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Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs Venu vs Venu Sq: differences, which one to choose?

by Philippe Baudoin © Copyright (published 14/11/2020)
Garmin Vivoactive 4, Venu and Venu Sq watches compared

Comparison of Garmin's latest successful connected watches

Garmin offers a collection of 3 connected and sporty watches: the Vivoactive 4, the Venu and the Venu Sq. They are aimed at everyone, whether or not they practise a sport, and offer complete health monitoring, the best on the market to date, as well as sports and connected functions. What are the differences between the 3 models? Which one to choose? Discover our comparison, our advice and our opinion to make the right choice.

Following the great success of the Garmin Vivoactive (HR models in 2016, then Vivoactive 3 in 2017 and Vivoactive 4 in 2019), a sports connected watch with health monitoring, Garmin presented, in 2019, a new connected watch with a superb AMOLED screen and animated displays. In 2020, the American company is offering a variant of this model, the Garmin Venu Sq, with a rectangular design but with downgraded features, notably the screen, and offered at a selling price defying all competition.

Buy Garmin Vivoactive 4

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Amazon
299.99 €
275 €
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279.99 €
Go-Sport
299.99 €
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299.99 €
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299.99 €
266 €

 

Buy Garmin Venu

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Amazon
379.99 €
339.99 €
Boulanger
379.99 €
341.99 €
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349.99 €
324.04 €

 

Buy Garmin Venu Sq

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199.99 €
179.99 €
Boulanger
249.99 €
Darty
249.99 €

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3 smart watches with complete health monitoring

Garmin offers 3 variants of its connected and sporty watch: the Vivoactive 4, the Venu and the Venu Sq. They each offer excellent health monitoring as well as a number of sports and connected functions. What sets them apart is their display: LCD for the Venu Sq, transflective MIP for the Vivoactive 4 and AMOLED for the Venu.

Garmin Vivoactive 4: the watch with payment, mp3 player and advanced health monitoring

Garmin Vivoactive 4 watch

A jewel of technology, this touch screen connected watch offers amzaing functions and is a great success. It can be used for a wide range of sports, including yoga, skiing, golf, rowing and weight training. It features a Garmin Pay contactless payment system to pay for purchases directly from the watch, an mp3 player and ultra-complete health monitoring functions, the best offer on the market to date. It assesses stress level and fitness, allows you to load workout programmes, and includes animated exercises to help you learn how to do cardio, weight training, yoga and Pilates. It is a serious alternative to high-end watches or Smartwatches (Apple Watch, etc.) at a much lower price. Note that the Vivoactive 4 is available in 2 case sizes (Vivoactive 4S and Vivoactive 4) to fit both thin and wide wrists.

Read our detailed review of the Garmin Vivoactive 4 and our opinion
Buy the Garmin Vivoactive 4
 

Garmin Venu: the first Garmin watch with AMOLED display

Garmin Venu watch

The Garmin Venu is a Vivoactive 4 (same features) but equipped with an AMOLED screen instead of a transflective MIP screen and offering high definition (390 x 390 px instead of 260 x 260 px). The AMOLED screen is used on high-end connected watches such as the Apple Watch or Galaxy Watch Active as well as on most Smartphones. It offers a rich range of colours and high contrasts thanks to the use of individually controlled LEDs for illumination instead of conventional backlit crystals. The result is simply stunning. The Garmin Venu can be used to display animated watch faces. However, this model is more expensive than the Vivoactive 4 and has a slightly lower battery life.

Read our detailed review of the Garmin Venu and our opinion
Buy the Garmin Venu
 

Garmin Venu Sq: the connected watch for the general public for less than 200 €.

cheap Venu Sq connected watch

Aware of the high price of its Garmin Venu, Garmin wanted to attract new customers by offering a cheap Garmin Venu by downgrading is features, the aim being to offer a complete watch at a consumer price: less than €200. A strategy already adopted this year (2020) by Apple and its Apple Watch SE, the low-cost variant of the Apple Watch Series 6. But instead of sacrificing essential functions, Garmin has chosen to replace the AMOLED screen with an LCD screen at a much lower cost, but also of much lower quality and higher power consumption. The barometric altimeter and gyroscope have also been removed on this model. For the rest, the functionalities are identical. Garmin also offers a rectangular design, instead of a round one, and a slimmer and lighter watch, thanks in particular to an aluminium bezel instead of stainless steel. The watch is available with or without mp3 player.

Read our detailed review of the Garmin Venu Sq and our opinion
Buy the Garmin Venu Sq
 

Vivoactive 4, Venu, Venu Sq and Venu Sq Music comparison: the differences

The 3 models compared (Vivoactive 4, Venu, Venu Sq) offer almost the same functionalities. The lighter version, Venu Sq, does not have a barometric altimeter and therefore offers a few fewer functions. It is above all the display that makes the biggest difference between the 3 models.

Design and technical features: a difference mainly related to the screen

Garmin is adopting a rectangular format for its latest model, the Venu Sq, for a look vaguely reminiscent of the Apple Watch. This model has the advantage of being ultralight (almost 10 g lighter than the Venu's weight!) and thinner. Note that the Vivoactive 4 is available in 2 formats. The 4S model is designed for thin wrists. Its case is smaller (40 x 40 mm) and its screen has a smaller resolution (218 x 218 px). It is also lighter (only 40 g).

The 3 models differ especially by their screen. An economical LCD screen for the Venu Sq for a medium quality display. A transflective MIP screen for the Vivoactive 4. The latter offers a limited colour palette (64) but has the advantage of being readable even in direct sunlight. An AMOLED and high definition screen for the Venu. It can display photos and animations.

FeaturesVivoactive 4VenuVenu SqVenu Sq Music
 montre Garmin Vivoactive 4Garmin VenuGarmin Venu SqGarmin Venu Sq Music
Price300 €350 €200 €250 €
Weight50,5 g46,3 g37,6 g37,6 g
Size (mm)45,1 x 45,143,2 x 43,240,6 x 3740,6 x 37
Thickness12.8 mm12.4 mm11.5 mm11.5 mm
CaseReinforced polymerReinforced polymerReinforced polymerReinforced polymer
GlassCorning Gorilla 3Corning Gorilla 3Corning Gorilla 3Corning Gorilla 3
BezelStainless steelStainless steelAluminiumAluminium
Display (px)260 x 260390 x 390240 x 240240 x 240
ScreenTransflective PIMAMOLEDLCDLCD
Touch screen
Colour screen
Screen with animation 
  
Wristband width22 mm20 mm20 mm20 mm
Bracelet interchangeable without tools
Waterproofing5 ATM5 ATM5 ATM5 ATM
Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs. Venu vs. Venu Sq Comparison: Pricing and Specifications

Sensors

The 4 watches carry a GPS, an optical cardio on the wrist, a pulse oximeter and an accelerometer (to evaluate the distance travelled indoors, on a carpet for example). The ambient light sensor (absent on the Vivoactive 4) allows you to adjust the backlighting according to the brightness outside.

The Venu Sq, for reasons of economy, has neither a gyroscope (used to identify movements in 3 dimensions), nor a barometric altimeter (to evaluate altitude variations both indoors and outdoors rather than using the GPS, which is less accurate and does not work indoors).

FeaturesVivoactive 4VenuVenu SqVenu Sq Music
GPSGPS, GLONASS, GalileoGPS, GLONASS, GalileoGPS, GLONASS, GalileoGPS, GLONASS, Galileo
Wrist Cardio
Underwater wrist cardio system
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
  
Barometric altimeter
  
Pulse oximeter
Compass
ThermometerVia accessoryVia accessoryVia accessoryVia accessory
Ambient light sensor 
Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs. Venu vs. Venu Sq comparison: sensors

Functions for health

All 3 models offer the same health functions. Firstbeat's algorithms are used to provide most of the measurements. Breathing frequency is evaluated from the heart and its variability. The measurement of the blood oxygen level (SpO2) allows the detection of a lack of oxygen during high altitude outings or possible sleep apnea at night. It can detect a general problem of blood oxygenation (see our article on the covid 19 and its detection with an oximeter watch).

FeaturesVivoactive 4VenuVenu SqVenu Sq Music
Heart rate
Resting heart rate
Abnormal heart rate alerts (high & low)
Blood oxygen level (SpO2)
Physical age
Body battery
Hydration
Daily monitoring of efforts
Menstrual cycle
Relaxation reminders
Detailed sleep analysis
Comparison Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs Venu vs Venu Sq: Functions for Health

Sports functions

These watches offer more or less the same sports functions. The Venu Sq does not measure cumulative ascents and descents because it does not have a barometric altimeter. Nor does it offer the animations that allow you to learn the movements of certain activities (Yoga and Pilates in particular).

Each model offers 22 sport profiles including walking, running, cycling, swimming in the pool, skiing, golf. Others can be downloaded free of charge from the Garmin Connect platform.

FeaturesVivoactive 4VenuVenu SqVenu Sq Music
Nb of sports profiles22222222
GPS speed and distance
HR Monitoring
Training programs
HR zones
Breathing frequency
Advanced Training
VO2max
Body Battery
Running cadence
Bike cadence
Running trainings
Varia compatible (lights, radar)
Functions for swimming
Back to the start
Total ascent/descent
  
Pilates exercises, yoga, weight training, cardio, elliptical bike, rowing, floor climbing
Animations (yoga, Pilates, weight training, etc.)
  
Functions for golf
Auto-pause
Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs. Venu vs. Venu Sq comparison: sports features

Connected functions

Garmin offers convenient features, including a contactless payment solution (Garmin Pay). With the exception of the Venu Sq, all models come with an mp3 player and the ability to import playlists and stream music via Deezer, Spotify or Amazon Music (with a paid subscription).

FeaturesVivoactive 4VenuVenu SqVenu Sq Music
Smart notifications
Answer/reject call by SMS (Android)
Calendar
Weather
Music function (Smartphone)
 
MP3 Player
 
Music storage (titles)500500 500
Garmin Pay
Find my phone
Find my watch
Comparison Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs Venu vs Venu Sq: Connected Features

Functions for safety

On its latest watches, Garmin offers a practical function for the safety of sportsmen and women: fall detection for certain activities (cycling and walking in particular) and assistance in the event of an incident (automatic or manual calling of a contact and transmission of GPS coordinates). All 4 watches offer these functions.

FeaturesVivoactive 4VenuVenu SqVenu Sq Music
LiveTrack
Incident detection (walking, cycling)
Assistance / SOS call
Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs. Venu vs. Venu Sq comparison: safety features

Monitoring of activity

Garmin offers the same functions on all 4 watches except for the number of stages climbed, which requires a barometric altimeter for accuracy and especially for indoor use. The Venu Sq is not equipped with one.

FeaturesVivoactive 4VenuVenu SqVenu Sq Music
Number of steps
Distance
Calories
Nb of climbed floors
  
Intensive Minutes
Automatic objectives (number of steps)
Comparison Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs Venu vs Venu Sq: activity Monitoring

Autonomy

The Vivoactive 4 offers excellent autonomy with a connected watch (8 days) and 18 hours in GPS mode. Note that the small model (Vivoactive 4S) has a slightly lower battery life (7 days in connected watch mode, 15 hours in GPS mode). The Garmin Venu suffers from the higher power consumption of its AMOLED screen but still offers a long battery life in GPS mode (20 hours). The Venu Sq, with its very greedy LCD screen, does very well in watch mode thanks to the automatic deactivation of the screen when not in use (this setting can be changed if necessary).

 Vivoactive 4VenuVenu SqVenu Sq Music
Connected watch8 d5 d6 d6 d
GPS mode18 h20 h14 h14 h
GPS + music mode6 h6 h-6 h
Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs. Venu vs. Venu Sq comparison: autonomy

& nbsp;

Our opinion on the Garmin Vivoactive 4, Venu and Venu Sq. Which one to choose?

Garmin offers here 3 recent watches (2019 and 2020) offering almost the same functionalities. It is above all the objective, the price, the design and the type of screen that will guide the choice. Functionality and autonomy can also make a difference, but that is not what most distinguishes these models.

These watches are above all connected or intelligent watches whose primary objective is to monitor health on a daily basis with, in addition, a few practical functions (listening to music without a Smartphone, payment solution in particular). They are very well suited for non-sporting use. They can be worn 24 hours a day, but this is not an obligation.

They are also suitable for sporting use, provided they are not too demanding. For training and competition, it is best to turn to a sports watch (see our comparisons).

If your budget is not limited, go for the Garmin Venu. It is the best watch among the 3 because it accumulates the advantages of the 3 models, except of course the price. Its functions are comprehensive and its AMOLED display is the best. You will have a screen with rich and shimmering colours, high definition and you will be able to benefit from animations or the display of high definition photos. Its autonomy is excellent for sports and very correct for daily monitoring (5 days).

Garmin Venu
If your budget allows it, the Garmin Venu is the one to choose, ultra-complete and with AMOLED screen.

 

If you are not interested in the quality screen and animations, the Vivoactive 4 is the model to choose. Less expensive, with the same functions, it will give you the same advantages apart from the high-definition display and animations. Its screen is MIP transflective, i.e. readable even in direct sunlight (like a book!), but with a very limited colour palette that is at the same time amply sufficient for a watch without animations. The Vivoactive 4S model, which is smaller and therefore better suited to thin wrists, is also lighter (40 g). It is more comfortable to wear.

Garmin Vivoactive 4
The Vivoactive 4 offers the same functions as the Venu but with a transflective MIP screen (cheaper) that can be read even in direct sunlight.

 

If your budget is tight, then the Venu Sq is the right compromise. It offers almost all the features of the other models but a lower quality screen, with a less readable display in bright outdoor environments. It is also ultra-light and thinner than the other models. Attention, it does not have a barometric altimeter. It is therefore less suitable for use in the mountains (hiking, trail, climbing, etc.).

Garmin Venu Sq
For tight budgets, the Venu Sq (with or without MP3 player) is a low-cost watch offering almost the same functions as the Vivoactive 4 and the Venu but with an LCD screen.

 

Likewise, if you are looking for a comfortable and pretty watch for health monitoring and a bit of sport, without the need for a luxury display, the Venu Sq should suit you for its design, light weight and full functions. Its autonomy is more than sufficient for sport and very good for use as a connected watch with monitoring. For 50 € more, you can enjoy the mp3 player. But at this price, we recommend paying an extra 50 € for a Vivoactive 4.

 InterestsDisadvantages
Vivoactive 4
Ultra-complete
Ultra-light (4S model)
Slightly smaller screen resolution and shorter battery life on the small model (4S)
Venu
Ultra-complete
Superb AMOLED screen + with animations>
Price
Venu SqValue for money
Fully featured
Fine and ultra-light weight
LCD Display
No barometric altimeter
Venu Sq MusicVenu Sq with extra mp3 playerAt this price, you might as well buy the Vivoactive 4
How to choose between Garmin Vivoactive 4, Venu and Venu Sq

Price and availability

These models are available for sale on the Garmin website or in specialist shops at the recommended price of 299 € for the Garmin Vivoactive 4, <.b> 350 € for the Garmin Venu, 200 € for the Garmin Venu Sq and 250 € for the Garmin Venu Sq Music Edition. Discover it below at our partners and take advantage of our current promotions or discount vouchers.

Buy Garmin Vivoactive 4

Merchant
Price (from)
 
Amazon
299.99 €
275 €
Boulanger
279.99 €
Go-Sport
299.99 €
Darty
299.99 €
Rakuten
299.99 €
266 €

 

Buy Garmin Venu

Merchant
Price (from)
 
Amazon
379.99 €
339.99 €
Boulanger
379.99 €
341.99 €
Darty
349.99 €
324.04 €

 

Buy Garmin Venu Sq

Merchant
Price (from)
 
Amazon
199.99 €
179.99 €
Boulanger
249.99 €
Darty
249.99 €

Commercial links. Prices are not contractual. Please visit the merchant site.

Philippe Baudoin
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