Ameya DalviSep 27, 2021 12:37:27 IST
Realme recently launched their next generation of fitness watches in India, and there’s a new member in the family with a Pro suffix. The Realme Watch 2 Pro boasts of some interesting features such as a larger display and built-in GPS at an affordable price point. It has been keeping me company for the past few weeks, and here’s what I think of this new fitness watch.
What I liked about the Realme Watch 2 Pro:
Lightweight and comfortable to wear
The standard rectangular design isn’t particularly eye-catching, but yes, the display is larger than usual. The build quality is decent, and the plastic body helps keep the weight down to 40 grams (with straps). The silicone straps feel quite comfortable around the wrist, and there was no skin irritation despite wearing it throughout the day and even to bed. The straps have the standard 22 mm width, which is a good thing, as you can replace them with any third-party 22 mm straps.
Larger display with decent sharpness
With the Watch 2 Pro, you get a larger-than-usual 1.75-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 320 x 385 pixels. Though it is a normal LCD display, colour reproduction is good, and given the decent pixel density, so is the sharpness; of course, it’s not at the level of an AMOLED panel. You get five levels of brightness to choose from. Level three is bright enough when indoors, but you need to crank it up to at least level four for it to be legible under bright sunlight.
You either need to flick your wrist or press the solitary physical button on the right to turn on the display. Flick to wake has the right amount of sensitivity, and works in the first flick itself most of the time. You have an option to switch off the feature when going to sleep to stop the screen from unintentionally lighting up in the dark.
Uncomplicated UI and smooth performance
The watch UI is simple. You swipe down for notifications, up for the apps library, right for access to quick settings and left to see the widgets of your choice including daily activity progress, heart rate, sleep info, weather updates, music playback and more. When inside a menu, swiping right takes you to the previous screen. The physical button can either be used to turn on the screen or jump to the home screen directly from anywhere. All functions of the watch are neatly listed in the app drawer, and one doesn’t need to double guess.
The UI and transition effects are snappy and mostly lag-free, and yes, unlike the Redmi Watch, they are still present here. Since this is an RTOS-based watch, you cannot install any additional apps, which is pretty much the case with almost all watches in this price range. The companion app does give you a few customisation options, and one can choose from a bunch of widgets that you’d like to see when you swipe left on the home screen.
Oximeter and built-in GPS
The SpO2 sensor does a good job and provides accurate readings if you wear the watch tight enough. The readings were at par with those of a regular over-the-counter oximeter, just not as quick. It takes a steady hand and about 30 seconds to get an accurate reading. As always, this is meant to serve as a broad guideline and not replace clinical instruments.
The Realme Watch 2 Pro has a built-in dual satellite GPS sensor, something that isn’t common in this segment but is a welcome addition. Thanks to it, you don’t need to carry your phone along for tracking your walk or run. It gets a GPS lock in about 30 seconds when outdoors and retains connection for as long as you are in the open. It does consume a bit of battery, but the drain is manageable. Use of GPS for 40 to 45 minutes drops the battery by about six points, which is fine.
Variety of fitness tracking and a handful of useful features
The Realme Watch 2 Pro claims to monitor 90 different fitness activities ranging from walking, running, cycling, freestyle workouts, strength training, elliptical to popular sports such as cricket, table tennis, badminton, football and more. Some of the fitness modes have an indoor option that can be used in situations where the watch may not get a GPS lock. The watch has a PPG heart rate sensor capable of real-time heart rate monitoring throughout the day. That helps in tracking your fitness activities better.
During outdoor runs, there was a five percent margin of error in distance measurements with GPS on. Simply put, it measures five percent extra distance than you actually cover, which is acceptable for the segment. For every kilometre you walk or run, the watch gifts you an additional 50 metres. Factor that in and push yourself a little more. The watch also tracks your sleep patterns and gives you a breakdown that includes the quantum of deep sleep, light sleep, REM and awake time. Sleep tracking works well. One thing missing here is stress monitoring.
More details of your fitness activities are available in the companion Realme Link app. In addition to that, you also get reminders to drink water or get up and move if you have been stationary for too long. Beyond fitness, the watch has a handful of useful features that include music controls, remote camera shutter, call alerts (silence or reject call), ability to control certain Realme AIoT devices and more. You also get notifications from the selected apps on your phone, and the messages are perfectly legible on the watch screen; however, you cannot reply to messages using the watch.
Good battery life
Realme claims a battery life of 14 days on this watch, and it is pretty much in that ballpark. I managed to get close to two weeks out of it with screen brightness set to three, notifications limited to SMS and email, 45 minutes of fitness activity on alternate days, about four hours of cumulative GPS usage, real-time heart rate monitoring on, two oximeter readings daily and 4 nights of sleep tracking during the period. That’s solid battery life. Your mileage may vary a bit if your GPS usage is on the higher side or if you use sleep tracking daily. It should still last you over 10 days on a full charge, which is pretty neat.
What I did not like about the Realme Watch 2 Pro:
The watch feels plasticky and the screen lacks scratch resistant glass
While the build quality is good, the watch looks distinctly plasticky, largely because of its glossy black finish. Realme could have opted for a matte finish along the borders to make it look more premium. While that can be a subjective matter, the company should have opted for some form of scratch protection for the screen. I could spot a few scuff marks on the screen within weeks despite no drops or accidents during testing. A fitness watch is meant to be tough, isn’t it?
The companion Realme Link app can use a few tweaks
While there isn’t anything majorly wrong with the Realme Link app that you need to install on a phone or tablet to sync this watch with, it can do with a few tweaks. It is a unified companion app for all your Realme AIoT devices, and it can get a little hard to find certain options. For instance, when you choose the Watch 2 Pro in the device list on the home screen, you won’t see any fitness data within any of the menus available there. It is available outside in the Health tab on the home screen instead. Same goes for the watch faces.
The presentation of the weekly and monthly reports could have been better and more detailed too. Speaking of details, the fitness app can do with a more elaborate breakdown of workouts with a few extra parameters. Right now, it feels a bit basic, which is fine for a beginner, but intermediate level users may want more. One example that comes to mind is having VO2 Max data available for all outdoor walks or runs, rather than having a separate workout for it, as is the case currently.
Not exactly swim-proof
The Realme Watch 2 Pro has an IP68 rating for water resistance, but that doesn’t make it suitable for swimming. This ingress rating guarantees protection for the watch from immersion in about a metre deep water for up to 30 minutes. So, you may wear it to the pool as it can easily survive more than a few splashes, but not inside the pool for a swim. For a watch to be swim-proof, it ideally needs a 5ATM rating, which can handle 50 metres deep water.
Limited watch faces and fewer slots on the watch
The watch face collection for the Realme Watch 2 Pro is limited as of now, or maybe I did not find enough good options that appealed to me. You do have the usual mix of digital and analogue faces along with some funky and creative ones. You also have something called Live Watch Faces, which to my understanding are nothing but faces with a bit of animation or motion. While some look intriguing, they aren’t exactly insightful. Lastly, you can store a maximum of six faces on the watch, of which, two cannot be replaced. So, you only have four slots for watch faces of your choice. I would have preferred at least ten slots, if not more.
Price and verdict
The Realme Watch 2 Pro sells for Rs 4,999 with a one-year warranty. What’s missing here is outweighed by what the watch offers. Other than the comfort around your wrist, you get a decent-sized display, a wide variety of features, reliable sensors, built-in GPS, good battery life and acceptable overall performance. It does lack a bit in the style quotient and availability of quality watch faces. Last but not the least, it isn’t swim-proof.
The other alternative in this price bracket is the Amazfit Bip U Pro that has similar features but a smaller display and a week-long battery backup. On the bright side, you get a better companion app, stress monitoring and it’s swim-proof up to 50 metres. At this price point, neither of these fitness watches will disappoint you, but choose one that has features that matter more to you.