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Redmi Watch review: basic smartwatch that scores big on battery life

On: June 6, 2021

Xiaomi’s Redmi budget brand is best known for its popular Note series phones. Recently, the brand ventured into India’s wearables space with the Redmi Band (review), and now you can add the affordable Redmi Watch to its catalogue. This smartwatch comes with the promise of a big display that manages to give you more details, pack fitness-centric features for daily usage and make sure you don’t have to charge the device every day or two.

Also read: boAt’s Storm smartwatch offers an SpO2 sensor and 10-day battery life for Rs 1,999

Redmi Watchwas  launched in the country for Rs 3,999 and I have been using the wearable for over a week to see if the budget value comes with any riders. You’ll get all the answers in my review.

Design and display

At the first glance, the Redmi Watch design looks pretty similar to the Apple Watch. The shape and dimensions are quite identical and that’s not a bad thing. Redmi Watch in general has a simple design and I don’t mind the company taking the easy way given the price. The watch has 5ATM support which makes it usable under water and for workouts.

Redmi Watch sports a simple design which works for us

The square-shaped display does carry thick thick bezels and the use of an LCD TFT panel means you can easily see the gaps between the text and the edge.

Press the button on the side to activate the menu bar on the display

The physical button is placed on the right edge, while the heart-rate sensor sits at the back of the watch. The TPU finishing of the strap gives the extra solidity you need with a wearable on the wrist. The smartwatch weighs just 35 grams which makes it easy to wear, especially when sleeping.

Redmi Watch is a budget device and the 1.4-inch TFT LCD display is indicative of that. However, the panel displays washed out colours and the blacks are fairly dull, which made me deviate towards non-black watch faces on the device.

Redmi Watch gets a 1.4-inch TFT LCD screen with thick bezels

The Redmi Watch doesn’t feature an Always-on-Display feature. Instead, you can choose the 5-minute wake option to keep the screen turned on. It also supports a raise to wake feature to activate the screen.

The screen supports a raise to wake feature

You can also manually set the brightness from 1 to 6. In my experience, the display offered a passable viewing experience, and while it lacks finesse, it’s not a deal breaker.

Software and Xiaomi Wear app

The Redmi Watch runs on a custom built operating system. The interface is basic, with a swipe-to-access navigation that is easy and intuitive. By swiping down on the screen, you can view messages and call notifications from your paired phone. Notifications from apps like WhatsApp, Slack and even Paytm and Uber are supported on the smartwatch. Unfortunately there’s no way to manually swipe to clear the notifications (they remain in the pane for a few hours), and you can’t interact with them at all. If you swipe left, you can access the main menu. Other functions on the smartwatch include alarms, music control, weather, stopwatch and even the ability to check air pressure.

Various features available on the Redmi Watch

Redmi Watch works in tandem with Xiaomi Wear or Wear Lite app that connects via Bluetooth on Android and iOS devices, respectively. You can create a new account on the app, fill all the details required and get a dashboard which covers all the features you will use through the smartwatch. You can change the notification settings on the app, as well as get more granular data on sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring and more.

Xiaomi Wear app is available on both Android and iOS

You also have a workouts segment in the app that lets you time walking, outdoor running, treadmill and outdoor cycling with all the details saved at the end of every event. However, the features offered are limited compared to what you get from other smartwatches in this segment.

Fitness and health tracking

Redmi Watch recognises itself as a fitness-centric smartwatch. But when you glance through the feature set on the device, you find a few things missing. For instance, having a SpO2 monitor should have been a given, but somehow Redmi Watch doesn’t get it.

Redmi Watch gets 24×7 PPG heart-rate sensor

You do have 24×7 heart-rate monitor that delivers effective results. Having a built-in GPS in this price bracket is also an added bonus.

All sensors help you with different forms of health tracking

The step count on the Redmi Watch matched with the figures that I got on the Mi Band 4. But if there one thing that was a hit-and-miss it’s the sleep tracking ability on the device. I noticed quite a few times that the Redmi Watch could not differentiate between when I was sleeping and when I was just lying down but awake.

Sleep tracking on the Redmi Watch gave us mixed results

There were days when Redmi Watch showed I slept for over 10 hours, when my actual sleep time was close to 7.5 hours. That’s a big margin of error, and we hoping Xiaomi can fix it. Add to that, Redmi Watch does not consider afternoon naps as sleeping. Not sure what to make of that but we just could not get any data on that front as it did not track my sleep.

Battery life

Redmi Watch claims to offer a battery life of up to 10 days. With moderate usage, I got Redmi Watch to last for over 8 days without charging. When you consider the 24 x 7 heart rate monitor is always turned on, that’s quite good. And it helps the watch does not feature Always-on-Display. So the compromise feels worth it in this aspect.

Redmi Watch houses a 230mAh battery that offers decent backup

The device comes bundled with a detachable charger with pins. You just have to plug the Redmi Watch into the unit without having to remove the core unit from the strap.

Redmi Watch uses a detachable connector that charges via USB

However, you cannot use the device while it is charging, which thankfully does not take a long time. Redmi Watch goes from 0 to 100 percent in less than 2 hours, which isn’t too bad.

Bottomline

Redmi Watch is a simple, affordable and workable smartwatch. It has features like PPG heart-rate monitor, built-in GPS, water-resistance and long battery life working in its favour. However, it misses out on an SpO2 monitor, does not have always-on display and the sleep tracking is wonky to say the least.

Redmi Watch is a good start from the brand but could use some improvements

All said and done, apart from the larger display, the Redmi Watch like most affordable smartwatches in the market is essentially a glorified fitness tracker. If you aren’t particular about having a wearable that looks like a smartwatch, the Mi Band 5 makes an excellent alternative at Rs 2,499. Not only does it offer better battery life, but it also comes with stress monitoring and menstrual tracking and packs in an AMOLED display.

Pricebaba rating: 7.5 /10

What works:

  • Simple and comfortable design
  • Basic but intuitive UI
  • 24 x7 heart rate monitor
  • Inbuilt GPS available
  • Long-lasting battery life

What doesn’t:

  • Washed out display
  • Inaccurate sleep tracking
  • Limited fitness modes on offer
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