Comparing the Garmin Venu with the Vivoactive 4 and 4S

What are the main differences between the Garmin Venu and the Vivoactive 4 or 4S? Pricing and features are very similar at first glance, but there are some differences that might be a deciding factor for you. This article helps to answer the question which watch you should buy. 

If you are a runner, someone who does yoga or are just an active person looking for a watch you can wear every day and use to track your workouts, any one of these watches will be right for you.

Current prices on Amazon:

Running features

The watches have all the basic running features you expect from a Garmin watch. Tracking can be done via GPS, Glonass, Galileo or combination of these. They have a barometric altometer, compass, gyroscope, accelerometer and Pusle ox sensor. You can pair the watches with a footpod or heart rate monitor (ANT+). 

They are equipped with Body Battery that uses your heart rate, stress levels and activities to estimate your energy reserves throughout the day. It can help you plan your workouts and restdays more efficiently. 

The Garmin Coach feature provides an adaptive training plan in your Garmin Connect app. You decide the goal, Garmin gives you the workouts to perform. 

The watches give you an estimated Vo2Max reading, but more advanced features as training effect, training status, training load, etc. are not available. If you want more advanced running features, you should have a look at this comparision between the Garmin Forerunner 245 and 645

Available activities: Running, Indoor Track Running, Treadmill Running. 


Fitness and health features

There is no difference in the fitness and health features these watches offer. They all have:
  • High quality activity tracking for over 20 activities
  • Custom made workouts
  • Body Battery Energy Monitor
  • Pulse Ox sensor
  • Sleep monitoring
  • Animated on-screen workouts

Available non-running activities: Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing, Biking, Indoor Biking, Pool Swimming, Strength, Cardio and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing, Yoga, Pilates and Breathwork.


The design of the watches is very similar. Both the Venu and the Vivoactive 4/4S have a stainless steel bezel and Gorilla glass. The watches come in different color combinations, which can be found here for the Venu and here for the Vivoactive 4/4S.

The main selling point of the Garmin Venu is the AMOLED screen which gives you a very good looking display that is sharper and brighter as any of the other Garmin watches currently available. This is one of the features that is mentioned the most in the Garmin Venu user reviews.

Both watches have a touchscreen and this can be a good or bad thing, depending on your personal preferences. Reveiws mention it can be harder to use the watch in the rain or with sweaty fingers, but it appears the screen is less sensitive as it was on Garmin’s first touchscreen watch, the Vivoactive 3, where accidental button presses were very common. Check the reviews on the Vivoactive 4 and decide for yourself.

Garmin Venu

Physical size: 43.2 x 43.2 x 12.4 mm
Display size: 1.2″ (30.4mm) diameter
Weight: 46.3 g

Garmin Vivoactive 4

Physical size: 45.1 x 45.1 x 12.8 mm
Display size: 1.3″ (33.0 mm) diameter
Weight: 50.5 g

Garmin Vivoactive 4S

Physical size: 40.0 x 40.0 x 12.7 mm
Display size: 1.1″ (27.9 mm) diameter
Weight: 40.0 g

Battery life

Due to the AMOLED screen of the Garmin Venu and the different sizes of the Vivoactive 4 and 4S, there are significant differences in the battery life of each watch. While the Garmin Venu has the shortest battery life in smartwatch mode it actually has the longest battery life in GPS mode. 

Garmin Venu

Smartwatch mode: Up to 5 days
GPS mode with music: Up to 6 hours
GPS mode without music: Up to 20 hours

Garmin Vivoactive 4

Smartwatch mode: Up to 8 days
GPS mode with music: Up to 6 hours
GPS mode without music: Up to 18 hours

Garmin Vivoactive 4S

Smartwatch mode: Up to 7 days
GPS mode with music: Up to 5 hours
GPS mode without music: Up to 15 hours

Smartphone features

There is no difference in the smartphone features of the Garmin Venu and the Vivoactive 4/4S. They both have Garmin Pay, music storage, Lifetracking, incident detection and they will show notifications from your phone. If you have an Android phone you’ll also be able to reply with preset responses. 


Which watch you should buy depends on what you find important. All three watches are good quality watches and will give you a good Garmin experience.

The Garmin Venu has a better display, but this will cost you battery life in smartphone mode. The Garmin Vivoactive 4S is smaller and will fit a smaller wrist better, but this costs battery life as well. The Garmin Vivoactive 4 has a lesser display as the Venu, but better battery life. 

Which of these is more important to you will determine which watch is best for you. 

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