Affordable fitness wearables are a dime and a dozen. In fact, Amazfit’s portfolio has been built upon cut-price smartwatches that are primarily focused on fitness. One of the early entrants, however, was the venerable Xiaomi Mi Band. Now in its sixth iteration, the Mi Band has time and time again proven a quality, well-priced fitness wearable can leave a mark on the market. The Redmi Watch slots in above the Mi Band. It’s a more premium option with a larger display and built-in GPS that aims to bridge the gap between more full-featured products and smart bands.
So what makes this the affordable fitness wearable to get? Find out in Android Authority’s Redmi Watch review.
What you need to know about the Redmi Watch
- Redmi Watch: Rs. 3,999 (~$54)
The Redmi Watch is a rebranded Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite for the Indian market. As such, it slots in right above the Mi Band 5 and offers up a bigger screen and features like GPS.
Here, the feature set is minimal and focused on fundamentals like fitness tracking, notifications, and music control. Additionally, you get a reasonably long battery life, though not quite as much as some of the larger alternatives. The biggest competition for the Redmi Watch comes from Amazfit’s portfolio that includes well-recommended products like the Amazfit Bip U.
The Redmi Watch breaks the mold by giving you a rather robust feature package for the money. It certainly isn’t the only one, but for anyone looking to upgrade from the Mi Band 5 in India, the Redmi Watch is a nice in-between option over the Mi Watch Revolve.
It is one of the very few options at this price with onboard GPS, which is very nice to have when out for a run. Owing to a continuing lockdown, my activity is restricted to just the street in front of my apartment. However, despite the high-rise constructions all around, the Redmi Watch was able to hold a solid GPS lock.
The Redmi Watch is effective at fitness tracking and maintains a solid GPS lock.
Not many fitness trackers in this price range do always-on heart rate tracking; the Redmi Watch is no different. The default 30-minute interval isn’t particularly useful, but once set to 1 minute, the watch can give you a more holistic view of the heart fitness levels. I found readings to be slightly off compared to a dedicated pulse oximeter and heart rate monitor. However, the variance was only to a degree of 2-3 percentage points, which isn’t too bad for a wrist-bound wearable.
The other major use case is, of course, sleep tracking. And that’s something that the Redmi Watch manages very well. You’ll get granular breakdowns between sleep cycles, and the tracking was accurate down to the minute. An overall sleep score is also assigned that should give you a quick overview of sleep health. The built-in breathing exercises app is basic but functional, and I found myself using it often as part of my post-COVID recovery routine.
Also read: The best smartwatches you can buy
Beyond fitness functions, the Redmi Watch covers the core features you’d expect. The included clock, timer, stopwatch, torch, and weather functions should come as no surprise. Other apps include a compass, air pressure monitor, a quick tile to control music playback on your phone. The watch doesn’t support third-party apps, nor does it integrate with Alexa or other smart assistants like the Amazfit Bip U.
Finally, battery life is decent at seven days with heart rate monitoring set at 1 minute. It’s not quite as long as the nine days that Xiaomi suggests, but you could turn down the heart rate tracking frequency to get close.
The accompanying Xiaomi Wear app is usable and is clearly focused on someone getting started with fitness trackers. You won’t get much information overload here, and the graphs are easy to understand. What’s not so good is the complete inability to export data to any service, including Google Fit. It’s not unheard of, but as someone who generally dislikes platform lock-in, I’m not a big fan of the choice.
What’s not so good?
Look, a big reason for wanting a watch-like form factor over a sleeker band is access to notifications. However, in my time with the Redmi Watch, I found it highly unreliable. Notifications would intermittently stop coming through, and that’s a glaring issue. There are no actionable notifications, but that’s to be expected from most fitness wearables.
Like my colleague Jimmy, I found the interface less than stellar. Obviously, the watch is running on a barebones software platform, which is made all the more apparent by the lack of animations or haptics. The lack of haptic feedback, in particular, is troublesome when trying to navigate around a workout activity while in the middle of a run.
I didn’t particularly like the display used here either. Contrary to Xiaomi’s claims, the LCD panel isn’t very vibrant. Cranked up high, outdoor visibility is decent, but not great. Contrast levels are lacking and some of the more vibrant watch faces, out of the 200 odd options, end up looking dull.
I’d also have preferred better quality silicon straps as well. The included ones look and feel cheap. It is possible to replace them, but the proprietary mechanism means you’ll have to wait and hope for the third-party ecosystem to catch up.
Redmi Watch review: Should I buy it?
If you’ve been itching to upgrade to a slightly more capable fitness band, like the Redmi Band, the Redmi Watch is a decent step up. Between the GPS support, larger display, and support for notifications, music control, the watch gives you reason enough to splurge the extra Rs. 1500 (~$20) over the Mi Band 5. However, unless you’ve been a long-term user of Xiaomi’s fitness bands and find your data entrenched in the ecosystem, I’d urge you to take a look at the Amazfit Bip U as well. The latter trades the built-in GPS for SpO2 measurements, more premium looks, as well as continuous heart rate monitoring.
The Redmi Watch is a good show from Xiaomi, as long as you keep your expectations in check.