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Garmin Venu Sq vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 (Image credit: Android Central)

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

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If you want plenty of extra features and the most bang for your buck, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is an excellent choice. Some of the noteworthy features include GPS, heart-rate monitoring, optional LTE connectivity, blood pressure monitoring, electrocardiogram (ECG), Running Analysis, and improved sensors.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

More bang for your buck

GPS, HRM, NFC
Optional LTE connectivity
ECG, Spo2, VO2 Max
Running Analysis
Two size and finish options
Shorter battery life
More expensive with LTE

Garmin Venu Sq

Venu Sq

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The Garmin Venu Sq will cover all of your fitness tracking needs. At this price point, you'll enjoy key features that give you a detailed overview of your health and fitness while helping you set and achieve new goals. Whether you're on a budget or you're buying a fitness watch for the first time, you can't go wrong with this one.

Garmin Venu Sq

Affordable fitness watch

GPS, HRM, NFC
Lightweight design
Six days of battery life
Activity/health tracking
Blood oxygen monitoring
Lacks optional LTE, ECG sensor
Lightweight design can feel cheap

Garmin Venu Sq vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

There are many different types of smartwatches to choose from these days, like the Garmin Venu Sq and the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2. Both companies have a track record for releasing high-quality wearables that offer plenty of useful features. Your ultimate decision will depend on how you plan to use your device.

When it comes to these two, the Garmin Venu Sq is designed for detailed fitness tracking. You'll also enjoy long battery life and a compact, lightweight design. If you want to do more with your device, you'll be better off with the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2. You'll have optional LTE connectivity, an electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor, blood pressure monitoring, Running Analysis, and more.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is packed with premium perks

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

It's safe to say that the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is one of the most feature-packed wearables from the company. It's easily one of the best Samsung smartwatches you can buy, especially if you want a device that comes fitness tracking and smart features. All of the health/activity perks you could possibly want are present. This includes GPS, automatic workout recognition, heart-rate monitoring, and 5 ATM water resistance.

While it's definitely a watch for active folks, you might not guess that from the classy design. You can choose between two sizes: 40mm or 44mm. You can also decide whether you want a standard aluminum case or a more expensive stainless steel case. The aluminum case comes in Black, Gold, Silver, and Pink Gold. The stainless steel model comes in Black, Gold, and Silver.

Garmin Venu SqSamsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
Display1.3-inch LCD1.2-inch or 1.4-inch Super AMOLED
Dimensions40.6 x 37.0 x 11.5 mm40 x 40 x 10.9mm
44 x 44 x 10.9mm
Weight37.6 g26 - 30 g
ConnectivityBluetooth, ANT+Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, LTE (select models)
Water resistance5ATM5ATM+ IP68 / MIL-STD-810G
Battery life6 days2 days (varies by model)
SensorsGarmin Elevate wrist heart rate monitor, compass, gyroscope, Pulse Ox, accelerometer, thermometer, ambient light sensorHeart rate monitor, electrocardiogram (ECG), accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, ambient light sensor, blood pressure monitor
ColorsSlate, Light Gold, Rose GoldAluminum: Black, Gold, Silver, Pink Gold
Stainless steel: Black, Gold, Silver
Optional LTE✔️
Notifications✔️✔️
Built-in GPS✔️✔️
NFC Payments✔️✔️
Electrocadiogram✔️
Blood oxygen✔️✔️

No matter what your preferences are, both models are compatible with a quick-release attachment system. This means there are tons of Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 bands to pick from when you want to change your style. You'll also appreciate the colorful AMOLED display. Depending on how you use your watch, the battery should last for about two days.

Compared to the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active, this model is quite the upgrade. The main improvements include better GPS accuracy, an advanced accelerometer, and a more accurate LED-based heart rate monitor. If you were ever worried about accuracy, you can feel confident that the Galaxy Watch Active 2 will deliver unmatched precision.

Some of the key features on the Galaxy Watch 3 are now available on the Watch Active 2.

It's also worth mentioning that the company's latest update has resulted in further improvements. Some of the key features on the Galaxy Watch 3 are now available on the Watch Active 2. For starters, the Running Analysis feature will help you prevent injuries, improve your form, and work toward becoming a better runner. You can also receive VO2 max readings, which indicate the maximum amount of oxygen you can utilize during intense workouts.

A slightly less exciting addition is the fall detection feature, but it's a helpful addition nonetheless. If a potential fall is detected, your watch can send an SOS notification to your pre-designated contacts. Another improvement is the fluidity of on-wrist communication. You can now view photos and emoticons from the watch without taking your phone out of your pocket. This experience will be even better if you have LTE connectivity on your Galaxy Watch Active 2.

The Garmin Venu Sq tracks all of the important details

Garmin Venu Sq

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

The Garmin Venu Sq is one of the newest releases from the company and it's a bit different than its other wearables. In this case, different is good. If you've always thought about buying a Garmin smartwatch but you've been intimidated by the expensive price tags of some of the more premium options, the Garmin Venu Sq is the perfect halfway point. You still get a ton of fitness tracking perks without having to spend a fortune.

One place where you'll compromise is the design. It's lightweight, which is ideal for active individuals. However, it's not as premium or fancy as the Galaxy Watch Active 2. The LCD touchscreen is crisp and easy to read in direct sunlight. The plastic case only comes in one size: 40mm. There's an aluminum bezel around the curved glass display. The color options vary depending on the model you pick. The Garmin Venu Sq Music comes in Slate, Light Gold, and Rose Gold. The standard edition comes in Slate, Light Gold, and Metallic Orchid. Both models are compatible with 20mm quick release bands.

The Garmin Venu Sq has all of the fitness tracking bases covered.

As you'd expect, the Garmin Venu Sq has all of the fitness tracking bases covered. You'll have GPS, heart-rate monitoring, activity/sleep tracking, stress monitoring, and 5 ATM water resistance. It comes with more than 20 preloaded sports apps and there are also preset workouts available from Garmin Connect, and training plans from Garmin Coach. If you're feeling creative, you can create your own workouts in the app and download them to your watch for easy access.

The Pulse Ox sensor can monitor your blood oxygen saturation levels. You'll also have respiration tracking, which monitors the number of breaths you take per minute. These two features combined will provide you with more detailed sleep data. Another unique feature is the Body Battery, which monitors your energy levels throughout the day. This gives you a clear idea of when you should be active and when you should rest.

Garmin Venu Sq vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 Which should you buy?

Galaxy Watch Active 2

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Garmin and Samsung are two of the biggest names in the wearable market. The Venu Sq and the Galaxy Watch Active 2 are both great options, but they're geared toward different users. You'll find that they both deliver robust health/activity tracking suites that are nothing short of impressive. They both offer GPS, heart-rate monitoring, blood oxygen monitoring, stress tracking, and 5 ATM water resistance. The differences are likely what will help you reach a final decision.

The Garmin Venu Sq is magnificent at what it was made to do: track your health and fitness. You'll also receive smartphone notifications, enjoy nearly a week of battery life, and have mobile payments with Garmin pay. You can pay a bit more for a music version of this watch if that's a must-have feature for you. There's no LTE connectivity, you won't have a mic/speaker or voice assistant, and there's no ECG or blood pressure monitoring. If you can live without these, the Garmin Venu Sq is a great fitness watch at a fair price.

If all of these extras are starting to sound real nice, you may want to splurge on the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2. It's also available in two sizes and offers a much more attractive design. If you opt for LTE connectivity, the price will go up a bit. You can also expect a shorter battery life, but these are small setbacks for a connected fitness smartwatch that's full of premium features.

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.