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Key Differences Between the Garmin Venue 2 Plus and Garmin Epix Smartwatches

Author: DC RainmakerTime: 2024-01-01 13:05:01

Table of Contents

Pricing, Display Size, Weight, and Waterproof Ratings

The Garmin Venue 2 Plus costs $449, while the Garmin EPIX is priced much higher at $899 for the standard version and up to $999 for the Sapphire edition with extras like more storage, multiband GPS, sapphire crystal display, and titanium bezels. The EPIX is a visibly larger watch with 5 buttons compared to just 3 on the Venue 2 Plus. Both watches utilize the same 1.3" AMOLED display with 65,000 colors and 416x416 pixel resolution, but the EPIX case makes it appear much bigger.

The waterproof rating differs between the two as well, with the EPIX rated to 100 meters depth versus 50 meters for the Venue 2 Plus. However, both watches are perfectly suitable for swimming and tracking swim workouts. In terms of weight, the EPIX tips the scales at a heftier 71 grams while the Venue 2 Plus is more svelte at 51 grams.

Display Size and Resolution

As mentioned, both watches use the same 1.3" AMOLED display with a 416x416 pixel resolution and 65,000 colors. This allows sharp, vivid visuals in both bright sunlight and darkness. The display technology is prone to screen burn-in over time if static images are left on for extended periods, but Garmin has implemented software optimizations in the Venue 2 Plus to mitigate this issue. We'll have to wait and see if it holds up over years of normal usage. You get more customization options for the display on the EPIX, like setting sleep mode settings for specific days of the week. The Venue 2 Plus misses out on a sleep watch face, so if you check the time at night, you'll likely get blinded by the bright regular watch face (versus a dimmer view on the EPIX optimized for nighttime).

Weight and Waterproof Ratings

There is a noticeable 20 gram weight difference between the watches, with the EPIX being heavier at 71 grams compared to 51 grams for the Venue 2 Plus. For waterproofing and swim tracking, the Venue 2 Plus is rated to 50 meters depth while the EPIX doubles that at 100 meters. Both watches can track open water and pool swimming without issues. So unless you're doing extreme scuba diving below 50 meters, the Venue 2 Plus depth rating won't hold you back for aquatic sports and adventures.

Mapping, Navigation and Routing Capabilities

This is where the watches differ tremendously. The EPIX supports full-color mapping with topography details, popularity heatmaps, ski resort maps, and more. You can upload or create routes on Garmin Connect to follow, enable climb pro to see remaining ascent data, get suggested routes, and far more. The routing and navigation possibilities are vast.

Meanwhile, the Venue 2 Plus lacks maps entirely and almost no routing capabilities. The only navigation feature is marking a start location and having the watch provide a pointer towards that spot. An optional Connect IQ app called DWMap can enable displaying an active route, but the mapping and navigation gap remains huge between the EPIX and Venue 2 Plus.

Audio Features - Speaker, Microphone and Voice Assistant

The Venue 2 Plus stands out with its built-in speaker and microphone, allowing you to take calls and listen to music or podcasts directly on the watch when connected to your phone via Bluetooth. Audio quality is decent enough for basic usage. You can also access your phone's default voice assistant like Siri, Google Assistant, or Bixby by holding down the middle right button.

Unfortunately the EPIX lacks a speaker or microphone entirely, resorting only to notification beeps and chimes. Without the hardware, voice assistant integration isn't possible either currently. So for audio and phone features, the Venue 2 Plus has a clear edge over the EPIX.

Battery Life Across Various Modes

With the always-on display mode enabled, the Venue 2 Plus squeezes out 2-3 days while the EPIX manages nearly a week thanks to better optimizations. With gesture based battery saving modes that turn off the screen when not actively being viewed, the Venue 2 Plus pushes to 9 days versus 16 days on the EPIX.

For GPS usage, having features like multi-band GPS enabled on the EPIX will drain more battery versus regular GPS on the Venue 2 Plus. But battery longevity focuses more on smart features over extensive outdoor GPS usage anyways for these watches.

Sport Profile Support and Sensor Integration

Both watches cover all the core sport profiles like cycling, running, and even downhill skiing. But the Venue 2 Plus lacks open water swimming, triathlon/multisport, and advanced profiles seen on the EPIX.

You can highly customize data pages and fields on the EPIX with up to 8 data fields per page across limitless pages. But on the Venue 2 Plus you only get 4 data fields max and just 3 pages. There is also deeper sensor integration on the EPIX to enable metrics like cycling power, cross country skiing power, running dynamics, mountain biking grit/flow/jumps, and more.

Training Load Tracking and Suggested Workouts

For training, the EPIX outpaces the Venue 2 Plus significantly. On the Venue 2 Plus you simply get your workout summary statistics, while the EPIX provides multi-page insights into training load, recovery time, workout zone guidance, daily workout suggestions, real-time stamina monitoring, and much more.

These advanced training features require an investment closer to the EPIX price point. You can find them on the midrange Forerunner 945 watch as well which costs half as much - so you don't need to spend nearly $1,000 to access in-depth training analytics.

GPS Accuracy and Satellite Connectivity

The EPIX has the latest dual frequency or multi-band GPS support, while the Venue 2 Plus relies on legacy GPS. In daily usage you likely won't notice much difference in recording accuracy. Occasionally in tricky spots like urban canyons between tall buildings, the EPIX maintains a closer tracking lock.

Looking ahead as the technology matures over the next few years, you'll potentially see greater benefits from multi-band GPS. But currently it shouldn't play a major role in deciding between these two watches.

Music Storage and Playback

You get the same music capabilities across both watches - ability to store offline music from Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer as well as personal MP3s and podcasts. Playback occurs over Bluetooth headphones.

The core difference is storage space. The EPIX offers between 16-32GB depending on the model, supporting many more songs and playlists downloaded to the watch itself. Meanwhile the Venue 2 Plus comes with just 4GB total, still likely sufficient for most workout playlists.

Heart Rate Tracking and Emergency Notifications

Identical optical heart rate sensors are found on both models using Garmin's latest Elevate Generation 4 technology. This enables 24x7 heart rate monitoring, stress and respiration tracking, all-day stress and body battery metrics, and more.

You'll also find onboard pulse ox sensors on both the EPIX and Venue 2 Plus for on-demand or overnight blood oxygen saturation tracking. And built-in incident detection functions allow you to notify emergency contacts if you crash or need assistance when out on a ride or run.


Q: What is the price difference between the Garmin Venue 2 Plus and Garmin Epix?
A: The Garmin Venue 2 Plus costs $449 while the Garmin Epix starts at $899 and goes up to $999 for the sapphire edition.

Q: Does the Garmin Venue 2 Plus have onboard maps?
A: No, the Garmin Venue 2 Plus does not have any onboard maps for navigation. Only the Garmin Epix includes full mapping capabilities.

Q: Can you take calls from your wrist with the Garmin Venue 2 Plus?
A: Yes, thanks to the built-in speaker and microphone on the Venue 2 Plus you can take calls from your wrist when your phone is nearby via Bluetooth.