Garmin brought the smarts to watches before smartwatches were common parlance. So, it’s always interesting to see how one of the OGs of wearables keeps pace in a segment that’s seen a tremendous amount of growth in the last two-three years. The latest in its common consumer line-up is the upgraded Garmin Venu Sq 2 and here are the boxes it ticks.
The Garmin Venu Sq 2 is elegant to look at, and I especially like the pastel Cool Mint colour I’ve got as a review unit. An aluminum bezel with bevelled edges runs around the vivid, rectangular 1.4-inch AMOLED touchscreen. The right side of the smartwatch has two physical buttons. The one on top, called the Action button, serves a bunch of functions including switching the device on and controlling the activity timer. A 2-second press-and-hold lets me access the controls menu and therein the brightness, DND mode, stopwatch, find my phone, Bluetooth, and a few more.
The bottom one is the Back/ Menu button and doubles up to help mark a new set during my workouts, or indication that I’m moving on to the next stage of a workout. Neither the screen size nor the weight of the smartwatch is significantly different from its predecessor, the Garmin Venu Sq. However, the AMOLED is a definite upgrade and makes the experience of using the touchscreen a lot more engaging. Outdoor visibility is great as well.
Compared to the original Venu Sq, the new Venu Sq 2 has five extra sports tracking modes, a new HIIT sports app with workouts and an improved heart rate sensor and an upgraded GPS sensor, too.
It’s nice to have the instant health report feature that takes about two minutes to brief me on health indicators, including my heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, respiration rate, and stress levels.
I try out the pre-programmed breathwork options - Coherence, Relax & Focus, and Tranquility. I choose the last one after a rather stressful week and it gives me specific instructions for guided breathwork. Considering there’s no speaker on the device itself, I had to keep an eye on the screen to do this in sync.
Incident detection is built-in, so if you have a fall while taking a walk, on a jog, or while cycling outside, the watch will wait 30 seconds for you to respond before sending an automated text message and email, with your name and GPS location to your pre-programmed emergency contacts. I can also trigger an assistance alert by pressing the hardware button for 3 seconds, from any screen.
Pairing is easy enough with the Garmin Connect app, both on Android and iOS devices, although some features such as quick replies to incoming calls and text messages are available only if you’ve paired it with an Android phone.
Strangely enough, the app doesn’t let me tweak the watchface, something I’m forced to do directly on the device itself. Doing it on the app is actually a lot more convenient, something that is possible on the likes of the Garmin Vivomove Sport that I reviewed a couple of months ago.
I try out the new sleep score function on the Venu Sq 2 and much to my dismay I’m getting worse sleep than I anticipated. It tracks all stages of sleep - light, deep, REM, and time spent awake when I’m supposed to be asleep. The insights are detailed and definitely help me understand my sleep patterns better. The bedtime and wake time, by default, are set between 12 am and 8 am, so unless you tweak it to a customised window, it might not register a late wake time or even the quality of your afternoon siestas.
Although Garmin promises a 12-day battery life on the smartwatch, this only applies if it is used on smartwatch-only mode. With real-life, all-features usage, the best I got from the Venu Sq 2 is about three days of juice.
Those who want offline access to songs might want to check out the slightly more expensive Music edition of the Venu Sq 2, which includes on-device music storage for up to 500 songs. However, at this price range, I wish Garmin had just had one model, which integrated the offline music option as well.
Garmin has added a bunch of meaningful upgrades to the Venu Sq 2, which makes it a great smartwatch overall for a budding fitness enthusiast. However, I wish it was priced to be a more affordable smartwatch in the Indian market. I can’t help but compare it to the latest Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, which at pretty much the same price, offers a couple of more value-adds such as the ability to type and take phone calls on the watch itself, and has also managed to make the whole smartwatch experience a little more personalised with its AR emojis and interactive watchface backgrounds.
Price - Rs 27,900
Pros - Great display, elegant design, upgraded battery life
Cons - No speaker, could have been priced better