Garmin Venu 2 / 2S GPS Smartwatch // In-Depth Review
Sport watch the follow up to the original venue that came out quite some time ago and i’ll tell you what garmin’s been busy. The original venue made canvas splash because garmin departed from their transflected displays that they’ve used for years with an amoled display, but amoled displays typically use a lot more power, but somehow they were still able to get about three to five days of battery life. Out of it, but with the venue 2 they’ve increased that battery life quite a bit so in today’s video i’m going to go over all the new features of the venue. 2 but i’m also going to go into quite a bit of detail about how this device performs in the sports and fitness capacity i’ve been using it over the last few weeks where i tested it for running cycling, weight, training swimming and i even took it skiing. So i’ve got a pretty good idea of how this device performs and i’m also going to have a follow up. Video, where i’ll do a full unboxing setup and interface tour of the venuetube, basically everything i couldn’t necessarily cram into this video, and if you do find the information. This video useful don’t, be shy by hitting that, like button down below the original venue, came in just one size, but with the venue 2. It comes in two sizes, the larger venue 2 and then the smaller venue 2s. And here they all are just side by side, so you can get an idea of how they size up.
Just like the original venue, the venue 2 and venue 2s have gps, they have an altimeter and they also have a heart rate sensor that can also measure your blood oxygen saturation levels. However, with the venue 2 and venue 2s, they have garmin’s latest and greatest fourth generation elevate, heart rate sensor, that’s supposed to be more accurate and we’ll find out how accurate it actually is here in just one bit. The original venue has a 1.2 inch amoled display, and the newer venue 2 has a slightly larger 1.3 inch display, and then the venue 2s has a 1.1 inch display, but along with those new displays, the venue 2 has a new processor with an integrated gpu that Allows the venue 2 to have some incredibly smooth animations, including the super smooth, fade in transition of the watch face. It makes the touch animations really smooth and allows for insanely good, looking videos with vibrant colors and really nice shading, and they also have a new set of live watch faces that animate. When you raise your wrist – and these also really show off what this display can do to interact with the venue – 2 there’s a touch screen along with two physical buttons, and this combination works really well. The touchscreen is nice and responsive, it’s very predictable, and i actually find it to be a little bit more predictable than the original venue. Garmin also did a lot of work on the interface, and the biggest thing that you may notice is that the venue 2 gets.
These widget glances, which were originally introduced on the phoenix 6. so rather than swiping through dedicated widgets one by one like on the original venue. The venue 2 has these snapshots of the widgets, showing you important bits of information, and then you can always, of course, just dive into each wish to see more detail, and this is really where you can see how garmin took advantage of that display. Like this heart rate graph right here, where you can swipe back and forth to see your heart rate over time in regards to battery life, the original venue was pretty decent for a device that had an amoled display where you could get about three to four or Five days out of it, depending on how many outdoor activities you tracked and with the venue, 2 garmin, really upped those numbers and with the venue, 2 it’s advertised to get up to 11 days and with the 2s you’re supposed to get up to 10 days in Smart watch mode, which basically means not using it to track any outdoor activities, which is pretty amazing for a device with an amoled display and then for gps battery life. They advertise that it should get up to 22 hours for the larger version and then 19 hours. For the 2s, but in real life i was getting a little over a week out of the venue 2, and that was with using it to track about a 45 minute to hour long gps activity per day – and i was not using one of their live watch – Faces – and i did not have the spo2 sensor enabled, however, when i enabled the spo2 sensor for sleep tracking as well as used one of their live watch faces that dropped it down to about five days but that’s, still pretty darn good.
Considering with the exact same settings, i was getting about two to three days out of the original venue. Now one thing that will zap your battery life quite a bit is using the always on display mode and they advertise only two days with this mode. So i’d really consider whether or not you need that always on display, especially since the raised wake gesture seemed to work pretty well for me in most situations, but i have to say the always on display mode was pretty nice to look at. However, the venue 2 does include a new battery saver mode, which can help you squeak out a bit more battery life by disabling some of the sensors on the watch, so not like double battery life or anything, but just like an extra day or two out of It so this would probably be just used in an emergency type situation, and one more new thing in regards to battery life is the venue. 2 also has rapid recharging, which, if you charge the venue to for just 10 minutes, you can get an extra day of battery life on the smartwatch side of things, you’ll be able to get notifications for text calls and other alerts. So on an iphone. These will be one way, notifications, but you won’t be able to reply if you’re using an iphone. But if you have these paired to an android phone you’ll be able to reply with pre defined responses that you can set up in garmin connect and then there’s.
Also, the ability to use garmin pay for contactless payments and then for music. Both these models come with the capability of storing up to 650 tracks, which is up from the 500 tracks on the original venue for offline music playback using music streaming services like spotify, deezer and amazon music. The venue 2s also come with garmin safety and tracking features called instant detection, as well as get assistance which can send your information as well as location to emergency contacts that you set up in garmin connect. But just note that you do have to have your phone in range for this to work, just because the watch is going to be using your cellular connection to send out that alert on the health side of things. The venue 2s come with garmin’s advanced sleep tracking widget. That provides a sleep score along with lots of insights into your sleep like on this night. I did in fact sleep quite poorly, and it very well could have been because i’ve been doing tons of training and testing lately. It also provides a nice chart of your last night’s sleep along with time spent in different sleep stages like deep sleep, light sleep rem as well as time spent awake, and this leads into an improvement that garmin’s made with body battery. So body battery gives an indication of your energy levels throughout the day, and this is based off of your exercise as well as your sleep. Quality and i’ve really enjoyed this feature.
But garmin’s made some improvements to better utilize sleep data to give a more accurate body battery score. So if you got a poor night’s sleep like i did that night, it reflects that a bit more accurately in your body battery score. The venue 2 also comes with a feature called fitness age, and their intentional fitness age is to provide a little more relatable number than vo2 max, and it calculates this based on your actual age and then combines that with your vigorous activity over the last week, resting Heart rate and then bmi or body fat percentage, to estimate if your fitness level is above or below your actual age. They also have this new feature called health snapshots, and what this does is take samples of multiple health metrics. All at one time, including your heart rate, blood, oxygen, saturation, respiratory rate, stress level and heart rate variability, and it takes about two minutes to collect all these metrics and gives you an average of all those data points from the last two minutes. Okay, so now that we’ve talked about all the health features of the venue, 2 let’s now move on to these sports and fitness features there’s a pretty extensive list of sport profiles to choose from from everything that you’d expect like running both indoors and outdoors cycling, both Indoors and outdoors pool swimming, but just note that there’s no open water swimming profile, there’s also the strength, training profile and there’s.
Now a new hit workout profile and there’s new stuff. With these profiles that i’ll circle back to here in just one second there’s also a hiking profile, gym based profiles like elliptical and stair stepper, and then there’s, indoor, rock, climbing and bouldering, which were first introduced with the phoenix 6 pro solar and then outdoor recreation profiles. For paddle boarding golf as well as winter sports like skiing and snowboarding, basically tons to choose from but let’s talk about the strength, training and hit profiles. First, because there’s, some cool new stuff in here, so garments made a few improvements with their strength, training activity profile. So if you load in a workout from their list of workouts in garmin, connect first off, you get a really nice breakdown of that entire workout and the progression of one exercise to the next, which has been there for in the past. But now it’s just a lot prettier. However, if you click on one of these exercises, it shows you what muscle groups are being targeted in that exercise with this incredibly nice looking graphic and they’ve also enhanced the workout animation to be one of the best animations i’ve. Seen on a watch i mean these little video animations contain so much detail and they’re, so incredibly, smooth there’s, also a new feature where you’ll be able to log personal records for different types of strength, training activities. Now this feature isn’t completely ready at the moment, but the idea behind it is that you’ll be able to log prs and then you’ll be able to view those on your watch as well as in garmin connect, but the list of activities that they have right now.
At the moment seems a little bit short to me, so i would just love the ability to log apr for any sort of strength, training activity but, like i said, they’re still working on this feature, so i’ll probably circle back this feature in a follow up. Video now those last two features are mainly used when you’re using one of their built in workouts or creating a custom workout. But you still can just use the strength, training activity profile that they have, which attempts to automatically track your reps and tries to identify what type of exercise that you’re doing. And i did an extensive video on how this works over two years ago and i’ll. Have that link down in the description below but basically i’m seeing about the same results as before, where it does a pretty decent job at identifying reps. But the exercise recognition is generally pit and miss and when i say hit, i don’t mean hit, which is high intensity interval training, and that is a brand new activity profile to launch with the venue 2.. So, with the new hit activity profile, there’s now different types of timers that you can set up depending on what type of workout that you’re doing, including amrap every minute on the minute tabata, which is 20 seconds on with 10 seconds of rest. And then you can set up a custom timer if you’d, like with your interval time rest time, how many moves per round, as well as the number of rounds.
It’S all pretty well thought out, and it will also attempt to count your reps during these workouts and it will show all this information later in garmin connect when you go to save your workout. So now, let’s talk about gps accuracy and we’ll. First start with some running, so the total distance lined up just fine with some other test devices, so we’re good to go there and the calories also did line up as well from a gps track accuracy standpoint pretty decent on this run, but i did encounter one Section right over here on the right side of the map, where it did veer off a little bit but funny enough all the devices kind of struggled on this run for some reason or another. So let’s take a look at some other examples on this road ride. Again, the total distance is lined up just fine, and so did the elevation gain using the venue. Two’S altimeter and the calorie calculations also lined up really nicely from a gps track accuracy standpoint. This was pretty solid. This ride consisted of a mix of different things from completely straight and wide open sections of road to some winding bike paths with quite a few turns as well some areas with a good amount of tree cover, and overall this looks really good. There were a handful of corners where it overshot just slightly, but these are very minor and overall, the venue two did just great and for mountain biking.
This is probably one of the more challenging gps tests just because of a lot of switchbacks and varying terrain, and the venue 2 was reasonably close to other test devices for a total distance. It was also pretty good when it came to the elevation gain on this ride compared to the elevation collected on other devices as well as strava’s, correct elevation figure that’s in the center screenshot for the gps tracks. Well, this was an out and back ride, so that’s. Why there’s so many tracks laid down but it’s kind of hard to find much wrong here on all these tight turns. It tracked quite well, in fact, a bit better than another device that i had in this ride and if i had to nitpick on this tight switchback right here, shout out just a bit. But that was pretty much. The only thing i can find and before we get into the final section of this video, which is heart rate accuracy, i also wanted to quickly go over how well the venue 2 did at estimating indoor running distances on a treadmill. So when i got done with my first treadmill run a screen popped up asking me to enter the distance that was recorded on the treadmill, which should help calibrate the watch and then, after that, first run on all my subsequent runs. It stayed pretty well calibrated and was producing some pretty solid results, so pretty good stuff there, okay, so now on to hard drive accuracy.
So the venue 2 and venue 2s come with garmin’s latest fourth generation elevate, heart rate sensor, which also includes an spo2 sensor. These two lights in the center are green and red lights, and then these four that you see on the outside are actually infrared lights that you can’t see with the naked eye, but these are used to improve sp02 accuracy, of course, being the latest and greatest. They should also be the most accurate for spo2 accuracy. I found to be quite close to a fingertip blood oxygen sensor, so this clip right here is doing four tests all in a row and with every measurement it was extremely close and it was at most only off by one percentage point and for heart rate accuracy. Let’S hop over to some charts so for running well. This is just about the most boring thing right here, but basically it was perfect other than some very minor blips right here and here where it was off by just like a few beats per minute and then on this run again it was pretty good, but there Were a few little wobbles here and here – and it did have about 30 seconds right here – where it tracked about six to seven beats per minute off and then for indoor cycling. It was basically perfect, there’s really not much to complain about here and then on. This next example same deal where it was pretty good, but there was one spot right here.
What had a little hiccup when i elevated my heart rate quickly, but other than that. The rest of the session is basically on the money. Next up is road biking, and this is where things start to get a little more challenging for a wrist based heart rate sensor, just because of the added variables of gripping onto the handlebars, as well as vibration. From the road which can have an effect on these sort of sensors and for the most part the venue 2 did pretty well at the beginning, there was a little delay in it, locking on, but after that things were pretty tidy. There are some little mini spikes here and there, but i think what’s interesting is that the optical arm, heart rate sensor that i was using for comparison, also experienced some of those little mini spikes. But overall this was pretty much. What i like to see now there are some activities that are notoriously hard for wrist based heart rate, sensors and those include mountain biking swimming as well as weight training and with mountain biking. Basically, there’s the variable of gripping onto the handlebars, quite a bit as well as a lot of jarring movement. That can happen over rough terrain, which could make the watch move around. But this example that i have right here is probably one of the better results. I’Ve seen from a wrist based heart rate sensor for mountain biking, sure there are definitely spots where it dropped and spiked a little, but these were all momentary, and what we can see is that, even though it did wander in some spots, it got back in line Very quickly, which was really nice to see next up, is weight, training and high intensity inward training, which consists of a lot of varying arm movement and wrist flexion, which can throw off any wrist based heart rate sensor.
And what we can see here is that the venue wasn’t perfect, but this is still on the better end of things, for what i generally see from a wearable when it comes to tracking weight training. So the average heart rate was nearly exactly the same as the other heart rate sensors. But what we really need to look at are the trends, so you can see that it follows along for the most part, but there were some spots where it dropped a bit and then this portion right here after elevating my heart rate, it took a few minutes To track the rapid fall, but then for the rest of the workout, it did pretty well. It was a bit slow to react, though, on these high intensity intervals, at the end, where it was about five to ten seconds behind the other heart rate, sensors and then here’s, a pool swimming that i did and with swimming wrist based heart rate. I pretty much am just looking to make sure the trends line up and for the most part, the venue 2 did a good job, a bit of wandering at the beginning. But after that i was actually pretty impressed with what i saw from the venue 2 and it also produced a very usable average high rate. So, overall, i do think that 4th generation elevate heart rate sensor is performing a bit more accurately than what i’ve seen in the past, but with activities like weight, training, high intensity, animal training – if you want really accurate heart rate i’d, still always recommend getting a chest.
Heart rate, strap and i’ll have a link down in the description below for a video where i went over a lot of budget options, oh and to circle back to swimming, really quick. The venue 2 also did a good job in tracking the total distance on the swim, and it provides quite a bit of detail to pour over it’s also able to automatically track your intervals along with stroke type, and it also has automatic rest detection between intervals. And i found this feature to work pretty well, the rest detection happens within just a couple seconds of stopping an interval and then a rest timer pops up, and i almost forget that i took the venue 2 skiing, and this is kind of a neat sport profile Where it’s actually able to automatically track your runs and how it does. This is using the built in altimeter to detect when you’re, sending on the chairlift and then as soon as you get off the chairlift and start descending. It starts a new lap and all this information is available to you, including your lap time, distance elevation, loss and speed. Overall, i think garmin nailed it with the venue too. The two new size options are great. The display, along with the new processor and gpu, are just fantastic and it really shows in the new interface along with the live watch faces and the animations throughout, and then those workout videos are pretty impressive. The original venue was a pretty big hit, but i can only imagine that the venue twos are probably gon na, be an even bigger hit with that amazing looking amoled display, along with pretty impressive battery life, i think it’s gon na give a lot of other smart Watches on the market, a big run for their money.
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