Garmin has recently released the Venu 3 series, nearly 2 years after the launch of Venu 2. However, there was a release in between that has a distinctive appeal of its own, Venu 2 Plus.
Now, if you are here, you might own Venu 2 Plus and want to upgrade. Or, perhaps this is your first Garmin watch and you are sitting on a fence between these two Venu models. Either way, it would be helpful to know the key differences and similarities of these two models.
In this Garmin Venu 3 vs Venu 2 Plus showdown, we are going to compare these models in different departments and help you make the decision.
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Garmin Venu 3 and 3S (smaller Venu 3) are both priced at around $450, whereas the retail price of Venu 2 Plus was $400 when it was released in Jan, 2022.
Seemingly the difference isn’t much. However, Venu 2 Plus is an old watch now, and is often on sale. You are surely going to get a steep discount during upcoming sales events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
You won’t get any discount on Venu 3/3S anytime soon.
Winner: Garmin Venu 2 Plus
Design & Display:
Venu 3 is available in two sizes: 41 & 45mm. Whereas, you can get the Venu 2 Plus in only one size, 43mm. This difference is important if you have a small wrist, and don’t want your watch to look too chunky. 43mm is slightly bigger for a slender wrist.
Design-wise there is no big difference between these two watches. The plastic back instead of stainless steel in Venu 3 is a slight modification. The thickness is reduced around 0.6mm (from 12.6 to 12.0 mm), and the new Venu 3 has a slightly bigger display (1.4 inch) with better resolution. Also, it is a bit lighter.
Apart from these features, these watches have almost identical specs. Touchscreen display, 3 buttons, silicone strap, 5 ATM water resistance, gorilla glass screen protection, and plastic build of these watches show how much these watches have in common.
Winner: Garmin Venu 3 (the improvements are insignificant. You can go with either of them)
There is little difference in smartwatch features offered by these watches. They both can make call and send replies to texts when paired with an Android phone, can summon voice assistant of your smartphone, and make contactless payment via Garmin Pay.
Garmin Venu 3 has added the functionality to view photos in messages when the watch is paired with an Android phone. We hope that this would be a part of Venu 2 Plus in future updates.
The company overhauled the user interface of the watch to make it more user-friendly. This can be a compelling reason to upgrade to new Venu 3 if Garmin decides not to bring this to Venu 2 Plus.
Health and Sports Tracking:
Garmin Venu 3 can track everything you find on the Venu 2 Plus, but do so more accurately. The watch gets the latest Elevate V5 heart rate sensor that was previously exclusive to elite Garmin watches.
For those who don’t know, both Venu 3 and Venu 2 Plus are top fitness trackers. They can track heart rate, sleep, blood oxygen saturation, activity, and a range of workouts.
However, there are a few additions in Venu 3 that may or may not be come to Venu 2 Plus (Usually they do via firmware updates)
The latest Venu 3 can also track naps in addition to overnight sleep. Why is it important? Garmin’s sleep data feeds into a lot of advanced metrics like Recovery time, Body Battery, and Training readiness. Now, with the naps tracking Venu 3 can align these metrics to your actual physical conditions throughout the day.
Garmin has also introduced Sleep Coach to the Venu 3 (and also Vivoactive 5). Yet another advanced metric that would take into account your activity levels, HRV, and any naps to recommend the sleep hours you need for the next night.
We have also noticed the addition of ‘Jet Lag Advisor’ on Venu 3, a self-explanatory tool that was first introduced in the premium Garmins (Fenix and Epix Series). It really helps to adjust to new time zones.
There are some additional workouts (Wheelchair mode) and training tools (HRV, Recovery time tracker) here and there, but overall Venu 3 has little to offer over Venu 2 Plus in this department. For traditional workouts (running, swimming, cycling), these watches are essentially the same.
One last thing though, Garmin has added ‘All-Systems GNSS’ support on the Venu 3, which would give the watch a slight boost in signal locking and position tracking.
Winner: Venu 3 ( by a slight margin)
Garmin Watches have several battery modes, and there is no way one can test the performance of both watches in all the modes. We are going to take the company’s claim as the reference. That being said, Garmin is one of the few companies that rarely overstate with it comes to battery performance.
Venu 3 offers better performance in almost all modes, that is our general understanding. You get 15 hours of performance in smartwatch mode instead of 9, and 26 hours in battery-saver mode instead of 10 hours.
GPS is surely going to take a major hit. Still, Venu 3 takes the lead offering extra juice in almost all GPS modes.
Winner: Garmin Venu 3
If you own a Venu 2 Plus, don’t make the switch to Venu 3. It is simply not worth it. And if you are given the choice between the two, go for the budget-friendly Garmin. You can easily find a deal on the Venu 2 Plus in upcoming sale events, so look out for that.
However, if you can’t find the right deal, and the price difference between the two options remains (less than $50), go for Venu 3. It seems logical this way.