Garmin has always been the go-to choice for fitness enthusiasts and serious athletes out there. With many companies fighting for the top spot in the world of fitness tracking, Garmin has created its unique taste in smart wristwear, combining comfort, attractiveness, and functionality.
Both the Garmin Venu and Vivoactive 4 were unveiled lately in 2019 and have been what all users have been asking for in a fitness tracker and smartwatch at the same time. The similarity in design and functions have made it a bit tricky for sports junkies to pick the ultimate choice.
We took both models, integrated them into our lifestyle, and tested their performance in several settings. So, if you’re on the fence about whether to go for the Garmin Venu or Vivoactive 4, continue reading while we give you a clear insight about what both models excel at.
Garmin Venu vs. Vivoactive 4: Which Is Better?
Both Garmin models boast the same range of functions with almost the same fitness and smart features. However, the Venu sports a sleeker and more comfortable design than the Vivoactive 4.
Also, Venu features a better AMOLED display with higher resolution and pixel density, with the trade-off being three hours less on the battery life.
|Model||Garmin Venu||Garmin Vivoactive 4|
|Case size||43mm||40mm and 45mm|
|Display resolution||260 x 260 pixels||390 x 390 pixels|
|Weight||46.3 g||50.5 g|
|Battery||Up to 5 days||Up to 8 days|
|Heart rate monitor||Yes||Yes|
|GPS||Yes + 3D compass||Yes|
Straight out of the box, both models fool the eye to think they’re the same. However, on a closer look, you can make out a few differences.
The exterior design of both the Venu and Vivoactive 4 features a switchable silicon band attached to a round stainless steel case.
The former comes in one case size (43mm), while the latter offers more flexible choices for bigger and smaller wrists with two sizes: 40mm and 45mm. The Vivoactive 4 also provides more color options for those who like to add a pop of color to their smart wristbands.
Meanwhile, the Venu boasts a thinner and considerably lighter design with 4 grams less than its competitor. While it’s not a thing you’d feel right off when you put on the watch, the slight reduction in weight shows its benefits when you wear the watch all day long.
Garmin ditches the usual geeky look of smartwatches and gifts both models with a pliant design that doesn’t look goofy with formal attires nor borderline boring with casual day and night outfits.
The only difference you’ll notice is the rugged edging on the Venu’s bezel, which contrasts the smooth surface of the Vivoactive 4.
As for waterproofness, both feature a rating of 5ATM, which is good news for those who wear their smartwatches to the pool or just don’t like taking them off when washing their hands, bathing, or walking in the rain.
Winner: Garmin Venu for comfort and Vivoactive 4 for the plenty of choices.
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Here is where the most significant difference between both models lies. While the Vivoactive 4 boasts the usual transflective display that does a really good job showing details under the sunlight, the Venu introduces the first AMOLED display in all Garmin’s lines.
Now, this isn’t something new to see in a smartwatch. In fact, Garmin has been a bit late introducing AMOLED displays in its models, so we’re glad it’s finally there in the Venu fitness tracker.
The effect of the new display is evident in the brighter colors and greater visibility of Venu’s screen. Not to mention the more intricate details, thanks to the higher resolution, which reaches 390 x 390 pixels, unlike Vivoactive 4’s resolution, which stands at 260 x 260 pixels.
Don’t get us wrong, the screen of Vivoactive 4 is still impressive, but who doesn’t like a slightly clearer display? It also has a backlight on it to improve visibility when running late at night.
We like the user-friendly interface on both watches, especially the animated settings, which make the watches a lot more fun.
The only drawback in Venu’s display is the lack of an always-on feature which was taken out to conserve the battery with such a high-tech display on board. Unlike the Vivoactive 4, you’ll have to tap on the watch to view the screen.
However, we still think the Garmin Venu deserves this point for the brighter and crispier overall picture.
Winner: Garmin Venu
Fitness and GPS
Since the on-point health and tracking features are Garmin’s bread and butter, both models act as comprehensive multi-activity trackers with precise data feeds.
They have dedicated functions for almost all types of sports, including running, swimming, hiking, cycling, golf, and many others. The Garmin coach is there to help the enthusiastic runners in their journey and design customized programs to help them reach their goals.
For those looking to track their outdoor activities without having their phones on them, the watches feature GPS, GLONASS, and GALILEO on-board. Both watches perform similarly, picking up a signal swiftly and recording your courses, walks, and runs without a hitch.
The only difference is that the Venu has an extra 3D compass, which won’t matter much if you’re not into altitude and hiking.
The Garmin Venu and Vivoactive 4 feature a broad range of health features, including a sleep tracker, stress monitor, pulse oximeter sensor, and heart rate tracker. While the sleep tracker isn’t the most accurate one out there, all other features provide accurate and detailed stats on your body functions.
The pulse oximeter, along with the heart rate tracker, measures your oxygen level and pulse rate, giving you better insights into your condition during working out. And for the ladies, Garmin hasn’t forgotten to integrate their built-in menstrual tracker.
Read also: Garmin Vivosmart 4 vs Fitbit Charge 3
Similar to the health and fitness categories, both models don’t show much of a difference in smart features.
Since they’re primarily sport-oriented, they don’t carry a lot of smart functions like other smartwatches. Yet, they cover the basic features that help you stay connected on the go.
Both Garmin wearables run on Watch OS and feature seamless compatibility with both Android and iOS. You can view app notifications and messages on the screen, though you won’t be able to reply to texts if you’re carrying an iPhone. Only Android users are granted this function.
Due to the lack of a mic and speaker, no voice assistant is packed into both models. Also, you won’t be able to pick up calls from your wrist. The furthest they can do is show you the caller’s ID.
However, thanks to Garmin Pay, you can manage your purchases and shop virtually without digging for your wallet. Also, there’s enough space on both models to store up to 500 songs and download third-party apps.
Since the battery life depends on the number of features and quality of the display, naturally, the Garmin Venu boasts a shorter battery life with a span of up to 5 hours on smart mode. This span decreases to a mere 10 hours with the GPS on and only 5 hours with the GPS and music player on.
Vivoactive 4, on the other hand, carries enough juice to last you more than a week on smart mode. However, with the GPS and music on, the battery life becomes comparable to that of the Venu.
Winner: Garmin Vivoactive 4
Garmin Venu – Pros and Cons:
|Higher-resolution AMOLED screen showing crispier images|
Better color accuracy
Thinner and lighter design for more comfortable wearing experience
|The touchscreen isn’t the best in responsiveness|
Shorter battery life
Garmin Vivoactive 4 – Pros and Cons:
|More color and size options|
Bright display at day and night
Longer battery life
Very responsive touch screen
|Slightly heavier design|
Garmin Venu vs. Vivoactive 4: The Final Say
When it comes down to it, the choice isn’t between which Garmin smartwatch is better but in which area you’re ready to compromise. All in all, both models are nearly the same, save for the subtle differences in the display and battery life.
If you’re willing to compromise the longer battery life for a brighter and higher-quality display, the Garmin Venu should be the choice to go for. On the other hand, users who value a better battery life will be happier with the Vivoactive 4.
Other than that, both models will satisfy your athletic needs and won’t limit your closet choices, so the choice isn’t really that hard after all.