The Garmin Venu Sq 2 was unveiled at IFA 2022, and it looks great. Although it’s a bit of a refresh on the original Garmin Venu Square rather than innovating too many new terrains, it’s improved upon its predecessor in a few small but significant ways.
Battery life, for example, is up from six days to 11 days, and the AMOLED touchscreen which is complemented by Garmin’s usual five-button system is a bit larger at 1.4 inches.
New to the Venu Sq range are some of Garmin’s latest fitness-focused features, such as Health Snapshot, which provides a quick snapshot of your heart rate variability, breathing, oxygen levels in blood and your stress response in just two minutes. Body Battery scores – a metric designed to tell you how well your body is recovering from your previous workouts – have also made the jump.
Menstrual tracking, sleep scores, 24/7 heart rate tracking, access to Garmin Pay for transactions on the wrist, and the incredibly useful (and completely free) Garmin Connect app from Garmin are also all here. The watch costs $249.99 in the US and £229.99 in the UK (opens in a new tab), while a Music Edition, which can store up to 500 songs, costs $299.99 in the US and £269.99 in the UK. Australian pricing for the watch is TBC.
The Venu Sq 2, like its predecessor, does all of the above without looking like a big monster of an endurance watch like so many other Garmins – its square pebble shape is reminiscent of the Apple Watch or the Fitbit Versa series.
In fact, because it looks more like a lifestyle watch than a sports number, I was wondering how it compares to the most popular smartwatch in its price range, the Apple Watch SE – and it compares extremely favorably if your primary consideration is fitness.
The Garmin Venu Sq 2 has about five times the battery life of an Apple Watch SE, which makes it much better at tracking sleep, since you don’t have to take it off nearly as often. , allowing it to build a better picture of your health.
It has 24/7 heart rate tracking, plenty of sports modes, mindfulness features and stress tracking, all comparable to the Apple Watch SE, and it has excellent GPS, thanks to Garmin’s multiband ability to call Galileo and GLONASS satellites.
It’s slightly cheaper in all markets than Apple’s offering, and it comes with absolutely free Garmin Connect, which offers workout plans and recommended workouts that for Apple Watch owners are only accessible through Apple’s paid Apple Fitness+ subscription.
When I use a smartwatch, I want to attach it and forget it, and let it do the work for me, especially when it comes to calculating my sleep or recommending that I wait for a big run because I haven’t recovered enough from yesterday’s gym session. I don’t find myself using many third-party apps on a regular basis, and I certainly don’t want to charge my watch every 20 hours.
That’s not to say there’s no reason to buy an Apple Watch SE over the cheaper and (on paper, at least) better Garmin Venu Sq 2 – you may already be invested. in the Apple ecosystem, with an iPhone and AirPods, or you might like the idea of using some of your favorite third-party apps on your wrist or being able to make calls with the cellular version.
However, if you’re on the fence, I’d give the Garmin Venu Sq. 2 some consideration from a fitness and financial perspective, at least until the reviews roll in. In the meantime, check out how good Garmin Connect is – here’s five little-known features the free software offers budding athletes.
IFA 2022 is Europe’s biggest tech show, and TechRadar is in Berlin to bring you all the latest news and announcements, plus our hands-on first impressions of the new TVs, wearables, audio devices and other gadgets on show.