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Garmin Venu Sq vs Venu (2021): What’s The Difference?

When Garmin released the Venu a year ago, fans loved its fitness features but it didn’t gain enough widespread attention due to its fairly steep price. Now, the brand is releasing a new smartwatch in its line, the Venu Sq, with a rectangular LCD screen and fewer sensors at nearly half the price. Here’s a breakdown of the similarities and differences between the Garmin Venu Sq and the Garmin Venu to help you decide whether to save more with the former or splurge more for the latter.

Garmin Venu Sq vs Venu Fitness Smartwatch Comparison Chart

ModelGarmin Venu SqGarmin Venu
 Garmin Venu Sq, GPS Smartwatch with Bright Touchscreen Display, Up to 6 Days of Battery Life, Slate...
PriceCheck Price
DisplayLiquid crystalAMOLED
Always-onYesYes
Screen Size1.3โ€ณ1.2″
Resolution240 x 240 pixels390 x 390 pixels
Dimensions1.6″ x 1.45″ x 0.45″1.7″ x 1.7″ x 0.49″
Colors74
Call & Text AlertsYesYes
Water ResistanceUp to 50 metersUp to 50 meters
Heart Rate MonitorYesYes
ECG MonitorNoNo
Blood OxygenYesYes
PedometerYesYes
AltimeterNoYes
GyroscopeNoYes
Calorie Burn TrackerYesYes
Sleep TrackingYesYes
Swim TrackingYesYes
Female Health TrackingYesYes
Stress TrackingYesYes
CompassYesYes
GPSBuilt-inBuilt-in
CellularNoNo
Wi-FiAvailableYes
BluetoothYesYes
NFCYesYes
StorageAvailableYes
CompatibilityiOS, AndroidiOS, Android
Battery Life6 days5 days

Design

The Garmin Venu has a more premium build than the Garmin Venu Sq.

The Garmin Venu Sq (left) has a squarish display, a big departure from the original Garmin Venu (right).

It’s pretty easy to tell the Garmin Venu and Venu Sq apart due to their case shapes. The original Venu is circular, like the majority of Garmin’s smartwatches, and sports a stainless steel bezel. Garmin went for something new with the Venu Sq, giving it a squarish design which is probably why it’s called ‘Sq’ in the first place. For the bezel they chose aluminum instead, but the rest of the case is made from fiber-reinforced polymer just like the Venu.

We’d have to say that the Garmin Venu simply looks more premium and stylish than the Venu Sq, which looks a bit toy-like in some ways, like the Pebble. Turning on their screen reveals an even bigger discrepancy, since the Garmin Venu has a much higher resolution of 390 x 390 pixels in its smaller 1.2-inch display while the 1.3″ Garmin Venu Sq only has 240 x 240. Further, the Venu sports an AMOLED screen, which is noticeably more impressive than the Venu Sq’s liquid crystal.

Both have always-on display modes so you can check the time at a glance, at the cost of battery life. You can choose to have it activated only during activities or use the raise-to-wake functionality for a nice compromise. The relatively small screens of these Garmin Venu smartwaches can be challenging to navigate for those with thicker fingers, though it might be more difficult with the Venu Sq.

The Garmin Venu Sq comes in standard and Music Edition models, which have their own color choices. The standard Venu Sq is available in Metallic Orchid, Slate/Shadow Gray, and Light Gold/White, while the Music Edition can be acquired in Slate/Black, Rose Gold/Light Sand, Light Gold/Navy, and Slate/Moss. The Garmin only has four color combos: Slate/Black, Rose Gold/Light Sand, Silver/Granite Blue, and Gold/Black.

Health and Activity Tracking

The Garmin Venu has more sensors than the Garmin Venu Sq.

The Garmin Venu Sq and Venu have nearly the same activity tracking features.

The Garmin Venu and Venu Sq offer similar performance in terms of tracking your activities and health metrics. Both have the same major features, such as heart rate, sleep, stress, hydration, respiration, and menstrual cycle tracking. They also have Body Battery energy level monitoring, showing how much rest and drain you experience daily. Their Pulse Ox sensors can also measure your blood oxygen saturation levels.

The only real difference in their activity tracking is the lack of barometric altimeter and gyroscope on the Garmin Venu Sq to measure elevation and angular velocity. This is fine if you’re not heavily into outdoor exercises such as trail climbing. All other sensors are the same ones on the Venu and Venu Sq, so you’ll get identical performance and readings such as heart rate, distance, etc.

All of Garmin’s preloaded workouts are available on both Venu watches, so you can choose which one to track or even build your own workout using Garmin Connect. You can also use Garmin Coach to access a personalized running trainer if you’d like to prepare for a 5K, 10K or half-marathon run. The Garmin Venu has animated, easy-to-follow workout guides that can make it more attractive to beginners.

Overall, the Garmin Venu Sq makes a great case for those who want a functional fitness tracker for cheap (relatively), since it delivers similar performance to the pricier Venu where it counts the most.

Smart Features

The Garmin Venu has slightly better connectivity and music support than the Garmin Venu Sq.

You can get text notifications and make contactless payments on both Garmin Venu smartwatches.

Again, the smartwatch capabilities of the Garmin Venu and Venu Sq are very similar. You’ll receive notifications about messages, phone calls, and alerts, and you can reply to texts quickly if you’re using an Android phone. You can also pay with your wrist at participating stores with Garmin Pay, though the bigger challenge nowadays is finding those stores. The Connect IQ store lets you further customize your Venu watch with apps, widgets, and watch faces.

Music support is a bit different on the Garmin Venu Sq, as it’s available in a standard non-music version and a Music Edition that costs $50 more. The Music Edition comes with sufficient storage for around 500 songs from Spotify, Deezer, Amazon Prime Music and your local files. In contrast, music storage is a given on the Garmin Venu. It also has Wi-Fi connectivity, so syncing songs and playlists is faster on the Venu than on the Venu Sq, which only has Wi-Fi on the Music Edition.

When paired with a compatible smartphone, both Garmin Venu Sq and Venu have safety and tracking features that allow you to send your location to emergency contacts in case you require immediate assistance. They also have automatic incident detection during select outdoor activities.

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.

Battery Life

The Garmin Venu Sq has slightly better battery life than the Garmin Venu.

Without using GPS, both Garmin Venu Sq and Venu can last nearly a week.

Garmin somewhat improved the battery life of the Garmin Venu Sq compared to the Venu. In smartwatch mode, which assumes using the default settings without turning on GPS or streaming music, the Garmin Venu Sq can be expected to last up to 6 days while the Venu can last only 5 days. It’s a decent enough upgrade but is perhaps not as impressive considering either can last multiple days.

Using GPS and playing music will shorten their battery life to around 6 hours, which shows just how draining the feature is. With the always-on option, expect this to be even shorter. The Garmin Venu has an edge in GPS mode without music, though, lasting 20 hours while the Garmin Venu Sq lasts 14 hours. Keep in mind that this only assumes GPS is turned on all the time, so in actual use, you’ll likely be using only when needed and get plenty of battery charge for days.

Verdict

The Garmin Venu Sq offers better value than the Garmin Venu.

With its more affordable price, it’s easier to recommend the standard Garmin Venu Sq to shoppers looking for their first fitness smartwatch. It has almost all of the capabilities of the original and is bit better on the battery life. The Garmin Venu Sq Music Edition is also worth it if you want on-device music storage. If you’re after a smartwatch that can help you step up your training and improve your overall health, there’s no need to spend more.

The original Garmin Venu is still an outstanding premium smartwatch that sports extra sensors for more accurate metrics. It’s a bit harder to justify its price, though there’s no denying that it looks more stylish still.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ What’s the difference between the Garmin Venu and Venu Sq?

The Garmin Venu has a circular case with a 1.2-inch AMOLED screen, stainless steel bezel, and internal storage for music. The Garmin Venu Sq has a squarish 1.3-inch LCD screen, aluminum bezel, optional Music Edition, and lacks a gyroscope and barometric altimeter.

๐Ÿ“Œ Does Garmin Venu have golf?

You can download any of the compatible golf apps in the Garmin Connect IQ store to your Garmin Venu.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Garmin Venu Sq waterproof?

Yes, the Garmin Venu Sq has a water rating of 5 ATM, allowing it to be used while indoor swimming or showering.

๐Ÿ“Œ Does Garmin Venu Sq have music?

The standard Garmin Venu Sq can only control your smartphone’s music and doesn’t have storage for offline playback. There’s a Garmin Venu Sq Music Edition though that does have music support for an extra $50.

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.