Nearly seven years ago, the first smartwatches launched as clunky, utilitarian devices. Eventually, the sector clued into the necessity of fashion, especially for women, with style-oriented models flowing from an array of technology and designer brands.
The latest iteration comes from Garmin, which introduced a jewelry-inspired smartwatch called Lily on Wednesday. The device features a 34-mm watchcase, making it the company’s smallest smartwatch ever.
According to the company, the development and design was created specifically for women.
“Lily is truly a first-of-its-kind smartwatch: feminine, sophisticated and rooted in fashion with important health and fitness features,” explained Susan Lyman, Garmin vice president of global consumer marketing. “Garmin remains committed to creating products that fit the needs of our female customer and in this case, it’s a small, on-trend smartwatch with features designed for today’s active woman.”
The metallic patterned watch face evokes luxury detailing, and the lens features a bright liquid crystal monochromatic touchscreen display that vanishes when not in use. While it’s not a high-resolution display, it offers a nice aesthetic when the screen’s not actively on. T-bar lugs connect the watch to 14 mm straps, which is a significantly narrower choice than the average 18 mm watchband.
While Lily is not the first to go that small — the now-defunct Pebble Time Round sported 14 mm straps as well — these details come together to create a delicate feel and minimal footprint.
On the software front, Lily aims to prove that its appeal is not just skin-deep.
One might wonder what use a smartwatch might have during a pandemic that has locked down many gyms and kept people inside, with relatively few steps to count. But with years spent on wearables development, Garmin can boast tech that can track an array of activities, including those covering wellness, women’s health and even at-home workouts.
Lily can monitor heart rate — including alerts for high and low levels — pulse oximeter, respiration, stress, hydration and advanced sleep, and it also comes with a Body Battery feature to monitor the body’s energy levels, so people can schedule workouts, rest breaks and sleep. Women’s health tracking covers menstrual cycles and now pregnancy tracking. The information lives alongside other the health data inside Garmin Connect, the company’s own version of Apple Health.
Of course, if people venture outside for walks, runs or hikes, the watch can quantify those steps, as well as connect to sports apps for yoga, Pilates, cardio, treadmill and other activities and calculate calories burned and intensity minutes, among other things.
Like all smartwatch makers, Garmin includes notifications, calendar view and the ability to respond to text messages right on the wrist, at least when paired with Android phones. An extra safety feature can send real-time location to pre-designated emergency contacts.
Perhaps most impressive is the battery. While the Apple Watch still struggles — and fails — to meet two days of run time, Lily promises up to five days of battery life.
What it does not do, however, is operate as a full-fledged stand-alone smartwatch, like Apple’s later models. Lily must pair to a smartphone for full functionality. In fact, it relies on the phone’s GPS for some tracking features, like step counting or run tracking. That means joggers should keep their phones with them, if not for tracking, then at least for tunes, as the Garmin watch doesn’t have storage for music.
It’s a compromise, perhaps a curious one for a company known for producing GPS road navigation products. But such choices help keep the watch small while eking out the most battery life possible.
Lily comes in six options, with three styles for the sport edition for $200 and three for the classic models for $250.