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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Redmi Watch Review: Decent budget watch with generic design

Check out what we think about the Redmi Watch and whether it is a budget watch you should consider buying.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Rs. 3,999
Written by Chetan Nayak | Mumbai |
May 20, 2021 12:00:04 pm
Redmi Watch, Redmi Watch reviewThe Redmi Watch is a budget smartwatch that competes with products like the Realme watch S and the Amazfit Bip U series. (Image Source: The Indian Express/ Chetan Nayak)

Redmi recently launched its first smartwatch in India: the Redmi Watch. The budget smartwatch, comparable to a lot of other products in its segment, offers features like GPS, heart-rate sensing, sleep-tracking and more in a rectangular watch dial. We tried out the Redmi Watch for over a week and here’s what we think about it. But first, here’s a quick run-through of the specifications.

Redmi Watch specs:  1.4-inch 320×320 pixels rectangular IPS LCD display | 230mAh battery | Plastic body | 5 atm water resistance | Bluetooth 5.0 | Accelerometer | Heart Rate | Compass |

Redmi Watch review: What’s Good?

User interface and companion app

The Redmi Watch features a proprietary operating system, which is common for a wearable for this price. While that limits its functionalities to those of a fitness tracker like the Mi Band series, the fluidity and usability of the OS is a key factor. Here, we see a fast and responsive user interface (UI) that is low on animations and high on productivity.

There are also no animations whatsoever throughout the UI, which we personally liked but maybe something not everyone will approve. There is also a text-less, icon-only app-drawer that requires a bit of a learning curve but gets you to your apps much faster than a linear app drawer once you are used to it.

Redmi Watch, Redmi Watch review The Redmi Watch features an RTOS based interface that is fast and intuitive for a budget watch. (Image Source: The Indian Express/ Chetan Nayak)

The watch also has good brightness levels and an auto-brightness sensor. Further, emoji support is there which is a plus. Notifications can be easily checked by pulling down the notifications bar from the top and text appears crisp.

Coming to the Xiaomi Wear app, we really liked the design language and ease of use throughout the app interface. The UI looks clean and is easy to navigate through and the settings you want can be easily found.

Once you have set up your Redmi watch with the app, you will see a permanent notification on your phone that helps the watch stay connected. We largely tried the Redmi Watch with the Poco X3 Pro and can also confirm that even when the app is not running in the background at all times, the watch automatically connects to the phone every time you turn on Bluetooth.

Features and accuracy

The Redmi Watch is packed with sensors and features including step tracking, 24×7 heart-rate monitoring, sleep tracking, a compass and even an air pressure sensor. These sensor values are mostly accurate and we didn’t see readings going way off. However, the sleep tracking on the watch is sometimes a hit-or-miss. Other features include guided meditation and 11 sport workout modes including cycling, cricket, swimming and more.

Note that for more accurate readings from the heart-rate sensor, users may need to tighten the strap a little, leading to the TPU strap getting sweaty and irritating pretty soon, especially during summers and when working out.

Battery life and charging

Redmi says you can manage 10-days of battery life with the Redmi Watch on moderate use. These claims seemed true in our time of testing, especially since heavy draining features like the Always-On display are missing here.

Redmi Watch, Redmi Watch review The Redmi Watch has a cool auto-rotating docking mode when charging, but it doesn’t let you use the watch during this time. (Image Source: The Indian Express/ Chetan Nayak)

The pogo pin charger relies on a snap-on mechanism and is easy to use. Unlike the chargers of some other budget smartwatches in this segment, this charger also seemed more sturdy, including a thicker cable. docking in the watch on the charger also enables an auto-rotating ‘docked’ mode that shows you the date, time and charging status and percentage when the watch is charging. Sadly, the watch can’t really be used when it is being charged.

Redmi Watch review: What’s not good?

Design

Despite its features and good software, what we didn’t really like about the Redmi Watch is its generic rectangular design. In all honesty, while we actually like rectangular screens, the Redmi Watch doesn’t really set itself apart by design. The bezels are also super thick which simply takes away from the premium feel if you keep a watch face with a lighter background shade.

While the Redmi Watch is available in four colours for the straps and three for the cases, we would prefer the black or the blue over the olive or ivory colour that we have for review. Plus since the unit came with a black charger, it also seems like a good idea to go with black for a more matching design choice.

Redmi Watch, Redmi Watch review The Redmi Watch features a very unoriginal rectangular design with a single silver button on the side. (Image Source: The Indian Express/ Chetan Nayak)

Also, while the Redmi Watch has really comfortable TPU straps, these ‘replaceable’ straps have their own unique button mechanism, which in all honesty is really hard to open. These will let you replace straps with other Redmi Watch straps, but not standard 20mm or 22mm straps.

Lack of SpO2 sensor

The Redmi Watch has no SpO2 sensor that monitors your blood oxygen levels. Now, this may be a con that doesn’t really affect you, and it really shouldn’t. Budget wearable SpO2 readings are rarely accurate enough to bet your life on them, given the circumstances.

However, for the casual user who would like blood oxygen monitoring, even if it isn’t the most accurate, the missing sensor could be a factor to consider other options in the segment by brands like Realme, Amazfit, Boat and more.  Moreover, people looking for these fitness-oriented smartwatches might prefer a blood oxygen level reading over an air pressure reading.

Verdict: Should you get the Redmi Watch?

The Redmi Watch has a good user interface and companion app, the uninspiring design with thick bezels and lack of true replaceable straps give its competitors an edge. While the Redmi Watch is not simply a bad product, at Rs 3,999 can currently buy you better options like the Realme Watch S or the Amazfit Bip U series.

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