Garmin Venu 2 Plus vs Garmin Forerunner 265 Comparison

The Garmin Venu lineup is geared more towards the general consumer market, with a focus on health and fitness tracking, as well as smartwatch features such as music storage and contactless payments.

In contrast, the Forerunner lineup is geared more toward athletes and specifically runners.

Previously, there was little overlap between the watches of the Venu and Forerunner series. The basic DNA was the same, but the watches had different exteriors. The company intentionally missed some crucial features like AMOLED display, and wrist-based calling from the FR 255 even though it was released after Venu 2 Plus.

However, in 2023, Forerunner 265 release shows a shift towards more overlap between the two series. This watch is still designed for runners but shares some similarities with the Venu 2 Plus. The foremost similarity is the AMOLED display and a revamped user interface.

Let’s do a Garmin Venu 2 Plus vs Garmin Forerunner 265/265S comparison to find out their differences and similarities.

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Garmin Venu 2 Plus vs Garmin FR 265/265S:


CategoryGarmin Venu 2 PlusGarmin Forerunner 265/265S
PriceAround $449Around $450
PredecessorVenu 2Forerunner 255/255S
Smartphone AppGarmin ConnectGarmin Connect
Release DateMay 2021March 2023

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus and Forerunner 265/265S have the same price point, around $450. This makes the comparison all the more interesting. Let us cut through the noise and tell you the differences and similarities between these watches.

Here are the top deals on Garmin Venu 2 Plus:

Design and Build:

CategoryGarmin Venu 2 PlusGarmin Forerunner 265/265S
Dimensions43.6 x 43.6 x 12.6 mm46.1 x 46.1 x 12.9 mm (Forerunner 265)
41.7 x 41.7 x 12.9 mm (Forerunner 265S)
Screen1.3″ AMOLED touchscreen1.3″ AMOLED touchscreen (33mm) (Forerunner 265) 
1.1″ AMOLED touchscreen (28mm) (Forerunner 265S)
Resolution416 x 416 pixelsGarmin FR 265: 416 x 416 pixelsGarmin FR 265S: 360 x 360 pixels
Weight51gFR 265: 47gFR 265S: 39g
Glass MaterialCorning Gorilla Glass 3Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Bezel Materialstainless steelfiber-reinforced polymer
StrapsInterchangeable with quick-release pins (22mm)Quick-release silicone straps (22mm, and 20mm)
Water Resistance5 ATM (50m)5 ATM (50m)
Button InputTouchscreen and three customizable buttonsFive buttons for navigation and a touchscreen
ColorsSlate, Silver, Light GoldFR 265:​​
Whitestone Case and Whitestone/Tidal Blue Silicone Band
Black Case with Black/Powder Gray Silicone BandAqua Case and Aqua/Black Silicone Band

FR 265S:
Black Case with Black/Amp Yellow Silicone Band
Whitestone Case and Whitestone/Neo Tropic Silicone Band
Light Pink Case and Light Pink/Whitestone Silicone Band

When you look at the above comparison, it becomes evident that finally mid-range Forerunner watches reached a level of parity with the Venu Series.

image by: Smartwatchcrunch

There are more similarities in the design and build departments than differences. With the exception of the stainless steel bezel, and some cosmetic differences in the appearance of the watch (3-button vs 5-button navigation), both these watches have the same thing to offer.

Winner: Venu 2 Plus (a slight advantage in style and durability)

Smart Features:

Garmin Venu 2 PlusForerunner 265/265S
Music StorageUp to 650 songsUp to 650 songs
Music PlatformsWorks with Spotify, Deezer, Amazon MusicWorks with Spotify, Deezer, Amazon Music
NFC PaymentsGarmin PayGarmin Pay
Phone Calls, Customized TextsYesNo
Voice AssistantsBixby, Google Assistant, SiriNone
ConnectivityBluetooth, ANT+, Wi-FiBluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi

Two major smart features are missing in the new Forerunner 265 series: Voice assistant integration, and on-wrist calls. This would be less concern for runners. Why? There is no cellular support to take calls.

image by: Smartwatchcrunch

Plus, the powerful GPS capability and NFC payment option on the Forerunner FR 265 allow them to leave their phone and wallet at home. 

Winner: Venu 2 Plus

Health Tracking:

Health Tracking FeaturesGarmin Forerunner 265/265SGarmin Venu 2 Plus
Wrist-based Heart RateYesYes
Daily Resting Heart RateYesYes
Abnormal Heart Rate AlertsYes (high and low)Yes (high and low)
Garmin ECG appNoYes
Respiration RateYes (24×7)Yes (24×7)
Pulse Ox Blood Oxygen SaturationYes (spot-check, and optionally all-day and in sleep)Yes (spot-check, and optionally all-day and in sleep)
Fitness AgeYesYes
Body Battery Energy MonitorYesYes
All-day StressYesYes
Relaxation RemindersYesYes
Relaxation Breathing TimerYesYes
SleepYes (advanced)Yes (advanced)
Sleep Score and InsightsYesYes
HydrationYes (in Garmin Connect™ and optional Connect IQ™ widget)Yes (in Garmin Connect™ and optional Connect IQ™ widget)
Women’s HealthYes (in Garmin Connect™ and optional Connect IQ™ widget)Yes (in Garmin Connect™ and optional Connect IQ™ widget)
Health SnapshotYesYes

There is a 95% overlap of health tracking features between these watches. The major missing here is the ECG app, exclusive to Venu 2 Plus and a couple of other Garmin elite watches.

Winner: Venu 2 Plus

Sports Tracking:

As expected, Garmin Forerunner 265 has an upper hand in this department. First, take a look at the sports profiles on both watches.

CategoryGarmin Venu 2 PlusGarmin Forerunner 265
Gym workoutsStrength, Cardio, HIIT and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing, Yoga, Pilates, and BreathworkStrength, HIIT, Cardio and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing, Pilates, Yoga, Breathwork
Running workoutsRunning, Indoor Track Running, Treadmill RunningRunning, Outdoor Track Running, Treadmill Running, Indoor Track Running, Trail Running, Virtual Running, Ultra Running
Outdoor recreation workoutsHiking, Indoor Climbing, Bouldering, Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, RowingHiking, Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Classic Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing
Cycling workoutsBiking, Indoor BikingBiking, Indoor Biking, Mountain Biking, eBiking, eMountain Biking
Swimming workoutsPool swimmingPool Swimming, Open Water Swimming

There is almost an 85% overlap of sports profiles, but overall, FR 265 offers more options.

The training and planning metrics set them apart a great deal. Here, FR 265 is a much superior watch. Here are a couple of metrics that are present on the Forerunner watch.

  1. Recovery time
  2. HRV status
  3. Training readiness
  4. Training Load
  5. Training Effect
  6. Unified training status

Unified Training Status is Physio TrueUp 2.0. Only the latest Garmin Watches are awarded this status. It basically allows compatible watches to sync physiological data more easily. 

Not only that Forerunner offers more sports profile, but it also covers more data for key sports profiles: running, swimming, and cycling.

image by: Smartwatchcrunch

Last but not least, the multi-band GPS on FR 265 is a definite advantage as we have witnessed its working in elite Garmins, and can vouch for its superiority in position tracking. The same tech is featured on Apple Watch Ultra, Fenix 7, and FR 255 watches.

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 265/265S

Battery Performance:

CategoryGarmin Venu 2 PlusGarmin Forerunner 265Garmin Forerunner 265S
Smartwatch modeUp to 9 daysUp to 13 daysUp to 15 days
GPS mode with musicUp to 8 hoursUp to 7 hoursUp to 7.5 hours
GPS mode without musicUp to 24 hoursUp to 20 hoursUp to 24 hours
SatIQ (AutoSelect) GNSS modeUp to 16 hoursUp to 18 hours
All-Systems GNSS mode + Multi-BandUp to 14 hoursUp to 15 hours
GPS-Only GNSS mode with musicUp to 7 hoursUp to 7.5 hours
SatIQ (AutoSelect) GNSS mode with musicUp to 6.5 hoursUp to 7 hours
All-Systems GNSS mode + Multi-Band with musicUp to 6 hoursUp to 6 hours

There is no significant difference in battery performance to declare one watch a winner. However, in the charging department, the replacement of the USB-A cable with the USB-C cable does give Forerunner 265 some extra points.

Winner: Tied

Final Verdict:

A couple of months ago, we compared FR 255 vs Garmin Venu 2 Plus, and the differences between these two watches were quite simple to delineate. As FR 265 series closed the gap with the Venu series. The choice between these watches is easy if you answer these basic questions:

  1. Do you need ECG
  2. Voice assistant, On wrist calls, and auto-replies, do these smarts matter to you?
  3. Can you compromise on advanced sports tracking and training features?

If the answer to all these questions is yes, only then we would recommend you to go with the Venu 2 Plus. Otherwise, FR 265 offers almost 80-90% of the same smart and health features and is far superior both as a multisports GPS tracker and training tool.

Here are the top deals on Garmin Venu 2 Plus: