Xiaomi sub-brand Redmi recently launched its first smartwatch, dubbed the Redmi Watch in India. The smartwatch has been affordably priced at Rs 3,999 and comes with features like 24/7 heart rate tracking, sleep tracking, in-built GPS and more. Also Read – Mi 11X vs Realme X7 Max after review comparison: Has Realme beaten Xiaomi to its own game?
At the price, the smartwatch competes against the Amazfit Bip U and the Realme Watch. I spent a few days daily driving the Redmi Watch and will be sharing my experience here. Also Read – Apple to launch some iPad models with OLED display in 2022
Redmi Watch Specifications: 1.4-inch TFT LCD display | PPG Heart Rate Sensor | Three-axis Acceleration Sensor | Geomagnetic Sensor | Barometer | Gyroscope | Ambient Light Sensor | GPS | GLONASS | Bluetooth 5.1 | 5 ATM water resistance | 230mAh battery
Redmi Watch Review: Design and Build
We recently saw leaked renders of the soon to launch seventh generation Apple Watch, and the Redmi Watch looks quite similar just with a plastic build missing the digital crown. I am not saying that this is a bad thing. Au contraire, it looks pretty good. (There’s a reason why Apple Watch is the most sold smartwatch globally, apart from the Apple ecosystem. Yes it looks good.)
The watch features a face size of 20mm, which looks and feels like a good size for an average-sized hand. It even fit decently on my larger than average hands.
The watch is available in three watch case colour options: Ivory, Black and Blue, along with four strap colour options: Ivory, Black, Blue and Olive. Initially, I did not like the Ivory option that was sent for the review, however, the colour grew on me, especially when I swapped out the Ivory straps in favour of the Black ones. Even though I liked the colour and the customisability of the look, I would have preferred to get the Blue coloured case along with the Olive straps, making it look subtle but unique at the same time.
The casing is made out of plastic with a 1.4-inch TFT LCD 2.5D curved display on the front. The display does have chunky bezels. The front glass panel is black coloured which manages to hide the chunky bezels well when the display is not in use. The watch dial is flanked with good quality silicone straps which have a proprietary connector.
The back panel of the watch includes the PPG heart rate sensor, a subtle Redmi branding and two circular charging pins. The Apple Watch comes with a rotatable Digital Crown on the side, Redmi has taken a different route and provides a large silver button on the right edge that is hard to miss. This helps you navigate the UI by either opening the main menu or taking you to the home screen.
Coming to the build quality, Redmi Watch feels pretty sold and in my opinion one of the better built budget smartwatches. The watch did fall from my hands once, with no damage coming to the display or the back. However, there was a small chip near the silver button. Apart from the solid build quality, the watch is also pretty lightweight, which makes it very comfortable to wear. I did not wear the watch constantly due to me being at home at most times. But, when I had it on, I would forget that it was there. Also for people who like to wear their smartwatch at all times, you can also wear it into the shower or to a pool (when they open up), thanks to the 5ATM water resistance rating.
Redmi Watch Review: Display
The display is the main part of the device that you will be interacting with throughout the day. Due to this, it is among the most important features that you should check out in a smartwatch.
When turned off the black coloured 2.5D curved glass makes the watch look quite premium. Design aside, I cannot say that about the display module. When switched on, I could immediately identify that I was using a budget smartwatch, thanks to the 1.3 inch TFT LCD 320×320 pixels) with chunky bezels on all sides.
LCD displays on a smartwatch are not as crisp as I would have wanted, especially when outdoors. They also look a bit washed out. The Redmi Watch is pretty bright indoors, but outdoors under direct sunlight, it does not manage to shine but is visible. While outdoors, I would always have the brightness levels cranked fully to level 6. Indoors, I used to keep it between levels 3 to 5. An auto-brightness feature is there, but it did not keep up to my expectations.
The ‘Raise to Wake’ feature worked perfectly fine, with it each time managing to capture my hand movements properly. Another feature I liked in it, that I have seen in premium smartwatches, is that you can cover the display with your palm to turn the screen off immediately.
Redmi Watch Review: Software
The Redmi Watch utilises a proprietary operating system, which is pretty common in a budget smartwatch. The user interface (UI) is pretty simple and does not require much training to use. Moreover, it is quite responsive and features a swipe to use approach for everything. While the watch feels pretty smooth, jogging through screens does get jarring with the screen refreshing with every swipe.
The home screen consists of three pages: the main time dial, a heart rate page, and a music control page. Swiping down from the top brings up the notifications panel, whereas, swiping up from the bottom brings up all of the quick controls. Quick controls include a flashlight, raise to wake, lock, DND, wake for 5 minutes and the Settings menu.
Long pressing the home screen will allow you to change up the watch face of the watch. You can also browse the large collection of Watch Faces inside of the Xiaomi Wear app. I like a lot of the watch face offerings inside of the Xiaomi Wear app. Press the single side button and it opens the main menu, which only consists of images rather than any text, which most people would be able to recognise easily, however, small titles below the tiles would have been appreciated.
Inside the settings menu, you will find options to set the brightness levels, vibration intensity, DND schedules and select heart rate monitoring intervals and more. The settings are pretty simple and can be configured to your liking within a few minutes.
Even though this is a smartwatch, there is no way to receive or decline calls, nor can you even reply to a notification. To do all of that you will be required to take out your phone from your pocket.
Coming to the Xiaomi Wear app. I personally liked the app as it had a simple interface and was easy to use. There are a lot of customisations that you can do with the app to make the watch feel much more personalised. The UI is clean and easy to navigate with there being a minimal learning curve to it.
All of the data is shown neatly inside the app with the help of coloured graphs and charts. The app does feel a tad bit behind in terms of showing sleep data, and I feel here Realme and Amazfit are much better options. Overall, the app is good, however, there is still scope for improvement.
Redmi Watch Review: Fitness tracking features
The Redmi Watch comes with a PPG Heart Rate Sensor, Three-axis Acceleration Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Barometer, Gyroscope and an Ambient Light Sensor. All of which are nice additions to see in a budget smartwatch. However, in these desperate Covid-19 times, the watch does miss out on a SpO2 sensor. The company has told us that the reason behind not including a SpO2 sensor is that they were not able to get accurate enough readings out of it and they did not want their customers to have a sub-par experience.
To make up for the missing SpO2 sensor, the company has included built-in GPS tracking. This honestly surprises me, considering that it is a feature that you would find missing in some of the much more expensive smartwatches. This will help you track your running sessions without the need to carry your smartphone.
With this, the company has included 11 different fitness tracking modes, which will cover most of your basic exercising requirements.
Heart rate monitoring compared to a pulse oximeter was in the same ballpark. However, I would not comment on this, considering I do not have the proper medical-grade equipment for heart rate tracking. But, I would like to add that having a constant heart tracking device was a nice addition to taking a step towards a healthy lifestyle from an unhealthy one.
Step tracking was in the ballpark of the actual ones. Taking 100 steps three times showcased 103, 98 and 101 steps on the step counter.
Overall, I liked all of the fitness features that the new Redmi Watch has to offer, especially the addition of the integrated GPS.
Redmi Watch Review: Battery
With Heart Rate Monitoring set to 30 minutes, notifications turned on, auto brightness enabled and GPS tracking, I was able to fully discharge the Redmi Watch within 5 days. Turning off the auto heart rate monitoring feature does improve the battery status and could help in achieving the 10-day battery life number Xiaomi is claiming for the device on moderate use.
The Watch comes alongside a charging cradle, which honestly is much better built than any of the competitors. I was able to charge the Redmi Watch from 0-100 percent within one and a half hours. My only issue here is that the smartwatch even in its Ivory colour option comes with a Black coloured cradle. However, that is not much of an issue.
Redmi Watch Review: Verdict
Redmi Watch is priced at Rs 3,999 and is a good option at the price. The UI is quite smooth, tracking features are good and the overall build of the device exceeds expectations. The only feature that you might miss could be the SpO2 feature, however, I do feel that an integrated GPS would come in more handy for a user when compared to a SpO2 sensor.
Overall I did like the Redmi Watch and if you are looking for a budget smartwatch under Rs 5,000, this is definitely a product that you should consider.