Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 vs. Garmin Venu: 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

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is a fitness-friendly watch that keeps you connected with optional LTE. You'll also have onboard GPS, heart-rate monitoring, an electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor, Samsung Pay, and music storage.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Fitness-friendly watch

Optional LTE connectivity
Comes in two sizes
Digital rotating bezel
Onboard GPS
Samsung Pay
Only two days of battery
More expensive with LTE

Garmin Venu

Garmin Venu

The Garmin Venu is giving other lifestyle wearables a run for their money. It's overflowing with key features, including onboard GPS, heart-rate monitoring, 20+ sports apps, on-screen workouts, Garmin Pay, and music storage.

Garmin Venu

Lifestyle wearable

Stunning display & design
Five-day battery life
Pulse Ox sensor
Onboard GPS
Garmin Pay
More expensive
Lacks LTE

When you start shopping around for a smartwatch, your decision will be based on numerous factors. There are many similarities between the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 and the Garmin Venu, but the small differences are where it counts. If you're buying a wearable to stay connected and help you track your health and fitness, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is the better pick. If you want a lifestyle smartwatch that's full of features, you might prefer the Garmin Venu.

Connectivity and fitness

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

There's no doubt about it — the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 was designed with fitness fans in mind. The addition of optional LTE connectivity also makes it enticing to those who want a wearable that keeps them connected at all times. It's lightweight, which makes it ideal for those who don't want to be weighed down during intense workouts.

It comes in two sizes — 40mm and 44mm — and you can choose from different color options like silver, black, and pink gold. It comes with a 20mm quick release band, which can always be changed. It also has a unique digital rotating bezel without the bulky hardware, which makes it easy to navigate.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Galaxy Watch Active 2Garmin Venu
Display1.4" AMOLED1.2" AMOLED
Dimensions44 x 44 x 10.9mm, 30g43.2 x 43.2 x 12.4 mm, 46.3g
SensorsHRM, electrocardiogram (ECG), accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, ambient light sensorGarmin Elevate™ wrist heart rate monitor, altimeter, compass, gyroscope, Pulse Ox, accelerometer, thermometer
ConnectivityOptional LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi b/g/nBluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi®
Battery life2 daysSmartwatch mode: 5 daysGPS with music: 6 hours
Water resistanceUp to 50 metersUp to 50 meters
Music storage✔️✔️
Mobile payments✔️✔️
LTE capability✔️

The fitness tracking suite, however, is where the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 hits a home run. One of the features that always comes in handy is automatic workout recognition. If you forget to manually start a workout such as walking, running, or cycling, it will do it for you through the automatic detection.

The Galaxy Watch Active 2's biggest perk is the optional LTE connectivity.

Other than it, it's capable of tracking 39 workouts. You'll be able to monitor your sleep patterns as well. The new-and-improved Running Coach feature gives you real-time pace metrics, so you receive a breakdown of what to expect from your workout before you get started. It also has an electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor, which can detect an irregular heartbeat. This may be a sign of atrial fibrillation and could lead to more serious health problems.

You won't be lacking in smart features, either. The Galaxy Watch Active 2's biggest perk is the optional LTE connectivity, although it costs extra. Aside from that, you'll also have music storage, mobile payments with Samsung Pay, and smartphone notifications and Android replies. You can expect the battery to last for around two days depending on usage. It's also rated for 5 ATM water resistance and can track your swims.

Feature-packed fashion

Garmin Venu

Source: Garmin (Image credit: Source: Garmin)

While the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 can be stylish if you want it to be, that's not what it sets out to do. The Garmin Venu, on the other hand, is flashy and attractive right out of the box. It has a beautiful AMOLED display with a touchscreen. It comes in a 43mm stainless steel case that's available in slate gray, rose gold, silver, and gold. The Venu is compatible with 20 mm quick release bands, so it's easy to change things up based on your mood or the occasion. All of this beauty and it's still waterproof up to 50 meters, which is impressive.

This smartwatch isn't all talk and no walk. It has all the features that may just make it the perfect wearable for your active lifestyle.

The battery also lasts for five days in smartwatch mode and six hours in GPS with music mode turned on. That means it's great for long hikes and other longer trips.

Fortunately, this smartwatch isn't all talk and no walk. It has all the features that may just make it the perfect wearable for your active lifestyle. In addition to 20+ preloaded sports apps, basic activity tracking, heart-rate monitoring, and sleep tracking, you'll also have a Pulse Ox sensor that tells you how well your body is absorbing oxygen and Body Battery energy monitoring that tracks your energy levels during the day so you can find ideal times for activity and rest. The watch supports on-screen workouts that are easy to follow. Workouts for cardio, strength, yoga, and Pilates are preloaded with more available to download.

There are plenty of smart features on the Venu as well. You can store up to 500 songs, which is great when you want to exercise without carrying your phone around on your person. When you want to make payments from your wrist without your phone, you'll love having Garmin Pay on your watch. You'll also have smartphone notifications that you can reply to from your wrist if you have an Android phone. However, it doesn't have optional LTE, so you still have to have your phone on you if you want to receive notifications or make calls.

Bottom line

If it's a fitness-focused smartwatch you want, then you'll be in good hands with the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2. It's also the superior choice if you want a watch with LTE connectivity. It comes in two sizes and is more lightweight, which is ideal for fitness enthusiasts. You can't go wrong with this smartwatch if you're looking for a well-rounded tracking experience along with ample smart features.

The Garmin Venu delivers on many of these points as well. It may not have LTE connectivity or an ECG sensor, but it does offer longer battery life and decent health/fitness tracking features. With that said, it's more of a lifestyle wearable than a fitness watch. If that's what you're seeking, then the Garmin Venu might be for you.

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.