Garmin Venu 3 Review - A ‘Swiss Army Knife’ SmartWatch
Updated: Nov 8
The Garmin Venu 3 is one of the few smartwatches I would rather have if I were stranded in the middle of nowhere. It's one of the few smartwatches that can still operate smoothly without needing to connect to a phone, and the GPS and Spotify continue to work even without a data connection. On top of that, if water is inaccessible, the battery life on this smartwatch will probably outlive me.
In terms of design, the Venu 3 is available in two sizes: the 45mm Venu 3 and the 41mm Venu 3S. Both have AMOLED touchscreen displays that are easy to read in all lighting conditions. The Venu 3 screen measures 1.4 inches, while the 3S is 1.2 inches. Both run on the new Garmin Elevate V5 optical heart rate sensor and have a lightweight, durable design suitable for daily wear and workouts. Colour options include Graphite, Cream Gold, and White/Gold.
Under the hood, the Venu 3 models are powered by the Mediatek processors. Even though these quad-core processors are used to power some of the entry-level mobile phones, they still perform fairly well without any lag. Its probably due to the low requirements of the watch’s apps. The watch also comes with 8GB of storage, which provides ample storage for music and apps compared to previous Venus. Both WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity are supported as well. The Venu 3 also has the latest multi-GNSS GPS chip, which provides quick satellite acquisition and accurate location tracking.
For health and wellness tracking, the Venu 3 monitors all-day heart rate and blood oxygen levels with the Elevate V5 sensor. While ECG is not currently supported, the sensor hardware is capable of this. Respiration tracking during sleep is also new. The Venu 3 can detect naps automatically in addition to full nighttime sleep sessions. Detailed sleep data includes estimated sleep stages. The new Sleep Coach is one of many new sleep-focused metrics and tools that Garmin has added to the Venu 3. This aims to provide customised sleep recommendations to the user based on their activity levels, heart rate variability, and other factors. Personally, I am not a big fan of sleep trackers. As most smartwatches require daily charging, the night is probably the best time to leave your devices to charge. Although Venu 3 doesn’t require daily charging, I feel the bulkiness of the watch does make it less comfortable to wear it throughout the night.
The Venu 3 expands on Garmin's sports and fitness tracking with the addition of several new activity profiles, such as open-water swimming and handcycling. It can also track wheelchair pushes and create custom interval workouts on the device. Advanced running dynamics, VO2 max, training status, and recovery time metrics provide deep insights for serious athletes. The Venu 3 supports external power metres, cycling smart trainers, and eBike sensors via ANT+ and Bluetooth connections as well.
For notifications, the Venu 3 supports smartphone calls, SMS, and calendars. You will also get alerts from any apps, including popular messaging apps like Whatsapp, Line or Wechat but unlike the Pixel and Apple Watch, you won’t be able to reply to messages using the watch.
Garmin has also partnered with Spotify, allowing you to download your playlist directly to your watch. This allows you to listen to your favourite music on the go, even without the need for an internet connection. It also doesn’t interrupt your Spotify account, which could be playing on another device.
Battery life is impressive, at up to 14 days in smartwatch mode on the larger Venu 3 and 10 days on the smaller Venu 3S. This is a huge plus compared to the other smart watches, which typically last only 1 to 2 days of use. Charging time from empty to full is approximately an hour and 15 minutes.
Some other notable features include the new Morning Report and Daily Summary widgets, which provide daily overviews. The Recents menu allows for quick access to recent apps and workouts. Breathwork activities and a flashlight function utilising the display are also included. Notifications are clear, and emoji support is excellent. The Spotify app allows the downloading of your playlist onto the watch, and you will be able to play the downloaded songs without the need for an internet connection. It also does not affect songs that are playing on another device using the same account.
One of the key selling points of the Garmin Smartwatches is its compatibility with both Android and iOS, and the Venu 3 takes an already solid fitness-focused smartwatch and elevates it with new sleep, wellness, and sports tracking features. Its impressive battery life, responsive touchscreen, and wealth of health metrics make it a versatile device for both casual wellness users and serious athletes. The Venu 3 does come at a hefty price tag of S$669. While missing ECG for now, those who are seeking in-depth fitness and wellness data and don't enjoy the daily charging hassle, the Garmin Venu 3 does seem to be the only go-to option.