Mi Watch Revolve is the first smartwatch from Xiaomi to launch in India, and it looks as though the company has been doing its homework. The Mi Watch Revolve sports some interesting hardware which isn't common in wearables at this price point. It runs proprietary software and is capable of tracking multiple exercises. To top it all off, Xiaomi claims standby time of two weeks so you shouldn't have to charge this watch frequently. Xiaomi had priced the Mi Watch Revolve at Rs. 10,999 in India, which seems quite aggressive. So is this the smartwatch for you? I have reviewed the Mi Watch Revolve to find out.
Mi Watch Revolve design and specifications
Xiaomi has got the basics right when it comes to design. You get a circular display with a thin black bezel surrounding it. This is packed inside a shiny metal body with two buttons on the right. The button on the top is the power button and it can also be used to bring up menus while using the watch. The second button is a shortcut key and can be assigned to a quick workout or a different function of your choosing. Both these buttons offer solid clicky feedback.
The Mi Watch Revolve has a 46mm case which makes it bigger than some of the other wearables you get in the market. While the big display is easy to read and packs in more content on each screen, it could look and feel too big if you have skinny hands. You might also accidentally hit the watch while walking around, something I did in the first few days that I was using it. Xiaomi has raised the case around the 1.39-inch AMOLED display which helps keep it safe in the event of accidental knocks. There is Corning Gorilla Glass 3 with an anti-scratch coating for protection as well. After 15 days of use, I can say that there are no scratches on the display of my review unit.
The Mi Watch Revolve is capable of exercise tracking and is water-resistant upto 5ATM
You can choose between Midnight Black and Chrome Silver cases when buying this smartwatch. I had a Chrome Silver unit with a Neptune Blue strap. The strap is 22mm in width and can be swapped for any standard 22mm strap. Xiaomi has used quick release pins to attach it to the watch lugs, so it can be removed easily without using any tools.
Turn the watch around and you will find a heart rate sensor in the centre of the rear, with one contact point on either side for charging. Xiaomi offers GPS and GLONASS on the Mi Watch Revolve, which let it track walks and runs without needing to be paired to a smartphone. It also has Bluetooth 5 LE for connectivity and an ambient light sensor to adjust the screen brightness automatically.
Surprisingly, the Mi Watch Revolve isn't too heavy. It weighs around 60g with the included straps, while the body alone weighs 40g. However it does feel bulky, and sleeping while wearing this big watch isn't easy. At least Xiaomi has utilised the big case well by packing in a 420mAh battery. The Mi Watch Revolve is also water resistant upto 5 ATM so you can take it for a swim without any issues.
Mi Watch Revolve software
You will need to install the Xiaomi Wear App if you are on Android, or the Xiaomi Wear Lite App on an iPhone to pair the smartwatch. I paired my Mi Watch Revolve with an Android smartphone. The process was quite simple, and the watch maintained a steady connection. You can configure the Mi Watch Revolve using the app and decide which apps are allowed to notify you on your wrist. You can also change watch faces and download new ones to suit your requirements. You can switch between watch faces from the Mi Watch Revolve once you have downloaded them.
Mi Watch Revolve has a heart rate sensor and charging contacts at the back
The Mi Watch Revolve works more like a notifier, which means you cannot reply to messages. If you were hoping to be able to carry on a WhatsApp conversation from the watch, you won't be able to do it. You will be able to see alerts for incoming calls but you won't be able to take a call through the watch like you can with the Huawei Watch GT 2 (Review) or many other options.
You can change a few settings on the watch itself, for example you can set the display brightness manually or enable automatic adjustment, change vibration intensity, and toggle always-on mode. You can use the Find Phone feature on the watch to make your smartphone ring out loud. The Mi Watch Revolve can also show the atmospheric pressure and elevation, and has an in-built compass which is helpful if you like trekking or other outdoor activities.
Mi Watch Revolve performance
To test the accuracy of the Mi Watch Revolve, I counted 500 steps manually as I walked, and saw that the smartwatch counted 502 steps which isn't a huge deviation. I also covered a distance of 500m, and the device calculated 510 meters. Distance and step tracking show slight deviations, but not enough to bother a casual user. At the end of the day you will still be able to get a fair idea of the amount of steps you have taken and the distance you have covered.
Sleep tracking was accurate, and the Mi Watch Revolve did a good job of tracking different stages of sleep. It shows records in phases labeled Deep Sleep, Light Sleep, REM, and Awake, and also guides you to improve sleep quality. I did not wear the Mi Watch Revolve to sleep every night, as I found it to be a bit too bulky to sleep comfortably with it on my wrist.
The Xiaomi Wear App on Android is required to use the Mi Watch Revolve
Heart rate tracking was fairly accurate but the Mi Watch Revolve was sometimes slow to register a change in heart rate. This was noticeable especially when I was exercising. The Mi Watch Revolve is also capable of tracking stress by measuring heart rate variability and comparing that to activity intensity data. This works best when you are stationary and might fail to give a reading if you are moving or working out. The Mi Watch Revolve also shows “energy levels” by considering multiple parameters such as daily activity, exercise, stress, and sleep. I noticed that it reported lower energy levels on days when I didn't sleep well, but I wouldn't take this metric seriously.
Battery life for the Mi Watch Revolve will vary depending on how you set it up, and the frequency of your workouts. I got about two weeks out of the Mi Watch Revolve by allowing only select notifications from a few apps and disabling the always-on display function, but continuous heart rate tracking was enabled. With the always-on display active and with lots of notifications for messaging apps such as WhatsApp, you will likely see a drop in battery performance. If you frequently go out on walks and track exercises, the GPS on the Mi Watch Revolve will also contribute to battery drain.
The Mi Watch Revolve uses a proprietary charging cradle
Charging the Mi Watch Revolve requires a proprietary charger. You can simply drop the watch onto the cradle and it will start charging through the contact pins. I plugged the cradle into a standard wall charger, and it took the battery up to to 32 percent in 30 minutes and 62 percent in an hour. Charging the watch completely took slightly over two hours.
The highlights of the Mi Watch Revolve are its circular body and crisp AMOLED display. In terms of functionality, it feels a lot like a fitness band in the body of a smartwatch. Even so, you do get the advantages of a bigger body in terms of better battery life and some additional features compared to the Mi Band 4 (Review) and Mi Band 5.
The Mi Watch Revolve undercuts the Huawei Watch GT 2 by a fair bit when it comes to pricing, making Xiaomi's offering easy to recommend. However, if you want a proper smartwatch experience, you will have to spend almost twice as much for the Oppo Watch or the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2.