Haylou RT2 connected watch
- A beautiful well built watch
- Excellent value
- Simple to use app
- Solid health and fitness tracking
- Good autonomy
- Poor screen visibility in direct sunlight
- Can’t swim with
- Lacks the bells and whistles of higher-end devices
This is my review of Haylou smartwatch RT2 – a budget device that I found built and works surprisingly well. It skimps on advanced features, but you get all the basics at a decent price.
Many people may not have heard of Haylou. The China-based brand is owned by Dongguan Leashing Electronic Technology which was established in 2015. The young company is part of the Xiaomi Eco-Chain – and we’ve all heard of Xiaomi.
The ecological chain has the advantage of providing Mi-fans products from other brands with little quality worries. Xiaomi has a say in areas such as corporate culture, positioning, product design, quality control and sales. These devices typically sell at higher specs than competing brands. Concretely, this means that Haylou sells products on the Xiaomi platform.
Haylou hasn’t been around for very long, but it has already produced quite a few products. Its smartwatch lineup currently consists of nine different devices. All of these seem to have roughly the same functionality – the main difference is in the design. The company is also big on headphones.
Retails for just over $40 (check price on Amazon), Haylou RT2 is a watch that won’t break the bank. In fact, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another smartwatch at this price. But does it work well? I set out to find it.
Haylou RT2 connected watch: design and material
- A watch with a masculine look without frills
- 1.32 inch TFT display
- IP68 waterproof, so no to swimF
- The usual fitness sensors, including blood oxygen on demand
Sporty look and feel
The Haylou RT2 is a masculine watch with a sporty look. With a circular dial, it is somewhat reminiscent of the Garmin Forerunner range, the Amazfit range or the Xiaomi Watch S1. They all have basically the same design.
Its round metal frame is pleasant to the touch and does not appear poorly constructed. It’s definitely something you can proudly wear on your wrist. Considering the RT2 is a budget device, it’s interesting that Haylou opted for a metal frame rather than the cheaper polymer option. It’s definitely a plus.
In terms of dimensions, the watch case has a diameter of 45.7mm and is attached to a 22mm silicone strap. And although the dimensions are quite large, the depth of the case is only 12.1 mm, which makes the device quite thin. Weighing in at 55 grams, it’s also lightweight, especially considering its metal construction.
The watch body secures a 1.32 inch TFT screen with a resolution of 360 x 360 pixels (272ppi Retina display). It’s made even better with 2.5D curved glass that blends seamlessly into the body and contributes to the ergonomic look and feel.
The screen is very sharp and has a range of vivid colors. But this is in indoor conditions. In sunny conditions outside, I found visibility to deteriorate a bit. On a cloudy day you will be fine, but when the sun comes out strong it becomes more difficult to read the display. This is a common problem with smartwatches. Another slight downside is that the bezel around the screen is quite thick.
The screen wakes up with a simple turn of the wrist. This usually works, but if it doesn’t, you can also wake it up by pressing one of the two physical crowns on the right. The top one is an on/off button, the bottom one a shortcut to exercise tracking. You can turn the crowns, but that won’t do anything. Only pressing the crown triggers an action.
The screen is touch sensitive and it works very well. The screen is very responsive to the slightest touch.
Flicking from right to left – you have the home screen, a summary of fitness stats, heart rate, blood oxygen, sleep, weather and the Breathing Exercises app. Some of them have additional views with more details that can be browsed.
A quick glance from the homepage takes you to the settings. A quick swipe down reveals the main menu from which you can access just about anything the device can do.
A long press on the watch face reveals the five default watch faces. Simply swipe between them to choose another one. If you’re not happy with the selection, there’s plenty more to choose from in the Haylou Fun smartphone app. It may take a few tries to sync the watch face with the app, but it works in the end. I found this to be the only glitchy part of the software, the rest works like a breeze. You can also upload your own photo as the watch face.
The smartphone’s software lets you adjust the bright screen time, raise your arm to illuminate the screen and more – pretty standard stuff. These settings can also be changed on the watch itself.
When it comes to water resistance, the Haylou RT2 has an IP68 certification. This deems it suitable enough to withstand dust, dirt, sand and the occasional splash of water. So you can wear it when it rains and wash your hands with it. But don’t plan to swim, shower or go to the sauna with it.
All things considered, the look and feel of Haylour RT2 does not disappoint. At the price it’s selling for, you won’t get too high-end a build, but you do get a no-frills and perfectly decent watch.
under the hood
Beneath the surface of the RT2 are a heart rate sensor, an accelerometer and a blood oxygen sensor. It should be noted that the last in this list captures measurements on demand. So there is no automatic tracking of blood oxygen levels.
Haylou says these are next-generation sensors with faster and more accurate detection. Beyond that there is also support for Bluetooth 5.0 but no WiFi connectivity.
When it comes to battery life, the large dimensions of the watch give way to a 330 mAh battery. Haylou says that on a full charge, you can expect to get up to 12 days of use. In basic use mode, you can maintain it for about 25 days.
I had a few days less than that, but that’s probably because I turned on all the extra features. The app lets you turn on all-day heart rate monitoring, low/high heart rate alerts, adjust screen brightness, and more. But even with all that, you can easily get more than a week’s worth of use.
Charging is done via a proprietary cable. One end is magnetically attached to pins on the back of the watch, the other plugs into any standard USB port. Going from zero to full takes just over an hour.
Haylou RT2 connected watch: Functionality
Fitness and health tracking
- Works with the Haylou Fun app
- Covers all the bases
- Activity tracking works well
As mentioned, the Haylou RT2 works with the Haylou Fun app. Download and install it on your iOS or Android phone, open an account, allow the watch to pair with your phone, and you’re good to go. Just like the watch, the smartphone app has a simple and precise design. It covers all areas without overloading the features.
Every time you launch the smartphone app, it will take a moment or two to connect to your watch before it starts syncing. I found that after the initial pairing, the watch connected without fail.
The default view in the application is the Home tab which displays your up-to-date stats for the current day. This includes distance traveled, estimated calories, sleep, steps, heart rate, blood oxygen, and weight (if you’ve connected a compatible smart scale). Clicking on any card takes you to a more detailed view of that particular metric. This allows you to plot trends on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis.
Of course, this can all be seen on the watch itself, but the app has the advantage of providing a broader view and longer-term trends. The only area where the app lacks is in terms of information. You don’t really get any beyond some general advice. But those who are just after their stats will be perfectly satisfied.
In terms of accuracy, I found daily step totals to be within a few hundred of those of the Garmin Forerunner 935 on my other wrist. There were slightly larger discrepancies for sleep stats, but that was to be expected. This area is not an exact science and most watches capture different sleep metrics. The Haylou device divides your nighttime sessions into Deep Sleep Light Sleep and Wide Awake categories.
Blood oxygen tracking also works without a hitch. It takes about 30 seconds to capture a reading, and I was mostly around 98% or 99%, which is considered the normal range. Unfortunately, there is no way to enable automatic blood pressure measurements. it would be useful to be able to do this overnight, as these types of stats provide more information than the occasional on-demand reading.
As for heart rate, you get a graph showing how it changed during the day and night. Below are statistics for max bpm (beats per minute), min bpm and average bmp. You can go back and view heart rate statistics for a particular day as well as viewing weekly, monthly and yearly graphs.
- Supports 12 drive modes
- No built-in GPS but there is a connected GPS
The Haylou RT2 supports 12 drive modes. Click on the bottom crown and you’ll get the full list that you can scroll through. The choice includes jogging, brisk walking, cycling, rock climbing, spinning, yoga, indoor running, integrated training, gymnastics, basketball, football and rowing.
It’s an interesting list of exercises with a few options that differ from what you get on a typical watch. Each of these training modes comes with exclusive data tailored to that specific activity.
As an avid runner, what interested me the most was the jogging exercise mode. The watch does not have built-in GPS but it does have GPS connected. This ensures that the location statistics and tracking are of good quality. This simply means that the RT2 taps into your smartphone’s GPS for a satellite signal.
Once established, the connection holds. The accuracy of maps and distance will then depend on the accuracy of your phone’s GPS chip.
You can start a running activity from the watch itself or from the smartphone app. But you need to have both open for connected GPS to work. I preferred to start and stop my runs using the smartphone app – navigating to the Sports tab. It was the safest option.
The Sports tab is also where a historical overview of your exercise can be found. At first I had trouble locating it. The trick is to click on the three horizontal lines in the upper right corner. This reveals a list of all the workouts you’ve done.
As with the other stats, the run tracking accuracy is quite good. For example, I compared a recent run on the Haylou and Garmin smartwatch. The distance was slightly more than 3.5 km. Heart rate on RT2 was 140 (average) and 148 (max). That compares to 138 and 149 on the Garmin respectively.
Other metrics tracked for runs include step count, exercise time, distance, calories, average pace, and exercise zones. So not that much static performance. For example, you don’t get Vo2Max or anything more advanced. But you get the basics and the accuracy is decent.
There are also a few smart features worth mentioning. These work in conjunction with your phone via the Bluetooth 5.0 connection. For example, you can sync real-time calls, WeChat, and access some app information.
The alerts come in the form of a nice little buzzer on the wrist. All of this can be changed in the settings section of the smartphone app. However, it should be noted that you will get truncated versions of texts, emails and other notifications. Also, there is no option to reply. All you can do with notifications is read, save, or delete them.
There is also a timer function, the weather screen and you can access the phone search function. The last one on this list can help you find your misplaced smartphone.
Finally, the RT2 has the ability to control music. This allows you to play or pause music and change songs without having to take your phone out of your pocket. Useful when you are exercising or feeling too lazy to get up from the couch.
The Haylou RT2 smartwatch sells for just over $40. But you would never guess that by looking at the device. With a metal build and a vibrant color touchscreen with curved glass, it comes across as sleek, lightweight and comfortable. It definitely has a design and aesthetic that simulates more premium products.
The fitness and health tracking stats are quite accurate. If we take into account that the company is part of the Xiaomi ecological chain, this is less surprising. Another plus is that the watch comes with a nice, clean menu system and a simple to use app.
The downsides are that screen visibility deteriorates in bright, sunny conditions. Also, you won’t get very advanced features or in-depth information about your fitness and health stats. Smart features like notifications are pretty basic too.
But you’ll get all the essentials and for more accurate exercise tracking, the RT2 can connect to your smartphone’s GPS. And it all works without a hitch.
If you’re looking for a budget watch or an entry-level device, the Haylou RT2 smartwatch presents itself as an attractive option. It’s a useful basic device that does what it claims in a sleek design. The watch doesn’t have as many functions as its more expensive counterparts, but it offers a nice set of features for the price.