Garmin Venu 3 review: A tightrope walk between casual smarts and serious fitness

    Garmin’s Venu lineup is a paradox: it is a testing floor for its latest and most enjoyable options and upgrades, but additionally extra generic than its siblings in an try to enchantment to mainstream consumers. The Garmin Venu was its first AMOLED watch, the Venu Sq its first squircle design, and the Venu 2 Plus the primary so as to add a mic & speaker. The Garmin Venu 3 follows that experimental template to a T.The Venu 3 announcement intrigued us with new instruments like Sleep Coaching tech with nap detection, guided meditation, wheelchair mode, a wiser UI, and a revamped Elevate v5 sensor able to ECG readings and pores and skin temperature readings (although the latter remains to be dormant). It additionally snagged the mic and speaker from the Venu 2 Plus.At the identical time, the Venu 3 lags behind comparably-priced Garmin watches for particular coaching instruments whereas additionally falling behind your typical smartwatch for cellphone connectivity, mobile assist, or basic smarts. It’s a jack-of-all-trades however grasp of none. My Garmin Venu 3 evaluate will attempt to communicate to each potential audiences: Garmin followers contemplating the extra mainline Venu over its specialised siblings and mainstream smartwatch customers deciding whether or not to depart their Apple or Galaxy Watches behind to enhance their health.Garmin Venu 3 (Black) at Amazon for $426.18Garmin Venu 3: Price and availability(Image credit score: Garmin)The Garmin Venu 3 and Venu 3S launched in August 2023 for $450 / £450 / €499. Priced $50 greater than the Venu 2 collection, it matches the Venu 2 Plus, which first added a mic and speaker to the Venu lineup. That means it is best to solely take into account it a value enhance in the event you’re bored with Bluetooth calls and voice assistant instructions.You’ll primarily discover the Venu 3 on mainstream tech websites like Amazon, Best Buy, and Target, in addition to fanatic websites like REI and Crutchfield. Although new Garmin watches hardly ever go on sale for the primary 12 months or so, we have already seen the Venu 3 dip about $25 off, so maintain an eye fixed out for offers in the event you’re unwilling to pay full value. Garmin Venu 3: Design and bands(Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)Garmin hardly ever rocks the boat with its watch designs. The Venu 3 seems similar to your typical Forerunner, solely about 1mm thinner and tapering down in direction of the sensor array extra shortly. In different phrases, it is much less cumbersome and barely extra svelte than your typical Garmin watch, making it extra snug for sleep monitoring.Its three buttons, two lower than the Garmin normal, commerce their normal thick, plastic model for narrower steel buttons that look improbable however lose usability. You must be extra deliberate in urgent them. The prime and backside buttons carry out their normal Garmin OS features, like beginning a exercise or backing out of menus, whereas the center button has two customizable shortcuts for pulling up the assistant, music controls, or different instruments.Generally talking, the Venu 3 is barely extra touch-dependent than your typical Garmin because of the lack of Up/Down buttons, which may show a little bit of an issue throughout exercises in case your fingertips get sweaty. For on a regular basis use, the 1.4-inch touchscreen is kind of responsive with stunning display transitions, however the lack of a crown or bezel does imply having to swipe via all the things.(Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)Most of one of the best Garmin watches use hardened plastic materials that retains the burden down and GPS alerts flowing freely however offers them a considerably low cost look from the aspect. The speaker slits on the left aspect additionally stand out starkly — not less than on my Whitestone mannequin. If you may battle your self-importance, although, the Venu 3’s stainless-steel bezel helps it look improbable from the highest down, so you will take pleasure in taking a look at it even when it is not a standing image to others from the aspect.(Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)Venu 3 consumers can select between Silver bezel / Whitestone case & band and Slate bezel / Black case & band. Venu 3S consumers have extra choices: Slate with Pebble Grey, Silver with Sage Gray, and Soft Gold with French Gray, Dust Rose, or Ivory.Speaking of the Venu 3S, its show is 0.2 inches smaller and weighs 7g much less. It lasts 4 days much less in normal smartwatch mode — although the identical 5 days in always-on show mode — and 5 hours much less in GPS mode. All different options are the identical, however you sacrifice battery and show area for consolation on smaller wrists.(Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)Whichever you select, one design alternative I like with the Venu 3 is its Quick Release bands. You can slide a change to attract a steel pin inward and take away every band half in seconds. Then, together with your alternative 22mm or 18mm bands, you slide the identical pin inward, slot the opposite steel finish right into a slot, and slot the primary finish out to connect it. Compared to Garmin watches that require a particular instrument to launch their bands, it is rather more seamless. If I stored my Venu 3 as my every day driver, I might most likely swap out my band pretty shortly. I would not say that I “hate the strap that comes with the Venu 3,” as my colleague Jerry Hildenbrand wrote in his current Venu 3 hands-on, nevertheless it’s much less snug than the default Forerunner strap with its thinner, softer silicone and wider lug holes. Generally talking, I choose corporations prioritize breathability over model, whereas the Venu 3 took the other method.Garmin Venu 3: Display(Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)Garmin and lots of of its operating watch rivals have shifted away from MIP and in direction of AMOLED shows in recent times, a pattern solely made potential as a result of these new fashions can final for weeks while not having a dim, low-battery show. For the Venu collection, which made the AMOLED change forward of the pack, it wanted a brand new strategy to stand out. The key perk of the Garmin Venu 3 show is its slim bezel in comparison with most operating watches. You get a 1.4-inch show from a 45mm case, whereas the Venu 2 and Forerunner 265 solely supply 1.3-inch shows at 45mm and 46mm, respectively. You’d be hard-pressed to get extra visible area at this dimension. Garmin hasn’t publicized its nits of brightness, however I’d assume it is about 1,000. That’s on par with most AMOLED health watches just like the Fitbit Sense 2 however beneath the brand new 2,000-and-up you get on newer smartwatches just like the Galaxy Watch 6 or Apple Watch Series 9. It’s brilliant sufficient to be totally seen in direct daylight on the proper angle, however I’ll be aware the identical criticism I had with the Garmin Forerunner 265 AMOLED show: its Gorilla Glass 3 safety is not on par with the sapphire glass you get on many comparably priced health watches. I not less than want it had the GG 3 DX normal discovered on the Forerunner 965 for a greater anti-reflective coating; with out it, the Venu 3 show undoubtedly catches the sunshine greater than I’d like.Garmin Venu 3: Hardware and sensors(Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)Garmin watches historically lag behind a lot of the greatest Android watches or Apple Watches in sleep monitoring and well being sensors. The Venu 3 does not fully shut that hole, nevertheless it actually comes nearer to the mainstream than ever. Garmin repeatedly measures coronary heart fee and coronary heart fee variance for all-day stress information by default, and you’ll allow all-day blood oxygen monitoring if you want — one thing most different manufacturers would not have the battery life to supply. You even have respiration fee and menstrual cycle information, plus the choice to log hydration. That’s all pretty frequent for Garmin watches, however the Venu 3 provides an ECG sensor, solely the second to take action after the Venu 2 Plus. We hope Garmin ultimately provides passive AFib detection, however for now, the power to take a 30-second coronary heart rhythm studying at any time and examine your previous ends in the Connect app is a superb perk. Just understand that you will have to replace your Garmin watch, allow ECG readings within the Garmin Connect “Finish Setup” menu, after which add 2FA to your Garmin account to guard your information earlier than you’ll find the ECG app on the watch.The Elevate v5 sensor additionally has dormant pores and skin temperature information; as Gadgets & Wearables noticed, the October Venu 3 beta notes claimed so as to add “skin temperature data to sleep tracking” earlier than Garmin deleted it and stated it was “inadvertently included.” We must assume the subsequent beta replace will add it quickly, providing you with extra helpful sleep insights. Swipe to scroll horizontallyCategoryGarmin Venu 3MaterialsFiber-reinforced polymer (Case); Stainless metal (Bezel)Display (Venu 3)1.4-inch AMOLED touchscreen; 454 x 454Display (Venu 3S)1.2-inch AMOLED touchscreen; 390 x 390SafetyGorilla Glass 3; 5ATMBand22mm (135-200 mm) or 18mm (110-175 mm)TrackingGPS, GLONASS, GALILEO; All-Systems mode (No twin band)SensorsElevate 5 HRM with ECG; Pulse Ox (SpO2); accelerometer; ambient gentle sensor; barometric altimeter; compass; gyroscopeConnectivityGarmin Pay (NFC), Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-FiMic and speaker✔️Key sport and well being optionsSleep coach, nap detection, Advanced Body Battery, wheelchair mode, 30 sports activities apps, restoration time, morning report, jet lag adviser, animated on-screen exercises, Garmin Coach, VO2 MaxMusic storage8GB; Spotify, Deezer, Amazon Music, or personal music filesDimensions45 x 45 x 12 mm (3); 41 x 41 x 12 mm (3S)Weight / with strap30g / 47g (3); 27g / 40g (3S)Comparing the Garmin Venu 3 vs. Venu 2, they don’t seem to be essentially that completely different at first look. What’s spectacular is that Garmin gave the Venu 3 a bigger show, three additional days of battery life, a mic & speaker, and a processor able to extra superior tech, all whereas concurrently making it 0.2mm thinner and 2g lighter. It additionally retains instruments like an altimeter for judging effort at elevation and each an accelerometer and gyroscope for monitoring your wrist actions for train detection. Even although the Venu 3 is extra “casual” in its software program than different Garmin watches, not less than the {hardware} is greater than sturdy sufficient to match competing manufacturers.(Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)I am unable to inform if Garmin modified the mic and speaker high quality from the Venu 2 Plus to the Venu 3, however the expertise is basically unchanged; it is adequate in a pinch however inferior to what you get on a mainstream watch.  The default mid-range quantity is pretty quiet and tinny in a silent room. Take the time to bump it as much as a better quantity, and it turns into loud sufficient to chop via the ambient noise of a quiet stroll outdoors, however most likely not a crowded avenue except you maintain it to your ear. As for mic high quality, the folks I referred to as stated that I sounded pretty clear open air however that I sounded echoey and tougher to grasp indoors, for no matter purpose. (Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)Like any Garmin watch with music storage, you may sync your Spotify, Deezer, or Amazon Music playlists to the watch, providing you with fast entry. If you subscribe to a special music streaming platform like Apple Music, Tidal, or YouTube Music, you are out of luck and must add your personal MP3 information. Of course, this primarily issues in the event you plan to work out with out your cellphone readily available and wish to play music via wi-fi earbuds or the quiet speaker. Otherwise, you may merely use the Venu 3 for playback controls to your cellphone. (Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)The headliner Venu 3 function is, after all, Sleep Coaching and Sleep Score. Any watch with Body Battery has implicitly instructed you that you just did not get sufficient sleep, however the Venu 3 made it express, telling you in the event you obtained a adequate amount of sleep and high quality of deep sleep.Garmin’s Sleep Coach will then inform you that you just want anyplace from seven to 9 hours of sleep; Garmin itself says it will “never” advocate any much less or greater than that. If you are somebody who regularly sleeps nearer to 6 hours, you are going to get shamed and prodded into going to mattress earlier, if that appeals to you. For the nappers on the market, the Venu 3 lastly re-adds the power to manually activate sleep mode and time a nap that is then integrated into your Body Battery information. I did not check this as a result of, effectively, I’m not somebody who naps. But I do know that your Body Battery rating drains at a slower fee if it detects you at relaxation, so that you’re most likely going to see correct information even in the event you do not manually log the nap first.Garmin Venu 3: GPS and HR accuracyGarmin gave the Venu 3 “All-Systems GNSS,” which implies it pulls information from a number of satellite tv for pc methods concurrently, like GPS and GLONASS, for a greater location lock in occluded areas. However, it does not have dual-frequency GPS like lots of the current Forerunners and Instincts. How a lot this issues will rely on the place you usually run and the way a lot sign blockage you encounter.I additionally assume the Elevate v5 sensor has extra correct coronary heart fee information not directly than previous Elevate v4 watches, however Garmin does not actually promote the variations throughout generations. So, I made a decision to place it to the check!For an hour-long run, I ran with the Venu 3 on my left wrist and my Forerunner 965 on the appropriate. The latter was synced to my COROS coronary heart fee monitor for extra correct HR information and set to SatIQ mode — which defaults to GPS-only however switches to dual-frequency when the sign wants a lift via clouds or foliage (or round buildings). (Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)In the center fee chart above, the lighter crimson graph matches the Venu 3, whereas the purplish graph corresponds with the COROS information I’m utilizing as a baseline. You can see how the Venu 3 tends to point out rounded edges the place the HRM is jagged, corresponding with extra abrupt coronary heart fee modifications over hills or pick-ups in pace. It cannot at all times sustain, in different phrases. Generally talking, it is fairly correct and balances out fairly carefully over time. While I am unable to decide how rather more correct it’s than different manufacturers, it is greater than correct sufficient for health wants. (Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)As for GPS information, the Venu 3 overestimated my distance by 0.04 miles over an hour. It was a lot better than what a GPS-only watch just like the Galaxy Watch 6 can ship, if not excellent. Zooming in on the map, I discovered the Venu 3 tends to float off the path or sidewalk greater than the Forerunner 965, however not on the identical scale as a GPS-only watch. I additionally famous that the Venu 3 appeared to underestimate my elevation by about seven meters, although the graph itself carefully matched that of the Forerunner 965 — merely at a decrease place to begin. It’s one thing I assume I can repair with a fast altimeter calibration within the settings, and that form of hole is not a lot in the event you’re climbing 1000’s of meters as an alternative of dozens.I am unable to say how effectively the Venu 3 will do in more durable sign environments, however typically, it is a becoming degree of high quality for the Venu 3, which strikes that difficult stability between informal and “serious” health.Garmin Venu 3: Key software program options(Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)I’ll roll out my normal Garmin disclaimer for my Venu 3 evaluate: If I examined and mentioned each software program trick on the Venu 3, it could double the evaluate’s size. So as an alternative, I’ll concentrate on the important thing returning options that’ll make it extra tempting than your typical Android smartwatch and the brand new options to tempt hardcore Garmin followers. Like the Venu 2, the Venu 3 has customized coronary heart fee zones, VO2 Max information, depth minutes, Body Battery scores, health age, Livetrack, animated on-screen exercises, and a Health Snapshot. We already mentioned the Morning Report within the final part; what’s new is a night equal referred to as the Daily Summary that recaps what you probably did (aka a Workout Day in the event you educated or an Easy Day in the event you recovered) and the way it interprets it. I want it was nearer in model to the Morning Report or a post-run abstract, the place it confirmed precise information out of your day, however that is not the Venu 3’s power. Maybe we’ll see a greater model on a future Forerunner.(Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)One key Venu 3 perk is its animated exercises. You can obtain any of the 80-ish premade exercises for muscle coaching, cardio, yoga, pilates, or different indoor routines, or else create your personal from a collection of 1,600 workout routines that use particular gear, weights, or your personal physique weight. Once you begin a HIIT exercise, you may examine every train for an animated information of what it is imagined to seem like, in case you do not keep in mind from the identify alone or want a type examine. (Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)I’d give the Venu 3’s train accuracy a ranking of 3 out of 5. I did a body-weight exercise of push-ups, burpees, squats, leaping jacks, and mountain climbers. Some extra deliberate workout routines like squats are tracked fairly effectively, however it may well typically log an train merely while you’re standing up or going in direction of the bottom earlier than you begin. During my 25 mountain climbers, it was correct as much as 24, after which stopped monitoring as I obtained into the 30s till I shook my wrist round wildly. And whereas doing my burpees, it froze at 9 after which, frustratingly, dipped again right down to eight as if I used to be doing it backward. Essentially, I fortunately use it for motivation and steering, however do not be afraid to make use of the again button to skip to the subsequent rep even when the watch says you are not fairly executed, or else you will simply get mad and damage your self doing additional work. (Image credit score: Jerry Hildenbrand)Garmin additionally added a Meditation exercise. You can select between three periods — Restore and stretch, Focused Mantras, or Mindful Sounds — or create your personal Custom routine. They’re a pleasant perk in the event you’re burdened, however additionally they pale compared to the Mindfulness routines you get with Fitbit Premium or Apple Fitness Plus, each in quantity and manufacturing values. Even although Garmin’s app is free, I do hope it places in additional effort over time. Perhaps my favourite Venu 3 function is one which I do not want: the wheelchair mode. My colleague, Jerry Hildenbrand, wrote about how its wheelchair mode is one of the best, arms down, of any smartwatch model as a result of it correctly judges pushes as an alternative of steps, does not encourage you to “stand up” as a whole lot of watches do, and makes use of a customized algorithm to evaluate effort as an alternative of VO2 Max that takes under consideration the restricted cardio ranges and larger upper-body pressure of somebody in a wheelchair.(Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)I additionally admire getting a key function I rely on with my Forerunner and Instinct watches: a Recovery time widget. It judges your tiredness based mostly in your health degree and tells you the way lengthy to attend till your subsequent exercise, going past what Body Battery can inform you each day. What you do not know is why you want that lengthy or how your coaching is progressing. Technically, Garmin added a brand new “Workout benefit” instrument in your post-workout abstract. In my case, it gave me an “Improving fitness” rating after my hour-long run and instructed me I used to be bettering my endurance. But you do not really see a Training Load or Training impact abstract, telling you the way a lot time was spent at cardio or anaerobic ranges. That issues to me, however entry-level athletes can merely depend on Garmin to present them a exercise judgment that an Apple or Samsung watch could not.(Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)Garmin gave the UI and notifications an improve, together with tons of fairly watch faces that take full benefit of the show dimension. But your total expertise will range relying on whether or not you employ iOS or Android. First, the common updates: You can change to a bigger font for the primary time, there is a “Recents” menu to entry your last-used apps shortly, a brand new swipe-right shortcut (which you will most likely use for the Recents menu), and a brand new Activities/Apps break up while you faucet the top-right button. Finding and utilizing apps on Garmin watches has at all times been a little bit of a chore, so giving a number of new methods to entry them shortly is an actual boon.Specifically for Android customers, now you can see pictures in textual content or e mail notifications as an alternative of the standard “Attached: 1 image” textual content. Plus, slightly than use default Quick Replies, you may really sort out a textual content response in your watch keyboard if you would like. That stated, with out LTE assist, I do not a lot see the purpose since you may pull out your cellphone to do that rather more shortly or use the voice assistant to transcribe your reply as an alternative. To make clear, the voice assistant is not a watch assistant; it is your cellphone’s assistant handed via your watch’s Bluetooth. So, whereas it is good to have Google Assistant away from Wear OS or Siri away from Apple Watch, you may solely use it as a strategy to maintain your cellphone in your pocket, to not really pull up an exercise or widget on the watch itself. CompetitorsThe Garmin Forerunner 265 (Image credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)Garmin selected $449 as a baseline for its mid-tier flagships, that means the Venu 3 instantly matches the Garmin Forerunner 265 and Garmin Instinct 2X Solar, whereas the brand new $299 Vivoactive 5 undercuts it. Of these, the runner-focused Forerunner 265 is its greatest foil; the Venu and Instinct lineups could not be extra completely different, whereas the Vivoactive 5 is a (painfully) downgraded Venu for budget-hunters.Let’s begin with the Forerunner 265, one of the best operating watch of the 12 months. Before a run, you see a Training Readiness metric with a precise variety of hours till your physique is able to run and a every day advised exercise based mostly in your health. You get extra sports activities modes like Track Runs, Trail Runs, and Multisport/Triathalon. After your run ends, you may see your operating energy, coaching load, acute load, and restoration time. I may go on concerning the distinctive perks for cyclists and swimmers, however the level is that the Venu 3 lacks a whole lot of instruments that severe outside athletes would admire.The Venu 3 offers you higher battery life, a bigger show, a mic and speaker, the brand new Elevate sensor, wheelchair mode, and some different particular life-style perks. The newest Forerunner beta replace introduced Venu 3 instruments like sleep insights and superior Body Battery to the 265, although, so the operating watch may shut the hole over time. The Google Pixel Watch 2 (Image credit score: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)As for the Vivoactive 5, it is a 1.2-inch AMOLED watch with a cheaper-looking aluminum bezel. You lose the brand new Elevate v5 sensor, the altimeter, and the gyroscope. It has a shorter battery life and no all-systems GNSS. You do not get the mic and speaker for calls, nor the third button for shortcuts. You do not even get animated on-screen exercises, one thing the MIP Vivoactive 4 provided. You’re saving cash, however you might not like all of the compromises you must make. Otherwise, the Garmin Venu 3’s most important rivals are smartwatches just like the Pixel Watch 2 or Apple Watch Series 9 that bundle health instruments with extra sturdy smartwatch instruments. They solely final a day per cost or much less, however they’ve near-perfect integration with an Android cellphone or iPhone, that means you may reply to notifications with extra than simply fast replies and obtain a bunch of apps. Garmin Venu 3: Should you purchase it?You can purchase the Garmin Venu 3 if…You need the Garmin instruments however not the standard Garmin design and expertise.Your typical health routines are coated by the 30 sports activities modes out there. You particularly want a mic and speaker or the ECG instrument. You should not purchase the Garmin Venu 3 if…You want a correct Wear OS or watchOS smartwatch for the smarts Garmin cannot supply.You want extra sturdy health metrics discovered on Forerunners, Instincts, or different fashions.As a runner, the Venu 3 collection is not strictly designed for me; it is for individuals who may often run however will combine it in with their normal indoor exercises like HIIT, weights, yoga, and who have to know Body Battery stats greater than they do Training Readiness stats. Its thinner, light-weight, and crownless design makes it simpler to put on whereas bending your wrist for sure workout routines. And even when it is not fairly as trendy as a hybrid mannequin just like the Garmin Vivomove Trend, it is shut.I’d discover it interesting if Garmin ultimately added a mic and speaker to different future Garmin watches, however the Venu collection wants its gimmick now that an increasing number of of its gadgets have switched to AMOLED. I’m wondering if the subsequent trick will likely be including mobile assist, one thing folks have been clamoring for for the reason that Forerunner 945 LTE — which used mobile information for some primary security and messaging features however not for precise calling.The different angle Garmin may ultimately take is to make the Venu collection even “smarter” at the price of its epic battery life, however I do not know what that might entail since Apple limits what any health watch model can do and Garmin cannot simply pivot to Android and Wear OS totally. For now, the Venu 3 and future fashions will most likely proceed to stroll that mainstream/specialised tightrope, and it does it in addition to I may anticipate. I’ve put it in our prime spot for one of the best health smartwatches, whereas emphasizing that different smartwatches with health instruments could also be higher for you. Personally, I might advocate the Venu 3 in the event you’re in any respect severe about getting fitter or stronger.

    The Garmin Venu 3 and 3S have thin-bordered AMOLED shows, improbable battery life, music storage, tap-to-pay, Bluetooth calling, voice assistant assist, 1000’s of workout routines for custom-made at-home exercises, Sleep Coaching, restoration suggestions, and different core Garmin instruments to maintain you on the appropriate health path. 

    Garmin Venu 3: Price Comparison

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