Garmin Venu 3 vs Forerunner 265: Which is Better?

Estimated read time 8 min read

Garmin holds a reputation for its best fitness watches, and today I compare two smartwatches from Garmin, Forerunner 265 and Venu 3. Quite a few similarities exist in these two watches but also differences, so to ensure you do not feel confused before buying, do read this article.

Garmin Venu 3Garmin Forerunner 265
Garmin Venu 3Garmin Forerunner 265
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Garmin Venu 3 vs Forerunner 265: Design

Garmin Venu 3 vs Forerunner 265: Design

The Forerunner 265’s entire case consists of fiber-reinforced polymer, and its bezel is also plastic. It has a case size of 46mm and a thickness of 12.9 mm, making it quite a sporty watch.

Conversely, only the Venu 3’s bezel consists of stainless steel, with the rest of the body being plastic. It is 1 mm smaller in case size than the Forerunner, with a size of 45 mm, and a thickness of 11 mm. Its metal bezel gives it a slightly premium feel, making it more of a casual smartwatch.

Both have a plastic body, making their weight with the band 47 grams. This is a very good thing, ensuring comfort and suitability. Additionally, both have Gorilla Glass 3 on their screens, ensuring the screens are sturdy.

They both come with a 5 ATM water resistance rating, meaning you can go underwater up to 50 meters while wearing them.

The Forerunner 265 strap has dual colors and holes on both sides, while the Venu 3 band is quite gentle and neat. Both are extremely comfortable and stretchy for daily sports activities. Both have a 22 mm standard band, which you can replace with other straps of your choice, but I don’t think you will need to, as once you wear them, you will not feel like changing them.

One more thing, if your wrist size is less than 150 mm, you should opt for the smaller versions, Forerunner 265s or Venu 3s, as wearing a large watch on a small wrist will not look good.

Garmin Venu 3 vs Forerunner 265: Display

Garmin Venu 3 vs Forerunner 265: Display

Both have vibrant and colorful AMOLED displays. The Venu 3 has a slightly larger display size, with a 1.4-inch display and a resolution of 454×454 pixels, versus the Forerunner 265, which has a 1.3-inch display with a resolution of 416×416 pixels.

These displays not only provide sharp and vivid visuals but also offer excellent brightness levels, making information easily readable even in challenging lighting conditions. I am saying this because I have used them outdoors during the day at lower brightness settings and everything looked very clear.

Garmin Venu 3 vs Forerunner 265: Buttons

Both watches feature buttons useful in various conditions such as underwater or when wearing hand gloves.

The Forerunner 265 features five buttons, three on the left side and two on the right side, while the Venu 3 features only three buttons, all on its right side.

Buttons on the Forerunner 265 serve for up and down navigation, offering a bit more functionality and flexibility during exercise. In contrast, the Venu 3 lacks up and down buttons, requiring you to use its touchscreen, or you can press the middle button to give voice commands.

Garmin Venu 3 vs Forerunner 265: Features

Both have quite a few smartwatch features, such as a music library, making contactless payments with Garmin Pay, receiving notifications and calls, or even replying to messages with default responses, but here the Venu 3 comes out a bit ahead, as it allows custom replies with the on-screen keyboard available in it. And Venu 3 has a built-in microphone and speaker, which means not only can you use a voice assistant in it, but you can also talk after receiving a call.

Both have the option of GPS tracking, with a GNSS chipset in Venu 3 and a multi-band GNSS chipset in Forerunner 265. Although both can access five different satellite systems simultaneously, due to the advanced chipset, the Forerunner 265 can also access two different satellite frequencies. However, when I tested both, I did not see any major difference in GPS tracking, both were tracking the location very well.

Garmin Venu 3 vs Forerunner 265: Specifications

Garmin Venu 3Garmin Forerunner 265
Dimensions45.4 x 45.4 x 12.2 mm46.1 x 46.1 x 12.9 mm
Weight47 g47 g
Screen Resolution454 x 454 pixels416 x 416 pixels
Runtime14 days13 days
Memory/History8 GB8 GB
GPSYesYes, Multi-Band with SatIQ
Built-in Speaker and MicrophoneYesNo
Body BatteryYesYes
Advanced Sleep MonitoringYes, with Nap DetectionYes
Wheelchair ModeYesNo
Race Adaptive Training PlansNoYes
Multisport ActivitiesNoYes

Garmin Venu 3 vs Forerunner 265: Sports Mode

Both watches come with 30+ pre-installed sports apps, some of which are similar and some are different. The similar apps in both include Walk, Run, Indoor Track, Treadmill, Bike, Bike Indoor, eBike, Pool Swim, Strength, Cardio, Open Water, Floor Climb, HIIT, Elliptical, Row Indoor, Stair Stepper, Yoga, Breathwork, Pilates, Hike, Ski, Snowboard, SUP, Tennis, Padel, Pickleball.

And the sports apps that are only available in Venu 3 are Walk Indoor, Meditation, Bouldering, Climb Indoor, Snowshoe, Handcycling, Handcycling Indoor, Gaming, and Golf. In addition, the Forerunner 265 has a lot more sports apps, including UltraRun, Trail Run, Virtual Run, Triathlon, and many team sports apps like Football, Hockey, etc.

Overall, you get almost every type of sports activity in both smartwatches, especially in the Forerunner 265.

Garmin Venu 3 vs Forerunner 265: Health Tracking

Garmin Venu 3 vs Forerunner 265: Health Tracking

Both of these watches come with comprehensive health and fitness tracking features, where you can monitor your heart rate, blood oxygen levels, stress levels, respiration rate, step count, calories burned, and your body battery status.

The Venu 3 is equipped with a new Elevate Gen 5 Heart sensor, while the Forerunner 265 has the 4th Gen. Both sensors work very well for regular activities, but the 5th Gen sensor performs more optimally for challenging activities.

Additionally, the Body Battery feature in the Venu 3 is somewhat more advanced, providing much more detailed information about when the body is being used more or less.

Another common feature in the Forerunner 265 and Venu 3 is the “recovery time advisor.” This is basically a straightforward tool that tells you how much time it may take to fully recover after your last training session. This feature helps in better managing fitness and preventing injuries.

The Forerunner 265 has some cool features that are only available in it. One of them is training readiness, which tells how ready your body is for a workout, as you might have guessed from the name. This feature tracks functions like sleep history, stress history, current recovery time, HRV status, and training load.

Another feature is the Training Status, which tells how your training is affecting your overall fitness level and athletic performance. This feature encompasses various aspects including HRV status, training load, and recovery, and it also monitors your VO2 max.

The Venu 3 can only provide VO2 max readings for running, while the Forerunner 265 has the option to track both running and cycling activities. Additionally, it has a PacePro feature, which gives you pace guidance.

No matter how much I praise these two watches, it will be insufficient. Every sensor in both works very well and accurately, but yes, the Forerunner 265 has more options that can help a sports person, especially a runner. In other features, both are exceptional.

Garmin Venu 3 vs Forerunner 265: Battery Life

Garmin claims that the Venu 3 battery will last for 14 days and the Forerunner 265 for 13 days, but in my experience, with the Always On display enabled on both these watches, I got around 4 days of battery backup. So, if you use it with all features turned off then only you can achieve 13-14 days of battery life.

Garmin Venu 3: Pros & Cons


  • Stainless steel bezel gives a premium, casual smartwatch feel. Smaller and thinner than the Forerunner 265.
  • Larger display size (1.4-inch) with higher resolution (454×454 pixels) for sharp and vivid visuals.
  • Allows custom replies with an on-screen keyboard and has a built-in microphone and speaker for using a voice assistant and receiving calls.
  • Equipped with a new Elevate Gen 5 Heart sensor for optimal performance during challenging activities. Advanced Body Battery feature provides detailed information.


  • Only three buttons, lacking up and down buttons for navigation.
  • Does not have features like training readiness and Training Status found in the Forerunner 265.
  • Provides VO2 max readings only for running.

Garmin Forerunner 265: Pros & Cons


  • Offers unique features like training readiness, Training Status, and the ability to track both running and cycling activities for VO2 max. Also includes a PacePro feature for pace guidance.
  • Contains a multi-band GNSS chipset for potentially more accurate GPS tracking.
  • Features five buttons for more functionality and flexibility during exercise.


  • Entirely made of plastic, which may not feel as premium as the Venu 3. Larger and thicker design.
  • Smaller display size (1.3-inch) with lower resolution (416×416 pixels).
  • Lacks the ability to use a voice assistant or talk after receiving a call.
  • Claimed to last for 13 days, one day less than the Venu 3.

Garmin Venu 3 vs Forerunner 265: Which Should You Buy?

There is no difference in the price of these two watches, the Forerunner 265 and Venu 3 are both available in the market at a price of $449.99 at the time of writing. They are absolutely value for money according to their price.

Overall, if you are a serious fitness enthusiast or a professional athlete, like a runner or swimmer, you should definitely go for the Forerunner 265, as it is the best option, providing dozens of features, such as excellent Training Feedback that will help improve performance.

On the other hand, if you want a watch that looks less sporty but offers similar features, then the Venu 3 is the best. Not only does it have a sleek design, but it also comes with a handy feature like a voice assistant, which will be very useful in day-to-day use.

Garmin Venu 3Garmin Forerunner 265
Garmin Venu 3Garmin Forerunner 265
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Jaskaran Singh

Jaskaran, a tech enthusiast from childhood, inspired by his father, began his tech journey by rooting Android phones. He now writes on various tech topics, aiming to simplify complex ideas for a broad audience. His writing is direct, concise, and flows effortlessly, making tech topics accessible and engaging.

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