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Garmin Venu Hands-On: This Is One Classy Smartwatch

(Image credit: Future)

Garmin is updating its style-focused Vivomove and Vivoactive smartwatches, and introducing a new watch, the Garmin Venu, which features a bright AMOLED display. All of the watches will be available in September, with a starting price of $249. We had a chance to take an early look at all of these devices; here are our first impressions.

Pricing and Availability

All of Garmin's watches will be available in September. Pricing is as follows:

Garmin Venu: $349

Garmin Vivomove Luxe: $499-$549

Garmin Vivomove Style: $299-$349

Garmin Vivomove 3 & 3S: $249

Garmin Vivoactive 4 & 4S: $349

Garmin Venu 

(Image credit: Future)

The newest smartwatch in Garmin's lineup, the Garmin Venu boasts a 1.2-inch AMOLED touchscreen display, built-in GPS, the ability to download music from Spotify and Deezer, sleep tracking, and animated on-screen workouts. Other features include Garmin Pay, menstrual cycle tracking and smartphone notifications. A new Pulse Ox sensor measures the amount of oxygen in your blood, and uses that data in conjunction with your respiration to determine the quality of your sleep.

Garmin says the Venu's battery will last up to five days in watch mode, and up to six hours when using both GPS and music.

The Garmin Venu will come in six different styles; I tried on the rose gold case with the white band, and was impressed with how colors popped off the screen. I'm very curious to see how it stands up to bright sunlight, though. The watch's bezel seems a bit large, too. 

The Garmin Venu will be available in September for $399.

Garmin Vivomove

(Image credit: Future)

Garmin is ditching the Vivomove HR moniker—after all, most smartwatches have heart rate tracking—but splitting the Vivomove into three lines: The Vivomove Luxe ($499-$549), Vivomove Style ($299-$349), and Vivomove 3 & 3S ($249). Garmin will offer 16 different versions in total, with a mixture of black, silver, and rose gold watchfaces, as well as black gray, and pink bands made of leather, woven nylon, and silicone, depending on the model you choose.

Garmin Vivomove comparison

Garmin Vivomove LuxeGarmin Vivomove StyleGarmin Vivomove 3 & 3S
Price$499-$549$299-$349$249
Case42mm/Stainless steel42mm/aluminum39mm, 44mm/ stainless steel
DisplayDual AMOLED, Sapphire lensDual AMOLED, Gorilla GlassOLED
Battery Life (smartwatch mode)5 days5 days5 days

(Image credit: Future)

The fashion play among Garmin's smartwatches, the Vivomove series has both traditional hour and minute hands, but the watch face itself has small displays that show such things as your heart rate, steps taken, and notifications. Back when we reviewed the Vivomove HR, we found it hard to read the digital readout, as there was little contrast between it and the rose gold watchface. Unfortunately, this doesn't appear to have changed much in the newest Vivomove, but we'll wait until we've had a chance to test it to render a final verdict. 

At the top end is the Vivomove Luxe, which will have a stainless steel watch case and a domed sapphire lens, as well as a color AMOLED display. Below that is the Vivomove Style, which has the AMOLED display but a Corning Gorilla Glass lens. The Vivomove 3 and 3S (the only version to come in two sizes) will have a touchscreen, but no AMOLED display.

All variants of the Vivomove will have a built-in heart rate monitor, smart notifications, and Garmin Pay, as well as fitness features such as sleep tracking and Garmin's "Body Battery" measurement, which provides a quick metric to show how "charged" your body is; it takes into account various data, such as how much exercise you've had, and your sleep from the night before. None of the watches have GPS built in, but they can use the GPS from your phone when it's connected via Bluetooth. 

Garmin Vivoactive 4 & 4S

(Image credit: Garmin)

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 and 4S are essentially the Garmin Venu without the AMOLED display. At $349, they're $50 less expensive, and depending on the model, will last longer on a charge. 

The Vivoactive 4 has a 45mm case, and will last up to eight days in smartwatch mode and six hours when using GPS and music. 

The Vivoactive 4S has a 40mm case, and will last up to seven days in smartwatch mode, and five hours when using GPS and music.

Between the Venu, the Vivoactive, the Vivomove, and the Fenix 6, Garmin is releasing a bevy of new fitness-focused smartwatches this fall. We're interested to see how they compare to the Fitbit Versa 2, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, as well as more traditional smartwatches like the Apple Watch. Stay tuned.