Apple Watch Xiaomi. The Apple Watch Is the Best Smartwatch for iPhone Owners

The Apple Watch Is the Best Smartwatch for iPhone Owners

We’ve tested all of Apple’s 2022 Apple Watch models to determine which version is right for your needs and budget.

If you have an iPhone and you want a smartwatch, buying an Apple Watch is a no-brainer, and for most people, the Apple Watch Series 8 is the best option available. But with all of Apple’s newly introduced watches, deciding which Apple Watch to choose is harder than ever. This year, Apple has three new models: the Apple Watch Series 8 (which replaces last year’s Series 7), a second-generation Apple Watch SE, and the expensive, rugged, and huge Apple Watch Ultra.

Offering advanced health and fitness features, car-crash detection, and all the notifications and third-party apps that people have come to expect from smartwatches, the Apple Watch Series 8 has the best combination of features and price for most people. If you don’t need the Series 8’s health-tracking functions, which include temperature sensors for more granular data about menstrual cycles, the second-gen Apple Watch SE is our budget pick. Our upgrade pick, the Apple Watch Ultra, is designed for athletes but is also great for anyone who wants a gigantic screen and lengthy battery life.

Best smartwatch for iPhone owners

The Apple Watch Series 8 is the model that’s best for most people. With an always-on display, two sizes to choose from, and advanced health and fitness features, it’s great for buyers upgrading from an older Apple Watch or folks who are trying out a smartwatch for the first time.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 399.

The Apple Watch Series 8 offers the best combination of style, health and fitness features, app selection, battery life, and price of any smartwatch for any platform. Available in body sizes of 41 mm and 45 mm, it has more active screen area than the Apple Watch SE and watches released prior to the Series 7. The Series 8 also offers more premium features than previous models, including two temperature sensors and car-crash detection in addition to an always-on display, blood-oxygen measurement, ECG, more crack-resistant glass, and fast charging. It’s available in more expensive steel and titanium casings, as well.

Fewer premium features, same overall experience

The SE offers many of the same key features as the Series 8, minus an always-on display and certain health-tracking tools, for a much lower price.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 229.

The 2nd-generation Apple Watch SE looks nearly identical to the 1st-gen model and is slightly smaller than the Series 8. The new SE comes in 40 mm and 44 mm case sizes, which makes it a bit easier to wear for small-wristed folks, but its slightly smaller screen doesn’t stay on when you put your wrist down, so it’s not as useful for telling time. It also lacks the temperature sensors, ECG feature, and blood-oxygen measurements of more expensive Apple Watches. Otherwise, it does the same Apple Watch–y things, including notifications, heart-rate monitoring for health and fitness, and crash detection, and it costs at least 30% less depending on the configuration, making it a great choice for someone on a tighter budget.

Packed with premium features—for a price

In the Ultra, you get all the Series 8’s flagship features, plus a whole lot more, such as lengthy battery life and a rugged design—but it’ll cost you.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 739.

The Apple Watch Ultra is a rugged smartwatch designed to compete with dedicated diving watches and running watches from the likes of Garmin. The Ultra’s 49 mm case size gives it the biggest display of any Apple Watch you can buy, and at up to 2,000 nits (a unit measuring brightness), it’s also the easiest to see in blazing sunlight. In addition to its larger size, the Ultra has a few key design differences that separate it from other Apple Watches, including a flat-edged screen, a 30% larger Digital Crown, and a new side Action button for quickly launching an app. All those features, combined with its lengthy battery life—more than double that of the Series 8—make the Ultra an absolute beast. Due to its size and price tag, it’s overkill for many people, but for some, the features may be worth the upgrade.

Best smartwatch for iPhone owners

The Apple Watch Series 8 is the model that’s best for most people. With an always-on display, two sizes to choose from, and advanced health and fitness features, it’s great for buyers upgrading from an older Apple Watch or folks who are trying out a smartwatch for the first time.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 399.

Fewer premium features, same overall experience

The SE offers many of the same key features as the Series 8, minus an always-on display and certain health-tracking tools, for a much lower price.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 229.

Packed with premium features—for a price

In the Ultra, you get all the Series 8’s flagship features, plus a whole lot more, such as lengthy battery life and a rugged design—but it’ll cost you.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 739.

Why you should trust us

Senior editor Caitlin McGarry has been writing about Apple for almost a decade, reviewing Apple devices in every category from Apple Watches to iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, iMacs, and more for Macworld, Tom’s Guide, and Gizmodo. She has tested and written about every Apple Watch model since the original debuted in 2015.

Nick Guy, the previous author of this guide, covered Apple for Wirecutter from 2014 to 2022, reviewing every version of the Apple Watch since launch in addition to iPhones, iPads, and more.

Who this is for

A smartwatch isn’t a requirement for modern-day life the way a smartphone is, but smartwatches have become more useful, and they’re no longer just expensive toys for early adopters. Smartwatches aren’t miniature smartphones, and their apps aren’t as full-featured as what you can find on a phone. But newer smartwatches are packed with sensors that enable them to do things your phone can’t, such as detecting serious heart conditions or tracking menstrual cycles more accurately.

If you’re an iPhone owner looking for a smartwatch to pair with your iPhone, you should buy an Apple Watch. We’ve tried most of the other smartwatches that are iPhone-compatible, and we’ve found them to be too limited. Android watches have fewer apps, and their integrations aren’t as useful as those between an Apple Watch and an iPhone (for instance, you can’t send iMessages on them). Some, like the latest watches from Samsung and Google, don’t work with iPhones at all.

An Apple Watch reduces the amount of time you spend staring at your phone, provides quick access to useful information, and lets you handle some tasks you’d otherwise need to pull out your iPhone to do. With an Apple Watch, you can easily view and respond to iMessages, use Apple Pay to buy things at many stores (or, in many places, pay for a train or bus ride), show your boarding pass at an airport, toggle Smart lights, get directions, ping the iPhone you left under a pillow, and, of course, check the time.

If you’re considering an Apple Watch for a kid or for a family member without an iPhone, Apple offers a feature called Family Setup. It’s limited to Series 4 and newer Apple Watch models (including the SE) with cellular capability—which means you need to spend at least 330 on that Apple Watch. For most people, Family Setup makes sense to use only with a hand-me-down Apple Watch. But it allows parents to limit apps and contacts, set a Schooltime mode for limited distractions, and check in on a child’s whereabouts.

Apple Watches with advanced health features like fall detection, electrocardiograms, atrial-fibrillation detection, high- and low-heart-rate alerts, and blood-oxygen monitoring may be worth buying for those who are concerned about potential heart-health issues or for aging parents.

In addition to its sophisticated health features, the Apple Watch is an effective activity tracker—though if all you want or need is basic fitness tracking, you can find considerably less expensive devices for recording your running, cycling, steps, and heart rate. If you’re an athlete looking for a more advanced device with sophisticated GPS tracking and physical buttons, the Apple Watch Ultra may be the watch for you. Wirecutter’s fitness experts will be testing the Ultra in the coming months to see how it compares to dedicated GPS running watches.

Our pick: Apple Watch Series 8

Best smartwatch for iPhone owners

The Apple Watch Series 8 is the model that’s best for most people. With an always-on display, two sizes to choose from, and advanced health and fitness features, it’s great for buyers upgrading from an older Apple Watch or folks who are trying out a smartwatch for the first time.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 399.

Of all the smartwatches we’ve tested—for both iPhone and Android—the Apple Watch Series 8 represents the best overall combination of features and price. It does the things most people want just as well as, or better than, any other Apple Watch, including tracking workouts, sending text messages, and getting app notifications. Like the Series 7, the Series 8 comes in two case sizes—41 mm and 45 mm—with more viewable area thanks to slightly larger casings and narrower borders. The always-on screen means you don’t have to lift your arm to check the time or the status of your apps. The Series 8 also has the most complete suite of health tools compared with every other Apple Watch but the Ultra, including blood-oxygen monitoring and ECG as well as new temperature sensors for advanced menstrual cycle tracking. Like the Series 7, the Series 8 supports faster charging and has more crack-resistant glass. The Apple Watch Series 8 is a great smartwatch to buy if you’ve never owned one before, and it’s a solid upgrade if you have an Apple Watch Series 4 or older. If you own a Series 5, 6, or 7 that’s still working well, though, the Series 8’s features won’t seem like much of an upgrade.

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At first glance, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the Series 8 and Series 7 apart. Both come in 41 mm and 45 mm case sizes, which translates to a 1 mm height increase over the Apple Watch SE (which comes in 40 mm and 44 mm sizes). The same watch bands still fit the SE, as well as the smaller and larger versions of past generations. That doesn’t tell the whole story, though. The black bezel around the Series 8’s screen is narrower than that of previous versions of the Apple Watch, a design change that provides about 20% more screen real estate compared with the Series 4, 5, and 6. Combined, the case size and the narrower bezel make for a larger screen that offers an appreciable difference and improvement in user experience. We especially like that the bigger on-screen buttons are easier to tap. The display also follows the glass’s curved edges, but this is mainly noticeable on certain watch faces.

The biggest upsides to the Apple Watch Series 8 over our budget pick are twofold. The Series 8’s always-on display shows the time regardless of whether you tap your screen or raise your arm in an exaggerated manner to wake it, whereas the Apple Watch SE isn’t as good at simply being a watch. (Apple introduced an always-on display with the Apple Watch Series 5, so if you own a Series 5, 6, or 7, upgrading to a Series 8 just for that feature isn’t necessary.) The Series 8’s always-on display is made possible by hardware and software features that slow the screen refresh rate and dim portions of it when you’re not poking at it. In particular, instead of updating 60 times a second (60 Hz), as it does when you’re looking at it, most of the time the Series 8’s display is updating just once per second (1 Hz). This design allows you to glance down and see the time and your complications whenever you’d like, without draining the battery quickly.

This always-on mode also supports workouts, so you can see your heart rate, distance, and other statuses without having to tap the Series 8’s screen, and you get passive support for alarms, maps, and the stopwatch. Apple also took privacy into account with the always-on feature: Notifications don’t show up on the screen unless you’re actively using the watch, and you can choose whether you want sensitive information, such as your calendar events, messages, or activity rings, to show on the ambient screen.

The Apple Watch Series 8 has two temperature sensors, a blood-oxygen sensor, and electrocardiogram (ECG) hardware, whereas the SE lacks those components. The temperature sensors are exclusive to the Series 8 and the Ultra; one sits underneath the display, and one resides on the back crystal. The sensors don’t track changes in temperature automatically—you have to enable the watch’s Sleep Focus and Sleep Tracking features, which then allow the sensors to sample your temperature every five seconds while you sleep. You can’t view your nightly temperature, but you can see how your temperature has changed in comparison with your baseline, which is established after five nights of use, in the Apple Health app on your iPhone.

Using this new temperature data, Series 8 owners who track menstruation with the Apple Watch’s Cycle Tracking feature, which uses the period-tracking data you input each month to predict future cycles, will begin to see ovulation estimates in addition to those cycle predictions. This feature sounds helpful for family-planning purposes in theory, but the estimates happen retroactively instead of ahead of time, and they also take two full cycles to take effect. (We’re still testing to see how this function compares to a similar fertility-tracking feature on the popular Oura wearable.)

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It’s important to note that following the overturn of Roe v. Wade, people who get periods and may want to track them for fertility purposes are becoming more cautious about where they store that data. An Apple Watch’s body-temperature measurements are stored in the Health app on the iPhone, not on the watch itself. Apple says that the Health app’s data is encrypted on your device when it’s locked. If you upload your data to iCloud, the Health app’s data is included in those backups, but it is end-to-end encrypted as long as you are running iOS 12 or later and have two-factor authentication enabled. The encryption helps to ensure that nobody can access any data stored or collected by the app, including Apple and law enforcement (with a valid subpoena), but if you’re still uncomfortable with this data being online at all, you can disable backups by going to Settings [your name] iCloud and disabling Health. Doing so keeps all your health data only on your device and not backed up online.

Using LED lights and photodiodes, the Apple Watch Series 8’s blood-oxygen sensor measures the amount of light reflected back to calculate the color of your blood and, from that, the oxygen saturation; a level of 95% to 99% is generally considered good. Apple positions these blood-oxygen readings as a “wellness” feature, not a medical diagnostic; the sensor is not cleared or approved by the FDA. On the other hand, the Series 8’s ECG hardware is FDA cleared and can help detect a heart arrhythmia (PDF). Apple has been quick to tout examples of lives saved because of notifications of irregular heartbeats, but there’s no guarantee that dangerous or fatal arrhythmia will be detectable, or that the Series 8’s ECG hardware will catch it.

Like previous Apple Watches, the Series 8 can detect falls, and it can automatically call emergency services and your designated emergency contacts if you don’t move after it has detected a fall. (The feature is turned on by default for people over age 65; anyone else can manually enable it.)

Apple’s entire 2022 Apple Watch lineup offers a crash-detection feature. It leverages a new motion sensor with a high-g accelerometer and gyroscope paired with a crash-detection algorithm trained by real-life high-impact car collisions to sense when you’ve been in a crash and immediately call emergency services. We have no plans to intentionally test this feature anytime soon, but some tests have indicated that results can be mixed depending on a variety of factors, such as how long you’ve been driving before the crash occurs. (Car-crash detection is also a feature included in all iPhone 14 models, so you don’t need to buy an Apple Watch specifically for that reason if you’ve already upgraded your phone.)

As for performance, whereas early models of the Apple Watch were almost too slow to function, the more recent Apple Watch revisions have been notably fast devices. The S8 processor in the Series 8 is snappy, though not obviously more so than the last generation. If you currently own a Series 3 or older Apple Watch, upgrading to a Series 8 will give you more dramatic improvements. Apps open with much less delay, you can scroll through lists without lag, and Siri shows the dictation of your voice almost instantly—and as long as you have a good wireless connection, Siri answers almost as quickly. In our tests, Siri on the Apple Watch was noticeably faster and more accurate on the Series 8 than on the Series 3 and older Apple Watch models, whether we were sending text messages, creating reminders, launching apps, pulling up the latest sports scores, or getting directions.

The Apple Watch Series 8 has a new temperature sensor built into the back crystal. Photo: Connie Park

The Apple Watch Series 8 has a new temperature sensor built into the back crystal. Photo: Connie Park

The Apple Watch Series 8 offers all-day battery life and faster charging than almost all other models except the Series 7, which you can juice up just as quickly. (The Apple Watch Ultra also supports fast charging, but its gigantic battery takes a lot longer to recharge.) Apple promises up to 18 hours of use on a charge—enough for the Apple Watch to get through each day when you charge it each night, or for it to track your sleep if you’re willing to charge it for a bit during the day.

Apple has also introduced what it calls Low Power Mode, a new feature in watchOS 9 that can as much as double battery life by disabling the always-on display, as well as turning off heart-rate notifications (for irregular rhythm, high heart rate, and low heart rate), background heart-rate measurements, and background blood-oxygen measurements. Prior to the rollout of watchOS 9, your only option to preserve battery life was a Power Reserve toggle that cut off access to every feature except the ability to tell time.

Included with this version of the Apple Watch (just as in last year’s Series 7) is a fast USB-C charging cable that can juice the Series 8 up at a quicker clip when paired with a 20-watt or higher power brick (not included). Apple says that eight minutes of charging will give you enough power for eight hours of sleep tracking, and in our tests we measured higher charging rates in the same intervals compared with the Apple Watch SE and Series 7. The fast-charge cable will fast-charge only the Series 7 or 8.

Apple Watch battery life has improved since the original launched in 2015, and despite Apple’s relatively conservative battery-life estimates, we’ve found that the Series 8 can easily last more than 24 hours on a charge. Every day Caitlin wore it to track a couple of outdoor walks and a 3-mile run and then wore it overnight to track her sleep. If you want to use the Apple Watch to track sleep, you’ll probably need to charge it either before bed or first thing in the morning. The watch alerts you if it doesn’t have enough power to last through the night, and it sends a notification to your iPhone when it’s done charging.

Charging a watch every night isn’t much of a hassle at home, where you’re likely charging your phone, too. But you do have to bring another cord when you travel. If battery life is your top consideration when buying a smartwatch, the Apple Watch Ultra easily lasts more than two days on a charge (for a lot more money than a Series 8). We have some recommendations for great charging accessories, including three-in-one wireless charging stations for your Apple Watch, iPhone, and Airpods.

As for the design, the Series 8 offers more color and case-material options than the 2nd-gen Apple Watch SE, which is available only in aluminum, and the titanium-only Apple Watch Ultra. The aluminum version of the Series 8 comes in silver, midnight (black with a hint of blue), starlight (a bronzy-silver), and a Product Red version. For a 300 premium, you can choose a stainless steel case in graphite, silver, or gold, all of which also include sapphire screens (rather than glass), which should be more scratch resistant; across all models, the crystal is more crack resistant than on previous generations thanks to its shape and thickness. None of these variations function any differently—it’s just aesthetics and screen material (and price, of course).

If you upgrade from an older model to the equivalent new Apple Watch, you’ll be able to continue using the bands you’ve purchased.

We’ve always liked the Apple Watch’s Digital Crown, the hardware dial on the side of the watch that you can use to scroll through lists, and it’s better on the Apple Watch Series 8 than on the Series 3 or earlier models. The crown spins more smoothly, for one thing, but the bigger improvement is haptic feedback: When you’re scrolling through your watch, you feel a clicky sensation, as if you were actually turning the crown against a gear. It isn’t a reason to buy the Apple Watch Series 8, but it is something you’re likely to appreciate if you do. If you want an even more tactile experience with the Digital Crown, our upgrade pick, the Apple Watch Ultra, has a much larger crown with deeper grooves; this design lets you scroll more easily while wearing gloves.

The Series 8 has the same level of waterproofing as all models going back to the Series 2: Apple says it’s water resistant to 50 meters. This means you can swim with it in a pool or open water without damaging the watch. (But Apple says you shouldn’t use the Apple Watch for “activities involving high-velocity water or submersion below shallow depth.”) The Series 8 is a solid swim tracker, but divers and those who swim competitively may want to look at the Apple Watch Ultra.

Apple Watch Bands We Like

The cheapest Apple Watch bands are uncomfortable and poorly made. We found great bands that look better, last longer, and don’t cost too much more.

Apple’s clever Band-attachment design is the most frustration-free of any smartwatch we’ve tested, making swapping bands an easy and quick task. Apple offers a slew of Band options (many are quite expensive), and you can find hundreds of bands for any budget from third-party vendors. The Apple Watch Series 8 is backward-compatible with bands designed for previous watches, so 38 mm and 40 mm bands fit the 41 mm case size, and 42 mm and 44 mm bands fit the 45 mm watch. If you upgrade from an older model to the equivalent new Apple Watch, you’ll most likely be able to continue using the bands you’ve purchased.

LTE cellular networking lets you use your Apple Watch for anything that requires data—making calls, sending and receiving texts, receiving notifications, streaming music, and more—even when you’re away from your phone. In tests, we’ve found LTE to be rarely necessary and prone to eating up the watch’s battery life, and most Wirecutter staffers who signed up for LTE on their Apple Watch—which costs an extra 5 to 10 a month on the major carriers and isn’t available on others—have since canceled it.

Which Xiaomi Smartwatch Should I Buy in 2022

For persons in the Apple Ecosystem, an Apple Watch is a no-brainer. That is absolutely the watch to get as it works well with the iPhone and in the Apple ecosystem in general. But then what about everyone else? What’s the best smartwatch for an Android user?

The answer to this question isn’t as straightforward owing to the fragmentation in this space. OEMs like Garmin, Motorola, Samsung, and more, are making WearOS-powered watches but these are the minority. Google will be soon launching the Pixel Watch and maybe that will be the champ in this space.

For the masses, fitness trackers have been catering to their smartwatch needs, all while being affordable and with stellar battery life. Check out the post below that breaks down some of our best picks in 2022.

Now onto the Xiaomi-made watches, you can buy in 2022. Worth noting is that Xiaomi has always been pretty bad when it comes to naming its products. Sometimes, there are overlapping features, making the distinction between these products a little difficult. But that’s why I am here.

Redmi Watch 2 Lite

The Redmi Watch 2 Lite remains one of my favorite smartwatches to date. It is definitely not as Smart as the Galaxy Watches or Apple Watches of this world but for what it is and is capable of, it is a pretty solid device.

The Redmi Watch 2 Lite looks and feels a lot more expensive than it actually is. Xiaomi has also been working on wearables for a while and the company knows a thing or two about wearable software, something that the proprietary OS this watch runs depicts.

Should you be in the market for a simple, unassuming, no-frills smartwatch that does its job with little to no fuss, all at an affordable price, then the Redmi Watch 2 Lite is your best bet right now.

Mi Watch Lite

The Mi Watch lite has a 1.4-inch display in a square form factor and is made of plastic for the most part with rubber straps. The watch is a little thicker than most normal watches but that’s probably to accommodate the battery.

Speaking of, the battery life is rated at up to 2 weeks but a more realistic estimate is around 10 days. This watch has since been succeeded by the above-mentioned Redmi Watch 2 Lite and as such, availability in the market is a little limited.

Here’s a quick summary of the specs.

  • Support for GPS/GLONASS
  • 120 watch faces
  • 1.4-inch display
  • Heart rate and sleep monitoring
  • 5 ATM water resistance up to 50m
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Like the other watches from Xiaomi, this too runs on the OEM’s proprietary software which doesn’t come with as many Smart features or support for third-party apps but it still offers a decent experience.

It sports a smaller display than its successor but manages to offer most of the functionalities. I mean it even has GPS. To pair it with your smartphone, you will need to use the Mi Fitness app.

This can be gotten at pretty affordable of around 50 with massive discounts where it is listed. As mentioned, availability might be limited but for the discounted price, it is hard to complain.

Poco Watch

The Poco Watch comes to us courtesy of Xiaomi’s sub-brand, Poco. This watch features a 1.6-inch AMOLED touch display with a 320 x 360px resolution with always-on display (AOD) functionality. This alone should be enough to sway Redmi Watch 2 Lite users. AMOLED beats LCD any day, especially on these small displays.

Like many other Xiaomi watches, this one comes with a non-standard 125–205 mm soft silicone watch strap with a buckle and clasp for a secure fit, just like the Redmi Watch 2 Lite.

The Poco Watch also runs the same Xiaomi’s proprietary software that might not be as feature-rich as Wear OS but isn’t bad either. There is no support for third-party apps but the benefit of this is stellar battery life. Poco says it should last you around 2 weeks on a charge but ideally, a week is a more reasonable estimate.

  • SpO2 and 24-hour heart rate tracking
  • Over 100 different fitness modes tracking
  • Support for GPS and GLONASS
  • 1.6″ AMOLED display
  • 5ATM water-resistant

Sadly though, the availability of this watch has been pretty spotty. The Poco Watch is available in select regions and markets for a price of £79.99 (roughly 100 / AU140). Should this be available in your region, go for it? It offers a better display than the Redmi Watch 2 Lite and a bigger display than older models.

Mi Watch

This Xiaomi smartwatch was unveiled back in late 2020 and still offers some of the best value for money in the smartwatch space to date if you can find it that is. This watch dons a more traditional circular form factor and comes with all the basic functions you’d expect.

It has 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. It has two buttons for navigation and internally, bears GPS and GLONASS support, and has a heart rate sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light sensor, SpO2 sensor, a barometer, the whole deal basically.

It is waterproof up to 5ATM, supports Bluetooth 5.0, and can be paired to your smartphone using the Mi Fitness app. This Mi Watch also has Amazon Alexa support, something that pricier smartwatches struggle with.

Here’s a quick summary of these specs.

  • 1.39″ AMOLED display with 326 ppi and support for Always-on display.
  • SpO2 tracking and 24-hour heart rate monitoring
  • Firstbear-powered sports mode tracking with upto 117 supported modes.
  • 12nm processor
  • GPS/GLONASS/Galileo/BDS support

All this, including the premium design, comes at a price that can be considered a bargain when put against the Apple Watches and Samsung Watches of this industry.

Xiaomi Watch S1

The Xiaomi Watch S1 smartwatch is a full premium watch from Xiaomi and is built to match. It offers a circular design akin to more traditional watches.

This one sports the standard 22mm swappable straps so you’re not limited to the ones that the watch comes with.

Again, this watch connects to your phone using the Mi Fitness app, which offers you all the management features and settings for the watch and the custom watch faces. Here’s a quick breakdown of the features.

  • Sapphire glass and stainless steel case with leather straps out of the box
  • Dual-Band GPS and support for others like GLONASS
  • 117 activity tracking
  • 1.43” AMOLED display with Always-on Display support
  • Bluetooth phone call
  • Wireless charging
  • Heart rate and SpO2 monitoring

The Watch S1 is available across select stores and online platforms at a price of around 151.31.

Xiaomi Watch S1 Active

This is the sports version of the Watch S1 and is available for the global market. The battery is rated for up to 10 days. This Xiaomi smartwatch offers a more rugged design compared to its S1 counterpart.

The Watch S1 Active supports heart rate monitoring, SpO2 monitoring, over 200 watch faces, up to 117 workout modes with 19 professional modes, and has an always-on display, built-in Amazon Alexa support, and GPS. This one is built for the outdoors people.

This too runs on Xiaomi’s proprietary smartwatch software and pairs to your phone using the Mi Fitness app.


WearOS holds a lot of promise and it is a shame that all these years later, we haven’t seen an accessible, affordable watch that works well with Android. The Pixel Watch promises this but that is still several weeks from hitting the market.

Over the years, Xiaomi has demonstrated the ability to offer in-house solutions to such issues, and this Xiaomi smartwatch collection, while not super robust and extensive, offers shoppers a decent smartwatch experience.

We can’t wait for the day when WearOS watches will be an easy recommendation for Android users.

Xiaomi Mi Watch review

Offering the ability to track 117 exercises, a battery that lasts longer than two weeks and a budget-friendly price, the Mi Watch is one to consider.


  • No third-party app support
  • Hit-and-miss notifications
  • Inability to share data with other apps

Our Verdict

While there are some limitations to the Mi Watch software, particularly with third-party apps and notification support, the extensive fitness tracking, premium design and 16-day battery life make up for it.

The Xiaomi Mi Watch was initially revealed back at Xiaomi’s September 2020 event, but despite the UK being on the list of countries where it’d release, it’s only now, in mid-2021, that we’re seeing it appear. That’s a big gap between announcement and release, and the budget smartwatch market is evolving at a Rapid pace, so has Xiaomi offered enough to stay competitive with 2021 releases?

While there are limitations within Xiaomi’s operating system when compared to premium alternatives, there’s a lot to appreciate about the Xiaomi Mi Watch hardware, fitness tracking capabilities and battery life – especially at just £119.

Design and build

While sub-£100 smartwatches, just a few years ago, were best described as cheap and basic, the same can’t be said in 2021, and especially when it comes to the Xiaomi Mi Watch. Xiaomi has done a great job creating a smartwatch that looks and feels good on the wrist, sporting the classic circular watch design beloved by many.

The Xiaomi Mi Watch sports a 45mm plastic case, which is slightly smaller than 46mm alternatives like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, and it comes in one of three colours: black, beige or navy blue. Though not a metal case like more premium wearables, the matte finish and sturdy construction of the plastic casing give it a solid feel in the hand.

The case is admittedly a little thicker than some alternatives, measuring in at 11.8mm thick, but at 32g, it doesn’t feel bulky or weighty on the wrist.

The case is flanked by a 22mm textured TPU Band that’s comfortable to wear over the course of days, and it’s sweat-resistant too, making it handy for exercise. If you do want to switch it for something a little more premium, you’re free to – it’ll fit most, if not all, standard 22mm straps.

The Xiaomi Mi Watch sports a gorgeous 1.39in AMOLED display with a decent 454 x 454 resolution, although that premium tech is somewhat undercut by the thick black bezel that surrounds it. It is less noticeable when using a black watchface, but if you opt for something a little more vivid, it’s noticeable. Overall though, the display is vibrant, viewing angles are great and it’s bright enough for use outdoors too.

You’ve also got the option of an always-on display, and you can crank the display to the max manually if the automatic brightness adjustment isn’t to your taste, albeit to the detriment of battery life.

To the right of the display you’ll find two physical buttons with very satisfying click feedback, with the top button directing you to the app menu and the bottom taking you to a dedicated workout app. There’s no need to remember that though, considering both buttons are labelled.

To round it off, the Xiaomi Mi Watch offers 5ATM water resistance, allowing you to wear the watch in the pool or in the sea without issue.

Features and smarts

The Xiaomi Mi Watch comes running Xiaomi’s own operating system, which can be both good and bad depending on how you intend on using the smartwatch.

Though it’s Xiaomi’s own OS, there are clear cues from Google’s Wear OS here, making it easier to get used to. From the main watchface, you can swipe left or right to access widgets that display information like the current weather, fitness information and heart rate data, and a swipe will bring up your notifications – although you do have to swipe down, rather than up, as is the case with Google’s OS.

The lower side button will take you to Xiaomi’s dedicated exercise tracking app, while pressing the upper side button will take you to the app menu, allowing access to a suite of pre-installed apps, and holding the button will activate Amazon Alexa.

Yep, that’s right, the Xiaomi Mi Watch features Amazon Alexa support, allowing quick access to the virtual assistant from your wrist – especially helpful if you’ve got an Alexa-controlled Smart home as I do. It meant I could control lights and ask general queries without the use of my smartphone, and although the lack of a speaker meant results were displayed as text rather than read to me, the results to my queries were fairly accurate most of the time.

There are four watch faces that come pre-installed on the Xiaomi Watch, mainly focused on displaying fitness metrics, but there are hundreds of alternatives available to download via the companion app for iOS and Android, with styles ranging from colourful faces to retro grey-and-black faces, and unlike alternatives, these are all free to download.

The biggest problem with Xiaomi’s software is that it doesn’t support third-party apps, so don’t expect to be able to use apps like Google Maps for navigation or Spotify for streaming music. It’s not the only manufacturer to do it, especially at the budget level, but it’s worth noting – Google Wear OS, it certainly isn’t.

That said, there is a range of pre-installed apps, the problem is that the apps are all icon-based when browsing, making it hard to work out what each app is and what it does. It seems Xiaomi is aware of this problem, outlining each app in the Xiaomi Wear Lite app for iOS and Android, but I can’t help but feel it could’ve been fixed by using a combination of text and icons like most other smartwatches.

There is notification support, but due to the limitations of Xiaomi’s software, support is basic. You’ll get notifications from the likes of WhatsApp, Instagram and Messages, each with their respective app icon displayed so you know where the notification has come from, but with unsupported apps (aka most apps you’ll have) it’ll simply say ‘app’ above the notification. If you get as many notifications on a daily basis as I do, that’s certainly not helpful.

You can’t actually interact with the notification either; while you can quick reply to messages on Wear OS and watchOS, all you can do is dismiss the notification the Xiaomi Mi Watch.

So, while there’s a lot to like about Xiaomi’s smartwatch OS, it’s not quite as feature-packed as some alternatives.

Fitness and exercise tracking

The combination of sensors available on the Xiaomi Mi Watch, including a heart rate monitor, Sp02 monitor (for blood oxygen readings) and built-in GPS, help provide a holistic look at your overall health and fitness. The watch collects data on your standing hours, steps taken, stress levels and much more, and it uses available data to predict your current energy levels too, although I’ve not found the latter to be that useful – I know when I’m tired and when I’m not.

There’s detailed sleep tracking on offer too, automatically tracking your time in bed as well as different stages of sleep, but the sleep suggestions are sometimes less than helpful. Simply telling me to “sleep more” isn’t going to make me sleep more, Xiaomi!

Alongside general health and fitness tracking, the Xiaomi Mi Watch offers surprisingly in-depth exercise tracking. There are 117 types of exercise on offer, with 17 core modes (including the most popular exercises like running, swimming and cycling) that offer richer metrics.

You can manually start your exercise using the watch, but there’s also automatic exercise recognition on offer, ideal for those times where you forget to start tracking at the beginning of a run as I did on one occasion during testing. Using built-in GPS, the Mi Watch can track your exercise without the need to be connected to a smartphone, and I found the results to be generally on the money.

When recording one of the core exercises, like running, you’ll get access to exercise-specific metrics like your split and pace alongside general distance and heartrate measurements on your wrist, and once you’re done, you can delve into the Xiaomi Mi Wear Lite app on your smartphone to get a better look at how you performed. It’ll even offer basic training effect and recovery time suggestions, features usually exclusive to wearables from the likes of Huawei and Garmin.

As well as delving into your exercises, the companion app is where you’ll also get an overview of all the metrics measured by the watch, giving you a look at your heart rate, stress levels, energy levels and more at a glance.

It really does provide a comprehensive look at your health and fitness, which makes the fact that you can’t share the data with any other app all the more frustrating. Those hoping to export cycling data to an app like Strava, or those looking to feed data into Apple’s Health app, should look elsewhere.

Battery life

One area where the Xiaomi Mi Watch really shines is in the battery life department, with Xiaomi’s 16-day battery life claim not far off the mark. I never got to 16 days, but I got just over two weeks of use out of the watch before it needed a top-up – a process that takes a little over two hours – and that’s with what I’d describe as average use, with notifications popping up, the occasional exercise tracked and general use of the various all-day tracking features on offer.

It’s a freeing experience being able to go weeks without having to worry about charging the smartwatch, and it makes sleep tracking much easier too, negating the need to charge the watch before bedtime. It’s certainly something I’ll struggle to readjust to once I go back to the 18-hour Apple Watch Series 4 I use as my daily watch.

The long battery life also allows you to use the always-on display without concern – it’ll still drain quicker, but you’ll get a good few days of use out of it before it’ll need a charge. You could even squeeze more life out of the watch if you aren’t interested in the all-day fitness tracking on offer.


Despite the overall premium look of the Xiaomi Mi Watch, it’s one of the cheaper smartwatches on the market at just £119 in the UK, and it’s even cheaper at £99 at the time of writing as part of Xiaomi’s Early Bird special. You can buy the watch from the Xiaomi Store, and although it isn’t available at third-party retailers just yet, we expect that’ll change in the coming months. Those in the US are out of luck though – there are no plans to launch the wearable in the States right now.

At £119, the Xiaomi Mi Watch comes up against Huawei’s Watch Fit, offering more tracked workouts than Huawei’s option, a larger display and longer battery life too, although it’s in line with the Amazfit GTR 2e in both price and functionality.

For a better look at the smartwatch market, take a look at our pick of the best smartwatches.


Though it doesn’t run Google’s Wear OS and thus misses out on third-party app support and better notification support, the Xiaomi Mi Watch still manages to deliver a great smartwatch experience. The build quality is exceptional, from the curved glass atop the display to the satisfying click of the side-mounted buttons, and the 1.39in AMOLED panel pops too.

There’s basic fitness and health tracking alongside the ability to record 117 different exercises, and the companion app does a great job at presenting this information in a user-friendly way, although the inability to export the data for use in other apps – like Apple Health – may put some off.

But it’s the battery life that’ll likely impress most, managing around two weeks with average use and the potential to last much longer with features like all-day heartrate monitoring disabled.

All that for £119? Colour me impressed.


Xiaomi Mi Watch: Specs

  • 45.9 × 53.4 × 11.8mm
  • 32g
  • Available in Black/Navy Blue/Beige
  • 1.39in AMOLED display 454 x 454
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Heart rate sensor
  • Acceleration sensor
  • Gyroscope
  • Geomagnetic sensor
  • Air pressure sensor
  • Ambient light sensor
  • GPS
  • 420mAh battery
  • 16-day battery life
  • Android iOS compatible
  • 117 exercises tracked
  • Blood oxygen monitoring
  • Sleep tracking

Xiaomi’s latest smartwatch puts the Pixel Watch to shame in a big way

Check out our complete coverage of MWC 2023

The world of smartwatches has finally caught up with traditional watchmakers (and Apple) and has discovered that making something that goes on our wrists out of quality materials is the way forward.

The Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro — announced at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2023 — has a stainless steel case, sapphire crystal over the screen, and a soft leather strap. All that makes it far more desirable than ones made out of “lesser” materials. I’ve worn it to find out more.

The Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro’s elevated design

The brushed stainless steel case comes in either silver with a brown leather strap or black with a black flourorubber strap. The sapphire crystal is neatly chamfered around the bezel, covering a large 1.47-inch AMOLED screen. The screen’s bezel is surprisingly slim, especially compared to the Google Pixel Watch, and the 46mm case means it suits my 6.5-inch wrist better too. However, I appreciate others will prefer the Pixel Watch’s smaller size.

The case back seems to be made of glass and is cool and comfortable on my wrist, but the leather strap gets wrinkled almost immediately after putting it on for the first time. The leather is thin, and the brown color is (in my opinion) unattractive. It is a standard size, though, and is attached using quick-release pins, so it’s a simple and relatively cheap effort to replace it.

On the side of the case are a rotating crown and a single button, making the design reminiscent of the Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro. The crown is placed at the 2 o’clock position and has a delicate knurled finish for plenty of grip. However, the placement makes it awkward to twist with your finger, and the menus don’t always react as quickly as I’d like because of it. The lower button calls up the workout mode.

Although it’s a little generic in its overall shape and design, the use of stainless steel and sapphire gives the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro a touch of class and elevates it beyond the simple, minimalist look of the Google Pixel Watch.

A brand new (and familiar) operating system

The Watch S1 Pro is the first to use Xiaomi’s new Watch OS software, and not a version of Google’s Wear OS 3. It still takes plenty of inspiration from both Wear OS and Apple’s watchOS software. You swipe down on the screen to see notifications, up to find Quick Settings, and across to see widget-based tiles. Press the crown, and a bubble-based collection of app icons appears.

It’s fast and smooth to use, though, without much slowdown apart from when you check notifications. I really like the design of the tiles too, which have small widgets inside easily pressed icons to show more detail on heart rate, your sleep, and calendar, or to quickly access features like the timer. It looks great and is unlike the designs from the other two major smartwatch operating systems.

Xiaomi 13 Pro, and it has been reliable when delivering notifications, with plenty of text shown on the screen to help you make a quick decision about checking it further on your phone. Unfortunately, I haven’t found any apps that can be interacted with on your wrist.

I haven’t used the smartwatch for long enough to fully assess battery life, but Xiaomi estimates 14 days of use from the 500mAh cell. It’s recharged using a plastic puck that magnetically attaches to the back of the smartwatch. The 14 days of use seems optimistic — with the always-on screen active, the battery dropped by 10% in a single day, suggesting it may not last beyond 10 days if you make use of the primary features.

Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro: price and availability

Apple Watch SE 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, and is slightly cheaper than the Google Pixel Watch.

Xiaomi had to step up its game when it comes to smartwatches, as there are many excellent models available at the moment. The premium materials and decent software make the Watch S1 Pro definitely worth investigating further, but the price perhaps isn’t as competitive as it needs to be to frighten the established competition.

Editors’ Recommendations

Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…

I was disappointed with the Pixel Watch when I first used it, something that’s made very clear in my Google Pixel Watch review. Following that, I wanted to give the Pixel Watch a little space before going back and giving it another try — just in case my opinion softened, or feature updates arrived to make it a better purchase.

Upon revisiting the Pixel Watch, I’ve been reminded why I love smartwatches, but also why I’d rather wear almost any other smartwatch except the Pixel Watch. Here’s what I mean. The Google Pixel Watch is too small

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If we think about the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro cynically, then the message of it being an outdoor smartwatch could be seen as a last-minute pivot by the marketing team to ensure it could compete with the impending arrival of the Apple Watch Ultra. Once the Watch Ultra did arrive, though, there was no hope of the Watch 5 Pro being a true alternative. Apple has gone all-out to make the Watch Ultra a Garmin competitor, leaving the relatively ordinary spec list of the Watch 5 Pro behind in the swirling desert dust.

Oppo has just announced its promised duo of smartwatches featuring Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 chip — the first wearables to adopt the new platform since Qualcomm announced it last month.

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The new Oppo Watch models build on last year’s Oppo Watch 2. However, neither is a direct successor to that earlier model. Instead, it looks like Oppo has split the difference, with the Oppo Watch 3 moving the specs down a notch to make room for a new Oppo Watch 3 Pro on the higher end.

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