Garmin has announced the Venu 3, the latest version of its most smartwatch-like series of wearables.
What’s it all about? The Venu 3 effectively brings the features of the Venu 2 Plus to the watch sizes we got in the Venu 2 series, plus a bit more. It’s available in 41mm and 45mm sizes.
The Venu 3 is not that exciting an upgrade, but Garmin has also announced a couple of additional software features. These seem likely to come to other Garmin watches in time, a point I have asked the company about. But there are some important changes to note for Venu 2 owners.
Here’s a quick run-down.
Smaller bezels, larger screens
Garmin trimmed down screen borders in the Venu 2 Plus. That style has been brought over to the Venu 3, leading to larger screens versus the diameter of the watch face.
The 45mm Venu 3 has a 1.4-inch screen, the 45mm Venu 2 a 1.3-inch one. This also comes with an increase in resolution from 416 x 416 pixels to 454 x 454 pixels.
This does not lead to a dramatic change in clarity of functionality, but it will make the Venu 3 look that bit more slick.
Microphone and speaker
A combo of a microphone and speaker is another element introduced in the Venu 2 Plus, and brought into the Venu 3.
This lets you take calls, from a connected phone, play music and talk to your phone’s digital assistant. Garmin uses the example of being able to reply to text messages using your voice.
New heart rate hardware
The one clear part that is fresh for the Venu 3 alone, in this wider family at least, is the new heart rate array. Garmin’s Venu 2 and Venu 2 Plus both have four light sensors, two LED light points.
The Venu 3 has four of the light sensors, but six LED points. It’s the same arrangement seen in recent high-end Garmin watches like the Fenix 7 Pro.
This should, in theory, lead to better heart rate reliability and stability from the Venu 3 than the Venu 2.
The first of Garmin’s new software features is nap detection. A lack of this has been one of the longstanding criticisms of Garmin’s watches, particularly when sleep will have an impact on the kind of workouts your watch suggests you should do.
A Venu 3 will be able to “automatically” track these naps, although how successfully it will be able to do this for, say, a 20-minute power nap remains to be seen. How do you separate a nap from a meditation session, after all? Perhaps this is why Garmin says you can “automatically track or log your naps,” suggesting manual logging may be needed at times.
This ties into the new Sleep Coach feature, which is a bulked-up version of the Sleep Insights of the Venu 2.
The Venu 3 also introduces wheelchair mode. This can monitor the number of strokes someone makes in a day, the equivalent of step counting, and there are also dedicated activity modes for wheelchair users.
These can, just like the standard running mode, log your location when you exercise outdoors. But they’ll tally the number of strokes rather than steps. It’s a worthwhile addition, although Apple added wheelchair workouts support way back in 2016 with WatchOS 3.