Xiaomi has succeeded in making a name for itself in the activity tracker market with its extremely popular Mi Band line. But now the company has moved into the smartwatch space with a Wear OS device their developers are calling “a tiny smartphone on the wrist”.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
The first information about a possible Xiaomi-branded smartwatch arrived a few weeks ago. Eagle eyed developers spotted code in the Wear OS companion app for Android on a device called “Mi Watch”. This has all been made official today at an event in Beijing, China.
On paper, Xiaomi Mi Watch certainly seems like a high end product. It runs MIUI for watch which is essentially a customized version of Wear OS. Whats more the timepiece has support for eSIM cards, 4G LTE, NFC for payments on the go, GPS and a voice assistant. Everything is powered by the Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 3100 featuring four Cortex A7 cores clocked at 1.2GHz, 1 GB RAM and 8GB storage. Xiaomi says this is the first wearable with Snapdragon 3100 4G.
Out of the box, the watch comes with a diverse range of applications. There is a built-in storage for music and and FM radio and it can be used to control smart home devices. You can even watch videos on the thing, not that many people will want to. The presence of the eSim/LTE means you are able to use the device to make and receive calls and messages without the need for a smartphone.
Plus there are fitness tracking smarts such as a heart rate monitor, sleep monitoring, ten Firstbeat metrics and more. The device is apparently safe for swimming, too.
Xiaomi developers have come up with a novel text entry system which should make it easier to type on the small screen. Today’s event showcased a special application that allows users to monitor the course of securities in the US and Hong Kong markets in real time. There are other applications for travelers, the watch can be used as a boarding pass at the airport and much more.
There’s also Xiaomi’s app store. At the outset, this will offer more than 40 apps, such as QQ, WeChat and more, all downloadable to Mi Watch. We should get more apps soon as all of this is open to third-party developers.
It’s fair to say the overall design comes across very much Applesque, although thicker. Mi Watch is square in shape with sapphire glass on the front protecting the 1.78 touchscreen curved display (AMOLED with 326 PPI). The 44mm casing is made of an aluminum alloy body with a matte finish, while the back is ceramic. On the sides are a rotating crown, a multi-purpose button, a microphone and speaker.
The straps are made of high-quality fluoro rubber. They are anti-allergic, sweatproof and easily replaceable thanks to a quick-release button. Xiaomi has showed off a number of different color options.
Battery life is pretty decent considering the specs. This is thanks to an enormous 570mAh Lithium Ion battery which can keep the thing going for up 36 hours on a single charge, and that’s with 4G switched on.
Xiaomi Mi Watch will be priced $185 (CNY 1299) when it becomes available on November 11th. There will also be a special version for $285 (CNY 1999). This one comes with a sapphire crystal, polished stainless steel body and a stainless steel strap. The Mi Watch Premium Edition goes on sale in December. For now, all of this remains exclusive to China.
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