Garmin Venu 3 vs Garmin Venu 2 Plus: choose your perfect watch

Garmin Venu 3 vs Venu 2 Plus: introduction

If you're trying to choose between a smartwatch and a fully-fledged running watch, the Garmin Venu series give you the best of both, with excellent everyday wellness tools, plus super accurate GPS and an impressive array of sports tracking tools, all in a compact case topped with a bright AMOLED display.

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus launched in 2022, and is very similar to the original Venu 2, but with an added microphone that allows you to take calls, and use your phone's voice assistant from your wrist (provided you have a Bluetooth connection). The Venu 3 has all that, plus Garmin's latest heart rate sensor, which delivers more accurate biometric readings. The Venu 3 also has more advanced fitness and recovery features, including Garmin's new sleep coaching and nap detection. It also comes in two sizes, whereas the Venu 2 Plus is only available in one.

The Venu 3 is a significant upgrade, but if you're in the UK then you might prefer to opt for the Venu 2 Plus based on the difference in price. The Venu 3 is still new (at the time of writing) and rarely goes on sale, while the Venu 2 Plus is often steeply discounted. If you're in the US, however, the Venu 2 Plus still retails for full price most of the time, so it makes sense to opt for the Venu 3.

Made up your mind? You'll find today's best prices for both watches above. If not, read on for the full lowdown on both devices.

Garmin Venu 3 vs Venu 2 Plus: price

  • Venu 2 Plus much cheaper in UK
  • Both similarly priced in the US
  • Best deals for both on Black Friday

If you're in the UK, you can pick up the Garmin Venu 2 Plus much more cheaply than the Venu 3. If you're in the US, however, there's not usually much difference.

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus launched in January 2022 with a list price of $449.99 / £399.99. It can often be found much cheaper in the UK, with prices often under £300, but it only occasionally gets a discount in the US. At the time of writing, we've only seen it significantly cheaper on Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday, when it dropped to $349.99. 

The Venu 3 was released in August 2023 for $449.99 / £449.99. As a relatively new watch it usually retails for full price, but it did drop to $399.99 for Black Friday 2023 in the US.

Garmin Venu 2 Plus

The Venu 2 Plus was the first Garmin watch with a microphone, allowing you to take calls from your phone via Bluetooth (Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin Venu 3 vs Venu 2 Plus: design

  • Very similar overall design
  • Venu 3 comes in different sizes
  • Venu 3 has new heart rate sensor

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus and Venu 3 share a very similar design, with a round case featuring three buttons on the right-hand side and a microphone grille on the left. Both have a circular resin case and stainless steel bezel, with a silicone or leather band, and an AMOLED touchscreen display.

One significant difference is the case sizes. The Garmin Venu 2 Plus is only available in one size, 43mm diameter, while the Venu 3 is available in 41mm or 45mm. Personally I prefer a smaller watch, but the Venu 2 Plus was still perfectly manageable when I tested it for Advnture's sister site TechRadar.

The other key difference becomes apparent when you turn the two watches over. The Venu 3 has an upgraded heart rate monitor, which more LEDs spread over a larger area, which Garmin says should result in more accurate heart rate data. This is significant because this data feeds into practically every health and fitness metric offered by the watch. Better quality input should result in more useful output.

Man wearing Garmin Venu 3 watch

The Venu 3 comes in two sizes and a choice of colors (Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin Venu 3 vs Venu 2 Plus: fitness features

Despite being more discreet than chunky GPS watches like those in Garmin's Forerunner and Fenix series, both the Venu 2 Plus and Venu 3 have serious sports tracking chops, including impressive GPS accuracy (both are among the most accurate running watches I've tested) 

Both watches also support Garmin's ECG app, but this is currently only available in a few countries: the US, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Vietnam. Hopefully we'll be able to use it in other territories soon.

One of the biggest differences between the two is the way they monitor sleep. The Venu 3 was the first watch to launch with Garmin's new Sleep Coaching and nap detection tools, which give personalized suggestions to help you recover properly from your day's exertions, and factor in brief periods of sleep during the day. The Venu 3 also offers a more detailed Body Battery score, showing the impact of various different lifestyle factors rather than just a single number.

Man wearing Garmin Venu 2 Plus watch in bed

The Garmin Venu 3 offers more advanced sleep tracking features, including the ability to detect naps (Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin Venu 3 vs Venu 2 Plus: battery life

Generally speaking, battery life tends to increase with larger case size, but the differences in hardware between the Venu 2 Plus and the Venu 3 mean things aren't quite so linear.

The chart below shows Garmin's quoted battery life figures for both watches, in all sizes. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ModeGarmin Venu 2 PlusGarmin Venu 3 (41mm)Garmin Venu 3 (45mm)
Smartwatch9 days10 days14 days
Battery saver10 days20 days26 days
GPS24 hours21 hours26 hours
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Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.