Xiaomi officially unveiled the Mi Watch at an event in Beijing today. It is truly the beginning of a new chapter for the company because this is the first true smartwatch from Xiaomi. Evermore so since the launch of the very successful fitness-centric Mi Band series in 2014. Xiaomi’s first true smartwatch is special but not for reasons one would think. Yes, it is feature-rich, but what the company does best is shaking up any industry it enters.
A much cheaper alternative | Mi Watch
Xiaomi has relentlessly copied the Apple Watch for the design of Mi Watch, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Apple Watch is one of the finest smartwatches on the market today, and taking cues from the finest is always a good thing. But I just wish it wasn’t the replica of the Apple Watch. Particularly because Xiaomi launched several original models in the past, including the Mi Mix Alpha and the original Mi Mix.
Now that we’ve decided that the development of Mi Watch isn’t original, let’s take a closer look at its body. The smartwatch comes with a square touchscreen display covered by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3. The watch features a 1.78-inch AMOLED curved 326-PPI touchscreen. The rear of the watch is made from ceramic.
On the right, there is a crown that is used to traverse through the watch UI. And besides the crown, there’s a multi-purpose button on the right along with a microphone. Whereas on the left, you’ve got another microphone hole along with a speaker vent. The Mi Watch sports an aluminum alloy frame with a matte finish, but its curves are sharper than the Apple Watch. You’ll see that the pins are the bottom for charging and the heart rate monitor.
Coming to the strap, Xiaomi offers removable straps made from fluoro rubber that are skin-friendly and anti-allergic. There are many color options, including white, blue, silver, and black. Keep in mind that the strap buckle comes with the MI branding in a black metallic shade.
The First to use the SD3100 4G SoC
Beneath, the Xiaomi Mi Watch comes with a Snapdragon Wear 3100 4G chipset with 4 Cortex A7 cores clocked at 1.2GHz. The company is claiming it the first Snapdragon 3100 4G phone, perhaps because the Fossil Gen 5 watches with Snapdragon 3100 didn’t have cellular connectivity.
One of the highlights of the Mi Smartwatch is the battery pack. The watch features one of the largest batteries ever put in a smartwatch, i.e., it has a capacity of 570mAh. For contrast, watches like the 46 mm Huawei Watch GT 2, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 (44 mm), nor even the Apple Watch 5 comes with 455mAh, 340mAh, and 296mAh batteries, respectively.
The company claims that Mi Watch can last up to 36 hours or up to two days on a single charge. The Xiaomi Smartwatch will pack features such as NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi, GPS, an independent vibration engine, and a large speaker. Like with the top-of-the-line smartwatches in 2019, Mi Watch also supports eSIM. That means you can connect to the internet via a cellular network and make and receive calls directly.
Software | Xiaomi Mi Watch
In a surprise announcement, Xiaomi is introducing Google’s WearOS platform for its newest smartwatch. Like its smartphones, nevertheless, the WearOS running on the Xiaomi watch will be personalized with its MIUI for Watch skin. The company will be offering many interesting watch faces for the watch. It also comes, naturally, with Xiaomi’s assistant, XiaoAI.
In addition to the usual fitness-centric features, Xiaomi Smartwatch supports heart rate tracking, VO2 max blood oxygen sensor, sleep monitoring, and body energy monitoring. Xiaomi verified in one of the promotional videos that Mi Watch is suitable for swimming as well.
Powered by the WearOS platform, the Xiaomi Mi watch comes with its built-in app store offering 40 + customized new watch apps. This includes prominent Chinese apps like QQ, WeChat, and Keep (fitness) apps. Thanks to NFC, Mi Watch could also be used to make payments in China.
Mi Watch is also able to connect to and control your home’s smart devices.
Priced at CNY 1,299 ($185 or Rs.13,100), the Xiaomi Mi Watch is inarguably much cheaper than the Apple Watch. The watch is up for pre-orders since 5 PM yesterday and will go on sale on November 11 in China.
Furthermore, like the Mi CC9 Pro, there is an exclusive edition that has a sapphire glass display in combination with a polished stainless steel body along with a stainless steel strap. The exclusive edition, as good as it sounds, is priced at a lot more premium compared to the regular one at CNY 1,999 ($285 or Rs. 20,100). This particular variant will go on sale in December 2019.