The fact that the Venu Sq is stuffed with so many features, touts the battery that it does and comes in a cheaper than it's siblings means that it's definitely worth paying attention to. While it might not be as powerful as some competitors and features a screen that's just a touch to small there's still a lot to love about Garmin's more budget conscious fitness tracker/smartwatch.
Whether you’re a tough-as-nails mountaineer, a mad person who likes competing in triathlons or just an appreciator of long walks outside, Garmin has always your back with a series of wearables that are ready for a tumble and capable of providing all the info you could possibly need.
The only downside to this is that Garmin has largely marketed its fitness gear to those diehard enthusiasts willing to spend a little more for a quality product. With more and more people beginning to take an interest in healthier, more active lifestyles Garmin has been in need of a product to appeal to those users. You know, the kinds who enjoy a jog four days a week but aren’t really enthusiast about climbing mountains.
That’s where the Garmin Venu Sq comes in. The cheaper version of Garmin’s beefy Venu swaps out some of the more expensive parts of it’s older siblings for assets that may be more cost efficient but certainly don’t degrade its performance. If anything, after using it for a week this has turned out to be an excellent new smartwatch for the average joy and it’s always nice to have more options.
Apple really has been massively influential in the design space with it’s range of smartwatches, huh? The Venu Sq looks like it’s borrowed more than a single page for the Apple Watch; more like an entire chapter. Having said that, if something ain’t broke it might be worth copying it. The 1.3in touchscreen and double-button design have been used because they clearly work well and the use of the square display will probably trick a few folks into thinking you splurged on Apple’s product.
The aluminium bezel is a nice, clean touch but at the same time the actual size of the screen feels very… small. The unfortunate side effect of this is that the entire watch feels dated to use and look it. Fortunately, there’s a wide range of colours for the watch face and strap to choose from. By the way, the quick-release silicone strap is very comfortable to wear but you could replace it with other materials such as nylon, suede and leather if you so choose.
Overall, the Venu Sq is certainly not as utilitarian as Garmin’s more specifically focused fitness watches. It actually looks pretty nice, if you’re willing to ignore a screen that’s a touch small by today’s standards.
Despite it’s notification system being somewhat limited (hope you have an Android device lying around) it’s also stuffed with all the kit you’d need to monitor your fitness and health levels. Seriously, this thing can track things like hydration, respiration, menstruation as well as a boatload of different exercises. It also comes with GPS, an optical heart-rate sensor and can even run PulseOx tests. PulseOx actually just means blood-oxygen levels but it sounds way cooler to say, right?
The amount of things the Venu Sq is able to monitor is truly staggering and it’s made all the better by how simple it all is to use. Just a single press of the button and you’ll be stopping and starting your workouts with everything displayed in an easily visible fashion on the screen. It’s efficient which is arguably the most important part of a smartwatch.
The Venu Sq is running Garmin’s own software which, if we’re honest, is a little basic. Having said that you’re not exactly looking to calculate NASA launches with something like this, right? It does what it needs to do and that’s perfectly okay. Still the pre-installed and downloadable watchfaces aren’t especially appealing considering many of them are user created. It’s nice to have that as an option but it would be nice if a there was a touch more attention pay to presentation.
Really, the biggest issue we have with the software of the Venu Sq is that you have to use Garmin Connect to make the most of it. The companion app is very hit-or-miss in that it handles the basics well enough but need to use it at all complicates what should be a very straight forward process. Once you get to grips with it though the displays for all the data and important information are straight forward and easy to understand. Just a pity you have to jump through a few extra hoops to get to them.
Performance and Battery Life
As can be expected, the battery life of the Venu Sq is fantastic. You’ll easily squeeze out six days of life from this thing without a charge. Of course, that depends on what features you’re using but an average user won’t have to worry about the watch dying at an inopportune moment. If you’re looking at using more intense features such as the PulseOx mode combined with music and a sizable run every day, you should still get roughly three days of battery life, which is nothing to turn your nose up at. Oh, and flat to full charge only takes 90 minutes which is a real pleasure even if you do have to use Garmin’s special charging cable.
It can struggle to keep up with activity on the watch face though. If a WhatsApp chat is particularly busy it there’s a notable bit of lag which can make using it a pain, a hassle exacerbated by the fact that the display is so small but we’ve harped on about that long enough at this point.
Garmin Venu Sq Verdict
The fact that the Venu Sq is stuffed with so many features, touts the battery that it does and comes in a cheaper than it’s siblings means that it’s definitely worth paying attention to. While it might not be as powerful as some competitors and features a screen that’s just a touch to small there’s still a lot to love about Garmin’s more budget conscious fitness tracker/smartwatch.