Xiaomi S1 Smartwatches – The BEST Budget Smartwatch of 2022?!?
For me, long battery life, snappy, os ammo led display, nfc payments, smart home control and, most importantly, packaged in an affordable price tag. This is exactly what ive been waiting for, but this doesnt mean that the smart watches are perfect because, along with the hits there are certainly a few misses. Welcome back to another episode of steves reviews: Music, if you find todays video helps you in any way. I would love it in return if you could hit that thumbs up, subscribe and notification bell and hopefully ill be able to offer you some more advice in the future, but for now lets get stuck in. The s1 has actually been around since december, but the s1 active is relatively new addition to this and together theyre only just getting a global release, meaning that the full feature set has been optimized for the uk eu and us, and i mean the full feature set. Both of these watches have a 1.43 inch amoled display at a resolution of 326 ppi which looks stunning theyve. Both got a ppg heart rate sensor, spo2 sensor, gyroscope, accelerometer, geomagnetic, sensor, air pressure sensor and dual band multi system, gps, which altogether makes for a very comprehensive health tracking experience in over 117 different fitness modes. Along with this, they both use, bluetooth, 5.2, have nfc payments and even utilize built in amazon alexa. All of this was an absolutely astounding battery life that can last up to 24 days.
The main difference between the two is the build. The s1 has a stainless steel body with sapphire crystal face and leather strap, whereas the s1 active features a much lighter plastic body, a rubber, strap and im a big fan of the design of both, although these are made by xiaomi and the os is called the Miui watch os. You wouldnt be mistaken in thinking that there is a lot about the design and os that is very similar and reminiscent of the amazement smartwatch lineup that ive been very fond of in the past and thats a really good thing, its simplistic, its bright. Its easy to use – and there isnt much pump about it. It all has the standard things that weve come to expect, such as notifications from apps, music control and all manner of health related functionality, but unfortunately, on the other hand, it also means that some of the interface that i didnt like from the amazon experience, has reared Its ugly head again, namely the emission of rich notifications and the fact that theres missing logos for many of the apps that youll get notifications from simply replaced by a generic looking icon, which can make for a very messy notification timeline quite difficult to see exactly what Youve got now theres a very good reason for its similarity to the amazebit, lineup and thats, because xiaomi actually has a massive finger in the amazefit pi having backed them since conception. So it would be safe to say that there is definitely some inspiration and crossover here, but with that said, its whats different.
That really sets the s1 series miles ahead of its closest comparisons and competitors within the same price bracket. The most notable of those features. For me is the nfc capabilities. Now followers of the channel will know that ive been screaming for a long time for nfc payment capabilities in the uk, specifically from budget smart watches by companies like xiaomi and the closely related maze fit when youre amazed with gtr3 came out a few months back. I was at a complete loss as why, yet again we werent getting nfc payments, but all of that has now changed and i can finally walk into my pub and buy a pint with my budget. Smart watch this new ability and the excitement i have around it is a little bit overshadowed by a few small annoyances with the nfc payment process. The first is support because ive managed to get hold of this prior to its official global launch. The supported banks and supported card lists arent currently live along with a few other features, but if we were to go by existing examples, the mi band 6, which gained nfc capability a couple of months ago, only supports curve cards in the uk. Coincidentally, ive reviewed curve. A little while back because fintech stuff has always interested me, but in a nutshell, its a free to use financial service that allows you to combine all of your payment cards into one single card and ill drop. A review below for you.
If you want to take a look at that and find out a bit more, but the card i used in my example was the curve card, but out of curiosity, i tried setting up my styling bank account with, unfortunately no success. I do know, however, that whatever it does, support eventually will only be mastercard for now, and the likes of other services such as visa will remain unsupported. The second issue with nfc payments is not so much the support, but the software itself at the time of writing. This review theres only one way to pay from your watch and thats, raising your wrist tapping the top right button, scrolling down to the wallet and then pressing pay at which point youve got 60 seconds to then scan your watch against the reader. This has to be one of the most convoluted methods of nfc payment in a small watch that i have ever seen its mad. As you know, in other smart watches, a simple double tap of one of the buttons usually gives you a shortcut to pay making the experience so much speedier no shortcut currently exists in the s1 series. Thankfully, this is just a software oversight and hopefully xiaomi will see this feedback and make that change in future iterations, perhaps giving us control of what function the button on the bottom does when you press it because as it stands, it can only trigger emergency calls to A predefined number or trigger a preset workout, but on the subject of working out, the workout and activity tracking element of the s1 series is very good, indeed, 117 different algorithms to track activities ranging from standard stuff like running to more niche things like fencing and even Racing cars – i mean thats a bit insane, but if you dont select to do a workout manually, the os does a great job understanding when youre doing an activity and automatically recommends tracking whatever youre doing perhaps whats even more interesting is the speed in which it automatically Pauses, this tracking for workouts, like walking and running when you come to a standstill, perhaps youre stopping for a second to grab a drink.
It will automatically pause really quickly and then, when you continue to move again, it resumes tracking and it does this ultimately to track your workout better and remove unwanted data from standstill segments. Now, weve seen this sort of thing before, but ive never seen a smartwatch. Do it so fast before, although there is a caveat and that its not always the most accurate, if youre doing a slower activity like walking whilst holding onto a dog, lead or perhaps pushing a pram, it seems to have some difficulty understanding if youve stopped your workout Or not, of course, this doesnt happen in manually chosen, workouts and its only in these circumstances that ive come across this particular individual problem. Now, once youve done, your workouts, you can see fitness related metrics on the watch in the in the individual apps or through the widget functionality, which can be customized through the companion app, which actually is another part of the overall experience that i will applaud, is by Far one of the most simple and user, friendly companion apps that ive seen and it makes it really easy to view any recorded data. Install new watch faces from the online store and switch between watches, which in the past has been a horrible experience. Now its super quick to essentially switch between your active and your non active, for example, but thats not to say that everything about the app is quick updating. The watch is horrendously slow straight out of the box.
It took over 30 minutes to download the update sync to the watch and then install during which time i couldnt touch the phone or the watch not really a great first impression. But with that said, once thats done, i found very little to criticize about the app experience which seems to work very consistently, which is quite impressive, actually because its mostly a brand new experience, having only just been updated with an overhauled interface and the added functionality. Obviously, the s1 watches having nfc payments and amazon alexa support, which actually is another thing that makes these watches super special. Although i havent been able to test this function out fully because, as mentioned im using this prior to release, so some of the features have yet to be activated. But the watches have alexa support built in as the voice assistant, which gives me the full functionality of the echo voice service and ultimately means that i can control my smart home devices and routines directly on my watch. I suspect integration of this will be very very similar to the amazement lineup, which has the same support and they work brilliantly with alexa, but obviously only works due to the inbuilt mic and speaker which in turn is used for notifications and bluetooth phone calls. Another staple feature of some more expensive competitors. This speaker seems ample for quieter environments. It can go quite loud. It isnt the most high fidelity speaker, ive ever heard, as you can tell, but ill certainly do enough for smaller quick calls.
Although, oddly you cant make calls directly from the watch to numbers that you havent called before, because theres no way to view your contacts list, only historic call lists so its great. If you want to take a call, but less so if you want to make a call, because youre limited to those that have only called you before, which in my case is nobody again, i dont think this is a capability issue, but more of a misstep in The software development and im hoping that, eventually they implement the ability to import contact lists to make calls directly from the watch to contacts that havent called me already. But lets talk about price, because this is important now on paper everything ive discussed on their own without looking at the whole picture. The individual specifications of the s1 and s1 active might not seem that special. But when you look at the picture as a whole, there arent many competitors that have a battery that lasts several weeks, have nfc payments, 117 fitness tracking modes, bluetooth, calling alexa integration and generally a positive experience for under 200 pounds now because they havent yet launched globally. At the time of filming this episode, i dont have the exact pricing available to me, but to my understanding, the s1 active is around 170 euros, which, if it is that price is extremely reasonable. Considering the feature set, the s1 stainless steel with the sapphire crystal face is a bit more expensive at 229 euros, but you dont need to spend that extra money unless its a real style preference to go for the stainless steel.
Now this price might have changed slightly at launch and obviously, if its gone up, then my opinion might change slightly anything over 190 euros for the s1 active and i guess it would start to lose some of that budget charm. For me, if it stays at 170 or under then thats a real win in my eyes, but to conclude and summarize my thoughts on the new s1 series, theres a hell of a lot to love here and its exactly what ive been waiting for from a budget. Smartwatch but there are a few things that still feel unfinished like the truncated method of payment. All the fact i cant make calls directly from the watch to people that havent called me, but thankfully these are just some of the software issues and im, hoping that these will be improved soon after launched by xiaomi after getting this feedback. But the future is looking extremely promising and i cannot wait to see what the future holds for these watches and smart watches from xiaomi directly its a fantastic start and, despite the odd quirks in the user experience, i think these watches could already be a contender for One of the best budget, smart watches of 2022 – and that concludes todays episode. If you enjoyed it and it helped, you understand the s1 series or if it helps you make a choice to get one or not dont forget to hit that thumbs up and in return.