Xiaomi Watch S1 Active, an inexpensive, complete smartwatch with an excellent display. The review

With Xiaomi 12 Pro, Xiaomi 12 and Xiaomi 12Xthe Chinese company has formalized the new generation smartwatches: Xiaomi Watch S1 Active and Xiaomi Watch S1. They are two very similar smartphones in terms of technical specifications, with the first that comes through a sportier polycarbonate shell and the second instead using a stainless steel shell. We tried the Active and we tell you how it behaves.

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active review

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active price

Let’s start with the price, which is the main aspect for which Xiaomi’s smartwatch can be worthwhile compared to competing models. Xiaomi Watch S1 is offered at 179 € in Italy, while the standard model boasts a price list of 249 €.

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active review

The smartwatches are compared with Huawei Watch GT3 (starting from 249 € for the 42mm and 46mm models) and Huawei Watch 3 (369 €). Samsung offers its Galaxy Watch 4 instead starting at € 269 for the 40mm model, while the 44mm model has a price list starting at € 299. In short, on the price front Xiaomi has a clear advantage over the two main rivals.

  • Xiaomi Watch S1 Active: € 179
  • Xiaomi Watch S1 : € 249

The original equipment is rather meager on the Xiaomi Watch S1 Active, with the manufacturer supplying only the (proprietary) charging cable with magnetic connector. As usual, the power supply is not included in the original equipment.

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active it is offered in a single version characterized by a 46mm dial and a 1.43-inch circular display, the same as the S1. This is a resolution panel 466×466 pixels definitely defined and bright, with the possibility of dynamically configuring the brightness based on the light present in the environment. The maximum luminance declared by the company is 450 nits, and in everyday use we have never had difficulty reading the information presented on the screen. A strong point even compared to other more expensive models are the frames that surround the display, among the thinnest in the entire market.

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active review

The materials are a bit disappointing, even if the use of plastic (or to be precise the material is defined polyamide reinforced with fiberglass) for the case of the Active model allows to obtain a greater lightness than the S1 model: 50 grams against 70 grams, straps included. The display glass is slightly recessed inside the outer frame made of metal alloy for the top, a solution probably chosen to protect the display from scratches.

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active review

The display is obviously touch compatible, but the Watch S1 Active delivers two physical checks on the right side of the case: the upper one leads from the main dial to the list of applications, the lower one leads to the list of default sports activities, but can be customized by the user to lead to specific activities. The smartwatch comes with a satisfactory quality rubber strap, soft enough to the touch and comfortable during walking and outdoor sports activities. However, the user can install any standard 22mm strap.

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active review

Technical specifications

OS (at launch)

Owner

Display

1.43 “AMOLED
466×466 pixels
450nit of luminance

Materials

Case: glass fiber reinforced polyamide
White, black and blue silicone strap

Colors

Moon White
Ocean Blue
Space Black

Sensors

Heart rate monitor
Blood oxygen monitoring

Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Geomagnetic
Atmospheric
Ambient light
GPS

Connectivity

Wi-Fi 802.11n 2.4GHz
Bluetooth 5.2

Drums

470mAh
Charging with magnetic connector

Dimensions

46.5 x 47.3 x 11 mm (without strap)

Weight

70 grams (with strap)

The battery is 470mAh, identical to that of the S1 model, however on the Watch S1 Active there is no support for wireless charging. The integrated unit, therefore, can only be charged with the Xiaomi proprietary magnetic connector.

How is Xiaomi Watch S1 Active?

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active uses a proprietary operating system with a series of pre-installed applications, but there is no store to install new ones. The OS synchronizes with a paired smartphone through the dedicated Mi Fitness app which allows you to customize various device functions, manage workouts and of course monitor all the historical data of the activities we have done previously. In the app there is a section to install new applications, but at the time of writing there are three apps that can be installed: My Tuner, Scientific Calculator, NumPuzzle.

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active review Xiaomi Watch S1 Active review Xiaomi Watch S1 Active review

The app acts as a hub for the user’s fitness and health data, and can also be used to change all the smartwatch settings, such as the watch face (there are 8 preloaded, but others can be loaded via the app) , even if the choice is not complete as it happens on the smartwatches of direct competitors.

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active review Xiaomi Watch S1 Active review Xiaomi Watch S1 Active review

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active also supports the always-on display, but even in this case the experience is quite basic. The smartwatch in fact shows a digital clock with the date just below, and the screen does not change if you use an analog dial.

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active review

It must be said, however, that Watch S1 Active is decidedly responsive and reliable in showing the dial after lifting the wrist, which makes the sparse screen of the always active screen more tolerable (which can be deactivated without problems).

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active review Xiaomi Watch S1 Active review

There navigation between screens of the smartwatch is convenient, as is the case with many other smart watch models. With a swipe to the right or left the user can move towards the various functions, with the individual pages that integrate a variable number of widgets: for example, in one there is the device charge, the pedometer and the control of multimedia playback (of the paired device, not locally), fitness, sleep and heart rate data in another, and so on. The screens are fully customizable, either by changing the position of the widgets or their color, and you can also change the position of the screens or remove them. By pressing on each of the widgets you access the dedicated page.

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active review Xiaomi Watch S1 Active review

With an upward swipe you access the quick action page, with a downward swipe to incoming notifications. Basically the exact opposite of what you can do with other smartwatches on the market, but you get used to it pretty quickly. By pairing a smartphone you can receive her notifications and calls, but it is also not possible to reply with a series of preset answers or with individual emojis. It is difficult to miss the warnings: already in the default setting the vibration is strong, but it can also be configured at an even more decisive step.

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active review

The name Active stands for fitness, although the sports modes present are identical to those found on the Watch S1. There are 117, all traceable, along with the ability to enable the heart rate sensor, blood oxygen monitoring and VO2 Max during workouts.

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active review

It is useless to expect 100% accurate values, of course, but the smartwatch offers a satisfactory approximation to the real values, naturally addressing not the professional sportsman, but the occasional one. We do not expect big differences with the S1 model in terms of accuracy, moreover, even if we have not yet tested the latter.

The smartphone also supports sleep monitoring, even if the analysis is not as accurate as on other devices (such as Huawei’s Watches), with a clear overestimation of deep sleep values ​​and the absence of some important values. Stress monitoring is also present.

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active review

In addition to fitness, the smartphone offers numerous applications: the user can check the altitude in which he is located, the atmospheric pressure, a list of sports activities carried out, the weather, can manage the camera of the paired smartphone. It is also present Alexa, even if not in all its functions: very comfortable to have the Amazon voice assistant on your wrist! Xiaomi Pay is also supported, although not yet in Italy.

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active review

The operational autonomy is excellentin our opinion slightly higher than that of models such as Huawei Watch 3. Xiaomi declares that 12 days can be reached, while we have tried it for about 6 days until recharging, starting from about 85%, with moderate use and a couple of walking activities.

Final remarks

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active is a very concrete smart watch, characterized by a high quality display that is always legible, even in sunlight. It is positioned within a particularly sparkling market that is starting to offer excellent solutions under 200 euros, and that of Xiaomi is undoubtedly one of them. The materials are not the best, for that there is the traditional S1 model which, with the right strap, can be used both in formal contexts without disfiguring classic watches, and in sports activities.

The Active model instead it is aimed at those who are not interested in the aesthetic aspect, but still wants to maintain a good level of functionality (while remaining in the amateur field as regards fitness and sport). What is certain is that the software, however more than satisfactory in number even for the most demanding user, is less refined than other solutions we have tried previously, and even the Huawei models appear more complete in some ways, both as regards the availability of apps and functions, both as regards the management of notifications and on-device calls.

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active review

Furthermore, competitive prices are significantly lower today than the original price lists, a factor that makes them preferable in various areas. What is certain is that the new ones Xiaomi Watch S1 and S1 Active offer themselves as a good alternative in the mid-range smartwatch marketgiving the user a choice, with the hope of software updates capable of making the good user experience offered even more solid.

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