smartwatch review Garmin Venu SQ review: Two runners test Garmin's square smartwatch
The next video we’re gon na do. But we thought you know we’ll give give the people what they want. So the good news is that myself and nick have both um been using the venue, sq and we’ve run with it plenty um. So we thought we’d pull together our video and let you know our running thoughts on it and how we got on how it compares to the other venue and the other going watches and uh whether you should buy it um. So yeah here is our take on the uh garmin venue, uh esque, Music, uh, so design wise i’m, not a huge fan of the venue square. I have to say don’t mind a square watch. Obviously i, like the apple watch, um it’s, the screen, really. I don’t think the screen’s that great and obviously there you’re losing battery life you’re losing an awesome feature: um it’s not very bright outside um, and i don’t think it’s really that much nicer than something you get on like the 45 45, the kind of normal garmin Translators, trans selective screen, the two button design is also pretty confusing when you first get it uh it took a while. You know to kind of get there and stop messing things up. Touch screen is reasonably responsive to touches, but it’s not brilliant, on raise to wake. I found so during a run or even during general life it’s, just just return, there’s a beat before you.
Actually, the screen wakes up that’s a little bit. Annoying um i find like the apple watch is instant. Fitbit also takes a second or two and every single time, it’s a very, very minor annoyance, but that adds up over time, um so yeah, i actually the original venue. I think um was quite a nice design, um they’re kind of round that kind of slightly better amoled screen that it has compared to this um. So yeah, not wow by the design at its price, it’s kind of okay. But even then i think there are. You know bonus proper, running watches that actually look just as nice, if not nicer, um, so not not hugely impressed, and certainly something like the fitbits that are around there, like the versa, 2 or, and the sensor 300 versus 3 now actually are nicer. Looking than this, in my opinion, so in terms of design, i feel very similar to how nick feels about it and the sense that it just doesn’t feel as exciting as nice to look at as the original venue. And actually, if you look at other watches around this price range, like i think, with versus three, even the apple watch series: three, you know the cheapest apple watch. I think you’re getting a nicer. Looking watch there um the screen now the screen i didn’t have a massive issue with the screen, but what i did have an issue with is that the fact that it’s not the same um screen technology you’re getting um on the round venue which it’s a shame Because it’s really um good quality, and i really liked having that um kind of display.
And while i didn’t have any real issues personally, with the visibility and running at night and running in bright light. And you just know you’re getting something better on garmin’s other venue and that i think that’s an issue and for me in terms of navigation outside of the touchscreen and so you’ve got two physical buttons. Now absolutely fine in terms of using those buttons but it’s. The navigation, the ui behind it that is quite frustrating to use now garmin uses a different kind of setup to what they use on their forerunner watches and vivoactive watches so there’s a little bit getting used to where everything lives, and i found – and i think nick Found as well is that you could end up pressing buttons that open you up into screens that you don’t actually want to be in and even when you’re out running, and you know you can just kind of forget and if you’re kind of engrained in that garmin Kind of ecosystem, it can be quite frustrating to you, so i think design um hardware wise, not massively exciting. I think you can get nicer looking watches and in terms of software i mean i describe it as archaic and i think garmin need to get more of the forerunner experience into their venue watches, especially the sq going forward if they’re going to make more of these Watches okay. So if you’re looking at the venue, sq you’re probably wondering how it compares to the garmin venue which launched last year and that was garmin’s first watch with a color touchscreen display um first obvious thing: one’s round one square, that’s kind of most obvious difference, um and You kind of dig a bit more down into it, and the other kind of big things that you might be um interested to know about is the fact that the screen technologies are different.
So on the venue you have an amoled display and on the venue, sq you’ve got a liquid color display. Now. What does that mean? Essentially, amoled is the kind of display technology. You see kind of the high end smart watches so it’s stuff from like samsung fitbit, and the liquid colors display is a kind of lower quality display, essentially you’re, still getting a color display, they’re, both always on options uh for both um, ultimately you’re, not getting a Higher quality high performance in terms of colors and brightness and vibrancy, and things like that you’re going to get on the venue. Other things to note um is features like the altimeter. Now the altimeter is something used to measure elevation. Now you only get that on the round venue you don’t get that on the venue. Sq um, we dig into some of the other um features that you have access to the round venue has animated workouts, whereas the venue sq doesn’t have that, and so what that feature is. Essentially, you can kind of download work out so there’s pre loaded workouts that you can follow on the watch and the kind of animations essentially, and so those are the kind of the main things that ultimately everything else in terms of what you can do in terms Of tracking running um is identical um, but those are the key things that you might think. Well, actually, i want the venue of the venue sq, it might sway you it might not um, but those are the key differences between the venue and the venue sq.
So running wise, the venue square is a bit of a mixed bag. Obviously, as a garmin, it does have a better native sports tracking um kind of performance than you get from most smart, which is certainly better than fitbits native tracking, better than apple’s native tracking. Although there are some good third party apps on the apple watch, so that’s a big plus point you’re, getting good stats you’re, getting things like that pace, all the key stats. Are there structured workouts? Are there your core running? Experience is kind of as good as kind of cheap garmin dedicated running watches in terms of you know, on paper what’s. Actually, there practice there are a few problems i had of it. Um accuracy wise, i wasn’t wowed um, the heart rate was sometimes just the kind of standard heart rate monitor problems, which is, it would lag behind spikes on, like intervals or um strides, and on one run it was completely wrong. It was too high the whole time. I think it was another one where it you know the first five minutes. It was all over the place before it finally got an accurate lock onto my heart rate, so nothing too amazing there about you know slightly below par or even for most optical heart rate. Monitors which are still never that amazing gps was also i’m, not sure about it. I think it was a little bit generous. Quite a few times i run like a 2.
5 k loop for kind of 10k steady, runs kind of once a week and um it’s, around 2.5 k, watches kind of read it differently, but mostly they’re around that mark. But the venue was very generous on that loop. It was kind of reading it long every time it actually started to get longer. Each time i went around it, which is you know, not a good sign for exactly the same loop, a couple of runs. It was closer to the phoenix i was running, the other wrist but i’m, not yeah. It wasn’t entirely convinced by gps, but it’s, probably okay, broadly okay, but certainly seemed a little generous to me at times. So maybe if you’re suddenly clocking massive pbs or just watching you get it, maybe just check if you’re actually not running a little bit shorter than it says um. I also do a problem with the screen when i’m running uh you can set it to be always on, but it’s, not really always on your only oh sorry, it is always on, but it’s not bright enough to read kind of about turning and waking. The screen like um, you can stats, are there, you know they’re there, but you can’t really see of any precision what you’re actually it’s, showing until you actually wake the screen properly. For me, um and it’s, only three stats with data page as well so it’s. You know it’s not really a garmin experience on the par of something like the forerunner 45, even which is cheaper.
Um it’s certainly meant to be a more kind of a crossover watch, but uh i yeah. The reforms was just basically just okay and um. It certainly isn’t anything to write home about basically, okay, so in terms of running performance. For me i would say it was a bit mixed um. The first thing i would say is the gps was a little bit sluggish for me in terms of picking up a signal um. So it had me hanging around longer than i’d like to be and in terms of the actual running with this watch and that side of things it’s a comfortable watch to run with, i would say, lightnic and the raise to wake um responsiveness is, is not great. I think you get something better on something like the apple watch or even something like huawei or fitbit, watches um. In terms of the actual data um, it was never 100 um accurate. It was generally fine. I mean it was things like um pace and distance, and things like was generally fine for me, um with heart rate um again, fine for steady runs um like a lot of garmin watches and when you kind of hit up with the high intensity uh running, it Starts to falter a little bit it’s. Definitely not the worst i’ve used, but it’s still an occasion where i would say pair up a chest, strap monitor if you’re kind of relying on that heart rate um data, and you can do that on um on the venue.
Sq as well, which is good, um, so generally running performance; okay, not amazing, um. I think you probably get a more solid, reliable running performance of something like the 45 um. Maybe even you know, the apple watch um series three as well um, but tracking. Fine. Just you know a few little issues for me, essentially so in terms of battery life now garmin’s talking about kind of up to six days kind of in general, small watch modes um when you factor in gps, um tracking that’s kind of 14 hours um. So what that means is you’re actually getting an extra day more than the um first venue, and probably roughly around the same in terms of gps battery life. Now, obviously, it’s got a lower kind of resolution, a lower quality display to power. So that obviously has an impact on giving you maybe a little bit extra and battery um i found generally. It was that kind of five to six days now, if you have the always on display that will always um reduce battery life and you’ll kind of be told that and kind of give you a heads up um. Now that probably drops it down to maybe three four days and depending on how you use it um also with music. Now, if you’ve got music and we’ve kind of said this, with other guys before, if you’re, shooting, music and you’re, probably when you’re running you’ve, got your heart ray when you’re using gps, that is going to have a more of an impact on your battery life.
So that’s something to keep in mind of and you can see a kind of a bigger drop off and battery it’s, not um, worryingly bad. In terms of drop of bite. It means it will reduce the amount of running and run tracking. You could do on a weekly basis, so battery life, if you kind of look at what it kind of um compares to in terms of those price points at the the non music venue, sq pretty good uh. If you go up and jump up with the music and essentially you’re getting similar to what you probably get in that price range um from other garmin’s um, obviously more than the apple watch, um, probably the same as what you’re getting on a fitbit, um, uh versa And it’s a battery life in general for me, um, okay kind of what it kind of stated it kind of matched that um and yeah week long battery life um, definitely less when you’ve got the always on display and you’re using um music uh streaming as well. Uh, so the verdict on the venue it’s a bit of an odd watch. Basically, i think the key selling point for this is, you know, it’s a slightly slightly. You know nicer screen than other garmin’s with music. You know it’s the cheapest music watching garmin’s lineup. You know on rrp, although you can really get the visual active 3 for um around the same price, with music or even less, and the vivret 4 isn’t that much far ahead of it.
In terms of the you know, the kind of 220 uh 20 pound, the um venue square with music costs and those are nice, looking watches, they’re nicer watches and they don’t have uh the same screen as this. They still look kind of garmin standard screen, but i i don’t think the screen is actually a big upgrade on that. If an upgrade at all like the colors are slightly richer on certain screens, especially like the home screen, but during workouts it’s, certainly no better um, garmin doesn’t use that screen for an awful lot to be honest, you’re, not getting a load of brightly covered graft or Anything that really takes advantage of it so yeah i mean the amoled screen on the actual. The full priced venue is nice, it’s, generally a little bit nicer than something like the vivo actives, whether it’s actually worth the step up is still you know another question, but i don’t think this screen is actually that fantastic and the two button design is a bit Weird um: it takes some getting used to it’s, not perfect on that front either so yeah, you know it’s a garmin with good native sports tracking, though some slight issues on the run for me with music. If you get the music version – which i think is definitely the better of these two watches the version about music, i think there’s no reason to get that ahead of the 45. For me, it’s it’s, not that much better, looking it’s more expensive, it’s.
A worse running experience, it’s a worse all round, experience i’d say obviously having music is a massive factor. I would definitely personally be tempted to try and find the vivofactor 3 music or the vivoactive 4 at a kind of a similar price. If you possibly can, i think they’re nicer, watches, they’re, more enjoyable to use um and uh yeah. They don’t have kind of the similar issues that i had with the venue in terms of accuracy wise on hot on gps, so yeah, you know: it’s it’s, an interesting watch, it’s a cheap garmin with music it’s, quite a nice idea, but it doesn’t really hit the Spot for me, um and i’d be looking elsewhere within garmin’s range. Okay, so should you buy the venue sq now? This is an interesting one. I think personally, i wouldn’t buy it um. I think, and you could maybe get um a better kind of more well rounded um, running experience from something like the four on a 45. Now you’re not going to get all the smartwatch stuff from the 45 um which you’ll get on the venue sq. And if you look at the price point for the non music version, so it’s 180 pounds around that you know 200 point um, actually it’s not a bad option. If you look it from that point of view and you don’t want music and if you look at what else you’ve got there, you’ve got the kind of apple watch series: three fitbit versa: three um in hawaii watch gt2e.
I think some of the amaze fit stuff and like the gcs2 around this price point as well, and i think, having tested the sports tracking on those, i think, you’re – probably getting something more reliable. If you’re kind of looking at the music edition, then i think it gets a little bit more interesting. I think, like nick has said, you probably can look at some of the vivo active um watches, even some of the older ones, maybe the three and and actually get a nicer. Maybe a nicer watch you’re not getting the color display, but i don’t think they’re cut. The displays are that bad um on the um. Those other garments is maybe some of our older garments as well, um, so yeah that higher price point i think, uh for the music edition. I think it’s a bit more difficult, one to kind of recommend, i think, and at the kind of cheaper non music um price point i think actually it’s an option. I just think you have to be willing to live with the fact that you’re not getting that same display technology in the original venue and you’re gon na have to kind of learn to get to grips with how the the ui and where everything lives um. But if you can do all that it’s it’s a nice enough watch, i just think personally, i didn’t love running air in the sense that i think you kind of constantly compare it to the original venue and what you got there and the nicer watch nicer technology.
All the features that you want, um, so yeah that’s, my take and nick’s take on the garmin venue, sq um. Obviously, if you’ve got any other questions, anything we didn’t kind of cover in the video.