Garmin Venu Sq vs Garmin Vivoactive 4: Which Smartwatch Should I Buy?

Garmin Venu vs Vivoactive 4

Both the Garmin Venu Sq and the Garmin Vivoactive 4 are smartwatches that pack many useful features into a smaller and more compact design frame. The Venu Sq features a distinctive square-shaped design whereas the Vivoactive 4 is more traditional with a round design.

At A Glance
Which Smartwatch Should You Buy?

In addition to differences in design, both of these watches are distinctive for superb performance tracking capabilities?

Garmin Venu Sq vs Garmin Vivoactive 4

  • AMOLED display
  • Built-in sports apps
  • Contactless payments
  • Gives real-time assessments
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  • Built-in sports apps
  • Contactless payments
  • Music and all-day health monitoring
  • App-friendly
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Which is the better choice – Venu Sq or Vivoactive 4?

The Garmin Venu Sq and the Garmin Vivoactive 4 are two smartwatches that feature an array of functions and performance tracking metrics with distinctive design elements.

In terms of overall performance, the Garmin Vivoactive 4 is the better choice overall.

Both of these Garmin smartwatches score high marks in all the essential key points for rating a fitness watch. This article will explore everything that needs to be known about both products, with a specific emphasis on what makes the watches different from one another.

Read on to find out more and discover which is better suited to your needs.

venu sq vs garmin vivoactive 4 smartwatch

What Is the Difference Between the Garmin Venu Sq and the Garmin Vivoactive 4?

Both of these smartwatches made for an odd comparison, yet there are some striking similarities with each. Apart from the obvious differences in design, the Venu Sq and the Vivoactive 4 are two stand out Garmin watches in terms of performance tracking features.

The Venu Sq looks much more different than any other Garmin watch. The frame is square-shaped and features a decent enough 1.3″ display hidden under Corning Gorilla Glass 3 lens.

The thick bezel is blended well with the display, making it feel like the screen is bigger than it really is. Thanks partially to the fiber-reinforced polymer case, the Garmin Venu Sq weighs only 37.6 grams and sports a silicone strap that’s comfortable to wear.

Apart from design, the Garmin Vivoactive 4 is filled to the brim with new and exciting features, making this one of the most app-friendly models in all the many Garmin lines. With this model, you can now keep up with new respirations tracking during your fitness session. Additionally, you can take advantage of the new underwater optical heart rate tracking.

Many things stick out between the two watches so let’s take a more detailed like at the differences between the two in terms of design and key features.


  • Garmin Venu Sq: In terms of design, the Garmin Venu Sq is miles away different from the design of the Vivoactive 4. The watch is smaller and much more compact, but not by much. The Venu Sq is more of a one-size-fits-all type of watch, the frame is small to accommodate the smaller band which can also flex according to the wrist it is attached to.
  • Garmin Vivoactive 4: What is also great about this model is the two available sizes that you can choose from, 40mm or 45mm. Not all runners wish to have a large and bulky wristwatch, even though the display screen is the same size, which works well with the many different types of performance capabilities that are compatible with this model.

Key Features

  • Health statistics. The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is filled to the brim with new and exciting features, making this one of the most app-friendly models in all the many Garmin lines. With this model, you can now keep up with barometric altimeter tracking during your fitness session. Additionally, you can take advantage of underwater optical heart rate tracking. The Venu Sq has many of these features yet lacks a barometric altimeter that can measure atmospheric pressure and elevation metrics.
  • On-screen animations. The most exciting new feature of the Garmin Vivoactive 4 is the inclusion of pre-loaded animation workouts. Now you can look at your watch to see a wide range of workout movements that you may be unfamiliar with. The animations are crisp and clear and feature easy to understand commands that are timed to the animations. The Venu Sq is less technologically advanced in terms of resolution and animations.
  • V02 Max indicator. When you are training hard, you sometimes have technology that can give accurate readings that account for variables outside of your control. Wind, altitude, and outside heat and cold temperature variations can all collide to give a slightly skewed performance reading but the V02 Max indicator in the Vivoactive 4 lists accurate variabilities with this in mind, and gives you an accurate reading, whereas the Venu Sq has more limitations in this area.
  • Innovative performance condition technology. Like most models in the Garmin Vivoactive series, the Vivoactive 4 analyzes heart rate, heart performance conditioning, and heart rate variability based on a wide range of different performance types. The Venu Sq also gives real-time assessments of how you are faring during your workout and how long you can continue before you reach various thresholds. The Venu Sq is less innovative though, and really only gives minimal readings through a less innovative ambient light sensor.

On this basis alone, the Garmin Vivoactive 4 is emerging as the better choice.

Let’s take a closer look through a side-by-side comparison.

Garmin vivoactive 4 side comparison

Side-By-Side Comparison

With these comparisons between key features, you may be thinking that the Garmin Venu Sq is the lesser of the two. This is clear to see as far as additional features with the Vivoactive 4, yet the Venu Sq is a perfectly capable and superior watch in what it can do, and the appeal of this watch as a smaller and one-size-fits-all brand of Garmin smartwatch is what makes it truly stand out in the Garmin line.

But the distinction is clear – the Garmin Vivoactive 4 is the superior watch. This watch is both innovative and technically superior in every way. It doesn’t matter if you are a professional runner racing to set new standards in time and performance or, a beginner who wants to keep track of performance through many different types of sports and activities.

If there is only one feature that draws a line in the sand between the two models, that is the inclusion of the barometric altimeter in the Vivoactive 4. The Venu Sq is limited in providing obscure uphill or downhill data through the built-in GPS tracker.

The Vivoactive 4 goes far beyond this guessing work. The barometric altimeter can calculate exact changes in elevation when outdoors in addition to detecting and showing changes in atmospheric pressure, which can factor greatly into outdoor activities.

Yet the Venu Sq is certainly going to appeal to users who want a smaller, effective, and comfortable watch. But functionality is typically the most important feature, and the Vivoactive 4 is better in this category.

Garmin venu sq side comparison

Should I Buy the Garmin Venu Sq or the Garmin Vivoactive 4?

The ultimate buying decision between the two models comes down to which watch gives you the features you ultimately need. To start, if you want a perfectly capable watch that is not quite as expensive as other models (including the Vivoactive 4), then the Venu Sq is certainly a capable and great choice.

With that said, the Vivoactive 4 is just a better watch all around, and that is simply because the performance tracking in a triathlete-style is just hard to beat. During your run, you can simply look down at your watch to see your pace, distance, and elapsed time.

But the Venu Sq is just far too great of a watch to not consider. The two standout features of the Venu Sq are the accelerometer and the gyroscope.

If you are seeking a more lightweight watch, then this model is certainly going to earn high points with you. It feels light as a feather on the wrist, and you do not have to worry about the watch degrading due to sweat or moisture or vigorous movements, and best of all, it is size customizable.

The accelerometer effectively measures the force of your movements, and this is true for hard-hitting pavement grinding during fast runs, and if you are simply strolling yourself back home after a vigorous running session.

The gyroscope technology allows you to measure movements and velocity among a wide array of customizable inputs. The Venu Sq can measure the movement in your arms, legs, thighs, or even your feet if you wish to know the workout potential of one body part in particular.

The Garmin Venu Sq is brimming with many additional features, and the improvements upon the design scheme of the watch are also great. Although you will not be able to change the band, the comfort of the silicone base will make it seem like the watch is not even weighing down on your wrist.

The final decision on which to choose is essentially going to come down to what you prioritize the most when it comes to a fitness smartwatch: features or comfort.

If you want comfort and less weight on the wrist, go with the Venu Sq, if you want superior features, go with the Vivoactive 4.

The Verdict

With all of these similarities and differences in mind, you may notice that both watches are far too appealing in their own right to make a final choice. The best way to make the decision is to remember what each smartwatch is designed for. The Venu Sq is a quirky and unique addition to the Garmin smartwatch line; the design is smaller and is prioritized around comfort and universal size adjustments to fit any wrist.

The Vivoactive 4 is designed to complement the wider Vivoactive series. Functionality and performance tracking features across many applications in Garmin Connect are the main features of the Vivoactive 4, in addition to the inclusion of a barometric altimeter.

We recommend the Garmin Vivoactive 4 due to its superior performance tracking features and inclusion of barometric altimeter readings. This is one of the essential smartwatches if you train outdoors.

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