The original Garmin Venu Sq and Venu Sq Music watches were designed to be affordable smartwatch options in Garmin’s range – but they failed to win us over, mainly because of the liquid crystal displays, and so didn't make the cut in our selection of the best fitness smartwatches.
Those LCD screens not only fell short of the bright AMOLED screen on the Garmin Venu 2, but were also not much of an upgrade on the transflective displays Garmin uses on its sports watches. The result was a square, not-all-that-smart watch that wasn’t as good at sports tracking as Garmin’s cheaper Forerunner 55 and didn’t look much better either.
The Garmin Venu Sq 2 and Venu Sq 2 Music launch on 1st September 2022 and the good news is that both have a bright 1.4in AMOLED touchscreen. The even better news is that the improved screens haven’t reduced the battery life. In fact, the Venu Sq 2 watches will last up to 11 days in smartwatch mode, whereas the Garmin Venu Sq lasted up to six days.
Another update is that the new watches offer multi-GNSS tracking, which means they can call on GPS, Galileo and GLONASS satellites at the same time during outdoor activities. This should increase the accuracy of distance and pace/speed tracking for running and cycling.
That increased accuracy will further improve the sporting credentials of the Venu Sq 2 watches, which is important, since they cannot rely on smarts alone to outdo rivals like the Apple Watch 3, Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 or Fitbit Versa 4. Both watches offer basic smart features, such as weather forecasts and notifications, as well as NFC payments through Garmin Pay, while the Venu Sq 2 Music adds music storage and Garmin’s excellent integration with Spotify, but Garmin does not have a well-stocked app store to lean on like the Apple Watch and Wear OS devices.
The improvements to the Venu Sq 2 watches also come at a cost. The Venu Sq 2 is $249.99 in the US and £229.99 in the UK, and the Venu Sq 2 Music is $299.99/£269.99.
The original watches are now available for $199.99/£149.99 for the Venu Sq (which launched at £179.99) and $249.99/£229.99 for the Venu Sq Music.
The higher price may be worth paying to upgrade the screen on the Venu Sq, but given that the more attractive-looking Garmin Venu 2 is widely available for around $320/£300, that could undermine sales of the Venu 2 Sq Music in particular.
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Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.