Xiaomi Redmi Watch 2 Lite: first impressions

I bought a Xiaomi Redmi Watch 2 Lite smartwatch for use with my Pixel 4 XL Android phone. Here's the product packaging.

Xiaomi Redmi Watch 2 Lite product packaging

I wasn't familiar with Xiaomi's line-up of smartwatches but an Android Police article drew my attention to the Watch 2 Lite. I realized it's what I was looking for as it has the features and price point I want in a smartwatch.

Why did I get the product? Is it any good?

Motivation

I loved the glanceability and essentiality of the early Android Wear. Then came apps and Android Wear — later Wear OS — smartwatches became expensive, bloated, dog slow, and clumsy smartphone replicas.

All I want in a smartwatch is a cheap device that mirrors my phone's notifications, with vibration for incoming calls as a plus. Exactly what the Android Police article advocates for, highlighting the Watch 2 Lite as an example.

Although I don't care about fitness tracking, the Xiaomi Mi Band seemed perfect. I tried a Xiaomi Mi Band 4 but returned the product, as the screen was too small and notifications were barely legible with my prescription glasses.

The 1.55” display of the Watch 2 Lite seemed large enough. At a price not much higher than the Mi Band's, I decided to give it a shot.

Hardware

I've been using the Watch 2 Lite for over a day and text is comfortably legible with my glasses, particularly the text of notifications. Withouth glasses I can even read most large text. For example, the options of the system settings menu look like this.

System settings menu options on the display of a Xiaomi Redmi Watch 2 Lite smartwatch

The device is light and feels comfortable on the wrist. I don't care much for the design, which is good enough for me.

Touch sensitivity seems uneven. At times I have to tap icons or perform gestures more than once to make the actions go through.

The reviews of the Watch 2 Lite warn about the one-second delay between activating the display and it turning on, so it's something I expected. But the delay may be less of an issue than anticipated because, by the time I raise the wrist close to the eyes to view the screen after pressing a button to activate it, the display has already turned on.

It's still early to evaluate battery life. I turned off the fitness tracking features and functionality I don't need, so I expect it to be higher than average. Something to watch for is the battery usage of the Mi Fitness (Xiaomi Wear) companion app for Android, which is constantly at 10% on my Pixel 4 XL even with the smartwatch turned off.

Software

It didn't take much to familiarize with the few features of the smartwatch. The notifications shade is just a swipe-down gesture away from the home screen.

The companion app Mi Fitness (Xiaomi Wear) is a bit confusing though, especially when signing up for a new account. But, again, exploring the app clarifies how it works.

#Android #smartwatch

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