News Xiaomi Mi Watch Smartwatch with MIUI (WearOS): Two versions for around $185
On 5 November, the new Xiaomi Mi Watch, the brand’s first own Smartwatch, was presented in China. Compared to the Amazfit watches, the Xiaomi Mi Watch is equipped with MIUI (for Watch) OS and thus has a similar range of functions as the Apple Watch!
Xiaomi’s close partnership with Huami Amazfit
With the first Mi Band, Xiaomi had already placed a successful fitness tracker on the market at a very early stage – long before Xiaomi’s smartphones also attracted even more attention in Europe. The Mi Band is now in its fourth generation and has enjoyed great popularity ever since.
Despite many innovations between the first and fourth Mi Band, the arguments for Xiaomi’s fitness tracker remain similar: great price/performance ratio, long battery life, well-developed app and simple operation. Because of this, fans of the company have been speculating and wishing for a Xiaomi Smartwatch for quite some time.
So far the “Wearables” division has been left to the close partner Huami Amazfit, who also produces the Mi Band 4 in his factories for Xiaomi. Together Amazfit/Xiaomi have become one of the world’s leading wearable manufacturers and have even left Apple behind.
But unfortunately all Amazfit models, including the current Amazfit GTR models and the Apple Watch clone Amazfit GTS, lack some important functions that make a real smartwatch. For example, it is not possible on Amazfit watches to reply to text messages or to use NFC for contactless payment. This is now changing with the Xiaomi Mi Watch!
Xiaomi Mi Watch with Apple Watch Design
You simply have to admit that the Xiaomi Mi Watch looks similar to the Apple Watch in many ways. That’s not just because Xiaomi opted for a rectangular design. The crown on the right side of the watch and the control knob underneath are almost 1:1 exactly the same as on the Apple Watch.
I don’t necessarily want to criticize Xiaomi for this at this point, because from the point of view of usability it’s probably the right way. Most people will wear the watch on their left wrist and for me the arrangement makes sense.
In my opinion, rectangular watches also have the simple advantage that text messages, images, menus, etc. can be displayed more esthetically. But not only the display shape reminds of Apple, there will also be a rotating crown and a control knob underneath.
While the Apple Watch traditionally comes in two different sizes (40 mm and 44 mm for the current Series 5), the Xiaomi Mi Watch is only available in a 44 mm version. More specifically, the Xiaomi Smartwatch measures 44.69 x 36.92 mm (1,76 x 1.45in) and is 12.28 mm (0.48in) thin. In comparison, the Apple Watch Series 5 only measures 10.7 mm (0.42in) . Thus, the Xiaomi Mi Watch is unfortunately 1.58 mm (0.06 in) thicker than the competitor model from Apple.
Despite the similarity I think that Xiaomi did everything right with the design, in the end it is a matter of personal taste. As we know Xiaomi, it might well be that in the future there will be a round alternative on the market.
Standard and Premium Edition with different materials
The standard version is available in two different colors, “Technology Silver” and “Elegant Black” . The frame itself is made of a durable aluminium alloy and looks pretty classy in my opinion.
Depending on the color choice, a silver or black rubber band made of fluororubber is included as a bracelet. Similar to the Apple Watch, this strap is robust and sweat-resistant, which will be a pleasure for athletes who want to record their training regularly with the watch. Without a wristband, the Standard Edition made of aluminium weighs 44 g and is therefore heavier than the Apple Watch in a similar design. This weighs only 36.5 g in the current Series 5.
The Premium Edition of the Xiaomi Mi Watch is not made of aluminium, but of stainless steel. In addition, there is no rubber wristband, but an elegant steel wristband. The dimensions of the two models are identical, but the Premium Edition is even heavier with a weight of 56g (without bracelet!). For the runners or gym time, this is certainly not ideal and probably less intended than the Standard Edition.
1,78 inch AMOLED display
As expected, the Xiaomi Mi Watch is equipped with a 1.78 inch AMOLED display. Compared to the Amazfit GTS with a 1.65 inch AMOLED display, the Mi Watch’s display is noticeably larger. It has a resolution of 368 x 448 pixels, resulting in a pixel density of 326 PPI. Thus the small screen Xiaomi Mi Watch is about as sharp as the Apple Watch Series 5, but the Amazfit GTS with 341 PPI remains a bit sharper.
The Standard Edition display is protected with Gorilla Glass 3 to ensure that the watch can withstand everyday use. The Premium Edition even uses sapphire glass.
I think it’s a shame to differentiate here, because the Standard Edition is actually the more attractive watch for sports due to its lower weight and the rubber wristband. In my opinion, the stress and the probability that you might stupidly bump into something is more probable. Therefore I would have wished for sapphire crystal for the Standard Edition!
Technical data – Is the Mi Watch a performance monster?
In the heart of the Xiaomi Mi Watch beats a Snapdragon 3100, a quad-core processor from the Qualcomm Wear series, which is specially developed for Smartwatches. It is also used in some fossil watches and clocks at 1.2 GHz. In addition there is 1 GB RAM and 8 GB ROM, so it should be possible to store at least a few songs or videos offline on the clock.
While Apple charges a pretty substantial extra fee for a model with eSIM, the Xiaomi Mi Watch is equipped with an eSIM in all versions. So you can use the Smartwatch for self-sufficient calls and surfing. It is pleasing that the watch also supports the LTE Band 20, which is important for Europe; let’s hope that eSIM’s providers also work with the Xiaomi Mi Watch.
The Chinese homepage of Xiaomi currently states that the providers China Unicom, China Telecom and China Mobile are supported. We hope that the update for Europe will come soon.
Of course, there is also a WiFi module, which unfortunately only supports the older IEEE 802.11 b/g/n standard and 2.4GHz networks. Too bad! ac WiFi and 5 GHz could have been it already! Also the built-in Bluetooth chip does not support the current Bluetooth 5 standard, but only Bluetooth 4.2. A speaker, microphone and a vibration motor are also built-in for telephoning.
Further sensors for sport and fitness
The Xiaomi Mi Watch is equipped with several other modules and sensors that improve sports tracking and usability. With GPS, GLONASS and BEIDOU the Xiaomi Smartwatch can precisely measure the location or the distance covered. With the Amazfit GTR and also the Amazfit GTS there have been problems with the accuracy recently, but we do not trust Xiaomi to take over these problems.
Besides, there are:
- A+G sensor (acceleration sensor)
- heart rate monitor
- Geomagnetic sensor (compass)
- Ambient light sensor (automatic brightness)
- Barometer (air pressure gauge)
- OTS Optical Displacement Tester
New operating system: MIUI for Watch
Surprisingly Xiaomi has already announced on 30.10.2019 that the Xiaomi Mi Watch is equipped with a new, own operating system! Like the smartphone system it is called MIUI (for Watch). It is based on Google’s WearOS and was optimized by Xiaomi for the angular Smartwatch design.
Further optimizations in the area of communication between MIUI for mobile phones and MIUI for Watch are likely. In addition, we hope that Xiaomi has also worked on the energy efficiency of WearOS and MIUI for Watch!
It is questionable whether a possible Global version is also equipped with MIUI, or whether a Stock-WearOS version is installed for Europe. Xiaomi took a similar shortcut for the Xiaomi Mi Smart TV 4S: instead of MIUI TV AndroidTV is used here. However, since the advertisement explicitly states MIUI for Watch in English and not in Chinese, at least an English version of MIUI for Watch is considered probable.
A small teaser video already gives an idea of how the operating system is structured exactly:
Does GooglePay work with the Xiaomi Mi Watch?
For many the question of all questions: Can I pay with the Xiaomi Mi Watch contactless? Thanks to a built-in NFC module, this is not impossible! At least in China cashless payment with the Mi Watch is possible. However, currently only the payment models “Alipay” and “WeChat Pay”, which are widespread in Asia, are supported. Unfortunately there is currently no mention of GooglePay, here it seems as if we have to wait for a global version or updates of the operating system.
In China, thanks to NFC, bus tickets, tram tickets and admission tickets can also be linked to the Xiaomi Smartwatch. These functions have not yet been available for Amazfit watches.
Ten sports modes under MIUI for Watch
The Xiaomi Mi Watch Smartwatch is equipped with ten sports modes. In addition to the standards, there are also some more unusual sports:
- treadmill jogging
- Cross Country – (Mountain Bike Discipline)
- treadmill jogging
- ride a bicycle
- Bicycle trainer
- Swimming lanes
- Open water swimming
- Free Activities
In addition to sports modes, the Xiaomi Mi Watch also measures health in everyday life and can evaluate it using the following parameters:
- Heart rate monitoring
- sleep monitoring
- stress monitoring
- body energy monitoring
- motion memory
Battery capacity and running time
The battery capacity of the Xiaomi Mi Watch is again different between standard version and premium edition. The standard version got a 560 mAh battery while the Premium Edition comes with 580 mAh. However, the battery life of up to 36 hours is the same for both devices.
Compared to Amazfit’s Smartwatches or even the Xiaomi Mi Band 4 a battery life of only 36 hours certainly is disappointing to some. However, a battery life of 1-3 days was foreseeable and is on par with Apple and Co. We are curious how the battery will perform and whether 36 hours are a realistic value. It might even be a little more than that.
Price of the Xiaomi Smartwatch
In China the standard version of Mi Watch will cost 1299 yuan (~ $185). For the Premium Edition you have to put 1999 yuan (~ $285) on the table. Presumably prices will be higher for buyers in the West.
The Standard Edition will probably start at least at $200 € – $250 and the Premium Edition at about $300 – $350 in Chinese online shops. Of course we hope that this assessment turns out to be wrong or the watch will get cheaper over time. Fingers crossed.
Is the Xiaomi Mi Watch worth buying?
We are looking forward to the Xiaomi Mi Watch. Hopefully there will be a global version soon with a not too slimmed-down functionality. The most important features, at least for us, would be the implementation of GooglePay and the support of global eSIM providers. Then the Xiaomi smartwatch would have several advantages over the Amazfit watches, which could make up for the lower battery life.
Currently would at least recommend you wait with a purchase of the Xiaomi Mi Watch until it is clear which languages are supported and whether an explicit Global Version will eventually appear. As soon as there is new information, you will find out right here!To the gadget