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Garmin Lily vs. Garmin Venu: Which should you buy?

Garmin Venu
Garmin Venu (Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin Venu

Garmin Venu

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You'll never feel like you're missing out on features when you have the Garmin Venu on your wrist. It has onboard GPS, activity/sleep tracking, heart-rate monitoring, on-screen workouts, Body Battery, Pulse Ox, NFC payments, music storage, and so much more.

Garmin Venu

Premium design and perks

Premium design plus AMOLED
GPS, HRM, NFC
Body Battery and Pulse Ox
On-screen workouts
Music storage
Too expensive for some users

Garmin Lily

Garmin Lily

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If you want to enjoy the perks of health and activity tracking without having a giant piece of tech on your wrist that dulls your style, you'll be happy with the Garmin Lily. This smartwatch offers heart-rate monitoring, fitness/sleep tracking, Body Battery, and Pulse Ox.

Garmin Lily

Women's watch for basics

Petite, fashionable design
Activity/sleep tracking
Heart-rate monitoring
Body Battery
Pulse Ox
Lacks GPS, NFC
No music storage
Missing on-screen workouts

Garmin Lily vs. Garmin Venu: Pick your experience

Garmin is responsible for many of the best Android smartwatches on the market. You can add both the Lily and the Venu to that list. The company claims the Lily is the smartwatch women have been waiting for. That's debatable, but it is a nice choice for women who prefer a subtle yet fashionable design that still offers solid activity and health tracking.

The Garmin Venu, on the other hand, is a more premium option. It's got a nicer design that can be enjoyed by both men and women. It's packed with essential features as well as a few extra perks. From GPS to blood oxygen tracking to NFC payments, you simply can't go wrong with this powerhouse of a smartwatch. If you don't mind that it's more expensive, this may be the wearable you've been searching for.

The Garmin Lily is all about fashion

Garmin Lily

Source: Courtney Lynch / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Courtney Lynch / Android Central)

The Garmin Lily is quite the accomplishment for a company with a reputation for releasing super-advanced smartwatches that are designed with hardcore athletes in mind. This device does things a bit differently. For starters, it's the smallest Garmin watch yet. Don't expect a giant colorful display. The Lily comes in a 34mm case with a monochromatic LCD touchscreen. There's a Sport model that comes with an aluminum bezel and a silicone band or a Classic model that comes with a stainless steel bezel and a leather band.

While it's not quite as premium as the Venu, one of the main reasons to choose the Lily is if you want a smaller, more feminine watch design. You'll want to keep in mind that you won't have any physical buttons on the watch, aside from a tiny capacitive button on the bottom of the screen. Some people may welcome this minimalist design, but it can be tricky to navigate the menus with a smaller display and a capacitive button that isn't always as responsive as it should be.

Garmin LilyGarmin Venu
Display1-inch TFT LCD1.2-inch AMOLED
Dimensions34.5x34.x10.15 mm43.2x43.2x12.4mm
SensorsHRM, accelerometer, Pulse Ox, ambient light sensorHRM, accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, barometric altimeter, thermometer, Pulse Ox, ambient light sensor
ConnectivityBluetoothBluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi
Battery life5 days5 days
Water resistance5ATM5ATM
ColorsCream Gold, Rose Gold, Midnight OrchidSlate, Rose Gold, Silver, Gold
Onboard GPS✔️
On-screen workouts✔️
NFC payments✔️
Music storage✔️

Another minor but noteworthy difference is that the Garmin Lily does not use quick-release watchbands. These are common among Garmin wearables, but for some reason, the company used proprietary 14mm bands instead. Currently, you can choose from a handful of silicone and Italian leather bands that are designed for the Lily. You'll need to use the band replacement tool whenever you want to switch up your look.

It's not as robust as the Venu on the feature front, but it does handle the basics quite well. The Garmin Lily offers activity/sleep tracking, heart-rate monitoring, stress tracking, blood oxygen monitoring, and women's health tracking. You also get the company's Body Battery energy monitoring feature, which is designed to track your energy reserves by collecting data from your activity, sleep, stress, and heart rate variability (HRV) metrics. This will help you determine the ideal times for rest and exercise during your day based on your energy levels.

The Lily doesn't offer any advanced fitness tracking features, like on-screen workouts.

There are multiple activity profiles to choose from when you start a workout. You have the option of storing up to 7 of them on the watch itself, which be changed at any time from the Garmin connect app. Some of the main activities are walking, running, cycling elliptical, yoga, breathwork, and cardio. The Lily doesn't offer any advanced fitness tracking features, like on-screen workouts.

Other than on-screen workouts, this smartwatch is missing some other features that you might not be willing to compromise on. You won't have onboard GPS, so you'll need to connect to your phone if you want to track your route during a workout. It also lacks an altimeter, so it won't track floors climbed. The Garmin Lily doesn't offer NFC payments or music storage, which are features you'll find on the Venu. As we mentioned earlier, it doesn't have an AMOLED display or quick release bands.

The Garmin Venu covers all the important bases

When you look at the Garmin Venu, you'll be able to spot some key differences pretty quickly. It's got a larger design and a beautiful AMOLED display. The stainless steel bezel is a step up from the aluminum design on the Garmin Lily. You'll also be pleased that Garmin Venu bands use the quick release attachment system. This means you can explore a wide range of 20mm interchangeable bands and make the change without using a special tool.

Another thing some people will immediately notice about the Venu is the steep price tag. You'll have to be the judge that decides whether the extra features are worth it or not. It's worth noting that you can opt for a lite version of this watch with the Venu Sq. To put it simply, the Garmin Venu Sq is a less premium version of the Venu. They share some features, but not all. It's worth considering if you like the Venu but don't want to spend so much.

The Venu offers music storage for up to 500 songs and NFC payments.

On that note, there are many great reasons to choose the Venu despite its expensive price tag. Sure, the design is attractive, but it goes deeper than that. You'll have onboard GPS, activity/sleep tracking, heart-rate monitoring, stress tracking, blood oxygen monitoring, women's health tracking, on-screen workouts, and Body Battery energy monitoring. As for smartwatch features, the Venu offers music storage for up to 500 songs and NFC payments with Garmin Pay. You'll also have access to the Connect IQ store for downloading watch faces, apps, and more.

While you can use any of the 20 sports apps on the Garmin Venu, there are other options as well. You can browse a selection of preset workouts from Garmin Connect and download the ones that appeal to you. There are also various training plans available through Garmin Coach, which is the equivalent of having your own personal running coach to prepare for your next 5K marathon. Finally, you have the option of creating your own customizable workouts.

Garmin Lily vs. Garmin Venu: Which should you buy?

Garmin Venu

Source: Garmin (Image credit: Source: Garmin)

Choosing between the Garmin Lily and Garmin Venu will come down to a few key factors. Fortunately, both of these wearables are some of the best Garmin smartwatches you can buy right now. You simply have to determine which one is a better fit for your lifestyle.

First, you'll need to decide how much you're willing to spend. The Venu is significantly more expensive than the Lily, so that's something to consider. You just might find the additional features to be worth the extra money. You'll also need to determine what type of design you prefer. The Garmin Lily is geared toward women who want a stylish accessory. The Venu also offers a premium design, but it's not specifically for men or women.

Most importantly, you'll need to decide what features you want on your smartwatch. If you want every possible perk, it's the Venu that will win you over. The extra perks include a stunning AMOLED display, onboard GPS, music storage, on-screen workouts, Garmin Pay. If these features aren't crucial in your eyes, then you might be content with Lily. At the end of the day, you'll get the best value and fitness tracking experience with the Garmin Venu.

Courtney Lynch is a freelance writer at Android Central. She's obsessed with all things health, fitness, and music. At any given time, she can be found checking out the latest and greatest gadgets while simultaneously petting her dog and sipping iced coffee.