Xiaomi Watch S1 and S1 Active Review

Xiaomi just released its S1 and S1 Active smartwatches. Priced at $269 for the full S1 and $199 for the S1 Active, these watches offer fast performance, fitness tracking, and a great sense of style. Are they worth picking off against the competition? Find out in our test!



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The Xiaomi Watch S1 and S1 Active are easy to wrap around your head. The two watches have more similarities than differences. Each features the same bright 1.43-inch display, each is the same 46.5mm diameter, and each has the same built-in features. The biggest difference between the two is their weight and looks.

The S1 is the more sophisticated watch, with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal covering the entire surface. It comes with both a leather strap and a fluororubber option in a matching color. The watch is available in silver or black (we were sent black) and has silver, black, blue and brown strap options. The frame is stainless steel for added durability and a more premium feel (the underside is plastic, apart from the sensor assembly). The S1 Active has a raised lip around the face and the frame is plastic. Where the two buttons on the right are dials on the S1, the Actives are styled after traditional digital watches and regular buttons. It also only includes a fluororubber strap, although the standard size makes it easy to replace if needed.


Although the actual display area of ​​both watches is the same, the S1 feels particularly spacious. They use AMOLED screens, so the S1’s blacks blend seamlessly into the outer ring beneath the glass (where the hour markers are placed), giving the impression of more space. However, both screens look great with 450 nits of peak brightness and vibrant colors.

The S1 also has the advantage of offering wireless charging. This also works with phones that support reverse wireless charging, so you can share the battery if you run dry. The Active only supports charging via the included dock. Oddly enough, the S1 Active’s dock has a non-detachable cable, while the more expensive S1 doesn’t.


Battery life on both devices is ridiculously good. I was able to spend an average of nine days with notifications turned on. Nine days! That’s incredible compared to Samsung, Apple, or my regular daily driver, the TicWatch Pro.

Navigating the clocks is also very easy. There’s no crown, which is always a little disappointing with Android smartwatches, but the tap and swipe is very responsive. Xiaomi is the mother of the actual hardware that powers the watch, but it’s obviously been tweaked because it’s very efficient. The two buttons on the side open the app drawer or launch the fitness trackers, but unfortunately they’re not programmable.

If you already use an Android smartwatch, you might be disappointed to hear that the S1s don’t support WearOS and don’t have access to the Play Store. You can still get notifications from your smartphone, which is nice, but your native app choices are limited. On the plus side, this is probably a key reason why the performance is so good and why Xiaomi offers more than 200 watch faces to download for free. There are also some really cool ones complete with animations.

The exercise trackers are hit or miss. It packs a range of sensors to monitor heart rate, oxygen, ambient light, exercise and GPS, so all the features you’d expect are there. It collects and tracks your health data and uses algorithms to estimate calorie consumption etc. You can also monitor your sleep, which is a cool feature.

The problem is how accurate it is – and that’s hard to say. The S1 intermittently recorded my heart rate as lower than my TicWatch Pro (the Active was closer, but not accurate). As I scrolled through some of the activity trackers, a handful seemed simplified to heart-rate monitors, although exercise tracking isn’t what I (personally) buy a smartwatch for. A lot of this only becomes really important when you compare it head-to-head against another smartwatch, or use that data for something where pinpoint accuracy matters. With normal training, it gets the job done and provides proper context for how thoroughly you are training.

Another thing that bothered us was that although we tested the global version, there was no clock to switch to imperial measurements. This is particularly annoying on watch faces that show the current temperature. The ability to switch to Fahrenheit was part of the software in previous Xiaomi watches, so hopefully that will come in a software update.

All the information the watch collects can be checked on the device itself or via the Mi Fitness app. This is a free download and an important one. Inside, you can change far more settings and dive deeper into your workout data than the watch’s small display can offer. It’s also quite sophisticated and sophisticated, making it quick and easy to use.


Final Thoughts

Both the Xiaomi S1 and S1 Active are stylish, responsive watches. They do everything you want them to and look good doing it. The lack of WearOS might be a deal breaker for some, but if you only use your smartwatch for notifications and exercise tracking, you probably won’t miss it at all. If you don’t mind the metric units (for now), these are a great option that don’t lock you into buying a specific brand of phone for full functionality.

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. Xiaomi Watch S1 and S1 Active Review

Fry Electronics Team

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