I have been testing the Garmin Venu SQ Music smartwatch for a few days , a watch with a rectangular design, which stands out by the fact that we can connect it to Bluetooth headphones and listen to music without a phone . Of course, the watch has GPS, applications and even games available through the dedicated application. In the lines below I present my experience and opinion on this model.
Design / Display / Build
Its housing is made of anodised aluminum, and the cover is made of a fiber-reinforced polymer. The body of the device measures 40.6 x 37 x 11.5 mm and weighs 37.6 grams. On the sides of the device there are two buttons, pill type, quite easy to press and find, including at night. The screen is an IPS, touch LCD, 1.3 inches diagonal and a resolution of 240×240 pixels. Corning Gorilla Glass 3 also offers protection glass and the smartwatch is water resistant up to 50m (5 ATM). I’m not a big fan of laptops with a square case, but it’s quite small and offers an elegant look, so I didn’t mind this aspect. The strap is standard, 20mm, made of silicone, but Garmin also sells after-market bracelets.
In terms of connectivity, check Bluetooth 4.2 and ANT + to connect and update data in the dedicated application. We also have GPS / Galileo / GLONASS. We also receive NFC, through which we can make contactless payments using Garmin Pay. At the same time, the watch can connect to Wi-Fi without the need for a smartphone and via Bluetooth with headphones or even portable speakers. For charging we find the dedicated Garmin port, which also comes on other models.
Interface and user experience
I connected the smartwatch very easily, through the Garmin Connect application, which gave me all the information I needed. Once connected, we are offered a start-up guide through which we can connect to Wi-Fi, followed by connecting to applications such as Spotify or Deezer . Thus, we can listen to music via WiFi, without the device being connected to the phone. However, in order to receive notifications and reply to messages, we need to be connected to our smartphone. However, the connection to the device was uninterrupted and I received all important notifications.
Although the screen seemed quite small at first, it responds very well to touch controls and gives us access to an advanced section of settings. At the same time, the screen is bright and vibrant, I had no problems using in sunlight. Navigation through the system is done by sliding from top to bottom. We have widgets and applications available through the Garmin IQ Store. With the latter we can customize our laptop, with a lot of watch faces available for download. Garmin Venu SQ Music also comes with contactless payment support. Unfortunately, it didn’t work with my ING card, but it went smoothly with the BT card. All you have to do is navigate to the Garmin Pay menu and the payments are made without any problems.
Garmin Venu SQ Music: The musical experience
Being a smartwatch dedicated to music and not only, Garmin provides us with 4GB of internal memory, to add songs, podcasts and other types of audio files via PC . I tried it on a running lap in this offline mode and I can say that it was quite relaxing, without the need for a smartphone or internet to listen to my favorite songs. Using it, it made me see it more like a smart MP3 all the time on my wrist. I was able to connect the laptop to a bluetooth speaker, although I didn’t use it in this way for a long time. For the most part, I used it connected to the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z headphones, and the audio experience was excellent.
Garmin has eliminated many animations and effects available on other models on this watch to extend the autonomy of the device. Thus, the smartwatch does not have interactive faces or complex animations. Lifespan is 6 days when used without GPS and connected to a smartphone .
Instead, the range is much lower when used in GPS mode with music, reaching somewhere around 6 hours of use. We also have OOD mode available, but Garmin recommends that we do not use it, the reason being also the battery saving. I used it in standard mode, the clock detecting when I was looking at it and it worked pretty promptly.
Garmin Venu SQ Music: Performance and tracking
The smartwatch monitors the continuous pulse and we can set alerts in case of an abnormal heart rhythm. We also have a SpO2 sensor for measuring blood oxygen, and the watch also records the level of stress and energy. Since Venu SQ Music does not have a barometric altimeter, it will not detect when we go up or down stairs. Thus, for tracking, the accelerometer and GPS are used to measure steps, distance or other activities more precisely. Speaking of which, we have a fairly long list of activities available:
- Strength training
- Breathing exercises
- Elliptical bike
- Martial arts
Through this application the connection is made and it offers us some interesting options, besides the fact that we can follow our sports progress. We can choose a “personal trainer”, which works on the principle of progressive challange , every day looking to improve our sports skills. It appears as a widget on the clock and offers us targets every day. Another unique feature would be that we can add the brand of sneakers used during sports activities, which determines the level of wear through the data collected. Also, here we can set Garmin Pay, personalized messages, watch faces and add widgets.
Garmin Connect IQ Store
The Garmin app store, where in addition to a multitude of watch faces, we will find applications and even games that can be added to the device. Among these I mention some that I found interesting and useful:
- Find My Car – Using GPS, we can save the location of the parked car
- Uber ETA by Garmin – Gives us the opportunity to see, using the clock, when the Uber driver arrives
- Maps Nav – Works with Google Maps and displays destination arrows on your smartwatch
- Game 2048
More info at garmin.com
Garmin Venu SQ Music is a balanced smartwatch that offers a good user experience at a decent price. I really liked the control of the device, very simple and intuitive. Autonomy is not bad at all, giving us contactless payments without hassle for 5-6 days. The design is quite catchy and unisex. I would see it on the wrist of people who want to disconnect, several times a week from everyday life, through sports, jogging or the gym, accompanied by the smartwatch that plays the role of MP3, in this case.