for the Venu 2 and 2S because Garmin’s site listed it at that price in error, according to a spokesperson. We were able to reach the checkout page with this price, but the company confirmed that the retail price of the watch is $399.99.

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