What you need to know
- The December Garmin software update for Venu 3, Vivoactive 5, Forerunner, and high-end Fenix and Epix watches rolled out on December 6.
- The main highlight is the activated skin temperature sensor for nighttime readings.
- Other updates include a new Workouts app, nap tracking, Red Shift mode, glucose readings, and a ton of new team sports modes.
We've known for months that Garmin's new Elevate v5 heart rate sensor had the dormant capacity for both ECG and skin temperature readings. The Venu 3 added ECG in October, and now the skin temperature sensor update has arrived only three months after its launch, thanks to the Garmin December software update.
Only owners of the Venu 3, Fenix 7 Pro, Epix Pro Gen 2, and Tactix 7 AMOLED will receive this new skin temperature feature, though it's fair to hope that more affordable Garmin watches will get the Elevate v5 HRM throughout 2024.
We haven't had a chance to test the sleep-tracking tool for ourselves, but Gadgets & Wearables reports that the Venu 3 will measure your skin temperature for three days before you get initial "Avg Skin Temp Change" data in your Sleep summary. It'll then take 20 days before Garmin establishes your body's personal baseline, so you'll need to be patient.
Although Garmin says that its skin temperature data will show changes "related to your recent activity, sleep environment, potential illness, and more," it'll be on you to interpret that data for yourself.
The Garmin December software update, announced on Wednesday, includes the Forerunner updates that rolled out in late November: nap tracking, Body Battery enhancements, Up Ahead voice prompts, and some of the smart UI changes introduced with the Venu 3 — though not its Sleep Coach.
The Fenix 7, Epix Gen 2, MARQ Gen 2, Quatix 7, Enduro 2, and Tactix 7 watches will receive these same updates, along with one unique perk: Moon phases. Garmin didn't explain this one, so we won't ask why.
All of these watches, along with the latest Venu, Vivoactive, and Forerunner watches, can now sync with Dexcom glucose monitoring tools to show glucose levels and trends on the watch itself. Like the Venu 3's wheelchair mode, it's another way that Garmin is catering to the needs of specific users, and we're here for it.
Two of these Forerunner updates — a Red Shift mode for better visibility at night and the option to save multiple weather locations — make their way to the Venu 3 as well.
Also like the latest Forerunners, the Venu 3 (and Vivoactive 5) receive a bunch of new sports profiles for team and racket sports: Basketball, Volleyball, Field Hockey, Ice Hockey, Football/Soccer, American Football, Lacrosse, Rugby, Ultimate Disc, Cricket, Softball, Baseball, Boxing, Tennis, Pickleball, and Padel. These fit well with the Venu's vibe as a more "mainstream" watch.
Venu 3 owners will also get wrist-based running dynamics and running power. It'll analyze your running form with summaries on your cadence, vertical oscillation, ground contact time, stride length, and vertical ratio. It'll also tell you how much power you generate with every stride.
Even though the Venu 3 isn't a dedicated "running watch" like the Forerunner 265, it's nice to see more running metrics make their way over to it. Perhaps other tools like Performance Condition or training load will make the jump next.
Lastly, Venu 3 and Vivoactive 5 owners who like its thousands of animated exercises will appreciate the new Workouts app. It essentially collects all of your custom or downloaded workouts in one place, letting you see scheduled workouts, check past workout results, and decide which one you want to complete next.
The Venu 3 already topped our list of the best fitness watches available, and today's Garmin software update only helps improve the experience.
The Garmin Venu 3 is all about balance, giving you most of the Garmin training tools you love, as well as mainstream tools like a mic/speaker, music storage, ECG, and (now) skin temperature readings. With its two-week battery life and beautifully thin-bordered AMOLED display, the Venu 3 is definitely one of our favorites.
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Michael is Android Central's resident expert on fitness tech and wearables, with an enthusiast's love of VR tech on the side. After years freelancing for Techradar, Wareable, Windows Central, Digital Trends, and other sites on a variety of tech topics, AC has given him the chance to really dive into the topics he's passionate about. He's also a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves D&D, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings.
For wearables, Michael has tested dozens of smartwatches from Garmin, Fitbit, Samsung, Apple, COROS, Polar, Amazfit, and other brands, and will always focus on recommending the best product over the best brand. He's also completed marathons like NYC, SF, Marine Corps, Big Sur, and California International — though he's still trying to break that 4-hour barrier.