2020 has seen Xiaomi try to morph itself from a budget darling to a brand that can hold its own in the mid-premium segment. While the Mi 10 delivered that on the smartphone side of things, Xiaomi has been attempting the same in the connected ecosystem space. The Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve is one such attempt to offer a more premium alternative to the extremely popular Mi Band.
Update: April 2021: We have updated this Mi Watch Revolve review with details on the latest software update and feature additions.
Does the Mi Watch Revolve have a good design?
While many budget smartwatches try to copy the Apple Watch design language, Xiaomi is channeling the analog watch aesthetic in the Mi Watch Revolve.
From the circular design with dial marks along the raised chamfered edge as well as twin pushers on the side, the entire design is supposed to evoke the feeling of using a classic watch with digital innards — to some success.
I’ll address the elephant in the room first. The Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve is absolutely massive. The 46mm case size is the only option, and it looks absolutely gigantic on my wrist.
Women or, for that matter, anyone with slender wrists will find the watch just way too big to discretely blend into their daily wear.
The actual display size is a smaller 1.39 inches. Xiaomi would have done well to trim down the dial marks along the edges of the screen. Those look particularly awkward with digital watch faces anyway.
Talking about the display itself, the AMOLED panel has a sufficiently high resolution and the watch faces — all 110 of them — look fantastic. Peak brightness was adequate and I had no issues looking at the watch under direct sunlight.
The AMOLED panel also affords the Mi Watch Revolve the ability to have an always-on display, which is a handy addition when you just want to view the time. Like standard watch faces, the software offers a number of options for the always-on display. These include both analog and digital options.
Elsewhere, I’m on the fence about the design, and more importantly, the quality of the watch case. If you are into bling, the shiny edge around the case might be to your liking, but I found it to be a bit too loud for my taste.
The build quality is good enough for the price, but I wouldn't call it premium.
While the chamfered edge around the display appears to be made of plastic, the rest of the body is a mix of brushed aluminum and hard plastics. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it a premium build, but it will more than suffice for the price the Mi Watch Revolve commands.
The two pushers, in particular, feel great to use with just the right amount of give. While the one at the top drops you into the app menu, the second pusher can be set as a shortcut key for most watch functions. By default, it is set to bring up the workouts menu.
The rear of the watch is fairly bare-bones with a mild protrusion for the heart rate sensor and charging pins. The included charging cradle uses magnets to align with the watch and can top off the 420mAh battery in about an hour and a half.
As is often the case, Xiaomi might have been a bit optimistic with its two-week battery life claim. With extensive use of the display, notifications, and a few workouts, I needed to charge up the Mi Watch Revolve on the eighth day of use. This is very good, especially for a watch with an always-on display, but not quite what the company claims.
The included strap on the Mi Watch Revolve was clearly built to a cost, and I’m not a big fan. However, Xiaomi did great by using standard 22mm quick-release straps that can easily be swapped for any watch band of your choosing.
Overall, Xiaomi has done a pretty good job with the design and construction. While the Oppo Watch definitely feels a bit more premium, it is also a bit more expensive. For the form factor chosen by Xiaomi, the Mi Watch Revolve strikes a good enough balance between build quality and choice of materials.
Size aside, the 40g weight is definitely comfortable enough to keep the watch strapped on for sleep tracking at night. The watch is also waterproof down to 5ATM.
Fitness and health
Fitness tracking on the Mi Watch Revolve is, for the most part, a souped-up version of the modes you get on the Mi Band 5 or Mi Band 6.
The watch can record 10 different activities. Those include outdoor running, treadmill running, trail running, indoor and outdoor cycling, trekking, pool and open water swimming, walking, and even freestyle workouts. The built-in GPS ensures that you can go out for a run or cycling with just the watch if you so wish.
Starting an activity is easy enough. Hit the workout shortcut or swipe into the app drawer and tap the workout app. From here, you can select your choice of activity and you’re good to go.
I took the Mi Watch Revolve out for a walk around the block on multiple occasions and the step tracking proved to be pretty consistent with the reading from my Fitbit Ionic. The same goes for the distance measured. However, the Mi Watch Revolve suffers from the same issues plaguing the Fitbit Ionic — it takes forever to latch on to a GPS signal.
In fact, during one workout, I was halfway through a 1.6-kilometer walk by the time the watch latched on to a GPS signal despite the mostly clear sky above.
The Mi Watch Revolve took forever to latch-on to a GPS signal.
Heart rate tracking was generally pretty accurate too. The watch pegged my resting heart rate at 62bpm which is close enough to the 58bpm measured by the Ionic, and within the range of readings from other fitness trackers as well. Similarly, during workouts, the captured heart rate was in line with the reading from the Ionic.
Elsewhere, sleep tracking is the Mi Watch Revolve’s strong suit. I found the watch accurate at capturing exactly when I fell asleep and woke up. It can catch the distribution between light, deep, and REM sleep. It then gives you a sleep score to help you better understand your sleep patterns.
In fact, the Mi Watch Revolve goes a step beyond and captures additional metrics like mental stress and overall energy. For the former, the watch captures heart rate variability when you are sitting still for a long duration of time. Using this data, it is able to estimate if you are relaxed or not, giving you an overall score.
Looking back at the data, it was mildly accurate at pointing out that I wasn’t feeling very relaxed. However, I wouldn’t really trust this data to track my stress levels.
Similarly, the watch now assigns you an energy score. The score is calculated using your overall sleep data, heart rate, workout information, and heart rate variability. During my week with the watch, the reading consistently stayed close to 90% and that definitely couldn’t be true considering I barely got two hours to three hours of sleep each night.
Is the Mi Watch Revolve a good smartwatch?
The Mi Watch Revolve is closer to a fitness tracker than an actual smartwatch in its integration with your smartphone. As such, the watch can indicate notifications, incoming calls, show you the weather, but that’s about it. No, you still can’t reply to text messages.
Navigation around the interface is pretty straightforward. Swiping left jogs you through a range of widgets showing off all the fitness metrics. The pusher on the right drops you into the app drawer from where you can scroll through the interface.
Talking about the interface, the square icons don’t make full use of the round display and seem a bit tacked on.
The Xiaomi Wear app has precious few options to customize your experience outside of downloading from a selection of over 100 watch faces.
Over on the Mi Watch Revolve, you can set a do-not-disturb mode, adjust auto-brightness and raise to wake. Of course, there’s a find my phone function, and you can control music playback on your phone as well. This is all par for the course and works as expected.
The Mi Watch Revolve can track stress and energy levels, but I wouldn't put too much faith in the results.
There’s no app store on the Mi Watch Revolve, but Xiaomi has tossed in a few apps for features like sleep, stress, and energy scores. These apps display the same data that you’d get in the app on the phone. Elsewhere, there’s an alarm function, stopwatch, and timer. Weirdly enough, the stopwatch can’t be used in the background which is an odd omission. Finally, a torch app lets you convert your watch into, well, a wrist-mounted torch.
Following a recent update to version 1.2.52, Xiaomi has added extra functionality including the ability to control the camera shutter using the Mi Watch Revolve. Additionally, the watch gains Alexa support. Tapping a dedicated Alexa button in the pull-down drawer lets you connect to the Alexa app on your phone and parse queries through it. The watch can display most queries as text on the display itself. Finally, the update adds in two additional watch faces.
Also read: Fitbit Sense review: A work in progress
How’s the Xiaomi Wear app?
The Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve makes use of the new-fangled Xiaomi Wear app. Strewn across three different sections, the app gives you access to device controls, health information, and your personal profile.
The device controls section is pretty bare-bones. It only includes control over notifications, incoming calls, and watch faces. Meanwhile, the profile section is even more basic and just lets you add essential information like your date of birth, height, and weight.
The primary data page takes a widget-like approach and gives you basic information for workouts, steps, heart rate, and more. You can then dive in and take a look at more granular information.
Unfortunately, there is no way to export your data at all which is a definite downside in my books.
Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve specs
|Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve|
454 x 454 resolution
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
|Sensors||PPG heart rate sensor|
Ambient light sensor
Estimated 14-day battery life
20 hours in GPS mode
|Tracking and other features||Outdoor running|
Open water swimming
Message and call notifications
5ATM water resistance
|Charging method||2-pin POGO connector|
|Supported devices||Android 5.0+ or iOS 10.0+|
|Colors||Midnight Black, Chrome Silver|
Value and competition
The Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve isn’t the only option in the price segment. In fact, Huami has been churning out a range of wearables that offer up a variety of case designs, and a similar degree of smartness.
If you prefer a more butch design, the Amazfit T-Rex or T-Rex Pro might be more to your liking. In our review, we found it to be a bit too simplistic with a build that didn’t live up to the price. The Amazfit T-Rex is priced at Rs. 9,999, right alongside the Mi Watch Revolve.
If you are willing to step up your budget, the Oppo Watch is one of the better Wear OS smartwatches. It offers a full-blown connected experience for not much more money. Priced at Rs. 14,990, it requires a higher initial outlay, but the third-party app store and reliable connectivity make the Oppo Watch an excellent option.
Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve review: The verdict
Look, if you want a large screen fitness tracker that offers a wide variety of watch faces and just enough smarts, the Mi Watch Revolve might cut it for you.
Don’t get me wrong — the Mi Watch Revolve is a rather good fitness tracker, but at half the price the Mi Band 6 delivers much of the same capabilities. I’m not sure if the added bits are truly worth the extra cost involved. More so when an actual Wear OS smartwatch like the Oppo Watch doesn’t cost that much more money.
There’s not much that’s wrong with the Mi Watch Revolve. In fact, even the pricing isn’t exorbitant at all. However, prospective buyers would be well served by knowing exactly what they are buying — an upgraded fitness tracker, and not a value-priced smartwatch.