​Garmin unveils Venu 2 smartwatch – here’s our first impressions

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Garmin has unveiled the Venu 2 and its true smartwatch is back for a second outing.

The Venu 2 takes the fight to the Apple Watch, with an AMOLED display, built-in GPS, but with a Garmin take on sports tracking. And it goes head-to-head on price too, with a $399 price tag that matches the 40mm Apple Watch Series 6.

As you’d imagine there’s a heap of built-in GPS sports tracking modes, including running, cycling, golf, yoga, HIIT, pilates, climbing, bouldering – you name it. But there are now 75 guided workout sessions, 1400 animated exercises, and modes for AMRAP and EMOM HIIT sessions.

On the hardware side, the Venu 2 now comes in two sizes: The 45mm Venu 2 (22mm strap) and 40mm Venu 2S (18mm strap), making it a truly unisex offering.

Each feature an AMOLED display, with the option for always-on (which will diminish battery life). There’s 11 days quoted battery life for the Venu 2 and 10 days for the Venu 2S. And you get 8 hours music+GPS tracking, with rapid recharge offering 1 day of extra use in 10 minutes.

There’s Garmin’s built-in music player, with offline syncing support for Spotify, Amazon Music and Deezer. There’s also Garmin Pay and access to the Garmin Connect IQ app store.

But it’s not just rehashed hardware, and there are significant changes to the health and fitness offerings.

Sleep score now uses Garmin-owned Firstbeat algorithms for better accuracy. And Body Battery, which measures energy levels, has been tweaked to be more sensitive.

And a Fitness Age score determines your fitness by chronological age, activity, resting heart rate and body fat percentage. This can act as a motivator to reduce your fitness age by making lifestyle changes, and certainly an attempt by Garmin to reach out to less active audiences.

You can also take a Health Snapshot, which at the press of a button will record all your health vitals for comparison later, or by a health professional.

All of this is underpinned by 4th generation Elevate heart rate monitor, which the company hopes will produce better accuracy at higher loads. That sensor also includes SpO2, which will track respiration rate and also blood oxygen levels, although this is turned off by default to save battery.

We’ve already spent a week with the Garmin Venu 2 – and there’s certainly a lot to like. The form factor is excellent, and the watch is loaded with excellent data touchpoints, that makes it feel like a rich barometer of your health, as well as a powerful tool for runners and HIITers.

And Garmin’s promises around sleep tracking have already rung true. The feedback is much more geared towards sleep quality over duration, and the sleep scores produced have been more insightful than rivals.

The Garmin Venu 2 is set to cost $399 and it goes on sale now.

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