While an Apple Watch is widely considered the best smartwatch that you can buy, some people just can’t get behind its dismal battery life. While charging an Apple Watch overnight is hardly an issue for most people, plus the latest Series 5 can last you up two days with normal usage, that number still pales in comparison to what a Garmin watch can offer. On a single charge, a typical Garmin wearable can last for a week or even more. They’ve also got loads of highly accurate sensors and preloaded fitness apps that make them very attractive to the athletically inclined. Whether you’re a runner, cyclist, triathlete, or any other type of outdoor sports participant, you’re bound to love the Garmin smartwatches. Right now, the Garmin Forerunner 235, Vivoactive 3 Music, and Venu are available on Amazon and Best Buy at awesome discounted prices. Save up to $80 when you get them today.
The Garmin Forerunner 235 was launched toward the end of 2015, yet despite its age (and thanks to a few tweaks and updates), it’s still one of the best running smartwatches that you can buy. Actually, its abilities go way beyond just tracking your running pursuits. Aside from the usual distance and pace tracking, expect this fitness tracker to coach you as well, as it provides lots of valuable insights on how to train smarter and more efficiently. As of now the Forerunner 235 is available on Best Buy for just $170, $80 less than its normal retail price of $250.
This smartwatch takes everything that was great from its predecessor, the Forerunner 225, and packs it in a smaller and lighter package. Its thinness and lightness are already apparent at first glance, and after you’ve strapped it on it feels like it’s barely there. It is also unmistakably a Garmin watch, with its classic round watch face and a full-color screen that can display up to four workout stats. Unfortunately, it is not a touchscreen, but that is hardly a disadvantage. Surrounding the screen are five physical buttons, and navigating Garmin’s menu is simple and easy enough that you’ll get the hang of it in no time. The perforated silicone strap makes for more comfortable, less-sweaty runs, but you have to wear it on the tight side to ensure the most accurate heart rate reading.
Aside from its built-in optical heart rate sensor, the Forerunner 235 boasts a slew of advanced features typically found on higher-end Garmin smartwatches. It can gauge your VO2 max, which determines how much oxygen your body can process (the higher the number, the healthier you are). Running metrics include distance, pace, speed, and cadence, and you also have the usual steps and calorie count. It has a nifty recovery advisor, which coaches you on how long you should rest before your next strenuous activity. And we’re happy to report that the Forerunner 235 is quite adept as a GPS watch, picking up a GPS or GLONASS signal in less than 20 seconds, probably the fastest we’ve seen on a smartwatch.
When it comes to smart features, the Forerunner 235 is more optimized for Android phone users. You can receive text and call notifications from your smartphone but can’t reply unless it’s an Android device. It also doesn’t offer onboard music storage, unlike the Vivoactive 3 and Venu (see below), but at least you can control music from your phone. Finally, battery life is terrific at a maximum of nine days in smartwatch mode and 11 hours in training mode.
Get the Garmin Forerunner 235 on Best Buy right now for just $170.
Garmin’s fitness trackers have almost always been what we call big burly watches. That is not the case with the Vivoactive 3. Garmin avoided its usual practice of going big in favor of something much smaller and more refined, but still capable of delivering the goods. This understated smartwatch is 1.75 inches in diameter, less than half an inch thick, and weighs 43 grams. It’s slim, lightweight, and comfortable to use, and it almost seems like you’re not wearing it. It has a water-resistance rating of 5 ATMS, which means you can take it with you diving in waters up to 50 meters in depth. Its 1.2-inch LCD touchscreen is bright and colorful, protected by a Gorilla Glass 3 lens and a polymer case, and surrounded by a stainless-steel bezel.
Fitness has always been where Garmin shines, and the Vivoactive 3 is no exception. This watch boasts a gamut of built-in sensors, including GPS, a heart rate monitor, a barometric altimeter, a compass, an accelerometer, and a thermometer. It can track an array of exercise metrics, including step count, stairs climbed, calories burned, distance traveled, intensity minutes, and sleep time and quality. There’s also a stress meter that measures your heart rate to determine if you’re stressed out. If you are, it suggests a breathing exercise to help you relax. It can also track numerous sports and outdoor activities like walking, running, swimming, cycling, snowboarding, and more.
If connected to your smartphone through Garmin’s Connect Mobile app, this watch receives smart notifications with a vibration alert. Unfortunately, the vibrations are very weak (the weakest we’ve ever encountered, actually), so chances are you might miss an important call or text message. Even when set at “high,” you cannot count on this watch to successfully notify you of something.
Since this watch is the Music version, it includes music playback and streaming capabilities. You can listen to your favorite songs through Spotify or other apps. What’s more, it has enough internal space to store at least 500 songs.
The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is currently on sale on Amazon for $220. And if you order via the Amazon Rewards Visa Card and get approval, enjoy an additional $60 off instantly, reducing the price even further to $160.
The Venu is the very first Garmin smartwatch to flaunt a full AMOLED touchscreen display, a move that’s clearly designed to rival the Apple Watch. A huge departure from the usual LCD screen of its previous smartwatches, the Venu looks brighter, sharper, and more vibrant — hands down the best display that Gamin has offered to date. Packed with 390 x 390 pixels, the 1.2-inch (30.4mm) touchscreen is easier to read regardless of whether you’re indoors or outdoors. What’s more, Garmin has designed it not to be a power hog, as the Venu can last up to five days with normal usage.
Aesthetically, this watch resembles the Vivoactive 3 (except for the screen, of course), but the bezels are noticeably thinner. Its plastic polymer case has a diameter of 43mm, which is neither too large nor too small, making it ideal for both sexes. Aside from the touchscreen, there are two physical buttons located on the right side for navigation.
All Garmin smartwatches excel at fitness tracking, and the Venu is no exception. Pressing the top physical button will allow you to see a list of sports and activities, including running, treadmill, indoor and outdoor walking/running, cycling, swimming, cardio, strength, golf, skiing/snowboarding, and even stand-up paddleboarding. Furthermore, these exercises are brought to vivid life via colorful animations, so you can carry out steps and instructions by imitating a human figure on the display. The Venu employs the same set of algorithms that power the premium Fenix line, ensuring extremely accurate tracking for less money. Aside from the workouts, this smartwatch can also track steps, calories burned, body battery (how ready you are for exercise), stress level, sleep, respiration, pulse ox (though take note that continuous pulse ox tracking can rapidly deplete battery life), and VO2 Max.
When it comes to smart notifications, the Venu is pretty standard. All notifications from your favorite apps have their own live section on the interface. It’s worth noting that this watch is better optimized for Android than iOS. Android users have the ability to reply to text messages, while iPhone users can’t. Music apps that the Venu supports include Spotify, Deezer, Amazon Music, and iHeartRadio. And if you happen to be a Spotify Premium subscriber, you’re in luck. It’s easy to sync your offline playlists with this watch, so you can leave your phone at home if you want to.
The Gamin Venu normally costs $400, but right now you can get it on Best Buy for $350 – that’s $50 of savings.
Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.
- Garmin fitness trackers receive steep price cuts at Best Buy
- Best smartwatch deals for August 2020: Samsung, Fitbit, and Apple Watch sales
- The best cheap Fitbit alternatives for workouts
- Get fit this summer with the Garmin Vivoactive 3 — now $130
- Garmin Forerunner 235 smartwatch down to lowest-ever price — save $175