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Garmin Lily review

Your first look at Garmin's smallest smartwatch yet

Garmin Lily review
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The Garmin Lily is a fashionable, midrange smartwatch with a great display and useful health tools for female users.

For

  • Stylish, lightweight design
  • Best display of any Garmin lifestyle watch
  • On-board pregnancy tracking app

Against

  • No built-in GPS
  • Incompatible with Garmin Connect IQ app store
Garmin Lily quick specs

Price: $199 (sport), $249 (classic)
Size: 34 mm
Battery life: 5 days
Swim-proof: Yes
Heart rate monitor: Yes
SpO2: Yes
GPS: No
Notifications: Yes

The Garmin Lily is a small and stylish smartwatch that will make you forget the bulky GPS wearables the brand is best known for. A new offering designed with first-time, female smartwatch users in mind, the $199 Garmin Lily is a gamble for the company that's paying off based on my experience so far. 

In the days I've spent working on this Garmin Lily review, I've enjoyed its barely-there feel and fashionable appearance, which is accentuated by a patterned lens that somehow doesn't obstruct the display. Of all the best smartwatches and best fitness trackers I've tested in recent memory, this one looks the most like actual jewelry. Yes, even more than the Fitbit Luxe.

And it's not just aesthetics. The Garmin Lily is positioned as a Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 and Fitbit Versa 3 rival thanks to a bounty of health and fitness features for active users. That said, the lack of on-board GPS makes Garmin's newest midrange watch impractical for outdoor sport enthusiasts. So who is this watch for?

Garmin Lily review

(Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin Lily review: Price and availability

The Garmin Lily is available for purchase as of this writing. It comes in two variants: Sport and Classic. The Garmin Lily Sport, the version I'm testing, costs $199.99, while the Classic models costs $249.99. 

If you lead an active lifestyle, the Sport model is probably best for you. It features silicone straps and comes in three color options. If you're interested in a smartwatch with a smidge of elegance, the dual-tone leather straps of the Classic model might be more your speed. 

Garmin Lily review: Design and display

The Garmin Lily doesn't look like any Garmin watch we've seen before. Between its 34-millimeter button-less case, intricate hardware details and thin straps, it's dainty compared to the the beastly Garmin Instinct I wore a few months ago. The flush bezel, which is a beautiful rose-gold color on the model I'm testing, reminds me more of the Garmin Venu, if I were to draw an in-brand comparison. But again, the Lily is significantly smaller. 

Garmin Lily review

(Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin's lifestyle watch division hasn't wowed in the past. When I tested the Garmin vivomove Luxe, another fashion-first wearable, the hybrid analog-digital display frustrated me whenever I wanted to check my notifications outdoors. Plus the leather straps weren't conducive to my daily workouts.

Garmin Lily review

(Image credit: Future)

It seems like the Garmin Lily has sought out to solve those displays woes with a responsive, monochromatic touchscreen I can see clearly even in direct sunlight. Instead of an analog overlay, each Lily model has a unique pattern lightly printed on the glass. I feared the swirling semi-circles on my review unit would distract from checking the time, but when the display is activated the design seems to vanish. It's a neat effect.

Garmin Lily review: Health features

Like many of Garmin's other watches, the Lily provides insight on a series of health metrics, viewable in the Garmin Connect app.

In addition to heart rate and blood oxygen (SpO2) monitoring, the Lily offers stress and sleep tracking. It also benefits from Garmin's Body Battery feature, which shows you your estimated energy levels so you can plan your exercise and recovery accordingly.

Garmin Lily review

(Image credit: Garmin)

For female users, the Garmin Lily offers menstrual cycle tracking, as well as a pregnancy tracking guide that gives expecting mothers get a more complete overview of their health. Although the Lily isn't compatible with the Garmin Connect IQ app store, the pregnancy tracking app is one of options that comes pre-installed on this smartwatch.

In terms of activity, the Garmin Lily supports workout tracking for yoga, Pilates, cardio, treadmill and more. But if you want to keep tabs on your location for outdoor exercise, you'll need to bring your smartphone since Lily is one of the few Garmin watches without built-in GPS.

Garmin Lily review: Battery life

Garmin rates the Lily smartwatch for five days of battery life, including overnight wear for sleep tracking. So far, I've found the display settings have the biggest impact on battery life. At max brightness, I lost more than 30% of juice in one day, but when I relied on auto-brightness, the battery drain rate slowed.

Garmin Lily review

(Image credit: Future)

When my Garmin Lily's battery is getting low, I can charge it back up through a clip-shaped proprietary charger. Garmin doesn't say how long the charge time should be, but I got my review unit from dead to full battery in under 2 hours.

Garmin Lily review: Verdict

The Garmin Lily isn't a replacement for the Apple Watch Series 6 or Fitbit Versa 3. As much as I'm attracted to the design, the display is smaller than any smartwatch I've ever used, and it's taking time to adjust.

That said, for $199 I believe Garmin Lily could be a great option for a first-time smartwatch owner, or someone with smaller wrists who prefers a fashionable design. It's as easy to navigate as it is on the eyes, and its compact size won't conflict with whatever else you already wear on your wrists. 

For the price, it's also one of the best cheap smartwatches you can buy now.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is a senior writer at Tom’s Guide covering wearables, TVs and everything smart-home related. When she’s not in cyborg mode, you can find her on an exercise bike or channeling her inner celebrity chef. She and her robot army will rule the world one day, but until then, reach her at kate.kozuch@futurenet.com.