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Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve Active Review: Excellent Fitness Tracker That Lacks Smartwatch Appeal
Xiaomi has added another wearable to its portfolio- the Mi Watch Revolve Active. It is a sports-centric variant of the original Watch Revolve that largely focuses on offering a plethora of exercise modes along with the most usable wearable features. Priced aggressively at Rs. 9,999, the Mi Watch Revolve Active comes equipped with a PPG heart rate sensor, SpO2 monitor, sleep tracker, built-in GPS, compass, and a host of other useful features.
- Plethora Of Exercise Modes (117)
- Sensors Have Good Accuracy
- Feels Light On Wrist (32g)
- Vibrant AMOLED Display
- Good Battery Life
- Built-in GPS
- Alexa Integration
- Good Insights About Body’s Energy Levels
- No Built-in Speaker
- Reply To Texts Feature Not Available
- Can’t Answer Calls From Wrist
- No 3rd Party App Support
- AOD Feature Takes A Toll On Battery Life
We spent some time with the new Mi Watch to test out its performance as a hardcore fitness-centric wearable.
Design And Build Quality
Similar to the Mi Watch Revolve, the Active variant also features a circular dial with two physical buttons on the right side. However, some cosmetic changes are made to offer a sportier look. Starting with the dial, the screen is now flushed with the steel casing and also skips the time markings. The case now has a matte finish and has the same color as the watch straps.
The raised stainless steel case on the Mi watch Revolve ensures some level of protection to the OLED screen and also gave a professional touch to the smartwatch. If you prefer a more mature and professional-looking smartwatch, the Mi Watch Revolve is an excellent choice.
Moving on, the two physical buttons are now marked with text to make navigation easier in the daily routine. The written text doesn't look glaring as it resides on the black bezel surrounding the OLED display. The ‘Sport' button has been given a red lining that further reiterates the sportiness of the wearable.
The strap quality is decent and the pattern on the bands blends with the sporty look of the dial. We are testing the Beige variant of the Mi Watch Revolve Active but the wearable is also available in Black and Navy Blue color options for the case. You can also buy some additional straps in Olive green, leather black, maroon, beige, black, and blue.
The Mi Watch Revolve Active has a water resistance rating of 5ATM (50 m water resistance) and the screen is protected by a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
Feels Light On The Wrist
You can wear the Mi Watch Revolve Active throughout the day without much discomfort, thanks to the wearable's lightweight body. It feels very light on the wrist but you might want to remove it while sleeping since the big circular dial makes it a bit uncomfortable.
It is also worth mentioning that the Mi Watch Revolve feels a bit more premium than the Active. The Revolve's shiny stainless steel case, time markings on the display, and better quality straps make it comparatively better-looking wearable. But it's not quite right to compare the two since the Active is a sports-oriented wearable and the original Revolve focuses more on an everyday lifestyle routine.
1.39-inch AMOLED Display (326 ppi)
Xiaomi hasn't cut any corners on the display front. Similar to the Mi Watch Revolve, the new variant also flaunts the impressive 1.39-inch circular AMOLED screen. The OLED screen is quite responsive to touch and offers a respectable pixel density of 326 ppi and a resolution of 454 x 454 pixels.
It's a good display overall for a smart wearable. Colors look vivid, text looks crisp and you won't face any major visibility issues while using the wearable outdoors. I could easily check notifications and read stats during outdoor running or cycling.
If we compare the Mi Watch Revolve Active's display with the OLED panel on the OnePlus Watch, the latter offers slightly deeper blacks and better color vibrancy. Also, the screen on the OnePlus Watch feels somewhat more responsive; however, these additional benefits come at a noticeable price difference. The OnePlus Watch is Rs. expensive than the Mi Watch Revolve Active.
Software Features- Some Useful Features Like Compass, Weather, Stopwatch, Etc.
The new Active variant also runs on Xiaomi's in-house wearable OS, which like most of the sub-15K wearables, offers some good to have features but fails to offer a full-fledged smart wearable experience.
For instance, the smartwatch offers a suite of fitness modes (117 sports modes including 17 professional modes), over 100 watch faces, and various useful features such as music playback controls, camera shutter button, in-built compass, alarms, stopwatch, timer, weather, find your phone, torch, etc. The Mi Watch Revolve Active even gets the Always-on-display mode; however, the feature reduces the battery life to half.
Not A Full-Fledged Wearable Experience
What stops the Mi Watch Revolve Active from being a full-fledged smart wearable is its inability to let you reply to notifications, accept an incoming call and download third-party apps. You can only read the notifications, mute, or disconnect an incoming call from the wrist.
If you mute an incoming call, the wearable OS won't let you disconnect it later, which is quite annoying. These are some basic requirements from a wearable that most of the sub-15k smartwatches fail to fulfill, including the Mi Watch Revolve Active. The wearable OS running on these fitness trackers might get mature over time but for now, you have to make some compromises.
UI Navigation And Performance
As far as UI navigation is concerned, the Mi Watch Revolve Active is identical to the Mi Watch Revolve. You can single press on the top crown (Home button) to open the menu screen. Long-pressing it activates the Amazon Alexa and also opens up the menu to reboot, power off, and reset the smartwatch. Alexa integration allows you to check weather, set alarms, set timer and do a couple of other things; however, the functionality is pretty basic. Also, the watch lacks a speaker so you can only read the answers to your Alexa queries.
As the name suggests, the Sports crown button opens up a list of all supported workout modes. You can also set this button to activate a particular exercise from the companion app. Similar to the Mi Watch Revolve, the UI on the Mi Watch Revolve Active could have been a bit more responsive. The screen's average touch response could also be a reason behind it.
I liked the typography and color scheme on Xiaomi's in-house wearable OS. It is colorful and is easy on the eyes. The big font sizes with vibrant hues make it easy to consume information from the wrist. Xiaomi has given good attention to details to simplify the fitness-centric data.
With just one glance, you can understand the heart rate data (graphical charts) sleep records, activity data, etc. Similarly, the companion app also shows health-related statistics in neat and easy-to-understand graphical formats.
Heart Rate Sensor, SpO2 Monitor, Sleep Tracking & More
The Mi Watch Active Revolve comes equipped with a total of six sensors. The wearable has a PPG Heart rate sensor which offers near accurate readings. We compared the heart rate readings with the Apple Watch Series 3 and readings varied marginally.
The wearable can also measure stress, provided that you have enabled continuous heart rate monitoring. The smartwatch measures stress by analyzing your heart rate readings and presents the data in an easy-to-understand graph. The Mi Watch Revolve Active auto-detects workouts such as steps covered, calories burned, and even shows your energy levels by analyzing your daily activity routine.
How Accurate Are The Sensors?
The sensors on the Mi Watch Active perform a decent job of tracking and analyzing your fitness activity and vitals respectively. As I mentioned above, the heart rate sensor matches the accuracy of premium wearables and even the distance and step counter do a good job, if not the best. The SpO2 sensor's readings are pretty close to readings on a dedicated pulse oximeter.
The sleep tracker also provides a good measurement of your sleeping pattern. You can check the total duration of sleep and the sleep distribution chart showing sleep percentage including light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep on the watch and in the smartphone app.
Plethora Of Exercise Modes
Since the Active variant focuses on sports activities, Xiaomi has offered support for 117 sports modes covering a variety of physical activities. No other wearable supports such a long list of fitness exercises. These modes and exercises are divided into nine different categories and can be accessed via the Xiaomi Wear companion app.
The categories include- General (outdoor running, walking, treadmill, trekking, freestyle, etc.) Water Sports (sailing, water polo, water skiing, kayaking, rowing, diving, etc.), Outdoor activities (rock climbing, skateboarding, ATV, paragliding, etc.), Training (stair climber, stepper, flexibility, pilates, strength, cross-training, etc.) Dance (ballet, Zumba, jazz dance, Latin dance, etc.) Combat sports (boxing, wrestling, martial arts, judo, etc.), Ball sports, winter sports, recreational sports, and some other exercises.
Mi Watch Revolve Active As A Fitness Tracker
- There's hardly anything that Xiaomi has skipped when it comes to exercise modes. The huge repository of exercises makes the wearable a good fitness companion. You can start and pause the exercise with just one click on the home button, which comes in handy while doing strength exercises.
- The wearable measures your average heart rate, total calories burned, VO2 Max data and creates a graph displaying your workout type and intensity.
- It even gives a score to your workout performance and shows a recovery time for your body to rejuvenate.
- Interestingly, the Mi Watch Revolve Active is also capable of tracking energy levels. The wearable shows how much energy you have used and regained throughout the day. The wearable does that by logging and analyzing your daily workout routine and health data. The app shows your body's energy level to notify when it's time to relax to regain some energy. These are good insights and haven't been offered by any other smart wearable at this price-point. Good Job Xiaomi.
- What's annoying is the fact that you can't pick up a call from your wrist while working out and have to go back to your cell phone. Moreover, you can't even reply with basic responses- Yes or No to your notifications. This just breaks the workout rhythm and you end up pausing and restarting the exercises, which is a bummer.
Battery Life & Connectivity
If you use the Mi Watch Active Revolve judiciously, the wearable can last for 10-12 days on one full charge. Enabling the Always-on-display and continuous heart rate monitoring can take a toll on the battery life.
Similar to the OnePlus Watch, the AOD mode reduces the battery life to half on the Mi Watch Active. The bundled magnetic charger refuels the 420mAh battery cell in about 2 hours. The wearable connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth 5.0 and maintains a stable connection.
For a price of Rs. 9,999, the Mi Watch Revolve Active is a great fitness tracker with a plethora of exercises and sensors that accurately monitor your vitals. The lightweight design, vibrant OLED display, and good battery life are some of its highlight features. The insights that the Mi Watch Revolve Active offers are quite useful and informative; however, some of its restrictions stop the Mi Watch Revolve Active from being a full-fledged smartwatch. If you are ready to compromise on some basic features, the Mi Watch Revolve Active can be a good option to start an active lifestyle.
The Mi Watch Revolve Active will be available from June 25, 2021 (12:00 noon) on Mi.com, Mi Homes, Amazon.in and retail stores.