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?
- Screen Quality – The Garmin Venu has a full HD AMOLED Screen (390x390px). The Vivoactive 4 has a lower resolution screen(260x260px).
- Smartwatch Battery Life – The general battery life of the Vivoactive 4 (8 days) is almost double that of the Venu (5 days)
- 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
Garmin Vivoactive 4 vs Garmin Venu - Key Differences
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
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.
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.