Garmin Venu 3 vs. Forerunner 265: A Detailed Comparison for Fitness Enthusiasts
In the fast-evolving world of fitness-focused smartwatches, Garmin has established itself as a prominent player with a diverse lineup of wearables catering to different preferences and requirements. Amongst their latest offerings, the Garmin Venu 3 and the Forerunner 265 stand out as formidable options.
Both these smartwatches offer a plethora of features, including sports and activity tracking, health monitoring, and smartwatch capabilities. Moreover, they share similarities such as AMOLED displays, touchscreen functionality, and an identical price point. But what sets them apart, and why would Garmin introduce two seemingly similar watches into the market?
In this comprehensive comparison, we delve into the distinctions and similarities between the Garmin Venu 3 and the Forerunner 265, providing valuable insights into their features, functionalities, and all different aspects. Check out the latest prices here>> Garmin Venu 3 and the Forerunner 265.
Design and Build
Both the Garmin Venu 3 and the Forerunner 265 come in two different sizes, accommodating various wrist sizes. While the size difference between the two is minimal, it’s worth noting that the Venu 3 offers slightly larger displays. The Venu 3 boasts a 1.4-inch display with 454 by 454 pixels for the larger model, while the larger Forerunner 265 features a 1.3-inch display with 416 by 416 pixels. This pattern repeats for the smaller models of both watches. In terms of weight, they are similar across the board, with no significant differences between sizes.
When it comes to bands, the smaller Venu 3 and Forerunner 265 use 18-millimeter industry-standard replaceable bands, while the larger models employ 22-millimeter bands. The Venu 3’s bands are more subtle and clean in design compared to the 265’s two-tone design with holes on both sides of the band. Both watches offer comfortable and practical bands suitable for daily wear and sports activities.
In terms of case materials, the Venu 3 boasts a stainless steel bezel, giving it a more premium appearance, while the Forerunner 265 features a plastic bezel. However, both watches have plastic main bodies, ensuring they remain durable and functional.
Durability and Water Resistance
Both the Garmin Venu 3 and the Forerunner 265 come with a 5 ATM water resistance rating, making them suitable for various water-related activities, including swimming. Additionally, both watches feature Gorilla Glass 3 for their displays, providing protection against scratches and minor impacts.
User Interface and Controls
While both watches offer touchscreen displays for navigation, they differ in their button configurations. The Forerunner 265 boasts a five-button setup, with buttons for power, navigation, start/pause, and back functions. This design provides flexibility for navigating the interface, especially during workouts or when hands may be wet. The touchscreen functionality can be toggled on or off globally or on a per-activity profile basis.
In contrast, the Venu 3 features a touchscreen display and only three buttons. It includes a dedicated button for accessing voice assistants on paired smartphones, adding a distinct smartwatch-oriented feature. However, the touchscreen is the primary method for navigation, and the absence of physical buttons for up and down navigation may affect usability during certain activities, especially when the screen is wet or when wearing gloves.
The Venu 3 stands out in the smartwatch department with its built-in microphone and speaker, enabling voice assistant integration and call functionality. On iPhones, users can access Siri, while Android users can choose from Google Assistant or Bixby. Additionally, both Android and iPhone users can take calls directly on the watch when their phone is within range.
In contrast, the Forerunner 265 lacks a built-in microphone and speaker, limiting its voice assistant capabilities and call functionality. It can receive text notifications on both Android and iPhones but lacks the ability to reply to texts directly from the watch, except for predefined responses that can be set up in Garmin Connect. The Venu 3 introduces a unique feature that allows Android users to type out custom message replies using an on-screen keyboard, enhancing the text messaging experience.
Both the Venu 3 and the Forerunner 265 offer comparable battery life for everyday usage, ranging from 10 to 14 days when the always-on display is disabled. With the always-on display enabled, this drops to approximately three and a half to five days. Battery life is influenced by various factors, including activity tracking frequency, sensor usage, and display settings.
Health and Fitness Tracking
Both smartwatches excel in health and fitness tracking, offering a wide range of features for users looking to monitor their well-being. Key health tracking features common to both watches include:
- 24/7 heart rate monitoring
- Blood oxygen saturation level tracking
- Stress tracking
- Respiration rate monitoring
- Step tracking
- Floors climbed tracking
- Calories burned tracking
- Intensity minutes monitoring
- Body battery tracking, which assesses energy levels based on sleep, rest, and activities
The Venu 3 introduces enhancements to the body battery feature, providing detailed breakdowns of how individual activities affect your energy levels, including sleep, workouts, restful periods, and even naps.
Sleep tracking is a shared feature, with both watches providing sleep scores and tracking sleep stages. Notably, the Venu 3 can track naps of at least five minutes in duration, a feature not present in the Forerunner 265. Additionally, the Venu 3 introduces a sleep coach feature, offering personalized sleep recommendations based on previous sleep data, activity levels, and other factors.
The Forerunner 265 features a unique training readiness metric, which combines data from various sources such as sleep, recovery time, HRV status, training load, sleep history, and stress history to provide insights into your preparedness for training. Check out the latest prices here>> Garmin Venu 3 and the Forerunner 265.
Training and Performance Feedback
The Forerunner 265 offers more advanced training and performance feedback compared to the Venu 3. Key features exclusive to the Forerunner 265 include:
- Training status assessment, indicating the productivity of your current training regimen.
- Performance indicators such as running and cycling VO2 max estimates.
- Lactate threshold estimation.
- Race predictor for common running race distances.
- Training load calculation, providing insights into the stress placed on your body during workouts.
- Training effect metrics, assessing the impact of each workout on aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
The Venu 3, while lacking some of these advanced metrics, introduces a workout benefit feature that provides plain-language descriptions of the benefits of each workout, making it easier for users to understand the impact of their training sessions.
External Sensor Compatibility
Both watches are compatible with external sensors, including cycling power meters. However, the Forerunner 265 offers additional features related to external sensors, such as the ability to pair with Garmin’s Running Dynamics Pod for advanced running metrics. It can also connect to compatible Garmin Edge bike computers and control Garmin action cameras.
Furthermore, the Forerunner 265 supports Garmin’s HRM Pro and HRM Pro Plus heart rate straps, which offer additional metrics and offline heart rate storage capabilities not available on the Venu 3.
Cycling Power Meter Support
While both watches can connect to cycling power meters, the Forerunner 265 has a slight advantage due to its multi-band GNSS chipset, which can access two different satellite frequencies in addition to five satellite systems.
This feature improves the accuracy of distance and speed calculations, especially in challenging conditions such as dense tree cover or urban canyons. While the Venu 3 has an excellent GNSS chipset, the Forerunner 265’s added capabilities make it a compelling choice for serious cyclists.
Music Storage and Playback
The Venu 3 includes onboard music storage, allowing users to download and listen to music without a smartphone. It also supports various streaming music services, such as Spotify, Amazon Music, and Deezer, when paired with a compatible smartphone and a Wi-Fi connection.
In contrast, the Forerunner 265 lacks onboard music storage and streaming capabilities. Users who prioritize music during workouts may find the Venu 3 more appealing.
Mapping and Navigation
Both watches offer GPS and GLONASS satellite tracking for accurate location data. However, the Forerunner 265 features additional navigation capabilities that are particularly useful for outdoor activities:
- Full-color topographic maps with elevation contours: The Forerunner 265 displays detailed maps directly on the watch, providing a visual reference for navigation.
- Turn-by-turn directions: It offers on-device navigation guidance for routes and courses.
- ClimbPro ascent planner: This feature displays real-time information about the current and upcoming climbs during hikes or trail runs.
- Ski resort maps: The Forerunner 265 can display maps of over 2,000 ski resorts worldwide, making it a useful companion for winter sports enthusiasts.
The Venu 3 lacks these advanced navigation features and is more focused on everyday activities and urban navigation.
Both the Garmin Venu 3 and the Forerunner 265 are priced similarly, with the cost varying depending on the watch size and optional features like music storage. Prices for the base models typically fall within the same range, making them equally competitive in terms of affordability.
The choice between the Garmin Venu 3 and the Forerunner 265 ultimately depends on your priorities and intended use cases. Here’s a summary of the key differences:
Choose the Garmin Venu 3 if you:
- Prioritize smartwatch features, including call handling and voice assistant integration.
- Want a versatile watch for both daily use and workouts.
- Are interested in advanced sleep tracking, including nap tracking and sleep coaching.
- Prefer a more premium design with stainless steel elements.
Choose the Garmin Forerunner 265 if you:
- Are a serious athlete or fitness enthusiast looking for advanced training and performance metrics.
- Need detailed training status assessments, VO2 max estimates, and lactate threshold data.
- Plan to use the watch for outdoor activities like hiking, trail running, or skiing, thanks to its mapping and navigation features.
- Want additional sensor compatibility for cycling or running metrics.
Both watches offer impressive health tracking features, water resistance, and long battery life for everyday use. Ultimately, your choice should align with your specific fitness and lifestyle preferences, as both watches cater to a broad range of users seeking reliable and feature-rich wearables from Garmin. Check out the latest prices here>> Garmin Venu 3 and the Forerunner 265.