The Venu 2S is ridiculously cheap for Black Friday; buy the Venu 3S instead

Dialing a phone number on the Garmin Venu 3
(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

During Black Friday, it's my job as Wearables Editor to save you money on products worth buying. And if you want a cheap, reliable Garmin watch, it's hard to naysay snagging the Venu 2S for $199 (50% off), the lowest price I ever remember seeing on that lineup. 

Just keep in mind that as a Garmin reviewer, I'd personally recommend the Venu 3 instead. As of Black Friday, it's $50 off, making it twice the price, but arguably worth the extra money. 

Starting with the Venu 2S first, you get a light 1.1-inch AMOLED watch with 10-day battery life, accurate health and GPS tracking, NFC payments, 8GB for music storage, thousands of animated on-screen exercises, and other Garmin software essentials. Our Venu 2 reviewer loved it, except for its painfully high price; this Black Friday deal solves that one problem. 

Garmin Venu 2S: $400 $199 at Amazon

Garmin Venu 2S: $400 $199 at Amazon

This fitness watch has all the essentials: heart rate and blood oxygen monitoring, stress tracking, an altimeter for elevation tracking, accelerometer and gyroscope for measuring exercise completion, and built-in GPS. You can follow custom HIIT workouts, with animated exercises guiding you on what form to use. And the AMOLED touch display gives you better visuals than your typical Garmin watch. 

Price comparison: Walmart - $249

You won't be unhappy if you buy the Garmin Venu 2S, in other words. But I do think, after reviewing the Venu 3, that I'd feel a ton of FOMO as a Venu 2 user once I knew what I'd lost by going last-gen. 

For starters, the Venu 3S is the same size but gives you a 1.2-inch AMOLED thanks to
a skinnier bezel, so the text doesn't feel as restricted. The extra space is useful, as the new watch has a large-font mode to make notifications more readable, plus a built-in keyboard for responding to texts with your phone in your pocket.

Next, you get a third button that enables shortcuts like pulling up music controls or your voice assistant instantly, while the Venu 2 makes you swipe to find everything. The Venu 3 UI also has improvements, such as being able to swipe left to find your recent apps and the ability to see photos in your notifications; the Venu 2 will remain stuck with a more basic UI. 

A Body Battery chart on the Garmin Venu 3, showing stress levels in the background contributing to higher battery drain.

(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

The Venu 3 has a built-in mic and speaker for Bluetooth calls and speaking to your phone's assistant, something the Venu 2 lacks. And while both watches have most of the same sensors and battery life, the Venu 3 adds all-systems GNSS for better accuracy, an ECG for AFib detection, and a dormant skin temperature sensor for better sleep tracking.

Sleep Coaching is the headliner feature for the Venu 3, judging your sleep quality and pushing you towards better habits. The revamped software also gives you enhanced Body Battery charts showing what specific activities tired or stressed you out and how much, while also recognizing midday naps for the first time. 

Lastly, the Venu 3 adds recovery recommendations based on how hard you worked out and a post-workout guide on what kind of impact it had on your VO2 Max or overall fitness. That kind of guidance is really useful in making sure you don't overtrain. 

Garmin Venu 3S: $450 $399 at Amazon

Garmin Venu 3S: $450 $399 at Amazon

There isn't a proper Black Friday deal on the Garmin Venu 3 series, so you're spending more than twice as much compared to the Venu 2S. Still, if you compare the Venu 3 vs. Venu 2, the newer watch has so many upgrades that it's hard to pass them up for the last-gen model. It's the best fitness watch Garmin makes, threading the needle between traditional watch smarts and fitness smarts. 

Price comparison: Best Buy - $399

I won't tell you to spend an extra $200 on a whim. But there's a reason the Venu 3 is our #1 pick for the best fitness smartwatch, while the Venu 2 was just a gorgeous smartwatch that stood out by virtue of its AMOLED display in a sea of low-res Garmin watches. The Venu 3 is expensive, but it earns its high price tag. 

If the Venu 3 costs too much for you, the Venu 2S isn't a bad alternative at all, simply because you'll rarely get into the Garmin ecosystem for so cheap. But for a future-proofed experience, go with the newer model. Otherwise, I've collected the other fantastic Garmin Black Friday deals for Forerunner, Instinct, Epix, Fenix, and other lineups that could tempt you instead. 

Michael L Hicks
Senior Editor, Wearables & AR/VR

Michael is Android Central's resident expert on wearables and fitness. Before joining Android Central, he freelanced for years at Techradar, Wareable, Windows Central, and Digital Trends. Channeling his love of running, he established himself as an expert on fitness watches, testing and reviewing models from Garmin, Fitbit, Samsung, Apple, COROS, Polar, Amazfit, Suunto, and more.