Yesterday, Garmin launched the much anticipated Venu Sq 2 – a lightweight smartwatch with a square screen that looks primed and ready to take on the Apple Watch for space on your wrist. It's a follow-up to the original Venu Sq, which launched back in 2020, but with much better battery life and one particularly striking difference: a new AMOLED screen that's brighter, crisper, and way better looking.
It's a great looking watch, and feels lightweight and comfortable to wear, but now that I've got my hands on it, it feels like a bit of a missed opportunity.
With the Garmin Venu 2 and Epix, both of which were released last year, the company showed just what it can do with an AMOLED screen. The moment you switch on either, you're greeted by a gorgeous animated watch face with smoothly swirling colors that can't be imitated by memory-in-pixel or LCD displays. Delve into the workout tracking settings and you'll find animated pilates and yoga exercises to follow, and highly detailed maps for your runs and bike rides.
I was surprised and disappointed to find that the Venu Sq 2 gives you none of that. There are no muscle maps showing you which groups you've been working recently, either, and you can't upload your own running, hiking, and cycling courses, either.
That last point is particularly disappointing. When it emerged that the Venu Sq 2 would have an OLED display, my mind immediately jumped to the possibility of navigating with a detailed on a square screen that's easily readable even in direct sunlight. Sadly, that's not happening; there's a magnetic compass, but that's it.
Although its design immediately draws comparisons with the Apple Watch, the two really aren't comparable. The Venu Sq 2 should be fine if you're interested in generally developing healthier habits or sticking to a regular workout schedule, but thus far it seems to share more DNA with the Garmin Vivoactive 4.
I'll continue to test the Venu Sq 2 over the coming weeks, and will bring you a full review once I've put it through its paces to see how it compares with the best Garmin watches.
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 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).