When it comes to affordability the very first brand that strikes one’s mind is the Chinese high profile tech firm, Xiaomi. The Chinese brand came a long way since its initiation and is now the most dominant player in the Indian smartphone segment. But Xiaomi forayed into other areas as well, with wearables, to be specific the Mi Band series being one of them that managed to gain a lot of traction among users for the value for money proposition.

With the pandemic having caused turbulence in many lives and while people are still trying to cope up with the crisis, it has become all the more necessary to take care of one’s health. While companies have donated billions to combat the crisis, leading tech brands have come up with a variety of ways as well to help people battle the ongoing pandemic.  That said, devices with SpO2 sensors became a rage in recent months, and Xiaomi banking on the factor brought the Mi Watch Revolve Active with an affordable price tag of course. The watch boasts a wide range of features, from built-in GPS, tons of sport profiles, sleep and energy tracking, etc. The elements no doubt look good on paper, can it be an ideal replacement for the OnePlus Watch? We find out in the review.

Mi Watch Revolve Active specifications-

Display- 1.39-inch AMOLED screen | Material- Plastic case; TPU strap | Sensors- SpO2, PPG heart-rate, Air pressure, Ambient light, 3-axis accelerometer, compass| Smart features- 117 sports modes, Watch faces, Alexa support | IP rating- 5ATM | Battery- 420mAh | Connectivity- Bluetooth 5.0 BLE

Mi Watch Revolve Active price in India-

Mi Watch Revolve Active price in India is set at Rs 9,999. It is available for purchase on mi.com, and Amazon India in three colour options- Black, Beige, and Blue.

Pros                                                                Cons                                                

-Lightweight                                                   -Heart rate monitoring

-Vibrant display                                             -No support for third-party apps

-A bunch of health tracking features         -Limited smart features

-Long-lasting battery

Design

Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve Active features a subtle simplistic design. Although the smartwatch comes at an affordable price tag, it doesn’t look or feel cheap. It sports a lightweight circular dial which is supported by a 2mm textured TPU strap. The 45mm plastic case has a matte finish and two tangible keys flanked on the right side. The plastic case is slightly thick but like I said it doesn’t feel heavy and the sweat-resistant band makes it easy for exercise. The watch offers 5ATM water resistance to justify the shallow-water activities. As for the color coats, we received the Black unit for review, but if you want to divert from the usual, you can either choose Blue or Beige color option.

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Display

The most noticeable aspect of the Mi Watch Revolve Active is its gorgeous AMOLED touchscreen. The 1.39-inch (454 x 454 resolution) AMOLED display has big bezels surrounding it which gets evident if you opt for a bright-colored watch face. Devoid that, the display is adequately bright and vibrant. The viewing angles are good and I had no issue keeping track of my outdoor cycling stats while pedaling down the streets. Further, the watch gets an ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts the brightness level based on the lighting conditions.

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It has an Always-on display option as well which I believe is not a healthy option to pick if you want to save battery life for the day to check other activities on the watch. That said, swiping left or right from the main screen will give you access to heart rate data, weather, fitness activities, music, SpO2 monitor, stress and sleep tracking, etc. Swipe up and you can check notifications while a swipe down will let you set alarm, torch, raise to awake, Display-on, DND mode, settings, and even Alexa as well. You can customize the app notifications via the Mi Wear app. The Mi watch offers four watch faces out of the box; open the app you get a good collection to choose from.

Fitness aka smart features

The Mi Watch Revolve Active has an array of sports tracking-features, and supports 117 sports modes, that’s more than you usually get from leading brands wearable OS. The watch has a built-in GPS chip and supports Galileo, GLONASS for better mapping coverage. It has 17 core modes that provide metrics to popular exercises like cycling, running, and swimming. You can either start your exercise manually or opt for the automatic recognition feature.

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For post-workout analysis, it uses Garmin’s Firstbeat that comes in handy and shows total steps taken, calories burned, heart rate, heart rate zones, VO2 max, training effect, recovery time, average cadence, cadence graphs, and energy consumption. Opening the Mi Wear app gives you a comprehensive analysis once you finish an exercise. The segregated analysis of the data is a nice touch to keep you motivated.

Moving on, Xiaomi has added an Energy feature that tries to help you decide whether to hop on for a workout session or sit idle for the day. Much like Huawei, the Mi Watch Revolve Active uses heart rate variability measurements to show stress monitoring throughout the time you keep wearing the watch.

Performance, Mi Wear app

As I mentioned earlier, the Mi Watch Revolve Active offers a host of fitness-tracking activities. While core sports modes are beneficial, too many options felt a bit redundant.   The built-in GPS is good (at least for the price) can accurately track some of the outdoor activities. The limelight of the new Mi Watch- the SpO2 sensor does the basic job of reading your blood-oxygen saturation level, although Xiaomi claims that it shouldn’t be used as a medical device.

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Sleep tracking one of the best features on the Mi Watch that provide detailed information on light, deep, and REM sleep. Other minute but sweet add-ons are sedentary reminders, music control, weather app, alarm app, find my phone feature that comes in handy especially when you don’t want to take out your big phone to change soundtracks, or set timer during workout intervals. That said, the interface is intuitive, but it takes time to get hang of the bright icons in the menu. One of the caveats on the watch is it doesn’t support third-party apps, and the worst part Xiaomi doesn’t let you export information from the Mi Wear app.

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Speaking of the Mi Wear app, it’s a pretty simple straightforward app. The main page shows the recent data of heart rate reading, stress, energy level, workout, etc. You can sort out the items based on your preference. At the bottom of the screen, you will find the workout option which is the second tile that lets you track outdoor activities. The last page pop-up the Profile where you can select different watch faces, tweak app notifications, adjust incoming calls.

While the watch gives a basic report of your workout and shows recent reading, you get a comprehensive analysis of the individual activities when you open the app. It provides insight into stress and energy level and sleep score as well. Overall, the app presents details in a way that doesn’t require you to be a genius to break the code.

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However, I did face some issues, for instance, the raise to wake feature took more than a second to get cracking the stats on the watch and at times it was difficult to keep a track of the distance while cycling. Further, you can’t access other features during an ongoing workout session, the only option it leaves is to either continue with the session or put the fitness activity to an end altogether.

While comparing the Strava stats with the metrics on the watch, I found the distances a bit at odds. Although the watch has notifications support, you can only read the texts when they buzz, meaning to reply to your folks you will have to take your phone out. Another gripe that I had was with Amazon Alexa support, even after resetting the watch three times I couldn’t access the voice assistant, as the Alexa app wouldn’t register the password; although I could log in to my Amazon account on my other device.

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Battery life

Xiaomi promises 16 days of battery backup on the Mi Watch Revolve Active smartwatch. On an average, the wearable can stick for more than a week with moderate GPS fitness tracking, heart rate and SpO2 monitoring in between, and sleep tracking. With the Always-on display turned on I could get about five days’ worth of usage on a charge.

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Verdict

The Mi Watch Revolve Active is a good value proposition if you consider the features it has to offer for the price. For a budget watch to have built-in GPS is a welcoming feature. The vibrant display and lightweight design are other shining areas that really drag you to wear the watch every day.  The workout breakdowns and intuitive UI are other sweet spots one needs But like I said the watch takes a detour from some of the smart wearable elements like the SpO2 sensor that provides a basic reading.

Meanwhile, the heart rate sensor readings won’t be ideal for those dedicated fitness enthusiasts who perform rigorous workouts and want deeper details in their stats. And there is no option for Strava uploads.

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But while it misses out a few points, the bright display, oodles of sports modes, long-lasting battery life covers up for the missing part. The new Mi watch undercuts its rival OnePlus Watch with its sporty features and affordable price. But the final question that arises is who should buy the Mi Watch Revolve Active?

If you are looking for a wearable that can track fitness activities, deliver good battery backup on a budget, then the Mi Watch would be the right fit for you. However, those looking for in-depth heart-rate analysis, and want to export workout data to other apps then they should look for better alternatives. The bottom line is if you are in search of a low-cost sporty smartwatch then pick the Mi Watch, but if you can spend a bit more, Fitbit, Huawei has a few worthy options.

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