After the OnePlus watch, the Xiaomi Mi Watch invites itself to the table of connected watches at the right techno-price ratio. In any case, this is the manufacturer’s promise.
Let’s be honest, on paper the bet is daring. Offering a watch that can do almost everything an Apple Watch can but are two to three times cheaper is insane. Xiaomi has mastered the formula perfectly in the smartphone market. But what about connected watches?
Can the Mi Watch really compete with models from Samsung, Huawei or OnePlus? Can it accompany an athlete in their weekly activities? Are the analyzed data reliable? To answer these questions, we wore the Mi Watch for several days. Here is our full review.
OnePlus Watch price and release date
The Xiaomi Mi Watch is already available at a price of 149 euros. It’s available in three colors: black, navy blue, and beige (our test model). At this price point, the main competitor is undoubtedly the OnePlus watch, the very first connected watch from OnePlus.
Xiaomi Mi watch at the best price base price: 149 €
Show more offers
Design and screen
Minimalistic. This in a nutshell is how we might qualify the Mi Watch’s design. While its counterpart “Lite” takes on a rectangular format, it shows round curves, more classic but also more attractive.
Xiaomi is therefore not burdened with art objects, but still takes care of the surfaces. The only two physical buttons on the right side don’t suffer from gaming. The lower key is even surrounded by a little red border with the most beautiful effect.
Like the OnePlus watch, the Xiaomi Mi watch also inherits a 46mm dial that might look a bit big on small wrists. For others, comfort is the rendezvous.
Although the Mi watch is a bit thick (11.8mm anyway), it remains a very light watch (only 32g), and for the simple reason that it is mostly made of plastic.
In that regard, Xiaomi’s watch appears to be a lot less premium than its stainless steel OnePlus rival. On the other hand, like its competitor, it is waterproof up to 5 ATM and can therefore accompany us during our swimming lessons.
The rubber strap with a plastic clip enhances the feeling of wearing a somewhat cheap watch. After all, it is because it costs two to three times less than models from Huawei, Samsung, or Apple.
The Mi Watch is not to be seen for a penny, but in ready-made clothing, but with a lot of style. Instead, it relies on its extremely bright 1.39-inch AMOLED display to attract attention.
If we regret the lack of the “tap to unlock” feature, we never get tired of the “always on” mode, certainly energy intensive but still so convenient. Finally, note that the Xiaomi Wear application provides access to a multitude of rotary dials to complete the four pre-installed.
Xiaomi Wear: a little too simple
Determined to make our lives easier, Xiaomi ships its Mi Watch with Xiaomi Wear software. Hence no Wear operating system, but an extremely simple internal interface.
Swipe down from the top of the watch face to get access to the latest notifications. The same movement from bottom to top shows the quick settings. A page sweep allows you to scroll through the various widgets (heart rate, SpO2, stress, sleep, etc.).
The home button gives access to a number of pretty basic functions: workout, Alexa, phone ringing, etc. Finally, the sports button displays a list of exercises: running, elliptical, swimming, fitness, strength training, body weight training, etc.
We therefore draw the same conclusions as we did with the OnePlus watch: by choosing a homemade operating system, Xiaomi limits its options, as the lack of third-party applications makes the experience frustrating (we will come back to this later).
Xiaomi Wear application: very complete
Like its counterparts, the Xiaomi Mi Watch also comes with its companion application. The manufacturer is simple and uses the same name as the software. Therefore, to start the Mi Watch for the first time, we need to download Xiaomi Wear, available on Android and iOS. The pairing according to the QR code then enables access to the configuration.
The user interface of Xiaomi Wear is very similar to that of OnePlus Wear. It is divided into three universes: Status, Training, and Profile.
The first lists the data from the various sensors (sleep, heart rate, stress, etc.) in small tiles. Pressing each tile takes you to a more complete page with precise graphics and illustrations.
In workouts, you can access the various exercises available. In Profiles, you can change the watch settings, configure Alexa, change or download dials, or even choose the applications for which you want to receive notifications on the watch. Easy easy.
In our review of the OnePlus Watch, we raised a major problem: Choosing a home operating system limits its uses, unless you’re Samsung or Huawei. Unfortunately, Xiaomi is neither, and therefore suffers from the same complaints as OnePlus.
By opting for a home operating system instead of a Wear operating system, Xiaomi is therefore making the same mistake as its compatriot. We therefore have to settle for basic uses, which makes everyday use quite frustrating.
If the Mi Watch is able to receive notifications about applications installed on the smartphone it is associated with, it will not move forward. For example, it’s impossible to control your music if it’s not from the Music app on the phone. The Mi Watch cannot receive a message or a call and has no speaker.
We are therefore far from reaching the potential of a connected watch from Samsung, Huawei or Apple. They are granted that they cost more and are more logically complete. You will be against that for Xiaomi (like OnePlus) it would have been enough to use Wear OS to improve the record.
Health and sport
The Xiaomi Mi Watch, which is not convincing in daily use, is impressive when it comes to monitoring our state of health, sleep or stress level, with every proportion being kept of course.
Far from matching the favorite models of great athletes, the Mi Watch will be more than enough for Sunday athletes or even more. During our test weeks, we did an average of three workouts per week, mostly consisting of treadmill running, outdoor running, elliptical training, and bodyweight training.
These exercises are just a small selection of the sports that the Mi Watch can analyze. We counted a total of 17 activities that are pre-installed on the watch. 8 activities, 6 outdoor sports and 14 water sports are also available for download. What to please the majority of athletes, except maybe the amateurs of curling, whatever.
In general, the Mi Watch was pretty precise in analyzing the data. For example, during our treadmill sessions, we have the same numbers on our treadmill and on the clock. Same observation after 15 minutes more elliptical.
Outside, the GPS was also very precise and calculated the route of our usual course perfectly to within a few meters. The heart rate stayed very close to what we are used to.
Can the Mi Watch replace a connected watch for athletes? Certainly not and she does not make this claim. The analyzed data remains closer than, for example, a Garmin model. And some factors like the difference in altitude are not taken into account. We also regret that exercise was recognized a little late: if we don’t remember to start the exercise manually, the data is much less reliable.
Enough for those who practice sports for pleasure. For competition it will be necessary to aim higher and therefore more expensive.
Autonomy and charging
According to Xiaomi, the Mi Watch (with a 420 mAh battery) can accompany the user on a single charge for two weeks. In reality, as with any connected object, it all depends on how you use it.
For standard use, without the always-on mode, without wearing the watch at night and with one workout per week, the Mi Watch actually keeps its promises.
The autonomy increases to approx. 10 days if the training rhythm intensifies (three running and strength training units per week) and we activate sleep monitoring and always-on mode.
With results like this, the Xiaomi Mi Watch is one of the most enduring connected watches on the market. Only the OnePlus Watch is in the same price range in comparison.
In order not to spoil anything, the Mi Watch charges up pretty quickly. On the supplied magnet base, it gains 50% energy in approx. 35 minutes. A full charge takes 1h30.
Xiaomi Mi watch at the best price base price: 149 €
Show more offers
Our opinion on the Xiaomi Mi Watch
With its Mi Watch, Xiaomi partially succeeds in its bet (a watch with an excellent techno-price ratio). Partly because there is a lack of quality materials to really seduce us. In part because choosing a homemade operating system instead of using Wear OS will limit the functionality of the watch. Partly because some important things are missing (payment, calls, text messages).
Despite everything, the Mi Watch remains an interesting connected watch for athletes. If it does not meet the requirements of the competitors, then it is quite precise for the practice of amateur sport. Or rather, the practices, because the activities supported are very, very numerous.
In addition, there is excellent autonomy and a very fast charging system. Enough to compete with models from Samsung, Huawei or Apple? Not really. But enough to establish itself as one of the best networked watches under 200 euros.
Xiaomi mi watch
Design and finishes
7.5 / 10
Interface and functions
7.0 / 10
Autonomy and charging
9.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
Beautiful display Accurate data analysis Great battery life and fast charging Complete companion app Compatible with Alexa
We like less
Slightly cheap surfaces Limited functionality Limited ecosystem No call / SMS function (no loudspeaker)