The Garmin Venu 2 Plus may look understated, but beneath its exterior lie reliable Garmin tracking and all the sports and workout modes you’re likely to need…
Check out our full roundup of the best fitness watches in 2023
BEST-LOOKING GARMIN WATCH
Garmin Venu 2 Plus
From $495 / £399 / garmin.com
Battery life: 4/5
Smart features: 4/5
Fitness insights: 4/5
- Accessible styling
- Smart features and fitness smarts
- Durability isn’t best-in-class
- App support inferior to Apple Watch
Garmin’s Enduro and Forerunner series of watches all look like they’re ready for the track. With that oh-so-Garmin E Ink-style sunlight-visible screen tech, those bulky bezels and the robust-looking casing, you feel part of the Garmin run club when you pick up an Enduro or Forerunner.
On the off-chance you want more anonymous, pared-back styling, Garmin’s Venu 2 Plus is a tastefully understated watch with most of the training smarts of its sportier-looking siblings.
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The Venu 2 Plus wants to be more of a smartwatch than its training watch counterparts. With its bright AMOLED display, it shares the same display tech as the Apple Watch, Huawei Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.
It also packs in support for your phone’s voice assistant for basic commands, so you can reply to texts from the watch. And like most of the smartwatches on test, it doubles up as a Bluetooth receiver, so you can take calls from your wrist too.
With heart rate monitoring, a Pulse Ox3 sensor, stress tracking and sleep tracking, the Venu 2 Plus ticks all the right boxes for wellness, and with a handful of basic on-screen workouts pre-loaded on the watch, and more available in the Garmin ConnectIQ app, it’s something of a one-stop shop – perfect for casual exercisers.
Garmin sports modes
The Venu 2 Plus also supports over 25 preloaded GPS and indoor sports modes, including walking, running, cycling, pool swimming, golf and more. And with advanced strength training tracking (notoriously difficult for wearables), HIIT workout support, custom workouts and wrist-based coaching for a 5K, 10K or half-marathon run, its style doesn’t stop it from being capable.
The Venu 2 Plus also supports all the apps the Enduro and Forerunner series do, and with up to ten-day battery life it’s one of the better performers on that front, easily lasting long enough to deliver convenient sleep tracking without constant charges.
We had two gripes with the watch in our testing. The first was that it took a couple of days to get accurate sleep tracking going, but once it did, the watch did a good job. Secondly, the materials aren’t as life-proof as the competition.
The Gorilla Glass 3 display, for example, will scratch on impact, as will the Venu 2 Plus’s frame. So, although the Garmin Venu 2 Plus would be ideal for more casual users, action adventurers looking for a rough-and-tumble watch might want to look elsewhere.