Redmi Watch Review: Budget fitness tracking smartwatch


Xiaomi’s Redmi brand launched the Redmi Watch, the company’s latest smartwatch in India this week. It was launched as Mi Watch Lite in some countries last year. This comes with a colour LCD full-touch display, built-in GPS/GLONASS support, 11 sports modes, music controls and more features. I have been using the latest smartwatch from Redmi for almost a week now, and here is the review.

Box contents

  • Redmi Watch in Black colour
  • Charging dock
  • User manual

Design and Build

The Redmi Watch has the square design that is similar to most watches. It weighs just 35 grams with the strap and 21 grams without the strap, thanks to the polycarbonate body which offers a smooth finish. The smarwatch has 5ATM water resistance, so you can even wear when swimming that is available only in few fitness trackers in the price range. There is 3-axis accelerometer + 3-axis gyroscope as well as GPS + GLONASS, and Bluetooth 5.1 to connect to Android and iOS devices. Since the Bluetooth chip is programmable, so it can store data even when it is disconnected from the smartphone.

Coming to the strap, it is made of skin-friendly thermoplastic polyurethane. The straps are also interchangeable with four colour options, Black, Blue and Ivory and Olive. There is a single function button on the right side with a metal finish that lets you wake up the watch and also use the features.

 

The strap is tight, thanks to adjustable holes. You can remove the strap with a press of a button. You see the REDMIWT02 model number on one side and ‘Made in China’ text on the other side, when you remove the strap.

On the back you can see the heart rate sensor that has glowing green LED lights when you are using it to measure heart rate. There is Redmi branding on the top and there is also contact points for charging.

Display and features

Coming to the display, the Redmi Watch has a large 1.4-inch (320×320 pixels) LCD colour touch screen display with up to 350 nits brightness and 2D glass. You can set it to turn on when you lift your hand, and the screen turns off in a few seconds to save power, but you can it to turn off up to 10 seconds. It still attracts fingerprints and is not completely scratch resistant. Touch screen is smooth to use.

Thanks to 350 nits peak brightness, outdoor visibility is good. You can adjust the brightness from more→Settings→Brightness. You can adjust it from level 1 till level 6. But you can. There is also an easy notification shade option when you swipe from the bottom. This has flashlight option that brightens up the screen, option to toggle raise to wake, screen lock, DND mode toggle, keep the screen awake screen for 5 minutes and settings option.

It also has music controls. You can just swipe from left or right on the touch screen to view music control panel that lets you play, pause, skip tracks and also adjust volume when you play any music or any kind of content like videos or music when the watch is connected to the phone. It doesn’t have camera controls that is present in the Mi Band. You can swipe from the top to access notification. You can read or clear the notification you receive from the smartphone, but you can reply to them.

Pressing the function button opens up the menu that shows all the options available on the smartwatch. This includes Workout / sport modes, activity that shows activity performed, stats that shows calories burnt, steps and standing data for the data with detailed stats. There is heart rate option, sleep data, breathing (1 to 5 minutes with slow, moderate and fast option), compass, Air pressure since the watch has Barometric Press sensor (altimeter). There is Music control option next to it.

The next page has alarm clock that lets you set an alarm directly from the watch. Since the watch doesn’t have a speaker, you get a vibration feedback for the alarm which is enough to wake you up from the sleep. There is also stop watch and timer options. Weather shows the current weather with AQI data in the area as well other data as UV, Humidity and a 5-day weather forecast. Next to it is the notification option. There is also ‘Find phone’ option that turns on alarm sound on the phone when it is connected to the phone over Bluetooth. There is Flashlight, Help feature that lets you scan the QR code to view help and finally, there is settings option.

Software

The Watch uses Xiaomi Wear companion app on Android and Xiaomi Wear Lite for iOS. This has a different UI compared to Mi Fit app. It has Status, Workouts and Profile section. Status section shows the steps, calories burnt, latest workout stats, sleep data, heart rate and standing details. Workout tab shows outdoor running, treadmill, walking and outdoor cycling options that you can start directly from the app. My Profile section shows the battery stat, option to change watch faces and settings.

There are some local faces and the online options has 200+ watch faces. It takes a few seconds to download a new watch face. You can’t set a custom image as a watch face, which is a feature that is available in some smartwatches.

From the app you can choose which widgets to show up on the watch when you swipe. You can also choose which app should show notifications. There is also an option to enable incoming call notification with or without contact information details.

Fitness and sleep tracking, Heart rate monitoring

The Redmi Watch has 11 workout modes that includes Outdoor running, Treadmill, Outdoor cycling, Open water swimming, Freestyle, Pool swimming, Cricket, Trekking, Trail run, Walking and Indoor cycling. Except route map for outdoor workouts, you get all the details such as distance, calories burnt, steps, average speed, cadence, average heart rate and heart rate zones right from the smartwatch.

 

Steps tracking is good compared to Mi Band 5 and OPPO Watch. Since it has built-in GPS support, you don’t need to take your phone for outdoor activities such as running or cycling, but it takes some time to lock the GPS, so you have to wait till it’s locked before you start the workout. It shows time, distance, pace, cadence, elevation and heart rate for workouts like running. You can press and hold the touch button to pause a workout in the middle, and resume it or stop it.

Compared to tracking apps like Strava or Nike running on mobile, there is a slight difference in GPS tracking since GPS cuts out if there are some intrusions like trees or bridges, but it is minimal like 30 meters per kilometre. This is common in budget watches since the GPS is not powerful compared to high-end watches or mobile phones. You can share the workout data as an image, but there is no option to export the data to third-party apps. (Xiaomi Wear 2.8.1i update has finally added Strava support which can be enabled from Settings and Selecting Connected apps ) Even the Mi Fit app has Google Fit integration.

You get separate option for Steps, Calories, Standing and Heart rate with data view for today, day-wise, week-wide or month-wise. The smartwatch uses LED lights and photo-diodes to illuminate the blood vessel for a while and monitors the heart rate via the change of green light absorbed. You can’t say this is 100% accurate, but heart rate recordings — both resting and active are decent. It is almost similar to Mi Band 5 and Mi Watch revolve. You can use the button or use the app to check the heart rate. It stores the data with date and time. It takes 5 to 10 seconds to measure heart rate and is not continuous, but you get continuous heart rate tracking during workouts, which will also drain the battery.

 

The watch doesn’t have blood oxygen saturation or Spo2 monitoring. The company says that it doesn’t have it since the data might not be 100% accurate compared to pulse oximeter. However, some users prefer the Spo2 monitoring as an added feature in the smartwatch even though the company mentions that it doesn’t show an accurate value to be used for medical purposes.

Sleep tracking shows light and deep sleep as well as awake time as usual, and the tracking is as accurate as the Mi Band 5. But it doesn’t have sleep monitoring assistant to acquire REM data and option to track naps like the Mi Band 5 or Mi Band 6.

Battery life

It has a 230mAh battery, and the company promises 9 days of battery life. I have been using it for a week now, and I have charged it only once till 100%. Now I have 70% charge left since I have only enabled call and limited app notifications and used GPS only for one outdoor run which drained about 5% battery. The company says that it will last for 10 hours with continuous GPS use. Battery life might vary depending on frequent use of the display with increased brightness, use of heart rate monitor during workouts and all the notifications turned on.

The watch need to lock in place inside the dock to start charging. The company recommends 5V-0.4A input, so you can even plug it in a USB port of a PC or a laptop or use power bank in low-power mode. It takes about 2 hours to charge the watch fully from 0%, says the company. Since the battery last for over a week, long charging time doesn’t matter.

Conclusion

The Redmi Watch is a decent entry-level fitness smartwatch at a price of Rs. 3999. It has a large colour touch screen with a lot of watch faces, comes with built-in GPS support for tracking outdoor activities, has 5ATM water resistance and offers a good battery life. The Xiaomi Wear app is better than the last time I used, but it needs to be improved with more features compared to Mi Fit app that is used for Mi Band, and the watch lacks SpO2 monitoring which is present in most smartwatches these days. It will be available from Flipkart, mi.com and Mi Home Stores starting from May 25th.

Alternatives

The Amazfit Bip U Pro which is a direct competitor at a slightly higher price tag comes with Spo2 monitoring, more workout modes and especially a better companion app Zepp which has option to share workout data to Google Fit, Strava and other third-party apps. The Amazfit Bip S at the same rate as Redmi Watch offers better battery life, but it has transflective colour screen with less watch faces. There are lots more options from local players, but it is not clear how reliable those will be since some even offer BP monitoring in the price range.

Pros

  • Colour touch display
  • Water resistant (5ATM)
  • Activity tracking with GPS is good
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Xiaomi Wear app lacks features compared to Mi Fit
  • No option to share workout data with third-party services  (Strava support added in an update)
  • No blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) monitoring

Author: Srivatsan Sridhar

Srivatsan Sridhar is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast who is passionate about Mobile phones and Mobile apps. He uses the phones he reviews as his main phone. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram