Xiaomi Watch 2 review: an efficient and inexpensive Wear OS watch

A few months ago we had a Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro on our wrist. This premium watch marked the manufacturer's return to Wear OS, Google's connected watch system derived from Android. After complicated years, it is coming back in force on the tocantes and the Watch 2 Pro offered us a convincing experience. Xiaomi returns with a standard version, which loses the Pro mention and several tens of euros on the bill. Obviously, the technical sheet does not escape its turns and the fitment ignores some advanced features. However, the main thing is there to promise an interesting experience for less than 200 euros.

WE love

Its classic design

Lovers of originality will come back, the Xiaomi Watch 2 is a watch in all that is most classic. Its aluminum case is relatively large (57.5 x 45.9 x 11.8 mm), but the watch is easily forgotten on the wrist with its 36.8 grams. A light and rather versatile watch, in this gray version or in its black variant.

Xiaomi Watch 2 (9)
© JournalduGeek.com

The Watch 2 necessarily owes its lightness to Xiaomi's desire to avoid the noblest materials. Aluminum alloy can scratch more easily than stainless steel, but we didn't encounter any problems during our test. However, the watch has gone through a few small ups and downs and experienced a few falls. The bracelet, in thermoplastic polyurethane, stands out for its solidity and elasticity… making us forget that it is not necessarily the most pleasant to wear. Nothing prohibitive, but Xiaomi has chosen versatility by opting for a “sporty” bracelet rather than lifestyle. This is not necessarily a problem since it is in the standard 22mm format and you will have no trouble replacing it.

Personally, I appreciate the hook loop system with a flap inside the bracelet. This approach, also offered by other manufacturers, avoids leaving a piece of the bracelet sticking out. Note that the watch has 5 ATM certification and does not need to be removed when taking a shower. On the other hand, you should not dive with it.

Its screen

Xiaomi opts for a 1.43-inch round OLED panel for its Watch 2. It displays in 466 x 466 pixels, or an appreciable resolution of 326 ppi. OLED technology ensures infinite contrast and the watch claims a brightness of up to 600 nits. In use, the screen is large enough and its maximum brightness is sufficient to maintain good readability, even in direct sunlight. However, we feel that we are reaching the limit and we do not find the comfort of a more high-end watch, most often offering more than 800 nits.

Xiaomi Watch 2 (1)
© JournalduGeek.com

In the dark, the minimum brightness is appreciable and you don't burn your retina when checking your watch in the middle of the night. The watch also has an always-on display mode, practical for always having an eye on your watch. This mode is programmable and can automatically deactivate at night, accompanying a more capricious “lift to activate” function. It may be a simple “young” software bug, but it did not always work as we would have liked.

Its Wear OS interface

As on the Watch 2 Pro, Xiaomi abandons its proprietary interface in favor of Wear OS. Google's system finds its place nicely on the Chinese giant's watches, complementing Xiaomi's proprietary HyperOS system quite well. Each has its advantages and those of Wear OS are multiple, starting with the presence of the Play Store and a large number of applications. The Watch 2 is not “restricted” and athletes will be delighted to find their favorite applications, just like Android users. Indeed, Google solutions such as Assistant, Maps or Wallet are present and the transition between your Android smartphone and the watch is perfectly fluid. Please note that this watch is not compatible with iPhones.

Xiaomi Watch 2 (8)
© JournalduGeek.com

Under the hood, we find a Qualcomm Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 chip engraved in 4nm and 2 GB of RAM. The experience is fluid and the 32 GB of integrated storage means you won't be cramped to store applications. On the watch, we also find some Xiaomi apps which sometimes clash with those from Google. The aesthetic is different, without it being annoying to use.

Its sufficient autonomy

Xiaomi's watch has a 495 mAh battery and promises up to 65 hours of battery life, or almost three days. As is often the case, this endurance is overestimated by manufacturers and it is difficult to achieve this objective.

Still, the Watch 2 lasted about two days with most power-intensive settings enabled. Test configuration, we may tend to have more sustained use than a classic user and the result is convincing. After our various tests and finding more basic operation, the watch was able to reach two and a half days.

Under Wear OS, the performance is quite appreciable and can be explained by the presence of a rather large accumulator in the watch. Above all, the watch comes with a magnetic charger (USB-A connection) with a somewhat cheap appearance… and formidable efficiency. It only takes about 35 minutes to go from 0 to 100%.

Xiaomi Watch 2 (18)
© JournalduGeek.com

His price

Since its release, the Xiaomi Watch 2 has been one of the most affordable watches under Wear OS. Launched at 199.99 euros in France, it is a good way to (re)discover the Google OS and the Xiaomi ecosystem.

An unbeatable price (or almost) which can also be explained by the absence of a 4G version. The Watch 2 only exists in one wifi format and two colors.

We like less

Its functions sometimes limited

In order to keep the price competitive, Xiaomi focuses on functions that can be described as essential. The Watch 2 includes the sensors that we are used to finding on this type of watch such as the heart rate monitor, GPS, pulse oximeter, gyroscope, accelerometer, barometer or electronic compass. Like the Watch 2 Pro, it skips the electrocardiogram. Compared to its big sister, we see that it does not exist in an eSIM version.

We are now used to finding watches capable of measuring heart rate, blood oxygen level (SpO2), altitude, number of steps or even monitoring stress levels and sleep. Xiaomi even claims support for tracking over 160 sports. Unlike the Watch 2, however, it is not possible to obtain body composition.

The experience is classic in 2024 and as always, we preferred to put ourselves in the shoes of the user to test a product. The Watch 2 meets expectations despite a limited number of sensors which does not open the doors to advanced functions. Likewise, Xiaomi's watch sometimes seems to lack precision in measurements, particularly at the GPS level. In its price range, this connected tocante is necessarily rather lifestyle than truly sporty.

Its MIUI overlay

The presence of Google's Wear OS can be an advantage for a connected watch. On the other hand, Xiaomi tends to rest on its laurels on several points. First of all, you have to settle for Wear OS 3.5 while many competing watches are already running Wear OS 4. Certainly, this penalizes less than on a smartphone and an update is planned (without specific date), but it It's a shame to purchase a recent watch knowing that it doesn't have the latest version available right away.

Xiaomi Watch 2 (12)
Only Wear OS 3.5? Damage ! © JournalduGeek.com

A little touch of “MIUI” for Xiaomi which can always count on its Mi Fitness application. The advantage is that the manufacturer's in-house solution manages all the functions of the display, from retrieval to display of data through the management of Wear OS parameters. An advantage for the user who does not have to juggle between applications.

The application remains relatively simple to understand with its division into four tabs. However, the youthful mistakes that Xiaomi could be forgiven have not been particularly corrected. The application still offers some shaky translations and deserves a slight overhaul. Nothing annoying then, but Xiaomi could capitalize even more on Mi Fitness.

The absence of a wheel

Beyond aesthetics, the wheel of a connected watch can be useful as we saw on the Watch 2 Pro. We also got into the habit of using it to navigate easily without having to touch the screen. The Watch 2 is intended to be less high-end and does not benefit from the wheel, which could bother some users.

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