Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 vs. Garmin Venu: Which should you buy?

Galaxy Watch 3 on AC's Joe Maring
Galaxy Watch 3 on AC's Joe Maring (Image credit: Hayato Huseman / Android Central)

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

Galaxy Watch3 41mm Mystic Silver

Nowadays, smartwatches are more connected than ever. The new Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is a prime example of this. With optional LTE connectivity, smartphone notifications, mobile payments, and an array of detailed health/fitness features, you can't get more connected than this.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

Worthy fitness warrior

Optional LTE
Advanced health/fitness tracking
Military-grade durability
Two size options
Shorter battery life

Garmin Venu

Garmin Venu

The Garmin Venu may not offer LTE connectivity, but it covers just about everything else. It's a lifestyle wearable with tons of features for fitness fans, like onboard GPS, heart-rate monitoring, activity/sleep tracking, on-screen workouts, Body Battery energy monitoring, and more.

Garmin Venu

Proven lifestyle champ

Solid health/activity tracking
20+ preloaded sports apps
Pulse Ox sensor
Body Battery energy monitoring
No LTE connectivity
Only one size option

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 vs. Garmin Venu How do they compare?

When you compare the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 to many other options on the market, it usually has a pretty big leg up but on the competition, but the Garmin Venu is a close second. Both of these smartwatches come with impressive health and fitness tracking, including GPS, automatic workout detection, heart-rate monitoring, sleep tracking, blood oxygen monitoring, and more.

As far as the differences, they're few and far between. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 offers optional LTE connectivity, comes in two sizes, and is rated for military-grade durability. It also has an electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor that detects irregular heartbeats, but this feature isn't active just yet. You won't find any of these on the Garmin Venu, but if you're looking for the more affordable option, you might not have a problem missing out on these features.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 sets a high bar

Galaxy Watch 3

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

Previously, the Galaxy Watch was primarily a fancy timepiece that boasted some neat bonus features. It's the main reason why Samsung eventually launched the Galaxy Watch Active line, so it could better cater to fitness enthusiasts. However, the new Galaxy Watch 3 is changing the game. This new edition is a brilliant combination of health and fitness features mixed with an attractive design.

When it comes to the design, you'll see hints of the predecessor that have been further perfected. It's been slimmed down a bit, but not by much. You still get two size options; this time, it's between a 41mm and a 45mm model. While the smaller variant costs slightly less, it's still a lot for a starting price point.

The bigger you go, not to mention if you add LTE to the equation, the more expensive it will be. Speaking of the larger model, the 45mm variant comes in stainless steel or titanium. The 41mm model is only available in stainless steel. The three color options are Mystic Black, Mystic Silver, and Mystic Bronze.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Galaxy Watch 3Garmin Venu
Display1.2" AMOLED1.2" AMOLED
Dimensions41 x 42.5 x 11.3mm43.2 x 43.2 x 12.4mm
SensorsHRM, accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, ambient light sensor, electrocardiogramHRM, accelerometer, gyroscope, barometric altimeter, ambient light sensor
ConnectivityOptional LTE, Bluetooth 5.0 Wi-Fi b/g/nBluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi
Battery life2 to 3 days, varies by model5 days
Water resistance5ATM+ IP685ATM
ColorsStainless steel: Mystic Black, Mystic Silver, Mystic BronzeTitanium: Mystic BlackSlate, Rose Gold, Silver, Gold
Optional LTE✔️
Military-grade durability✔️
Fall/Incident detection✔️✔️
Mobile payments✔️✔️

Most people will be interested in the Galaxy Watch 3's health and fitness improvements. The wearable now offers advanced running analysis and improved sleep tracking. The latest software update provides support for VO2 max, which measures your maximum oxygen uptake during a workout. The Galaxy Watch 3 can also measure the amount of oxygen in your blood. As we mentioned earlier, we're still waiting on the electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor to be activated in the United States, which should happen later this year.

If this is your first time purchasing a Samsung smartwatch, you'll be pleasantly surprised with Tizen OS 5.5, which has some notable upgrades. Most users can agree this operating system is relatively intuitive, so don't shy away from the watch if you're new to the platform.

The Galaxy Watch 3 comes with new built-in run coaching and recovery tools.

This updated version of Tizen OS claims to be better at automatically detecting and tracking workouts. The Galaxy Watch 3 comes with new built-in run coaching and recovery tools. Users will have access to tons of home workout videos on the Samsung Health app that you can cast to your television. Once you've started exercising, you can view your stats in real-time.

Another new feature is fall detection, which recognizes when a user falls if they're engaged in dynamic motion. It's worth noting that your watch needs a network connection to notify your emergency contact of the incident and to share your exact location. If you often find yourself exercising alone and want peace of mind, this feature might appeal to you.

The Garmin Venu brings the competition

Garmin Venu

Source: Garmin (Image credit: Source: Garmin)

There are many reasons why the Garmin Venu is easily one of the best smartwatches from the company to-date. For starters, it's one of the first to offer an AMOLED display. This may not seem like a huge deal, but it does make for a better viewing experience and gives it a much classier feel than the standard transflective display of other Garmin watches. Even with a display that eats up more battery life, the Venu can still last for up to 5 days, which is about twice as much as the Galaxy Watch 3.

Many similarities between the two are worth noting, including built-in GPS, 5 ATM water resistance, music storage, smartphone notifications, and mobile payments. You'll love having different options for how you want to exercise with your watch. The Garmin Venu has over 20 preloaded sports apps as well as preset workouts from Garmin Connect, training plans from Garmin Coach, or you can create your own customizable workouts.

The Garmin Venu has over 20 preloaded sports apps as well as preset workouts from Garmin Connect.

The Garmin Venu also has a Pulse Ox sensor for monitoring blood oxygen saturation levels. You also get respiration tracking, which tracks the number of breaths you take per minute. These two features work together to provide more insightful sleep data.

Another feature you'll find helpful that's unique to the Garmin Venu is Body Battery Energy monitoring, which tracks your energy levels during the day by collecting data from sleep, stress, activity, and heart rate variability (HRV). You'll have a better idea of when to schedule activity and rest time based on your energy levels.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 vs. Garmin Venu Which should you buy?

If you want a premium smartwatch with all of the latest features, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is the better choice here. It has an edge over the Garmin Venu, but not by as much as you might think. With that in mind, if you don't mind the higher price point and you're attracted to the extra features it brings, the Galaxy Watch 3 may sway you. In addition to the recent health/fitness updates, you'll also have optional LTE connectivity, military-grade durability, and blood oxygen monitoring.

These extras aren't exactly groundbreaking, so unless you need for any of them that warrants paying significantly more, you may want to consider the Garmin Venu instead. It has similar health fitness tracking as well as GPS, heart-rate monitoring, music storage, mobile payments, and incident detection. It even offers a bit more battery life than the Galaxy Watch 3. If you won't experience FOMO over the few features that it lacks, the Garmin Venu is a superb choice.

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.