Garmin has kicked off 2022 by releasing two new smartwatches with the Venu 2 Plus closing the gap somewhat to the likes of the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch while the Vivomove Sport brings the stylish daily activity tracking of the Vivomove series in at a more affordable price.
The Venu 2 already had a large, clear screen, integration with smartphones and the ability to track a silly number of activities. But with the new Plus model, you get the impression that Garmin is looking to challenge the likes of Apple and Samsung in their segment of the wearable tech market.
Key to this is the fact that Garmin has added the ability to use a voice assistant, such as Google Assistant, with the incoming microphone and speakers allowing you to make and receive calls. The thinking is that this will make the smartwatch more popular with users that put less emphasis on the activity tracking features, though with the Venu 2 Plus you will still need to have your smartphone connected where the Apple Watch will make calls without your phone close by if you have the cellular version.
The voice assistant control is compatible with Siri, Google Assistant and Bixby and it allows you to compose texts, make calls, ask questions, control smart home devices and generally do all of the things that voice assistants do.
The Venu 2 Plus provides advanced sleep monitoring with sleep score and insights by Firstbeat Analytics, breathwork activities, fitness age, respiration, Pulse Ox, all-day stress, hydration, and women’s health features such as menstrual cycle tracking and pregnancy tracking.
There are over 25 built-in indoor and GPS-tracked outdoor activity apps, including cycling. Alongside the selection of activity apps, the Venu 2 Plus can show over 75 preset animated workout sessions for strength, cardio, HIIT, yoga and pilates training. These animations demonstrate the correct technique for movements on the AMOLED screen or, if the watch is too small for your eyes, these can be viewed within Garmin’s Connect smartphone app.
That AMOLED display is touch-sensitive and is made from Gorilla Glass 3. Battery life stands at a claimed 9 days in smartwatch mode, though if you switch to GPS + Music mode, that drops to 8 hours. Garmin has included fast charging with the Venu 2 Plus, claiming to add a day’s worth of smartwatch charge in just 10 minutes.
The Venu 2 Plus is available now with an RRP of £399.
Meanwhile, the Vivomove Sport is aimed at slightly more fashion-conscious users that might not want their watch to look like a sports watch and, at £159.99, it is Garmin’s most affordable Vivomove model.
As with the Venu 2 Plus above, the Vivomove Sport will track daily metrics such as steps, sleep and heart rate. Unlike the Venu 2 Plus, however, the Vivomove Sport doesn’t support GPS tracking. You can hook the watch up to your smartphone and pull in the phone’s GPS, but the Vivomove’s activity profiles suggest that the watch is aimed at indoor workouts rather than sports like cycling.
Then again, if you just want to track daily activity and you don’t care about Strava etc, this could be a good option. It’s certainly a stylish one.
The Vivomove Sport is available for £159.99.
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.