Ideal lifestyle smartwatch

Garmin Venu

$ 300 at Amazon


  • Built-in GPS
  • Music storage
  • Bright AMOLED touchscreen
  • Garmin Pay


  • Shorter battery life
  • Lacks advanced running features

In addition to built-in GPS and health/activity tracking, you’ll also enjoy some other wonderful perks on the Venu. This smartwatch boasts a colorful touchscreen, music storage, Garmin Pay, on-screen workouts, and more.

Runner’s dream watch

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music

$ 296 at Amazon


  • Built-in GPS
  • Music storage
  • Superior battery life
  • Advanced running features


  • Lacks touchscreen
  • No altimeter or Garmin Pay

The Forerunner 245 Music is specifically made for runners. That means you’ll get more than standard workouts and health/activity tracking. Some examples include training status, training effect, and training load.

Picking out a smartwatch isn’t as easy as it seems, especially when there are so many to choose from, like the Garmin Venu and the Forerunner 245 Music. One way to narrow it down is to figure out what you want to use it for: basic workouts or more hardcore running? You can also compare some solid contenders. Garmin is one of the most reputable brands on the market. You’ll find an assortment of watches that cater to different needs. Whether you’re looking for a lifestyle smartwatch or a running smartwatch, Garmin has options for you.

Cut from the same cloth

Pictured: Garmin Venu

The Venu is one of the latest releases from Garmin and it has grabbed the attention of many. It’s the first one the company created with a crisp AMOLED display, for starters. It has two side buttons for bringing up a list of activities and one that serves as a back button, but it complements them with a convenient touchscreen. Given that the display isn’t exactly huge, it might be a bit tricky to navigate at first. Even still, you have to admit that a full five days of battery life with a screen this bright is pretty impressive.

While both of these smartwatches are cut from the same Garmin cloth we know and love, they’re not identical twins. The case sizes are pretty similar, but the Venu appeals more to those who are looking for a stylish watch. It’s got a stunning stainless steel bezel that comes in slate, silver, gold, and rose gold. It comes with a 20mm quick release silicone band, which you can easily replace.

Venu Foreruner 245 Music
Display 1.2″ AMOLED
390 x 390 pixels
1.2″ transflective
240 x 240 pixels
Dimensions 43.2 x 43.2 x 12.4 mm 42.3 x 42.3 x 12.2 mm
Sensors GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Garmin Elevate™ wrist heart rate, accelerometer, altimeter, compass, gyroscope, Pulse Ox, thermometer GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Garmin Elevate™ wrist heart rate, accelerometer, compass, Pulse Ox
Battery life Smartwatch mode: 5 days
GPS with music: 6 hours
Smartwatch mode: 7 days
GPS with music: 6 hours
Water resistance 5 ATM 5 ATM
Touchscreen ✔️
Garmin Pay ✔️
Animated workouts ✔️
Music storage ✔️ ✔️

Both the Venu and the Forerunner 245 Music come with music storage for up to 500 songs. When you combine this with built-in GPS, it’s easy to leave your phone at home or in your gym locker when it’s time for a workout. They both also come with a 5 ATM water-resistance rating, so they can withstand showers and pool swims without a problem.

As far as the features go, there is some overlap to be found on these two models.

As far as the features go, there is some overlap to be found on these two models. You’ll have the Body Battery energy monitoring features, which helps you better understand your energy levels throughout the day so you can schedule activities and rest times accordingly. Both watches have a Pulse Ox sensor, which monitors your blood oxygen saturation levels. This also helps to provide more insightful sleep data.

Aside from that, both have built-in GPS, heart-rate monitoring, as well as sleep and stress tracking. Some of the same sport modes are offered on both the Venu and the Forerunner 245 Music, like indoor and outdoor running, indoor and outdoor cycling, indoor and outdoor rowing, and pool swimming.

Slight differences

Pictured: Garmin Forerunner 245 Music

To make a decision between two smartwatches, it’s important to understand how they differ. As you might’ve guessed by now, the major distinction is that one is designed for active individuals who want to track an array of activities and the other is focused on running. The Forerunner 245 Music gives runners access to advanced training metrics mentioned earlier on. This will allow you to assess your current training status to let you know if you’re undertraining or overdoing it.

The Garmin Forerunner 245 Music has the upper hand in running features.

The Garmin Forerunner 245 Music has the upper hand in running features. You can pair your watch with a compatible chest strap or the Garmin Running Dynamics Pod. You’ll get access to metrics such as stride length, ground contact time, cadence, and more. It doesn’t have an AMOLED touchscreen, but this model packs an extra two days of battery life into the mix because of its transflective display. It’s also more lightweight thanks to its fiber-reinforced polymer case. These watches also come with 20mm quick release silicone bands.

Those who prefer a bigger variety of sports rather than just running will most likely prefer the Garmin Venu. The additional sport modes include golfing, snowboarding, skiing, cross country skiing, rowing, and paddleboarding. This smartwatch also offers on-screen animated workouts that you can follow along with. The Venu comes with pre-loaded cardio, strength, yoga, and pilates workouts for this feature but you can download more from the Garmin Connect app.

Bottom line

While the Venu and the Forerunner 245 Music have their fair share of similarities, the main difference is who they’re made for. If you want the full smartwatch experience and a wide variety of sport modes, you’ll be better off with the Garmin Venu. It’s got a beautiful touchscreen, Garmin Pay, music storage, and an excellent health/activity tracking suite.

Those who need something that’s specifically geared toward runners might prefer the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music. You’ll have music storage and a great health/activity tracking suite along with advanced running features that can help you train as you work toward your goals. Either way, both of these Garmin smartwatches are ideal picks depending on what you’re looking for.

Ideal lifestyle smartwatch

Garmin Venu

A little bit of everything

If you think of a smartwatch and vibrant touchscreens, mobile payments, and animated workouts come to mind, you’ll appreciate the Garmin Venu. It’s a true lifestyle smartwatch with an extensive health/activity tracking suite.

Runner’s dream watch

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music

Run your heart out

When running is your passion, you want to find a watch that can keep up. The Forerunner 245 Music delivers on that front. You have access to advanced metrics that help you train for runs and monitor your ongoing progress.

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