The Garmin Lily was released in January of this year (2021). It’s like no other device the brand has released before. The Lily is a sleek and lightweight smartwatch that totally disrupts Garmin’s traditionally bulky, masculine aesthetic.
The design and build mean you’ll hardly even notice this sub-$200 smartwatch on your wrist. In fact, you’ll likely think of it more as a bracelet-like accessory than an actual watch!
It’s not just beauty, though, it’s got brains. This is no surprise to fans, as it is still a Garmin after all. It gives competition to the likes of the Fitbit Versa 3, Apple Watch SE and Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2.
Let’s have a deeper look…
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The Garmin Lily is just under $200, which takes it to the top end of the budget watch range.
You can choose between two models; the Classic and Sport. The latter is cheaper, whereas the classic is closer to $250.
Meaning, at this price, it’s a rival to the likes of the Fitbit Sense, as well as the Versa 3.
The Sport version is for more active wearers. It has a silicone strap and offers three colour options. We know silicone is perfect for those who get sweaty in the gym or splashed outdoors. It offers more durability than a nylon band, for example.
If you’re more geared toward style, you should opt for the leather strap that comes with the Classic; it offers a touch more sophistication. Equally durable as the silicone, though.
What can be said is that neither version looks like a typical Garmin watch.
The Lily has a 34mm case that offers no physical buttons. It has a thin strap, which is dainty compared to the likes of the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar, for example.
The bezel sits flush to the display, which is somewhat like the Garmin Venu. It has a unique patterned lens which does not affect the readability of the face.
Speaking of the face, it offers a monochromatic touchscreen that is highly responsive. You can easily read it in both light and dark lighting conditions.
Garmin hasn’t taken away any of its fantastic health tracking features. You can still access a wealth of data using the Garmin Connect app. Although, note that the Garmin Lily isn’t compatible with the Garmin Connect IQ app store, so one letdown is how limited you are when it comes to adding apps.
One unique feature you get is Garmin’s Body Battery; this tells you about your energy levels so you’re best able to plan your workouts and recovery at the optimal times.
Garmin has taken significant strides ahead in women’s health. For those who menstruate, the Garmin Lily is pre-loaded with an app for both menstrual and pregnancy tracking, which we haven’t seen anywhere else on a smartwatch to date.
Finally, as for sports modes, you can track popular activities like running, yoga, cardio (including a separate treadmill mode) and pilates. If you’re heading outside, you can utilise the onboard GPS.
Swiping left or right shows the hydration widget, daily activity and health data, and the period tracker, and tapping the menu button (marked with a circle at the bottom of the face) provides you access to activity monitoring. The Lily brings these functions to the forefront, so you won’t have to use Garmin Connect to track your symptoms throughout your ride.
During the night, the Garmin Lily will track deep, light, and REM sleep, then you’ll get a report on how well you slept in the morning. Also you get a pulse oximeter, which monitors SpO2 levels while sleeping or for spot inspections. Numerous rival devices only record SpO2 during the night.
There are low and high abnormal heart rate warnings, and if the watch recognises that your heart rate is unusually high it will offer you a five-minute deep breathing exercise to bring it down.
It’s a smartwatch with a handful of features, which isn’t something the market really needs. Watches like the Apple Watch and the Amazfit GTS series do more and are gender-neutral and they’re also slim and contemporary. They can also be customised to include any features you need, such as menstruation monitoring. There’s no need for a gender-specific smartwatch.
It would be much more special if Garmin would take the Lily idea (neat, small, and attractive) and add the real sports-tracking smarts seen in the Forerunner series — even if the price would be considerably more.
Sadly, Garmin Connect IQ store apps and faces can’t be used on the Lily. But you can select from a variety of widgets that can be accessed with a touch or swipe of the screen.
Swiping down on the screen will reveal your app alerts. Swiping down also brings up the Lily’s settings menu, which includes do not disturb, Find My Phone, an alarm and music controls…
Specifically, the Lily is built on the principle that you’ll still have your smartphone with you, so you can use it to manage music playing on your phone using play/pause and skip controls, as well as a readout of the track and singer.
If you’re tracking your sleep, Garmin suggests you can go five days between charges. What impacts the battery life the most is how bright you have your display. We recommend you turn on the automatic brightness adjustment, which will be a big help in saving that battery life.
The charger is a proprietary one and it takes around 2 hours to get a full charge.
The Garmin Lily is on par with the Fitbit Sense and Apple Watch SE, though the Lily offers miles more style for your money. Considering Garmin is best known for their beastly sportswatches, we think the brand has done exceptionally well here.
The Lily is exclusively for women, made by women. It features a slimmer band, a sleeker profile, and a more appealing face than any other of Garmin’s prior devices. Unfortunately, while emphasising the company’s helpful female-centric features, it lacks several important functions that we hope to see on a contemporary device at this price.
Menstrual monitoring is automatically accessible on your wrist, and transmitting an emergency warning to a friend is as easy as pressing the touchpad repeatedly. However, it’s a pity that the Lily lacks built-in GPS, a long-term staple of Garmin’s other gadgets. There’s also no NFC, which means you won’t be able to use Garmin Pay to make contactless payments; this is a huge letdown for a watch intended for daily usage.
We appreciate the Lily as a concept.
If you’re looking for the perfect smartwatch for women, we recommend our comparison article for the best devices 2021 has to offer so far.
Last Updated on July 26, 2021