Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro review: A stylish blend of tradition & technology
Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro
- Sleek design and premium materials
- Rotating crown for easier navigation
- Crisp 1.47-inch AMOLED
- Dual-band GPS
- Long-lasting battery life
- Lacks advanced performance data for serious athletes
- No support for third-party apps
- No music storage
Xiaomi has recently made a splash at MWC in Barcelona, unveiling an impressive lineup of gadgets, including the global launch of their Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro. First introduced in August 2022 for the Chinese market, this smartwatch is a revamped version of the well-received Watch S1 from 2021.
The S1 Pro boasts enhanced features, further bridging the gap between Xiaomi and smartwatch giants Apple and Samsung. With a relatively competitive price, excellent battery life, simple user interface and a sleek design, the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro is a hassle-free wrist companion.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
In this review, I’ll dive deep into the features, improvements, and overall performance of the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro. You’ll hopefully know by the end if this is the right smartwatch for you.
Another Xiaomi-made wearable expected to land soon is the Mi Band 8. The gadget has obtained several regulatory approvals already. The accompanying paperwork indicates that a key modification will be the inclusion of a two-part removable strap instead of a single piece strap. The fitness band is likely to launch in the weeks ahead. So keep an eye out for that.
Design & hardware
Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro review: : Design & hardware
- Even more classy looking than its predecessor
- 1.47 inch AMOLED display, smaller bezel
- Rotating crown in addition to flat Shortcut button
- 14 day battery life, which can be extended
Elevated style and sophistication
The Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro builds upon the already stunning design of its predecessor, incorporating subtle refinements and premium materials to create an even more luxurious looking device. This elegantly crafted timepiece blends traditional watch aesthetics with contemporary flair, ranking among the most visually appealing smartwatches I’ve tested out.
Available in black and silver, the Watch S1 Pro features a 316L grade stainless steel frame and a plastic back. The first option comes with a black fluoroelastomer strap, the second with a brown leather strap.
There’s a quick-release mechanism on-board, which allows for easy swapping with other bands as desired. But compared to the S1, the S1 Pro does not include an extra strap in the package, which means you cannot switch between formal and sporty appearances without purchasing a separate band. I tested out the silver case and leather combo.
With dimensions of 46 x 46 x 11.8 mm, the 5 ATM rated device differs only slightly from the previous model. But the blend of a stainless steel frame, sapphire crystal front, and plastic back imparts a more polished look.
Despite its premium materials, the Watch S1 Pro remains lightweight at around 49 grams. The even distribution of weight ensures the device stays comfortably in place on your wrist, even during vigorous activities.
A notable difference between the S1 Pro and its predecessor is the addition of a rotating crown. This feature complements the existing physical button and touchscreen, providing another way to navigate the menus. You can twist or push the crown to control the device.
The slim physical button below is used for Shortcuts. You can configure it, for example, to initiate running workout tracking or another feature available on the watch. All of this works well.
Crisp display and seamless interaction
As far as display, the device boasts a top-notch 1.47-inch AMOLED with an impressive 480 x 480-pixel resolution. The screen is sharp, crisp, and clear, whether you’re indoors or outdoors, thanks to its 60Hz refresh rate and auto-brightness adjustment (up to 600 nits). Xiaomi has managed to squeeze the larger display into a relatively same-sized case by shrinking the bezel.
Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro
Protected by a Sapphire Glass front, the screen is resistant to accidental drops, bumps, and smudging, further contributing to its premium appearance. Despite its slight protrusion, it presented no problems during my weeks of rigorous use. The screen remained perfectly clear of any grooves, scratches, and even the slightest abrasions.
Touch functionality remains smooth and responsive. Swipes and taps register without any lag or glitches.
Temperature monitoring and more
The Watch S1 Pro is equipped with an extensive array of sensors, including a PPG heart rate monitor (capable of providing SpO2 data), 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, geomagnetic sensor, air-pressure sensor, and the latest addition: a temperature sensor.
Xiaomi says it has made improvements to the hardware and algorithms, resulting in enhanced accuracy across the board. Continuous blood oxygen monitoring eliminates the need for manual measurements. Although the watch doesn’t feature advanced options like ECG, it covers more than just the essentials for monitoring your health and physical activities.
To ensure precise outdoor activity tracking, the S1 Pro is equipped with a multi-system, dual-band GPS. Depending on signal quality, the chip can automatically access and switch between GPS, Glonass, Galileo, BDS, and QZSS systems.
Additional features include an ambient light sensor, a microphone, a speaker, and an NFC chip. The watch also supports Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity and Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz.
Moving quickly on, and the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro maintains the brand’s reputation for long-lasting battery performance in its wearables. Housing a substantial 500mAh LiPo battery, the smartwatch boasts up to two weeks of regular use. That’s two more days than its predecessor. It takes takes just 95 minutes to charge from 0 to 100%, which is pretty impressive.
During my testing, I found the device lives up to these claims. However, enabling certain settings will impact battery life. One of the biggest battery drain options is the always-on display. Switch this on and it will essentially half the battery life.
For those moments when your charger is not within reach and your battery is running low, the power-saving mode comes to the rescue. While it disables all-day heart rate and stress monitoring and limits some functions, it ensures you have nearly a month between charges.
When it is time to refuel, you can pick up the proprietary magnetic dock with two-pin connections. S1 Pro also supports Qi charging, giving you a more convenient charging option.
Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro review: Technical specs
Watch S1 Pro
46 x 46 x 11.8 mm
46.5 x 46.5 x 11 mm
Sapphire crystal front, stainless steel frame, plastic back
Polymer body coupled with a durable metal bezel
5 ATM (down to depths of 50 metres)
5 ATM (down to depths of 50 metres)
AMOLED, 60Hz high refresh rate
AMOLED, 60Hz high refresh rate
480 x 480 pixels
454 x 454 pixels
14 days in normal mode
12 days in normal mode
PPG heart rate monitor (capable of providing SpO2 data), 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, geomagnetic sensor, air-pressure sensor, temperature sensor
PPG heart rate monitor (capable of providing SpO2 data), 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, geomagnetic sensor, air-pressure sensor
Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro review: Functionality
Fitness and health monitoring
- Supports iOS and Android using Mi Fitness app
- Stats are fairly accurate
- The addition of on-demand skin temperature readings
In the realm of health tracking capabilities, there is little really to distinguish between the Watch S1 and Watch S1 Pro. Both devices rely on the iOS or Android Mi Fitness app to store all health and fitness data, but the software’s user experience leaves something to be desired.
The company would benefit from investing more resources into improving the app’s user interface, as it currently falls short of the smartwatch experience. For example, one area for enhancement could be the provision of insights. Users are currently left pretty much on their own to draw conclusions based on the data.
Nevertheless, the general health-tracking features are commendable, proving to be on par with the Garmin on my other wrist. Daily step counts were consistent, while sleep tracking and nighttime blood oxygen measurements were similarly accurate. The Xiaomi device did exhibit slightly higher resting heart rate values, likely due to its unique metric calculation. Different companies employ various approaches to certain metrics, as this is not an exact science.
Additional features include standing time tracking and reminders to move, which buzz the user’s wrist. The stress metric, complete with guided breathing exercises, was another useful aspect.
Worth a special mention is the newly added skin temperature tracking. This is something that cannot be found on its predecessor.
While Fitbit or Whoop devices automatically track temperature during sleep, Xiaomi only allows for on-demand measurements, making it less useful. Hopefully a firmware update will enable automatic tracking in the future. Interestingly, the S1 Pro offers an estimated body temperature reading, while other options on the market provide only skin temperature variation data. As far as accuracy, the readings seem pretty reasonable.
- Tracks hundreds of sports
- Heart rate during exercise is accurate
- Dual band sattelite is accurate, but can be slow to connect
- Few advanced performance stats
The Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro is a versatile timepiece that supports more than a hundred different sports modes. However, only about 20 of these offer detailed performance statistics. The remaining modes for the most part provide basic heart rate and workout duration data.
Though the watch boasts dual-band, 5-system satellite support, its performance was occasionally slower than my top of the range Garmin Forerunner when it came to acquiring the signal. Having said that, sometimes it was just as quick – so it’s a mixed bag. GPS accuracy, however, was good – right on par with the Garmin.
The same also applies to the heart rate monitor’s accuracy. Only slight discrepancies in max heart rate values appeared during my runs as compared to a chest strap. The difference in average heart rate during exercise was even smaller. Xiaomi has made some design changes with the watch that help with accuracy. The streamlined frame of the watch allows for a tighter fit around your wrist and this certainly helps with the heart rate readings.
I’m a keen runner so one big negative for me is that the watch lacks advanced performance data like recovery and other Firstbeat-type metrics. Not even a VO2Max reading!
Instead, it provides basic information such as time, calories, pace, heart rate, steps, elevation gain and loss, cadence, and heart zone overview. I had the same gripe with the previous edition of the device, it seems not much has changed on this front. So if you’re after a proper sports watch with detailed performance metrics, there are better options out there.
On a plus note, Xiaomi does allow data sharing with select third-party apps. Strava is the most prominent example.
The Watch S1 operates on Xiaomi’s proprietary all-new MIUI Watch OS. Visually, it doesn’t appear to be very different from the previous version but interaction is smoother. The Chinese release of this version promised a third-party app store; however, so far there is no hint of its availability on the current model.
The smartwatch offers an appealing selection of both analog and digital watch faces on the device, with customisable complications. Additionally, a few dozen more watch faces are available for users to download via the smartphone app.
I would say, the device leans more towards fitness and general wellness watch than smartwatch. Having said that, it does provide some useful functions such as smartphone text message notification support, Bluetooth call support, alarms, timers, weather updates, camera shutter control and more. Users can read smartphone notifications and receive calls on their wrist, but responding to messages and initiating calls are not supported.
The thing also functions as a flashlight and Alexa voice assistant. A long press on the crown activates Alexa, and this works just fine once you have done the initial setup.
There’s also an NFC chip on-board. However, mobile payments are limited to MasterCard through Xiaomi Pay, and not available in all countries.
While the watch lacks built-in music storage, it can control smartphone playback. You need to be using it with an Android phone for that to work, though.
Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro review: The verdict
The Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro successfully builds upon its well-regarded predecessor, featuring a sleek design, enhanced materials, and a rotating crown, making it an eye-catching and user-friendly smartwatch. The device’s hardware and aesthetics are undoubtedly its standout attributes.
Equipped with a wide range of sensors, including the new skin temperature sensor for on-demand readings, the Watch S1 Pro offers decent battery life, better overall performance, and numerous sports modes, positioning itself as a dependable and versatile health and fitness partner. However, it does fall short in providing advanced performance data, and the accompanying smartphone app could benefit from improvements.
Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro
The Watch S1 Pro might not be the perfect fit for those in search of a high-end sports watch or a device with lots of smart features akin to the Apple Watch. However, at a retail price of €300, it offers good value for users looking for a fitness device that combines classic watch aesthetics with modern technology.
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