Garmin Venu Sq smartwatches pack GPS and phone-free music streaming

Garmin has unveiled its new Venu Sq and Venu Sq Music Edition smartwatches, two models targeted at the average consumer who wants smartwatch functionality alongside extensive fitness and health features. The models are very similar, both offering GPS and heart rate monitoring, among other things, but the Music Edition quite obviously differs in one big way: it enables users to stream their favorite music without using their phone, a feature particularly useful for evening runs and time spent at the gym.

The Venu Sq is the cheaper of the two new smartwatches: it features support for notifications from one's smartphone, including text messages, reminders, social media alerts, phone calls, and similar things. Android users in particular are able to reply to text messages directly from their watch.

Likewise, the two smartwatch models feature various tracking and safety features made possible, in part, by the built-in GPS chip. Users get Incident Detection, which is able to detect if an accident takes place while walking, running, or cycling; assuming such detection takes place, the phone can send an alert to the user's emergency contacts.

Beyond that, the Venu Sq models include Garmin Pay, which is the company's contactless payment offering for those who want to pay with their wrist rather than with a phone or card. As expected for a smartwatch, users are likewise given fairly extensive customization options with the Garmin Connect IQ, enabling them to download watch faces, apps, and widgets. The watches also support using one's own images for watch faces.

As far as technical details go, the watches feature a 1.3-inch display with protective Corning Gorilla Glass, an aluminum bezel, and a silicone band. The Venu Sq is offered in Orchid/Metallic Orchid, White/Light Gold, and Shadow/Slate color options. The Music Edition variant is available in Moss/Slate, Black/Slate, Light Sand/Rose Gold, and Navy/Light Gold. Prices are $199.99 USD and $249.99 USD, respectively.