Garmin recently launched its Venu Sq and the Venu Sq Music smartwatches in the country. These are, as their names suggest, squircle-shaped, slightly stripped-down versions of Venu, the company’s more premium offering. And for a relatively lower price tag, they offer a lot you come to expect out of a sports and fitness-centric watch. Some key highlights include GPS, 20+ sports modes, 5 ATM water resistance, and a truckload of trackers for keeping tabs on everything from heart-rate to sleep, energy, stress, and other health parameters.
The only difference between the regular Venu Sq and the Music edition (that we have reviewed here) is that the latter comes with onboard music storage. So, this review is applicable to both variants and going further, I will be referring to the watch with its core name only sans the surname.
The Garmin Venu Sq has been on my wrist for close to two weeks now and thanks to it, I have learned a lot about my health and more importantly how my lifestyle choices are impacting it. I get why it’s a strong contender for the best cross-platform smartwatch launched this year. It clearly has the features and frills to justify that tag. But, while being worthy for the wrist, is it worthy for your wallet? That begged some investigation on my part and the answer to which, you will find here. This is the Smartprix review of Garmin Venu Sq (Music Edition).
Let’s begin with a lowdown of the —
Garmin Venu SQ Specs and Price
|Reviewed Model||Garmin Venu Sq Music|
|Display||1.3″ 240 x 240 color pixels LCD, touchscreen, optional always-on mode, Gorilla Glass protection|
|Dimension and weight||40.6 x 37.0 x 11.5 mm; 37.6 g|
|Water Rating||5 ATM|
|Battery Life||Smartwatch mode: Up to 6 days|
GPS mode with music: Up to 6 hours
GPS mode without music: Up to 14 hours
Elevate heart rate sensor
Thermometer (with a separately sold accessory)
|Storage||Up to 500 songs (music edition only) and up to 200 hours of activity data|
|Colors||Light sand/rose gold, navy/light gold, moss/slate, and black/slate|
|Price||Rs. 26,290 (Music Edition) | Rs. 21,090 (regular version)|
And here’s what you get inside the box:
Garmin Venu SQ Unboxing
- The watch
- Charging/data cable
IK time is of the essence. So, here are the —
- Garmin Venu SQ Design and Display
- Garmin Venu SQ Software Experience
- Garmin Venu SQ Performance and Battery
Starting off with the touchscreen, the Garmin Venu Sq has got a squircle-shaped 1.3-inch color LCD panel with 240 x 240 pixels resolution. Albeit no AMOLED, the display is pretty pleasing with reasonable brightness and clarity. Garmin has offered Gorilla Glass 3 protection on top.
Note: Display looks better in person than in these compressed pictures.
You also get an optional always-on mode. Keeping the AOD drains the battery, which is something to keep in mind. You can turn the screen by raising the wrist or by using manual (2x) taps on the screen or the mechanical buttons on the right. Ensure the taps are precise, else you’d find the response inconsistent.
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Among the two buttons, a single press on the top one shows up activity profiles and a hard press opens up the Controls Menu. As for the bottom one, a single press is used for back/return navigation and a hard press for accessing the settings section.
Venu Sq is swim-proof as it is certified for 5ATM water resistance. The touch is fairly interactive even with water on top. It is maneuverable through a glove too, in case you live in a cold region.
The display comes engulfed in an aluminum bezel fitted on a 40mm polymer case that is 11.5mm wide and the whole thing weighs 37.6 grams.
Now coming to this squarish unisex design, I feel it’s tried and trite. The onlooker might mistake it for any other watch. But, that’s my POV. It could very well gel in with your looks and lifestyle. There is also the option to easily swap the straps using a quick-release mechanism.
Venu Sq boots Garmin OS, which is the brand’s spin on a smartwatch software. It is jam-packed with features accessible via gestures and taps:
- Swipe right from the left edge of the home screen for music controls.
- Swipe up/down on the homescreen for insights on My day, basic health stats (heart rate, body battery, stress level, calories, menstrual cycle tracking, breathing rate), activity history (in graphs), phone notifications, weather, etc.
At first, the interface and menus may feel clumsy and confusing because of the way they are crammed in. But, over time, you’ll learn your way around. And once you dig in, you’ll find a plethora of settings to tweak and tune.
The sensed and tracked info are automatically synced to the Garmin Connect app. It gobsmacks you with a horde of health data organized in the order of time and type. It sure would excite data-savvy folks and is IMO, the better half of the watch. The support for Strava, Apple Health, MyFitnessPal, etc means you can seamlessly migrate the data to other devices.
You can also create activities, custom calendars, set goals for yourself, and join any preset badge challenges. You can even take guided lessons from real-life coaches through the integrated Garmin Coach feature. There is obviously support for connecting with friends and fitness communities to gauge your performance against others. People can in real-time Livetrack and Grouptrack the position and progress of others. In case you befall to some accident, then the incident detection feature will even alert your pre-selected emergency contacts.
Among other things, there are also things like Garmin Pay, which some may find useful for contactless payments, depending on their place of residence. At the very least, you can have fun with 3rd party apps, games, and watch faces (downloadable from Garmin ConnectIQ store). Not all stuff there is compatible with the Venu Sq. And some competing platforms might have more to offer on the apps front. But, the ones that worked like Spotify, for instance, were good enough for me. Your experience may vary.
Speaking of Spotify, the setup and sync of songs are seamless. The option to save music tracks and playlists offline (up to 500 songs) is also cool.
Drilling down the deets, I found the tracking aspect of the watch fairly accurate with an acceptable margin of error.
I used it to gauge various medical metrics in real-time while working out, doing yoga at home, and stretching legs across a nearby ground. Based on the intensity of physical movement, it can auto-fire up the tracking. The navigation option shows the path you traveled which lets you trail back to the starting point. There are 20+ sports profiles including Golf (w/ autoshot detection). That should cover pretty much what a regular person would want. That said, if you are a climber or hiker, know that there is no altimeter and gyroscope here.
Venu Sq monitors the heart rate multiple times per second. You can set heart rate zones too. There is SpO2 telling you the oxygen levels in your blood. Besides these two, my favorite tidbits out of the Garmin analytics are Body Battery (energy indicator based on heart rate, exercise levels, and sleep quality) and Stress. There are guided breathing exercises to help you relieve the nerves too.
Moreover, you get to configure the experience by connecting to external sensors and adding workout gear you use.
Even stuff like the sedentary reminder is helpful, especially during the work from home hours, as it buzzes you out of the bed or bench.
And if you’re like me who loves a good night’s sleep more than anything, then you would like the underlying sleep monitor. The duration data on different sleep stages (deep, light, REM, and awake) helped me setting up the alarm and the surrounding environment for a better night.
Although you could pick the call from the watch, the lack of a mic and speaker means you have to rely on the phone itself. If you’re an Android phone user, you at least get to reject the call with a text response.
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In the day to day usage, the only area where I felt friction or lag is within the watch face drawer. Rest, everything was a smooth sail.
Moving on to battery life, the advertised mileage is up to 6 days. But that’s with things like AOD off, GPS off, Pulse Oximeter off, brightness low, and other conditions. Still and all, it is one of the better endurance claims. In my use, with pretty much the same parameters, but with max brightness, I could muster around 5 days worth of juice. The watch notifies you with a “This setting will reduce battery life” warning when you enable these aforementioned settings.
The watch is quick to chargeback with the help of the supplied proprietary cable. Ha, that’s one more thing to carry around if you go on a long trip or something.
And finally, it’s time for the showdown.
Garmin Venu SQ Review Verdict
It’s the tiny details and finesse that make Garmin Venu Sq stand out. It has got a myriad of sensors and smarts to guide you, motivate you to move your muscles, and shape both your body and mind. Thanks to a light, modest form factor as well as long battery life, it is easily an all-day every-day wearable.
Now, it’s true that Garmin has prioritized function over fashion and has some features missing (perhaps to hit the price point). Say, an AMOLED display (which would’ve benefited in better blacks, color contrast, and battery life), the lack of a mic and a speaker (for attending calls), the absent sensors like altimeter and gyroscope (for tracking elevation and angular velocity), or even the 3rd party app support (that can’t match what some of its competitors boast).
But, if you care more about tracking, then I’m fairly confident that it will fare as a confidante where it matters to you. You just gotta ask yourself how much do you want your watch to replace your phone? Also, if I were you, I would get the regular Venu Sq as it’ll cost less and I won’t be losing much. But that’s just me. You do you.
- Sufficiently long battery life
- A deluge of data on health and wellness
- Fairly accurate tracking for a smartwatch
- Compatible with 3rd party sensors
- Light and compact footprint
- No Altimeter, Gyroscope
- No mic and speaker
- Not AMOLED display
- Limited 3rd party app support
Garmin Venu SQ FAQ
Q. How to pair Venu Sq to the phone?
A. You have to, first of all, install the Garmin Connect app from Google/Apple app store ’cause the pairing process takes place through this app. Rest, the app shall guide you to get the job done.
Q. Can you reply to text SMS messages on Venu Sq?
A. Yes, you can reply by choosing the preset messages. This feature is, however, available only on Android.
Q. Does Venu Sq have GPS?
A. Yes, Venu Sq and Venu Sq Music Edition support GPS.
Q. Does Venu Sq have Map?
A. No, Venu Sq doesn’t feature routable/visual/ maps.
Q. Does Venu Sq have golf?
A. Yes, Venu Sq and Venu Sq Music Edition support golf tracking. You just need to download the Garmin Golf app.
Q. Does Venu Sq work with iPhone?
A. Yes, Venu Sq does work with iPhone.
Q. Does Venu Sq track sleep?
A. Yes, Venu Sq does analyze sleep and present insights on various sleep stages too within the Garmin Connect apps.
Q. Does Venu Sq have an Always-on Display?
A. Yes, Venu Sq does have an Always-on display, although using it will hit your battery more.
Q. Does Venu Sq need a screen protector?
A. Yes, Venu Sq sports Gorilla Glass 3 shield on top of the display.
Q. Is Garmin Venu Sq waterproof?
A. Yes, Garmin Venu Sq features 5ATM water resistance up to 50 meters. It’s hence designed for swimming (but not open water swimming).
Q. Does Garmin Venu Sq have heart rate and SpO2 tracking?
A. Yes, Garmin Venu Sq comes with an Elevate heart rate tracker, Pulse Oximeter, and Thermometer (works with a separately sold accessory), among other things.
Q. Can you take calls on Garmin Venu Sq?
A. No, you cannot take calls as there is no mic or speaker on the Venu Sq. Lack of a cellular chip means, there is no option to make calls either.
If you’re on Android, there is at least an option to send text response/reject phone calls with a text.
Q. Can you replace the straps of Garmin Venu Sq?
A. Yes, you can quickly release the current strap of Venu Sq and switch it with any other compatible strap.
Q. Does Venu Sq support any desktop app/software?
A. Yes, Venu Sq supports Garmin Express, the company’s Windows/Mac app.
Q. Does Venu Sq support Multisport mode?
A. No, Venu Sq doesn’t facilitate multisport mode.
Q. Does Garmin Venu Sq feature VO2 max estimation?
A. Yes, Venu Sq does log the oxygen consumption (VO2 Max).
Q. Can you make contactless payments with Venu Sq?
A. Yes, you can use Garmin Pay (in selected countries and with selected banks) for contactless NFC payments. At the time of writing this article, India is not present in the list of supported countries.
Q. Does Venu Sq feature music storage?
A. Yes, the Venu Sq Music edition which we reviewed features offline music storage and playback. It supports streaming services like Spotify, Amazon Music, and Deezer.
Q. Can you download 3rd party apps on the Venu Sq?
A. Yes, Venu Sq does support 3rd party apps downloadable from the Garmin ConnectIQ app-store.
Q. Does Venu Sq feature a smart assistant?
A. No, there are no smart assistants like Google Assistant, Siri, or Alexa here.
Q. What are the external sensors that you can use with Venu Sq?
A. Venu Sq is compatible with 3rd party sensors like Foot Pod, Bike Speed or Cadence Sensor, Approach CT10 golf club sensors, Tempe temperature sensor, Varia smart bike lights, and rearview radar.
Q. How to reset the Venu Sq?
A. Ensure to sync and backup your data to the Connect app before proceeding. Press the bottom button on the watch and within the settings list, choose System > Reset. Now, you can pick either ‘Delete Data and Reset Settings’ or ‘Reset Default Settings’.