Google Pixel Watch 2 vs Garmin Venu 3 — How are they different?

Buying a new smartwatch to pair with your Android phone, and can’t decide between Garmin Venu 3 and Google Pixel Watch 2? This guide is for you.

I will compare these watches in different departments and pick my winner in each domain. This way, you can easily pick a watch that suits your budget, style, and preference.

So without further ado, let’s get started.

Google Pixel Watch 2 vs Garmin Venu 3

Pricing:

Just like its predecessor, Pixel Watch 2 is priced at $349.99 for the GPS version and $399.99 for the LTE version. Don’t know the difference between the two versions? LTE model can make calls and send text without a phone.

Anyways.

Garmin Venu 3 also has two models (the standard Venu 3 and a smaller Venu 3S), but they are both priced the same ($450). There is no LTE or cellular support on Venu 3.

Winner: Google Pixel Watch 2

Design & Display:

Google Pixel Watch 2Garmin Venu 3
Dimensions41 x 41 x 12.3 mm45 x 45 x 12 mm
Display1.2″ 450 x 450 AMOLED1.4” 454 x 454 Pixels AMOLED
Materials100% recycled aluminumPlastic Casing, Stainless Steel Bezel
Durability5 ATM5 ATM
Weight31g30g
Google Pixel Watch 2 vs Garmin Venu 3 - Design and Display

Pixel Watch 2 carries the design philosophy of the original pixel watch, but they have changed the DNA. It now come in 100% recycled aluminum casing instead of Stainless steel.

Aluminium is lighter, but less durable. Still, it looks more premium than the plastic casing of Venu 3. There is a digital crown on the side (Venu 3 has three buttons on the side), and Pixel Watch 2 has a proprietary strap mechanism (Venu 3 can easily take third-party straps).

There is only one case size available, 41mm. For many it could be a deal-breaker. Considering its bezel and small size, the watch looks unusually small on big wrists. Venu 3 in this case caters to a larger audience with its two size offerings.

Water and dust resistance on both these watches is the same. You can shower with Pixel Watch 2 on your wrist, can swim in a pool, and fully submerge the watch for up to 50m. You can do the same with Venu 3.

The scratch resistance on Pixel Watch 2 should be a reason to concern. The original Pixel watch has many cases of reported scratches and broken screen. And with the same type of protection on the Pixel 2, there is little reason for high hopes. Despite the same screen protection on the Venu 3, the stainless steel bezel on the side protect it from accidental damages.

Now, lets discuss the display. We get OLED touchscreen display on both watches. There is negligible difference in screen resolution. The max brightness is identical (1000 nits).  However, the look and appeal of both watches may feel different due to their user interface, more on that latter.

Winner: Tied (There is no decisive advantage that Pixel Watch 2 holds over the Garmin Venu 3. Still, Venu 3 offers more size options and is definitely more durable.)

Smartwatch Features:

Google Pixel Watch 2Garmin Venu 3
Operating SystemWearOS 4.0GarminOS
Processor, RAM, StorageQualcolmm SW5100, 2 GB, 32 GBStorage: 8 GB
ConnectivityWi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, LTE (Optional)Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC
Contactless PaymentGoogle PayGarmin Pay
Bluetooth Calling & TextingYesYes 
Standalone calling and textingYesNo
Voice AssistantYes (Google Assistant)Yes (connected smartphone’s voice assistant)

I personally use Apple Watch Series 8 these days, and I love it for its smartwatch features. The ability to control Spotify from your wrist, to set reminders and alarms on the fly, and make contactless payments with a tap are features that make the watch useful for me.

You can get all these basic features on both watches. 

However, when it comes to advanced capabilities, Pixel Watch reigns supreme. Its operating system Wear 4.0 is the most cutting-edge wearable firmware which mimics the Android experience on a smaller scale.

 The key advantage however is the access to thousands of third-party apps at the top of Google’s Suite (Gmail, Google Wallet, Calender, Assistant etc). 

Garmin Venu 3 runs the proprietary GarminOS. It is functional, yet basic. Third-party apps are limited. The user-interface has been lately perfected for a touchscreen display, but its still no match to WearOS or WatchOS.

I know little about the Garmin’s hardware specs other than the fact that it doesn’t have LTE support and a limited storage capacity upto 8GB. 

Pixel Watch 2 offers LTE model for an extra $50 which if you don’t know makes the watch operate independent of a connected phone. You can stream music, make calls, receive notifications even when you leave your phone at home. 

Other than LTE, the watch offers 32 GB storage so you can sync thousands of songs from your phone. Or you can store playlists from Spotify, Amazon Music or Youtube Music. 2 GB RAM and  Qualcolm 5100 processor makes it the most powerful Android watch of 2023.

If you want a watch just for its smartwatch capabilities, Pixel Watch 2 is undoubtedly a better investment. But there is one thing you should keep in mind. It works only with an Android phone, and best with a Google Pixel phone.

Winner: Google Pixel Watch 2 

Health & Fitness Tracking:

Google Pixel Watch 2 vs Garmin Venu 3 - Health Features

Lets start with the health tracking features first. Both watches cover basic health metrics like heart rate, sleep, stress, calories burned, blood oxygen saturation and more. 

The data from both devices is as accurate as it can be from a wearable tracker. I haven’t tried any of these watches myself, but the hardware used to track health metrics isn’t new. Google Pixel Watch 2 inherits the sensors from Fitbit Sense 2, whereas Venu 3 got them from its elite sibling in Fenix and Epix lineups. 

There is one minor difference when it comes to access. In case of Garmin, you don’t have to pay for subsciption. Access to all statistics and advanced metrics is free. 

Whereas, with the Pixel Watch 2 you have to pay extra after the 6 months Fitbit Premium trial period ends.

FeaturesFitbit FreeFitbit Premium
Activity trackingYesYes
Sleep trackingYesAdvanced Sleep tracking (Sleep Score, Kind of a Sleep Coach, and more)
Nutrition trackingYesYes
WorkoutsLimitedLibrary of on-demand workouts
Mindfulness and meditationLimitedLibrary of mindfulness and meditation sessions
RecipesLimitedAccess to range of healthy recipes
ChallengesLimitedAccess to fun health challenges
Advanced health metricsLimitedDaily Readiness Score and Wellness Reports
Historical data7 days90 days
PriceFree$9.99/month or $80/year

The health metrics locked behind Google’s paywall are all available on Venu 3 for free. However, you find a slight different labelling for it. For instance, Sleep coach, Fitness age, body battery, recovery time and so on. 

Now, lets discuss the fitness or workout tracking. 

Even if we assume that the Pixel Watch 2 offers the same GPS accuracy as the Garmin Watch, which it doesn’t, the watch itself is unequipped for workout tracking. It can’t track advanced metrics beyond pace, distance, and heart rate; it can’t customize data fields or workouts; and can’t automatically detect a workout on your wrist. 

While it is ture that Garmin Venu 3 is no elite sports watch, but its workout tracking capabilities far outperform the Pixel Watch 2. There are a ton of training and performance tools to align your workouts, on-screen animations for strengths workouts, and advanced metrics for popular exercises like running, swimming and cycling.

Winner: Garmin Venu 3 ( Health tracking is at par with Pixel 2, Sports tracking exceeds)

Battery Performance:

Google Pixel Watch 2Garmin Venu 3/3S
Battery Performance (Normal Usage)Upto 24 hoursUpto 5 days
Fast Charging Support YesNo

One of my main gripes with the original Pixel Watch is its battery performance. The watch just couldn’t last 24 hours even though it was advertised so. Pixel Watch 2 fixed it as I learned by updating the firmware and a new power-efficient chip from Qualcolmm

Still, you would have to charge the watch every day.

In terms of battery performance, Garmin watches totally dominate their competitors. The same goes for Venu 3. At max, the battery can be stretched to 26 days (battery saver mode), but if you turn on the always-on display and use it as a regular fitness tracker, 4-5 days is the number you get. 

In any case, Venu 3 offer 4-5X the performance of Pixel Watch 2. So, if battery is a preference, your choice should be clear.

Winner: Garmin Venu 3/3S

Pixel Watch 2 vs Garmin Venu 3: Final Verdict

It is usually rare to find a clear winner, but we can decide between these two watches if we have our preferences sorted.

  • For iPhone users: Garmin Venu 3. The Pixel Watch is not compatible with the iPhone.
  • For Smartwatch features only: Google Pixel 2. 
  • For well-rounded health, fitness, and smart features: Garmin Venu 3/3S

I cannot simplify it more for you.