Venu 2 Plus review Garmin’s closer to a smartwatch

Venu 2 Plus review Garmin's closer to a smartwatch

Garmin Venu 2 Plus: A Brilliant GPS Sports Watch with Smartwatch Features

For the past few weeks, I have had the pleasure of wearing the new Garmin Venu 2 Plus as my primary GPS sports watch. As someone who has previously bounced between a Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE and a COROS Vertix 2, the new features and brilliant AMOLED display of the Venu 2 Plus have me seriously considering this as my new daily driver.

The Venu 2 Plus builds upon all the great features found in the Venu 2, with the added ability to make and take phone calls from the watch when paired to your smartphone, similar to the non-cellular Apple Watch models. It also allows you to use your smartphone’s assistant to send text messages, ask questions, and more right from your wrist. This convenience is perfect for those who want to keep their phone in their pocket or bag while taking care of basic communication needs on the go.

One of the standout features of the Venu 2 Plus is its vibrant color display, which is easy to read in various lighting conditions and responds well to taps and swipes. Additionally, a third button has been added to the right side of the watch, allowing for a single press action to accompany the activation of your voice assistant with a press and hold of the button.

The Brilliant Hardware

The main attraction of the Garmin Venu series is the brilliant AMOLED display, which boasts vibrant colors and stark blacks for stunning visuals. The Venu 2 Plus features a 1.3-inch display that smoothly flows to the edge of the watch. The design remains largely the same as the Venu 2, with the addition of a third hardware button on the right side and a speaker opening in the center of the left side.

The hardware buttons on the Venu 2 Plus offer a range of functionality. The top right button opens the activity launcher with a single press, while a press and hold opens the controls menu. Holding this button for an extended time will trigger a message for assistance to be sent out through your connected phone. The bottom button serves multiple purposes, such as returning to the previous display, marking a lap, and accessing device settings.

A 20mm wide silicone band is provided with the Venu 2 Plus, equipped with quick-release slider pins for easy band changes. On the back of the watch, you’ll find the heart rate sensor and the standard 4-pin Garmin connector for charging.

Extensive Watch Software Features

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus introduces some exciting new features in terms of watch functions. The ability to make phone calls directly from the watch is a game-changer. You can use a quick controls button, voice assistant, or the lower right button to access the Phone Calling option. This feature allows you to access your phone’s keypad or contacts right from your wrist. During a call, you have the option to hang up, mute your microphone, adjust call volume, and more, with seamless navigation on the Venu 2 Plus display.

Another notable addition is the voice assistant, which can be accessed from the watch. After launching the voice assistant for the first time, you can choose from various options like Google Assistant, Samsung Bixby, or Siri (for iPhone users). While there is no direct voice command to launch the assistant, the default shortcut offers a convenient way to initiate it.

The default watch face focuses on displaying brilliant colors on the AMOLED screen, but there are also many other watch faces available for download from the Connect IQ store. With over 25 sports apps and customization options for each, the Venu 2 Plus is designed for the everyday, casual athlete. The watch excels in supporting HITT and workouts through the Garmin Connect app, with animated graphics guiding you through specific exercises.

The Venu 2 Plus offers extensive golf support, making it a great choice for golf enthusiasts. Golf mode is available as an activity option, and you can use Garmin Approach CT10 club trackers for a more immersive experience on the course.

Seamlessly Connected with Smartphone Software and Website

Garmin’s smartphone app, Garmin Connect, is a powerful companion to the Venu 2 Plus. The My Day screen is fully customizable, allowing you to choose which metrics you want to display. The app offers various tabs for challenges, calendars, a news feed, and notifications. Challenges are a great way to stay motivated, and the calendar views provide detailed insights into your progress. Additionally, Garmin Connect allows you to generate reports, import/export data, and connect with other applications.

The Venu 2 Plus also offers excellent support for high-intensity interval training (HIIT), with exclusive workout options available on the watch. You can choose from over 80 available workouts in the Garmin Connect app and sync them directly to the Venu 2 Plus. These workouts include beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, with detailed instructions and animations for each exercise.

Controlling phone notifications during your activity is possible, and Android users can customize which apps send notifications to the watch. Unfortunately, this per-app control is not available for iPhone users. The app also allows you to customize your watch’s settings, organize activities, and sync everything seamlessly to your Venu 2 Plus.

The Garmin Connect website offers a similar experience to the smartphone app, with additional capabilities such as generating reports and connecting with other applications like Strava, RunKeeper, and MyFitnessPal. The website also features a customizable dashboard for easy access to your preferred metrics.

Daily Usage and Final Thoughts

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus is not just a GPS sports watch; it edges closer to being a true smartwatch. With the ability to take calls and use voice assistants, it offers added convenience in daily life. However, it is important to note that the Venu 2 Plus comes at a price of $449.99, positioning it as a premium device.

One minor downside of the Venu 2 Plus is the absence of the Training Status feature found in Garmin’s devices built for athletes focused on specific races or goals. Nevertheless, the Venu 2 Plus caters to a more well-rounded athlete, supporting a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities.

The brilliant AMOLED display of the Venu 2 Plus is a standout feature, and the watch’s support for numerous workouts and golf makes it a versatile companion for fitness enthusiasts. Battery life can be optimized by adjusting settings, allowing you to strike a balance between functionality and longevity.

Overall, the Garmin Venu 2 Plus is a powerful GPS sports watch with smartwatch features that can enhance your active lifestyle. It offers an immersive experience, supports a plethora of activities, and provides valuable health and wellness insights. Whether you’re a casual athlete or a fitness enthusiast, the Venu 2 Plus is an excellent choice that offers the best of both worlds.