Garmin Venu Sq 2 review: An affordable smartwatch with premium features

Health Editor Grace Walsh reviews the new Garmin Venu Sq 2 smartwatch and fitness tracker

Three models of the Garmin Venu Sq 2 fitness tracker
(Image credit: Garmin)
Reasons to buy
  • +

    Accurate GPS tracking

  • +

    Long battery life

  • +

    Automatically monitors repetitions in strength training

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Uncomfortable to wear at first

Why you can trust Woman & Home Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

If you're a runner, you may have already heard of the Garmin Venu Sq 2. As one of the newer releases from the premium brand, this watch promises to provide an overview of our general health - including sleep and stress scores - as well as detailed insights into our fitness habits. 

I tested the Garmin Venu Sq 2 for two weeks, taking it with me on runs, to the gym, and out on long walks. I also wore it throughout the day and overnight to explore the extensive range of sleep and stress score tracking. Despite this, after the fortnight was up, I still don't think I managed to discover everything this smartwatch and tracker had to offer. 

With new year's fitness resolutions right around the corner, you may be one of the thousands who'll invest in one of the best fitness trackers over the next year. While the best Fitbits are a beginner's favorite and ideal for those looking at a lower price point, Garmin's new model should be on your wish list if you want detailed health insights, with an easy-to-navigate display, and aesthetic design. 

Garmin Venu Sq 2 overview 

  • Size: 40.6 x 37.0 x 11.1 mm
  • Battery life: Up to 11 days
  • Water resistance: 5 ATM (up to 50 meters)
  • Colors available: 6 in total, including black, cream, and sage green
  • App: Garmin Connect
  • RRP: $249 / £229

Who does the Garmin Venu Sq 2 suit?

The Garmin Venu Sq 2 is advertised as a beginner's fitness smartwatch, with an emphasis on its suitability for running - as that's one of the focuses of the Garmin brand more generally. On this note, I'd say this is very accurate. While more advanced models will offer on-wrist maps and an electronic compass, this device offers everything you'd need to learn how to start running as a newcomer to the sport. 

It's also an excellent choice, in my opinion, for anyone who does any kind of exercise regularly and wants to make serious progress. There are timed workouts available on-wrist, amazing for those who've just started training and want a little extra support, and the Garmin Connect app offers detailed insights into your workout once it's over - including a breakdown of what muscles were targeted most during the session. You'll also find that the watch will automatically count your repetitions for you during a regular gym training session if you enable the strength training workout mode. It's a feature I didn't find to be hugely vital - especially as you have to tap the side button when you start a new set - but it would certainly be beneficial to track your repetition ranges over a few months. 

A layout of the Garmin Connect app showing muscles targeted during strength training workout and display on Garmin Venu Sq 2 watch

(Image credit: Grace Walsh/Future)

The device pairs easily to both Android and Apple smartphones and it offers the same features both on-wrist and in-app regardless of the brand of smartphone you have - something that many types of Fitbit don't have. Plus, for those who love the function of this watch but have concerns over the design, you can customize the watch in any way you like on the website before you buy by changing the color of the metallic casing and strap. 

However, with so much on offer, I'd recommend this tracker for tech-savvy beginners, those who may already have a working knowledge of the Garmin brand, or similar models from Samsung or Google. 

What is the Garmin Venu Sq 2 like to use?

Overall, the Garmin Venu Sq 2 is relatively easy to use - once you've got the hang of the device - and for general day-to-day living, the Garmin Venu Sq 2 it's truly a great companion. With just an upward or downward swipe of your finger on the screen, you'll find all the basic and advanced statistics at your fingertips. Swipe through the list and you'll find your calorie burn for the day so far, step count, sleep score, stress score, and body battery score. By choice, I also receive all the notifications I'd normally get on my phone on my wrist, including calendar, email, and social media alerts.

Starting a workout is also super simple, provided you've saved your favorite workouts to the shortcuts menu. A simple tap of the top button on the side of the watch will take you to your choice - running or cycling, for example - and from here, you can either select a guided workout to follow or just press 'go' by tapping the top button again. 

A display of the running mode on the Garmin Venu Sq 2

You can follow a workout (above left) on the device or a free run (right above), where you can record your distance, time, and pace.

(Image credit: Grace Walsh/Future)

When it comes to using the Garmin Connect app, it could be a sleeker process - but you'll certainly get what you came for in the end. As noted, this watch just has so many features, so navigating through them all takes time. On the app, I found that syncing between the watch and the app took a minute or two on the first go but then I had everything on the screen, and all of the sections that appear in basic detail on the watch were expandable in the app. 

For example, want to know whether it's a good idea to work out this evening? Check out your body battery, which is essentially an analysis of your energy reserves throughout the day. On the watch, you'll find your score within the list of statistics, and then you can delve deeper into the insights in the app and discover how and why exactly the combination of your stress, activity, and rest scores has given you this number and how to improve it in the coming days.

Battery and charging on the Garmin Venu Sq 2

The battery life on the Garmin Venu Sq 2 is unmatched. While many trackers, including the newest Fitbit models, tend to offer around the 6-day battery life mark, this watch boasts an impressive 11 days of life with one charge as standard. Having used the watch for two weeks straight, it's a claim that rings true. I only needed to charge the device once despite using it every day. 

Charging this Garmin is also a breeze. There's a USB cable in the box that attaches to any kind of mains charging head you might have, with the other end fitting smoothly into a slot on the underside of the watch. The only suggestion I'd have with this is placing your watch on a mat or smooth material as the device will be face-down on the surface while charging. However, as the watch is made from anodized aluminum with a fiber-reinforced polymer case, it's unlikely to scratch. 

Is the Garmin Venu Sq 2 worth buying?

Yes - absolutely. If you want incredibly detailed insights into your exercise sessions and fitness potential, habit-tracking features for making new goals, superior on-wrist GPS functionality, guided workouts and meditations, a waterproof watch that'll stand the test of a swimming session, as well as useful daily assistance like Smart notifications and a new payment option for in-store purchases when you're out and about, this could certainly be the fitness tracker for you. 

It comes in at a higher price point than others like the Huawei Watch Fit 2, which has a very similar design and relatively similar features, but it's well worth the cost in my opinion. While this might be a watch designed for entry-level runners and fitness enthusiasts, it's certainly capable of pro-level performance for those who are ready to use the Garmin Venu Sq 2 at its full potential. 

Grace Walsh
Health Editor

A digital health journalist with over five years experience writing and editing for UK publications, Grace has covered the world of health and wellbeing extensively for Cosmopolitan, The i Paper and more.

She started her career writing about the complexities of sex and relationships, before combining personal hobbies with professional and writing about fitness. Everything from the best protein powder to sleep technology, the latest health trend to nutrition essentials, Grace has a huge spectrum of interests in the wellness sphere. Having reported on the coronavirus pandemic since the very first swab, she now also counts public health among them.