Garmin Venu 2 vs Venu 2 Plus: Which fitness smartwatch should you get?

The new Venu 2 Plus adds a couple of nifty new features but are these worth the premium?

Garmin Venu 2 vs Venu 2 Plus
(Image credit: Garmin)

With the announcement of the new Garmin Venu 2 Plus, one must ask the obvious question: which is better, the Venu 2 or the Venu 2 Plus? The Venu 2 Plus is somewhat more advanced than the Garmin Venu 2 and slightly more expensive. For the extra price, you get a couple of more features added to the already extensive feature list of the Venu 2. But are these extras worth the premium, or should you get a Garmin Venu 2 instead?

The Garmin Venu 2 is one of the best fitness trackers, and the best Garmin watch for people who need something less hardcore than a Garmin Forerunner 945 or a Garmin Fenix 6 Pro. It has a beautiful AMOLED display, decent battery life, silky smooth touch interactions and heap loads of health and wellness features. No wonder it received the T3 Platinum Award.

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus goes a bit further by adding voice assistant control and call features right on the watch without compromising on any other features too much (e.g. battery life). These make the Venu 2 Plus similar to the Fitbit Versa 3 and the Huawei Watch GT 3. And quite appealing to people who like talking to their wrist like a secret agent in a 90s action-comedy.

Garmin Venu 2 vs Venu 2 Plus: Price and availability

The Garmin Venu 2, and its smaller version, the Venu 2S, was released in April 2021 and is available to buy now at Garmin (opens in new tab) for a recommended retail price of $399.99/£349.99/AU$629.

There are currently five different Garmin Venu 2S and three Venu 2 versions available (different case/strap combinations).

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus was released in January 2022 and is available to buy now at Garmin (opens in new tab) for a recommended retail price of $449.99/£399.99/AU$725.

The Venu 2 Plus is available in three colourways with stainless steel bezel and hardware and a 20mm industry-standard quick release silicone band. 

Garmin Venu 2 vs Venu 2 Plus: Build quality

From the size point of view, the Garmin Venu 2 Plus sits in between the Venu 2 and Venu 2S with its 43 mm watch case and 20mm strap. The Venu 2 has a 45 mm and the Venu 2S a 40 mm watch case.

A detail that gives the Venu 2 Plus away are two parallel slits on the side of the watch case; you'll find the speaker and the microphone here. Despite the more open construction of the Venu 2 Plus, it's water-rated to 5 ATMs, just like the Venu 2 is.

All three versions of the Venu 2 feature a touchscreen AMOLED display with optional, always-on mode, protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 lens, as well as the three physical push buttons on the side of the case.

The Venu 2 Plus also has the latest Garmin Elevate V4 heart rate sensor, much like the Venu 2 and Venu 2S.

Garmin Venu 2 Plus on white background

(Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin Venu 2 vs Venu 2 Plus: Features

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus inherited all the features of the Venu 2/2S, including heart rate tracking (with user-configurable alerts for high or low readings), advanced sleep with sleep score and insights by Firstbeat Analytics, breathwork activities, fitness age, respiration, Pulse Ox, all-day stress, hydration, and women's health (menstrual cycle tracking and pregnancy tracking) and so on.

There is also a Health Snapshot feature that logs a two-minute window of key health stats and generates a report users can share with a health care provider, similarly to the Withings ScanWatch and the Amazfit GTR 3 Pro.

You also get the 25+ built-in indoor and GPS sports apps that include walking, running, HIIT, cycling, pool swimming, Pilates, yoga, indoor climbing, hiking, advanced strength training with muscle map graphics and more. The Venu 2 Plus is compatible with Garmin Coach free adaptive training plans.

What's new in the Venu 2 Plus is that you can make and take phone calls on the wrist and get access to voice assistant control. The Venu 2 Plus is compatible with Siri, Google Assistant or Bixby, and you can use your smartphone's voice assistant to send texts, ask questions, control compatible smart home devices and more.

You can even use the Venu 2 Plus as a little external speaker, should you want to. The watch can store music offline (from Spotify and Deezer), and thanks to the built-in speaker, it will be able to play music without the need for Bluetooth running headphones.

During our test, we could use the smart assistant feature the request music to be played on Spotify straight on the watch by saying, "Play Billie Holliday on Spotify". What a time to be alive!

Garmin Venu 2 vs Venu 2 Plus: Battery life

All Venu 2 models have a rapid battery recharge feature. A 10-minute charge adds up to one day of smartwatch mode battery life or one hour of GPS + music battery life. Extend the time further with battery saver mode.

Sadly, the Venu 2 Plus has the worst battery life in smartwatch mode of all the Venu 2 models. It lasts for up to 9 days; compare this to the Venu 2's 11 days and the Venu 2S' 10 days smartwatch battery life. Having the extra features can indeed drain the battery.

Surprisingly, GPS + music battery life on the Venu 2 Plus is not too shabby. As a matter of fact, it's on par with the other two models and will last for up to 8 hours in this mode.

Garmin Venu 2 on white background

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Garmin Venu 2 vs Venu 2 Plus: Verdict

Is the Garmin Venu 2 Plus worth the extra money?

It's slightly smaller in size than the Venu 2, which might make the smartwatch more appealing to people with smaller wrists. The voice assistant is a cool gimmick and something that's included in many other fitness watches, no wonder Garmin added it here, too.

We can't recall seeing anyone conducting calls from their wrists before, but it might be something people have requested from Garmin. The fact that you can pay with and listen to music on the Venu 2 Plus without ever touching your phone puts the new features into perspective; it just makes sense to have even more contactless features included in the Venu 2 Plus.

The slight issue is the price. The Venu 2 was already an expensive watch, compared to other smartwatches on the market, with the Venu 2 Plus adding a premium on top. You can get the Venu 2 for cheaper nowadays (you can save up to 20% if you're lucky), making the Venu 2 Plus' price tag all the heftier.

We recommend thinking through how important the additional features are before buying a Venu 2 Plus. If you have other smart appliances in your home and prefer not to use your phone too often, the Venu 2 Plus might be a good option for your next smartwatch.

If you prefer longer battery life and a smaller or larger screen size for less money, the Venu 2 or Venu 2S might be a better option for you.

Still keen on getting a Garmin Venu 2 Plus? Bookmark our best Garmin watch deals page; we always display the best prices based on your location!

Matt Kollat
Matt Kollat

Matt is T3's Fitness Editor and covers everything from smart fitness tech to running and workout shoes, home gym equipment, exercise how-tos, nutrition, cycling, and more. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar (opens in new tab) and Fit&Well (opens in new tab), and he collaborated with other fitness content creators such as Garage Gym Reviews (opens in new tab).