Garmin Venu SQ 2 Review: Only the essentials

Garmin Venu SQ 2 Review: Only the essentials
  • Garmin Venu SQ 2 is priced at ₹27,990.
  • It is a more affordable option in the Garmin wearable range.
  • The Garmin Venu SQ 2 is available only in a 40mm size.
Garmin recently launched the successor to their Venu SQ smartwatch, the Venu SQ 2. A more affordable option in a rather expensive range of products. When it comes to fitness wearables, Garmin can be considered a pioneer, with products specifically developed around a fit lifestyle. As I mentioned in my Garmin Venu 2 Plus review, Garmin is to fitness what Dyson is to home appliances and Apple is to phones. The products are expensive but are usually at the top of the food chain. But now is when Garmin needs to adapt the most when it comes to pricing. Especially since India became the biggest market for smart wearables this year. And, in a market where pricing is king, more affordable products are the way forward.

So is Venu SQ 2 the product that invites new users to the Garmin ecosystem? I can now answer that since I haven’t taken the smartwatch off for the last ten days.

Price & Availability
The Garmin Venu SQ 2 is available in a single 40mm dial size, which is priced at ₹27,990. The smartwatch is available online at Flipkart and Garmin D2C websites. You can also buy it from Vijay Sales’ offline stores.

Design & Display

Garmin Venu SQ 2 Review: Only the essentials
The display on Venu SQ2 is optimally bright and responsive.


My experience with unboxing the Venu 2 Plus had set up certain expectations with the SQ 2. And not to my surprise, Garmin has lived up to them. The packaging here is minimal, with the smartwatch being delivered in a gray rather generic-looking box. Something we see at a budget price segment. I am used to this since I am a reviewer, but a first-time buyer might get discouraged. At this respectable price point, there is a certain standard of premiumness that a buyer can expect from the get-go. I hope Garmin works on this because the product is solid, literally.

Garmin Venu SQ 2 Review: Only the essentials
It's lightweight with an impressive build quality.

My first introduction to Venu SQ 2 had me experiencing mixed emotions. Starting with the positives, I was impressed right away with the build quality of the smartwatch. Expecting nothing less from Garmin; it feels solid to hold, irrespective of size. The dial is made up of good quality polymer and is surrounded by an aluminum bezel. It is also 5 ATM water resistant, which is a general standard when it comes to Garmins. The brand claims you can take it swimming, and we also get a dedicated swimming pre-set in the watch. I didn't take it for any laps but my gym sessions are very sweaty, and the watch survived them without any issues. I also wore it throughout the day with multiple sessions of washing dishes and washing up in general, without any struggle.

Since the case is a polymer it registers considerably less scratches than we see on glass backs.

The design is also quite practical, with the straps being fairly easy to replace with just one twist. It’s still not as convenient as that an Apple watch, but you can do it yourself, which is a win.

Talking about straps, the bundled pair is of great quality. I have sensitive skin that develops a rash when I strap a watch throughout the day. And so far in my reviewing career, Garmin is the only brand that doesn’t make me go through it. The straps are light, and breathable, and sit comfortably on the wrist.

Garmin Venu SQ 2 Review: Only the essentials
The dial size fits well for both skinny or chunky wrists.

Moving to the dial itself, this is a 40mm case which is smaller than what I am used to wearing. My go-to choices are generally 42-44mm sizes. But after a couple of hours, I have settled with this case as well, thanks to my skinny wrists. Interaction with it though is a separate situation that I will cover in the display section. I also noticed that the smartwatch doesn't necessarily feel lighter because of its size. It’s at par with my Apple watch SE 44mm.

With all that said, if you have big chunky wrists, the smartwatch might look odd sitting there.

For accessibility on the smartwatch, we get two action buttons mounted on the right. The buttons are of good quality, and do require conscious effort to activate them. This is favorable for you since accidental taps won’t ruin a perfect setting during your workout.

Also, I am not particularly a big fan of buttons on a smartwatch, but if they have a practical use case to them, I am all in. Like on the Venu SQ 2, both buttons are customizable as per your preference and come in handy while working out. You can start, pause and stop your readings with a single click. It also gives a sense of accomplishment when you press a button after a successful set.

I kept the buttons on default settings. Where a single tap on the top button would access your favorite workouts and a longer press will open the power menu. While a longer press on the bottom button will open the generic settings like watch faces.

By now, we all know the design and build quality of the smartwatch is solid while being utilitarian. But, where it just lags is aesthetics. Bringing me back to the mixed feelings situation. A general consumer looks at the build quality later and the aesthetics first. This is where the term first impression is the last impression comes into play.

The Venu SQ 2 doesn’t look premium, or simply put doesn’t look the way it should for the price. The lack of any branding also adds to the problem here. The previous Venu SQ at least carried a Garmin logo upfront that differentiated it from the rest of the clutter. I am not exaggerating the situation, but I had people come up to me and confuse the smartwatch with much cheaper options out there. This is not ideal if you are planning to get new consumers to enter an ecosystem.

The Garmin formula of sticking to utility over aesthetics has worked so far. But in a price sensitive and admittingly flamboyant market like India, looks do matter.

Now, the display on the Venu SQ 2 is 1.4-inches AMOLED screen, with considerably chunky bezels. I won’t complain about the bezels here, since we have established that looks aren't a strong suite of this smartwatch.

That being said, the display here is top notch. It’s well lit producing crisp texts which are comfortable to read outdoors as well. The colors here are also easy on the eyes, and the animations are amplified thanks to the screen quality.

The display also supports the always on feature, which in my experience has a miniscule effect on the battery. I however preferred the raise to wake feature more, where the watch would light up when I turned my wrist.

While the display is indeed gorgeous to look at, the touch response is a let down. Compared to the screen on the Venu 2 Plus, this one feels lagging at times. I feel this is not a display issue, but rather an OS issue. This lag became even more apparent when I was doing quick swipes across the screen. Example scrolling the menu. I feel it can be fixed with an OTA update, considering we have solid hardware here.

Now this might be subjective but, the real estate of the display was a problem for me. I have big sausage-like fingers, hence tapping on the display required some precision on my end. I did come around this issue, since I relied heavily on the buttons present on the watch.

OS and User Interface
Garmin Venu SQ 2 Review: Only the essentials
The UI on the watch has a learning curve to it.

The experience of using the Venu SQ 2 is that of a standard Garmin smartwatch. Starting with the pairing of the wearable.

You have to download the Garmin connect application available on both App Store and Google Play Store. Once downloaded you have to scan the code on the watch and set up the preference in the application.

I wouldn’t suggest skipping on any of the prompts on the application while you are setting up the watch. It is crucial to feed in correct information from the get go, so the smartwatch can be efficient in helping you achieve your fitness goals.

Once set-up, the application will provide you a hub to control the smartwatch. The Garmin ecosystem is air tight, with the application providing you detailed metrics of your progress for all your activities.

You can also track and check the prompts made by the sensors on the watch. That means, from your heart rate to sleep tracking the smartwatch maintains detailed logs for your reference. We will talk about the accuracy of these details in the performance section. For now, I can vouch for the easy accessibility of the application.

Garmin Venu SQ 2 Review: Only the essentials
Garmin app provides you access to all the features on the watch.

Garmin Connect App also helps you to customize the watch by providing you options for new watch faces. Some of them can be very interesting like an analog watch face, however I like the default watch face more.

Now, let’s talk about the experience of interacting with the watch. The Venu SQ 2 features the similar Garmin OS that we got on the Venu 2 Plus. However the experience on the Venu SQ 2 was underwhelming.

As I mentioned in the display section, there is a noticeable lag on the OS when we are interacting with it. It’s a mild stutter effect that happens, with the icons moving forward after a split second of your movement. You eventually adapt to it, but again at this price point a consumer is right to expect a smooth experience, which is quick to respond.

Another area where Garmins OS needs to work is the notification management. As I had mentioned in my Venu 2 Plus review, the Garmin OS is terrible with notifications. They keep on piling up if you don’t clear them in real time. Moreover, you need to clear them separately on the smartwatch. So, if you have cleared notifications on your smartphone, but skipped on the SQ 2, it will remain stacked there. I had to disable the notifications for most applications to handle this situation better.

Also, the watch lacks access to a voice assistant, since there is no microphone on board. I am someone whos heavily relied on Siri on my Apple Watch SE, and it is quick to respond as well. So, not having the option here was disappointing, especially considering the price point.

Lack of microphone also plagues replying to notifications. Since you don’t get speech to text here. Something crucial and available in competition.

But all is not bad. The OS does have its high moments. Like the animations. Big bold logos which are easily readable and have interesting animations to them. All the activities have a dedicated logo to them and certain goals have an animation. My favorite is the animation that loads up when you achieve a goal for working out for a certain amount of time. A clock pops up that flashes through the screen, giving you a sense of achievement. It’s a small touch but definitely worth appreciating.

Overall, the Garmin OS on the Venu SQ 2 is interactive, but is held down by hardware limitations like the absence of a microphone. That being said, if you are a minimalist and have a clear goal for your fitness then it’s perfect as is.


This is the section where the Venu SQ 2 redeems itself and how. I want to start it with the battery life.

As I write this review, it’s the 10th day since I strapped the watch on my wrist. In the last 10 days I have worked out for 8 days, walked everyday and slept with the watch on. And, yet it is at 35% right now. And if I see the pattern this can last another 2 days to say the least.

These are phenomenal numbers attributed to the well balanced hardware here. With this the Venu SQ 2 becomes a powerhouse solving the battery crisis that most smartwatches face.

The smartwatch takes about 2 hours to charge completely with the bundled charging dock in the box. Unlike the Apple Watch the Venu SQ 2 is not compatible with 3rd party charging docks. I feel, the convenience

Moving on to the performance of the watch when it comes to fitness. Starting with something as basic as step count. I walk on the same route to my gym everyday which is about 600 meters, which manually counts to about 900 steps. On the Venu SQ 2, it turned out to be 902, which is very close to accurate. For reference my Apple Watch SE counts them as 905.

The Venu SQ 2 also features a new and improved 4th generation heart rate sensor, which is quicker to show the results than what I observed on the Venu 2 Plus. It especially comes in handy while training, since I could see where my body is stressing more, and checking the bpm.

Also, special mention to the integration of the sensor seamlessly into the activities across the smartwatch. It adapts and delivers the results accurately across different sports.

Blood Oxygen saturation sensor on the smartwatch is also fairly accurate and delivers results closer to a pulse oximeter. That being said, I won’t suggest relying on any smartwatch for medical purposes, considering they are not always accurate.

There is also a sleep tracker on the watch, which like I expected shows detailed metrics of your sleep cycle. I am aware a lot of people don’t use sleep tracking mostly because they are not comfortable wearing a smartwatch in bed, or that they charge it overnight. Both these problems are eliminated with the Venu SQ 2. Its compact size and long battery life can help you track your sleeping pattern. The benefits of tracking your sleep is manifold considering you can create a sleeping schedule accordingly and plan your day as well.

Another area where the Venu SQ 2 shines is unique to Garmin. The body battery- an indication of your tiredness. I have relied on the metrics provided by the body battery section to plan my afternoon naps or rest. Leading to a better lifestyle and productivity.

Garmin Venu SQ 2 is a smartwatch for the purists. People who have clear goals in mind when it comes to their fitness. Looking for a wearable that can help them elevate their game to the next level. These are the people who are not necessarily into smart features like calling or voice assistants. They want great performance in terms of precise tracking and great battery life. But, this is a niche set of audience.

For the masses, who want a wholesome product, the Venu SQ 2 is not an ideal choice. They want the bells and whistles attached to the smartwatch. From Bluetooth calling to more interactive OS, they want it all. For them there are plenty of options out there. Both in the Android side of things, and now in the Apple ecosystem as well.