Garmin Venu 2 Plus vs Garmin Epix: A Very Detailed Comparison

This might sound like an oddly quirky comparison, but if the comments section the last week is any indication – there are far more folks than I would have thought who want to know the difference. Thus, when you ask, I…umm…record a video.

So today’s video/post is my best effort at comparing two vastly different watches. One designed for a more mainstream fitness focus, and the other designed for an endurance sports focus. And ironically enough, during large chunks of both December and this past week, I actually wore these watches on opposite wrists. So I’ve got surprisingly direct comparisons between the two in my head, as well as with real-world data.

Of course, the easiest thing to do is to simply hit the play button above. But, if pretty pictures of pretty AMOLED displays aren’t your jam, no worries, I’ve got a boatload of alphabet words below.

No matter the case, keep in mind that I’m trying to distill down two watches that likely have hundreds, if not probably thousands, of nuanced feature differences. Some differences are big and obvious (like mapping or microphones), some less obvious but useful (like number of data fields per page), and some downright obscure (how finitely you can configure the exact days of the week in the do-not-disturb mode). I’ve tried to thread that needle as best as possible without creating an hour-long video that’s still missing hundreds of features.

Oh, and the two in-depth reviews are available here:

Garmin Venu 2 Plus In-Depth Review
Garmin EPIX In-Depth Review

Got it? Good…hold on for the ride!

(Oh, and as a general rule of thumb, virtually any time you see the word ‘Epix’ you can replace it with Fenix 7, except when talking about the display. And frankly, you can also replace it with Fenix 6 or FR945 in almost every situation here too….but more on that later in the post.)

The Differences:


This whole section loosely follows the video, but I’ve got more detail written here, while more photos/video examples are within the video. See, the best of both worlds!

1) Price, Size, Hardware: We’ll start with an easy one, the Venu 2 Plus is basically half the price of the Epix, $449 vs $899. The Epix also has a Sapphire edition at $999 that has multi-band GPS, pre-loaded maps, more storage at 32GB vs 16GB, and sapphire glass with a titanium bezel. Both units have touchscreens that work equally the same in my testing, including with both water and gloves. With the Epix, you have five buttons, whereas the Venu 2 Plus has three. That means that you can use the Epix entirely without touch if you want, but with the Venu 2 Plus you’ll depend on the touchscreen for certain functions (such as picking a sport profile, or any of the settings). Size-wise at the case level, you can see they’re considerably different – even though the viewable display size is identical. The waterproofing spec is 50m on the Venu 2 Plus, and 100m on the Epix. Of course, you can swim with both just fine – and both units have a pool mode (more on sport profiles a bit later).

2) Mapping & Navigation: This category is so vastly different it’s almost hard to comprehend. To begin, the Epix has full maps, whereas the Venu series has none. Within those maps there’s everything from trail and road heatmap data to cafes and monuments, allowing you to both route to those, or simply see that they exist nearby. That then gets into routing, there’s none on the Venu 2 series, you can’t load a course or a route. Whereas on Epix you can load routes/courses from a variety of sources (Komoot, Strava, Garmin Connect, GPX file, etc…), and then once a course is loaded you can not only route atop it, but also get further details like ClimbPro to see how much altitude/distance is left till the top of a climb. Epix also has things like route generation, where it’ll spit out three nearby routes based on the distance and direction of your choosing, leveraging heatmap data. This is useful for impromptu runs and rides in places you may not be familiar with.

Meanwhile, the Venu 2 series does have some rudimentary navigation. You can save a location that you’re currently at (such as your house), and then later choose to ‘navigate’ to it, which is as-the-crow-flies navigation. The same goes for the ‘Back to Start’ option. Both simply are an arrow that points you to that location. If there’s a lake/highway/etc in the way, that’s on you to figure out.

However, the Venu 2 Plus does support Connect IQ, and in turn, you could utilize the DWMap app, which gives you some basic course following capabilities. So that’s a good stopgap for folks that don’t need the full power of a higher-end watch, but still want basic breadcrumb trail following.

3) Speakers & Microphone:
Next, we’ve got something that swings entirely the other direction – which is that the Venu 2 Plus has both a speaker and a mic. It’s important to note that while the Epix has a ‘speaker’, it’s really a beeper. Meaning, the Epix has all assortment of chirps, but can’t sing a song or say words. Whereas the Venu 2 Plus can play music directly, allow you to take calls if your phone is nearby, and has a slew of other more nuanced sounds when it receives text messages or such (it literally sounds more polished). Of course, in addition to the speaker is the microphone, which only the Venu 2 Plus has. This means you can make and receive calls on the Venu 2 Plus, assuming your phone is nearby. Remember that neither watch has LTE built into it, so any function that depends on calling or texting requires your phone to be within range, as it uses Bluetooth to your phone, to in turn connect to cellular networks.

As for the speaker/mic quality, as I showed in my Venu 2 Plus video review, the speaker and mic quality is just fine for a wearable. Sure, it’s not as good as some fancy headphones or even the Apple Watch, but for occasional use in a pinch, it’s totally fine.

4) Voice Assistants: Next, the Venu 2 Plus has a voice assistant feature, whereas the Epix doesn’t. This again leverages that speaker/microphone combo, allowing you to long-hold the middle-right button on the Venu 2 Plus, which in turn connects to the voice assistant on your phone. This means if you’ve got iOS, then you’ll get Apple’s Siri, and if you’ve got a Samsung phone then you can choose between Bixby or Google Assistant. The Garmin Epix (as well as every other watch they make as of this writing) doesn’t have any speaker or microphone in it, so that’s not just a firmware update to address – but would require new/additional hardware.

5) Battery Life: When looking at battery life, there are basically three categories: Always-on smartwatch usage, gesture-mode smartwatch usage, and GPS modes. Starting with the easy ones, here’s how those compare:

Always-on Mode:
Garmin Venu 2 Plus: 2-3 days
Garmin Epix: 6 days

Gesture-based mode:
Garmin Venu 2 Plus: 9 days
Garmin Epix: 16 days

In my testing, those numbers hold up. Most of my focus has been on always-on testing with Epix, and that 6-day number is incredibly consistent, even inclusive of roughly 1-hour workouts one-time per day (some outside with GPS, some indoors).

Then we get to the GPS side of the house. This will vary based on what mode you’re in, and in the case of Epix, the claims also vary based on always-on or gesture mode. Here’s a little chart I made comparing those:


Based on my testing, I actually think the Epix numbers are too conservative, and underestimate the real battery levels of the hardware by a fair chunk (see my Epix vs Fenix 7 comparison post for my battery testing). Garmin does have a history of updating battery claims if need be (they did it for the Edge series a few years ago). So it would not surprise me to see them increase these data points (and, rightly so).

6) The AMOLED Display: Both of these units use the exact same 1.3” AMOLED display. That display has 65K colors, with a 416x416px resolution. The Venu 2 Plus looks smaller because the watch body and bezels are smaller – but ultimately, it’s the same. What’s of course interesting is how the different products utilize that display. Far and away, the Epix utilizes that display better. Not just for the obvious – mapping – but also things like post-workout summaries and charts/graphs in workouts. But a lot of that is driven by the advanced training/course features.

However, there is an area that’s more nuanced that has nothing to do with advanced features, and that’s Sleep Mode.

On the Epix series, there’s a new sleep mode (literally called “Sleep Mode”) that dramatically dims the display at night with a different sleep-mode watch face. While the Venu 2 Plus will go into a sleep mode at night so the display doesn’t turn on automatically, it doesn’t have this dedicated night-time sleep watch face, instead, it’s just whatever you set as your normal (overly bright) watch face. In fact, it didn’t finally click in my head till just two nights ago as to why the Epix felt so much more natural to me than the Venu 2 Plus at night: It wasn’t blinding me when I pressed a button.

I asked Garmin whether they would be adding the sleep mode to the Venu 2 Plus, especially given that Apple does have a dimmed sleep watch face at the same price point. They said they are considering it, but there are no guarantees at this point, or even timelines.

Beyond that, there’s more customization of the display brightness levels on Epix than Venu 2 Plus. In fact, if you double-tap the upper left button on Epix, it has a dedicated and configurable flashlight mode, which uses the display to its full brightness potential.

Speaking of bright things, both are AMOLED displays, which means there’s some concern about burn-in. While we did see burn-in on the first-generation Venu displays, we haven’t seen concerns with the Venu 2 series, which is about 9-months old now. Of course, Garmin has changed quite a bit in how those displays work to mitigate burn-in scenarios. While I’m personally not concerned about normal use cases here triggering burn-in, realistically, only time will tell.

7) Sports Profiles Differences: They both have core sport profiles like running and cycling, strength, yoga, etc… even downhill skiing. But the Venu doesn’t do openwater swimming, nor does it have a multisport mode, so you can’t do a triathlon with it. And then within sport profiles on Epix, you’ve got essentially unlimited data pages and customization, with virtually limitless data fields, including up to eight data fields per page, as well as numerous different data field types elevation, graphical charts, and the compass. The Epix also supports phone-based configuration of data pages and system settings, which the Venu 2 Plus lacks. And the Epix can do voice/audio prompts for things like pace splits (with headphones or your phone nearby), which the Venu 2 Plus can’t.

Meanwhile, on the Venu 2 Plus you get three pages you can customize and a heart rate chart. Each page can have up to 4 data fields on it.

Garmin-Venu2-Plus-Data-Screens Garmin-Venu2-Plus-Data-Field-Foursome

In general, there’s just far more data fields to add on Epix than there is on the Venu 2 Plus. For example, you can add temperature on Epix, but not the Venu 2 Plus. Still, for most of the core data fields you’d expect for running or general cycling, you’ll find them on the Venu 2 Plus.

Here’s the complete list of sport profiles on each unit. Some of these like hydration/challenges/CIQ store/etc just sorta end up in the list because that’s the way the unit shows them, so for completeness I’ve left them here:

Venu 2 Plus: Run, Bike, Hike, Bike Indoor, Treadmill, Indoor Track, Strength, HIIT, Navigate, Breathwork, Health Snapshot, Walk, Walk Indoor, Floor Climb, Pool Swim, Cardio, Yoga, Pilates, Elliptical, Stair Stepper, Climb Indoor, Bouldering, Row Indoor, Ro, SUP, Golf, Ski, Snowboard, XC Ski, Hydration, Challenges

Epix: Run, Hike, Bike, Bike Indoor, Treadmill, Open Water, Navigate, Expedition, Track Me, Map, Map Manager, Connect IQ Store, HRV Stress, Health Snapshot, Multisport, Trail Run, Ultra Run, Virtual Run, Track Run, Indoor Track, Climb, MTB, eBike, eMTB, CycloCross, Gravel Bike, Bike Commute, Bike Tour, Road Bike, Pool Swim, Triathlon, Swimrun, Adventure Race, Strength, Climb Indoor, Bouldering, Ski, Snowboard, Backcountry Ski, XC Classic Ski, XC Skate Ski, Snowshoe, SUP, Surf, Kiteboard, Windsurf, Row, Row Indoor, Kayak, Golf, Tempo Training (Golf), Tennis, Pickleball, Padel, Project Waypoint, Walk, Cardio, HIIT, Yoga, Breathwork, Pilates, Floor Climb, Elliptical, Stair Stepper, Jumpmaster, Tactical, Boat, Clocks, Other

When it comes to structured workouts, they both support downloadable structured workouts from Garmin Connect or 3rd party services. However, the Epix also supports on-device interval workouts (that you can tweak on the watch), as well as PacePro plans for racing, Strava Live Segments, and Lactate Threshold testing.

8) Sensors & Data Metrics: And as you transition into sensors and advanced data metrics, the divide gets deeper. For example, both units support ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart cycling speed and cadence sensors, as well as heart rate straps. And both even support cycling radar and cycling lights. And they can both broadcast your heart rate to apps as both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart, so you can pair to Zwift or a Peloton bike/app.

However, the Epix also supports sensor types like smart trainers, cycling power meters, shifting (e.g. Shimano Di2/SRAM eTAP), as well as Garmin’s Running Dynamics metrics using their sensors (i.e. HRM-TRI/PRO/RUN/RD-POD) – including bits like ground contact type, vertical oscillation, and plenty of other metrics you probably won’t have a use for. Further, it also supports cross-country skiing power using the HRM-PRO. And in the case of mountain biking, it also supports metrics like flow and grit.

Here’s the full sensor types supported on each unit:

Venu 2 Plus: Club Sensors, Headphones, Heart Rate, Speed/Cadence, Foot Pod, Tempe, Lights, Radar

Epix: Club Sensors, Headphones, Heart Rate, Speed/Cadence, Foot Pod, Tempe, Lights, Radar, Power, VIRB, Shimano Di2, Shifting (e.g. eTAP), Extended Display, RD Pod, Muscle O2, Xero Laser Locations, inReach, DogTrack, Smart Trainer

Keep in mind also that for sensors like the smart trainer, it can control that from a structured workout standpoint. And in the case of power meters, it can also record advanced Cycling Dynamics metrics (from multiple companies).

9) Training Load & Recovery: The differences continue to get even deeper in this area. For example, when you finish a run on the Venu 2 Plus, it gives you a tidy single page of a few pieces of summary information, plus the ability to see your laps/zones. Whereas on Epix you’ll get four main pages of detailed metrics on the watch itself, then another half a dozen pages of secondary metrics, all of which are including aspects like training Load and recovery times, what type of workout this was and what it benefited.

Mid-workout, the Epix (as well as the Fenix 7) has the new Stamina feature, which is essentially like the 24×7 Body Battery, but for just a workout. That feature determines how much gas you have in your tank, given that current intensity level. So you could figure out whether that pace in the first mile of a marathon, is viable for another 3-4 hours or not. It’ll straight-up tell you exactly how far/long you can go on this day at that pace.

Further, the Epix will give you more detailed information on what type of workouts you should be doing next – and even give you that exact workout, as part of the daily suggested workouts, which the Venu lacks. It’s always been strange to me that it lacks this, especially given Garmin has numerous less expensive watches and bike computers that do daily suggested workouts. As does their competition, including Polar and Suunto at the $200 price points.

10) GPS Hardware Differences:  The Venu 2 Plus and Epix units use different GPS chipsets. Though, even within the Epix there’s some differences. On the Epix Sapphire edition there’s the new multi-band GPS, which is generally seen as the holy grail of GPS accuracy. Or at least, the potential to be. While it’s been getting better as a whole in the industry (COROS added it last summer with the Vertix 2), I don’t think it’s quite at holy-grail level. Still, it is slightly better than the Venu 2 Plus.

A simple example of this was a run two nights ago I did around some semi-tall buildings, the two watches on opposite wrists, the Epix clearly produced crispier tracks around these buildings whereas the Venu 2 meandered a bit. Once away from the buildings, the two tracks were basically identical.


This is just a simple example from months of testing, but is probably the easiest and most direct way to show it.

11) Music Playback: Both watches can download and play music, including from Spotify, Amazon Music, and Deezer. This portion is functionally identical on both units. However, the Epix has more storage, spec’d with 16-32GB depending on the version, whereas the Venu 2 Plus only has 4GB of storage. Still, keep in mind that’s a heck of a lot of songs on your wrist for workouts – like 500+ songs.

Inversely, while the Epix has more storage, the Venu 2 Plus’s speaker can play that music without headphones, whereas the Epix requires Bluetooth headphones.


12) The Heart Rate Sensor:
This is another quick and easy one: Both have the same Garmin Elevate V4 optical HR sensor. This sensor gets all the same core metrics including 24×7 heart rate, workout heart rate, respiration rate, and other features like stress. And in fact, both have PulseOx to get blood oxygen levels on-demand, 24×7, or just during sleep. And both have the new Health Snapshot feature to collect all this data into a tidy report. The main nuanced difference with the Epix, is that it can also plot those Blood Oxygen levels over altitude over time, for high altitude climbing.


13) Emergency Features: Both units have many of the same safety features like fall/crash detection, which notifies friends and family automatically, as well as both have LiveTrack to share your position automatically, and both have silent safety assistance alerts (such as if you’re feeling uncomfortable in a dark parking lot). However, they differ in that the Venu 2 Plus can actually call someone, including 911 with that microphone/speaker. Whereas Epix just texts someone.

Keep in mind though that neither has LTE, so both do require your phone be within range.

Inversely, while the Epix doesn’t have calling, it does have Garmin inReach accessory support, which is this satellite communicator for when you’re out of cellular range, it’ll integrate with that as an accessory.



Phew! That was a boatload of differences – and the thing is, that’s really only skimming the surface. For almost every feature difference noted above, there’s more features tied to that. For example, you get added data from each one of the added sensor types. Or get a plethora of different navigational features with not just the map, but also even core utilities – stuff like measuring an area, or all of the altimeter/baro/compass (ABC) features. And even then, if you look at the altimeter, you get added configuration options like how and when and what to calibrate to.

It’s literally never-ending.

But, the thing is – like most Garmin features, you probably won’t use them. Or even a fraction of them. However, that’s Garmin’s secret sauce. They know that while *you* might not use them, your neighbor might. And they might not use the features you do. But together, you demand a larger set of features.

In the case of the Venu 2 Plus, it’s an entirely capable GPS running watch. You can easily not just run a marathon with it, but also track hikes, rides, and plenty more other activities. If someone told me today that I needed to do all my runs with the Venu 2 Plus instead of a Forerunner or Fenix series unit – it’d have little to no material difference on my run training – the core features I use day in and day out, are on the Venu 2 Plus. But inversely, if someone said the same for cycling or hiking, for what I use, it wouldn’t fit the bill. On cycling I need power meter support, and for hiking I want course/route support.

However, those added features are found in plenty of other watches that don’t cost $900-$1,000. Almost everything the Epix has, so does the Forerunner 945, and even with that, almost everything the Forerunner 945 has, so does the Forerunner 745 just without maps. And on the endurance athlete side, virtually all the core features can also be found in the COROS Pace 2 for $200 (minus routing), or the Suunto 5 Peak, or Polar Vantage M2 for $329. All of which are solid watches that cost less than the Venu 2 Plus, and still deliver on multisport/training load/etc needs.

So ultimately, it just comes down to what features you use and/or plan to use.

With that – thanks for reading!

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  1. Patrick

    Does the stress, sleep and body battery data from the Venu impact the recovery and training metrics on a Fenix (or 945/745) if you wear the Venu as your day-to-day watch and the Fenix (or 945/745) for workouts?

    • Yeah, that’s messy. I think some aspects do, but I’m unsure about all the gaps that probably exist in that general line of thinking. For example, the FR945/745 is also monitoring stress during the day and such for suggested workout purposes, but I don’t know if it’ll pull that from another unit that isn’t triggering on that.

  2. Kieron

    There is one other difference that I would like to add. I really like the aesthetic of the Venu, where the Epix is too brutal for day to day use. What I was really hoping when the rumours were in flow was that the “AMOLED Fenix” would split the difference – have the Fenix functionality but the nice looks of the Venu. For me, I wouldn’t get the Epix as too expensive for a watch I couldn’t wear 24/7.

    I get looks are subjective, so sure many will disagree with me.

    • Yeah, that’s a tough one and definitely falls in the camp of subjective looks. Some people love the smaller aesthetic of the Venu series, some people love the larger aesthetic of the Fenix series.

    • nadiva

      i am also thinking this way.. Changer from Fenix to Venus. I do want the speaker and microphone, that’s the only thing from Samsung type of smartwatch camp i want. The problem is i can’t fit Fenix under the shirt and when i want to check the notification, i often wrestle with the hand:) The only problem is poor battery life, so i will stick to Fenix5 another year.

    • Zigi

      Hi, great comparison, thnks!
      The Training Load & Recovery section is quiet important for me. Is it possible in the venue 2, to acceses the same data that is presaented in the epix workout summary pages? I mean after wourkout is done and you review that basic venue 2 recovery page, can you ‘zoom in’ in one of the widgets / phone to review this data? If not, do you assume garmin will upgrade thus sectiin along time?

      2. Do the lack of detailed recovery pages effects other recovery widgets outside if the workout? Lets say body battery, recovery time etc..?

      3. I saw in another review that in venue 2 you can scroll in the graph on the widgets, back and forth along time on the watch itself, while in epix you cannot. Do you think it is somthing garmin will make possible in epix?


  3. bobv190

    This is what baffles me ..

    “And the Epix can do voice/audio prompts for things like pace splits, which the Venu 2 Plus can’t.”

    Garmin needs to quit playing games with features like this. Especially given that watches on the low end of the scale like the Forerunner 55 have audio prompts. I probably would have purchased the Venu 2 Plus if it had audio prompts, but I will just stick with my Forerunner 245 as that is a feature I want on my running watch.

    • Mike

      Garmin needs to drastically streamline their smartwatch feature set. Both to prevent consumer confusion with features and SKUs, but also to reduce the complexity of supporting/updating their products.

      There is no reason for their watch lineup to have 7 Instincts, 7 Forerunners and 8 Fenixs. Also, if it is marketed as a smartwatch it should play music.

    • I definitely agree on the feature confusion at the lower end. Adding to yours, why is it that a Venu 2 Plus at $449 doesn’t have a track mode, but a $199 FR55 watch does?

      As for all the unit variants, I also agree there are just far too many. But it’s hard to make that case when Garmin’s financials show they’re having their best years ever, selling more watches than ever before into more segments. Of course, one counter to that is that they’d sell more if it wasn’t so darn confusing to the average person. But I’m not sure that’s an easy argument to make, despite it being quite logical.

      I suppose in some ways we see the same with Apple to a lesser extent, we just all pretend to forget it. They now have three ‘core’ product lines (SE/3/7), plus multiple size variants of each, plus cellular or not of each.

    • usr

      Funny, I’ve made the same argument about variants in the Edge sphere (before they switched to synchronous releases across a wide prince range), “people who can’t decide between a more recent lowend and a sooner outdated highend might just go Wahoo instead”, but I’m not sure it applies to the watchosphere. The feature bouquet is so wide there that many people might actually not mind so much buying by “intended audience group” and then just making ends meet with whatever subset they got.

      Funny how this discussion seems to outline an actual gap in the absurdly wide Garmin portfolio, a “Venu with unrestricted sports”, given that the Epix is so much of a Fenix doppelganger. Perhaps an AMOLED forerunner? Or a yet-unnamed “Marq for her”? “Venu Luxe”? And while were at it, the Marq Athlete featureset, cast into Lily shape using the Vivomove Luxe hidden color screen tech, that would be quite a statement!

    • mato

      Absolutely! I want a sport watch with decent look that I can wear all day for all occasions. Venu is very close to that ideal, only if Garmin didn’t cripple it. I mean why if I pay that much money I don’t get features that cheaper watches have? That’s ridiculous.

    • Adam

      As a apple user except, never having used their watch which I have bought for my kids. I have been a Fenix 3, 5, 6 fan and just bought the Venu 2 plus. Related to that, the Venu 2 plus feels like a tiny string, a watch my wife should wear, cheap build, good display with an always on display that doesn’t works. Apple Ultra trumps Venu 2 if you want to be in that guided world. The choice is between Epix and 7. Quiet frankly, as not an ultra athlete my major concern with the epix in addition to the price is the functionality of the “always on display” if its not “always on” that is pure frustration.

      Thank you for your great reviews they have provided great guidance over the years.

    • Adam

      DC Rainmaker: forgot to ask, after year of review would your preference be the Fenix 7 or Epix 2 in functionality? Is the screen a AMOLED display the winner?

    • Easily for the EPIX for me. The screen is great, and I find the battery life just fine for my purposes.


  4. cmv

    Thanks for the comparison, it’s indeed an interesting one. I just moved from a Vivoactive 3 to a Quatix 6, so I asked myself a lot of the same questions for a while…

    An additional difference: if things haven’t changed from the previous Venu / Vivoactive variants, these don’t have a drill mode for pool swimming. That can be a big deal if you do a lot of kickboard lengths.

    And the weight is also quite different, as is the thickness. These definitely have an impact on how the watches feel on your wrist.

    Also, you say: “frankly, you can also replace it with Fenix 6 or FR945 in almost every situation”. Well, except for the touchscreen. Having just gone from touchscreen to non-touchscreen, I miss the touchscreen for things like Garmin Pay and quick scrolling through the widgets. Of course the fenix 7 and Epix represent the best of both worlds on this point.

  5. Yoeri Geerits

    Hi Ray, do you have any line of sight if / when Garmin will come out with LTE smart watch (the Epix for example) with full smart watch functionality (making calls, reading/responding texts, reading emails, ….). Thanks!! Yoeri (Calgary, Canada)

    • No idea. That was the singular question out of the never-ending list of questions I had sent over that they basically provided a no-comment on.

      (My question was more nuanced, as to *why* there wasn’t an LTE version of their premier watch line when they rolled it out to the FR945LTE 9 months ago.)

  6. Seppl

    There is a rumor about built-in ecg floating in the Garmin Forums. the Venu 2 apparently has Something in the Service Mode.
    Any News on this…?

    • Garmin was testing it last summer as part of an academic study. Not sure we ever saw results from that.

      My assumption would be that if there was something in the Venu 2 that had the hardware to pull off an ECG , that a tear-down would have shown that by now. Then again, Garmin tear-downs aren’t that popular.

    • Oh, and here’s an example of a tear-down of an Apple Watch that shows all the ECG components: link to systemplus.fr

  7. David

    dcrainmaker: Thanks for doing the comparison. I’ve been searching online for this very comparison for two weeks, to no avail. Google ‘pushed’ it (given my futile search history) and I landed here.

    I still don’t know which option I’ll go with, but your perspective and thoughts are helpful.

  8. Hoot

    I currently own an Enduro, a Marq Aviator and a V2 (which my daughter wears most of the time). The V2’s screen is, as described and mentioned many times, just beautiful and I was totally getting ready for the EPIX. But because of two missing features, which will probably come sooner or later, I will wait for the Epix+…..the phone connectivity of the V2+ and the flashlight of the F7.

    • Indeed, really wish there was a flashlight in the Epix. However, you do at least have the faux-flashlight.

    • Lubomír Navrátil

      Hello, has the Epix automatic light sensor? ai haven’t found it.. I tried the Epix for a day, but will continue with Venu 2. If the Epix would have speaker, mic and LTE, I would definitaly buy it, even for the actual price. But till the time, I’ m bored of Garmin’ s game withe the features… like it was already written… Venu 2 measuring swimming, but only a pool ones… wtf..? So still waiting and hoping for another “all in one” model. And thank you for your great reviews 👍👌.

    • Ken Dart

      When would we expect a new Epix 3 or Epix 2+ to arrive on the Garmin product cycle?

      Thank you for taking the time to review these feature-rich watches so we can be informed before laying down the $$! I just subscribed to your YT channel, the videos have been very helpful.

    • Pre-covid, Garmin had roughly a 14-18 month refresh cycle for the Fenix series. During covid that’s stretched to 2.5 years. (~30 months). With sometimes a mid-cycle update at the ~8-12 month marker (such as new variants, like with the Fenix 6 adding 6/6S Solar variants a year later).

      I’d assume Garmin will keep any Epix/Fenix announcements together, and I’d assume they’ll want to get LTE variants into the market soon. But I’ve got no idea if that’s a this summer soon, or a next year soon.

    • Ken Dart

      Thanks for providing this information. Well, I bought the Epix 2 to try out because I’m attracted to the features and additional fitness data it can so easily provide but I wish it was in the form factor of the Venu. If I can’t live with the additional size/mass, I’ll return it and get the Venu 2+.

      I’m with you, I’d guess they would try to implement LTE as a major feature in the next product cycle update.

  9. Jamie Kelly

    On The Differences, part 5 (battery life), paragraph 2 you have “and that 6-hour number”. Think that should read “and that 6-day number”, unless your Epix battery life went seriously downhill when writing this!

  10. Sebastian

    The Garmin Venu 2 Plus link at the bottom of the article takes me to the Venu 2 review. Amazon link in the UK also redirects to Venu 1st gen but that might be Amazon’s fault.

  11. you don't need this

    How is the weight on these devices? Are they metal or plastic? I’ve seen some Garmin devices in shops in town that are plastic and costing 200+.

  12. AKH

    It is such a shame that Garmin didn’t make the Epix in 3 sizes like the Fenix. Or at least a slightly smaller Epix than the 47 mm. I would really like to get the Epix, but still holding back due to the size. I currently have the Fenix 6s which is a really nice size (42 mm), but going up to 47 mm makes me hesitate a lot.

  13. Francis

    I am coming from a FR935 and love the looks of the Venu2. It’s just a great watch to wear 24/7. I could even live with the reduced feature set as I do not need maps or fance running stuff, I mostly run and hike with some ski touring in Winter for which the “hike” profile will be sufficient.
    The dealbreaker for me is the lack of pause/resume feature for an activity. If you want to pause it will prompt you to save the activity after 15 min which you need to actively dismiss. However, GPS and everything else stays turned on, so you have significant battery drain. I like to pause the FR935 for lunch breakes on hikes or when at the top of a mountain and changing my ski gear.

    DC Rainmaker – would you know if Garmin ever considers bringing that feature to the Venu Series? Or could you ask them? I see so many posts/videos complaining about this feature not being present on the Venus that it would make sense to reach out.
    It’s a Dealbreaker for me and Fenix/Epix are just feature (and price) overkill for me, besides that I don’t like the looks/weight of them. The worst is even that cheaper Forerunners have it on board!


    • Yeah, I’ve brought it up in the past. Apparently, it’s something they don’t see targetted at the Venu/Vivoactive customer.

      I worry at times, that they don’t realize that the overlap of ‘more advanced sports’ people wanting a Venu style watch is far greater than it was a few years ago.

      Maybe by the end of the year this sort of discussion will be moot, and we’ll be sitting with a slate of AMOLED watches across product lines though. Not sure.

    • mato

      That’s such a cheap excuse from them. I mean that feature doesn’t cost anything, it’s already developed for other watches. And it doesn’t complicate anything for Venu users who don’t need it. It’s a short sighted deliberate decision on their part.

  14. Vernon Stevens

    After a spinal cord tumour was removed by an amazing French surgeon, I found my DF days were over; however unlike the supposed top UK military neurosurgeon who discussed wheelchairs with me, I have graduated to a AZUB tadpole trike. I read your report on the Venu 2 Plus, thought … that’s for me. I considered a Fenix 6 Sapphire (reaching perhaps halfway support life?). I certainly realised that there were vastly more capable watches on the horizon. I also use a Garmin Edge Explore, having given up on the 820, mainly to highlight when traffic is behind me (Garmin RTL 515 … why no camera?). I have covered 500km since Xmas on the Azub Ti-Fly 26 with EP8 motor and Rohloff gears (has been relatively warm here in SW France), I normally have the Shimano EP8 motor off or ECO (to keep or possibly gain muscle mass lost) and the Rohloff gears so that I don’t have to worry about stopping on hills (3 wheels has stopped my wife laughing as I fall over when my legs have their “moment). The Venu 2 Plus fills all the criteria for me; I look forward to replacing my Edge computer after you have reviewed the new stable (I might also get some Garmin Power pedals to monitor my muscles).

  15. Dave

    I got the Epix yesterday, spent the day with it, and packed it up for return. It feels less snappy than my Fenix 6 and the touch screen is not that useful in my day to day use. I also don’t see anything on the Fenix 7 that would make me want to upgrade, but if they added the flashlight to the smaller ones…

  16. Chris

    Thanks Ray! Last week I asked you (okay, complained) about the lack of evaluations of instant pace and overall distance. Yesterday I posted my own comparison of instant pace for the Epix 2 & FR-745, using a calibrated Stryd foot pod. You and your readers might be curious to check it out:

    link to forums.garmin.com

    What do you think about incorporating this approach in some of your future evaluations? You have access to a much wider range of devices than most. (Lots of people have had complaints about pace and distance on the Fenix 6, it would be nice to see if the Fenix 7 is an improvement)

    • Interesting – I like the approach, and seems pretty clear/clean. Also, a relatively easy/straightforward workout to replicate.

      I’ll see if I can set aside some time over the next few weeks to drag out some devices. I think the one notable thing you did, whether purposeful or not, that’s worth pointing out as good, is that you put your FR235 strapped to your hand. That’s how I’ve been doing it the last few years for secondary devices where I don’t care about HR (usually paired to a chest strap) – and it’ll get much cleaner accelerometer data than hand-holding. Plus, it keeps your hands free for usage).

  17. John

    Have the Bluetooth sensors improved since fenix 6, in terms of connection quality to headphones, phones etc? I tried fenix 6 connected to my AirPods Pro a couple times, which seems like a very clear connection path, and got too many dropouts to ever bother again. Bluetooth always seems very weak on Fenix watches

  18. The Real Bob

    I think you hit the nail on the head with this comparison. A friend of mine and myself are avid bikers but do others stuff also, a little running, skiing, hiking, etc. We both have had the 935 forever. This is the exact choice we were both looking at, the epix vs the venue2plus. (I also had fenix 7 in my thoughts, but he wanted amoled)

    He ended up going with the epix, I chose to stay put. There are just too many missing things from the venue 2 plus that we both wanted. Sensor support, health metrics, etc.

    As you stated, the epix is just overkill for my use case. Plus, I tried a fenix on before and that extra 25-30 grams over the 935 is noticeable for all day use, at least to me. I forget I am even wearing the 935 most of the time..

    If the venue 2 came with all the health metrics (stamina, etc) and complete sensor support (power meters, trainers, etc) I would have bought it today.

    I want a watch that has all the health metrics, battery life of my 935, and sensor support, 50grams or less.

    I think 935, at the time, hit that mark. I guess I will wait for the 955. But the 955 will be mostly overkill for me also.

    Thanks again Ray, great comparison and definitely more relevant a comparison that is happening in the real world for many people.

    • Brendan

      As another long time 935 user, I fully agree. I have tried a Fenix 6 but returned it as the extra mass was noticeable and so just not as comfortable to wear (for me), despite the nice software upgrades.

    • TedP

      Agreed 935 and 945 were great. I don’t like that the 945 LTE got smaller. Hoping the 955 sticks to 47x47mm

  19. Jeff K

    I owned a Fenix 3 for many years before upgrading to the Venu2 last year. I tried to hold out for the AMOLED fenix, but my deteriorating vision (over 50) forced my hand. So glad I didn’t wait! I really like the Venu2. VERY readable and pretty screen. 900 for a watch is way too much. If I go back to triathlons, I will probably get a coros or something to handle open water, power meter, and multi-sport situations, but I haven’t figured that out. Short of that, I use a bike wahoo bolt for all my bike needs and the Venu2 seems to handle everything else just fine!

    • mato

      And especially considering these are watches for just a few years and then both their HW and SW is obsolete. Compared to nice automatic watches that will keep their value and will last for the rest of your life.

  20. John

    Do you see the Edge series going AMOLED anytime soon, or ever? At the prices they sell the high end models for (like 1030), seems viable. I always find bike computer screens hard to read in shadowy light and this would help a lot. Seems it would be trivial to add a beefier battery as well, but I suppose roadies would complain about weight?

  21. Nic Ooms

    Huge thanks for posting this. Even though this may be an apples to oranges comparison, Garmin needs to understand that there is a huge subset of fitness enthusiast who want all the features of Fenix but with touch screen, gorgeous display etc etc. I hope Epix 2 is the first step toward that. I would have preferred if they went with full blown apple watch with Epix 2 while keeping all the training metrics and mapping from fenix. I believe there are lot of folks who want full cellular functionality. And when I say cellular I mean be able to listen to music on the go, be able to text, take short calls etc. I am not sure why Garmin didn’t do that with Epix 2. My guess is price or tech challenges. But I feel it was a hugely missed opportunity.

    • Brian Driscoll

      Garmin says the technology for speaker/mic is not compatible with 100m waterproofness. But yeah, I totally agree that having full cellular capability would have made the Epix 2 a killer watch. At my age (66), I’m not going to wait for the next product cycle, so I’ll grab it now and enjoy the amoled screen. It’s also a welcome size upgrade for my aging eyes from my 6S Pro.

      If the Venu 2+ had maps, I’d snap it up. Too bad Garmin didn’t release an upgraded version (more memory), to fill in the gap between the Venu and the Epix. Even a rumor of such would satisfy me, as I don’t need all the advanced training metrics of the Epix but I love and will use the mapping capability.

  22. Alberto

    I am waiting for the “Venu 2 plus vs Apple Watch” comparison

    • Vernon Stevens

      Alberto, I have a Venu 2 Plus and a Apple Watch 6. The Garmin, to my mind, beats the Apple Watch hands down for the middle aged guy (62 yrs old, guess I’m at the top end of that) who just wants to record his exercise, his daily odds and sods without Apple pushing for breaths etc. The Garmin battery is good for 5 days plus, which means I choose when to put the watch down to charge, without missing sleep data, which is an important distinction. With Garmin you can do an occasional fitness assessment when you choose. I am not a fitness star, I am disabled (severe neurological issues below chest after removal of tumour sat inside my spinal cord at T6 … it would never be reset back 🧐). I ride a Azub Trike (this month I have done 522 km so far) after stability issues had me falling off my bike. I like the Fitness Age side, if you do a lot of exercise, your heart is strong and you sleep well then you can see the effect on your real age; might be considered gimmicky now but give Garmin a few years and they will have nailed it. The speaker and microphone work well with iPhone 11 and Music (archived and Spotify). So for me, Garmin has converted me back (I used to have a Garmin 730XT before falling over, then too many metrics for my needs) from the AW3 GPS&LTE/AW6. But, just because it suits this casual fitness guy doesn’t mean it is right for you.

  23. Yousef

    how do you rate the raise to wake function on epix compared to venu 2, it is almost a deal breaker while actual using and u have to wait for 1 second for the fade and watch face to appear each time you flip your wrist,

    please update on this

    • nadiva

      this gesture generally doesn’t work well. Maybe Huawei is closest to perfection. 1sec is one delay, but there’s a several second delay as you reattempt to do the gesture.

  24. nadiva

    The most relevant comparison ever. That’s what people think – stick to Fenix or get something more smart watchy. I’d like Venu2 with:
    – sapphire glass
    – normal charging (a.k.a. wireless), remove that ugly cable for good
    – last as long as Epix
    I just hate blank screen, need AOD. And want the mic. Need Watch 3 Pro with Garmin software quality.

  25. mato

    Absolutely! I want a sport watch with decent look that I can wear all day for all occasions. Venu is very close to that ideal, only if Garmin didn’t cripple it. I mean why if I pay that much money I don’t get features that cheaper watches have? That’s ridiculous.

  26. Brian

    Dude, your reviews are amazing. Thanks for putting in the work. I really like my Garmin Fenix 6, but it’s very thick, and I feel like the HR monitor digs too much into my wrist. I’d like to upgrade to the Fenix 7 (or Epix), but – on paper – the size is almost exactly the same. Do the specs include the HR bump? And/or does the Fenix 7 have a ‘flatter’ profile than the F6? Thanks, Brian

  27. Adriana

    Hi! I need some advice and I think you’re the one that could help me. I currently have vivoactive4, but there are a lot of things that I started to miss and decided to upgrade. I’ve watched a lot of reviews on YT, read a lot of reviews, but still don’t know what’s best for me. I’m wondering between the forerunner 945, venu 2 and epix 2 (although this price hurts a bit and I don’t know if I really need all the features). I run 3 times a week mainly in the city / in the stadium, but I would also like to introduce cross-country / forest runs and therefore I think that navigation would be useful, which automatically disqualifies venu 2. In addition, I also train 3-4 times in the gym and I’d really want to have the status of training after these trainings (training load) and recovery, which also disqualifies venu 2. However, after vivoactive4 I liked the touch screen very much, which, unfortunately, is not available in the forerunner. So I am asking for help, is epix 2 really the only option in this case? Thanks!

  28. Weslley Figueiredo

    Currently i’m using 945 for training and AW for day to day use and sleep tracking. I was wondering to replace both for Venu 2 plus. I run marathons and what i need is just something good enough to execute my TrainingPeaks workouts and to have a cool activity tracking and sleep tracking features (and a oled screen). Do you think that Venu 2 plus could be a good option? Is there any limitation for runners to execute structured workouts? I was think to buy Epix but i’m guessing that is too big and to heavy for day to day or to sleep with it on. Thanks for the great content

  29. Frank

    I would like to get some clarity on the support for different sensor types on these (and other Garmin) watches – specifically, if I pair an HRM-Run (which has Running Dynamics) with the Venu, will the Running Dynamics data fields be recorded into the FIT file, or is that data just tossed out? (Or – maybe I can’t pair that chest strap with a Venu at all?!)

    I’ve done some FIT file programming and some ConnectIQ programming, and it would seem to me that the data should be preserved even if the watch isn’t using / displaying it — but then again, Garmin’s marketing department has some, um, unique ideas about forcing customers into segments via feature restriction, and they seem to run the show at Garmin.

    On a related note, I’ve seen reports that the Training Effect data is recorded by the Venu, and that it’s passed along and accessible in the FIT file, even though the Venu doesn’t display the data – and it seems that the Garmin Connect app & webapp don’t display that data when the source is the Venu (though this last bit isn’t absolutely clear to me either).

    Wish this whole sensor and data compatibility issue was made clear somewhere!! (and I nominate you Ray for this!! please….!)

    • No, the Venu series doesn’t even record the data at all. So it’s not in the FIT file.


    • rent

      actually the Venu2 does record training effect data to the fit file. Looking at my runalyze database all of my Venu2 sessions offer this data, see the picture attached.
      In Garmin Connect this data is not shown, neither on the watch. In Runalyze it actually is.

    • Sorry, in my reply I was referring to the Running Dynamics bits in the .FIT file.

  30. Zigi

    Hi, great comparison, thnks!
    The Training Load & Recovery section is quiet important for me. Is it possible in the venue 2, to acceses the same data that is presaented in the epix workout summary pages? I mean after wourkout is done and you review that basic venue 2 recovery page, can you ‘zoom in’ in one of the widgets / phone to review this data? If not, do you assume garmin will upgrade thus sectiin along time?

    2. Do the lack of detailed recovery pages effects other recovery widgets outside if the workout? Lets say body battery, recovery time etc..?

    3. I saw in another review that in venue 2 you can scroll in the graph on the widgets, back and forth along time on the watch itself, while in epix you cannot. Do you think it is somthing garmin will make possible in epix?

    4. Do you think garnin will allow enable in the future connection between the more advanced HR strap and venue2?


  31. Kevin C

    Awesome write-up as usual Ray! I’ve had a Venu 2 Plus for a few months now and have been thinking of upgrading to the Epix for the mapping functionality. Decided to make the jump after reading this comparison.

  32. Ricardo Cagigal Bolado

    Todo bien explicado, cuando necesito saber el máximo de detalles de interés deportivo acudo a su página. Gracias por sus opiniones, son muy útiles para saber cuál es el producto más aconsejable para cada necesidad

  33. Jorg van Eerten


  34. Pie

    Any chance we can get an updated video of the Epix 2 Pro vs Venu 3 that just came out? Thanks a bunch, love your videos.