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Garmin Venu 2 vs. Venu 2 Plus

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus Quick Settings menu
The Garmin Venu 2 Plus Quick Settings menu (Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

Garmin Venu 2 Plus

Garmin Venu 2 Plus Render

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If you want to be able to answer calls or ask your favorite voice assistant a question without pulling out your phone, the new Venu 2 Plus justifies the slightly higher cost. Otherwise, it has the same software and sensors as the other Venu 2 watches, but only ships in one 43mm configuration.

Garmin Venu 2 Plus

Fully-unlocked cellular potential

Supports Google Assistant, Siri, and Bixby commands
Can take phone calls on watch
Has a third button for two shortcuts
Best battery life in GPS mode
Slightly shorter daily battery life
More expensive

Garmin Venu 2 and 2S

Garmin Venu 2 Render

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Considering the Venu 2 watches' high cost of entry, you can forego cellular options and receive the same display (plus even better longevity) for a lower price. The Venu 2 offers a similar design, while the 2S gives you a smaller configuration that some will prefer.

Garmin Venu 2 and 2S

Cutting costs, adding sizes, and colors

Lower price, often on sale
2S offers lighter, more colorful design
2 extra days of daily battery life
No mic for calls or voice assistant
Only two nav buttons
Fewer GPS-tracking hours

If you're weighing which Venu 2 lineup to buy, rest assured that they share more similarities than differences. Each model has a pixel-rich AMOLED display, a plastic case with a steel bezel, water resistance, the same sensors, and other similar features. Of course, you're paying a substantial bill no matter which you choose, but is the new Venu 2 Plus worth spending a bit more? It depends on whether you want a lifestyle watch or a phone-independent one.

Garmin Venu 2 vs. Venu 2 Plus: A few key differences

The listening Assistant icon on the Garmin Venu 2 Plus

Source: Michael Hicks / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

The newer Garmin Venu 2 Plus makes three specific upgrades on the Garmin Venu 2 and 2S: it adds a microphone, speaker, and a third navigation button on the side of the watch.

Courtesy of the mic and speaker, the Venu 2 Plus can take phone calls relayed through your nearby smartphone. Or, you can summon your favorite voice assistant to ask questions or start a workout.

These additions give your watch more utility and slightly dip the overall battery life. For example, the Venu 2 lasts 11 days in smartwatch mode or 8 hours of GPS time, while the Venu 2 Plus lasts just nine days — but also survives 24 hours of GPS tracking, several hours longer than the other Venu 2 watches.

Garmin Venu 2

Source: Garmin (Image credit: Source: Garmin)

All three watches have touchscreen navigation, but the Venu 2 and Venu 2S have just two buttons, while the Venu 2 Plus added a third. Each can start a workout or go back to the previous screen with a quick press, but only the Plus gives you two shortcuts with a short or long-press of the middle button. You can configure them to summon Garmin Pay, your voice assistant, a smartwatch, or whatever other functionality you need to access frequently and quickly.

Otherwise, you essentially get the same specs across the board. The 2 and 2 Plus are fairly heavy compared to most fitness trackers, while the Garmin Venu 2S offers a lighter experience if you can stomach the smaller display. You can rest assured that you'll get identical software, metrics, sports modes, and longer battery life than any other lifestyle watch.

Garmin Venu 2Garmin Venu 2SGarmin Venu 2 Plus
Operating systemGarmin OS
works with Android and iOS
Garmin OS
works with Android and iOS
Garmin OS
works with Android and iOS
Display1.3-inch / 33mm
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Color AMOLED touchscreen
1.1-inch / 29mm
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Color AMOLED touchscreen
1.3-inch / 33mm
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Color AMOLED touchscreen
Resolution416x416360x360416x416
Case & bezelFiber-reinforced polymer (plastic)
Stainless steel
Fiber-reinforced polymer (plastic)
Stainless steel
Fiber-reinforced polymer (plastic)
Stainless steel
Bands22mm18mm20mm
SensorsGPS/GLONASS/GALILEO
HRM
barometric altimeter
compass
gyroscope
accelerometer
thermometer
amient light sensor
SpO2
GPS/GLONASS/GALILEO
HRM
barometric altimeter
compass
gyroscope
accelerometer
thermometer
amient light sensor
SpO2
GPS/GLONASS/GALILEO
HRM
barometric altimeter
compass
gyroscope
accelerometer
thermometer
amient light sensor
SpO2
Music storageup to 650 songs
works with Spotify, Deezer, Amazon Music
up to 650 songs
works with Spotify, Deezer, Amazon Music
up to 650 songs
works with Spotify, Deezer, Amazon Music
NFC paymentsGarmin PayGarmin PayGarmin Pay
Phone calls🚫🚫✔️
Voice assistants🚫🚫Bixby, Google Assistant, Siri
LTE🚫🚫🚫
ConnectivityBluetooth, ANT+, Wi-FiBluetooth, ANT+, Wi-FiBluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi
Battery11 days (12 w/ battery saver)
8 hours GPS mode w/ music
22 hours GPS mode w/out music
proprietary charger
10 days (11 w/ battery saver)
7 hours GPS mode w/ music
19 hours GPS mode w/out music
proprietary charger
9 days (10 w/ battery saver)
8 hours GPS mode w/ music
24 hours GPS mode w/out music
proprietary charger
Wireless charging🚫🚫🚫
Water-resistance5 ATM5 ATM5 ATM
Dimensions45.4 x 45.4 x 12.2mm40.4 x 40.4 x 12.1mm43.6 x 43.6 x 12.6mm
Weight49g38g51g
ColorsSlate, SilverSlate, Silver, Light Gold, Rose GoldSlate, Silver, Light Gold

The Garmin Venu 2 and 2S offer a fair compromise

Garmin Venu 2 Hero

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

When we first reviewed the Garmin Venu 2, we praised it as a fantastic device that costs too much for what it offers; if it could cost $100 less, it would probably number among the best Android smartwatches by far. But in the ensuing months, we've frequently seen it cost much less than its $400 list price.

With the new Venu 2 Plus likely to cost the full $450 for some time, if you can spot a sale on the Venu 2 or 2S, you may want to grab it on sale instead. The Venu 2 has built-in GPS and music storage, so you can easily work out without a smartphone. If you like leaving your phone behind for workouts, you might not need the Plus's cellular upgrades.

Also, for anyone with slimmer wrists, you may prefer the Venu 2S for its lighter weight and smaller display size. Plus, it has an exclusive, stylish Rose Gold variation you may love.

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus justifies the extra cost

If you can afford the extra cost, the Venu 2 Plus is the future-proofed option we'd recommend. Assuming you'll be getting in some constant workouts, it lasts hours longer than the others for actual workout-tracking, which may aid the reduced battery life from the mic and speakers.

Its smart assistant connectivity helps make the Venu 2 Plus a proper "lifestyle" watch and a fitness one. And we love the third button for accessing your favorite tools like NFC payments without having to scroll through menus. If you're planning to spend a hefty amount on a smartwatch, go Plus-sized; it's one of the best fitness smartwatches we've tested.

Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.