Xiaomis Latest Smartwatch Puts The Pixel Watch To Shame In A Big Way

Xiaomis Latest Smartwatch Puts The Pixel Watch To Shame In A Big Way

The smartwatch world has finally caught up with traditional watchmakers (and Apple) and discovered that making something out of quality materials that fits on the wrist is the way to go.

Announced at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2023, the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro features a stainless steel body, a sapphire crystal display and a smooth leather strap. All this makes it much more desirable than those made of "insufficient" materials. I leave it to know more.

The excellent design of the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends © Courtesy of Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The stainless steel case is available in silver with a brown leather strap or black with a black rubber strap. The sapphire glass is carefully curved around the bezel and covers the large 1.47-inch AMOLED display. The bezels on the display are very thin, especially compared to the Google Pixel Watch, and the 46mm case is a better fit for my 6.5-inch wrist. However, I appreciate that other people prefer the smaller size of the Pixel Watch.

The case back looks like glass and feels cool and comfortable on my wrist, but the leather strap bends after I put it on for the first time. The skin is thin and the brown color (in my opinion) is less attractive. It's full-sized and secured with a quick-release pin, so it's easy and relatively inexpensive to replace.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends © Courtesy of Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

On the side of the case there is a rotating crown and a unique pusher that resembles the design of the Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro. The crown is located at the 2 o'clock position and has a finely serrated finish for a good grip. However, its position makes swiping inconvenient, and because of this, the menus are not always as responsive as we would like. The bottom button brings up the learning mode.

Despite the​​​​somewhat generic build and overall design, the use of stainless steel and sapphire gives the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro a classic look and elevates it beyond the minimalist look of the Google Pixel Watch.

A new (and familiar) operating system.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends © Courtesy of Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Watch S1 Pro is the first to use Xiaomi's new Watch OS software instead of Google's version of Wear OS 3. It still draws a lot of inspiration from Wear OS and Apple's WatchOS software. Swipe the screen down to see notifications, up to find quick settings, and across to see widget-based tiles. Press the crown and a set of bubble app icons will appear.

It's fast and easy to use, with no unnecessary delays except when you're checking notifications. I also really like the layout of the tiles, which have small widgets in their icons that are easy to tap to show more details about your heart rate, sleep and calendar, or for quick access to features like timers. It looks great and differs in design from the other two main smartwatch operating systems.

Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro main menu. © Powered by Digital Trends Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro from the main menu. Learning mode on Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro. © Developed by Digital Trends Learning mode on Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro. Quick settings menu on Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro. © Developed by Digital Trends Quick settings menu on Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro.

Xiaomi has added Alexa as a virtual assistant. There are tons of watches to choose from and a list of 100's of activities to keep track of. On the back of the watch is a heart rate sensor that also monitors blood oxygen levels, and the S1 Pro also has built-in GPS. Pair the smartwatch with the Xiaomi 13 Pro and it sent robust notifications with lots of text on the screen to help you make a quick decision to check your phone later. Unfortunately, I haven't found any apps to interact with on the wrist.

I haven't worn the smartwatch long enough to fully appreciate the battery life, but Xiaomi estimates 14 days of use with the 500mAh cell. It charges using a plastic washer that magnetically attaches to the back of the smartwatch. 14 days of use seems optimistic. with the display always on, the battery charge drops to 10% in just one day, suggesting that it can't last more than 10 days with basic features.

Xiaomi S1 Pro watch, price and availability

Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro is worn on a person's wrist. © Courtesy of Digital Trends. Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro is worn on the wrist. Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro is worn on a person's wrist. © Courtesy of Digital Trends. Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro is worn on the wrist.

The Xiaomi S1 Pro smartwatch won't be officially available in the US, but it will be available to buy in the UK from February 27. It costs £299 or about $358. You can buy it from Xiaomi's online store as well as its retail stores. It competes with the Apple Watch SE 2 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and is slightly cheaper than the Google Pixel Watch.

Xiaomi needs to up its game when it comes to smartwatches because there are so many good models out there today. The high-quality materials and decent software make the Watch S1 Pro worth a further look, but the price might not be as competitive as it needs to be to scare off the competition.

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