Want to get on to the smartwatch (wearable tech, as some insist on calling it) bandwagon, but are in no mood to bust the bank by too many bucks? Well, your choices are kind of limited. Smartwatches, like most other devices, tend to fluctuate wildly in terms of performance as their price dips. Yes, an Apple Watch is a magnificent device but it also comes with a very stiff price tag. And while there are otters that are far more affordable, the problem is that the lower you come down the price ladder, the worse performance tends to get, and the more limitations you get. In fact, getting a decent, usable smartwatch for anything under Rs 6,000 is a bit of a challenge.
Which is where the Redmi Watch steps in.
An affordable price, and smart looks
Let us get one thing out of the way – the most attractive thing about the watch is its price. Redmi is known for bringing in gadgets at surprisingly affordable prices and this one is no exception – at Rs 3,999, this is perhaps the most affordable smartwatch from a major international tech brand.
But it definitely does not look cheap. It comes with a large 1.4 inch LCD square display, its plastic body is well designed and the strap that comes with it is comfortable to wear as well. It looks solid enough to take a fall, and a 5 ATM resistance means you can go swimming with it. It comes with a single button on the side for navigating to the menu and that display is a touchscreen that is surprisingly responsive and well designed.
Great for tracking heart rate and fitness
The good part is that for its price, the Redmi Watch gives you a fair bit. Yes, it is actually more of a fitness tracker but whereas other fitness bands and smartwatches at this price tend to compromise on the accuracy of tracking steps and even heart rate, the Redmi Watch is a very solid performer. Its heart rate sensor was one of the most accurate we have seen at this price point, and as the watch is one of the few at this price to come with GPS inbuilt (most others use the phone’s GPS), footstep tracking and distance covered were both again impressively close to the real figures. No, there is no blood oxygen testing onboard, but Xiaomi says that this is because the brand did not feel it could deliver an accurate measure here, which makes its exclusion justifiable – there are far too many trackers and watches out there with very inaccurate heart rate and blood oxygen readings.
The watch can track eleven fitness activities (including cricket) and for the most part, seemed to do a good job, The big display is bright and handy enough for viewing data – some of the trackers use tny fonts and numbers which can be a problem, but the Redmi Watch thankfully is big enough to view content comfortably on. You can watch your heart rate trends, steps walked and calories burned and even do a few breathing exercises using it.
Scores on smarts, misses out on sleep
Of course, this is a smartwatch so you will get some smart features too – most notably message and social network alerts right on your wrist. You will not be able to respond to them but you will easily be able to see a couple of lines at the very least, giving you a rough idea of whether it is worth pulling out the phone to take a closer look at them – it works both with Android and iPhones, so you are covered. You cannot handle calls from the watch which might put off some, but then again, at this price, we do not think that is crucial. And a ten day battery life means that charging it is not a hassle – it also gets charged swiftly enough in around two hours (that’s fast for a smartwatch). You cannot load music on to the watch but you can control music on your phone using it.
One area where the watch comes up a little short is sleep tracking. It will track your sleep at night, but does not seem to realise when you drop off for a snooze in the afternoon. Some might also miss an always on display, but the raise to wake functionality worked well enough for me. And no, there are no third-party apps at this price – you get the apps you have on the watch and that’s it. One of the best features of the watch is its software and interface – it is easy to understand and use and is bright and colourful. What’s more, it works equally well on Android and iOS, which is a rarity at this price point. Most budget smartwatches tend to have slightly erratic and buggy software. The Redmi Watch, however, is an ace in this department!
All this for sub-Rs 4,000? Deal, we think!
So, the Redmi Watch delivers reasonably reliable heart rate and fitness statistics, has GPS onboard, is smart enough with notifications, and tops it off with good battery life. It looks smart enough too and has a large enough display for one to read off easily. All this with a good clean interface that is very responsive and relatively easy to use. At Rs 3,999, that is quite a lot. The only alternative that comes close to this is the Amazfit Bip U, which also adds a blood oxygen monitor to the mix, but it loses out on the software – Redmi is just way sleeker in this regard.
A good smartwatch for about Rs 4000? We would right now vote for this one. It does not do everything, but almost everything that it does, it does well (sleep tracking aside). For this sort of price, that’s pretty amazing.