Outdoor

Review: Garmin Venu 3 – Enhanced Connectivity, Improved Fitness, and More

Review: Garmin Venu 3 - Enhanced Connectivity, Improved Fitness, and More - Discover the Garmin Venu 3: A powerful sports smartwatch with robust features, extended battery life, and connectivity.

Introduction

The Garmin Venu 3, the latest iteration in the Venu series, arrives with a renewed focus on elevating the world of connected fitness and health watches. Over the past four years, Garmin’s Venu line has steadily carved out a niche among market leaders by continually enhancing its sports functionalities. With the Venu 3, Garmin takes a bold step forward, transitioning into a more premium market segment and introducing features that challenge renowned “lifestyle” connected watches like the Apple Watch, Galaxy Watch, and more.

In the world of smartwatches, where seamless connectivity, fitness tracking, and style converge, the Venu 3 stands as a testament to Garmin’s commitment to innovation. It brings an array of advanced sports features that cater to the active and health-conscious individual, all while pushing the boundaries of connectivity. Here, we delve into what makes the Garmin Venu 3 a noteworthy contender in this ever-evolving landscape.

Ergonomics and Design

Despite its shift towards a more premium market, the Garmin Venu 3 retains its fiber-reinforced polymer case, lacking the premium feel of metal cases like those in the Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch. Nevertheless, the stainless steel bezel adds an element of elegance and protection. The watch’s Corning Gorilla Glass 3, while durable, does not match the ruggedness of sapphire glass.

The standard 22mm silicone strap can be easily swapped for a more refined appearance. The original strap is comfortable for sports activities and features a steel buckle that complements the watch’s bezel. Weighing just 47g with the strap (or 30g without), the Venu 3 is lightweight and relatively slim, measuring 12mm in thickness (or 13.4mm with sensors).

The 1.4″ OLED screen provides excellent readability, even in direct sunlight, with automatic brightness adjustment. The default watch faces prioritize form and activity tracking but may not appeal to all users. The watch allows customization of watch faces directly from the device.

Interface

The Venu 3’s interface has undergone significant improvements, aiming for both practicality and elegance. It has successfully maintained its user-friendly design while enhancing its functionality.

One of the standout changes is the organization of widgets, providing quick access to various features and data. The vertical list of widgets can be easily accessed by swiping up or down on the touchscreen. This design simplifies navigation and eliminates the need to scroll through multiple screens to access essential information.

The watch retains three buttons on its right edge, which serve critical functions. These buttons make launching activities and applications a breeze, with a short press on the top button, while a quick press on the middle button takes you back to the last-used apps. The bottom button provides easy access to a range of functions, making navigation more efficient.

Each button also serves a secondary function when pressed and held, adding another layer of utility. For example, a long press on the top button provides access to commands like the “do not disturb” mode or the flashlight. The middle button activates the voice assistant, and the bottom button opens options for watch face selection, alarms, and settings.

A right swipe from the main watch face grants access to a shortcut of your choice. Whether it’s displaying notifications, activating the flashlight, or setting up contactless payments, users can tailor this feature to their preferences.

The Venu 3 also excels in managing notifications. These are displayed clearly on the watch, allowing users to stay connected and informed throughout the day. It’s worth noting that responding to notifications is available only when paired with an Android smartphone, offering voice responses, touch keyboard input, or predefined message replies.

In summary, the Venu 3’s interface is both user-friendly and functional, offering quick access to essential features and making it an intuitive companion for everyday use. These improvements enhance the overall user experience, ensuring users can easily navigate and enjoy the watch’s extensive features.

Application

The Garmin Connect application is a vital companion to the Venu 3, providing users with a comprehensive fitness hub. While the app’s interface has seen minimal changes since the release of the first Venu, it remains a powerhouse of data and features.

For fitness enthusiasts, the Garmin Connect app is a treasure trove of information. It offers detailed insights into your activity, sleep, heart rate, and more, making it an invaluable tool for tracking your progress and setting new fitness goals. The app seamlessly syncs with Venu 3, ensuring all your data is easily accessible.

One of the notable features is the customization of the home page. Users can tailor the dashboard to display the metrics and data that are most relevant to them. Whether you’re focused on tracking your daily steps, monitoring your sleep patterns, or keeping an eye on your heart rate, you can set up the app to meet your specific needs.

Garmin Connect also introduces various challenges and social features to motivate and engage users. Challenges encourage users to push themselves and compete with others, fostering a sense of community and competition. This social dimension adds a layer of fun and motivation to your fitness journey, as you can track your friends’ progress and even engage in friendly competitions.

While the wealth of data and features in the app is undoubtedly appreciated by experienced users, it may feel a bit overwhelming for newcomers. However, Garmin is actively working on modernizing the app’s interface to make it more user-friendly and tailored to different user profiles. This is a positive step forward, ensuring the app remains accessible to a broader audience.

In essence, the Garmin Connect application is the backbone of the Venu 3’s fitness and health tracking capabilities. It’s a versatile and powerful tool for those looking to monitor and improve their overall well-being.

Usage and Accuracy

The Garmin Venu 3 is equipped with a multi-GNSS geolocation chip that offers good precision. While it doesn’t support dual GPS frequency, it performs well in challenging environments, maintaining accurate tracking during activities in the forest.

The watch incorporates Garmin’s 5th generation cardio-optical sensor, delivering reliable results. It accurately detects heart rate variations during activities with irregular pacing, making it ideal for interval training.

The Venu 3 introduces heart rate variability measurements, offering insights into one’s fitness level. This factor is considered in the overall fitness assessment and can be viewed in the morning report, aiding users in planning their daily workouts.

The watch also includes a sleep coach, advising optimal rest duration based on sleep patterns, activities, HRV, and daytime naps. The Venu 3 can detect naps, which contributes to calculating the “body battery,” an estimate of the body’s energy level.

Regarding sleep tracking, the Venu 3’s accuracy is consistent with other Garmin watches, with correct tracking of bedtime, wake-up times, and deep sleep. However, distinguishing between paradoxical and light sleep can be challenging.

Battery Life

The Venu 3 boasts impressive battery life. Garmin claims up to 14 days of operation with default settings, excluding sports activities and SpO2 measurements.

In practical tests, the watch delivered a 7-day battery life with sleep SpO2 monitoring, 2 hours of running, and 5 hours of tennis. Sleep SpO2 measurement consumed around 4% of battery, while an hour of precise geolocation (GNSS mode all systems) used about 5%.

Basic use as a connected watch can extend the battery life to approximately 2 weeks, aligning with Garmin’s claims. Activating the always-on display feature reduces battery life, but the Venu 3 can still last 4 to 5 days without outdoor sports activities.

In intensive use with hiking and cycling (active GPS) for two days, the watch lasted for three days. This robust battery life means users can go without charging for a sporty weekend, provided the watch is charged beforehand.

Conclusion

The Garmin Venu 3 is a comprehensive and user-friendly sports-oriented connected watch. While it may lack the extensive app catalogs of watchOS or Wear OS, it excels in sports and recovery features, offering a battery life of up to two weeks, ensuring peace of mind for active users. With enhanced connectivity, improved fitness features, and thoughtful design, the Venu 3 is a strong contender in the world of connected smartwatches.

TECHNICAL SHEET / CHARACTERISTICS

Width45mm
Length45mm
Dimensions – Thickness45mm
Diameter45mm
Weight46g
Interchangeable bracelet46g

Pros of the Garmin Venu 3:

  1. Comprehensive Sports and Recovery Features:
    • The Garmin Venu 3 excels in providing a wide range of sports and fitness features, making it an ideal choice for active users. It offers advanced tracking for various activities, helping users monitor their performance and progress effectively.
  2. Impressive Battery Life:
    • One of the standout features of the Venu 3 is its exceptional battery life, lasting up to two weeks. This extended battery performance is particularly beneficial for users who engage in prolonged outdoor activities or simply prefer a smartwatch that requires less frequent charging.
  3. Enhanced Connectivity:
    • With improved connectivity options, including advanced GPS capabilities and seamless smartphone integration, the Venu 3 ensures a smooth and reliable user experience. This feature is valuable for users who rely on accurate location tracking during outdoor workouts and want to stay connected on the go.

Cons of the Garmin Venu 3:

  1. Limited App Catalog:
    • While the Venu 3 excels in sports and fitness features, it may lack the extensive app catalogs found on competing platforms like watchOS or Wear OS. Users who prioritize a diverse range of third-party apps for various functionalities may find the Venu 3’s app ecosystem comparatively limited.
  2. Learning Curve for Beginners:
    • The advanced features and comprehensive capabilities of the Venu 3 may result in a steeper learning curve for users new to smartwatches or fitness trackers. Some individuals might find it challenging to navigate through the various settings and fully utilize the device’s capabilities without investing time in learning the interface.
  3. Relatively Higher Price Point:
    • Compared to some other smartwatches on the market, the Garmin Venu 3 may come with a relatively higher price tag. While its extensive features justify the cost for fitness enthusiasts, budget-conscious consumers may find more affordable options that meet their basic smartwatch needs without the added sports-oriented features.