For its price, Garmin Venu Sq has virtually all health and fitness tracking features you could want in a gps watch.
From bright LCD touchscreen and SpO2 (blood oxygen) tracking to the built-in GPS and up to six days of battery life, the Venu Sq offers all making it a compelling buy, especially for runners and health enthusiasts who are looking for a garmin gps watch that’s compatible with both iOS and Android.
It may not have the most stylish look out there and misses out on some features such as altimeter and voice assistant, but it makes up for its misses by stacking up features in fitness and health aspects.
Read on our exhaustive Garmin Venu Sq Review to learn more about the features in detail.
Garmin Venu Sq Overview
- Sensors: GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, Accelerometer, Garmin Elevate heart rate sensor, Compass, Pulse Ox, Thermometer, Ambient Light
- Compatibility: Android and iOS
- Storage: Up to 200 hours of activity data. Garmin Venu Sq Music Edition can store up to 500 songs
- Smartwatch Features: Controls smartphone music, smartphone notification, text response, phone call notification, LiveTrack, Incident Detection, Connect IQ
- Display: 1.3 inches Corning Gorilla Glass 3
- Resolution: 240 x 240 resolution
- Dimension: Case has 40.5 x 37 x 11.5mm
- Strap: 20mm quick release
- Weight: 37.6g
- Build Material: The case is made of fiber-reinforced polymer. The bezel is made of lightweight aluminum. The strap is made of silicone.
- Battery: Can last up to six days in Smartwatch mode, up to 14 hours in GPS mode, and up to six hours in GPS Mode with music.
- IP Rating (Waterproof): 5ATM
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi for Music Edition, ANT+, Bluetooth
Garmin Venu Sq Design and Display
Garmin designed the Venu Sq to showcase their diversity – most of their watches were rounded but the Venu Sq took a square sporty appearance with a colored touchscreen display.
It has a decent 1.3-inch display covered by the Corning Gorilla Glass 3 lens. What else? Its bezel blends perfectly with the display while the fiber-reinforced polymer case makes the Venu Sq lightweight (37.6grams). The strap is made of silicone, which feels comfortable on the wrist.
In addition, Garmin used quick-release bands on this piece, which makes it easy to remove and swap in the Garmin’s 20mm bands with compatible options.
In terms of water resistance, Garmin has consistently maintained a 5ATM rating on all its watches, and the Venu Sq was not an exception. This makes the watch suitable for showering and going for a swim with it on.
The watch’s liquid crystal display resolution of 240 x 240 pixels is a little less vivid as compared to the AMOLED screens found on its predecessor, the Garmin Venu, and other watches in its category.
While we didn’t have major issues with brightness and visibility, the difference in the quality of display from what you get on many other watches in its category is clear to see. On the brighter side, there is an always-on display.
The Venu Sq comes with a touchscreen and two buttons on the right hand side to control the smartwatch:
Fitness Tracking, Running Features and Modes
For Garmin watches have made a name in focusing on tracking fitness and health stats. For this case, the two acts as the core reasons you would want to buy a Garmin watch. And with the Sq, you will get a good experience tracking your runs and health.
There is a built-in coach feature to guide you in reaching your fitness goals. You can set your workout plans and analyze your body response by checking HR Zones, VO2 Max, respiration rate, and HR alerts. The data is synced to your smartphone via the Garmin Connect App for a better analysis.
On the sensor front, the Venu Sq has built-in GPS that supports Galileo satellite systems to help you map your routes with ease.
From our tests, the watch took some time to lock onto a GPS signal, but the good thing is that it doesn’t lose it.
There is also a Garmin Elevate heart rate monitor, which can help you track your health status such as instances of abnormal heart rate and more.
An attractive feature on this front is that the Sq supports pairing with additional sensors, including external chest strap monitors such as HRM Pro, in case you aren’t satisfied with the accuracy of the wrist-based heart rate figures.
You will also find an accelerometer to help you track indoor activities and the number of steps for fitness tracking.
In addition, there is a pulse ox sensor to estimate your blood oxygen levels during sleep to know if your body is recovering well after an intense running session. Remember that enabling the pulse oximeter feature tends to drain the watch’s battery fast.
Other sensors you will find on this wearable include stress, calories burnt, body energy measurement, respiration rate, hydration levels, etc. the watch notifies you to move around after long idle activity and also sends reminders for relaxation breaks. In addition, it tracks the menstruation cycle.
One main sensor lacking on the Venu Sq is the altimeter. Without this sensor, it means the watch cannot track elevation (stairs climbed or hills climbed). The sensor is available on high-end watches in the Venu series.
In terms of sports mode, Venu Sq has over 20 inbuilt sports modes for outdoor and indoor exercises including running, swimming (pool), yoga, strength, cycling, etc.
From our test, the Venu Sq displayed reliable running stats and key metrics were fairly consistent. Heart rate data was consistent, but if you care about precise heart rate readings, you are better of using dedicated heart rate devices such as chest straps.
If you are a runner who likes an abundance of rich training analysis, that’s something you will not find in this watch. The Venu Sq lacks training load and status insights as well as a recovery advisor. These features are present on Garmin’s Forerunner watches.
For those who are less interested in analyzing their running sessions and more concerned about having reliable sports tracking, the Venu Sq is for you.
As a fitness tracker, you will enjoy the sleep monitoring and step tracking feature. For tracking steps, the Venu Sq does a commendable job of it, although the watch struggled to accurately monitor sleep.In addition, it also supports Incident Detection and Live Tracking, features that come in handy during outdoor runs, rides, and walks.
The wearable can be set to send real-time location details to predefined contacts in case of any accidents. Keep in mind that you need to have your smartphone connected for these features to work.
Garmin has done a good job in making this Venu Sq one of the best smartwatches in the market. For example, it works seamlessly with Android phones and iPhones.
You can view phone notifications on the watch’s screen and even send quick responses when using an Android phone. Although the screen is relatively smaller, you can still view notifications without distractions.
In addition, you can control music on your phone through the watch, and if you opt for the Music Edition, you get onboard storage for up to 500 songs. It allows for syncing with Spotify and Deezer, where you can find your offline playlists.
The Venu Sq also supports a wide range of 3rd party health and fitness apps such as Strava, MyFitnessPal, Apple Health, etc.
Garmin Pay is another feature you will like as it can help you make contactless payments across the US, UK, and Australia.
The watch also supports the Garmin Connect App, where you can view your fitness data and a little bit of analysis.
Along with the app, you also get a Connect IQ Store integration, where you can download watch faces, data fields, widgets, and apps.
Garmin says you can expect the Venu Sq to serve you for up to six days in Smartwatch mode, 14 hours in GPS mode only, and six hours in GPS mode with music streaming.
There are no battery-saving options or low power modes, although Garmin allows you to disable battery-sucking features such as heart rate monitor and always-on display mode to extend the battery time.
When on always-on display mode, the watch can go for up to three or four days depending on what you are tracking, which is still commendable.
What We Liked
- Unique Design: The Venu Sq has a different look as compared to other Garmin watches. It has a square-shaped frame and features a 1.3 inches display protected by the Corning Gorilla Glass 3 lens. The thick bezel blends well with the display and the fiber-reinforced polymer case makes the watch lightweight
- Improved usability: The Venu Sq comes fully equipped with great sport and casual features. In addition to the usual fitness tracker, the watch also tracks stress levels thanks to the Body Battery Score
- Banded in silicone: Many running watches do not feature comfortable wrist bands and thus tend to make the wrist sore or develop a sensitive rash around it. However, the Garmin Venu Sq is fitted with a silicone band that’s moisture resistant making it comfortable to wear during runs
- Wrist-based heart rate monitoring: With this smart technology, you can monitor your heart rate on your screen to know your health status
- GPS tracking stats: When running on a treadmill, you get to appreciate the convenience of the distance stats displayed on a monitor in front of you. In the same way, with the Venu Sq, you can now see all your running stats, including pace, distance covered, and steps per minute
- Commendable battery life: Another great thing about this Garmin watch is its battery life. The batteries can last for up to six days in smartwatch mode and up to six hours in GPS mode with music. You don’t have to worry about your watch going off during your runs.
What We Didn’t Like
- A major focus is on runners. The Garmin Venu Sq. lacks the swimming mode. It only displays running and jogging stats.
- Lacks a microphone and speaker
- No altimeter and gyroscope
- The tiny display feels pretty overcrowded
Garmin Venu Sq Comparisons
The first and obvious watch that can rival Garmin Venu SQ is its predecessor, the Venu. The two smart wearables doubles as great fitness trackers with excellent features.
In addition to their difference in shape where the SQ has a square frame and the Venu with a round face, their display quality and type also differ.
The Garmin’s Venu has an AMOLED screen, which gives you a rich display as compared to the LCD used by the Venu Sq.
The Venu screen also has a higher resolution, meaning that everything will look sharper and crisper.
Fitbit Versa 3
Garmin is known to make premium fitness watches that focus on delivering great running and health tracking with useful smartwatch features for daily activities. And the Venu Sq is a representation of how balanced their watches are when it comes to combining fitness tracking features and smartwatch functionalities without complicating the interface.
The Venu Sq packs all the core sensors, including a heart rate monitor, inbuilt GPS, and pulse ox sensor. There are dedicated modes for running, swimming, and cycling to make this a solid sports tracking companion.
What else? It doesn’t overlook smartwatch functions with features as an inbuilt music player and access to the Garmin Connect IQ store where you can download 3rd party apps.
Of course, it misses out on having an AMOLED display, an altimeter for tracking elevation, and animated workouts. If you can overlook these features, then the Garmin Venu Sq can be your perfect sporty smartwatch.
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is to take a holistic approach to fitness and health.