Xiao­mi is con­stant­ly increas­ing the pace, releas­ing more and more of its own and part­ner gad­gets in the same cat­e­go­ry, leav­ing no chance for com­peti­tors.

Appar­ent­ly, the com­pa­ny’s mar­keters work on the prin­ci­ple: “The more devices and hype around, the bet­ter.”

Oth­er­wise, the appear­ance of the Xiao­mi Mi Watch Round smart watch based on the WearOS oper­at­ing sys­tem can­not be explained in any way: the most long-await­ed and strangest wear­able gad­get in the last six months.

Test­ed — I tell.

What are Xiaomi wearable gadgets

Main screen

Xiao­mi mar­ket­ing exper­i­ments: under the brand logo, a lot of rather sim­i­lar devices appear. Star­tups asso­ci­at­ed with the com­pa­ny are try­ing to pro­duce slight­ly dif­fer­ent devices from each oth­er, occu­py­ing all pos­si­ble nich­es. For exam­ple:

one. Xiao­mi releas­es under its own logo the most advanced Mi Watch and its sim­pli­fied mod­el Mi Watch Round, both based on WearOS.

2. Red­mi makes a track­er of the same name and is prepar­ing to release smart watch­es for the domes­tic mar­ket under the same brand.

3. Huami/Amazfit is respon­si­ble for every exist­ing Mi Band (our review), the styl­ish GTS and GTR with AMOLED dis­plays, the rugged T‑Rex, the bud­get track­er watch Bip and Bip S, and the very advanced sports Stratos.

four. Hay­lou is try­ing to mas­ter the bud­get seg­ment by releas­ing sim­pli­fied analogs of Amaz­fit Bip in sev­er­al mod­i­fi­ca­tions, and rather orig­i­nal solar-pow­ered Solar watch­es.

5. TicWatch start­ed under the YouPin logo, and today they sell a line of advanced watch­es on Android WearOS. Judg­ing by the line­up, it was they who gave life to the smart watch­es of Xiao­mi itself.

Due to the large num­ber of options, some mod­els remained region­al nov­el­ties. This list also includes Xiaomi’s own watch: Mi Watch is designed to use local ser­vices, pay using Ali­Pay / MiPay and eSIM of Chi­nese oper­a­tors.

Sim­pli­fied mod­el Mi Watch Round planned for the inter­na­tion­al mar­ketbut after six months it did not go fur­ther than the local niche.

Let’s try to fig­ure it out: why did it hap­pen and does the Euro­pean buy­er need this watch?

The main thing in watches is beauty

Looks nice on the hand

In terms of design, the Mi Watch Round, also known as the Mi Watch Col­or, does­n’t offer any­thing unique: it’s just “anoth­er round smart­watch.”

Not an Apple Watch clone, and already good, right?

They are slight­ly thin­ner than the Apple Watch and the direct analogs of Amaz­fit: with a diag­o­nal of large mod­els, the thick­ness of the case approach­es the female ver­sions. Com­fort­able.

Women and teenagers should look at anoth­er option: a large dial and strap fas­ten­ers make it uncom­fort­able to wear on nar­row wrists.

The reverse side is prac­ti­cal­ly devoid of pro­trud­ing parts.

Die-cast body — out­er part paint­ed alu­mini­um, inner part — durable hypoal­ler­genic plas­tic.

The Mi Watch Round uses a 22mm sil­i­cone strap with a quick-release fas­ten­ing that is grooved on the inside. The qual­i­ty is worse than in Mi Band, dur­ing the night the hand may turn red under the bracelet.

Amaz­fit GTR 47 mm (left), Xiao­mi Mi Watch Round (right)

It is rec­om­mend­ed to imme­di­ate­ly change to an ana­logue from Amaz­fit GTR 47 mm or any watch of the appro­pri­ate size you like.

Wear around the clock such hours are incon­ve­nient — as opposed to more ergonom­ic square mod­els, includ­ing the Apple Watch.

Bright and pretentious AMOLED display

GTR looks bru­tal, Mi Watch looks log­i­cal and styl­ish

One of the most impor­tant advan­tages of Mi Watch Round is a beau­ti­ful AMOLED screen with an impres­sive res­o­lu­tion of 454 × 454 pix­els, a diag­o­nal of 1.78 inch­es and excel­lent pix­el den­si­ty.

The image is clear and leg­i­ble. The bright­ness in Always-On mode is low, but the same can­not be said about the active mode.

There is no dif­fer­ence with the most mod­ern mod­els — like our favorite Watch, Mi Watch Round is per­fect­ly vis­i­ble under the bright sun.

The main draw­back of the screen is the form fac­tor itself. The frames are very large even when it comes to the watch­face.

The inter­face only dis­plays 3x3 icons — it does­n’t fit any­more. But on a reg­u­lar Mi Watch with a small­er diag­o­nal, there are 3 more of them, and the frames are much small­er.

The imi­ta­tion bezel, which ris­es 3 mil­lime­ters above the screen, pro­tects it well in addi­tion to Goril­la glass. And it forms a “dead” zone 3–5 mil­lime­ters away from itself, depend­ing on the thick­ness of the fin­gers.

How to make Google’s WearOS completely useless

Here is the inter­face

But the bezel is not a prob­lem. Trou­ble — offi­cial chi­nese firmware. There is no local mul­ti­lin­gual either. Eng­lish is avail­able in the inter­face, only Chi­nese tra­di­tion­al is avail­able dur­ing pair­ing.

On well-known smart­watch mod­els, WearOS allows you to install wid­gets, pro­grams from the Google app store and mod­i­fy the inter­face.

And both inde­pen­dent­ly through the watch, and through the smart­phone. But this is in inter­na­tion­al devices: you can cre­ate firmware mod­i­fi­ca­tions there.

Xiao­mi watch­es use their own mono­lith­ic ver­sion of WearOS with­out the sup­port of Google ser­vices, which are replaced by local Chi­nese ones.

Brand­ed app store offers a min­i­mum: it has a WeChat client and a lot of non-local browsers, but no Telegram, no What­sApp, no banal Face­book.

So, in fact, the Euro­peans will have to be con­tent with a store with 150 watch­faces, among which ana­logue options from Amaz­fit GTR pre­vail.

As a syn­chro­niza­tion appli­ca­tion, the Chi­nese Wear OS appli­ca­tion is used, which has noth­ing to do with the well-known one.

What can Mi Watch Round actually do?

In the sim­plest sce­nar­ios, knowl­edge of Chi­nese is not required

The watch is con­trolled using a touch screen and a pair of mechan­i­cal but­tons.

The upper one is need­ed to turn on the screen and go to the main menu, the low­er one is to acti­vate the train­ing modes. There are 10 in totalinclud­ing run­ning and swim­ming.

Mois­ture resis­tance of Mi Round is declared to the lev­el 50ATM, but I would not risk div­ing with them to a depth of 50 meters. In the show­er or bath you can not shoot.

In addi­tion, the watch mea­sures the num­ber of steps tak­en and calo­ries burned, heart rate, tracks sleep, shows the weath­er.

There are also more pro­sa­ic func­tions like an alarm clock, a flash­light (the max­i­mum screen bright­ness is used)

All this is locat­ed with the help of swipes from right to left. There is also a menu with set­tings, includ­ing choos­ing a dial and adding wid­gets (set in the firmware).

Swipe up opens the quick set­tings menu, where there is a music man­age­ment depart­ment and your own watch set­tings (bright­ness, acti­va­tion of ener­gy-sav­ing mode, and more).

What about eSIM, GPS and NFC?

Mes­sages only dis­play Eng­lish and Chi­nese

Like its pre­de­ces­sor, Mi Watch Round is based on a vin­tage proces­sor Snap­drag­on Wear 3100. It is still rel­e­vant due to the lack of seri­ous com­peti­tors. But even invet­er­ate Android fans find it fun­ny.

In addi­tion, there is 1 GB of RAM and 4 GB of inter­nal mem­o­ry on board. True, for some rea­son the lat­ter is not avail­able to the user — nei­ther for any per­son­al files, nor for music (and this works even in Amaz­fit Pace).

There is no Wi-Fi, but there is Blue­tooth 5.0 (direct con­nec­tion to head­phones is not sup­port­ed) for syn­chro­niza­tion with a smart­phone, as well as a GPS / BEIDOU / GLONASS nav­i­ga­tion mod­ule.

For nav­i­ga­tion, a pro­pri­etary Chi­nese appli­ca­tion with Chi­nese is used. They work, nav­i­ga­tion is accu­rate, maps are very detailed. But the lan­guage is only Chi­nese, as in the mes­sages.

Fur­ther more fun: the watch does not have a micro­phone, speak­er and eSIM, which have become the main “chip” of the “square watch from xiao­mi itself”. That means you can’t call them.

The watch has an NFC mod­ule to which you can add Ali­Pay and access cards with the appro­pri­ate inter­face to open doors or acti­vate smart home sen­sors.

You can con­nect a Euro­pean pay­ment card, but it will not work. “Troi­ka” not defined.

Who needs Mi Watch Round?

Always-On is dim

Like any oth­er WearOS watch, Xiao­mi Mi Watch Round runs on a full bat­tery charge for about 2 weeks, but no more than 2 days with active GPS or in train­ing mode.

When charg­ing for 2 hours, the prob­lem is small. But against the back­ground of numer­ous long-lived Amaz­fit, Huawei and Mi Band, the plea­sure is doubt­ful.

Wear­ing them on my small wrist is unusu­al and uncom­fort­able: clas­sic men’s watch­es are more com­fort­able and often small­er. It is com­plete­ly impos­si­ble to wear around the clock — they are too large and the bracelet fails.

The indi­ca­tors of the ref­er­ence PPG Track­er from Amaz­fit are almost the same

The accu­ra­cy of var­i­ous modes is good, but stands out from the com­pe­ti­tion: the old-style heart rate mon­i­tor and the inabil­i­ty to con­nect exter­nal sen­sors speak for them­selves.

After all, the absence of even third par­ty app store or cus­tom firmware could give life to this watch. But for now, Xiao­mi Mi Watch Round was cre­at­ed by the Chi­nese for the Chi­nese. And no more.

“Square xiao­mi” were sur­pris­ing­ly more ergonom­ic, com­fort­able and advanced — although their gen­er­al short­com­ings are the same as Round.

I want a smart watch. Which ones to buy?

Where are the hours? I’m con­fused

There is no prac­ti­cal ben­e­fit from Xiao­mi smart watch­es for their 6,5 dol­lars. Need a styl­ish look and accu­rate activ­i­ty track­ing? For this, there are Amaz­fit Pace and Stratos.

Need a cheap and styl­ish track­er? Amaz­fit GTR, Huawei and Oppo/realme look just as good and can do just as well. Yes, they work longer.

In the end, Mi Band 4 with NFC decides. Or Bip, but with­out con­tact­less pay­ment. Or the already men­tioned Hay­lou.

Even Mi fans do not need this

Need a cheap watch Android Wear? And the mod­ern mod­el? Then TicWatch, of which a lot has been cre­at­ed, can be found even for 3–50$.

But Xiao­mi smart watch­es can­not be rec­om­mend­ed to read­ers. Although they tried to imple­ment the best of the Apple Watch and could be a seri­ous com­peti­tor, the cur­rent imple­men­ta­tion does not suit the Euro­pean user cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly.