February 8, 2023

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A sound exercise tracker without the need of the frills

The $200 (£179, AU$300) Garmin Venu Sq has pretty much each and every conditioning – and wellness-tracking aspect you could want in a smartwatch for significantly less than rivals like the Apple Check out and Fitbit Versa 3 . It has a shiny Lcd touchscreen, constructed-in GPS, SpO2 (blood oxygen) monitoring and up to 6 times of battery existence, which can make it a compelling obtain, in particular if you want a watch which is suitable with each Android and iOS. 



a close up of a green plant: Lexy Savvides/CNET


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Lexy Savvides/CNET




a knife sitting on top of a wooden table


© Lexy Savvides/CNET

It can be not the most quality-hunting smartwatch out there and it misses out on capabilities like a voice assistant and altimeter, but it tends to make up for it in overall health and health capabilities that elevate it from the rest. 

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A useful check out without having the wow aspect

Like the name indicates, the Venu Sq has a square observe confront with rounded edges, compared with the first Garmin Venu and just about each other Garmin athletics observe with circular types. Its 1.3-inch color Lcd display feels a bit cramped compared to other Garmin watches, but it can be apparent and straightforward to study even in vibrant daylight and you can hold the display screen established to usually-on. Acquiring applied the larger sized Garmin Venu for a when, the smaller sized measurement of the Venu Sq took a little bit of obtaining utilized to, particularly throughout routines when I could not see as a lot of stats at a look and experienced to scroll to uncover the proper metric like coronary heart price, which was all the way on the previous web site.

The overall construct quality is durable enough thanks to an aluminum bezel, whilst the plastic situation and buttons make it come to feel like a less expensive observe than it essentially is, primarily compared to a thing like the Apple Check out SE , Galaxy Enjoy Energetic 2 or Fitbit Versa 3 for example, which all have metallic finishes and OLED displays. The Venu Sq has two facet buttons: a single to start out/end activities and the other to navigate back again and forth amongst menus. As soon as I figured out which did what, it took me a few days to get absolutely cozy making use of them to navigate the interface. 

My major grievance with the Venu Sq’s style and design is the vibration motor, which is not notably robust. 50 % the time it was the buzzing sounds, not the vibration by itself, that clued me in on a notification. 

Blood oxygen monitor and coronary heart health and fitness alerts 

Garmin’s greatest power is in health and fitness and health tracking, with the Venu Sq squarely hitting the mark. It has an SpO2 sensor to detect blood oxygen levels, either as a place test or quickly through the day and evening, equivalent to the $399 Apple Check out Sequence 6 . Though placing it to observe consistently will decrease battery everyday living a ton faster. It really is also challenging to find the SpO2 selection in the menus and I observed that including it as a widget in the settings is the very best way to get it to pop up on your wrist. 

Regrettably I did not have a pulse oximeter to compare the readings from the Venu Sq to establish accuracy. Either way, it is essential to notice that the Venu Sq has not been authorized to be applied as a medical system and need to not be made use of for diagnostic purposes. Constantly seek the advice of with a medical professional or other certified overall health provider about any wellness-linked concerns you could have about a healthcare condition or wellbeing targets.

While the Venu Sq will not have an ECG, or electrocardiogram, like the Apple Look at Sequence 6 and Galaxy Look at 3 , it does give you the possibility to obtain high and lower heart amount notifications that will allow you know if your heart price spikes above or falls down below what it considers to be a healthy threshold. 

The Venu Sq also makes use of coronary heart fee variability to decide your stress stages, but doesn’t seriously offer a lot direction on how to minimize your stress. I discovered Garmin’s Body Battery meter, which can take into account coronary heart charge variability readings, action ranges and sleep, a additional correct illustration of how my overall body was doing the job that day and helped me make a decision what kind of workout to do and how hard to thrust myself. It performs superior than the Anxiety Administration Score in the Fitbit Feeling that is a little bit a lot more tricky to interpret for me.

Garmin also offers respiratory rate and believed VO2 max, the highest quantity of oxygen your overall body can use all through work out, which can be utilized to gauge and make improvements to athletic overall performance. The better the selection, the a lot more fit you are. 



graphical user interface, application: Screenshot by Lexy Savvides/CNET


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Screenshot by Lexy Savvides/CNET

Snooze tracking is also fantastic on the Venu Sq and obviously identifies your sleep stages of REM, deep and light-weight rest. You may also be able to see breathing amount and SpO2 levels in the morning. The draw back is that the Garmin Join app isn’t going to give you any ideas on improving your rest high quality. Menstrual cycle tracking is also offered on the Venu Sq and like other Garmin watches, it provides being pregnant tracking to log indications and keep an eye on little one movement.

The Venu Sq has a variety of workout routines preloaded on to the watch, together with cardio, toughness, Pilates and yoga, so you can stick to alongside with a preset schedule on your wrist. There aren’t any visual cues on the display although, just text cues, so if you might be doing yoga for instance, you’ll need to have to know what “standing forward bend pose” or “minimal lunge pose” usually means to get the most out of the plan. You can also construct your own exercise routine, these kinds of as a circuit of weights, a Pilates plan or a run, within the Garmin Join application and sync them to the view. There are also more than 50 more Garmin-produced workouts you can load.

On prime of these preloaded routines, the Venu Sq can observe far more than 20 unique training sorts, from the typical operating and walking variants to golfing and pool swimming. There’s also a private running coach you can use to support you teach for a race or to strike a established goal. It does not give you personalized feed-back on your variety or audio cues like the Galaxy Watches , for example, as a substitute it really is far more a information for when you ought to warm up or how very long you really should run for, exhibited on your wrist.

The Venu Sq has built-in GPS, which means you really don’t have to depend on your cell phone for length monitoring when you happen to be outside the house. Just be warned that it does just take at the very least 30 seconds to lock on to a GPS sign when you are exterior (no matter of whether you have your phone with you or not), which looks like an eternity if you’re an impatient runner like me who just needs to get on with it. After it last but not least locked however, it tracked my route precisely.

The downside is that there is no gyroscope or altimeter on the Venu Sq, so if you require exact elevation facts you may probable want to search elsewhere. The Garmin Link application does a fantastic career of evidently displaying you all the details immediately after your training, but it would not dive any deeper into metrics than what equally priced rivals like the Apple Check out SE or Fitbit Versa 3 offer you.

Like other Garmin watches, the Venu Sq has Garmin Reside Monitor which allows you share your spot with a protection speak to when you are performing an out of doors workout. It does nevertheless have to have a cellular link, so you will need to have your cellphone with you to use this attribute. 



a close up of a watch: You can customize the options on this screen to show only your favorite workout types to track. Lexy Savvides/CNET


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You can personalize the possibilities on this screen to display only your favored workout forms to track. Lexy Savvides/CNET

Just adequate smarts for most individuals

Whilst the Venu Sq is geared toward physical fitness and wellness monitoring, that isn’t going to automatically mean you may skip out on smartwatch features. Like virtually every single other watch, the Venu Sq shows notifications from your cellphone and pings your mobile phone to find it if you drop it in just Bluetooth vary. You’ll be capable to see simply call notifications arrive by no matter of which telephone you have the watch paired with, but only Android consumers will be able to decrease calls and react to textual content messages from the view with prewritten responses. There is no speaker or mic onboard so you won’t be able to use voice-to-textual content responses.

The Venu Sq operates Garmin’s own working system (Garmin OS) which is not as seamless as that of Apple or Samsung’s smartwatches, but I found it to be steady and a lot more responsive than the Fitbit OS. It can be more quickly to sync updates and isn’t going to practical experience any lag in selecting menu alternatives or opening applications.

The most significant suffering place for me when utilizing the Venu Sq paired with an Apple iphone has been notifications. The Garmin Join application on iOS won’t let you filter out what notifications come by on your wrist and only mirrors regardless of what notifications you have set up on your telephone. It may well not be a offer breaker for a lot of, but I like to push only the most essential notifications this sort of as phone calls and text messages to my wrist, instead than everything that my telephone shows. Android people get additional command in excess of which notifications occur via.



a knife sitting on top of a wooden table: Lexy Savvides/CNET


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Lexy Savvides/CNET

If you want onboard tunes storage, you are going to want to choose for the audio version of the Venu Sq that fees $50 additional, which is the edition I tested in this review. The Venu Sq Tunes allows you shop audio for offline listening from applications like Spotify (with a Top quality subscription) or tunes you currently very own. It really is also the view to get for speedier facts transfers as it has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, whilst the standard Venu Sq only works by using Bluetooth.

Garmin has a lot of observe faces to pick out from, such as third-bash solutions to help personalize the search, plus a pretty wide selection of applications by the Hook up IQ Shop (a independent application you want to down load on your cellphone). You can also make contactless payments with Garmin Pay back on all variations of the watch. The key Garmin Join app is where you see all your stats and improve configurations on the check out, though the Join IQ Retailer is for including applications and enjoy faces.

The Venu Sq, having said that, lacks a voice assistant, a characteristic that by now has grow to be typical for most of its in the same way priced rivals. This could not be a deal-breaker for you, but it means you overlook out fingers-free voice handle, which I like.

A week’s value of battery life 

The Venu Sq has great battery everyday living and you can get up to 6 days really worth of use in advance of you may need to have to charge it up, while that amount may well start off to whittle down if you might be utilizing it for a ton of GPS routines, listening to new music or continually monitoring your blood oxygen degrees. Garmin estimates up to 8 several hours of battery when actively playing back again tunes, 14 hrs if you are employing it in GPS method, or up to 6 several hours with GPS and tunes playback. 

A excellent physical fitness look at devoid of further bells and whistles

If you might be keen to sacrifice a number of intelligent characteristics for better wellbeing and physical fitness monitoring, the Garmin Venu Sq is a stable preference that operates with Android or iOS. That mentioned, I do wish that Garmin would not charge the extra $50 for the new music edition, as it does alter the benefit proposition really a little bit, significantly if you are an Iphone user who might also be thinking about the Apple Observe SE which, at that point does not value you that significantly extra. 

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