The smartwatch market is pretty crowded these days. You’ve got your Samsungs, Google Pixels, and, of course, Apple devices. Still, there’s one brand delivering stylish smartwatches you might not have heard of. That brand is Xiaomi. Having only arrived in the tech market just over a decade ago, we’ve gotten used to some pretty snazzy smartphones emerging from the company. Now, it’s made a real statement in the smartwatch arena with the release of the Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro.
This device is the first from Xiaomi to use the Google OS Wear software, with a noticeable leap between the capabilities of this watch and the first from the company. Much like some of the best Xiaomi phones, it matches a stylish design with a list of features that make it more than a match for some of the more iconic names we’ve mentioned. Still, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. For our full thoughts on this tantalizing timepiece, keep reading for our full review below.
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- Elegant design
- Fantastic display options
- Solid battery life
- OS Wear software
Price and availability
At the time of writing, the Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro still isn’t readily available in the US, despite launching in Europe and other regions earlier this year. We’re not entirely sure if an official US release is on the cards, but if you’re desperate to get your hands on one, there’s always the option to import it. You can pick one up in the UK and Europe via the official Xiaomi site for around £289.99 or €269.99, respectively. At the current conversion rates, that’s around $290, not including import taxes.
When it comes to features, the Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro has everything you expect in a modern smartwatch and more. It tracks fitness, sleep, heart rate, body composition, stress levels, and even your body temperature, just at the touch of a button. It goes the extra mile, too, with a breathing function there if you ever need a moment to bring yourself down to earth, and even a timer for washing your hands thoroughly. Essentially, outside of your height and weight, this thing can tell you everything you need to know about yourself and even help calm you down if the results aren’t exactly what you were hoping for.
The Watch 2 Pro uses Google’s Wear OS software, allowing you to utilize Google’s cavalcade of apps such as YouTube Music, Maps, and Assistant from your wrist. Nothing feels more like 2023 than simply asking, “Google, tell me what the weather is like where am I today?” and getting a detailed answer with a graphic representation to boot. It’s quite a time saver for efficiency lovers like me, and you can use it for anything from setting alarms to calling a friend without touching your phone.
The move to Wear OS from Xiaomi’s MIUI Watch OS technology is smart, even if it makes the device feel a little less unique. Wear OS is the best operating system for smartwatches, and Xiaomi embracing this technology makes the device easier to compare with devices like the Google Pixel Watch. That isn’t bad, though, especially when the Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro is more impressive in many departments and has fewer features hidden behind paywalls.
Of course, one of the biggest reasons for owning a smartwatch is to track your exercise. If I’m entirely honest, I’m hardly Mr. Fit. I’m only just about Mr. Walk. Still, I did force myself to move those muscles to test a few of the workout-tracking options available. If fitness and well-being are pivotal to you, and almost everything about modern life seems to tell me that they should be, this device is a great way to keep track of all that information without booking yourself in for endless tests with a physician.
It’s also worth pointing out that there are almost endless options for individual activities to track, from day-to-day exercising like running, walking, and swimming, to more adventurous pursuits such as kayaking, tennis, and Muay Thai. You can even track your body’s response during a game of chess. Whatever you’re doing, this watch can tell you what that activity is doing to you.
Apparently, chess stresses me out. So, with the information I’ve learned from using this device, I now try to keep my cool even when my queen is under attack. It might not seem like a big thing, but what is good for my stress levels is good for my heart, too, so it’s enlightening to know how my body reacts to all sorts of activities so I can change my behaviors. That anecdote alone showcases how much this intuitive smartwatch can impact your well-being, and I’m very much here for it.
Design and display
For the longest time, I’ve tried to avoid using the word elegant when writing a review, but this time around, I have little choice. This thing is properly elegant. At a glance, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s just a fancy regular watch. It has a circular clock face, a rotating adjuster button on the side, and two bump buttons on either side of that. It’s not trying to look incredibly high-tech or futuristic. In fact, there’s no real design gimmick at all. It’s just a classy piece of kit with a sturdy build and respectable water resistance up to a depth of 50 meters.
The 1.43-inch AMOLED screen is bright enough to see in detail whatever the lighting scenario might be, boasting a peak brightness of 600nits and a 466 x 466-pixel resolution. However, it does smudge a little easily for my liking, and I constantly find myself wiping away fingerprints to avoid obscuring the clock face. Fingerprints should be your only concern, though, as thanks to an intelligently placed bezel rising just above the glass, there’s little chance of scratching the display unless you’re incredibly unlucky, clumsy, or both.
The displays are what sells this smartwatch to me, though. I’ve long avoided picking up a smartwatch as I’ve always preferred the traditional clockface of an analog watch. With this device, you can have that, with over 20 designs varying from something akin to a classic timepiece to more high-tech displays. Of course, if you prefer the digital clockface, you can have it, but for an old fuddy-duddy like me, it’s nice to have something that looks like an old-fashioned watch on your wrist with all the capabilities of a modern smartwatch.
My only issue with the design of this smartwatch is when it comes to charging. Thanks to Xiaomi choosing to opt for a two-pin charger that slots into the back of the device, you have to position it in a certain way when juicing the battery, and it can feel a bit precarious. Not only that, but it’s much easier to knock it off the two-pin without noticing than the equivalent charger of something like the Google Pixel Watch or the Apple Watch. It’s not enough to put you off it, but I would like to see something more ergonomic when it charging future Xiaomi smartwatches.
If there’s one thing you can be sure of with Xiaomi devices, it’s an impressive battery life. However, Xiaomi’s maths of 65 hours of battery life might be a bit of an overstatement. It really depends on how you use it. If you set the device to be ‘always on’ in the settings and toy with it often during the day, you’re looking more at the 48-hour marker. I imagine that if you’re using it for multiple workouts, it could be a little less than that, but providing you charge it once every two days, there’s little risk of it letting you down during the middle of the afternoon.
Fortunately, when you charge it, it doesn’t take long to get back up to 100%. I regularly recorded timings of around 50 minutes for a full charge. Considering you don’t really want to take the watch off to charge overnight with all of its sleep-tracking capabilities, it’s convenient that you can take it off during a little downtime in the evening, less than an hour even, and come back to find it ready to go for the next couple of days.
Utilizing a Qualcomm Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 chipset, the Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro has no issues with day-to-day performance. As any fitness tracker should, it keeps up with your activities, registering even the most intricate of details to help form detailed reports, while quickly responding to any input, be it with manual button presses or voice controls. In simple terms, it performs as elegantly as it looks.
We’ve already covered all the fitness features of this smartwatch, but it’s worth mentioning how accurate and responsive they are. This thing isn’t just measuring your speed and steps, but your heart rate, average pace, and the elevation of your activity while producing a mini-map of the ground you’ve covered if you’re using it for a walk or jog. There are even celebratory notifications when you reach certain milestones during an activity, which are a nice little serotonin boost during a 45-minute slog of a dog walk in the pouring rain.
While Pokémon Sleep might be a more entertaining way to track your snoozing hours, the Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro offers a truly impressive level of detail regarding your sleeping patterns. Each morning, you wake up to a detailed report of the night before, telling you how much light, deep, and REM sleep you’ve just enjoyed, plus your average heart rate while dozing. I have a lot of trouble with sleep and often feel like what I’m getting isn’t as healthy as it could be, so it’s nice to see a reassuring rating of ‘good’ when I’m starting the day.
Should you buy the Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro?
If you’re looking for a smartwatch that matches an elegant style with a long list of features, I couldn’t recommend the Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro highly enough. It’s comfortable on the wrist, utilizes Google OS Wear in a way that Google might want to pay attention to themselves, and, better still, doesn’t come with an additional cost for any of the fitness or well-being features. It’s a true all-rounder, and while not completely revolutionizing the smartwatch itself, I can’t find any meaningful faults or think of anything more I could reasonably ask for.
The big caveat here is that if you own an iPhone, the relationship between these devices is still less intuitive than the Apple Watch 9. That isn’t necessarily the fault of Xiaomi, with most smartwatches interacting better with Android technology than the iOS equivalent, but it does mean that you benefit more from some of the features and find better connectivity with the Watch 2 Pro and something like a Xiaomi, Samsung, or OnePlus device.
If our Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro review leaves you still looking for your ideal smartwatch, check out some possible alternatives below.
Google Pixel Watch 2
The problem with this alternative is that getting the most out of the Google Pixel Watch 2 depends on whether you’re willing to pay after purchase for its best features. However, If you have a Google Pixel device, it might make more sense to go for the accompanying watch, with Google offering some deals and discounts that include the FitBit Premium offering. The Google device itself is also a little more expensive, so it might come down to your opinion on the design and displays of the devices, as well as your budget.
Apple Watch Series 9
If you’re an iPhone user, the Apple Watch Series 9 is the obvious alternative to the Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro. I’m personally not a massive fan of the square clock face, but it’s still an impressive device, with Apple’s S9 processor one of the best you can find in a wearable piece of kit and considerable improvements on Apple watches of the past. The biggest selling point, however, is the seamless relationship between the Watch 9 and any iPhone device, which, thanks to the company’s fluid operating systems, still feels a little more intuitive than any Android equivalent.
The Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro is a real statement of intent from the Chinese tech brand. Now utilizing Google Wear OS, it’s one of the better smartwatches available for Android users, with all the fitness and well-being features you could ever need and no extra charge for using them.