If you are looking for a fitness wearable, you have probably already looked at Xiaomi’s products. The Mi Band series has helped the company gain a foothold in the portable gym. To diversify in this product category, Xiaomi recently introduced the Redmi Watch, which is suitable for those looking for a watch-like shape and built-in GPS for fitness tracking. Priced at Rs. 3,999, the Redmi Watch seems affordable, but does it offer the best value? I put the Redmi Watch to the test to find out.
Redmi Watch Award in India
The Redmi Watch is only available in one size and costs Rs. 3,999 in India. Xiaomi offers the Redmi Watch in three dial colors: black, blue and ivory. There are four bracelet options (black, blue, ivory and olive). I had a completely black Redmi watch with me for this review.
Redmi watch design
The Xiaomi Redmi Watch has a square dial, but it doesn’t really stand out as many wearables have similar designs at this price point. The Redmi Watch has a plastic case with a matte finish and is curved in the corners while the sides are completely flat. There is only one button on the right side while the other side is blank. The Redmi Watch has a 1.4 inch LCD screen with 2.5D glass on the top.
The Redmi Watch is waterproof up to a pressure of 5 ATM, so you can wear it while swimming without worrying about damaging it. Xiaomi has used proprietary connectors for the straps that limit your strap options. Removing the strap is very easy, just press the release button on the watch case. It is also easy to put the belt back on and you will hear an audible click when the belt is securely in place.
Xiaomi has pre-bent the straps, which makes the watch super comfortable to wear. The Redmi Watch has a standard clasp and never came off during the review. The heart rate sensor and pins for charging are located on the underside of the Redmi Watch. This wearable doesn’t support SpO2 tracking, a feature that might have made it more attractive given the current pandemic situation. The included charging station has a full-size USB plug on the other end. The Redmi Watch has a 230 mAh battery and should offer a battery life of around 10 days. The Redmi Watch is relatively light at only 35 grams.
Redmi Watch software
You can use the Redmi Watch together with an Android or iOS device and need the Xiaomi Wear or Xiaomi Wear Lite app for management. This wearable is very easy to pair and ensures a stable connection as long as the phone is within range. The app requires you to log into a Mi account and is the same one you get with many other Xiaomi wearables like the Mi Watch Revolve (Review) which I have already reviewed and the newly launched Mi Watch Revolve Active would use. The app is easy to use and lets you adjust some settings on the Redmi Watch. You can change watch faces and choose which apps can send notifications to your wrist.
You can save up to five watch faces on the Redmi Watch and change them by simply long-pressing the current one. To download fresh new watches to the Redmi Watch, you need to use the Xiaomi Wear app. There are so many available that you could use a new one every day and not repeat it for a few months. However, you do not have the option to customize these watch faces.
The Redmi Watch has a custom operating system and offers heart rate, sleep and exercise tracking. It also has a barometer, compass, and built-in GPS that allows you to keep track of outdoor workouts without a smartphone. The user interface of the Redmi Watch is very easy to use. You can swipe down from the top to see notifications and swipe up to access quick switches. Swiping left to right will bring up various screens with weather information, sleep duration, heart rate, calories burned and controls for the music player. Pressing the side button takes you to a list of all functions of the Redmi Watch.
Redmi Watch performance and battery life
I’ve been using the Redmi Watch for two weeks and find it very comfortable. Since the Redmi Watch only weighs 35 grams, you hardly notice it when you wear it. The light weight and small size also make it easy to wear this watch in bed. The display quality is only average and I found the auto brightness a bit too aggressive. The wake-up gesture works well and the Redmi Watch quickly turns the screen off to save battery.
I had the watch set to hum for incoming WhatsApp notifications and I was able to read incoming notifications on the watch itself, but there is no way to act on it. The Redmi Watch can notify you of incoming calls along with the name of the caller. You cannot answer calls with the watch, but you can reject them or mute them.
The heart rate measurement was pretty accurate and I didn’t see a huge difference when compared to the readings from an Apple Watch SE that I was using at the same time. The default heart rate tracking interval is 30 minutes (to conserve energy), which you may want to change to around 5 minutes for more useful statistics. The sleep tracking on the Redmi Watch was accurate and also gave me an overview of my sleep quality in the app. If you’re looking for a device that can also track SpO2, the Redmi Watch lacks that, and it could have been a strong selling point if Xiaomi had included it.
Step tracking worked with a negligible error rate on the Redmi Watch, I counted 1,000 steps manually and the watch showed 1,002, which is acceptable for a device at this price. The Redmi Watch can record 11 workouts including cricket, but given the current situation, I was only able to test its fitness tracking capabilities while training indoors in freestyle training mode. In this mode, I was only shown my heart rate and calories burned. I found the heart rate readings to be inconsistent during exercise. I was unable to test the accuracy of GPS tracking on the watch.
The battery life was acceptable given the size of this wearable and its tiny 230 mAh battery. Xiaomi claims a battery life of up to 10 days, but I only spent about 7 days tracking sleep every night, exercising on other days, and enabling notifications for WhatsApp. Turning on more app notifications or exercising more often can reduce battery life. The included charger takes around two hours to fully charge the Redmi Watch, and a faster charging solution would have been nice.
The Redmi Watch does what you expect, but does nothing to stand out in the sea of fitness wearables currently available. Xiaomi has tried hard to make it easy, but I would have been happy with a slightly heavier Redmi Watch with better battery life. Xiaomi still offers very good step tracking, and if your main motivation is to record your step count every day, the Redmi Watch will do pretty well.
Xiaomi has the potential to improve the Redmi Watch and adding SpO2 tracking would be a good start. Until then, if you are looking for an affordable fitness wearable that allows you to follow the usual in addition to SpO2, the Amazfit Bip U Pro is an alternative worth considering.