Garmin Venu 2 vs. Fitbit Sense: Which should you buy?

Garmin Venu 2 011
Garmin Venu 2 011 (Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

Fitbit Sense

Fitbit Sense

If you want an advanced health smartwatch with many sensors and features, you'll likely lean toward the Fitbit Sense. You get a full 6 days of battery life on a single charge, activity/sleep tracking, Fitbit Pay, and a mic/speaker with voice assistants. In comparison to the Venu 2, it's also a much better value.

Fitbit Sense

Cheaper & more advanced

Activity/sleep tracking
More reasonably priced
ECG, EDA, SpO2 tracking
Built-in microphone & speaker
Only one size option
Shorter battery life than Venu 2

Garmin Venu 2

Garmin Venu 2

Those who are already fans of Garmin might not mind paying a bit more for the Venu 2. It's available in two sizes and offers amazing battery life. You get activity/sleep tracking, Pulse Ox and Body Battery energy monitoring, Garmin Pay, music storage, and more. The only drawback is the insanely expensive price tag.

Garmin Venu 2

Pricey & slightly lacking

Activity/sleep tracking
Pulse Ox & Body Battery
Superior battery life
Two size options
Insanely expensive
No mic or speaker
Lacks ECG/EDA sensors

Garmin Venu 2 vs. Fitbit Sense: A close call

To ensure you choose the best Android smartwatch for your needs, you'll want to consider a few important factors. Many wearable enthusiasts already have a trusted manufacturer with which they like to stick, such as Garmin or Fitbit. These companies are known for two of the latest and greatest smartwatches on the market: the Venu 2 and the Sense, respectively.

They might be made by different companies, but these smartwatches have a whole lot in common. The Garmin Venu 2 and the Fitbit Sense focus on monitoring key aspects of your health and fitness. They offer similar battery life and features, too. The main difference, which may be the deciding factor for some users, is the asking price.

The Garmin Venu 2 is a great improvement that still needs work

Garmin Venu 2 5

Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

As one of Garmin's newest releases to hit the market, the Venu 2 has plenty to offer. One upgrade from the predecessor is that it's now available in two sizes: 45mm and 40mm. The smaller model is known as the Garmin Venu 2S. These variants come in a plastic case that keeps things lightweight, which is great if you're an active individual.

Both models have a bright AMOLED display and are compatible with the quick-release band system. Fortunately, this means there are tons of Garmin Venu 2 and 2S bands to choose from if you're not satisfied with the silicone strap that comes with it. The Venu 2 offers 11 days of battery life in smartwatch mode, and the Venu 2S offers 10 days.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Garmin Venu 2Fitbit Sense
Dimensions45.4 x 45.4 x 12.2mm, 49g40.4 x 40.4 x 12.1mm, 38.2g40 x 40 x 12mm, 45.9g
Display1.3-inch AMOLED, 416x416 pixels1.1-inch AMOLED, 360x360 pixels1.58-inch AMOLED
ColorsSilver / Granite Blue, Slate / Black (45mm)Slate / Graphite, Light Gold / Light Sand, Silver / Mist Gray, Rose Gold / White (40mm)Graphite / Carbon, Soft Gold / Lunar White
SensorsHRM, accelerometer, altimeter, compass, gyroscope, Pulse Ox, thermometer, ambient light sensorHRM, accelerometer, altimeter, gyroscope, SpO2, ECG, EDA, skin temperature, ambient light sensor
BatterySmartwatch mode: 11 days (45mm)Smartwatch mode: 10 days (40mm)6+ days
Water-resistant5 ATM5 ATM
Battery saver mode✔️
Sleep score✔️✔️
NFC payments✔️✔️
Mic & speaker✔️

A new feature on the Garmin Venu 2 that most users will appreciate is the sleep score, which is powered by Firstbeat Analytics. Fitbit has always offered this feature, so it's good to see Garmin keeping up with its competitors. This perk provides users with a sleep score based on the quality and quantity of their previous night's sleep.

On another note, if you're familiar with the original Garmin Venu, you may recall that you had to open the Garmin Connect mobile app on your phone to view your sleep stats. Now, you can easily look at an overview of these stats directly on the Garmin Venu 2.

Garmin is known for offering a wide range of built-in sports apps. The Venu 2 expands on the previous offerings with new apps, including bouldering, indoor climbing, HIIT, and hiking. Another perk is fitness age, which estimates whether your body is younger or older than your chronological age. This estimation is reached using your chronological age, resting heart rate, weekly vigorous activity, and BMI or body fat percentage. So if your goal is to lower your fitness age, you can use the tips provided to work on that.

Garmin Venu 2 Hero

Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

If you have a medical condition that requires constant monitoring or you're simply a health enthusiast who likes to take a deeper look at your well-being, this smartwatch will help you do that. The Garmin Venu 2 offers a Health Snapshot feature that logs your key health metrics after recording a brief 2-minute session. These stats can be easily generated into a detailed report to send to your doctor for review. Features like this make the Venu 2 one of the best Garmin smartwatches for health fanatics.

The Garmin Venu 2 is loaded with several standard features that help you track your health and fitness. Some examples include onboard GPS, heart-rate monitoring, activity/sleep tracking, Pulse Ox (SpO2) monitoring, stress tracking, Body Battery energy monitoring, and women's health-tracking.

Considering the price tag, it's nice that Garmin included some extra perks for users to enjoy. You get NFC for Garmin Pay, built-in music storage, and seamless smartphone notifications. If you're an Android user, you'll also be able to send quick replies from your watch.

The Garmin Venu 2 lacks the more advanced sensors and features the Fitbit Sense has.

This all probably sounds pretty great, so what drawbacks are present aside from the high asking price? The Garmin Venu 2 lacks the more advanced sensors and features the Fitbit Sense has. When you factor in that it's significantly more expensive, you may think twice about whether this is the best option.

For starters, you don't get ECG or EDA sensors on the Garmin Venu 2. If you're buying an advanced health smartwatch to get as much information as possible, the Sense will win your vote. The Garmin Venu 2 also lacks a mic/speaker. You won't be able to take calls on your watch, and it doesn't offer any voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

The sky's the limit with the Fitbit Sense

Fitbit Sense

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Joe Maring / Android Central)

Fitbit tends to offer similar designs among its smartwatches so that the Sense may look familiar to you. This smartwatch closely resembles the various models in the Versa lineup. Most users will appreciate the company's go-to squircle design. The Sense takes the definition of premium quality to the next level with a case that's made of aerospace-grade aluminum and stainless steel. Additionally, this smartwatch has a biosensor core that exudes a high-tech appearance.

If you're a Fitbit fan, you probably won't be too surprised to learn that the Sense only comes in one size, which is the 40mm case. Another improvement is the new infinity band system, which is also available on the Versa 3. It's much easier for users to swap out the bands when they need something fancier and more flexible. You'll find there's a wide variety of Fitbit Sense bands to pick from. Keep in mind that any previous Versa bands you might have won't work on the new system.

One of the main attractions to the Fitbit Sense is the intense focus on advanced health tracking. As a result, it's packed with sensors that deliver key metrics. Take the skin temperature sensor, for instance. This feature is designed to detect temperature changes that may be a sign of a fever, illness, or a new menstrual phase.

Fitbit Sense

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Joe Maring / Android Central)

The electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor analyzes your heart rhythm, which can detect signs of a heart condition called atrial fibrillation (AFib). Simply hold your fingers on the corners of the watch and remain still for 30 seconds. Once you get your reading, it can be downloaded and sent to your doctor.

Finally, the new electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor will measure your electrodermal activity responses. You can use this feature by placing your palm over the face of the watch. The sensor will detect minor electrical changes in your skin's sweat level, which can help you better understand how your body reacts to stress. These advanced features make the Sense the best Fitbit wearable for health enthusiasts.

You get improved heart-rate monitoring on the Fitbit sense thanks to the advanced PurePulse 2.0 technology. Also, the Active Zone Minutes feature will help users reach their personalized target heart rate zones. When you spend time in cardio, fat burn, and peak heart-rate zones, you'll earn Active Zone Minutes. The personalized heart-rate zones are determined based on both your age and fitness level.

The Fitbit Sense is equipped with tons of health/fitness tracking features.

Similar to the Garmin Venu 2, the Fitbit Sense is equipped with tons of health/fitness tracking features that make it easy for you to navigate your day. The basics include onboard GPS, 24/7 heart-rate monitoring, over 20 goal-based exercise modes, activity/sleep tracking, SpO2 monitoring, and female health-tracking.

As far as bonus perks are concerned, the Sense offers NFC for contactless payments with Fitbit Pay. You also get two voice assistant options: Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. These are fun and easy to use, thanks to the built-in microphone and speaker. You can also make calls from your watch with the mic/speaker combo.

Garmin Venu 2 vs. Fitbit Sense: Which should you buy?

If you thought this decision would be easy, think again. Of course, if you already prefer one company over the other, your mind might be made up. Those who are still on the fence can narrow it down with a few key questions.

If you want stellar battery life, two size options, and plenty of health/fitness tracking features, you might prefer the Garmin Venu 2. As long as you're prepared to spend more money, it's a solid choice. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a mic/or speaker, so no on-wrist calls or voice assistants. It also lacks some of the more advanced health sensors that the Fitbit Sense offers.

Some people are going to balk at the Venu 2's asking price. The Fitbit Sense is still an investment, but you're getting more for your money while spending less. It has ECG/EDA sensors, a mic/speaker for calls and voice assistants, Active Zone Minutes, activity/sleep tracking, and much more.

Sure, you'll make some comprises as far as battery life and design options go, but those minor details might pale compared to all the extra features you get. Both watches are great, but most users looking for a highly advanced smartwatch will be better off with the Fitbit Sense.

Courtney Lynch

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.