Garmin Forerunner 265 vs Venu 2

Garmin Forerunner 265 and Venu 2 smartwatches end up on most people’s shortlists. Both watches are within a tight price range. Which of these two watches would you buy?

We look at the details of each watch to help you pick the proper smartwatch in your budget.

Main differences between Forerunner 265 and Venu 2

This comparison is between Forerunner 965 and Venu 2 (Standard edition) smartwatches. The Venu 2 series has many variants that include the Venu Sq 2 and Venu 2 Plus series smartwatches as well.

The main differences between Forerunner 265 and Venu 2 (Standard edition) are shared below for ready reference:

  • Forerunner 265 costs $449.99 and Venu 2 comes at a list price of $399.99. So, there is a $50 difference in cost between these two smartwatches.
  • Forerunner 265 has multi-band GPS, a missing feature on Venu 2.
  • Forerunner 265 also has a spectator messaging safety feature. This feature is missing on Venu 2.
  • Forerunner 265 has additional activity profiles for cycling, swimming, and running. Venu 2 has additional profiles in outdoor recreation.
  • Forerunner 265 was released in March 2023 and Venu 2 was released in January 2022.

We look at the main features of Forerunner 265 and Venu 2 below.

Garmin Forerunner 265

Display

The display features and capabilities of Forerunner 265 and Venu 2 are identical to a great extent. Some display attributes of Forerunner 265 and Venu 2 are listed hereunder.

Display specificationsForerunner 265Venu 2
Display lensCorning Gorilla Glass 3Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Display typeAMOLEDAMOLED
Display resolution416 X 416 pixels416 X 416 pixels
Display screen diameter1.3″1.3″
Always on displayYesYes
Color displayYesYes
TouchscreenYesYes

Both watches have an AMOLED display, touchscreen capability, and a color display. The parity in the display resolution of Forerunner 265 and Venu 2 makes for a similar display experience on both of these smartwatches.

The display is not a differentiating factor between these two smartwatches.

Physical specifications

There is a marginal difference in Forerunner 265 and Venu 2 smartwatches’ sizes. The hardware specifications of both watches are shared hereunder.

SpecificationsForerunner 265Venu 2
Watch size46.1 x 46.1 x 12.9 mm45.4 x 45.4 x 12.2 mm
Watch thickness12.9 mm12.2 mm
Weight47 g49 g
Watch bodyFiber-enforced polymerFiber-enforced polymer
Watch BezelFiber-enforced polymerSteel
Band size22 mm22 mm
Band materialSiliconeSilicone
Water rating5 ATM5 ATM
Device storage8 GB8 GB
Recommended wrist circumference135-205 mm135-200 mm
ChargerPlug chargerPlug charger

The differentiator between Forerunner 265 and Venu 2 is the steel bezel of Venu 2.

Garmin Venu 2 smartwatch

GPS

The most significant difference between Forerunner 265 and Venu 2 is the availability of a multi-frequency positioning sensor in the Forerunner 265 smartwatch.

Multi-frequency positioning sensor brings in the multi-mode GPS capability to the Forerunner 265 smartwatch. With multi-band GPS, you can get GPS data from multiple satellites at the same time.

Multi-mode GPS is very useful in remote areas or in areas with tall structures.

Apart from the multi-mode GPS, Forerunner 265 also supports SatIQ technology. SatIQ helps to toggle between multi-mode GPS and simple GPS modes to conserve battery usage on the smartwatch.

SatIQ technology is not available on the Venu 2 series.

For serious runners, Forerunner 265 offers a better GPS experience.

Battery

The battery backup offered by Forerunner 265 and Venu 2 is comparable. We did not find much difference in the battery life on various GPS modes.

Below, we capture the battery backup of Forerunner 265 and Venu 2 smartwatches in different modes of the watches.

Watch modeForerunner 265 backupVenu 2 backup
Smartwatch modeup to 13 daysup to 11 days
GPS modeup to 20 hoursup to 22 hours
GPS mode with musicup to 7 hoursup to 8 hours
Battery saver modeNAup to 12 days
All Systems + Multi-Band Mode without Music Battery Lifeup to 14 hoursMulti-band not available
SatIQ (AutoSelect) Mode with Music Battery Lifeup to 6.5 hoursMulti-band not available
All Systems + Multi-Band Mode with Music Battery Lifeup to 6 hoursMulti-band not available

On most watch modes, the battery life is comparable between Forerunner 265 and Venu 2.

Activity profiles

Forerunner 265 has additional activity profiles for cycling, swimming, and running. Venu 2 has additional profiles in outdoor recreation. We list these additional profiles for Forerunner 265 below.

  • Cycling profiles – Forerunner 265 has additional profiles for Mountain Biking, eBiking, eMountain Biking.
  • Swimming – Forerunner 265 has an additional profile for open water swimming.
  • Running – Forerunner 265 has additional profiles for Outdoor Track Running, Trail Running, Virtual Running, and Ultra Running.
  • Outdoor recreation – Venu 2 has additional profiles for Indoor Climbing, Bouldering, XC Classic Skiing, and Disc Golf

Final verdict

For an additional cost of $50, I will pick a Garmin Forerunner 265 over Venu 2 for the following two reasons:

  1. Multi-band GPS on Forerunner 265 is a game changer in GPS performance.
  2. The spectator messaging safety feature is handy for trail runs and hiking tours.

Also, Forerunner 265 is a relatively new watch. It makes sense to go with the newer smartwatch variant, whenever possible.

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