This week, Apple announced their new Apple Watch Series 5 smartwatch. This came on the heels of Garmin revealing their first ever AMOLED-display watch, the Garmin Venu, the week before. It has all of the typical Garmin greatness with a really beautiful screen as well. Now that they are both here, let’s take a look at a head comparison of the Apple Watch Series 5 vs the Garmin Venu (which is the same thing as the new Garmin Vivoactive 4 but with the better screen).
Comparison of the Apple Watch Series 5 vs Garmin Venu, the Garmin with the Beautiful Screen
Garmin has done an amazing job this year of releasing new products. We have the Garmin Forerunner 945 which I absolutely loved, the new Garmin Fenix 6 series (my current watch – I think the best Garmin yet), the new Garmin Vivoactive 4 and the new Garmin Venu. All of them deliver music, longer battery life, and more features for athletes.
This is somewhat contrary to the Apple Watch Series 5 which really didn’t push the envelope that much – they delivered a new always-on display, a compass, international emergency calling on the LTE model, and that is pretty much it.
But, athletes/fitness enthusiasts do gravitate to the question of Apple Watch Series 5 vs Garmin Venu or Vivoactive 4. So, let’s break down a feature comparison to try and help you with that decision.
Apple Watch Series 5 models are on sale now and delivered/available next Friday (September 20) and the Garmin Venu will be out next month. It makes it easy that the price is exactly the same (unless you opt for the 44mm Apple Watch Series 5, that is an extra $29).
Let me say this again to be clear – the Garmin Venu and the Garmin Vivoactive 4 are the same watch inside, just the display is different.
|Specification||Apple Watch Series 5||Garmin Venu / Vivoactive 4|
|Battery Life||General Use: 18 Hours|
GPS Use: 6 Hours
GPS w/Music: 5 Hours
|General Use: Up to 5 Days
GPS Use w/Music: 6 Hours
|Music Storage||32GB of storage||Up to 500 songs|
|Water Resistant||Up to 50 meters||Yes, for swimming but not scuba diving|
|Native Sleep Tracking||No*||Yes|
|Built-in Heart Rate Monitor||Yes||Yes|
|Glass Material||Ion-X Strengthened Glass||Corning Gorilla Glass 3|
|Weight||30.8 grams for 40mm|
36.5 grams for 44mm
Both are case weights
|Dimensions||40 x 34 x 10.74mm for 40mm|
44 x 38 x 10.74 mm for 44mm
|43.2 x 43.2 x 12.4 mm|
|Sensors||Barometric altimeter, Optical heart sensor, Electrical heart sensor, Accelerometer up to 32 g-forces, Gyroscope, Improved ambient light sensor, Compass||Garmin Elevate™ wrist heart rate monitor, Barometric altimeter, Compass, Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Thermometer, Pulse Ox|
|GPS Technology||GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS||GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo|
|Compatible with iOS and Android||No||Yes|
|Switchable watch bands||Yes||Yes|
Price Comparisons for Apple Watch Series 5 vs Garmin Venu / Vivoactive 4
The Apple Watch Series 5 base model (no LTE or special metal casings) costs $399 for the 40mm size or $429 for the 44mm size. The Garmin Venu comes in one size and costs $399. The Garmin Vivoactive 4 comes in two sizes and both cost $349 – one is 40mm and one is 45mm. Again, they are internally the same as the Venu but without the better screen (which means better battery life).
The “X” Factor with Both Watches
For runners, I contend that Garmin still does a better job in delivering the best device for that purpose. Not only are there are ton of data screens that can be used (vs Apple still using only a few and forcing you to use a 3rd party app), but the GPS tends to be snappier (instead of Apple’s famous “smoothing” of the GPS path to create a more Apple experience) and you do not have to charge it as often.
Also, this year, Garmin has gone all in with PulseOx. This can be useful if you do mountain climbing or are trying to get altitude acclimation. Also, it is a nice data point to see some of your health stats (I only leave mine on for readings at night as it does suck the battery life for all-day use). Another thing they have done is to beef up their wrist-based heart rate sensor to allow for underwater readings, something that had not worked before. Again, they lead Apple on these readings fronts.
At the same price, which do you choose? I would say that the Apple Watch Series 5 would be the winner if you want two-way interaction with your notifications and want to leave your phone where it is. However, if you value longer battery life, more customization with data that the watch collects for workouts, and a watch that looks like a watch, the Garmin Venu is hard to beat. I absolutely love my Garmin Fenix 6 Pro but would like to give the Venu a gander too so look for upcoming reviews and comparisons of them in real-life use.