Xiaomi Mi Watch: Affordable and feature-rich smart watch

Xiaomi Mi Watch has elegant design, nice and flexible system and good battery life. And on paper all the right features, but it lacks in

Xiaomi Mi Watch: Affordable and feature-rich smart watch
Xiaomi Mi Watch: Affordable and feature-rich smart watch

Xiaomi Mi Watch has elegant design, nice and flexible system and good battery life. And on paper all the right features, but it lacks in the details.

After manufacturing the activity band Mi Band for a few years, Xiaomi has now taken the step up to smart watches in full format with the launch of Mi Watch and Mi Watch Lite. They were already presented in the autumn.


Mi Watch is a stylish and sporty watch that has the right battery life and is excellent and easy to use. It also has all the sensors and logging we can request. For its price tag, the watch delivers a lot. But the precision of the functions varies and some limitations in other functionality prevent it from getting a top rating.


  • Simple and stylish design
  • Good functionality for the price
  • Good battery life
  • Good activity overview in the app


  • Not so precise sensors
  • Limited smart watch function
  • No third party support for activity data

This is not what we usually call a full-featured smart watch with an open operating system and app store, but joins a growing group of simpler watches with a proprietary system, fixed apps and more limited performance. A direct competitor to watches such as the Huawei Watch GT 2e, Amazfit GTS 2 and the upcoming One plus Watch.

But it also has its benefits. These watches have a favorable price and excellent battery life, without having to compromise on user experience, training and activity functions or screen and build quality. At least in theory, then it can vary how well the manufacturers succeed with it.

Xiaomi Mi Watch gives a mixed first impression. It is a watch in traditional wristwatch style with a round screen behind a raised glass, two clear buttons on one side and a case in dark, gray-blue matt metal. It is also available in anonymous matte black for those who prefer. But we like the tone of our tested model - should you still dare to stand out a little?

Stylish, sporty style

The watch has a clearly sporty design, with matte surfaces and a sturdy silicone bracelet that sits comfortably on the wrist. It can be a bit cumbersome to tighten, but then sits firmly in place. It has a standard bracket, so it is very easy to replace with any of your own. The two buttons on the page have their functions literally printed in the margin.

The watch has a very angular design, with some sharp corners. A little more beveled and sanded edges would not have been wrong.

You navigate with the side buttons and with point and swipe gestures on the screen. It is generally clear and easy to navigate, with quick access to settings menus and about twenty apps and a quick menu for training programs on a separate button. You get easy access to notifications and to a handful of panels with logged activity data, weather information and media player control for the mobile.

Screen quality

The watch has a nice, sharp amoled screen with good brightness and reliable touch control; although in some situations it can have a tough response when switching between active screens. It has a light sensor and with it on, we think the watch does a good job with a clear screen in all situations. By default, the screen goes out quickly and wakes up reliably with a wrist flick, but it is also possible to switch on always-on mode with a muted dial.

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There are over hundreds of different dials to use, with a good mix of stylish analog designs, informative digital and more imaginative. Some are installed in the watch while the others can be supplemented via sync. That, and the ability to add a handful of selected exercise programs to a context menu, is the only thing you can customize. There are no extra apps to add.

Contact with the mobile takes place with Xiaomi's app Xiaomi Wear, which is available for Android and iOS. We have tested it on an Android phone, but it seems to have the same functionality in iOS. Here you get a quick overview of logged activity, such as pedometers, sleep, training history, heart rate, and more. The watch has most of the sensors we can ask for in the price range, including fairly reliable GPS, barometer for altitude data, compass, heart rate monitor and blood oxygen measurement function.

Plenty of data, but precision is lacking

Most of these seem to give really good data, but we are hesitant about the heart rate monitor, which has a tendency to count too high, and log a resting heart rate that is 10-15% above what we get with reference measurements. Partly with another watch on the other arm, partly with manual heart rate recording. It gives a good indication of your relative activity level and development over time, but take the exact numbers with a pinch of salt.

It also probably affects another function, a stress analysis that will give you an idea of ‹‹your stress level. High heart rate at low activity indicates high stress level. But our test editor is apparently calm enough in the mind that it should not sound the alarm, despite the skewed heart rate indicator.

The app and the watch have about eighty different workouts you can choose from and start manually. It is possible to activate an auto-detection mode for training activities, but the watch is not exactly about detecting which activity we are doing. On the other hand, it is quick and easy to start your exercise or training program. It gives you good and varied instructions and prompts, and activates the right sensors for logging.

Convenient for easier training

In the app, you then get a clear history in a timeline that makes it easy to keep track of the activity, if you have a special training goal, such as regular exercise for weight loss or to get in shape before a long run. Unfortunately, as far as we can see, there is no support for exporting data to third-party systems.

As a general smart watch, the Mi Watch is somewhat limited. You get simple notifications with headlines from optional apps on your mobile, but for it to work; Xiaomi's app must be manually set to be permanently on in the background, which is a cumbersome process.

The phone has apps with manual measurement for most sensor and logging functions, such as barometer, heart rate, blood oxygen, stress and sleep. There is a stopwatch and timer, media player control for the mobile, and also an app that can control the shutter button in the mobile's camera.

With a relatively large battery of 420 mAh, Xiaomi states that a full charge should last for up to two weeks. It includes a handful of shorter workouts with GPS per week, so for those who really drive the watch sparingly and skip location data, it should be possible to get even longer operating time. What you do not get then is always on mode for the screen.

We tested the watch with always on activated, then we get out about half of the promised time. The watch is also easy to charge with the included charging puck that snaps onto the underside of the watch with a magnetic lock.