You possibly can count on three issues from a Garmin: lengthy battery life, sturdiness, and extra health knowledge than is strictly essential. All that’s true of the $449.99 Venu 3S. However in comparison with the corporate’s beefy multisport watches that is, technically talking, Garmin’s most smartwatch-like watch.
That’s not a excessive bar to clear, however there’s loads to love right here. There are new coronary heart price sensors which help EKG readings for atrial fibrillation detection. Garmin has additionally added a extra superior sleep coach and, lastly, nap detection. On the wellness entrance, it contains audio meditation periods. And just like the Venu 2 Plus, it additionally has a mic and speaker so you should use your cellphone’s voice assistant. The Venu 3 collection can be the primary to introduce a wheelchair mode. There are a number of design tweaks and a few extra premium options which have trickled all the way down to the Venu 3 collection — all of which add as much as a greater total expertise from its predecessors.
If this have been about $100 cheaper, I’d say Garmin’s rivals (cough Fitbit cough) must be nervous. Because it stands, I’m having a tough time getting over the worth — even when it checks off loads of the appropriate packing containers.
Lengthy lasting, sporty stylish
A number of years again, each Garmin leaned closely on rugged, chunky design sensibilities and black or neon colours. The few stylish choices accessible have been exorbitantly priced with a so-so function set. So I’m happy that the Venu 3 collection is a pleasant mixture of affordability, enjoyable styling, and luxury.
The Venu 3 collection is available in two sizes: the 41mm Venu 3S and the 45mm Venu 3. I’ve obtained smaller wrists, so I opted for the 3S. My evaluation unit has a gold stainless-steel bezel with a pinkish-purple case and strap. It’s contemporary and enjoyable with out being too garish. Typically with extra colourful watches, it’s a must to make a tradeoff for extra formal occasions. You don’t actually have to do this right here. I used to be capable of put on this to some enterprise occasions, and there are extra muted shade choices that also have a trendy aptitude. The 1.2-inch OLED show is crisp, and you’ve got a good choice of watchfaces and issues to select from.
The 3S can be slim and comfortable to put on, measuring 12mm thick and weighing 40g with the strap. I examined this watch all through the autumn and had zero points with the case catching on my varied jacket sleeves. I by no means had the urge to tear it off in the course of the evening both.
This isn’t the hardiest Garmin, however that’s high quality because it’s clearly aimed toward extra casual-to-intermediate customers. I’m not notably light with my units and this factor survived a number of bouts in opposition to my kitten’s fangs. I wouldn’t advocate it in the event you’re partaking in excessive sports activities or susceptible to whacking your units in opposition to door jambs, however you’re high quality for on a regular basis exercises.
Battery life was additionally on par with what I anticipated. The 3S will get 9 to 10 days on a single cost the always-on show disabled. With it on, that’ll drop to round 4 to 6 days, relying in your utilization. (I typically do 30 to 60 minutes of every day GPS exercise on the very best GNSS settings when testing, with all notifications enabled.)
Extra wellness than smarts
Garmin watches are good, however they’re extra just like Fitbits than the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch in the case of smarts. They’re health trackers which have some sensible options, and the Venu 3S has greater than most Garmins.
The principle factor that makes the Venu 3 collection sensible is the flexibility to take calls from the wrist and work together together with your cellphone’s voice assistant over Bluetooth. This was launched on the Venu 2 Plus a number of years again, nevertheless it’s nonetheless not one thing you’ll discover in Garmin’s product lineup outdoors these three watches. All of it works nicely. Calls sound clear, and it is useful even when the watch itself doesn’t have LTE. I additionally assume it’s the appropriate transfer for a platform-agnostic wearable to make use of your cellphone’s voice assistant. It’s much more sensible than Amazon Alexa, which is what Fossil watches, Fitbits, and another finances trackers have opted for prior to now.
In any other case, the sensible options are pretty fundamental. You get the everyday alarms, timers, calendar, and climate. It additionally helps contactless funds through Garmin Pay. However like each different Garmin watch, the third-party app ecosystem is paltry. You’ve obtained Spotify for offline playlists, however the Garmin Join IQ retailer isn’t anyplace near what the Apple App Retailer or Google Play Retailer has to supply. Garmin has a bunch of third-party integrations with outdoorsy apps like Strava and Komoot, nevertheless it’s not fairly the identical factor.
The place the watch shines is in its mixture of wellness options. Significantly with regard to sleep monitoring — an space the place Garmin has tended to lag behind the competitors.
Sleep Coach is a brand new function that contextualizes your sleep knowledge by factoring in your nightly coronary heart price variability (new to the Venu 3 collection), age, exercise historical past, and any naps you may need taken. That’s a giant deal, since a lot of Garmin’s platform facilities round coaching and your physique’s bodily readiness to tackle extra pressure. In my expertise, Garmin’s so-so sleep monitoring would often muck up these restoration metrics — particularly since earlier than the Venu 3 collection, Garmin units couldn’t even account in your naps!
It’s baffling that Garmin had omitted nap detection for therefore lengthy, so I’m glad it’s right here now. I take loads of naps in the course of the busy tech evaluation season, and for essentially the most half, the 3S did a very good job of catching after I snuck in some additional Zzz’s. I wouldn’t say it was excellent. There have been a number of occasions the place it was a bit off when it comes to period in comparison with my Oura Ring Gen 3. However total, it was ok and I felt extra assured in my restoration and coaching load metrics.
On the wrist, you additionally get extra detailed metrics than earlier than. It’s not a drastic change, nevertheless it does make Garmin’s knowledge simpler to visually digest.
Exterior of sleep monitoring, the Venu 3 collection additionally introduces audio guided meditation periods. I’m typically not a fan of those sorts of options, nevertheless it’s nicely performed. You possibly can select a mantra that you simply stick into your cellphone, audio tracks, and an total theme whereas watching a guided visible on the wrist. It’s a very good use of the OLED show and microphone. I additionally dig that it tracks your coronary heart price, respiration price, and the way that impacts your total bodily stress. Oura and Fitbit supply comparable options on their units, and it’s good for skeptical of us like me to see how meditation periods influence your metrics. (That stated, I’m nonetheless not going to make use of this function ceaselessly.)
It’s additionally encouraging to see that Garmin lately expanded the variety of units that now help its EKG and atrial fibrillation function. I attempted it on the Venu 3S, and I used to be unsurprised to see that it detected no indicators of AFib. That stated, in the event you’re in fine condition and don’t have any recognized danger elements, this isn’t vital function. As for coronary heart price accuracy, I discovered that it was correct to inside about 5 bpm of my Polar H10 chest strap throughout exercises.
One other neat little replace: the Venu 3S now helps a number of GNSS techniques as an alternative of simply GPS. It’s not the extra correct dual-frequency GPS you’ll discover on the Fenix 7, 7 Professional, or second-gen Epix watches, nevertheless it’s a step up. That stated, I did have some wonkiness in my GPS outcomes early on in testing the place the Venu 3S was a few tenth of a mile off from my Apple Watch Extremely and cellphone. That’s not an enormous drawback for informal customers or at shorter distances like a 5K or 10K. It’s extra of a factor to bear in mind in the event you primarily run longer distances, like half marathons or marathons. For people who prioritize GPS, I’d take into account the Forerunner 265 as an alternative because it’s the identical value however comes with dual-frequency GPS.
These are what I discover to be essentially the most significant updates. However I’d be remiss if I didn’t be aware that regardless of this being a way of life Garmin, this has a buttload of coaching options, too. You get Garmin Coach, which gives free and downloadable coaching plans for operating and biking. You get Physique Battery, which is Garmin’s metric for visualizing how a lot power you’ve on a given day. You possibly can broadcast your HR to varied health club tools, view HR zones, get restoration time estimates, and consider on-screen muscle maps for power exercises. It’s not as expansive because the top-of-the-line Garmins, nevertheless it’s rather more complete than what you’ll discover on a Fitbit.
A pricier Fitbit different
The one factor I don’t like in regards to the Venu 3S is that it’s $450. The mobile 41mm Apple Watch Collection 9 is similar value, whereas the LTE variations of the Google Pixel Watch 2 and 40mm Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 value $400 and $270, respectively. The non-LTE variations of all three watches might be had for much less. In the meantime, the Venu 3S doesn’t have the potential for LTE, so its primary benefits are battery life and health monitoring. And with health monitoring, these competing flagships ship a good-enough expertise for the informal customers at whom this specific Garmin is aimed.
The in any other case glorious Venu 3S can be a sufferer of Garmin’s bloated product lineup. I’ve stated it numerous occasions, however Garmin might stand to prune its choices in order that its merchandise aren’t competing with one another. Like I stated earlier, the Forerunner 265 is a really comparable product that prices the identical, and there are a handful of different life-style Garmins that value a lot much less that might additionally enchantment to potential Venu 3 customers.
So who is that this for? Garmins are typically a greater match for disgruntled Fitbit customers. The function set and battery life are comparable, as is the general concentrate on health over smarts. The worth disparity can simply be powerful to swallow. The Fitbit Sense 2, for example, is the priciest Fitbit, has an identical function set, barely higher smarts, and you’ll typically discover it on sale for round $250. Garmin’s primary benefit right here is best construct high quality, no Google or server shenanigans, and no paywalled options.
It boils all the way down to what kind of Garmin you wish to put money into. For many athletes searching for a less expensive Garmin, the Forerunner watches are probably a greater use of your cash. That is for the Garmin customers who need an itty bitty bit extra sensible performance from their machine — and don’t thoughts paying a premium for it.
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