For a long time, Garmin has been synonymous with the large, chunky sports watch adorning the wrists of adventures and marathon runners. Yet over the past couple of years, Garmin has been quietly trying to change this perception, releasing fitness-first smartwatches that look nice enough to wear to the office, or for drinks with friends.
Today, the tech brand launches two new watches at CES 2022, both heading in the same direction. The Vivomove Sport and the Venu 2 Plus are both hybrid smartwatches designed to look great, while still tracking your steps, heart rate, and calories burned.
If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that health is about far more than the steps you take every day, or how hard you worked on that one tempo run. Both of these watches are aimed at the fitness fanatic who wants to wear their sports watch 24/7, to get a full picture of their overall health — from how well they slept, to how much water they’ve managed to sip. It’s an encouraging move and a nod to the bigger changes we’re seeing in the fitness world right now.
Keen to get to the good bit? We’ve been wearing the Vivomove Sport and the Venu 2 Plus for the past few weeks to bring you hands-on feedback on Garmin’s latest releases. Read our Garmin Vivomove Sport review here, and our Garmin Venu 2 Plus review here.
Garmin Vivomove Sport
The Vivomove Sport is an entry-level fitness tracker that looks like the kind of watch you used to wear before you cared about fitness. It’s got the ticking hands of a traditional watch, as well as a smart display. The Vivomove Sport is also packed with health-tracking features usually reserved for Garmin’s more expensive smartwatches, such as blood oxygen levels.
I like to think of the Vivomove Sport as an upgraded version of the Vivomove HR Sport version — it’s smaller, lighter, and has more health tracking features. Not just a pretty face, the Vivomove Sport gives you the ability to track ten different activities, as well as your sleep, hydration, and menstrual cycle from your wrist. The watch doesn’t have in-built GPS, so is definitely aimed at beginners rather than marathon runners, and on-the-run, I found it fiddly, but this, in my opinion, is a fault with the entire Vivomove line, not the Vivomove Sport.
That said, the affordable price point (the watch retails at $179.99) makes this a brilliant cheap fitness tracker, which easily competes with the likes of the Fitbit Charge 5. The watch is available on the Garmin website now, and comes in four different colors — brown, white, mint green, and black.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus
This one was a little unexpected, as the Garmin Venu 2 only launched last April, but with the Garmin Venu 2 Plus, Garmin has aimed to solve one of the biggest omissions from the Venu 2 — voice assistant.
To better challenge its big-name competitors, the $449 Garmin Venu 2 Plus introduces on-wrist calls and voice assistants. While it maintains Garmin’s reputation for thorough fitness tracking and accurate GPS, the Venu 2 Plus is now a stronger sell for those who want their smartwatch to act as an extension of their smartphone.
Our Senior Writer Kate Kozuch writes, "The Garmin Venu 2 Plus promises a more connected smartwatch experience than most other Garmin watches. With Android and iOS phone call support, making and answering calls from my wrist was a breeze. In addition to being able to make a call without digging for a phone, the Venu 2 Plus pairs with smartphone assistants. A long press of the watch’s middle button summoned Siri, letting me send texts or control the best HomeKit devices using my voice. Those with Google Assistant- and Bixby-enabled smartphones should benefit from the same convenience."
The Venu 2 Plus can hold up to 650 songs, including playlists from Spotify, Amazon Music, and more. Garmin Pay, mirrored notifications, and tools like timers are also integrated into the user experience.
The Venu 2 Plus retails at $499 and is available on the Garmin website now in all black, white and gold, and grey and silver.
- See our CES 2022 live blog for all the latest product news