Garmin Venu: AMOLED screen plus Always-On mode and battery life measured in days (hands-on)

Garmin Venu hands-on
The Garmin Venu is the company's new smartwatch for everyone, but instead of the frugal screens Garmin uses on most of its smartwatches, this one has a gorgeous AMOLED display similar to what you see on watches by Apple and Samsung. Unlike those watches, though, battery life on the Garmin Venu is much longer: the timepiece lasts up to 5 days and you can even set the screen to be always on (this option shortens battery life, but you can still get around 3 days between charges).

And unlike most other Garmins where you have lots of physical buttons on the sides of the watch, the navigation here happens primarily via the touchscreen. We got used to this rather quickly, but we couldn't help but notice there was a very noticeable stutter when moving between menus. This is probably because we saw an early version of the watch and we hope it will be fixed when the final version ships later this year, but right now, the experience is definitely not as fast or as refined as what you get in an Apple Watch or a Samsung timepiece.

You also do have two buttons: the top one is used to start/confirm/enter activities, while the bottom one is a back button that is also used for laps and to access the menu.

Garmin Venu specs:

  • 43.2 x 43.2 x 12.4 mm, weight 46.3g
  • 1.2" AMOLED display with a 390 x 390 pixel resolution
  • Battery life: up to 5 days, in GPS mode with music up to 6 hours
  • Water rating: 5 ATM
  • 20mm quick release bands

The Garmin Venu also supports music as a standard now (previous Garmin watches shipped in two editions, with a separate Music version). You can download music from Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, and iHeartRadio, and then beam it from the watch to wireless headphones.

In terms of sensors, you get a GPS on board as well as a PulseOx sensor for 24/7 blood oxygen tracking. You have two new workout types: Pilates and Yoga, as well as estimated sweat loss and hydration tracking. Garmin also introduces animated workouts to help you stay fit. Overall, the features of this watch are more tailored to everyday folk rather than the runner/swimmer/triathlete that is targeted by the Garmin Forerunner and Garmin Fenix series.

Another cool feature here is Garmin Pay that allows you to pay even when you don't have your phone on oyu.

Price and Release Date

The Garmin Venu costs $400 in the United States and while the company has not announced a release date, the estimate is that it will be available in 5 to 8 weeks.
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