Xiaomi Redmi Watch 2 Lite Smartwatch Review: Improved successor of the Xiaomi Watch Lite
Possible competitors in comparison
Case and features: Smartwatch with TPU wristband in three colors
After the first Redmi smartwatch was released in this country as the Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite the successor is now available in Europe directly under the Redmi brand name. The Redmi Watch 2 Lite resembles its predecessor almost like two peas in a pod. It does offer some improvements, though not as many as the Redmi Watch 2, which is once again reserved for Asia.
The Redmi Watch 2 Lite, which is available in black (we tested it), ivory and blue, still comes with a plastic casing. The glossy black glass front is conspicuous and hides the display with a rather thick chin at the lower edge. On the right side there is again a button to open the menu. There are no integrated speakers or microphones.
The 35 g-light watch is held on the wrist by a pre-bent wristband made of TPU. This prevents the watch from lying flat on the table. Thanks to 13 closely spaced holes, the wristband can be adjusted in many ways and thus fits well on the arm. The wristband is removable but not universally interchangeable.
Setup and operation work flawlessly in the smartwatch test
The Redmi Watch 2 Lite runs a proprietary operating system. The app "Xiaomi Wear" is required for setup on Android while "Xiaomi Wear Lite" is required for iOS. For our test of the Redmi Watch 2 Lite, we primarily used the iOS app. We have definitely seen better smartwatch apps for both iOS and Android.
After the obligatory registration or login into the user's Xiaomi account, the smartwatch can be easily set up. Simply tap on "Add Device" in the "Profile" menu and then select the Redmi Watch 2 Lite in the list. After that, the pairing process via Bluetooth starts, which is self-explanatory and went smoothly in our test of the Redmi Watch 2 Lite.
Five watch faces are preinstalled on the watch. Many more can be selected and transferred free of charge via the app. In addition, the smartphone app can be used to turn app notifications on and off and configure them, customize the widgets, and change the menu layout from grid to list, among other things.
The app can also be used to set how sensitive the display should be and how often it should turn on automatically when the user raises the arm, which almost always works reliably in practice.
The Redmi Watch 2 Lite is primarily operated via the touchscreen. On the home screen, you can swipe horizontally through various widgets that provide information about the heart rate, blood oxygen level, weather, and activities, as well as directly start a workout. A swipe down brings up notifications, and a swipe up brings up the control center with night mode, flashlight, and more.
The single button on the right side is used to call the menu. Pressing the button for three seconds opens the system menu for turning off and restarting. By default, the menu presents itself in many small icons without textual explanation. Three icons are displayed in a row, which provides for sufficiently large touch surfaces. The menu is scrolled through via a vertical swipe.
In addition to the pulse, SpO2 and sports tracking, which are discussed in more detail below, the menu offers apps for all-day stress tracking (must be activated via the app), breathing exercises, a cycle calendar, weather information, alarm clock, stopwatch and timer, as well as an electric compass, a phone locator function and a flashlight (display lights up white). In addition, the music playback and camera (including delay up to 5 seconds) of the connected smartphone can be controlled on the wrist.
Telephony and notifications
The Redmi Watch 2 Lite displays notifications from the paired smartphone. Push notifications for e-mails, phone, messages, and others can be received. The smartwatch vibrates briefly when a notification is received. Mails and messages can be read in a short preview but cannot be answered. Reliability and synchronicity were mostly given in our test, but the order of the displayed notifications was partly confusing and not systematic.
The smartwatch does not offer a phone function. Nevertheless, the wearable draws attention to calls. They can be pushed away on the smartwatch, but not accepted.
Voice assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant are not supported by the Redmi Watch 2 Lite.
Health and fitness: 24h heart rate measurement, SpO2 and 100+ sport modes
The Redmi Watch 2 Lite is equipped with an optical heart rate sensor. In addition to the pulse, it also measures the blood's oxygen content (SpO2). The health features are rounded off by over 100 fitness modes.
The tracked data can not only be read on the smartwatch but also via the Xiaomi Wear app on the connected smartphone. Synchronization with Apple Health is possible. According to the manufacturer, the Redmi Watch 2 Lite also supports the Strava app for runners and cyclists. In our experience, however, only activities can be shared. Strava does not list the Watch as a compatible device, so it cannot be used as a heart rate monitor.
As activity targets, the smartwatch displays the actively burned calories (i.e. those above the basal metabolic rate) and the number of steps taken together with the charge level as filling semicircles on the standard dial. In addition, the activity widget shows the number of movement interruptions during a sedentary activity. The targeted daily goals cannot be changed.
Heart rate, heart rhythm, and blood oxygen saturation
Whether the heart rate measurements should be continuous (24 hours a day, with adjustable frequency — requires more energy) or only on demand can be set. In addition, a regular determination of the blood oxygen content during sleep can also be specified.
During our usual cycling test with the smartwatch, we noticed large deviations in comparison to a Polar H10 chest strap as a reference device during high dynamics, i.e. strongly fluctuating pulse values (interval training). Whereas the strap outputs readings of 122 (average) and 156 (maximum) for the activity, the smartwatch outputs 75 and 112. These are differences that are absolutely unacceptable to this extent and actually make the smartwatch unusable. And that's not all: Even for the resting pulse, the Redmi Watch 2 Lite initially showed significantly too high values compared to the reference in the first of our two testers
However, Xiaomi distributed an update during our test of the Redmi Watch 2 Lite that seems to address this issue. These deviations did not occur to the same extent in the further course. Thus, our second test editor was able to determine significantly lower variances in various workouts as well as in the resting heart rate later on. Most of the time, the deviations were within a maximum of 10 percent. That is still not particularly accurate and does not correspond to Xiaomi's promise of a "high-precision PPG sensor". However, this might still be acceptable in this price range and for hobby athletes.
Users who wear the Redmi Watch 2 Lite at night can track their own sleep. In addition to the duration, the smartwatch measures the different sleep phases and their length as well as the average pulse rate and the blood oxygen saturation, if desired. All data can be viewed on the smartwatch but are displayed in more detail in the app on the smartphone.
Water resistant up to 5 ATM, the Redmi Watch 2 Lite offers over 100 fitness modes. These include 17 professional modes like HIIT and yoga as well as 100 advanced workout modes. Thus, the selection of sports that can be tracked with the smartwatch is very large. In addition to the obligatory classics like running, walking and cycling, activities such as trekking, swimming (pool and open water), rowing, rope skipping, dancing, and many more are also included.
Depending on the selected sport, the smart wristwatch provides information about pulse, calories, distance, current and average speed, stride length, and more. It also evaluates the session after the end of the workout and saves the workout.
In the test, we used the smartwatch to track rowing on a rowing machine, among other things. The Redmi Watch 2 Lite not only counts the strokes surprisingly accurately but also suggests training sets.
GPS and navigation
The Redmi Watch 2 Lite supports the common standards GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and BDS. The connection establishment sometimes worked quite quickly with about 15 seconds, but it sometimes took much longer.
A GNSS comparison with a reference smartwatch (Garmin Venu 2) is unfortunately not possible due to a lack of GFX export. In addition, there are definitely better smartwatches for display in the corresponding app. There is no barometer for altitude measurements and no navigation function.
Display: Larger and sufficiently bright display with a thick chin
Xiaomi installs a TFT-LC display in the Redmi Watch 2 Lite, which is much larger than the predecessor Xiaomi Watch Lite despite the unchanged dimensions of the watch itself. The resolution has also increased slightly to 320 x 360 pixels, resulting in a pixel density of 331 PPI. However, the black value at full brightness is not particularly good, just like the contrast ratio.
The brightness can be adjusted in five steps and is a maximum of 375 cd/m². This is sufficient to read the watch reasonably well even in direct sunlight despite the glossy display. There is no ambient light sensor for automatic brightness adjustment.
Unfortunately, the wearable does not offer an always-on option. The display can optionally be activated via a double tap. You can set how quickly the display goes blank again when not in use between 5 and 20 seconds.
Performance and runtime: Smooth running system and solid endurance
Xiaomi installs an Apollo 3.5 chip and lets us know that the watch works faster than the predecessor. There are hardly any problems in everyday use in the test. The system responds quickly to touch gestures, and apps open immediately. Scrolling through menus and apps could have been a bit smoother, though.
There is no usable storage space, which is not necessary because additional apps cannot be installed.
The integrated battery measures 262 mAh. This is about 10% more than what is available in the predecessor. According to the manufacturer, this should be enough for a battery runtime of up to 10 days. As always, this is a rather theoretical value but is certainly achievable in practice with very sporadic use and non-constant health tracking.
In our test, the smartwatch lasted between 3 and 6 days at a stretch, depending on the intensity of use. Generally, the more health tracking (pulse, SpO2, sleep, stress) is activated, the faster it has to be recharged.
A full charge is completed in under two hours. The necessary charging cable with USB-A is included, but a charger is not.
Conclusion of the Redmi Watch 2 Lite review: Solid and improved smartwatch with selective weaknesses
With a recommended retail price of around 70 Euros (~$80), the Redmi Watch 2 Lite offers solid features for the price.
While heart rate and SpO2 measurement are standard nowadays even in even cheaper smartwatches, integrated GPS and more than 100 sports modes are quite eye-catching. There are also some practical features like music and camera control as well as breathing exercises, which are also not uncommon on other smartwatches.
Unfortunately, the pulse tracking in our test of the Redmi Watch 2 Lite did not prove to be very accurate at high speeds, even though Xiaomi has obviously improved it with an update. Nevertheless, the smartwatch is rather unsuitable for ambitious athletes; they probably use other models, anyway.
The GPS tracking also revealed a few weaknesses. On the other hand, the solid battery runtimes, the good and larger display, and the largely smooth handling were noticed positively in our test.
Considering the price, the Redmi Watch 2 Lite leaves a solid impression in the test although Xiaomi has still left room for improvement in several areas for the next generation.
Price and availability
Xiaomi lists the recommended retail price at just under €70 (~$80). At the time of our review of the Redmi Watch 2 Lite, however, the smartwatch is available for around €54 (~$62). At Amazon (DE) it is offered for about €62 (~$70.3).