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Garmin Venu 3/3S vs Apple Watch | Which Smartwatch Is Right for You?

Garmin Venu 3/3S vs Apple Watch | Which Smartwatch Is Right for You?

Introducing the Garmin with more smartwatch swagger. Find out if Apple Watches can compete with the Venu 3's battery life and extensive health and fitness features.

We admit it—at PlayBetter we are partial to Garmin smartwatches. That's because Garmin's huge variety of sport GPS watches align closely with our mission: to provide products that can help elevate whatever you do—whether it be training for your next ultra run, planning a backcountry hike, or a mission to become more active. 

Plus, Garmin creates high-quality devices for every budget.

However, that doesn't mean that we think they are the only fitness smartwatch option for everyone out there.

With this in mind, we wanted to give you a quick comparison of the new Garmin Venu 3 Series vs Apple Watch SE and Apple Series 8.

Due to the built-in speaker and mic, the 2023 Venu 3/3S has become even more competitive with Apple wearables.

In this article, we show you what the Garmin Venu 3/3S, Apple Watch SE, and Apple 8 (with a mention of the upcoming Series 9) offer in terms of fitness and health tracking, battery life, size, style, more advanced sport profiles and training tools—and, of course, price!

First, we’ll run through the specifications for each watch. Then, we’ll go on to compare features in more detail.

And we’re off!

Garmin Venu 3/3S Quick Look

Case Size/Weight: Venu 345 x 45 x 12 mm / 47.0 g; Venu 3S—41 x 41 x 12 mm / 40.0 g

Display Size/Type: Venu 3—1.4" (35.4 mm) diameter; Venu 3S—1.2" (30.4 mm) diameter; AMOLED optional always-on mode color display

Battery Life:

Venu 3 Battery Life:

  • Smartwatch mode: Up to 14 days (5 always on)
  • Battery saver smartwatch mode: Up to 26 days
  • GPS-Only GNSS mode: Up to 26 hours
  • All-Systems GNSS mode: Up to 20 hours
  • All-Systems GNSS mode with music: Up to 11 hours 

Venu 3S Battery Life: 

  • Smartwatch mode: Up to 10 days (5 always on)
  • Battery saver smartwatch mode: Up to 20 days
  • GPS-Only GNSS mode: Up to 21 hours
  • All-Systems GNSS mode: Up to 15 hours
  • All-Systems GNSS mode with music: Up to 8 hours 

GPS: Built-in multi-band positioning (GPS, Galileo, GLONASS)

Maps & Navigation: No maps or breadcrumb navigation; Back to start features using compass

Safety features: Livetrack, Incident Detection during select activities, Incident Detection alert on phone for wearables, Assistance

Is the Venu 3 Water Resistant? Yes

Available Colors: 

Garmin Venu 3 Colors: 

  • Silver Bezel/Whitestone Band
  • Slate Bezel/Black Band

Garmin Venu 3S Colors: 

  • Soft Gold Bezel/French Gray Band
  • Slate Bezel/Pebble Gray Band
  • Silver Bezel/Sage Gray Band
  • Soft Gold Bezel/Dust Rose Band
  • Soft Gold Bezel/Ivory Band

Garmin Venu 3/3S Price: $449.99

Sage Garmin Venu 3S with image from text on the display

Venu 3/3S Overview

The Garmin Venu 3 Series offers two sizes and several color palettes—and puts an eye-catching AMOLED display on your wrist. But that’s just for starters …

As the only Garmin watch that currently features a built-in speaker and mic, this fitness GPS smartwatch competes closely with the Apple Watch in its own way. In addition to making and taking calls directly from the watch, Venu 3 allows you to receive emails, texts, and alerts when paired with their compatible smartphone. Plus, through the Bluetooth connection, you can use your phone assistant through your smart watch.

Additionally for Android phone users, you can view photos sent to you directly from your watch’s screen. This is new to the Venu 3.

Also Garmin adds several new features to an already impressive health arsenal. Along with wrist-based heart rate (with a next-gen sensor!), Pulse Ox, and advanced sleep insights, you’ll get the new Sleep Coach, Nap Detection, a jet lag advisor, and guided meditation.

And props to Garmin for enhancing Body Battery Energy for monitoring throughout the day and offering even more personal insights. And you’ll now have Morning Report, giving you an overview of sleep, recovery, HRV status, and more upon waking up. You can even customize the report to view more personalized details.

For your fitness goals, you’ll get 30+ built-in sports apps, and supercool preloaded animated workouts to follow for strength, HIIT, Pilates and yoga right from your wrist. Plus, you can create your own step-by-step workouts from more than 1,600 exercises in the Garmin Connect app and send them directly to the watch.  

New Venu 3/3S fitness features include Wheelchair Mode for wheelchair user-specific activity, workout benefit and recovery time, rate of perceived exertion, interval creation, and cycling power meter compatibility. 

Black Garmin Venu 3 GPS smartwatch with Wheelcahir mode activity animation on the display

Apple SE Quick Look

Case Size/Weight: 40 x 34 x 10.7 mm case & 44 x 38 x 10.7 mm case / 30 g & 36 g 

Display Size/Type: Retina LTPO OLED display, 1000 nits brightness

Apple Watch SE Battery Life: Up to 18 hours

GPS: Built-in multi-GNSS (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS0)

Maps & Navigation: None built-in

Safety features: Emergency SOS, Crash Detection

Is Apple SE Water Resistant? Yes

Available Colors: Silver, Space Gray, Gold (aluminum cases)

Apple Watch SE Price: Starting at $249.00

The Apple Watch SE Overview

Pink Apple Watch SE

The Apple SE is supersmart. It’s fast. It has a sleek and fashionable square case Apple Watch look. And in the smartwatch world, it is relatively affordable.

But can it compete with the Venu 3 when it comes to health and fitness tracking? That depends on what you’re looking for.

It has the well-known activity rings, and you can pair it with the Apple workout app to get personalized metrics (you will have to purchase the Apple Fitness+ membership). 

You also get heart rate information, sleep stages, and the option to have cellular on your wrist.

This smartwatch can strap a veritable iPhone to your arm, but the fitness and training tools are limited compared to Garmin—little more than data that does not get compared to your history or make recommendations about how to improve, adjust, or recover.

Apple Series 8 Quick Look

Case Size/Weight:

41 x 35 x 10.7 mm / 32–42.3g
45 x 38 x 10.7 mm / 38.8g–51.5g

Display Size/Type: Always-on retina OLED display with a crack-resistant front crystal; Up to 1,000 nits brightness

Apple Watch 8 Battery Life: Up to 18 hours of all-day battery life; Up to 36 hours with new low power mode.

GPS: Built-in L1 GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou

Maps & Navigation: None

Safety features: Fall Detection, Emergency SOS, Crash Detection

Is Apple Watch Series 8 Water Resistant? Yes

Available Finishes:

GPS + Cellular

  • Aluminum: Midnight, Starlight, Silver, RED
  • Stainless Steel: Graphite (PVD), Silver, Gold (PVD)


  • Aluminum: Midnight, Starlight, Silver, RED

Apple Watch 8 Price: Starting at $399.99

Apple Watch Series 8 Overview

Navy Apple Watch Series 8

This iteration of the Apple Watch series gives you temperature sensing for overall wellness, Cycle features, advanced health features with the ability to take an ECG, car crash detection, and enhanced workouts on the app. 

Like with all Apple Watches, for folks with serious workout goals, outdoor enthusiasts, and those who want extensive health-monitoring, the Apple Watch 8 is lacking in its ability to integrate your personal data into insights, analysis, and recommendations for recovery and improvement..   

Not to mention, the battery life is still far behind any Garmin watch.

Upcoming Apple Watch Series 9

In late September 2023, Apple is releasing the Apple Watch Series 9. This new generation adds some cool features like the new more powerful S9 SiP, which increases performance and capabilities; a magical new double tap gesture; a brighter display; faster on-device Siri, now with the ability to access and log health data; Precision Finding for iPhone; and more. 

Apple Watch Series 9 runs watchOS 10, which delivers redesigned apps, the new Smart Stack, new watch faces, new cycling and hiking features, and tools to support mental health.

And, for the first time, customers can choose a carbon neutral option of any Apple Watch, representing a significant milestone toward Apple 2030: Apple’s plan to be carbon neutral across its entire business, manufacturing supply chain, and product life cycle by 2030.

Garmin Venu 3/3S vs Apple Watch SE — Which One?

When it comes to health, wellness, and fitness goals—the Venu 3/3S fitness GPS watch blows the Apple SE out of the water.  

No doubt, the other major key difference to consider is price. The Garmin Venu 3/3S is $200 more than this lower-tier Apple Watch. 

If you are an iPhone user, want basic fitness support and sleep awareness with excellent smartwatch features—for a very affordable price, then the Apple Watch SE might be for you.

But if you want more out of your smartwatch (especially battery life) bundled into a device that not only accurately measures personal wellness and fitness data, but integrates it into actionable insights, planning, and training goals—with a world of support—you are probably leaning toward a Venu 3. 

Garmin Venu 3/3S vs Apple Watch 8 — Which One?

Garmin Venu 3/3S fitness GPS watch with health metrics on the display

The Venu 3 Series and Apple 8 Series are a bit more competitive. 

On the smartwatch tech side of things, the Apple Watch 8 might edge out the Venu 3—especially for iPhone users. You’ll be able to easily access all the tech in the Apple world. 

But as far as fitness GPS tech, the Garmin Venu 3/3S has the Apple watch beat. If you like the idea of wearing a smartwatch that does a whole lot more than simply give you data (and log it with Series 9), this is the choice for you. Plus, it puts the Apple 8’s battery life to shame. Still. And 24.7 wearability is important for consistent health, wellness, and recovery history.

Depending on the Apple Watch model, the Venu 3 Series may cost you a bit more—like $50.

Both of these GPS smartwatches are lacking in navigation and maps, in which case we would recommend you check out something from one of these Garmin collections: 

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