Redmi Watch 2 Lite Review: Lite made right

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Xiaomi continues to make inroads in the wearable front as it now just launched its smartwatch, the Redmi Watch 2 Lite. Don’t be fooled by the ‘Lite’ branding though, since the Redmi Watch 2 Lite is anything but.

Unboxing and Pairing:

The Redmi Watch 2 Lite comes with its minimalistic packaging with just the watch, its magnetic charging cable, and instruction booklet.  As an IOS user, I already knew that this won’t pair on the fly so I had to read the manual first. The watch requires downloading the Xiaomi Wear app for the smartwatch to successfully sync with an IOs device. After agreeing to its terms and conditions, you use the app to scan the QR code on the watch itself for Bluetooth pairing. The good thing about it is that the app itself does not require personal details. To get started, you can just give your mobile phone number.

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Build

This is where it gets its Lite moniker. The all-plastic housing significantly reduces the weight of the watch. At 35g it’s lighter than two AA batteries. The matte finish of the housing is identical to the strap so the build has a consistent look and feel all throughout.

Fit

The strap has an ample amount of holes that will surely fit the slimmest and beefiest of wrists. I myself am on the slim slide and the clasp still has ample length on either side. There are aftermarket straps available should you wish to replace them with different colors.

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Design:

The all black square watch face plus the movement rings are very much how square smartwatches look nowadays. Where it goes on its own is, instead of a rotary crown like others of its ilk, the Redmi Watch 2 Lite has a slightly raised button. Pressing the button once, shows the main watch face and pressing it again reveals 15 widgets.

Display:

At 1.55 inches, the TFT display is sized just right. Since the Redmi Watch 2 Lite mainly displays numbers and text, Redmi’s decision to use TFT instead of AMOLED to keep costs down was the right call. If you do prefer the AMOLED display, you can opt for the the Redmi Watch 2 (no lite in the moniker) which is ironically lighter, thinner and has a bigger 1.6 inch display. Still, the TFT display in Redmi Watch 2 Lite is very capable. You don’t need to squint or make the default text larger. The 15 widgets on display are decipherable from each other.

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A movie poster for a watch face. Why not?

Performance:

The trackers you would expect a smartwatch are in Redmi Watch 2 Lite. Heart rate? Check. Accelerometer? Check. Gyroscope? Check. Tracking skips on the jump rope. Check. So far so good. What sweetens the deal is the inclusion of the blood oximeter. In terms of accuracy there’s an acceptable variance of about ± 2 vs. an oximeter per se. It’s not medical grade and cannot be used as a diagnostic tool but at the very least it can let you know sudden spikes and drops. It’s not on all the time though, but you can adjust the measurement frequency every 10 mins or every 30 mins. when sedentary or during sleep.

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Heads to head vs. an oximeter. The variance is acceptable.

Other nifty apps which were handy include Find My Phone which makes your phone vibrate and whistle.  And a camera app that functions as a remote control for your phone’s camera. For music lovers out there, you’d be pleased to know that its music app can connect to Spotify and be able to skip songs and control the volume level. And yes, it can sync your data to Apple Health and Strava.

It’s not all roses for the Redmi Watch 2 Lite though. There’s a noticeable delay on the double-tap to wake function. It’s enough of a delay to make you think if your taps registered at all. The same goes for the raise the wrist to wake function. As I raise my wrist, the delay again is long enough that it prods me to tap the screen. But just before my finger touches the screen, it wakes up.  It’s not a deal breaker and the delay might not be an issue for some, but it does diminish the overall experience.

The idle detection is also a hit or miss affair. There are times when I’m sure I’ve been on my seat for more than an hour and yet there’s no prompt to make me stand up. When I checked, it registered that I was active. Fall detection is also absent which is a head scratcher since the inclusion of accelerometer and gyroscope should have made this feature available. The watch also lacks celebrations when you hit your daily calorie burn, steps goal or active goal. It’s possible that I just missed them because there are celebration on workouts. But still, I haven’t seen a prompt a few days during my review. As a smartwatch that has possibly all the relevant tracking hardware and software for a multitude of exercises, not being able to give you a virtual high-five takes away some of the shine of your achievement.

The lack of a speaker is also a letdown. I was thinking audio cues might be more helpful on certain instances like emergency alerts. No need for hi-res speakers for taking in calls but at least the ability to project beeps or ringing sounds should have been included. A nice beep-beep when you hit all three activity rings would have been nice.

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Battery:

Battery life is surprisingly great for a watch this light. Redmi rates its battery life for 10 days but in my real world test with all notifications turned on, it lasted about 3 days. Using it to track workouts consumes more power, but that is expected since the heart rate monitoring is dialed in for accuracy. What drains the battery is outdoor exercise with GPS. For a 12km 30 minute cycling session, the battery was reduced by 20%. For the rest of the day, the reduction is 30%.

Price

I made people in my household guess the price point of the Redmi Watch 2 Lite. And most, doubled their estimates. Upon revealing the P2,899 they were pleasantly surprised that such a capable smartwatch can be priced at this range. It certainly looks and performs way above its SRP.

[penci_review]

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Allan Abaca is an avid gamer through and through. Virtually, he is locked-in with his PS4 almost daily and has just introduced the awesomeness of gaming to his two sons.

Next in his sights is PC gaming. The platform which he nows considering going back to after a two decade hiatus.

Oh, and let's not forget the Nintendo Switch...

His psn id is hip2b2

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