The best way to compete in the premium smartwatch market is to join Google’s Wear OS (or be an Apple Watch), or so Xiaomi thought as it was designing the Watch 2 Pro. The move opens up the Play Store and all of its apps, while the Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 platform – a big 4nm step up from the S1 Pro – takes things up a further notch. The chipset is a rarity among Wear OS watches outside of the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5.
The move to a proper OS also means that the Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro lasts about two days, while the watch it replaces had its battery life measured in weeks. That’s a big downside the added smarts need to justify. But let’s recalibrate for a moment – the Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro will now compete with the strongest Wear OS watches – the Galaxy Watch6 and Watch5, the just announced Pixel Watch 2, and the Fossils and Skagens of the world.
To stand out Xiaomi has packed dual-band GPS into the Watch 2 Pro, making it a much better tracker than its single-band peers. The other differentiator is the nearly 500mAh battery, which Xiaomi touts will last up to 65 hours.
Xiaomi’s watch has the tools but it also has style and starts at just €270. If that’s not enough for you to consider the Watch 2 Pro seriously, read on to knwo more about it.
Design and build quality
The Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro is a classic-looking timepiece. It comes in either Black with a black fluororubber strap or silver with a brown leather strap. Both models feature stainless steel casing with a black top bezel and a “Parisian hobnail” textured side. The silver model is definately more interesting because of the contrasting black bezel.
There are three buttons on the right of the watch. The top and bottom are recessed, while the crown in the middle stands outward. It’s a rotating crown with a very smooth range of motion. There’s a little knurled ring at the base of the crown to help your finger find purchase. It’s a well-thought-out design with attention to detail.
The top button always opens up the workouts screen. The bottom button brings up the last opened app with a press, launches Google Pay with a double press, and opens the shutdown menu with a long press. The crown opens and closes the app grid with a press and summons Google Assistant with a long press. You can also wake the Assistant with a voice command.
We have the black model and it’s a fingerprint magnet. The silver model appears shinier but we guess it will hide smudges better.
The display is a 1.43-inch 466x466px AMOLED with 600 nit max brightness. It’s a lovely thing to look at with the typical punchy colors and superb contrast of an OLED. The glass sits slightly recessed below the case’s bezel, which means it’s harder to scratch. And that’s important, since unlike the S1 Pro the Watch 2 Pro misses on the sapphire crystal.
The watch face plays a huge role in the design of the watch. There are 23 watch faces to choose from and thousands of third-party options in the Google Play store. Xiaomi’s custom faces are high-quality and customizable – you’re guaranteed to find something you like.
The case comes with standard dual lug straps on either side with 22mm width. This is by far the most popular standard for this watch size and it means all of your standard straps will work plus you’ll have a huge choice of third-party options at your disposal. Xiaomi offers additional straps in 3 materials and 4 colors.
The fluororubber watch strap is very soft to the touch and has great elasticity. It lacks some solidity and could be heavier, though. The buckle feels of quality.
The vibration motor of the Watch 2 Pro is very strong. That’s both a positive and a negative – it’s a bit jarring at times and we’d love a granular slider to control the strength of the vibration. The rotating crown has a lovely subtle haptic feedback.
The underside of the watch holds all the sensors – optical heart rate, skin temperature and the new Bioelectrical impedance analysis sensor – something only Samsung has up to now offered on a watch. The underside is also where you’ll find the two pins for the proprietary charger. We’d prefer a universal wireless charging puck, but even worse – the Watch 2 Pro’s charger requires the watch to face a certain way, which isn’t convenient for nightstand use.
The Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro ships with Wear OS 3.5, the penultimate version of the OS. Currently, only Samsung’s latest smartwatches run Wear OS 4, though with the Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 platform, it’s safe to say the Watch 2 Pro will eventually get the update.
The move to Google’s wearable operating system means the Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro has access to the entire library of watch apps, including YouTube, Spotify, Google Maps, Google Pay, and many others. This is the most capable wearable OS outside of Watch OS.
You also get Google Assistant with voice or button activation. This is the complete Assistant experience – you can ask the Assistant anything, turn on the flashlight, ring your phone or what not.
The Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro is controlled by gestures as is the norm with these things. You swipe on either side of the watch face for the different widgets you have. A swipe from the bottom opens up the toggles (though it would’ve felt more natural as a swipe from the top), while a swipe from the top brings down the notifications. Press the crown to open the apps, which are laid out in a honeycomb-style grid by default, but you can also opt for the list view with the name on the side of the icon.
Google Pay is a great benefit of Wear OS. It’s simple to set up – download the Google Wallet app and enroll your payment card. Keep in mind that your card issuer needs to support Google Pay. From there you double press the bottom button and pay. One drawback of Google Pay is it requires your watch to have a passcode. Smartwatches don’t yet have fancy face or fingerprint scanning and tapping on a tiny virtual numeric pad while on the go is a tedious task.
You can control some aspects of the Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro on your phone. Similar to what Samsung does, Xiaomi requires you to get its own custom app – Mi Fitness. It aggregates all of your health data, and workouts, and has a section dedicated to the watch you’re using.
You can change most things from your phone, including the watch face, accounts, and apps, and also change fitness and health tracking settings. Where the app underwhelms is the lack of any sort of backup and restore feature. If you need to change phones, you’d need to reset the watch and set it up anew.
Notification handling is excellent on the Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro. You can choose which apps can send notifications and you can respond with the usual set of options – send an emoji, like a message, send a voice message, and even type a response on a tiny QWERTY keyboard right there on your wrist.
Fitness and health tracking
The Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro is an all-around excellent tracker for both fitness and health. It supports over 150 sports modes with detailed analysis and coaching tips. The dual-band GPS uses both the wider L1 and the faster and more accurate L5 band to provide tracking accuracy within the meter.
In practice, it takes about half to a full minute for the GPS to lock on once you start an outdoor run. You can still run during that time but it’s better to wait to get the most accurate reading.
We did some meticulous testing of the GPS – we ran to see how accurately it measured our speed, then abruptly stopped to see how fast it recognized we’d stopped moving. It was very quickly to register all changes. Then we checked our movements on the map and found the Watch 2 Pro to be very accurate.
The watch is also 5ATM water-resistant so it is fine for swimming.
You get a very detailed rundown of your workout in Mi Fitness. The app gives you all the basic stuff like the distance, the time, the pace, your heart rate beats per minute and high and low, as well as your overall steps. You get elevation data, and a fine breakdown of your heart rhythm during the run – light, intensive, aerobic, anaerobic, and your VO₂ max time.
Sleep tracking is also very detailed. The watch monitors your sleep cycles – Deep, Light, REM – and gives you a breakdown of your waking time. All of these are highlighted with additional information – whether your deep sleep is enough, whether your light sleep or wakefulness is too high. The watch will supplement the tracking with breathing data and blood oxygen during the night.
The Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro is the first watch to match Samsung’s Galaxy Watch series and offer a bioelectrical impedance sensor. You need to start a reading, tap both buttons with your index and middle finger and stay still. The watch then gives you a breakdown of your body in percentages of fat, water, salts, and protein, and tell you your muscle mass and your fat mass in kilograms. You also get the overall BMI number.
Measuring this reviewer’s BMI on the watch matched the number from his Withings Body+ smart scale, but then that’s based only on input weight and height. The fat mass reading was higher on the smartwatch than it is on the scale, though these kind of analysis attempts are inherently inaccurate. They can serve for tracking your progress if you manage to get readings on similar hidration levels.
There’s also in-depth menstrual cycle tracking, all-day blood oxygen monitoring, and breathing exercises.
We could debate whether a smartwatch is accurate enough at its size to compete with professional fitness and health tracking tools. But the idea is to pack as much helpful data into as pretty and functional a package as possible.
Thanks to its dual-band GPS and its top-tier selection of sensors, the Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro is a perfect everyday companion for the wellness-minded.
The Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro has a 495mAh battery, which 70mAh more than the Galaxy Watch6 Classic and very rarely beaten – last year’s Watch5 Pro has a 590mAh, while the TicWatch 5 Pro has a 628mAh unit. Interestingly, the TicWatch 5 Pro claims the same 65 hours of runtime as the Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro.
We didn’t get the above two days promised but we did get two full days of solid use. That means wearing the Watch 2 Pro all day with the always-on display enabled, notifications on, a workout in the evening, a full night’s sleep tracking, and then a run in the morning. The watch went on the charger at noon with around 26% battery left.
That’s solid performance for a Wear OS smartwatch but it isn’t anywhere near what a proprietary OS smartwatch, like the Huawei Watch GT 4 can do.
We like the Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro. It’s a good-looking smartwatch, if a bit dull in the Black we got. Get the silver model for a bit more style and maybe get a few straps and you’re looking at a pretty timepiece.
Xiaomi’s move to Wear OS and the 4nm Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 means the Watch 2 Pro is responsive, smart and fully-featured, and futureproof. It’s also competitive against top rivals from Mobvoi, Samsung, and Huawei (Apple Watch fans live in their own world and don’t care for round watches).
But the Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro’s biggest draw is its price. It starts at €270 for the Bluetooth model and goes up to €330 if you want LTE. Compare that to the Galaxy Watch6 Classic’s €449 and €499 or the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5’s price of €360 and you see just how competitive the Xiaomi smartwatch is. Now, Huawei throws a spanner in the works with the €270 Watch GT 4 but it lacks Wear OS.
The Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro makes tremendous sense for the complete package, stylish design, and very reasonable asking price. There’s nothing it can’t do and it gets our recommendation.