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Garmin Venu Sq 2 vs Venu Sq – Comparison & opinion
Garmin’s latest rectangular smartwatch, Venu SQ 2, goes head to head against the second-generation Apple Watch SE.
Here’s how the new Venu SQ 2 stacks up.
TL;DR – It’s probably worth the upgrade from the earlier SQ but not the switch from the Apple Watch unless you keep running out of battery.
Garmin Venu SQ 2 vs Venu SQ
This is an all-new tech upgrade. Most of the significant changes are on the inside and boost the technical performance and appearance. There’s nothing materially new on the features front, though it must be said that the new Venu SQ 2 will almost certainly be the only one of these two watches to receive new features in the future.
|Garmin||Venu Sq||Venu Sq 2|
|$199.99 USD (add $50 for Music)||$249.99 USD (add $50 for Music)
|Physical size||40.6 x 37.0 x 11.5 mm||40.6 x 37.0 x 11.1 mm|
|Fits wrists with a circumference of 125-190 mm||Fits wrists with a circumference of 125-190 mm|
|Display Size||1.3″ (33.1 mm) diagonal||1.41″ (35.9 mm) diagonal|
|Display Resolution||240 x 240 pixels||320 x 360 pixels|
|Display Type||liquid crystal – optional always-on mode||AMOLED optional always-on mode|
|Weight||37.6 g||38.0 g|
|Battery life||Smartwatch mode: Up to 6 days||Smartwatch mode: Up to 11 days|
|GPS mode: Up to 14 hours||Battery Saver Smartwatch mode: Up to 12 days|
|GPS-Only GNSS mode: Up to 26 hours|
|All-Systems GNSS mode: Up to 20 hours|
The headline improvements include a newer and more accurate GPS chip (Airoha GNSS), although it lacks the advanced dual-frequency modes on the higher-end Garmin watches, the heart rate sensor is also improved with Garmin’s Elevate 4 technology.
Whilst the overall case size is effectively unchanged the screen size is over 10% bigger and all with the beauty of a higher resolution AMOLED screen…the kinds of screens that look GREAT.
Awesome AMOLED screens usually mean a poorer battery life but not this time. Garmin has almost doubled the battery life, including almost doubling the GPS battery life to 26 hours. The techy newness comes with a cost… a 25% price hike.
Summary: It’s worth an upgrade if you love your Venu SQ and want a prettier screen and a more powerful watch. No new features though.
Garmin Venu SQ 2 vs Apple Watch SE Gen 2 on WatchOS 9
Historically it’s been easy to recommend a Garmin watch to any kind of vaguely serious recreational athlete. Garmin simply had the sports features that Apple didn’t include as standard. Sure an Apple Watch can awesomely log a jog or a Fitness class but anyone wanting or needing something more could well be disappointed by an Apple Watch.
That’s now changing. I’ve used WatchOS 9 for over a month and it represents a more significant move forward by Apple that finally starts to take recreational-level sports far more seriously as well as provide some useful features to more serious athletes. For example Apple now adequately covers a one-off triathlon or duathlon, lets you create structured workouts, and gives your running power, training zones, running form metrics and sleep stage analysis – those are all advanced features and give you an indication that those of you with more modest sporty needs will easily be covered by the Apple Watch. Add to that LOTS of 3rd-party sports apps and there is almost certainly something perfect for you…it’s just that finding it might be tricky.
From a hardware perspective, the Apple Watch SE 2 still doesn’t have an always-on screen unlike the SQ 2, nor does it have the very latest of Apple’s super-accurate GPS and HR offerings. The quality of the display on each of these watches is equally as good BUT the Apple Watch SE 2 just will not be able to match the battery life of the Venu SQ2 – the Apple will effectively need fast charging every day even if you can sometimes eke out a day and a half of battery time. Similarly, Garmin’s GPS battery time will probably be about twice that of Apple.
But many of these characteristics of the watches are ‘extreme’ for a potential recreational/fitness buyer. Either watch will probably give you a good enough battery life. With the Apple Watch, you get superb integration with your iPhone which Garmin will never match. And, of course, if you have an Android smartphone the Apple Watch just isn’t an option for you.
Summary: If you have an Android phone or relatively demanding sporting needs then buy a Garmin, otherwise go with the Apple Watch.
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