Xiaomi Watch S1 Active

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active – inexpensive smartwatch with a beautiful screen and NFC

Watch S1 Active is a slim and light watch with a round, 1.43-inch screen made in AMOLED technology. It weighs only 36.3 g, is a waterproof device (up to 5 ATM) and provides up to 12 days of work (in standby mode). Its most important functions are heart rate and SpO2 monitoring, over a hundred sport modes, GPS, contactless payments and support for Amazon Alexa. The whole was valued at ₹12,990. And how does it all work in practice? And is it worth the money?

Benefits

  • Beautiful bright screen
  • Good working times
  • Light weight
  • Solid workmanship, water resistance
  • Comfortable strap, easy to replace
  • A multitude of monitoring and utility functions
  • The ability to receive calls and conduct a conversation
  • Emergency call function
  • Contactless payments
  • Price

Disadvantages

  • No interaction with notifications
  • Restrictions on voice calls
  • Errors in the application (e.g. problem with the application of watch faces)
  • No cooperation with external sensors
  • No memory for music
  • No analysis of training data
  • Few extra apps to install
  • Xiaomi Pay restrictions
  • No support for voice assistant (Alexa)

Before we move on to the review of the sports variant of the latest smartwatch from Xiaomi, it is worth adding that it did not make its debut on global markets alone. It is accompanied by the more classic and slightly more expensive model Watch S1.

Both accessories are great-looking watches with a rich interior. They differ in terms of equipment details and design, and the manufacturer targets them at various target groups.

While the Watch S1 is a classic, elegant watch, the Watch S1 Active is designed to have a more youthful, sporty character. If you are interested, here are their specifications and the most important differences between the models.

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active
ModelWatch S1Watch S1 Active
Price$269$199
CompatibilityAndroid 6.0+, iOS 10+Android 6.0+, iOS 10+
Screen1.43 inches, AMOLED, 466 × 466 pixels, 60 Hz, 326 ppi1.43 inches, AMOLED, 466 × 466 pixels, 60 Hz, 326 ppi
FunctionsGeomagnetic
sensor PPG heart rate sensor Dual
-band GPS
Breathing assistant
Stress monitoring
117 training modes
Atmospheric sensor
Blood oxygen monitoring
Built-in microphone and speaker
Bluetooth phone calls
Geomagnetic
sensor PPG heart rate sensor Dual
band GPS
Breathing assistant
Stress monitoring
117 training modes
Atmospheric sensor
Blood oxygen monitoring
Built-in microphone and speaker
Bluetooth phone calls,
Menstrual cycle tracking app
CommunicationNFC, Bluetooth 5.2,
Wi-Fi 802.11 b / g / n 2.4 GHz
NFC, Bluetooth 5.2,
Wi-Fi 802.11 b / g / n 2.4 GHz
Battery470 mAh470 mAh
Working times12 days of typical use
. 24 days in power save mode
12 days typical use
24 days in power save mode
up to 30 hours (GPS mode)
Landingwireless using the charger from the set or other QI chargerswireless, only with the charger included in the set
navigationGPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, BDSGPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, BDS
Adjustable length of the headband149.8-233.8 mm
(fluor-rubber strap)
165.1-225.1 mm

(leather strap)
160-220 mm
Temperature range-10 ° C ~ 45 ° C-10 ° C ~ 45 ° C
CertificatesGB / T 30106-2013, 5 ATMGB / T 30106-2013, 5 ATM
Material of executionStainless steel, sapphire glass, calfskin, fluorinated rubberMetal, silicone, TPU, glass-fiber reinforced polyamide
Thickness11 mm11 mm
Libra52 g36.6 g
The colorsSilver, BlackMoon White, Ocean Blue, Space Black

The differences relate primarily to the appearance and quality of workmanship. Watch S1 is more built-up and massive, Active seems shapely and noticeably lighter.

Xiaomi has not prepared smaller models, more suitable for a woman’s wrist, but it seems that the Active model is the one that (according to the manufacturer) will interest women – it is indicated by the presence of a menstrual calendar 🙂

Read Also: Which cheap smartwatch to choose in 2022? Our ranking up to USD 150 and USD 200

What’s in the set? Construction of a watch

In a neat, longitudinal package, the manufacturer has placed, next to the watch itself, a small charging stand with two magnetic pins, ended with a USB plug, and paper instructions.

The watch is made of glass-fiber reinforced polyamide with a plastic feel. The glass is placed slightly below the silver frame, which protects the screen from scratches to some extent.

The 1.43 inch display itself is brilliant, with deep colors and great contrast (yes, it’s AMOLED), clear and readable, with the image perfectly visible even in direct sunlight. There is a touch panel and two physical buttons on the right side for operation. We will go to the nuances a bit later. The whole thing is definitely solid – I did not notice any scratches or damage, and I did not handle this watch with particular care.

The loudspeaker and microphone openings are located further on the bottom of the watch, closer to the skin, but in such a way that they are never covered. The loudspeaker is loud enough to talk in a more intimate environment (but in the vicinity of traffic it could not handle it), but I think the people who conduct the conversation this way look weird to say the least. But in an emergency, it can come in handy.

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active is a waterproof device, but as the manufacturer points out:

You can wear it in the pool, while swimming by the shore, or for other shallow-water activities. However, it cannot be used in a hot shower, in a sauna or while diving. In addition, remember not to expose the band to the direct impact of fast currents when practicing water sports. Water tightness is not permanent and may decrease over time.

The advantage is the use of a standard 22 mm strap that can be easily replaced. In the reviewed version, a smooth, silicone strap has a color that corresponds to the color of the watch case, and the silver color of the frame around the screen, buttons and strap clasp elegantly breaks the ubiquitous white. The strap has 18 holes and two belt loops, it is easy to fit both women’s and men’s wrists.

What can be considered a minus? First of all, there is no smaller version of the watch that would be more suitable for a woman’s hand (Huawei makes watches in 44 and 42 mm versions, for example). Watch S1 Active is not above average size, but it looks a bit massive. Secondly, the frame around the screen does not fulfill any function except decorative – the competition is much better at using the rotating crown, even for easier control of the device.

System and pre-installed applications

The watch supports 26 languages. It uses the proprietary Mi Watch 1.0 system with a pre-installed set of applications that does not differ from what the competition offers. 

There are a number of activity and health monitoring applications, a handful of typically utility applications and music control (unfortunately there is no built-in memory for music, but the function works with YT Music and Spotify) and the camera shutter button. Here’s the full set: Training, Activity, Statistics, Heart rate, SpO2, Sleep, Stress, Breathing, Cycles, Alexa, Weather, Music, Cards, Calls, Notifications, Alarm, Stopwatch, Timer, Pressure and altitude, Compass, Camera, Find phone, Flashlight and Settings.

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active

The device can receive notifications from the app, but it is not possible to respond to them directly from the watch. But you can easily answer a voice call using the built-in speaker and microphone.

The vibrations are strong enough to prevent the user from missing a notification or call. The user can also make calls from the smartwatch, but only to people who called before. The watch can see previous calls, but not the contacts list, so you can’t call any new number. It must be added that the watch does not have a SIM card slot, so it must be constantly connected to the smartphone via Bluetooth.

The display also allows you to use the always-on display function. It is not possible to configure the information displayed, there is simply a digital clock and date.

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active

Mi Fitness

Mi Fitness is a simple application that collects data on the user’s activity and health and allows you to change watch settings, for example in terms of the appearance of the face, notifications or nuances of health monitoring.

The user gets 6 pre-installed shields and theoretically can install more (there will be over 200 of them), but when I tried to install additional shields, I kept getting the message “Failed to apply”. Interestingly, among the available dials, I could not find the one that is presented on all official websites and advertising materials of Watch S1 Active.

Returning to the topic – the problem with installing new shields is, unfortunately, not the only drawback of this application – comments on Google Play indicate that there are many more problems. I hope that the manufacturer will quickly fix the annoying errors, because the application itself is friendly, intuitive, aesthetic and it is pleasant to use.

It is worth adding that thanks to Mi Fitness it is also possible to install new applications. All you need to do is find the “Applications” tab, where there are three items for now: My Tuner (Internet radio), Scientific Calculator and NumPuzzle.

Once installed, these applications appear at the end of the list of available applications – the puzzle and calculator can be used directly on the watch, and internet radio requires you to first install and run the My Tuner application on your smartphone. Of course, this can’t be compared to the app resources for Wear OS or Apple Watch watches, but it’s a good start.

Read Also: Huawei Watch GT Runner Review: Bright and sporty running watch

Touch and buttons – watch operation

So how does the operation of the device look like? Almost the same as all other smartwatches. The basis is a touch screen supported by two physical buttons. The upper one opens the list of applications, while the lower one starts the sports part and allows you to quickly start the selected training. The lower button has one more task – pressing it three times starts an emergency call (if previously defined in the Mi Fitness application).

Xiaomi does not allow you to further modify the operation of the bottom button, such as assigning it as a hotkey for the selected application. I also do not like the clicking buttons on the watch too much – the Huawei Watch GT 2 42 mm model, priced similar to the reviewed smartwatch, has a softer touch without an audible click.

Swiping left or right on the watch face allows you to navigate through screens with widgets (arranged in blocks) for exercise, sleep, weather, step counter, music control, etc. They can be rearranged via Mi Fitness. Swipe down to bring up notifications, and swipe up from the bottom to expand the Control Center, which is a quick toggle between settings. This is what “almost” is. The competition’s smartwatches have accustomed us to different gestures, i.e. the movement from the top of the screen opens quick settings (you can, for example, change Wi-Fi settings, mute the accessory, change the brightness, etc.), and from the bottom – notifications. Seems like a small thing, but it takes some getting used to.

The speed of the watch itself is flawless, scrolling between screens is smooth and applications open quickly.

Health monitoring, Alexa and Xiaomi Pay not working

The two basic monitoring functions of the Watch S1 Active model are the measurement of heart rate and blood oxygen saturation – data can be collected throughout the day in a given time interval. The values ​​are always within the probable range. There was no lack of sleep monitoring, although it is far from the accuracy of the competition, namely the Huawei Watch GT2 watch, with which I compared the indications of the Xiaomi smartwatch.

Both watches showed similar values ​​for heart rate and SpO2 – the latter indicator was also compared with the result obtained from a home pulse oximeter, the differences were within 1 percent. Monitoring SpO2 requires the user to be stationary, so logging readings during the day when most people are rather on the move may not be accurate. Of course, it is worth remembering that the smartwatch is not a medical device, so the parameters provided (especially when they are too high or too low) should be verified with more professional devices, and if in doubt, consult a doctor.

However, when it comes to sleep monitoring, here the watches recorded different sleep times (Xiaomi was able to show an hour longer sleep time than Huawei), and the data on light, deep and REM sleep duration also differed. The screenshots below show what the Xioami smartwatch (top row) recorded and what the Huawei Watch GT 2 (bottom row) measured that same night.

There is also a stress measurement, a weather application, support for the Alexa voice assistant (unfortunately this function will not be used, because, as the watch informs, “Amazon Alexa is not available in your region”), music control and the Xiaomi Pay digital wallet. Here I will add that the mobile payment system created by Xiaomi. At the moment, the service can be activated on Mastercard cards issued by ZEN, POSTAL, SGB and Curve (information in fine print on the Xiaomi website ).

Workouts with Watch S1 Active

Every sports enthusiast should find something for themselves in a smartwatch. The device offers 117 sport modes (19 professional and 98 extended fitness modes) and can automatically recognize the activity you are doing (treadmill detection, outdoor running and walking), prompting you to start training. The watch also recognizes a break in training and can both automatically pause and resume measurements.

GPS works correctly and effectively remembers the route during training (walking). However, it is not particularly accurate – it may not run off the road, but it also does not stick to the actual route traveled. But it’s more of a clinging – for amateurs, GPS precision will be fine. Unfortunately, apart from recording the route covered during the training, the manufacturer did not provide navigation functions, nor does it have maps.

The precision of the sensors during activity seems to be correct, although it cannot compare with what specialized watches from companies such as Garmin, Coros or Polar can do. But for amateur uses, the Xiaomi Watch S1 Active will be a good starting point. It is worth adding that the smartwatch cannot be directly related to the Strava application, but the manufacturer declares support for data synchronization with the Strava and Apple Health applications.

It is worth adding that the smartwatch does not provide information on the effects of training, e.g. about the recovery time – this is a feature that Garmin or Amazfit watches can boast of. Xiaomi Watch S1 Active is limited to logging and data collection only.

Battery for a week

The manufacturer declares up to 12 days of work, and in practice I got about a week using notifications, sleep monitoring, constant heart rate and SpO2 monitoring and the always-on display function. And very sporadic workouts. I get the same working times with the Huawei Watch GT 2 smartwatch and this is a positive feature of both models mentioned. Charging the watch once a week is really not particularly tedious. The process itself, using the charger from the kit, takes about 2 hours.

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active

Summary

Priced at ₹12,990, Xiaomi Watch S1 Active is neither the cheapest nor the most expensive smartwatch on the market. However, the attractive appearance, the set of necessary functions and good runtime make it a device worth the money. The excellent screen, low weight and convenience of using the device on a daily basis should be appreciated. Active and health-conscious people will appreciate the numerous sports modes and sensors monitoring important body parameters, and users who like to personalize accessories and use additional applications may feel dissatisfied.

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