The Venu 2 Plus from Garmin is an incremental upgrade from its predecessor — the Venu 2 — but some of the changes that have been made are an interesting move by Garmin. This can now be considered a full-fledged smartwatch. A simple change like adding a speaker, a microphone and some new features, and suddenly you have a watch that people will want to use. There has never been any doubt regarding the health features of a Garmin watch, but what has held people back is usually the fact that they need a device for fitness and then a separate device as a phone companion with smarts. The Venu 2 Plus now addresses that quite nicely.

In physical appearance, the Venu 2 Plus is just a little smaller in size than the earlier Venu 2 with the screen size remaining the same. Interestingly, it is available only in one size but there are three colour variants — silver, slate and a cream gold — all three in stainless steel. Straps are standard 20mm with many available both from Garmin as well as third-party providers. The watch is light and comfortable to wear. I only took it off for a shower and kept it on the rest of the time for the two weeks that I used it.

Core health functionality is about the same as other watches from Garmin. Lots of options for workouts — Walk, Run, Cycle, Swim, Yoga, HIIT and the list just goes on and on. Some additional features such as Sleep Tracking and Hydration have seen improvements. Body Battery, Health Snapshot and Stress have also been improved, and are very useful indicators. I love the fact that the health goals are a continuous moving target the Venu 2 Plus keeps tweaking as you move along.

The biggest change though is really the addition of the microphone and speaker. This now allows you to not only make calls from the watch, but also listen to music and use a voice assistant. Since the Venu 2 Plus does not have LTE/cellular features, both calling and assistant use the phone and redirect the audio as needed.

On a Samsung phone, you have the choice of Bixby or Google Assistant, and on an iPhone you can simply use Siri. There is nothing special on the watch to provide support; just connectivity with the phone which is quite seamless and simple to setup and use.

The accompanying Garmin Connect app provides more details than most people can handle. Great insights, graphs and very detailed information on every segment being tracked. This is something that is unmatched for Garmin.

One thing that Garmin does need to work on is the interface of the Venu 2 Plus watch. While it has improved, it can still be confusing. There is now a new button on the watch but navigating is still not intuitive. A long press versus a short press can change what the button does and having to remember what does what is not easy. The app store Connect IQ does have some apps, including Spotify, which work brilliantly in offline mode but it is still limited.

Battery-life is claimed to be 9 days, but with a single workout a day and normal usage, I managed to get only about 4 days at a time from the Venu 2 Plus. Still a lot better than some of the competition.

The Venu 2 Plus is a great smartwatch for normal users who are not athletes and want to track both health and fitness and yet have some smarts from the watch. At ₹46,990 it is a bit expensive but overall features, health tracking and now the smartness more than make up for it.