Garmin Lily 2 was the tracker I needed for my vacation

On the last day of my vacation, I was sipping a pina colada on a pristine beach and looking out at the turquoise Caribbean Sea. I had charged my Apple Watch Ultra 2 three times over the past four days and my battery was around 30 percent. On my other wrist is a $249.99 Garmin Lily 2 Sport. It’s never been charged. I had even left the cable at home, hundreds of kilometers away. While I was thinking about this, the Ultra 2 started ringing. My phone might have been buried in a towel or a bottle of sunscreen at the bottom of my beach bag, but Peloton was having a bad winning day. Given the time settings, there was no way I could have forgotten about it; Lily 2 also rang occasionally. The difference was that reading the notifications was annoying and easily ignored.

What makes Lily 2 great and what doesn’t.

Close up of the Garmin Lily 2 looking for GPS

My ten days with Lily 2 were divided into two very different weeks. The first week was a hell of chaos as I bounced around trying to get 10,000 things done before vacation. The other week was spent snacking on potatoes on the beach. The first week Lily 2 was cute and cozy but not enough for my special needs. On vacation, thanks to its limitations, it was exactly the wearable I needed.

This didn’t surprise me; Lily 2 is not a mini wrist computer that replaces a cell phone. It looks sleek, shows the time, has basic notifications and fitness tracking. It’s ideal for casual users – the kind of people who liked fitness bands and Fitbits before they started playing with Google methods.

Garmin Lily 2 specs
Materials: aluminum, LCD touch screen, Corning Gorilla Glass 3, silicone strap
Operating System Garmin
Connectivity Bluetooth
Dimensions: 35.4 mm x 35.4 mm, 10.1 mm thick
Weight: 24,4 g
Battery life: Up to 5 days, less when Pulse Ox is active
Sensors: optical heart rate monitor, accelerometer, blood oxygen sensor, ambient light sensor
GPS: connected
Water resistance 5 bar water resistance
NFC: classic models only
Compatibility: iOS and Android
The most important thing about the Lily 2 is that, although it looks good on the wrist, you have to admit that in practice it is a bit difficult to use. The original Lily’s screen didn’t detect swipe and tap gestures well; the Lily 2 has improved this a little, but only a little. Reading notifications, navigating menus and doing most things on the watch itself didn’t feel as comfortable as it would on a more serious touchscreen smartwatch. This extra friction was a major reason why the Lily 2 didn’t meet my needs in everyday life.

As a fitness tracker, the Lily 2 is middling. The main features added this time around are improved sleep tracking and more activity types, including HIIT, indoor rowing, hiking and meditation. There are also new dance fitness profiles for various sub-genres, including Zumba, Afrobeat, jazz and line dancing. That said, Lily 2 isn’t a great way to track data during a workout. Again, the scrolling difficulty and the small screen create too much friction for that.

Training for a marathon with the Lily 2 is also not recommended. Because it uses the phone’s GPS, outdoor running results were mixed. A four-mile run was recorded as 4.01 miles. Perfect. Another 2-mile run was recorded at 2.4 miles. Not so good. It’s a great tracker for active living, but not a tracker where the details really matter. For example, it’s great for recording general activities like splashing and swimming in the sea, but if I wanted to record laps in the pool, I wouldn’t reach for this tracker.

As a woman with a small wrist, the 35mm size is a plus. I personally don’t think the Lily 2 is meant to be a women’s watch, but it’s undeniably elegant. If you want something more neutral or a slightly larger size, Garmin has the Vivomove Trend and Vivomove Sport models. Withings’ ScanWatch 2 and ScanWatch Light are also attractive options.

Appearance of the Garmin Lily 2 sensor array
The sensor array uses the previous generation of Garmin optical heart rate sensors, which are good for a casual tracker.
As a result, Lily 2 is ideal for those who want to be more active with fewer notifications. It’s also a great alternative if you miss your old Misfits, Jawbones or Fitbit Alta HR. Deep down, I wish I could, but the reality is that I have too much gadget FOMO and care too much about my running data. That said, the next time I go on vacation or feel the urge to declutter, I’ll reach for the Lily 2 and leave it at home for the rest of my life.

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Written by Sean Anderson

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