The Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro hasn’t even been officially announced yet, but new leaks are certainly making it seem like a real, cost-effective alternative to the Apple Watch 8 and Apple Watch SE 2. Like Xiaomi’s other watches, it’ll work with both iOS and Android, but the Pro sounds like a step up in quality to the brand’s previous cheap watches.
If the leaks are true, it’ll be a real contender for the best cheap smartwatch and best smartwatch of the year so far. The leak comes courtesy of proven leaker @_snoopytech_, (opens in new tab) who provided details and images we saw on NotebookCheck.net (opens in new tab). The Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro is set to be revealed at MWC later this month, and it sounds like a real find.
A 1.47-inch bright, crisp AMOLED 480 x 480 display will make the watch look beautiful, especially with its classic design, but surprisingly, this screen belies the watch’s battery capabilities, with a 500mAh battery designed to last up to 14 days.
Considering the average Apple Watch lasts 18 hours, this is almost unbelievable. The notoriously long-lasting best Garmin watches usually pack a less power-hungry memory-in-pixel screen, which isn’t as bright or smooth as a higher pixel-count AMOLED screen offered by ‘true’ smartwatches.
Xiaomi is bringing the Watch S1 Pro to global markets at #MWC23. Pricing starts at €299, Silver and Black.1.47" AMOLED480 x 480 Display500 mAh (14 Days) + wireless Charging5ATMPulse and SP02100 Fitness modesiOS and Android pic.twitter.com/SjYAKPoRQcFebruary 14, 2023
If Xiaomi can juggle both features for the price snoopy claims the watch will be (€299, so approximately $319 / £265 / AU$465) then it’ll be a cheaper option than the Apple Watch SE 2 and last 9.3 times longer. That’s impressive hardware.
Elsewhere, the watch’s stats continue to impress, with 5ATM water resistance (approximately 50 meters), body temperature sensors (which again, the SE2 doesn’t have), 100 fitness modes, and wireless charging.
Analysis: Hardware isn't everything
Let’s be real for a minute: as good as the Watch S1 Pro looks on paper, it’s not going to convince the vast majority of Apple Watch wearers to trade in their tracker for a Xiaomi offering. Apple’s user-friendly software, messaging and marketing is just too good for that.
Although the Xiaomi S1 Pro works fine with iOS, it won’t seamlessly integrate with an iOS phone in the way Apple Watches do. You won’t be able to use it with Apple Fitness Plus in the same way, and it won’t sync with Apple Health – at least without some finangling on your end.
Those 100 fitness modes are also cause for concern. Most devices have a running mode which offers specialist metrics, such as stride length for running, power for cycling or stroke count for swimming. But most other activities, such as yoga, HIIT or climbing, use exactly the same activity profile under different names.
Some watches offer differentiation: for example Garmin often allows you to categorize the routes you climb with the internationally recognised “V” grading system. But there’s often nothing to differentiate between those profiles: after all, how do you measure success in a yoga class?
But for users of both iOS and Andriod who are consistently frustrated with short battery lives in their watches, the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro might scratch that itch. It’s got that lovely AMOLED screen rather than the dark memory-in-pixel of most Garmin watches at that price point, but the lengthy battery allows constant wear, which is great for sleep and heart-rate information.
There’s no word on GPS connectivity, but it means you’ll be able to head out for a run or cycle, even a long one, confident that your watch will see you through. The slick-looking design on the watch, which evokes classic analog wear with its leather strap, milled crown dial and faux-analog watch faces, is the icing on the proverbial cake. No wonder so many watches are starting to come to grips with a hybrid aesthetic, like the Garmin Instinct Crossover.