Talk to the hand
You'd be hard-pressed to find a smartwatch feature the Garmin Venu 2 Plus doesn't have. While reflected in the high price, this smartwatch can track just about anything, with the added ability to make calls and reply to messages right from your wrist using compatible voice assistants.
- You can make calls from your wrist
- Generous battery life
- Plenty of health and wellness features
While you can't make or receive calls or compose or reply to messages from your wrist using the Garmin Venu 2S, it has all the other health, wellness, and fitness features of the Venu 2 Plus. This makes it an affordable alternative if you don't need, or won't use, voice assistance.
- Better battery life
- Smaller, slimmer, lightweight design
- Slightly more affordable
- No phone or text capabilities
- Lower resolution screen
The Garmin Venu 2 Plus and the Garmin Venu 2S are very similar in design and feature set, making choosing between them difficult. When looking deeper at the Garmin Venu 2 Plus vs. Garmin Venu 2S, however, a few differences could sway you toward one or the other.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Garmin Venu 2 Plus||Garmin Venu 2S|
|Screen||1.3-inch AMOLED||1.1-inch AMOLED|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi||Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi|
|Colors||Silver/Gray, Slate/Black, Cream Gold/Ivory||Light Gold/Light Sand, Slate/Graphite, Silver/Mist Gray, Rose Gold/ White|
|Band Sizes||40, 43, 45mm||40, 43, 45mm|
|Battery Life||Up To 9 Days (8 Hours with GPS + Music)||Up to 10 Days (19 Hours with GPS, 7 Hours with GPS + Music)|
|Music Storage||Up To 650 Songs||Up To 650 Songs|
|Phone Compatibility||Android, iOS||Android, iOS|
|Size||43.6 x 43.6 x 12.6mm||40.4 x 40.4 x 12.1mm|
It's clear from the specs that there are minor differences between the two smartwatches, with the main one being the inclusion of voice assistance compatibility with the Garmin Venu 2 Plus. But let's take a deeper dive into how these two wrist-worn fitness devices compare.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus vs. Venu 2S: Design and look
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Both smartwatches have rounded faces made of stainless steel in various color options with silicone bands that can be swapped with third-party ones if desired. The Venu 2S is slightly smaller than the Venu 2 Plus, and its display is also somewhat lower resolution. However, it's also much lighter at just 38.2 grams versus 51 grams for the Venu 2 Plus.
But the bright AMOLED included on both is ideal for viewing in any condition, including direct sunlight. They both offer an Always-on Mode, so you can flick your wrist to glance at your stats. You can also choose the watch face from various options in the Garmin Connect IQ store, which allows you to download apps to display on screen and select data fields that are most important to you. Both screens are made from durable Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
Both are water-resistant down to 5ATM, so you can safely swim, shower, jog in rain or snow, or wash dishes. Be mindful, of course, of things like salt water and chlorine, as with any smartwatch.
You'll get more than a week's battery life out of both, though the Venu 2S is rated for one more day than the Venu 2 Plus at 10 versus nine. In addition, you'll get an extra hour of GPS with music use, but with the Venu 2 Plus, which is rated at eight hours when you have both running, whereas the Venu 2S is rated at seven hours. However, keep in mind that both work with rapid recharging, which will give you an extra day of use after just a quick 10-minute charge, or up to an extra hour with GPS and music.
This is perfect if you want to grab it for a short run, bike ride, or hike. Both also feature a Battery Saver Mode if you want to keep tracking when the battery is nearing the red. If you're looking for something ultra-small and slim, the Venu 2S might be the better choice. But for more screen real estate, when it comes down to looks, you'll get a better view with better resolution on the new Venu 2 Plus.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus vs. Venu 2S: Workouts, fitness, health, and more
Of course, the essential aspect of a smartwatch is tracking workouts, exercise, health, and other wellness features, which is where Garmin excels. These smartwatches do an excellent job with a slate of features you'll find on both.
This includes more than 25 pre-loaded sports apps so you can queue up a workout with just a few taps, including GPS-based exercises like walking, swimming, cycling, and even golf. You can follow animated on-screen workouts, ideal if you're trying to get in a quick workout at a hotel or anywhere you have limited space or don't have a bigger screen. They also work with Garmin Coach for a personal on-wrist running coach to help motivate and push you to succeed.
Both offer advanced strength training that will summarize your workout, including details like intensity minutes (including precisely when you earned them) and what specific muscles you worked. There are 1,600 exercises in the Garmin app to choose from if you want to build your own custom workout. Among these are HIIT workouts, a popular trend nowadays, where you can use timers to track rounds, rest time, and other elements of your program.
With both watches, you can also enjoy Health Snapshot to log a two-minute session and get data like your heart rate, heart rate variability, PulseOX, respiration, and stress. You can also view a more detailed analysis in the Garmin app. They also both track Body Battery, letting you know when your body is at its best to do a workout or go for a walk or run, for example, to help you maximize results.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus vs. Venu 2S: Beyond exercise and fitness
As we all know, health and wellness are about more than just exercise. And both the Garmin Venu 2 Plus and Garmin Venu 2S offer plenty of features to help you track other stats and keep safe and healthy.
They offer detailed sleep tracking and analysis, including providing a Sleep Score to give you better insight into how well your body is resting and recharging at night. Both have a PulseOX sensor to measure blood oxygen saturation, which you can view at any time.
There's also stress tracking, women's health tracking for menstrual cycles, hydration logs (adjust based on your activity and manual input), 24/7 heart rate tracking, mindful breathing exercises, Garmin Pay for mobile contactless payments at compatible shops (with a connected payment card), and fitness age that gives you goals to work toward if your fitness age is higher than your actual age.
Additionally, both will display smart notifications from a connected smartphone. But this is where the Venu 2 Plus has a leg up on the 2S: it works with voice assistants, including Google Assistant, Apple Siri, and Samsung Bixby, to allow you to answer/end incoming phone calls, and reply to text messages. With a compatible Android device, you can even send a pre-written response to a message. You can also use the voice assistant to control compatible smart home devices. But keep in mind this feature only works when the smartwatch is paired with your phone and your phone is within range because it doesn't have cellular connectivity.
Both smartwatches can also store up to 650 songs from Spotify, Deezer, and Amazon Music to have a playlist ready for your morning runs or lunch hours at the gym without needing your phone. Using Bluetooth, you can pair the smartwatch with a pair of wireless headphones, and you're good to go for personal listening while you exercise or even when you rest.
Safety and tracking features can share your location with preselected contacts in an emergency with both.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus vs. Venu 2S: Which should you buy?
There are minimal differences between two of the best Garmin smartwatches, making choosing between the Garmin Venu 2 Plus vs. Venu 2 difficult. So let's break it down.
If you feel you would use voice assistance and want to quickly reply to messages without pulling out your phone, the Garmin Venu 2 Plus is the better option since you can do this. Also, it can be a handy option for those who commute and are often walking, running, or even driving, so you don't have to fumble for your phone to tell someone you're on your way or that you'll call them in five.
If the most important feature for you is having something small and lightweight, the Garmin Venu 2S is smaller and lighter than the Venu 2 Plus. So it might be the better option for those with petite wrists or who want as little bulk on their arms as possible. It's also much cheaper, so if you're on a tight budget, you need to weigh whether the voice assistant capabilities are worth the extra bucks. Finally, consider getting an extra day of rated battery life with the Venu 2S.
When it comes to fitness, health, and wellness features, both these smartwatches offer all the premium features you'd expect, plus all the cool options Garmin has to offer, like Body Battery, Health Snapshot, and advanced strength training, which add further appeal. So, in this respect, you can't go wrong with either device.
Thus, the decision will come down to three key factors: will you use voice assistance for messaging or chatting from your wrist, what's your budget, and are you looking to go small or bigger on the face? The answers to these three questions will steer you in the right direction.
Keep in mind if you're looking to go bigger, there's also the option of the Garmin Venu 2, which, when comparing the Venu 2 to the Venu 2S, (and the Venu 2 Plus) has a more prominent display than both.
Built-in voice assistance
The main upgrade with the Garmin Venu 2 Plus is the addition of voice assistance so you can answer calls and reply to text messages right from your wrist. Otherwise, it's near-identical to the Venu 2S with a slightly larger and higher resolution screen from a fitness perspective.
Premium fitness, health, wellness features
The Garmin Venu 2S is no slouch in the smartwatch space, offering all the same fitness, health, and wellness features as the Venu 2 Plus. However, it has a slightly smaller, lower-resolution screen; and while it offers smartphone notifications, you can't reply right from the watch.
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Christine Persaud has been writing about tech since long before the smartphone was even a "thing." When she isn't writing, she's working on her latest fitness program, binging a new TV series, tinkering with tech gadgets she's reviewing, or spending time with family and friends. A self-professed TV nerd, lover of red wine, and passionate home cook, she's immersed in tech in every facet of her life. Follow her at @christineTechCA.
- Andrew MyrickSenior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables