The smartwatch market has exploded in recent years, with leading brands like Garmin and Google releasing exciting new devices packed with innovative features. Two of the most popular smartwatches right now are the Garmin Venu 2 and the Google Pixel Watch.
Both offer advanced health tracking capabilities, notifications, GPS, mobile payments, voice control, and more. But which one is the better option for you?
In this in-depth comparison guide, we‘ll examine the key differences between the Garmin Venu 2 and Google Pixel Watch to help you decide which smartwatch is the right fit.
Garmin Venu 2 vs Google Pixel Watch: At a Glance
Before we dive into the details, here‘s a quick overview of how the Garmin Venu 2 and Google Pixel Watch stack up:
|Specs||Garmin Venu 2||Google Pixel Watch|
|Display||1.3" AMOLED, 416 x 416 px||1.4" AMOLED, 320 ppi|
|Battery Life||Up to 11 days||Up to 24 hours|
|Heart Rate Monitor||Yes||Yes|
|Mobile Payments||Garmin Pay||Google Pay|
|Water Resistance||5 ATM||WR50|
As you can see, on paper these two smartwatches have a lot of similar capabilities. But let‘s take a closer look at how they compare across some key factors:
Design and Display
In terms of design, both watches have a similar circular shape with a digital crown/button on the side.
The Garmin Venu 2 has a 44mm case size and is offered in Black, Light Gold, and Slate color options. The watch case is made from fiber-reinforced polymer with a stainless steel bezel. There are 20mm quick release silicone bands available in various colors.
The Google Pixel Watch comes in a 41mm polished stainless steel case with tactile crown and button. It‘s available in Matte Black, Polished Silver, and Champagne Gold colors. The bands are proprietary with a unique attachment mechanism, and come in Obisidian, Chalk, Charcoal, and Hazel color options.
For displays, the Garmin Venu 2 packs a 1.3” AMOLED touchscreen display with 416 x 416 pixel resolution. It‘s bright, vibrant, and easy to see outdoors. The Pixel Watch has a slightly larger 1.4" AMOLED display with 320 ppi density. Both offer an always-on mode so you can quickly glance at info without raising your wrist.
The displays are excellent on both watches. But the Pixel Watch may have a slight edge with its larger and higher density screen in a more compact circular design.
Fitness, Health and Wellness Tracking
As advanced smartwatches, both the Venu 2 and Pixel Watch are packed with sensors to track health metrics 24/7.
The Garmin Venu 2 can monitor heart rate, blood oxygen, respiration, stress, hydration, sleep, and menstrual cycle. It also has over 25 built-in sport modes like running, cycling, swimming, golf, paddleboarding, yoga, and more. With the GPS, you can track your pace, distance, and route without a phone.
The Pixel Watch has many of the same capabilities. It can track heart rate, sleep stages, SpO2, ECG, calories burned, and over 40 different workouts. The watch also provides wellness features like sleep score and heart health metrics. And with Google Fit integration, all your stats are centralized in the Fit app.
For fitness enthusiasts, the Garmin may have a slight edge thanks to its vast experience developing dedicated sports watches. But the Pixel Watch offers quite robust tracking with the benefit of syncing seamlessly into the Google ecosystem. Both are excellent multi-sport smartwatches.
In addition to health tracking, these watches also offer many smart features when connected to your phone:
- Notifications – Get call, text, app alerts on your wrist. View notifications and quick replies (Android only) on the Pixel Watch.
- Apps – Download additional apps from the Google Play Store or Garmin Connect IQ store.
- Contactless Payments – Make secure payments from your wrist using Google Pay or Garmin Pay.
- Music – Stream playlists and music to Bluetooth headphones. The Venu 2 can store up to 650 songs offline.
- Voice Assistant – Use Google Assistant or Bixby on the Pixel Watch. Garmin has no built-in voice control.
- Phone-free features – With WiFi, you can use features like notifications and payments without your phone nearby. The LTE Pixel Watch also allows calling and messaging without a phone.
Overall, the Pixel Watch likely provides a more seamless smartwatch experience for Android users who are invested in Google services. But the Venu 2 still offers robust notification support and offline music storage.
One of the biggest differences between these two watches is battery life.
The Garmin Venu 2 is rated for up to 11 days of use in smartwatch mode or 8 hours in GPS mode with music. This battery life is excellent, allowing you to go multiple days without charging.
Meanwhile, the Pixel Watch promises up to 24 hours of use. So you‘ll be charging it every night. The always-on display and more advanced smart features explain the lower battery runtime.
If long battery life is important to you, the Garmin Venu 2 is the clear winner here. But the Pixel Watch offers solid battery life for a full-featured smartwatch.
Software and Apps
The software experience differs quite a bit between these two watches:
- The Garmin Venu 2 runs Garmin‘s proprietary OS. The interface has improved over the years but still feels a bit simplistic compared to full smartwatch operating systems.
- The Pixel Watch runs Google‘s Wear OS 3.5, which offers a more advanced and polished smartwatch experience.
In terms of apps, Garmin has the Connect IQ store where you can find apps, watch faces, data fields and widgets. There are some decent third-party apps available.
Meanwhile, the Google Play Store on the Pixel Watch gives you access to all the top Android apps optimized for the watch. This includes apps from Spotify, Strava, MyFitnessPal, Starbucks, and thousands of others.
The Pixel Watch offers a much more robust app selection and modern interface. But Garmin‘s OS has the advantage of being highly optimized for sports and fitness tracking.
Price and Value
The Garmin Venu 2 and Google Pixel Watch both have a price of $349.99 in the US.
At this price point, the watches offer good value considering all the advanced technology packed in. You get an accurate sports watch with health/fitness tracking, GPS, NFC payments, music, notifications, and more.
The Pixel Watch may provide greater value for those invested in the Google/Android ecosystem who will take advantage of the seamless integration. But the much longer battery life of the Venu 2 also adds value if you don‘t want to charge daily.
Overall, both are strong options that compete well in the $350-range price tier for full-featured smartwatches.
Garmin Venu 2 vs Google Pixel Watch: Verdict
So which is the better smartwatch option – the Garmin Venu 2 or Google Pixel Watch?
For fitness-focused users seeking long battery life, robust activity tracking, and sports apps, the Garmin Venu 2 comes out on top. It offers up to 11 days of runtime and has more advanced training features perfect for running, cycling, golf, and more.
But the Google Pixel Watch is likely the better choice if you want a stylish everyday smartwatch with deeper integration with Android phones and Google services. It offers a more seamless experience, thousands of apps, and a modern OS. Just be prepared to charge it daily.
Ultimately, it depends on your priorities and which ecosystem you are invested in. Both Garmin and Google have produced excellent smartwatches packed with features at an affordable $350 price point. You can‘t go wrong with either pick.
History and Evolution of Garmin Venu Smartwatches
Garmin first launched the Venu series in 2019 with the original Garmin Venu smartwatch. This device set Garmin on a path towards more full-featured AMOLED smartwatches beyond just specialized fitness watches.
Some key features of the original Garmin Venu included:
- 1.2” AMOLED display
- 5 day battery life
- Music storage for 500 songs
- Garmin Pay
- Heart rate monitoring
- Sleep tracking
- GPS for activity tracking
- Smart notifications
- 43mm watch case
The Venu was praised for blending Garmin‘s excellent health/fitness tracking technology into a modern, AMOLED smartwatch design.
In 2021, Garmin announced the next generation Garmin Venu 2 and Venu 2S models in 40mm and 45mm sizes. These new Venu 2 watches brought several enhancements:
- Brighter AMOLED display with always-on option
- Thinner watch profile at 11.7mm
- Blood oxygen tracking
- Fitness Age metric
- All-day stress, hydration and respiration tracking
- Women‘s health tracking features
- 25+ built-in sports apps with animated workouts
- Up to 11 days of battery life
The Venu 2 watches have proven to be a popular upgrade over the original Venu, with their longer battery life, vibrant AMOLED screens, and robust health tracking metrics.
In 2022, Garmin subsequently launched the Garmin Venu 2 Plus – adding a speaker and voice calling/assistants to the Venu formula. It‘s essentially a Venu 2 with the added ability to make/receive calls and access voice assistants directly from the watch.
Over just a few years, Garmin‘s Venu line has quickly evolved from a focus on specialized fitness to full-featured AMOLED smartwatches appealing to a wider range of users. It will be interesting to see what new innovations Garmin brings to future Venu devices.
Evolution of Google Pixel Smartwatches
While Garmin has several years of watch development under its belt, Google is just getting started with smartwatches.
The original Google Pixel Watch is the first smartwatch designed and branded directly by Google, representing an important milestone. But Google has offered smartwatch operating systems and partnered with other brands long before the Pixel Watch.
Here is a quick history of Google‘s journey into smartwatches so far:
- 2014 – Google launches Android Wear OS for wearable devices. Early Wear OS watches are produced by LG, Motorola, Asus, Huawei, and others.
- 2018 – Google rebranded Android Wear as Wear OS. The platform continues to be updated and used across partner smartwatches.
- 2020 – Google acquires Fitbit and begins more deeply integrating health/fitness tracking into Wear OS.
- 2022 – The Google Pixel Watch is announced – the first smartwatch designed and branded entirely by Google, showcasing Wear OS capabilities.
With the launch of the Google Pixel Watch, Google has firmly established itself as a maker of smartwatches – not just the software powering them.
The Pixel Watch provides a showcase for Google‘s latest innovations in Wear OS, while integrating best-in-class health tracking capabilities through Fitbit. And it offers deep integration with Google services out-of-the-box.
As the first generation Pixel Watch, this device kicks off an exciting new direction for Google in the smartwatch space. We expect to see Google rapidly iterate and improve the Pixel Watch line in the coming years with new generations. Exciting times are ahead!
Smartwatches in the News
Smartwatches continue to be a hot topic in tech news as new models are released by the largest brands:
Google‘s Pixel Watch launch generated lots of buzz in late 2022. Initial reviews have been quite positive, praising its design and deep integration with Google services. Many reviewers see room for improvement in future versions.
The Apple Watch Series 8 also made headlines following its September 2022 unveiling. Notable new features include crash detection, temperature sensors, and Low Power Mode to extend battery life. However, some critics have said it‘s not a huge upgrade over the Series 7.
Recently, Samsung unveiled its new Galaxy Watch5 series, consisting of the standard Galaxy Watch5 and larger/rugged Galaxy Watch5 Pro. Reviews indicate excellent build quality and fitness tracking accuracy that rivals the Apple Watch.
Google‘s acquisition of Fitbit has also been in the news, as they more closely integrate Fitbit health metrics into Wear OS. Google allowing Fitbit smartwatches to also use Wear OS is a recent development worth watching.
Overall, the smartwatch market is rapidly evolving each year as the biggest tech brands try to differentiate themselves. Exciting new health sensors and longer battery life seem to be areas of focus moving forward. It will be interesting to see what innovations Garmin, Google, Apple, Samsung and others bring in 2023 and beyond.
What‘s Next for Garmin and Google Smartwatches?
Based on the current technology and trends, here is a look at what might be next for the Garmin Venu series and Google Pixel Watch:
Even longer battery life – Expect to see Garmin push towards 14+ days in future Venu models.
Advanced sleep tracking – More insights into sleep stages, apnea detection, resting HRV, and sleep score.
Touch-free controls – Gesture controls or a rotating crown could allow touch-free navigation.
Microphone – For taking calls from the wrist, voice-to-text dictation, and voice assistants.
Solar charging – Solar-assisted battery charging like on the Garmin Instinct Solar could come to the Venu series.
Google Pixel Watch
Faster charging – Improved charging speeds will help offset short battery life.
More health sensors – Additional sensors to track new metrics such as waist circumference, posture, weight lifting reps, sleep apnea, and more.
Slimmer design – Trimming down the thickness and weight for enhanced comfort.
Advanced notifications – More seamless notifications and integration with Android apps.
LTE expands worldwide – Allowing use without a phone for calling, messaging, apps, in more countries.
Third-party watch faces – Greater customization and personalization.
It will be exciting to see which of these rumored features and upgrades actually materialize over the next 1-2 years for these two popular smartwatches.