Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs Garmin Venu – Product Comparison

Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs Garmin Venu – Product Comparison

This is a simple product comparison between the Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs Garmin Venu

Of all the Garmin’s that have ever been created, these two models are as close as they have come to creating identical twins.

I say this, because functionally speaking, the two watches are pretty much exactly the same. They literally have the same technological chassis. It’s really just the cosmetics, screen quality and battery life where they differ. 

What are the main differences between the Vivoactive 4 and the Garmin Venu?

  1. Screen Quality – The Garmin Venu has a full HD AMOLED Screen (390x390px). The Vivoactive 4 has a lower resolution screen(260x260px). 
  2. Smartwatch Battery Life – The general battery life of the Vivoactive 4 (8 days) is almost double that of the Venu (5 days)
  3. Design – Although they do look pretty similar, the Vivoactive 4 is definitely the better looking of the two. 

Now that that the most important differences have  been revealed, let’s take a look at the key similarities, and a few of the more subtle differences, using some simple comparison tables. 

Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs Garmin Venu - Key Similarities

Vivoactive 4

Garmin Venu


Wrist-based HRM

Optical HRM when Swimming

24/7 Activity Tracking

Sleep Tracking + Stress Tracking


Indoor + Outdoor Running

Indoor + Outdoor Cycling

Indoor + Outdoor Rowing

Pool Swimming

Barometric Altimeter

Accelerometer, Compass, Gyroscope


Garmin Running Coach

Body Battery Score

Pulse Oximeter

Golf Mode

Music Storage & Apps

Payments from watch

Incident Detection (Safety Tracking)

Bluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi®

Sports/Activity Modes



3rd Party Running Power

Stryd + RunScribe

Stryd + RunScribe

Open Water Swimming

Triathlon Mode

Advanced Running Dynamics

Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs Garmin Venu - Key Differences

Vivoactive 4

Garmin Venu


Less Expensive

More Expensive

Screen Size



Screen Resolution



Smartwatch Battery Life

8 Days

5 Days

GPS Battery Life

18 Hours

20 Hours

View more images on Amazon

The Full List of Sports Modes

Vivoactive 4 - Sports Modes Garmin Venu - Sports Modes
01) Strength Training 01) Strength Training
02) Cardio Training 02) Cardio Training
03) Elliptical Training 03) Elliptical Training
04) Stair Stepping 04) Stair Stepping
05) Floor Climbing 05) Floor Climbing
06) Indoor Rowing 06) Indoor Rowing
07) Yoga 07) Yoga
08) Running 08) Running
09) Treadmill Running 09) Treadmill Running
10) Indoor Track Running 10) Indoor Track Running
11) Skiing 11) Skiing
12) Snowboarding 12) Snowboarding
13) Cross Country Skiing 13) Cross Country Skiing
14) Stand Up Paddleboarding 14) Stand Up Paddleboarding
15) Rowing 15) Rowing
16) Cycling 16) Cycling
17) Indoor Cycling 17) Indoor Cycling
18) Pool Swimming 18) Pool Swimming
19) Golf Mode 19) Golf Mode

One of the reasons the Garmin Vivoactive 4 and the Garmin Venu have so many sports modes is because of the built-in barometric altimeter. This opens up extreme sports like skiing and snowboarding, and it also means that both watches automatically measure how many flights of stairs you take over the course of the day.

Then it’s worth mentioning that both watches also have a built-in golf mode, which is a massive win for people who play 18 holes regularly. 

From a sports mode perspective, the only real weakness of the Vivoactive 4 and the Garmin Venu is that neither watch can track open water swimming or triathlons (these two things tend to go hand in hand). 

Does the Vivoactive 4 Support Garmin Running Power

Niether the Garmin Vivoactive 4 nor the Garmin Venu support Garmin Running Power. This is because neither watch boasts support for Garmin Advanced Running Dynamics, which is an essential ingredient in Garmin’s running power calculations

Does the Garmin Venu support Garmin advanced running dynamics?

Sadly, the Garmin Venu and the Vivoactive 4 both lack support for Garmin Running Power. This is why super passionate runners might be better served by the Forerunner 245 or the Forerunner 645. 

Features Unique to Garmin Venu

We mentioned this at the beginning of the article, but it’s worth re-emphasizing. The bullet points below should help clarify the difference between the screens:

It has that peculiar bevel around the watch face

I feel like Garmin added the bevel to help distinguish between the two watches.

I don’t think they made the right call here. The main reason the Vivoactive 4 is better looking than the Venu is because it doesn’t have the bevel. The Venu would have been better served without this design feature.

It should probably be called the Vivoactive 4 HD

If the Venu was called the Vivoactive 4 HD, this whole comparison would be a lot simpler. This pseudo product title is  easier for most Garmin users to understand, and it makes it clear that the higher definition screen is the key selling point. 

Also, if they had made this decision, there would be no need for that bloody bevel. 

Features Unique to Garmin Vivoactive 4

Men's & Women's Version - Vivoactive 4 Only

Garmin have been introducing men’s and women’s versions into several key product lines, and it’s a decision that we applaud. Just keep a look out for the ‘S’ at the end of the product title. The ‘S’ stands for small, and a lot of women tend to prefer the more compact design. 

Longer Smartwatch Battery Life - Vivoactive 4

The Venu will always be more power hungry than the Vivoactive 4, because of the higher resolution screen. We already laid these stats out earlier in the article, but just to re-emphasize the difference between the two in terms of battery life, let’s bring in a simple table.  

Vivoactive 4 Battery Life Garmin Venu Battery Life
Smartwatch Mode - 8 Days Smartwatch Mode - 5 Days
GPS Battery Life - 18 Hours GPS Mode - 20 Hours
GPS + Music - 6 Hours GPS + Music - 6 Hours

Better Product Design - Vivoactive 4

Honestly, I think the design of the Vivoactive 4 is literally its best feature. It’s one of the best looking watches that Garmin has ever made.

They basically took the best components of the original Vivoactive 3 and the Vivoactive 3 Music, went back to the drawing board, and came back with something spectacular. 

If I had to summarize the design of the Vivoactive 4 in a single word, ‘elegant’ would be my first choice.

So which one is better?

Even though they are so similar, I know exactly where I stand on this particular matter. The Vivoactive 4 is better than the Garmin Venu for the following reasons.

  • It’s better looking – The Vivoactive 4 is a really good looking watch. The bevel around the Garmin Venu isn’t particularly attractive. 
  • It has a longer  everyday battery life – When it comes to battery life, longer = better, end of story. 
  • It’s more affordable, without sacrificing any features – You literally get all the same functionality, for about 50 dollars less. 

So as far as I’m concerned, it’s a triple win for the Vivoactive 4. You may lose out on the higher resolution screen, but that is literally the only advantage of the Garmin VENU. 

2 thoughts on “Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs Garmin Venu – Product Comparison

  1. Which is actually brighter? I get it that the OLED is higher resolution and perhaps the colors are better, but these eyes are getting weaker as I get older and I’m still wondering which to buy. Can’t find any specs anywhere on the brightness and no one locally has them both that I can go look at yet.

    • Hi Terry.
      If brightness is a concern, my feeling is that the Venu would be the safer bet. The screen is bigger, brighter and sharper. It’s a triple win for the Venu in this respect.

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