Updated: September 8, 2021 3:11:32 pm
Whenever someone asks my recommendation for a smartwatch and if they are an iPhone user, invariably, I end up recommending the Apple Watch, given how useful it has proved in my daily life. But if the person is a hardcore fitness enthusiast, someone who tends to cycle, swim, or run daily, my answer changes to Garmin. The Garmin brand of watches is geared towards those into heavy-duty fitness and might need something slightly tougher.
So, when the Garmin Venu 2S arrived for review, I was a bit surprised to see it. This watch with its Rose Gold case and the white strap is a more stylish watch from the brand, especially compared to what I have tried out in the past. It also looks a lot more elegant on my hands, given the 40mm dial. But how does it perform? Here’s my review.
Garmin Venu 2S review: What is good?
The Garmin Venu 2S has a 1.1-inch AMOLED Always-On display, which is bright enough for daily usage and even when at night. I found that I could keep the brightness to the minimum levels and it was adequate for daily usage. The watch has two buttons and touchscreen capabilities as well. Pressing the top button opens up a set of activities and you can customise these depending on preferences. If the watch gets locked, you can simply long-press any button to unlock it.
Long pressing the top button also opens up the watch menu of apps such as Spotify, brightness, GPS, Bluetooth connectivity, as well as the Power off button. Pressing the lower button gives the option of changing the watchface, clocks (which shows the stopwatch, alarm clock), and the history option, which shows all your workouts from the week.
What I liked about the Garmin Venu 2S was the design, fit and number of features that it sports. The watch has a pulse-oximeter, stress indicators, continuous heartrate monitoring, along with support for fitness activities such as running, treadmill, indoor and outdoor cycling, swimming, cardio, yoga, HIIT, Floor Climb, Pilates, etc. You can keep the most useful options in your favourites menu and add and subtract as needed. The watch also supports GPS, WiFi and Bluetooth.
I used the watch extensively for swimming and my outdoor cycling sessions. The watch continues to work accurately, and there was no water damage post the swim sessions. In the swimming sessions, I did notice that at times it would increase the lap count suddenly. The best solution for this was to pause the swim session by pressing the top button. This would add an interval when I was taking a break at one end of the pool.
The GPS works accurately as I noticed in my cycling sessions. While starting a cycling session, the watch does try and find the GPS, before you can start. This can be confusing at times. It certainly was for me, but I found that pressing the start button usually ensured that the session recording had begun. I found the step count, sleep tracking to be reasonably accurate as well, and did not notice any jumps in steps if I was doing any activity which involved a lot of wrist movements.
The Garmin Watch has a solid battery life as well. Even during a heavy-duty week, where I went for a swim almost daily, followed by cycling, the watch easily lasted a week. However, make sure that you keep the charging cable safe somewhere.
The other interesting aspect of the Garmin watch is that you can connect it to your Spotify account and download your preferred playlist to the watch. I found the process to be quite smooth, and the watch easily connected to my TWS buds. And thus, I could enjoy listening to music while riding my cycle, without carrying my phone with me.
The Garmin Connect app is where you will see all the data from the watch, and this app has a lot more to offer than just the stats of your last workout session. You can be a part of the Garmin community, see the challenges that are up for grabs, or sign up for the Garmin Coach and undertake a fitness goal that you wish to achieve.
The Garmin Venu 2S comes with blood oxygen monitoring as well, which has become a must-needed feature on most fitness devices these days. Just make sure you keep your hand still when measuring this for accuracy. The watch also lets you track other aspects such as hydration, stress, as well. One can set also set a daily target as well for water intake, but you will have to remember to enter all that data. The Garmin watch can also be used to track the monthly menstrual cycle by women using the app.
Garmin Venu 2S review: What’s not good?
The major issue that I noticed in my usage was the watch’s tendency to add distance while swimming. It would suddenly jump from 100 to 150 for no reason, which is not expected in a watch that costs so much. As I mentioned above, the solution was to keep pausing the swim session in order to maintain some accuracy.
The watch does display notifications from apps, and while you cannot reply to them, it is a useful second screen. But sometimes the watch would not display the notifications, even though it was connected to the phone and alerts. I’m not sure why it was so erratic and moody, but I would have preferred more consistency on this aspect.
I have to add that even though I used the watch for more than two weeks, I found the user interface confusing. Perhaps, it is because I’m used to the Apple Watch which has just one button, and it required some unlearning from my side as well. But it does take a while to figure this out, and switching between the buttons and touchscreen feels a little unnecessarily complicated at times.
Garmin Venu 2S review: Verdict
There are a few salient points that work in the Garmin Venu 2S’s favour. It is a stylish and lightweight watch, which will appeal to more women. I certainly like the 40-mm size, as it is more suited for my wrist. From a fitness perspective, Garmin covers almost all activities, and there’s the option of using the Garmin coach as well for those who need to go that extra mile.
The watch also comes with features one has come to expect on fitness devices such as pulse oximeter, ability to track stress, menstrual cycles, etc. Still, at a price of Rs 37,990, this is one of the more expensive fitness watches in the market. Remember, you are not just paying for the watch here, but also the Garmin brand and what it adds from a fitness perspective.