Xiaomi has unveiled the Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro at an event in Berlin – and the smartwatch brings some huge new features.
It embraces the new look Wear OS operating system, and Qualcomm’s latest platform, to make one of the most advanced Google-powered smartwatches we’ve seen to date.
Xiaomi is no stranger to the wearable market – the company just released the Mi Band 8 – and has dominated the fitness tracker world. However, its impact on the smartwatch market has been limited.
Previous Xiaomi smartwatches have run on a proprietary OS, so they haven’t enjoyed access to popular Android apps, Google Assistant, or any other Google Wear OS features.
While I’m not yet ready to deliver my final thoughts on Xiaomi’s £230 wearable, I did get the chance to go hands-on at its launch event, and here’s what I think so far.
Price and competition
The Xiaomi Watch Pro 2 will cost £230 (around $280) and it’s available from the Mi Store. The company hasn’t released US pricing as yet, and won’t sell it officially, but we’d expect to see it on retailers soon.
The price tag is set aggressively and offers great value for money compared to rival Wear OS and Android-friendly smartwatches.
The Huawei Watch GT 4 – another spiritual rival – costs £229/$229. That’s an excellent smartwatch that only falls short with a lack of Wear OS and all the added apps and features the OS brings.
Design and screen
The Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro looks and feels like a competitor to premium smartwatches like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 and Apple Watch Series 9, sporting a classic circular design and a stainless steel case to protect the 1.43-inch display housed within.
The stainless steel case adds to the premium look of the watch, especially when combined with the brown vegan leather strap, though as seen in my hands-on photos, it’s also a bit of a fingerprint magnet.
It also adds a bit of heft to the watch, though not to an uncomfortable level. Some will find it reassuringly weighty, but this isn’t a watch for really slender wrists – and the look is quite masculine overall.
To the right of the display, you’ll find two shortcut buttons and a rotating crown that, just like with the Apple Watch, can be used to scroll through the interface without your fingers getting in the way of the display. It’s a natural way to scroll through apps, though there’s no kind of resistance or haptic feedback like you’d find from alternatives.
Flip the watch over and you’ll see a plethora of sensors ready to collect all your health and fitness data – more on that in a bit – and a strap removal mechanism. That’s because you can swap out the strap for a fluoroelastomer alternative that’s better suited to workouts, allowing you to change up the style depending on the occasion.
The 1.43-inch AMOLED display looked detailed and vivid during my short time with the wearable, showing off the plethora of colorful watch faces available on the wearable, and it’s also bright enough to be legible even in an extremely challenging hands-on area with spotlights and other rather harsh lighting.
Features and specs
The big new feature of the Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro is, of course, the introduction of Wear OS.
Previously, Xiaomi smartwatches have run on a proprietary OS, so they haven’t enjoyed the extra smart features that a large platform such as Wear OS can offer.
The Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro takes full advantage, with not only access to Google-branded services like Google Wallet, Google Assistant and even Google Maps for on-the-go map directions, but also a plethora of third-party apps like Spotify and Strava via Google Play.
Xiaomi has also put a lot of work into the watch faces, with new dynamic options that react to elements like movement and orientation, as well as over 200 available to download.
They’re not quite as customizable as what you’ll find from Samsung or Apple’s wearables, but there’s certainly a variety of styles.
That’s all powered by a new Snapdragon W5 Plus Gen 1 chipset that should deliver strong everyday performance – and it’s only the second device to run the platform, after the TicWatch Pro 5, which feels like its most natural competitor.
I certainly didn’t notice any kind of lag or slow-down during my hands-on time, but I’ll verify that for the full review.
As well as Wear OS support, Xiaomi has a few other tricks up its sleeve to help it better compete with other high-end smartwatches on the market.
Health and wellness features
One such trick is full body scanning tech which looks to be very similar to that of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, essentially scanning your body composition by placing two fingers on the side of the watch.
You’ll be delivered with metrics like weight, fat levels, muscle levels, water levels and more, to provide a more holistic overview of your build not usually provided by standard scales.
What’s more, unlike Samsung’s wearable that locks the functionality to Samsung smartphones, Xiaomi’s body scanning tech should be compatible with any paired Android phone, regardless of brand. That’s a huge boon for Xiaomi.
Of course, there’s also the extensive health and fitness support on offer that Xiaomi wearables are known for, with the Watch 2 Pro boasting support for over 150 dedicated exercises, as well as elements like general fitness tracking, heart rate and blood oxygen monitoring and, of course, in-depth sleep tracking.
We’ll be testing these out in our full review.
Battery life also looks promising with up to 65 hours of use according to Xiaomi, though that ranges depending on the tech you have active.
That’s pretty chunky – given that the Apple Watch is only quoted as 18 hours (it usually lasts around 30), and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 also needs charging every day – as also lasted around 36 hours in our tests.
So it shows the potential of the Snapdragon S5+ platform – and this seems like a genuine leap forward for Wear OS smartwatches.
The TicWtach Pro 5 will last for around 8 hours between charges, but it achieves this by switching to a low-power secondary display when not running premium tasks. It’s clever but does detract a little aesthetically.
While I’m not yet ready to deliver my final verdict, I am very impressed by what I’ve seen from the Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro so far.
The price is great – and the long battery life feels like a leap forward. There’s a lot to like about this as a Galaxy Watch 6 or TicWatch alternative.
Google Wear OS support is a huge boon that should see the watch rocket in popularity, and features previously exclusive to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 like body scanning should also prove very popular among non-Samsung Android users.