Garmin Venu 2 Plus review - smart sport tester with long battery life

In April 2021, I've published a review of Garmin Venu 2 and 2s. It was the successor to the first Venu watch with an AMOLED display. The main improvement was the new optical sensor and 2 watch sizes.

The Venu 2 (2s) edition is now supplemented by the Venu 2 Plus model. It is a watch with one size (43.6mm - fits between Venu 2S and Venu 2) and with… support of calling … through a connected mobile phone. This is the main difference of the Plus Venu 2 watch series.

You can view the full review of Venu 2 (2s) here (in Czech, but you can use google translate) and I would summarize here a quick overview of what I had the opportunity to test myself.

Who is typical user of  Venu 2 Plus?

Venu 2 Plus is a stylish watch with a metal bezel bottom of the case. Compared to previous Venu models, the bottom has a slightly convex and rounded shape. And is metalic. The black version of Venu 2 Plus has surface black finish which makes the watch a bit anti allergic. The silver and gold versions have a metal bottom in direct contact with the skin. 

So what group of users are they for? Venu 2 Plus is still a full-fledged sports tester. The watch suppoerts rather an urban person with active lifrstyle rather than mountain or an advetnure lover. 

Supported sports in the watch are for example running, however no trail or track running profile is there. It has pool swimming, but no open water swim. It has cycling and indoor cycling, but no MTB profile or all standard ski/snow sports except of skimo profile. However - all the missing sports profiles could be optionally suplemented by activity profiles from Connect IQ store.

In short, Garmin Venu 2 Plus is aimed at modern active users, but not entirely outdoor enthusiasts. However - those activities that are missing can always be downloaded replaced by adding activities from the Connect IQ Store.

Garmin Venu 2 Plus vs. Venu 2 (2s) - what's new?

  • Hands-free calling (watch has both microphone and speaker)
  • Venu 2 Plus has support for voice assistant (Google, Siri, Bixby) and even for replies to SMS (dictation)
  • They have the option to start a call from the watch, either from contacts or by entering a phone number via the touch screen
  • New control (added a third button key)
  • Venu 2 Plus have a 20mm wide strap (Venu 2s have 18mm, Venu 2 have 22mm)

Standard features that we already know from Garmin, but quite often we forget about them while comparing against the competition:

  • Incident detection and notification of preset contacts for running, cycling, walking activities.
  • Live track function - live broadcast of your activity to preset contacts
  • Music (mp3, online streaming services like Spotify, Deezer, etc. - more in this article)
  • Contactless payments thanks to Garmin Pay
  • Health Snapshot Support, which is a feature that allows you to monitor your health on a daily basis - HRV, heart rate, SPO2, respiratory rate, stress. In the long run, it gives nice reports in Garmin Connect platform.

Design and control

I usually split these sections but today.  The change in design has direct relation to the watch controls.

I have already mentioned a different diameter of the watch compared to the Venu 2 and 2s. What is different is the more convex bottom of the watch, from which a new heart rate sensor also emerges. Garmin used to promote a flat designed sensor that's in line with the watch bottom, but now it seems to me that it is coming back to the sensor that pops up from the bottom of the watch like it used to be for example on the FR 235, or Polar watches. Anyway, it measures really well and that's what counts.

The charging connector is on the back at the 6 o'clock position.

The bezel is metal… compared to Venu 2 and 2s, but the bezel is not serrated across its entire width, but only its underside, which is adjacent to the body of the watch, while the part adjacent to the display is smooth.

In addition, a third button has been added. By short pressing of this buttom, you activate the shortcut (you can choose what the shortcut will do) or by a long press you get the voice assistant and you can control whatever the assistant can do in your hands.

The lower button is used to step back (menu), separate the wheel (LAP) in the activity or long press to enter the watch menu.

A small recommendation - read the manual :-) If you are not used to the Venu or VivoActive 4 watches, you might be unpleasantly surprised for example during the swimming activity. If you long press the bottom button, the activity won't save but would cancel. To end the swim activity, you have to press short upper button to stop it and then long press the same button to get the activity ended and saved.


The Garmin specification states a weight of 51 grams, but the weight measured by me is 44g - 45g. You can beraly feel the watch on the hand, thus no sports limitations, no shuffeling, nothing like that.

Functions and control

The menu is very similar to that of Venu 2 and Venu 2s. They have a nicer menu for widgets (nicer than for example Fenix 6), but what disappointed me a little bit is the absence of a compass and altimeter widget. Which is quite a weird considering there is a compass on one of the preset dials (watchfaces). That means, there is still an active compass in the watch that you can't use without third-party applications - available at Connect IQ store.

The rest of features is almost identical to what we are already used to see in Garmin Venu 2. The biggest change here is the addition of a microphone and speaker and the ability to connect the watch as a handsfree to your mobile. That's simply amazing. All this, of course, while maintaining water resistance up to 50m (at least enough for swimming, for which the watch also has a sports activity in the menu).

Such an almost full-fledged smart watch. Support for voice assistants with whom you can reply to SMS is the cherry on the cake. 

Battery life

The best thing on of this smart sports watch is the battery life. It's up to 9 days. Considering the watch has telephone support and AMOLED display it's just amazing achievement. Compared to the Apple Watch or Galaxy Watch it's unbelievable.

Garmin features 8 hours of GPS activity and music playback. I don't listen to music with a watch during sports, but in single activity with the GPS and the display set to wake on gesture only, the watch gave a little bit under 20 hours of battery life. As of today, there is no smart watch with sports features like  the Veni 2 Plus.

In the context of comparison with Garmin Venu 2 and 2S, Venu 2 Plus is a bit worse. But up to 9 days on a watch with a phone call and an AMOLED display is not that bad. If you do sports about 3-5 times a week, the battery life per one charge will be about 4-6 days, depending on the phone call usage. I'm still convinced that this watch is unbeatable.


The speaker and microphone is quite good. The watch can make decent phone calls when you have a mobile phone nearby - ideally in your pocket or a backpack. Of course, with increasing distance between phone and the watch, the quality of BT transmission decreases. 

But what really got me is that Garmin did due to the transition from classical beeper to the speaker completely change the sound of the watch. So the automatic laps or start, stop of an activity - all this has completely different sound effects … and quite unusual for Garmin.

In general, I'd compare Garmins' "beeper to speaker" transition to the history of personal computers when first sound cards started to emerge and games started to play nice sounds and music instead of PC "buzzer" sounds. 

Venu SQ, Venu 2 or Venu 2 Plus - which one to pick?

A lot of people will probably ask which watch to buy today? Of course, we try to compare the prices at first, but what about features? What if my watched watch offers me less than the newly mentioned Venu 2 Plus?

  • If I take the cheapest model today, the Venu SQs do not have a Sleep score evaluated in the watch itself, although they do have sleep monitoring in the Garmin Connect mobile application after synchronization with the mobile phone.
  • All models have a VO2Max estimate and fitness age (Venu SQs have only basic fitness age metrics).
  • Venu 2 (all, including Plus) have the option of animated exercises and HIIT activities (they do not have Venu SQ).
  • The Venu 2 (all) models can hold up to 650 songs - the Venu SQ "only 500".
  • Venu SQ has an older heart rate sensor, but they are still accurate. Only Venu 2 and Venu 2 Plus also have HRV measurements in the health image.

That's feature wise listing. For me - pick Venu SQ if you don't need that much, or go straight for the Venu 2 Plus. 


Advanced users will definitely be interested in connection sensors. So - chest strap yes, Garmin Varia radar yes, cadence and bike speed sensor yes. Cycling wattmeter - unfortunately not. Both BT and ANT + sensors can be connected, although there are not as many options as for the more expensive Fenix series.

GPS accuracy

Although the watch does not offer multiband GPS (and unfortunately I do not know if it is due to the chipset or just a firmware limitation), I must say that it does not matter. The watch is the same in terms of distance and tempo, as for example the Forerunner 745. Venu 2 Plus measures distance and pace as accurately as the FR 745, which is considered to be the most accurate sports watch todate. 

The watch support following settings: GPS, GPS plus Glonass, GPS plus Galileo. Not an ultratrac mode.

Heart rate measurement accuracy

I'm really positively surprised by the sensor Garmin introduced in recent watch. The optical HR sensor is just amazing. It measures pretty well and compared to the HR strap is even more surprinsng. On my hand the difference even during cycling or indoor exercise was max. 2 bps. That's something Garmin or other watch users were not used to - except of Apple Watch. .

The "Plus" - yes or no?

For someone who wants outdoor features or is a die-hard sportsman, I would not even recommend Venu 2 Plus. Respectively, yes, but only if you'd have a Forerunner 745 in for sports and you will use the Venu 2 Plus as a smart watch for casual wear or as a watch for a business trip. However, such setup of 2 watches would be pretty expensive.

Venu 2 Plus can no longer be taken purely as a sports tester with connected functions simulating a smart watch. Apparently Garmin is starting to move towards smart watches and Venu 2 Plus is the first of its kind … after solving the pain of other sports vendors where Garmin reigns, integrating a long battery life (VivoActive models) and then throwing in an AMOLED display based watch, their sport testers are just amazing today. For example Samsung or Apple watches did go the other way round - from a smart watch to a watch that is trying to support health monitoring and sport activities monitoring. However, there is still quite a limited endurance on a single charge.

For those who only need a less smart watch, I would still recommend the Venu SQ, which has a super price-performance ratio.

To sum up the testing findings, the Venu 2 Plus is recently the best stylish sports tester from Garmin. It has a very accurate GPS chip, a perfect display (for a sports watch) and a very accurate heart rate monitoring. If we supplement the Venu 2 Plus with the option of making phone calls using a watch and controlling a voice assistant, this is probably the best purchase for a smart sports tester on the market today.

If interested, you can buy the Venu 2 Plus from my partner who's supporting me in the blogging activities. Runlab Kobras is the shop of one of the world class ultramarathoners - Radek Brunner. By entering code of "Gone4.Run" you'll be provided with a free gift.

Recommended price of the Venu 2 Plus is $449.99 USD (respectively 10 590 CZK for Czech market).


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