Garmin Venu SQ | First Images | First Thoughts

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Garmin Venu SQ | Music | First Thoughts

We’ve known for some time that next week’s Garmin releases, probably on September 16th, are going to be the Garmin Forerunner 745, the Garmin HRM-Pro Chest Strap and the Garmin Venu smartwatch. Today we get some corroborated news that the Garmin Venu is being released as the Garmin Venu SQ and Garmin Venu SQ Music – you can see from the pictures the imaginative suffix is probably short for SQuare. Yep folks, Garmin has gone all-Fitbit on us and copied the looks of the Fitbit Versa Sense.

I’ve had details of the new Venu for a long time but these images from Winfuture are the first that I’d seen and I have to say I’m in two minds as to whether or not I like the Garmin Venu SQ.

On the one hand, I’ve said I like the looks of the Fitbit Versa several times, so it seems childish to change my opinion just to annoy Garmin-lovers. I’ve also made my anti-Crown feeling plain about the Apple Watch and here Garmin has clearly followed the recent leads of Oppo and others to ditch the crown, so I have to applaud that as well. Still on the subject of form, along with many other commentators, I’ve also said that the ideal format of a sports watch is rectangular (with buttons).

So there’s a lot of positives on show here from the new-look Venu SQ

But I also said that there seems to be a mainstream desire for more traditional round faces and there’s something about the looks of the Venu SQ that I’m just not sure about. It seems, so, un-Garmin.

Yet, could this be Garmin’s masterstroke to propel them into the higher echelons of the mainstream? Let’s be honest about the Venu…it’s always been a SMART FITNESS/smartwatch rather than an ATHLETIC SPORTS watch that’s also smart and the best-selling smartwatch EVER, the Apple Watch, is a similar shape to this. Perhaps Garmin has to adopt the Fitbit-cum-Apple looks to get the volume business in the smartwatch market?

Here are some more images and a few bullet points about some of the specs that have now also been corroborated

 

  • 1.3″ LCD display with 240x240px resolution – note, it’s NOT OLED – I suspect but don’t know, that these renders make the screen look a tad prettier than it really is, especially on the dial watch face in the main image at the top.
  • The watch face is actually a more vertically stretched out than the Fitbit Versa, which is more square, but perhaps not quite as rectangularly thin as the Apple Watch.
  • Decent Gorilla Glass 4
  • 2-button plus touchscreen
  • Eu pricing is said to be Eu200 and Eu250 for the music version (probably the same number for US$, and GBP is about £190, £230). Note, the EXISTING Garmin Venu is GBp329/$349 – a differently priced beast entirely.
  • Garmin Pay – for contactless payments
  • Music via Garmin’s CIQ apps which includes Spotify and Amazon Music support
  • Storage – 4GB/500 songs
  • WR50 – 50m water resistance for swimming
  • Lots of sports profile and triathlon is not one of them.
  • Sony GNSS chipset supporting multiple GNSS constellations including Galileo
  • Standard Garmin charger
  • 20mm, cheap-looking but interchangeable straps
  • Latest Garmin Elevate sensor (the good one) delivering  SpO2 and the supporting info for Firstbeat’s body battery, respiration, PulseOx, Stress level, 24×7 HR and more
  • Guided workouts (I’m guessing with animation for strength workouts)

more below…

And here we have a nice screen showing a guided workout and, I believe, some new interface logic – swipe up and the rotated carat for ‘go’…this looks GOOD and intuitive. Garmin has been listening to people (me) banging on that they need to improve their UI/UX.

Take Out & First Thoughts

Despite the name, this is effectively a new product for Garmin at a new price point. Garmin is planning to take on the mightly Apple, the once-mighty Fitbit and the declining Samsung.

The previous iterations were Garmin Vivoactive 3/4 & Venu (OLED), along with the Fenix series these have been Garmin’s money-spinners. Garmin has not simply changed the Venu on a whim, so the following are each plausible scenarios

  • Despite the beautiful OLED screen the older, highly-priced Venu just may not have sold enough. It simply didn’t compete with the AW5.
  • Garmin has cheapened the Venu with the Venu SQ to enable it to compete below the mid-market $250ish level with the AW3 / AW6se.
  • Garmin is cunning. The Venu SQ is just the first. Yes, it competes with AW3/AW6se but there will be another, higher spec OLED-cum-LTE wunderkind that’s priced and feature-matched to compete with the new AW6 but Garmin are waiting to see first exactly what the AW6 is made of.

Garmin will have built decent innards into the Venu SQ. The sports modes and the health & activity features will almost certainly have been nailed, although there will be a minor glitch here and there, and there will always be some unhappy soul somewhere who wants a few more features than will those included.

The key success points here appear to be PRICE, LOOKS, USABILITY and, possibly HEALTH. Taking each of those:

  • Price: Garmin has hit the Apple Watch 3/6 SE price point(ish), although a separate music version is silly.
  • Looks: Garmin has gone all-in for the Fitbit-cum-Apple looks. Looks proven to work.
  • Usability: Garmin appears to have a partially revamped screen interface augmented with buttons and touch. Maybe that’s cool but I’m guessing the look and feel of the device will be inconsistent and disjointed as you pass through all the various menus and features.
  • Health: Can the Venu sub-brand be repositioned as a HEALTH offering that people instinctively think of rather than the smart activity Vivoactive watch of previous versions? Health is where “it’s” at, Fitbit Sense is rapidly heading there, Apple is perceived to be there already…has Garmin got the right set of directions?

Venu SQ is a gamble but Garmin might pull it off. It’s a gamble with massive financial upside and a limited financial downside for a company of Garmin’s size. So what is it to be? Game Changer?…or damp SQuib? (See what I did there…;-) )

Partial Source: winfuture

Images | ALL winfuture

 

Screen Size Comparison

 

 

Early release partners will likely include REI (USA) and Wiggle (Eu). Amazon won’t likely get stock for several weeks, although Amazon USA can sometimes get stock relatively early.

Best Triathlon Watch
Country-specific, discount links to Amazon, Wiggle, PMC, REI and more.

 

Garmin 745 | Some Specs | Some Thoughts On Latest Forerunner

 

 

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40 thoughts on “Garmin Venu SQ | First Images | First Thoughts

  1. Wouldn’t have guessed a new form factor. It may help ease the selection anxiety of first time Garmin buyers.

    Not clear why a non-music variant would be be appealing in what I imagine the Venu target market is though.

  2. Not seeing anything to get me to switch from my Amazfit Bip S, but a higher price and no mention of battery life. To me the most important features of a smart fitness watch is on-board GPS and battery life, followed by heart rate and water resistance for pool/open water workouts. Everything else is just window dressing! All the apps have their good and bad points so that’s a wash. Quibbling over watch faces or screen quality or how many buttons or swiping vs tapping, bla bla bla … utter silliness. You should be able to use the watch all day no matter what amount of activity for at least a week (ok…keeping your GPS on 24/7 is just stupid). Charging the watch every day or other day is a deal breaker for me. There’s nothing worse than an dead fitness watch on a quick weekend getaway. You’ve read this far so my advice is get the Bip S. The original Bip was great. The Bip S adds water resistance and a few interface tweaks. All for less than $80 bucks.

    1. I 100% agree with you on your take. I have the Bip right now, I LOVE the simplicity of the design and amazing battery life, great for everyday use. And you can’t go wrong with the price point of $80 (but it might have been lowered by now, idk…). If the Garmin Venu SQ has a battery life of under a week, that’s probably a deal breaker for me.

  3. If the screen specs are right then this lags behind even the first generation versa, with the third gen being slightly larger and higher resolution. I have been waiting for an updated venu to switch from my beat up versa, but this isn’t it.

      1. I don’t have an original venu, I have a versa currently and was looking at getting a venu but heard rumors about a new version coming out in Sept.

  4. Had a couple of Garmin over few years and each didn’t last more than 3 years. I used those for swimming which made them down so quickly. Not a good seal for the leakage.

      1. I agree, no maps and no garmin pay, music yes. I just wonder how many FB goodies they will implent in 745 and how good batery will be.

    1. Or just use the dwMap app & get a premium account saving a lot of $, € or £! I use it for hiking on a 645 and works well.

      1. I’m hoping the new sleep widget will land on the current Venu. I’m about to trade in a Versa 2 for a Garmin, but the sleep tracking is so much better on Fitbit!

        1. True, it’s hard to recommend a Garmin for sleep tracking. Maybe reviewers need to add charts comparing sleep times like they do with HR and GPS. This might push Garmin to sort out it’s woeful sleep tracking.

          1. it’s difficult to have a CORRECT source as a comparator. it’s difficult to wear more than 2 watches and find that they agree. sleep STAGE data is almost wrong everywhere.
            luckily SPORTS device reviewers have a get out in that hr and gps are highly relevant and can politely ignore recovery when it suits them 😉

  5. I totally understand, but my 245 will sometimes track me in deep sleep even when the watch is laying on the bedside table with the hr sensor facing the ceiling. Stuff like this does not happen on family/friends Fitbits. Also, Garmin mostly fails when I compare my Whatsapp timestamps to my sleep times.

    Maybe reviewers who do reviews as their day jobs can coerce the partners into having offline cameras installed in their bedrooms and compared the footage to their sleep data. 😁

  6. My Honor Band 5 was pretty accurate when it comes to sleep tracking. It recognized moments when I got up for going to the toilet. And the summary of the night was always pretty accurate and helpful.

    Venu Sleeptracking is completely useless.

  7. My .02 cents on sleep trackers.Tried a lot of them. Landed on an Oura Ring. Decent sleep tracking, but a lot more. Check it out. I am not involved with the company, just a pleased customer coming up on 2 years use.

    1. 945 is 47mm in Diameter where it says here 44mm. So a smaller 945 without Maps and, from the Looks, the same 1.2″ Display. And a Barometer 😉

  8. Without Training status and Recovery none of these watches beneath the Forerunner range do anything for me. The 45+ is already as bare bones as it gets, with their lowly users not even getting labeled data fields. Keeping these features from buyers in the 200-300$ range will start to bite GARMIN in the ass, as others like COROS are starting to include them in all of their devices.

  9. how come they didn’t announce it alongside the HRMPro and 745? Any idea when it might actually be announced – I noticed that you keep updating the date at the top there 5kRunner!

  10. Any chance the Venu SQ will get the new sleep analytics from Firstbeat? WAnt to switch from Fitbit to Garmin, but sleep analytics is holding me back.

      1. What’s happened to the Venu SQ? Information about it was all over the internet for a couple of days but seems to have dried up/disappeared since the new Apple watches were released.

        1. yes…just off to pick up my AW6 in an hour 🙂
          i dont think the apple release has anything to do with the SQ no showing.
          i have no intel on Venu sq timings. it will be most likely to be in 3-4 weeks.

  11. Garmin sabotages themselves anyhow. I did buy a Venu recently. It was pretty decent, confusing menus but good sports tracker. HRM works well even in the water. But…

    Not only can they not seem to keep Connect, their mandatory cloud service running, but I and at least several others got blocked by their CloudFlare-serviced firewall for nearly a week… and there’s nothing Garmin could do about it. They don’t know why, they don’t have access to the white list, in a nutshell, they’re utterly incompetent.

    Returning something you’re mostly happy with is a PITA, but Garmin got me to do it with the Venu, and I’m not the only one. They have more problems than just competing with Apple.

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