Garmin Lily review: Fashionable fitness watch with a few shortcomings

Smartwatches are typically built for function and not fashion, which is why the Garmin Lily stands out. With its slender styling and feminine color choices, the Lily has been carefully crafted with women in mind. Garmin hits the mark when it comes to appearance with the Lily, but surprisingly falls a bit short in features.

Petite size is perfect

There is little doubt that Garmin can make monstrous GPS watches, but the Lily shows that Garmin can successfully downsize, too.  Its petite round face (34.5mm) and slim 14mm band make the Lily ideal for women. It fits my wrist perfectly and is among the most comfortable smartwatches that I have worn. I even prefer it over the Apple Watch SE, which has been a staple on my wrist for years.

Weighing a feathery 24 grams, the Lily is one of the lightest smartwatches on the market. It doesn’t weigh your wrist down and is slim enough that it doesn’t snag on clothing. You hardly even realize you are wearing it until it buzzes you with an incoming notification. Even though it’s small, the Lily delivers on battery life, lasting about four days in between charges.

Creative, classic design

The Lily has a classic design that resembles a luxury watch more than your standard fitness watch. The band is delicate and the round display is framed by a thin aluminum or stainless steel bezel that is attractive and not flashy. Even the sport models, which have silicone instead of a leather band, share this classic, good look.

When not in use, the Lily’s grayscale display disappears, leaving behind a patterned lens. The different colors have varying patterns and add a touch of class to the watch. The color choices are decidedly feminine but subdued, so it will match a variety of outfits. You can wear the Lily to work or for a night on the town and nobody will know it’s a fitness tracker.

Durable, but disappointing display

The display is bright and easy to read, but its 16-level greyscale is a step down from the colorful OLED of the Apple Watch and the Garmin Venu. The Lily’s display is not bad; it’s just not as good as its competition.

The display is covered by Gorilla Glass 3, which resists scratching. After wearing the Watch for three weeks, the lens over the display is still flawless.

Robust wellness tracking offsets missing features

Like most Garmin devices, the Lily is chockfull of wellness features, including stress monitoring and body battery energy tracking. It can even calculate your breathing rate and your blood oxygen level while you sleep. All the outstanding wellness tracking, sleep metrics, and widgets you expect from a Garmin watch are bundled into the Lily. Garmin does skimp a bit on the activity choices — there are only a handful of timed activities from which to choose. Though there are fewer choices than most other fitness watches, the included activities are broad enough to cover the basics for most people.

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As great as it is at wellness, the Lily is missing some critical features. Don’t bother setting up Garmin Wallet, as you cannot use NFC contactless payments with the Lily. It also doesn’t have integrated GPS and instead uses the GPS on your phone to calculate distance and pace. Another disappointing area is music. The Lily does have a music widget that you can use to control the music playing on your phone. The watch lacks onboard storage so you cannot download music to the watch for offline listening.

Our take

The Garmin Lily is ideal for a woman who wants to control her health and fitness with a decidedly feminine watch. The $199 price tag for the sports band and even the $249 for the classic leather model is worth it if you prefer fashion over features.

Is there a better alternative?

If you are a woman looking for a very feminine or classic-style watch with basic fitness tracking, there is no better choice than the Garmin Lily. If you don’t mind a more generic look, you may find either the Garmin Venu or Fitbit Versa 3 a better option. Both watches offer an always-on AMOLED display, integrated GPS, and mobile payments for about the same price as the Lily.

How long will it last?

The Garmin Lily has a strong feminine side, but that doesn’t mean it is soft. Like most Garmin watches, the Lily is as tough as nails and built to last for years. Garmin continually updates its watches with bug fixes and new features. If you do run into an issue, Garmin offers a one-year warranty.

Should you buy it?

Buy the Lily if you are a woman who wants a fitness tracker that looks like a luxury watch.

Garmin Lily review: Fashionable fitness watch with a few shortcomings

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