The Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro smartwatch, the newest entrant in the brand’s wearable offerings, sports a steeper price of $399. This price hike is justified by significant improvements in power and build quality, making it a formidable competitor in the premium smartwatch market.
Opening the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro for the first time, I was blown away by how refined everything looked. Xiaomi has long been in the wearable space, and while their devices look good, they never have managed to reach that premium tier that many fashion brands and Apple live in, at least until now. Everything on the watch feels made to impress, from the way it feels to the craftsmanship in the design and dials.
Design and Build: A Masterclass in Lightweight Elegance
Exclusively available in a 46 mm size, the Watch S1 Pro impresses with its featherlight design in spite of its stainless steel casing. I gave the brown variant, which sports a classic leather strap and weighs in at a mere 70 grams, and I was shocked at how comfortable it felt when I first put it on. The brown model features a classic-looking strap and buckle, while the alternative black leather version boasts a modern Apple-inspired design. The black option’s seamless appearance, sans extra loops, exudes a clean and refined look.
“Opening the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro for the first time, I was blown away by how refined everything looked.”
You could be fooled into thinking the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro smartwatch is a classic timepiece, with the blend of silver and brown making it stand out among a sea of ultra-modern offerings. Thankfully, the Watch S1 Pro black variant offers up a more tech-looking design that should please lovers of modern smartwatches, so Xiaomi has you covered no matter your preference. The band can also be changed should you wish, fitting most standard 46 mm bands.
Durability: Sapphire Glass Takes the Crown
Equipped with nearly indestructible sapphire glass, the Watch S1 Pro exhibits exceptional resilience, despite its protruding glass design. Rigorous hands-on testing exposed the watch to various challenging conditions, namely my day-to-day life, which involves many work-related tasks, and my incredibly clumsy nature. Even with this, the Watch S1 Pro emerged unblemished, free from grooves, scratches, or micro-abrasions. This remarkable feat underscores the Watch S1 Pro’s extraordinary durability.
In a time when consumers seek long-lasting devices, the Watch S1 Pro stands as a testament to the meticulous engineering and high-quality materials used in its creation. With its exceptional resistance to daily wear and tear, users can appreciate the watch’s premium features and stylish design without worrying about damage, ensuring lasting satisfaction and confidence in their investment. While many smartwatches can be seen as almost disposable, lasting a few years before looking beaten down, this attention to detail and craftsmanship is a breath of fresh air.
User Interface: A Work in Progress
The Watch S1 Pro features two control mechanisms on its right side, designed for a seamless user experience. The first is a rotating crown, which serves as the primary means for navigating through menus and options. The second control is a flat Shortcut button, which can be customized for specific functions, such as initiating workout tracking, as we programmed it in our case. This versatile button allows users to access any preferred watch function quickly.
However, the Watch S1 Pro falls short in comparison to some of its competitors, like the Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Watch5 series, primarily due to the absence of an electrocardiogram (ECG) feature. This missing functionality could be a deal-breaker for potential buyers seeking a comprehensive health monitoring device and something many competing devices are pushing as a major selling point. While it may be minor to many buyers, for fitness lovers, this is a major oversight on Xiaomi’s part.
“In a time when consumers seek long-lasting devices, the Watch S1 Pro stands as a testament to the meticulous engineering and high-quality materials used in its creation.”
In order to utilize the Watch S1 Pro with Android or iOS devices, the Mi Fitness app is necessary. Unfortunately, the app leaves much to be desired. Despite granting all the required permissions, we encountered issues with the watch’s notification system, as it failed to display all incoming alerts. Furthermore, the alarm application is notably absent, which could be a significant inconvenience for users who rely on their smartwatches for waking up or reminders.
Performance and Specs
After perusing all the documentation, the specific processor and RAM configuration of the Watch S1 Pro is never fully disclosed. However, one thing is clear: there’s ample power under the hood to drive every conceivable function, even those requiring real-time communication with your smartphone.
The user experience is silky smooth and responsive, whether you’re navigating the Watch S1 Pro’s interface via the touchscreen or using its physical buttons. This is one of the smoothest smartwatches I have ever used, with everything feeling seamless, even some of the more advanced features launching almost instantly. On the downside, the Watch S1 Pro lacks cellular connectivity, offering Wi-Fi capabilities while still relying on a Bluetooth 5.2 connection to your phone for many essential functions. For users who desire a seamless charging experience, the watch supports wireless charging on Qi-compatible pads and includes a magnetic puck for added convenience.
Although the Watch S1 Pro is technically capable of reverse wireless charging on any compatible smartphone, Xiaomi officially supports only a limited selection of devices from its own lineup. This indeed seems to be the case. While we tested a selection of phones that allow for reverse wireless charging, only the devices from Xiaomi appeared to work as expected, which I honestly did not anticipate when starting this review.
Cutting-Edge Health Tracking Features
Housed within its sturdy stainless steel exterior, the Watch S1 Pro features an assortment of advanced sensors designed to monitor crucial health metrics such as heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and skin temperature. These high-tech sensors cover an array of metrics, each designed to offer a comprehensive understanding of one’s well-being and environment.
With features like the heart rate sensor, blood oxygen sensor, temperature, and Air pressure sensor, the Watch S1 Pro feels tailor-made for fitness enthusiasts, giving most of the details needed to dive into a world of activity with everything you could need to get the most from your workouts. While the leather band and classic business-like look do make it hard to imagine this being used primarily for fitness, the fact Xiaomi included everything makes the Watch S1 Pro a great choice for someone that wants a smartwatch that can manage everything you could need and still look good doing so.
“The Watch S1 Pro dissects your nocturnal respite, offering a detailed analysis of time spent in each sleep phase, accompanied by a record of your heart rate throughout the night.”
While each of these sensors can function autonomously, the companion app is essential for accessing the full spectrum of data collected. The app consolidates this wealth of information into a digestible format, allowing users to track their progress, identify trends, and make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle choices. It serves as a hub for all the data gathered by the S1 Pro’s numerous sensors, presenting it in a user-friendly interface that gives most of the data you could need.
Sadly, the visuals are hindered by poorly designed graphs, making it difficult for users to read and interpret their health and fitness metrics accurately. While these gripes may not take away from the Watch S1 Pro’s overall functionality, they get in the way of making the watch feel seamless as part of your day-to-day experience, and for some, could be dealbreakers making the watch simply not compatible with their needs.
There is a lot of work to be done with the Mi Fitness app to make it something fitness lovers can rely on, and while it is better than it used to be, even with just testing the Watch S1 Pro, I can see many areas Xiaomi could improve on to make everything easier to use.
Let’s Not Forget to Sleep
In line with many of its smartwatch counterparts, the Watch S1 Pro boasts sleep-tracking capabilities. While its substantial size might prove cumbersome for nighttime wear among some users, this intelligent timepiece diligently and autonomously monitors slumber, delivering a trove of insightful data.
The Watch S1 Pro dissects your nocturnal respite, offering a detailed analysis of time spent in each sleep phase, accompanied by a record of your heart rate throughout the night. A breathing score is also provided, though this feature remains in beta testing for the time being. To unlock the full potential of heart rate monitoring, REM sleep tracking, and breathing scores, simply activate these bonus features within the accompanying app. While the Watch S1 Pro’s sleep data may not be groundbreaking, it serves as a valuable tool to observe patterns and trends in your sleep habits over time.
Stellar Battery Life
The Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro boasts impressive battery performance thanks to its 500mAh battery capacity. Charging the device from a completely drained state to a full charge takes only about 95 minutes, making it convenient for users who need a quick top-up. The watch promises a battery life of 14 days for average use and 10 days for heavy usage. The Watch S1 Pro also offers a handy 10-minute quick charge mode that delivers offers a 2-day battery, something invaluable when you need your watch for a night out. In our tests, we were able to confirm a week and a half of battery life while utilizing all available features, which is quite remarkable.
However, there are some trade-offs when it comes to the watch’s display settings. Activating the Always-On Display feature, which keeps the screen lit continuously, noticeably reduces the battery life to around 5-6 days per charge. This may be a concern for those who prefer to have the screen constantly visible without having to activate it manually.
“…the Watch S1 Pro remains a stylish, albeit imperfect, choice for users who prioritize aesthetics over comprehensive health tracking.”
Additionally, the Watch S1 Pro’s screen struggles with maintaining optimal brightness in outdoor settings with bright sunlight. This can make it challenging for users to clearly view the display and access their watch’s functions in such conditions. Despite these limitations, I was incredibly impressed with the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro. It managed to exceed my expectations and outlast many of the other smartwatches I have used to date. Even the best watches suffer the same limitations, so the fact the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro manages such a strong showing even with these features turned on is a testament to the craftsmanship of the device.
Final Verdict: Aesthetics Trump Functionality
Xiaomi has set high expectations for its future smart wearables with the Watch S1 Pro’s hardware. Although the software falls short, the device’s battery life, aesthetics, and durability help make up for a lacklustre app experience. The data may be poorly presented in the Mi Fitness app, but it is displayed more effectively on the watch itself.
Is the $300 Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro worth the investment? If style and appearance are your priorities, and you don’t intend to use it for serious training, it’s a solid option. With impressive battery life and a classic design, the Watch S1 Pro serves as a low-maintenance accessory that complements your daily wear. However, if you’re seeking a dedicated tracking tool for workouts or extensive health monitoring, you might find better alternatives whose design and app interface are better suited to a fitness-focused lifestyle.
The Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro has a lot to offer in terms of design, durability, and battery life. Nevertheless, the company must address the limitations in its software and minor gripes to really stand out as a must-own smartwatch. Until then, the Watch S1 Pro remains a stylish, albeit imperfect, choice for users who prioritize aesthetics over comprehensive health tracking.