Xiaomi backed haylou solar smartwatch review

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Introduction

Here"s the quick version of what the Haylou Solar is - the Xiaomi mi Band functionality with even better battery life, traditional watch styling and a big round display for around €20. Sounds intriguing? Read on then to see how well it all works.

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The Haylou Solar uses an LCD rather than an OLED panel so an always-on display feature is out of the question, so even in that you have feature parity with the mày Band. Also, despite what the name may lead you khổng lồ believe there"s no Solar charging of any sort here.

Haylou Solar (Haylou LS05) specs

Body: 45.3 x 11.4, 54g, 22mm. Standard strap; IP68; Metal frame, metal button, plastic back Display: 1.28" LCD, 240 x 240 pixels (no AOD watchface) OS: Proprietary; support for apk 4.4 và above, tiện ích ios 8.0 và above Battery: 340mAh (30 days typical use, around 15 days with heart rate monitoring) Connectivity: bluetooth không dây 5.0 + BLE Misc: Ultra-low dynamic optical heart rate sensor, accelerometer

We realize that Haylou is hardly a household name, so we looked into it. The Haylou brand, which, just lượt thích it sounds is derived from the homonym of the English word "hello", is owned by Dongguan Liesheng Electronics Co., Ltd. The latter provides ODM solutions & also RnD, production and marketing capabilities for công nghệ bluetooth không dây headsets and smart wearables.

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As a startup, the company secured funding by Xiaomi & membership in the xiaomi mi ecosystem. Currently, it is a bit hard to define the exact relationship between Xiaomi & Dongguan Liesheng Electronics, but it is known that the former is a major client of the latter. Hence, the similarities in features & UI between the Haylou Solar và Amazfit devices, like the GTR và T-Rex start to make sense, as well. Amazfit products come courtesy of the Huami subsidary - the guys behind the popular Xiaomi ngươi Band family, but connections clearly run deep.

The good news is the traditional strong point of Amazfit products - battery life - has been carried over here to the Haylou Solar.

Design, materials and comfort

The Haylou Solar is hardly the best looking smartwatch, but as we established it"s more of a rival lớn the smartbands và among those the classic "watch" aesthetic are still the minority. At its price point the Haylou Solar"s metal body toàn thân and overall feel really stand out. The metal case also adds a certain heft lớn the device that some might appreciate.

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The decision khổng lồ make the front glass flush with the metal bezel causes some anxiety. The official Haylou specs page does not mention any specific protective layer for the glass, which means scratches are likely khổng lồ take away from its looks down the road.

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The 1.28-inch LCD on the Haylou Solar looks perfectly fine indoors. Colors are vibrant and both text & UI elements are sharp, thanks to lớn its 240 x 240-pixel resolution. Outdoor use sees it struggle lớn push the brightness high enough & you might have trouble reading it if you are sitting in the sun.

The đứng đầu glass layer introduces some reflections và so does the small, but still present air gap between it and the actual panel. A fully-laminated solution would have helped things a bit, but that"s hardly feasible at this price point.

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There are four brightness levels that you have to lớn toggle manually as there is no luminance sensor for tự động hóa brightness. You either have khổng lồ learn to live with a dimmer outdoor experience, unpleasantly bright UI during the night or develop the habit to lớn adjust the brightness, as needed.

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Haylou Solar also punches above its category in terms of comfort. A slim profile makes for a snug fit against the wrist, limiting the risk of accidental bumps and snags. The Solar"s plastic back side is relatively flat & remains comfortable even with a tighter strap position.

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Speaking of the strap, it is a standard 22mm one that uses slightly bent, but otherwise sturdy studs. Replacing it with third-party options is a breeze & you have no shortage of options.

The factory silicon strap deserves praise beyond its standard attachment mechanism. While we aren"t exactly sure what the advertised "nano lightweight technology" means, in practice the band strikes a great balance between soft feel and sturdy structure. We expect it to last a long time seeing how it doesn"t show the slightest signs of wear in several weeks of constant use.

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The Haylou Solar isn"t afraid of getting sweaty, dirty or wet, thanks lớn its IP68 rating. The official specs page feels confident in advertising it as a gadget you can comfortably leave on your wrist for all your activities, which clearly includes sweat and the occasional splash of water.

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Features

Smart wearables come in many shapes & feature sets. The Solar isn"t a proper smartwatch, lượt thích the hãng apple Watch of the Samsung Watch with no support for third-party apps nor an accompanying ecosystem of software. As we said it"s more of a smart activity/sports tracker with functionality that can"t be expanded unless the maker does so with a firmware update.

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Both approaches have their advantages because full on operating systems may be more versatily but is also more expensive to lớn maintain và way more taxing on the battery. So if you manage to lớn find a smart wearable that meets all of your needs you can get a far better deal.

A centerpiece in the Haylou Solar"s feature arsenal is tracking. The PPG sensor on its back can handle pulse, both on demand and regularly throughout the day, depending on your preference. In our tests, we found it to lớn be about as accurate & reliable as the Xiaomi mày Band 4, Amazfit GTR và Samsung Galaxy Watch.

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Step counting is also about as reliable as one can expect from your average wearable. Cross-referencing its counter with an Amazfit GTR & the Samsung Health counter on a recent Samsung flagship phone typically gives variances of a couple of hundred steps or less.

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Step counter accuracy

The distance and calorie numbers, provided alongside heart rate & step count are clearly calculated rather than measured as is the norm with simpler activity trackers. We appreciate the Apple-inspired visualization of these statistics with colored progress rings.

Armed with just a basic array of sensors and in the absence of GPS, the Haylou Solar can only vì so much on its own, when it comes to lớn actual Sports tracking. The watch does let you manually trigger one of 12 sports modes listed below.

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The tracking itself includes duration, calories and a live heartrate monitor. There is no advanced logic here, like repetition or lap count. Probably a good thing too, since any such data would have to be estimated on the Haylou Solar và would be so inaccurate it will be virtually useless.

So starting a particular kind of workout, serves as a tagging mechanism for later data review. You can, actually track a few types of more sophisticated sport tracking with the Haylou companion app on the phone, using its GPS, but we"ll get to that in a bit.

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Notification forwarding is the other big feature for most smart wearables. Generally speaking, it"s currently in a bit of a "Wild west" state, since app android lacks a standardized way of hooking và accessing notifications. Every manufacturer handles this differently on a software level and the resulting experience can be vastly different.

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Starting with the companion app, the settings menu is straightforward and easy lớn understand. It includes shortcuts to lớn enable accessibility & notification permissions. Below that - a danh sách of common apps, which suggests that the Haylou tiện ích has some custom handling code in place for some popular apps. You can also manually add any other app.

Notification settings in app

In practical terms, notification experience on the Haylou Solar is above average, but still a bit inconsistent. Notifications come through reliablyand quickly. Most common symbols are supported, including most emojis và Cyrillic text. Beyond that, the unique of the experience really varies from phầm mềm to app. The name of the tiện ích almost always comes through. Its icon sometimes get lost and certain apps, lượt thích Viber simply have "null" as their notification body. These are just some idiosyncrasies from the particular way Haylou is capturing và passing on notifications.

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Other noteworthy issues include the passing of progress notifications. The way app android apps create progress bars in a notification is lớn constantly create a new notification with the same ID as the existing one, lớn display a higher complete percentage. The Haylou phầm mềm does not recognize this behavior on occasion và passes every single state of these progress notifications as an independent notification to lớn the watch. The end result is constant vibration and flashing until the progress bar goes away. This can be mitigated by disabling certain notification channels on some apps, but is still annoying enough khổng lồ be worth noting.

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Of course, Haylou could address these issues in software, as well. Perhaps an added feature khổng lồ not only subscribe lớn notifications on a per-app basis, but also on a notification-channel basis within each app. While at it, a setting lớn regulate the vibration of the watch would be appreciated. It is rather intense out of the box. We wouldn"t really count on too many companion ứng dụng updates, though, given the relative obscurity of Haylou products.

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Incoming calls get their own UI. It is on the simpler side on only includes a tương tác name or phone number, along with a hand-up button. Since the wearable lacks both a speaker và a microphone, taking a call from it is impossible. Still, a button to ignore the call và stop the vibration would have been a nice addition.

The Haylou Solar also offers sleep tracking. It is rather basic và only tracks your light sleep, deep sleep and total sleep time. Even so, it seems fairly accurate in recognizing when you go khổng lồ bed and wake up. A bit surprising, since the sedentary reminder feature is rather inconsistent and sometimes fires a warning as you walk around.

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Finishing-off the list of features, the Haylou Solar can also vì chưng remote music control. Just the basics - play, pause, next và previous song. You do get the name of the tuy vậy and artist, which worked consistently with all of the music player apps we tried.

Weather forecast both looks and works great. The data is streamed-in from the connected phone. Graphics on the UI are beautiful và slick. Same goes for Breathing Training - a quick guided relaxation, of sorts. We can"t imagine many are going lớn actually use it. Stopwatch, Countdown and Find phone exhaust the các mục of small little extras.

We have also prepared a short UI tour video, for a better sense of the layout, animations speed và responsiveness. This includes the quick toggles bar, initiated by a swipe down, which we didn"t mention thus far.

Overall, we have few major gripes with the feature-set of the Haylou Solar & the way it is implemented in practice. There is the occasional rough edge, but all of the basics are well covered and you get a surprising amount of value for your money.

Battery life and charging

The Haylou Solar packs a 340mAh battery. That"s small in absolute terms, but still on the bigger kết thúc for a smart wearable. However, with such a small amount of juice hardware efficiency và clever software are crucial. We"ve already praised Huami"s highly-efficient custom hardware in the past. The Haylou Solar seems to lớn be rocking something similar, if not identical, given the company"s relationship with Huami and Xiaomi, we already mentioned.

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The officially advertised endurance figure of 30 days on a single charge is easily attainable in real-world use. This is a rare sight, even among activity trackers and puts the Haylou Solar in a special endurance league alongside very few other devices, lượt thích the Amazfit Bip và the Amazfit GTR. Of course, in the absence of an efficient OLED panel, the Haylou Solar had to lớn give up AOD, among other things, khổng lồ get over a month away from the wall, but it"s still impressive.

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Using the heartrate sensor for 24-hour tracking does slash real-world endurance. However, in our tests, the dent was far less than 50%. We still managed to lớn get around đôi mươi days on a single charge, with the feature on. Of course, this number will also depend on the number of workouts và the amount of notifications you receive.

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The Haylou Solar is charged through a proprietary magnetic attachment that snaps lớn the pair of pogo pins on the back of the watch. The bond is solid enough to lớn not come loose on its own. Attaching the thing is also easy thanks khổng lồ the magnets.

The charger takes a small current of just 500mAh at 5V, which means that you can plug it into pretty much any USB port. Charging start off rapidly. You can get from zero to 1/2 battery in about an hour and a half. After that, the charger slows down, presumably khổng lồ protect the small battery. A full charge takes around three hours in total.

Smartphone companion app

The smart wearable companion tiện ích can often make or break a certain device, since it plays a major and often overlooked part in the overall experience. Surprisingly, despite its relative obscurity and sketchy initial appearance, the Haylou tiện ích is actually one of the better ones around.

The "sketchy" bit we are referring lớn mostly boils down lớn developer names and various texts in Chinese in the Play Store description of both Haylou apps. Out of the pair, you need to tải về Haylou Fit, as opposer khổng lồ Haylou Sport. Thankfully, once you are past this initial hurdle and mở cửa the Haylou Fit app, it is all smooth sailing. First, you are greeted by a nifty, guided initial setup wizard for your personal profile và syncing the Haylou Solar.

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Initial tiện ích setup

The thiết đặt process also includes detailed instructions on how to lớn prevent your particular apk flavor from killing the app"s background activity. We found these explanations much clearer than those on Amazfit devices. Và speaking of background services, it should be noted that unlike some companion ứng dụng installs, like those for Samsung or Huawei smart wearables, the Haylou one is very light & only includes a single service & a single app. In contrast, getting Huawei health on your phone also means installing a huge number of various services and entire frameworks.

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Background service instructions

The main UI of the tiện ích is very clean & well organized. You are greeted with a trio of quick statistic overviews for your steps, distance, calories, as well as heart rate & sleep history. In the đứng đầu left corner - a small, weather widget that can mở cửa into a full, beautiful weather forecast UI. It"s all very simple & non-intrusive. And you can even slim-down the UI further be toggling off the heart rate and sleep widgets.

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Main ứng dụng interface

You can drill into sleep & heart rate data with a single click & by using well-organized historical graphs và data selectors.

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Sleep data • Heart rate data

Moving on to lớn the next tab in the app, you get quick access sports tracking và historical data. This is where the logs from the Haylou Solar tracking kết thúc up, categorized accordingly. You can also start an activity session from this interface instead of the watch itself, in which case you also get to leverage the phone"s GPS module, when applicable, as well as some other advanced features, lượt thích a nifty voice assistant, played on connected headphones. You can also mix targets for the current workout. A few basic activity types are added khổng lồ the main UI by default và you can add-in or remove others from an additional menu.

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Activity tracking và options

It is all very simple, easy khổng lồ understand and pleasant to use. The only complaint we have with this implementation is that there is no way to trigger a full-featured, GPS-enabled activity session from the watch, without taking out your phone. Other than that, Haylou has designed a UX that manages khổng lồ stand-out among competitors in the wearable niche. Màu sắc us surprised!

The same cấp độ of UI simplicity is applied khổng lồ the next tab in the Haylou Fit app, as well. It houses all of the menus và options related lớn the Haylou Solar, or any other wearable that you might have synced with the app.

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Device options

Everything is simple, well organized & easy khổng lồ understand. In no small part thanks to lớn the great level of English translation, which is not something khổng lồ take for granted with products like the Haylou Solar.

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Device options

The final Me tab has everything related to lớn your personal profile. Also - link to brand-specific guides khổng lồ ensure the Haylou background service stays alive và a collection of actually helpful troubleshooting articles.

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Me tab options

Conclusion

Despite its relative obscurity and slightly confusing name, the Haylou Solar is actually very easy to sum up. It is a well-designed and crafted smart wearable, with a classic look, strong metal frame and solid build. The IP68 rating means you can wear it all the time, while the amazing 30-day battery life và full màu sắc LCD display complete a stylish yet potent modern watch replacement.

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After spending some chất lượng time with it, we can safely say that it"s a brilliantly executed attempt at a low-cost smart tracker. Software is simple and reliable & at just around EUR trăng tròn it"s easily among the best giao dịch around.