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Garmin Venu Sq vs Fitbit Sense (2021): Comparing Fitness Smartwatch Tiers

Garmin and Fitbit are both expanding their smartwatch lineups this year with feature-rich models at varying price points. The Garmin Venu Sq is the brand’s most affordable smartwatch yet, and it’s a new take on the already popular Venu. Meanwhile, Fitbit is adding a new premium tier with the Fitbit Sense, which is now its most advanced fitness smartwatch. How do these two new 2020 smartwatches compare? Check out our detailed breakdown below.

Garmin Venu Sq vs Fitbit Sense Fitness Smartwatch Comparison Chart

ModelGarmin Venu SqFitbit Sense
 Garmin Venu Sq, GPS Smartwatch with Bright Touchscreen Display, Up to 6 Days of Battery Life, Light...Fitbit Sense Advanced Smartwatch with Tools for Heart Health, Stress Management & Skin Temperature...
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
DisplayLiquid crystalAMOLED
Always-onYesYes
Screen Size1.3โ€ณ1.58″
Resolution240 x 240 pixels336 x 336 pixels
Dimensions1.6″ x 1.45″ x 0.45″1.57″ x 1.57″ x 0.47″
Colors72
Call & Text AlertsYesYes
Water ResistanceUp to 50 metersUp to 50 meters
Heart Rate MonitorYesYes
ECG MonitorNoYes
Blood OxygenYesYes
PedometerYesYes
AltimeterNoYes
GyroscopeNoYes
Calorie Burn TrackerYesYes
Sleep TrackingYesYes
Swim TrackingYesYes
Female Health TrackingYesYes
Stress TrackingYesYes
Fall DetectionNoNo
Skin TemperatureNoYes
CompassYesNo
GPSBuilt-inBuilt-in
CellularNoNo
Wi-FiNoYes
BluetoothYesYes
NFCYesYes
StorageAvailableYes
CompatibilityiOS, AndroidiOS, Android
Battery Life6 days6+ days
Fast ChargingNoYes

Design

The Fitbit Sense has a more premium display and build than the Garmin Venu Sq.

The Garmin Venu Sq (left) looks a bit more dated than the Fitbit Sense (right).

Garmin went for a squarish design on the Venu Sq to further distinguish it from the circular Venu. The result makes the two quite distinct despite sharing names, though the lugs are the same. The Garmin Venu Sq has a fiber-reinforced polymer case with an anodized aluminum bezel while the Fitbit Sense is cased in stainless steel. So while the Garmin Venu Sq’s design will surely appeal to some, we’d gather that the Fitbit Sense will impress even more, since its bright screen and sleek case look sharper and more modern.

Further adding points on the Fitbit Sense’s side is its higher resolution and larger display. The AMOLED screen measures nearly 1.6 inches diagonally and has a 336 x 336 resolution, while the Garmin Venu Sq’s LCD only reaches 1.3 inches and 240 x 240 pixels. It’s safe to say that the Sense has a better visual impact than the Venu Sq even though both have always-on display options.

Fitbit is introducing a new type of strap they’re calling infinity bands with the Fitbit Sense. These are a bit softer and more flexible than previous silicone bands and also have seamless edges. They feel more comfortable overall than that of the more traditional straps of the Garmin Venu Sq.

There are a total of 7 color combinations for the Garmin Venu Sq, four for the Music Edition and three for the non-music standard variants (more on this later). The combinations range from black, light sand, navy, moss, white, orchid and shadow gray cases paired with slate and gold bezels. Meanwhile, you only get two options on the Fitbit Sense, carbon/graphite and lunar white/soft gold.

Health and Activity Tracking

The Fitbit Sense has more health-related features than the Garmin Venu Sq.

Smartwatches like the Garmin Venu Sq (left) and Fitbit Sense (right) have increasingly more health monitoring features than ever.

For its price, the Garmin Venu Sq is certainly impressive in offering nearly as many essential health sensors and activity tracking as the more expensive Fitbit Sense. In addition to the usual heart rate monitor, exercise trackers such as step counters, etc., the Venu Sq can also monitor your sleep, stress, cycle, respiration and more, just like the Fitbit Sense. It also has Garmin’s standard wearable features such as Body Battery energy levels and Garmin Coach.

What the Venu Sq doesn’t have that the Sense does is an ECG and skin temperature sensor. Though it’s still pending for approval from the FDA in the US, the on-wrist ECG app on the Fitbit Sense can assess atrial fibrillation and help you stay on top of potential heart conditions. Its skin temperature variation sensor lets you know whether your body heat is higher or lower than your usual range to help identify any trends over time.

The Fitbit Sense also has an EDA Scan app that checks your body’s electrodermal activity as it responds to stress, which is more complex than the method the Garmin Venu Sq uses. Both have guided breathing sessions to help you center yourself and find moments of calm, though Fitbit includes more mindfulness tools. Using pulse ox sensors, the Garmin Venu Sq and Fitbit Sense can gauge blood oxygen saturation levels while you’re active and asleep. Sleep monitoring is equally advanced on both, too, as they offer breakdowns of your light, deep, and REM sleep.

Tracking your workouts is easy and most of the time automatic on either Garmin Venu Sq and Fitbit Sense. The Garmin Venu Sq has preloaded workouts covering indoor sports and outdoor exercises, with more available on the Garmin Connect app. Meanwhile, the Fitbit Sense has goal-based exercises that help you challenge yourself continuously, with even more features you can unlock through Fitbit Premium, which you get for free for 6 months as a new user.

Smart Features

The Fitbit Sense has voice assistants and more smart features than the Garmin Venu Sq.

Aside from smart notifications, the Garmin Venu Sq doesn’t have too many smartwatch features compared to the Fitbit Sense.

Like most smartwatches, you’ll be able to receive notifications from your phone’s apps including messages and phone calls on both Garmin and Fitbit devices. However, it’s pretty clear that the Garmin Venu Sq is a fitness companion foremost, since its smartwatch perks almost end there. It does have safety and tracking features that let you send your live location to contacts in case of emergencies.

Meanwhile, the Fitbit Sense comes with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support, letting you enjoy the benefits of having a voice assistant at your beck and call anywhere you go. It’s equipped with a mic and speaker so you can converse with Alexa like you would on smart speakers, a step up from previous Fitbit smartwatches which only displayed her replies onscreen.

Both Venu Sq and Sense enable contactless payments via Garmin Pay and Fitbit Pay, respectively. They work with most major banks in the US, but you’ll want to check their lists of supported banks to be sure. For workout music, the Garmin Venu Sq Music Edition works with Spotify, Deezer, and Amazon Music, letting you sync playlists onto it for later playback. Meanwhile, the Fitbit Sense switches Amazon Music with Pandora but otherwise works similarly.

There are hundreds of watch faces and apps you can customize your Garmin Venu Sq or Fitbit Sense with. It’s worth noting that the Garmin Connect IQ store is heavily focused on fitness, training, navigation, and sports, and that most of its apps are designed for circular displays since they’re the majority of Garmin’s smartwatches. In comparison, there’s a lot more variety on the Fitbit gallery.

Battery Life

The Fitbit Sense can charge faster than the Garmin Venu Sq.

Both Garmin and Fitbit smartwatches can last up to a week of use.

Garmin and Fitbit are both well-known for impressive battery life on their devices. The Venu Sq and Sense can last 6 days of day and night use on smartwatch only mode. Turning on GPS will drain their battery life quickly, which in the case of the Venu Sq will result in just 14 hours of continuous GPS enabled mode. Of course, you likely won’t need to have GPS on all the time, so you should have plenty of juice for all day tracking and sleep tracking at night.

Where the Fitbit Sense has an advantage is its fast charging capability. It can get up to a full day of use after just 12 minutes of charging. This makes it quite handy for those times you forget to plug it in and need to be on the go quickly. Note that the Fitbit Sense can drain its battery quicker with the always-on display mode, too, since its AMOLED screen requires a tiny bit more power.

Verdict

The Fitbit Sense is more powerful than the Garmin Venu Sq.

It should be no surprise that the Fitbit Sense has more to offer given its much higher price tag. Its stainless steel build feels more premium and looks more impressive, while its internal hardware sports a wider array of sensors. The Fitbit Sense is definitely the pick if you want to get the most out of a wearable you’ll be wearing daily, and with fast charging, that’s highly likely indeed.

For budget-minded shoppers, the Garmin Venu Sq is likely the best fitness smartwatch you can get for Android phones. It has all the training features you’d want, with plenty of metrics to dig into afterwards. It has adequate music support, which is really all you need during workouts anyway, with more apps for a variety of outdoor activities.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Can I reply to texts on the Garmin Venu Sq?

The Garmin Venu Sq lets you reply to text messages using quick replies if it’s paired with an Android device. iOS has strict limitations on this capability, so it’s not possible with an iPhone.

๐Ÿ“Œ Does Fitbit measure skin temperature?

The new Fitbit Sense has a skin temperature variation sensor that can indicate whether a user’s current body temperature is higher or lower than average, which is measured after a few days of wearing the device.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Garmin Venu Sq waterproof?

Yes, the Garmin Venu Sq is water resistant up to 50 meters, so you can wear it in the pool or while showering.

๐Ÿ“Œ Does Fitbit have ECG?

The Fitbit Sense is equipped with an ECG app that can track your heart’s rhythm and notify you of anomalies. It’s currently pending approval from the FDA in the US, though it’s expected to be enabled by October 2020.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.