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Xiaomi may be preparing a new Wear OS 3 smartwatch. Smart watch Xiaomi

Xiaomi may be preparing a new Wear OS 3 smartwatch

After years of releasing watches on its own proprietary system, Xiaomi appears to be preparing to launch a smartwatch that runs on Google’s Wear OS 3.

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Xiaomi today

Beyond its vast portfolio of phones, Chinese electronics giant Xiaomi also has a full line of wearables, ranging from affordable fitness trackers, like the Mi Band 7, to pricey smartwatches, such as the Xiaomi Watch S1. Just this week, it globally released the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro, which offers a premium, yet traditional smartwatch design, an unspecified 12 nm chip, an arrangement of health sensors, and enough battery life to last up to two weeks on a charge.

For the higher-end models, Xiaomi touts that its watches run on “MIUI Watch OS,” but under the hood, these smartwatches are still based on Android. But by doing things its own way and ditching any potential “Wear OS” branding, the Xiaomi Watch lineup is often missing some of the exclusive features normally made possible by Google’s apps and services.

Core details

According to source familiar with the development, the company may be embracing Google Play Services and the full “Wear OS” brand on an upcoming model to create a new Xiaomi Watch that should make Wear OS fans feel right at home.

Details are slim at the moment, but it’s been confirmed to us that the watch, if it releases, will run on Wear OS 3 and should be managed by the same “Mi Fitness (Xiaomi Wear)” app that the company’s wearables use today.

It should also release under the same “Xiaomi Watch” branding as the existing lineup of non-Wear OS watches. This may be a bit of a sticking point for fans of the series, as Xiaomi Watches are typically capable of going multiple days without charging, depending on your usage. Over the years, Wear OS has not exactly built a reputation for long-lasting battery life, which may have an impact on Xiaomi’s offering.

From what we’ve seen, development for this new Xiaomi Watch looks to be lining up for a release sometime in 2023, though the timing is not yet firm.

Wear OS landscape today

With Wear OS 3, Samsung adopted the Google operating system and quickly became a big player through options like the Galaxy Watch 5. There’s also the Fossil Group with its various brands — Diesel, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, and more — many of which have begun rolling out Wear OS 3 updates.

Meanwhile, there’s also Mobvoi and its rumored TicWatch Pro 5, which is set to debut that company’s take on Wear OS 3. Other players include Montblanc, Suunto, Tag Heuer, Citizen, and of course, Google with its Pixel Watch.

Would you use a Xiaomi Watch that runs on Wear OS 3 in place of MIUI Watch OS? Let us know in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев.

on Wear OS:

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Xiaomi Mi Watch review: sporty smartwatch impresses

In the Xiaomi Mi Watch, you’re getting a whole lot of watch for the money. It looks good, has a nice mix of health and fitness features and smartwatch features, even if some are a little on the basic side. Accuracy of resting heart rate and sleep needs work to make this one of top picks, but for casual fitness users there’s still a lot to like here. Huawei’s Watch GT 2e will get you better sports tracking while Huami’s Amazfit watches at around this price offer more solid health features. But plenty will find the Xiaomi Mi Watch right on the mark.

  • Light, Smart sporty design
  • Good battery life
  • Feature-rich for the price
  • Firstbeat analytics on board
  • Sports tracking iffy when pushed
  • Basic notification support
  • Heart rate accuracy
  • Third party app support

After a long wait to the Xiaomi Mi Watch is now rolling out across the world, and is a serious contender in the budget smartwatch market.

Despite dominating the budget fitness tracker world for years, Xiaomi has been slow to get a smartwatch out in Western markets. But now it has two: the Mi Watch and Mi Watch Lite. You can read our Xiaomi Mi Watch vs Mi Watch Lite comparison.

Unlike the Chinese version that was announced more than a year ago with a square look, this Mi Watch is round, classy, boasting beefy specs and a gorgeous screen.

There’s a heavy emphasis on sports and health tracking with plenty of tracking modes, built-in GPS, a swim-proof design all wrapped up in a lightweight, workout-friendly design. It sits at the more affordable end of the market, at half the price of an Apple Watch SE or Samsung Galaxy Watch 3.

At. the Mi Watch sits closer to devices such as the Amazfit GTR 2e, Huawei Watch Fit and the impressive Huawei Watch GT 2e. While it’s made it onto European and UK shores, a US launch has yet to be confirmed.

So, does the Xiaomi Mi Watch hold its own against its sporty, affordable smartwatch rivals? We’ve been putting it to the test to find out.

Xiaomi Mi Watch: Design and screen

If you asked to sum up the design of smartwatches at this price range a few years ago, the overriding feeling would be that they felt cheap and you had to make sacrifices in materials and screen quality.

That’s all changes. Devices like the Mi Watch have jumped in quality, and Xiaomi’s done a pretty good job of making this smartwatch look good on your wrist.

It’s packing a 45mm polyamide plastic case, so that’s a little bit smaller than the one on something like the Huawei Watch GT 2e. That case comes in your pick of navy blue (which we tested), black or beige and that’s partnered up with 22m TPU Band. That can be removed if you want to change up the look.

It measures in at 11.8mm thick, so it’s a bit more portly than a 44mm Apple Watch Series 6 (10.7mm) and the case weighs just 32g. It’s a light watch and certainly doesn’t feel cumbersome to sleep with or to exercise with. The combination of the matte look case and Band makes for a simple look with an attractive quality.

Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite (left) and Xiaomi Mi Watch (right)

There are two physical buttons on the right side of the case. The top button summons the home screen, and Amazon Alexa when held down. The bottom button reveals workout tracking modes.

xiaomi, preparing, wear, smartwatch, smart

Front and center is a lovely 1.39-inch, 454 x 454 resolution AMOLED touchscreen. What’s not so lovely is the large big black bezel that surrounds it, but the quality of the screen on the whole is great. It’s bright, vibrant, the colors really pop and viewing angles indoors and outdoors on the whole are good.

There’s the option to put in always-on mode if you want the screen on 24/7 and you can adjust brightness or let the watch automatically do that, if you’re worried about the effect cranking the brightness right up will have on the battery life.

As a package, it’s been slapped with a 5ATM water resistance rating, which means it’s safe to swim with and shower and we look forward to jumping in the pool with it when we’re allowed to do so when restrictions lift in the UK.

Overall, the Mi Watch offers a great look for the price, it hasn’t cause us any issues or discomfort and for something designed for exercise, it’s a nice weight and has a high quality display to glance at to check in on your stats.

Xiaomi Mi Watch: Software and smartwatch features

So what exactly is running on the Xiaomi Mi Watch? Is it Wear OS? Is it Xiaomi’s own in house software? Is it a combination of the two?

The answer is that Xiaomi has gone solo for the operating system, despite using a skinned version of Google’s OS on its square Mi Watch.

It uses its own Xiaomi Wear companion app that’s available for Android and iOS devices and offers its own interface to shape your on-watch interactions.

We’ll start with the watch software first, which on the whole is pretty straightforward to get on with. From the watch face, you can swipe and left for widgets like activity stats, music controls, weather updates and most recent sleep data.

Swipe down and you’ll see your notifications stream with the only actionable option available is to clear them when they stack up. The notification support is pretty standard fare. When they land, you can tap to expand and it does work with third party apps so you can quickly tell where they’ve come from.

The notification experience certainly works better with some apps than others, in terms of what you can view from the watch. They do at least feel well optimised to the screen and if you just want basic notification support, there were no major problems to report here.

Swipe up and you’ll get access to settings, so basically the opposite of where they live on Wear OS. It’s the place where you can do things like adjust brightness, turn on the do not disturb mode and offer a way to access Amazon Alexa. The Smart assistant needs to be set up in the companion phone app first and while it won’t bark responses to your queries, we found the onboard microphone handled most of questions on the first attempt. So it’s a thumbs up on that front.

Hit the top physical button and that’ll push you into the main app screen. There’s no labelling here so it’s really down to recognising what those icons represent as a feature. Some are certainly easier to distinguish than others. Like the leaf icon, which represents energy levels or the guided breathing icon, which we are still not entirely sure what it’s meant to be.

The Xiaomi Wear app

Flipping things over to the phone app and the first thing you’ll meet is a quite nondescript avatar that takes up quite a fair amount of screen space. On the first Status page you can see your most recent data. Next up is Workouts, letting you track outdoor activities from the app as opposed to the watch.

Last up is the Profile screen where you can browse through a nice array of watch faces to sync over to the watch. You can also adjust widgets, incoming notifications and calls.

When you need to review workouts, you can see a stream of them including a summary of time, distance and active calories burned. Expand any individual activity and you can see a further breakdown with all of the stats you can see on the watch present inside of the app. That includes training effect insights.

If you want to push this data out to other places, sadly you’re out of luck. There’s no third party app support so if you’re hoping to hook it up to Strava or training apps like TrainingPeaks, it’s not happening.

As a smartwatch, the Mi Watch does a good enough job. Notification support and features like music controls and Alexa integration works well. You’re not going to get payments, apps or the kind of rich communication features you get on pricer smartwatches, What it can do though it does well. You can find a richer smartwatch experience elsewhere though.

Xiaomi Mi Watch: Fitness and sports tracking

Xiaomi is billing this watch as one built for tracking your health and fitness and it certainly seems to offer all the things you’d want to be able to do that. On the sensor front, you’ve got a heart rate monitor, standard motion sensors for indoor tracking and an air pressure sensor for additional environmental data.

There’s built-in ‘high end’ GPS chip along with further support for GLONASS, Galileo and BDS satellite systems for greater mapping coverage.

You’ve got 117 workout modes with 17 core modes offering richer metrics like running, cycling and swimming (pool and open water). There’s automatic exercise recognition support for select activities and it also uses Garmin-owned Firstbeat’s algorithms to offer training effect and recovery insights commonly found on Garmin and Huawei’s watches.

On the health and wellness front, you can take blood oxygen measurements, monitor heart rate continuously, track sleep, monitor stress, check on energy levels similar to Garmin’s Body Battery monitor feature and access guided breathing exercises. So there’s a lot here.

Step tracking compared: Xiaomi Mi Watch (left) and Garmin fitness tracker (right)

As a fitness tracker, you’ve got a dedicated widget to view daily progress and quite animated inactivity alerts to make sure you stay active during the day. Accuracy-wise, it was generally within 200 steps of a Garmin fitness tracker on most days.

Unlike Garmin or even Samsung’s wearables, it’s pretty light in the way of features to motivate you to keep moving. Idle alerts aside, there’s no suggested workouts or exercises that might prompt you to get on your feet or even do some stretching from your desk.

You’re not getting an equivalent to Zepp Health’s PAI Scores or Fitbit’s Active Minutes to shift the emphasis away from steps. It does those core tracker staples well though on the whole.

Sleep tracking compared: Xiaomi Mi Watch (left) and Fitbit Sense (centre and right)

For sleep monitoring, it usually took a little longer to determine when we’d fallen asleep compared to a Fitbit Sense smartwatch and usually recorded an extra hour of sleep time. Breakdown of sleep stages though was roughly in the ballpark of the Sense though usually recording slightly longer light sleep periods.

Xiaomi will also generate a sleep score, along with an insight on whether you slept well, and some basic advice on what you should do to fix it. Telling us to sleep for a longer time isn’t all that particularly useful compared to the insights rival platforms offer, and Fitbit is still the leader here. Amazfit and Huami also offer a lot more actionable data, even if they do tend to over-estimate sleep.

There’s no comparative data with other users so the FOCUS really here is making sure it can track sleep duration reliably along with your sleep breakdown.

Extras like guided breathing doesn’t bring anything revolutionary to the party and while the SpO2 monitor delivered similar results to a dedicated pulse oximeter, it’s not a feature that is used for medical purposes.

On the spot measurements are supported only, which is viewable in the Xiaomi companion app. It just feels like it’s on there as a feature just because it’s the on-trend sensor feature to put on a smartwatch right now.

The Mi Watch will, like Huawei and Amazfit smartwatches, use heart rate variability measurements to provide that stress monitoring continuously throughout the day.

From the watch and app you can see an insight into your stress ratio, whether you’ve spent time in high, moderate, mild stressful periods or relaxed periods.

It’s all presented in a easy to digest manner, although it could be better integrated with its onboard breathing exercises to make it feel less of another ticked box.

Energy is a feature that seeks to help you better understand really, whether you’re ready to smash a training session or could do with a rest day. If it sounds familiar, that’s because Garmin’s Body Battery Monitor works in the same way. Xiaomi breaks this energy insight into recovery, energy consumption and activity tracked.

The energy tracking is based on sleep, logged workouts, heart rate and HRV measurements, and we’re fans of the way Xiaomi is dipping into multiple sensors and features to create this new metric.

You can view energy levels on the Mi Watch itself or the companion app. The concept is really nicely executed, though ultimately as it’s relying on sleep and heart rate data that we’ve found to be lacking accuracy. However, consistent data should at least be useful as a baseline for your energy levels.

As a fitness tracker, the Mi Watch handles tracking staples well. As far as rivalling the likes of Huawei and others around this price for offering useful health monitoring tools, the foundations are there. It just needs to be built upon with more actionable insights and reliable data.

Sports tracking and accuracy

Run tracking compared: Xiaomi Mi Watch (left) and Garmin Enduro (right)

When it’s time to up the intensity, there is a barrage of sports modes onboard here. We decided to FOCUS one indoor and outdoor activity where there was a promise of metrics beyond tracking duration and heart rate as is the case for a lot of the modes here.

In our runs, it performed generally well from a GPS accuracy point of view, particularly on shorter runs. It was quick to lock onto a signal and distance tracked, splits and pace metrics were generally close to what we tracked with Garmin’s Enduro run.

When we stretched that running beyond an hour, the distance tracking accuracy difference was a little bigger. It wasn’t terrible, but a 16.13km run came out just short as 15.9km.

Indoor rowing compared: Xiaomi Mi Watch (left) and Garmin Enduro (right)

Moving indoors, we put it to the test for a series of indoor rowing sessions. We used some dedicated rowing classes on Apple Fitness and tested it with our own interval rowing sessions. What we found is that while stroke count pretty well matched up with the tracking on the Garmin Enduro and the rowing machine itself, the average stroke counts and maximum stroke counts were way off from an accuracy point of view.

When workouts are done, you’ll get a nice breakdown of the watch itself. Swipe down and you can see core metrics and those more advanced metrics including graphs to display heart rate, heart rate zones and training effect insights. It feels very similar to Huawei’s approach, letting you scroll if you want more data or just FOCUS on the basics.

Xiaomi does let you set target distance, calorie burn and duration for most activities as way to keep you motivated, but beyond that it’s pretty basic. There’s no training plans to tap into or recommended workouts, which is something you will find on Huawei’s watches around this price.

What it does include, which you will also find on Huawei’s watches, is advanced biometric analysis of workouts, particularly if you’re using it to train for an event or race.

After you’ve tracked an exercise, whether it’s a run or an indoor workout, you can view your Training Effect with a score from 1-5. The bigger the number, the harder you’ve worked your body. That then helps generate your estimated recovery time and also fuels VO2 Max scores.

These insights are fuelled by Firstbeat, the company now owned by Garmin that uses heart rate data to shape those scores. Those are heavily based on the heart rate monitor, and that monitoring delivering accurate information. While these insights are nicely provided on the watch and in the app and recovery insights seemed reasonably reliable and VO2 Max scores were in the same ballpark as Garmin, which came out top in our test vs a true VO2 Max test.

It’s a great experience for those that are serious about training, however the accuracy of the heart rate monitor may undermine that – which we’ll get more into below.

Based on our experience, the Xiaomi Mi Watch like many smartwatches that claim to be great sports trackers are okay on the surface. Dig a little deeper or go a little further and you start to see the issues creep in.

Xiaomi Mi Watch: Heart rate accuracy

Xiaomi’s heart rate sensor powers a whole host of features on the Mi Watch. Whether that’s the continuous monitoring, monitoring during exercise or producing recovery insights and VO2 scores. There’s also energy monitoring, which uses heart rate variability measurements to offer an insight into your body’s reserves to take on the day.

So, is that heart rate monitor up to the task? Sadly not for us. It’s definitely not the worst, but if you’re hoping for a wrist-based sensor with great accuracy, that’s not what we experienced.

Continuous HR monitoring compared: Xiaomi Mi Watch (left) and Garmin Enduro (right)

We’ll start with the continuous monitoring with the above screenshots just a sample of the kind of data we usually captured on a daily basis. The comparison data is from a Garmin watch, which we’ve found pretty reliable for resting heart rate having compared to a chest strap monitor.

Resting heart rate in general was higher, while you can see that maximum heart rate for the day was higher (more on that in a moment). The graphs generally tell the tale of a much higher resting heart rate, which we come to know isn’t quite right.

Running with heart rate: Xiaomi Mi Watch (left) and Garmin HRM Pro chest strap (right)

When it’s time to rely on that sensor for reliably telling the story of effort levels during exercise, it’s a case of those spikes or dramatic drops, which skew the usefulness of the data. Like the sample run above, a very steady run where the maximum heart rate was well off what was recorded by Garmin’s HRM Pro chest strap monitor.

Interval rowing session: Xiaomi Mi Watch (left) and Garmin HRM Pro chest strap (right)

It was a similar story for our interval rowing sessions against a chest strap monitor where average heart rates were generally lower and maximum heart rate was higher and enough to put us in a different heart rate zone.

In terms of the heart rate-based performance and recovery features, it did produce in general, similar VO2 max scores compared to a chest strap. Ultimately though, those spikes during exercise and during the day make it a tough one to rely on the whole for the many features that heart rate sensor powers.

Xiaomi Mi Watch: Battery life

When it comes to battery life, the Mi Watch is packing a 420mAh capacity battery that’s designed to deliver 16 days in battery life in typical usage mode, which is defined by having features like continuous heart rate monitoring enabled and tracking a couple of 30 minute workouts a week.

That jumps to 22 days if you choose to disable features like heart rate monitoring, tracking vitals and not tracking any exercise at all. There’s also the promise of 50 hours when you’re putting the GPS to good use and Xiaomi says is good for 20 marathons. Though that’s based on running an average of a 2.5 hour marathon.

Those numbers are invariably based on usage, though we’re glad to say there isn’t any horrible, concerning drop-off on a daily basis. With notifications enabled, the screen not quite at maximum brightness and using the GPS for an hour it generally dropped off 10-15%. For a shorter 30 minute tracked run or indoor workout, it was around 3-4%.

Use that GPS for longer and that will inevitably dent the battery life too. Our more intense usage made it suitable for a solid week of use and it clearly has the capacity to go to double digit days of battery life, if you’re willing to sacrifice some features.

When it is time to power back up, there’s a pretty standard-looking charging cradle that magnetically clips onto the back of the watch case. There’s no fast charging tech here.

Xiaomi Watch S1 review: is the brand’s most expensive smartwatch going to surprise us?

There are some very expensive models in the market of Smart watches, such as Apple Watch, Samsung Watch and some Huawei Watch, as well as many ‘budget’ watches for 60-110 dollars. With its new Watch S1, the Chinese company decided to ‘jump over the head’. Xiaomi Watch S1 is the most expensive among the relatively inexpensive (the price is 265). Let’s find out what they are capable of and whether they are worth buying.

Specifications of Xiaomi Watch S1

165,1-225,1 mm (leather strap)

Market positioning and price

Xiaomi Watch S1 was introduced simultaneously with the simplified model Xiaomi Watch S1 Active. You are probably interested in the differences between these models, so let’s have a brief FOCUS on them.

First, the design. The Active model has a sporty FOCUS, looks more massive and comes only with polymer straps. Well, the more expensive version has a calfskin strap in addition to the ‘common’ fluoroelastomer.

Watch S1 is a bit more compact, but considerably heavier (52 g vs. 36 g), because it is made of stainless steel. Active has less premium materials – fiberglass-reinforced polyamide (feels like plastic to the touch), metal bezel that protrudes above the display and thus protects it from scratches and bumps. Well, the more expensive model, however, received a strong synthetic glass.

Second, the functionality. In general, the watches are similar – screen, degree of moisture protection, sensors, battery capacity… However, the Watch S1 has wireless charging, while the Active version can only be charged with a cable with magnetic contacts.

Actually, so much for the differences. Whether they are worth overpaying 60 is up to you. And now let’s FOCUS on the Xiaomi Watch S1.

Delivery set

The box itself makes it clear that it will contain the cheapest high-end device. It has a ‘metallic’ texture, and a convex with the name of the watch. Inside, in a convenient and well-thought-out package, you will find the watch itself, two types of straps, a charger plate and a short USB-C cable for it, as well as a thick book with manuals in different languages.

Putting two straps in the box is a brilliant idea. I do not quite understand why some manufacturers offer versions of watches with different straps, and force the customers to buy replaceable ones for considerable amounts of money. In the case of Xiaomi Watch S1 we have the optimal set – a strap made of fluoroelastomer for sports activities and for every day use, and a more elegant genuine leather strap for formal occasions or maybe for every day use as well (it’s up to one’s liking).

The quality of both straps is superior. They are comfortable, pleasant for the skin, have many holes for regulation and are suitable for people both with either thin or massive wrists.

Strap mounting is common with telescopic needles. So if you want, you can use any other 22 mm strap, there are plenty of these on AliExpress.

Design

The watch looks solid and serious. The case is made of durable 316L stainless steel (surgical steel standard), which is widely used for manufacturing jewelry, cutlery, watches. The steel is polished to a shine everywhere except the sides, which have a matte finish, and this combination looks good.

The screen is flat with trimmed edges and minute marks. Due to this design, the screen is not protected by anything, so it can be sensitive to shocks and scratches. However, durable sapphire crystal glass is used here, so hopefully there will be no problems. At least no scratches appeared during the test.

It is necessary to understand (although it is obvious from the photo) that the watch is very, very big. The size of the case is 46.5 mm. The diagonal of the display is 1.43 inches. Maybe there are girls who like this size, but I would still call the Xiaomi Watch S1 a male model, on a woman’s wrist they look too massive. But on a man’s hand they look solid, like cast, no worse than a Rolex, forgive me, fans.

xiaomi, preparing, wear, smartwatch, smart

There are two buttons on the right side of the case. They look like ‘spinners’, but it’s just a design element, the buttons are simply pressed. Of course, you can rotate them, but you can’t scroll through menus like in a Huawei or Apple Watch. The keys are a little loose in their sockets, but not critical. The upper key is responsible for calling up the menu (or returning from it to the desktop), the lower key starts workouts.

You can’t reassign buttons, except that you can hang a specific type of workout on the bottom key, such as running, instead of a whole list.

The back of the watch is made of plastic, there is also a heart rate sensor. The plastic does not pretend to be ‘premium’, but the lower part of the watch is still usually not visible. Microphone holes and speakers are located on the beveled parts of the rear panel.

Xiaomi Watch S1 display

The diagonal of the screen is 1.43 inches, the resolution is 466 × 466 pixels, the pixel density is 326 ppi. The AMOLED matrix is installed, so the image is very juicy, contrasting – a real pleasure for the eyes.

Maximum brightness – 450 nits, which is not as much as desired. In the sun, the screen remains quite readable, but I would like to tweak the brightness. In general, there were no complaints about the automatic brightness adjustment during the test.

Let me note here that the watch supports AoD mode (Always on Display), thus you can see the time without turning your wrist or activating the screen with the button – it will be displayed in energy saving mode. But, of course, this mode drains the battery faster than usual, so I do not use it: why show the time all the time, if I only look at it from time to time?

Interface and capabilities

Here everything is familiar not only for Xiaomi watches, but also for modern Smart watches in general. The interface works smoothly, as befits an expensive watch.

I’ll start with the dials – a small number of them are hard-written into the watch, but you can download a lot of them through the Mi Fitness program, about 200 options at the moment. Dozens of dials are animated, just as much can be customized by selecting the necessary elements.

The top-to-bottom swipe calls up the quick access curtain, which includes various functions including brightness, flashlight, battery charge, DND mode, mute, wrist rotation screen activation, go to settings; scroll more to see alarm clock and swim mode activation. Here is the date and battery charge percentage.

Swipes to left and right switch different widgets. And in Watch S1, several widgets on rounded dice can be found on the screen instead of one that occupies the entire screen. Here are the level of activity, and heart rate, and the level of oxygen in the blood, sleep data, and weather, and running workouts, and music management, and so on.

The number of widgets and the order of their location can be adjusted through the application.

The bottom-up swipe brings up the message menu. It collects all messages from messengers, SMS and messages from applications that the user has activated in the program. You can’t answer all this, you can just read and delete. The maximum length of the displayed text is 280 characters. Smileys are displayed in messages.

The advantage of Xiaomi Watch S1 is that the watch is equipped with a microphone and speaker, so you can call and answer calls over the speakerphone. It is very convenient if you do not have a phone at hand and do not want to rush to look for it (but, of course, the phone must be connected to the watch in the Bluetooth area). However, you can only call back to the number that called you last, there is no synchronization with the smartphone call list (yet?).

The menu is called by the top key and it has almost everything you need – even a photo gallery, compass, barometer, camera control, Alexa voice assistant (you can only talk to it in English, Ukrainian or Russian), breathing exercises and more.

The settings in the watch itself are vast.

It should be noted that the watch is equipped with NFC and supports payment through the Xiaomi Pay service. If you have already encountered it, for example, in the Mi Band 6 bracelet, you know that the Xiaomi payment system works only with MasterCard cards. And with a limited number of banks. But in any case, it’s better than nothing, isn’t it?

Sensors and sport functions

The watch supports a large number of workouts – more than 100. There is everything you need, and even more (skipping rope, yoga, hiking etc.).

The screen contains all the important information during the workout, and later the statistics are displayed on several pages, it’s impressive.

Also Watch S1 supports the function of automatic recognition of training, this applies to running, walking.

I had no complaints about the monitoring of physical activity. And during training (including when using GPS), and in normal time as well, there are no questions about measuring heart rate and saturation. Let me just remind you that a watch is still not a medical device and you should not completely trust the issued figures, if necessary, check again on specialized devices.

Companion app

The app that you may remember as Mi Fit has recently been renamed to Mi Fitness. The program has definitely changed for the better lately and looks very nice, especially when compared to the companion apps of lesser-known brands of Smart watches and fitness bracelets. Excellent ‘polished’ design, easy to set up.

You can see the activity semicircles on the main screen, as well as the basic information collected by the sensors. Here you can view detailed statistics of heart rate tests, SPo2, sleep tracking and so on. You can also keep track of the menstrual cycle, record weight changes in the application.

There are also many settings available for the watch itself (however, it is more convenient to use a larger smartphone screen than a watch), a very large number of dials in any style and for every taste. The application can, in particular, include constant monitoring of heart rate, saturation and stress levels, advanced sleep tracking, activate the Do Not Disturb mode and activate the screen by turning the wrist on schedule. It is also possible to change the list of workouts, configure widgets on the side tabs.

Another useful option is to set the SOS mode by triple-clicking the bottom button.

Mi Fitness even has a catalog of applications. However, only 4 programs have been available in it for several months, so we still do not have a full-fledged ‘Smart watch’, such as Samsung and Apple models with a wide selection of third-party software. But closer and closer.

Let me note that when ‘moved’ from Mi Fit to Mi Fitness, the ability to export activity data to other apps, such as Google Fit, has disappeared, which may be critical for some.

Battery life

Xiaomi claims that the gadget will be enough for 12 days of ‘standard operation’ and 20 days in energy-saving ‘time only’ mode. The battery capacity is 470 mAh. However, 12 days works more for the energy-saving mode, without AoD and most activities. The manufacturer’s website describes the measurements, saying that ‘standard work’ considers a heart rate test every 10 minutes, receiving 100 messages a day, two reminders a day, 4 phone calls per hour (only about 30 minutes per week). two 30-minute workouts with active GPS per week, payment via NFC 10 times a day.

In general, during the test, I used the watch according to the principle described above, except that I trained more often and for longer, and GPS consumes the battery substantially (according to Xiaomi, the watch lasts only 30 hours of continuous GPS operation). I had enough of the watch battery for about a week, but this is a great result if compared to the Galaxy Watch or Apple Watch.

xiaomi, preparing, wear, smartwatch, smart

The Watch S1 is charged by induction charger, to which it is magnetized. This is the “flagship” function, you can use special wireless devices to charge the device or even smartphones with reversible wireless charging function. It takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes to fully charge the watch.

Conclusions

Let’s return to the question of whether it is worth buying this watch, given that it is not so cheap. Yes, the watch looks chic, steel case, two straps included, and leather will look great in the company of a business suit. Yes, there are a number of advanced features, including NFC for payment in stores, wireless charging, excellent AMOLED-display, the ability to answer calls from the watch, excellent heart rate and saturation sensors, barometer and altimeter. Autonomous work up to 7-12 days, depending on the activity, is also very pleasing.

However, we must understand that we still do not have a full-fledged Smart watch here, but rather an advanced fitness bracelet.

It is not possible to reply to messages (even with blanks or smileys). The possibility of installing additional apps seems to be there, but only for a tick, because there are 4 apps available in the list and new ones do not appear, apparently, third-party developers do not have access to the API, and Xiaomi is not interested. And you might need, for example, the ability to use the maps on the watch. Payment works only with MasterCard cards of some banks.

There is no synchronization with the phone’s address book, so you can’t call a specific contact using the watch, and only the phone number is displayed during incoming calls, not the name. It is not possible to download music to the watch to listen to it, for example, while jogging without a phone through headphones. There is no eSIM function (not critical, but it is still an attribute of a ‘full-fledged’ smartwatch). It should also be noted that the watch is very large, so it will be to the liking of not every woman.

Among the competitors of the Xiaomi Watch S1 are the Galaxy Watch 4, which is cheaper in the 40 mm version and costs the same in the 44 mm version. Of course, there is no solid leather strap included, but it’s a full-fledged smartwatch with Google’s Wear OS and Google Pay support (works with any card and bank). The message can be answered, not only with blanks, but also with text, voice. Additional features include ECG, pressure measurement and the ability to detect a sudden collapse of the user. There is also an internal memory for music. In general, for the same money it is a more developed device, but, of course, the battery life is no more than 2-3 days, depending on the activity.

The Huawei Watch GT 3 falls approximately into the same ‘weight’ and price category. It is based on HarmonyOS and, of course, it does not keep up with Wear OS. The choice of third-party software is also meager (although it is much larger than in Xiaomi), the message can only be answered with blanks or smileys (but the clock shows more text – 460 characters). There is a built-in memory for music, but there is no possibility to pay in stores. But you can rewind the menu with the wheel-button, it’s convenient. It is also possible to use maps on the watch. In general, you can choose the Watch GT 3 instead of the Watch S1, except for some subjective reasons, because both Huawei and Xiaomi are ‘under-Smart watches’ at the moment, but still Huawei is a little less ‘under-Smart’ than Xiaomi. However, the battery life in the Watch GT 3 is slightly shorter, though more than in the Samsung models.

Conclusion: You should buy Xiaomi Watch S1 if you need a Smart watch in a classic design that runs on battery power for a long time and is equipped with a cool large display. But it should be understood that despite its high price, the functionality is not as developed as Smart watches on Wear OS or Watch OS.

Where to buy

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Xiaomi Watch S1 Review

The Watch S1 moves Xiaomi closer in its efforts to make a smartwatch you’d actually want to wear. Nevertheless, the company still has some work to do in order for it to be a strong alternative at this price range. For those after a smartwatch that offers a decent hardware and software experience, the Watch […]

  • Verdict
  • Availability
  • Key Features
  • Introduction
  • Design and Screen
  • Features and Performance
  • Fitness Tracking
  • Battery Life
  • Latest deals
  • Should you buy it?
  • Final Thoughts
  • How we test
  • You might like
  • FAQs
  • Full specs
  • Jargon buster

Verdict

The Watch S1 moves Xiaomi closer in its efforts to make a smartwatch you’d actually want to wear. Nevertheless, the company still has some work to do in order for it to be a strong alternative at this price range. For those after a smartwatch that offers a decent hardware and software experience, the Watch S1 does the job. But for faultless fitness tracking and the best smartwatch features you can find at this price, we recommend that you’re better looking elsewhere.

Cons. Key Features. Introduction

The Xiaomi Watch S1 is Xiaomi’s latest smartwatch. It’s also available in a sportier flavour, in the Watch S1 Active, which isn’t necessarily designed to compete with the likes of the Apple Watch Series 7 or Samsung Galaxy Watch 4.

At £199, it’s up against a strong contingent of models that sit below the big-hitters, aiming to offer attractive design and good mix of software and tracking skills, but with some compromises.

In a clear move to make its smartwatches feel more like smartwatches, the Watch S1’s headline features include Amazon Alexa integration and NFC payments via Mastercard. You also get many of the sports and fitness features seen in the Xiaomi Mi Watch, including one that allows you to improve outdoor tracking.

The question is, does Xiaomi deliver the right mix of design and features with the Watch S1? We take a look.

Design and Screen

In terms of looks, the Watch S1 feels like a step up from Xiaomi’s first Mi Watches, adding more high-grade materials to make it a more stylish addition to your wrist.

Sporting a round design with a 46mm sized case, it has a stainless steel frame and weighs 52g. It’s waterproof up to 50 metres, too. You get both a leather and fluororubber strap, which means you have the option to smarten up the watch if the need arises. Both straps felt comfortable to wear and, thankfully, proved nice and easy to swap out as well.

The case holds in place a 1.43-inch AMOLED touchscreen, which offers a 326ppi pixel density; you can set the screen to stay on 24/7. It’s covered with sapphire glass to offer a bit more protection against scratches, which is good to see on a watch at this price.

The quality of smartwatch screens seen on models below the likes of Apple, Samsung and Huawei has come on leaps and bounds over the years, with the one featured on the Watch S1 a good example. It’s a sharp, bright and vibrant screen, which is nicely responsive to touch, offering good visibility indoors and outdoors.

Outside of touchscreen navigation, you get two physical buttons on the right side of the case, with which you can turn on the display and get quicker access to features such as workout tracking. There’s nothing particularly eye-catching about these design elements, but they feel nice to use and are in keeping with the Watch S1’s simple overall look. The buttons in particular had a nice, clear actuation point during testing, rather than the squishy feel you find on most similarly priced wearables.

All in all, the Watch S1 feels like a well-made smartwatch, even though it’s neither exciting nor unique to look at. The option of straps is welcome, as is the watch’s decent screen and build.

Features and Performance

Xiaomi has sought to improve the smartwatch features it delivers with the Watch S1 compared to its previous efforts, and while there’s more here, not everything works seamlessly.

The Watch S1 is an option for both Android and iOS users, and I spent my time using it paired up to an Android phone. Set up is via the newly named Mi Fitness app, which has seen Xiaomi clean up its companion app.

Once set up, you’ll find this watch pretty easy to get to grips with. Xiaomi doesn’t reinvent the wheel in terms of the on-watch software experience, and in general it’s a slick performer. Away from the hardware, the app still feels a bit busy for my liking, however. It’s still got a lot of superfluous menus and often times hides important fitness information in unintuitive places, making it hard to get a quick glance view of how your training regime is working.

As a smartwatch, you get a fair amount here; but it’s by no means the complete smartwatch experience.

You can view notifications, but you can’t respond to them. You can handle calls when the watch is still paired to your phone over Bluetooth, and there are music playback controls as well. There doesn’t appear to be a fully fledged app store, but I did find that along with being able to download additional watch faces, there were a small number of native apps available.

Xiaomi also brings integration with Amazon’s Alexa Smart assistant, which makes an appearance on watches from Amazfit, Fitbit and Google’s Wear OS devices, too. The surprise addition here, though, is NFC payments, which Xiaomi first included on a version of its Mi Band 6 fitness tracker.

In general, that collection of features works well. While the notification support isn’t the richest you’ll find, notifications were at least easy to read and gave me enough information to know if I needed to respond immediately or could wait. Calls via Bluetooth worked fine and the music controls are well implemented. You get a decent mix of watch faces, too, with the ability to download more from the Mi Fitness app.

In terms of Amazon Alexa support, its implementation is similar to what you’ll see on Amazfit devices and Xiaomi Mi Watch. The voice assistant responded well to queries, and you can also use it to control your Smart home kit.

I struggled with NFC payments, however. Powered by Mastercard, and despite having a compatible card to use, the system crashed on me constantly, which meant I couldn’t put the watch’s payment features to good use.

Fitness Tracking

The Xiaomi Watch S1 doesn’t look like it’s fit for exercise until you snap on the additional supplied fluororubber strap. However, it’s a device that can track steps, monitor heart rate 24/7 and it promises to accurately monitor any outdoor workout time, too.

In terms of sensors, you’ll find the usual suspects. There are accelerometer and gyroscope motion sensors to track indoor activity and steps, for example. Then there’s magnetic and air pressure sensors to supply additional environmental data. Xiaomi includes a PPG heart rate sensor, which offers support to measure blood oxygen.

For outdoor tracking, the Watch S1 supports GPS, Glonass, Galileo, BDS and QZSS satellite systems, plus you also get dual-Band multi-system GPS. The latter means the watch is capable of grabbing multiple signals from those former systems to in theory deliver more accurate location tracking.

I say “in theory” because, based on my experience, this wasn’t the case. Distance tracking in problematic GPS signalling locations, where the technology is really meant to make a difference, wasn’t quite as accurate as the Garmin watch I tested it against.

However, the bigger issue was that running stats weren’t 100% on the money, either. This included heart rate monitoring, which although performed well in general for exercise, had plenty of inaccurate moments. Note, too, that the Watch S1 doesn’t provide an option to pair up an external heart rate monitor to remedy that.

Of course, tracking runs isn’t the only option here; there are 116 other modes to try out. I found that the Watch S1 fared well with pool swim tracking, with some nice rich metrics on offer. The watch delivered good indoor tracking as well, so while the Watch S1 isn’t the perfect sports watch, it does deliver a decent experience in some areas.

As a fitness tracker and health tracker, there’s plenty here. But since there are no regulatory approved health features, if you want serious health monitoring insights, you’re out of luck

Step counting was in the right ballpark compared to a Garmin and tracking on the Oura Ring 3. In bed, you can use the Watch S1 to capture a breakdown of your sleep stages, and if you turn on advanced sleep monitoring support then you’ll also get additional details around heart rate and blood oxygen data. Those core sleep stats matched up well against the very reliable Oura Ring 3, although the Watch S1 lacks actionable insights to make the most use of that data.

As mentioned, this Xiaomi watch doesn’t offer serious health features. Instead, what it does deliver is some guidance on general wellness, giving you a sense of what might be happening inside your body.

Heart rate monitoring and blood oxygen monitoring (if enabled) are key in this regard, although I found real-time heart rate stats and continuous HR data to be around 10bpm higher than similar tracking with the Oura Ring 3. The Watch S1 fared better with blood oxygen stats, but the lack of context for that data meant the feature didn’t prove hugely useful.

Xiaomi uses the onboard heart rate sensor to deliver stress-tracking features, plotting stressful periods across your day. While its observations of when those stressful periods hit seemed be tally with how my day played out, given the accuracy I experienced with heart rate monitoring, it was hard to wholly trust it.

Battery Life

The Xiaomi Watch S1 packs a 470mAh capacity battery, which Xiaomi states is capable of delivering up to 12 days in “standard” mode. There’s also a Battery Saver mode, which restricts the features you have access to, but delivers 24 days of battery life.

So, the Watch S1 will see you through nearly two weeks without a charge, but to achieve that you’ll need to do without advanced sleep monitoring, having the screen set to always-on, while also taking it easy with GPS use.

I’d say that based on my experience, with all features in use, the Watch S1 can last for a week. The device doesn’t suffer any daily drop-off in battery life, nor does there appear to be any power-hungry feature responsible for putting a significant dent in the battery. The impact of using GPS is pretty much in line with similarly priced smartwatches from Amazfit, for example.

For charging, the Watch S1’s disc-shaped charging cradle at the rear holds the device in place in a reasonably secure fashion. You do have the option of wireless charging here, too, dropping the watchon a certified wireless charger to power it up without having to scramble around looking for that cable in the box.

Should you buy it?

If you want a good smartwatch you don’t need to charge every day The Watch S1 offers just about the right mix of smartwatch, fitness features and battery life for it to deliver an overall pleasant experience.

If you want the best smartwatch under £200 While Xiaomi gets a lot of things right with the Watch S1, you could arguably get a more complete experience from Fitbit, Amazfit and Huawei for similar money.

Final Thoughts

During testing we found plenty of positives with the Watch S1 with it featuring good hardware, for the price, and reliable albeit basic fitness tracking and notification support. Where it falls down is with the promise of big sports watch features and smartwatch features that aren’t quite on a level with the competition just yet. I’m sure Xiaomi will get there, but competition at this price is fierce and I’m not sure the Xiaomi Watch S1 does enough to beat rivals.

Author

Kerariel

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