While the Vivoactive series has been regarded as Garmin’s more smartwatch-like device, it looks like the Garmin Venu will now claim that role, thanks to the inclusion of a 1.2-inch, 390 x 390 resolution AMOLED touchscreen display.
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This is a big deal because this will be the first time the company has used the type of display technology for one of its watches. It has normally stuck to its guns adopting transflective display technology to ensure its watches deliver big battery life.
But it seems that Garmin has managed to eke out a decent stint of battery from its full-screen device to finally roll something out it think will cut it.
Garmin says the Venu will be able to deliver up to 5 days in smartwatch mode and up to 6 hours when using GPS and music features together.
That’s still more days an Apple, Samsung and Google’s Wear OS watches can offer and around the same staying power as the Fitbit Versa.
But there’s plenty more sports and health features on the Venu than the Versa.
You’ve got GPS, a heart rate monitor and a pulse ox sensor to offer plenty of sports tracking and health monitoring features.
There are 20 built-in indoor and outdoor sports tracking modes are supported while the new AMOLED touchscreen will now offer the ability to display animated workouts. Some of those workouts are pre-loaded onto the device, but you can make customizable ones and download more from the Connect IQ Store.
While this feature is rolling out to other new Garmin watches like the Vivoactive 4, Garmin says those animated workouts have been a graphical overhaul to take better advantage of the crisper display on the Venu and also minimise power usage.
On the health monitoring front, the Venu supports Garmin’s menstrual cycle tracking, offers abnormal heart rate alerts and now offers new respiration tracking alongside its recently upgraded sleep monitoring features. There’s also a dedicated health widget to review that data on the watch.
There’s hydration tracking via a pre-loaded widget that lets you log water intake. Estimated sweat loss readings are also available in the Garmin Connect app based on your logged activities.
New Structured breathwork activities (which is mindful breathing) brings a few structured breathing workouts and will track stress and respiration measurements. Garmin is also bringing its Body Battery feature to help you better understand your energy levels.
For smartwatch features, you’re getting pretty much everything Garmin currently has to offer in this department.
That’s notifications, a built-in music player, Garmin Pay, Connect IQ support and it’ll work with most Android and iOS smartphones.
The Venu will be available in black with gold casing, light sand with rose gold, granite blue with silver and black with slate combos.
All models are priced at $399.99, putting it square in front with the best smartwatches you can buy right now.
From an initial look, the Venu looks like the real deal – and the long wait for Garmin to take on the Apple Watch head-to-head may have paid off. It’s a pretty complete spec list, hasn’t made too many compromises in terms of size, design or battery life.
With GPS, female health tracking and top heart rate data, it’s put itself on the map. But is it desirable enough to displace Fitbit?
We’ll be getting our hands on the Venu at IFA, so stay tuned for our thoughts on Garmin’s first proper smartwatch.
The Garmin Venu is available to pre-order now from Garmin for $399.99 for delivery in 5-8 weeks.