The Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro is Xiaomi’s latest smartwatch to go global, landing in the UK roughly a year after it launched the Watch S1 and the S1 Active much further afield.
With the Pro we’re getting a new look, a first look at Xiaomi’s new in-house built MIUI Watch OS that packs many of the same fitness, wellness and smartwatch features as its S1 and S1 Active smartwatches.
It’s sitting at a price point that sees it competing with the Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5. So, is the Pro a big leap over the original S1 and can it compete with some of the best smartwatches in the business? Here’s our take.
Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro
The Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro takes the S1 and gives it an upgrade in the looks department but ultimately doesn’t do quite enough on the software side to make it a really standout smartwatch – particularly when it costs more money.
- Larger, higherresolution display
- Good battery life
- Problems setting up Xiaomi Pay
- Battery drop in heavy usage
- Strap and case looks cheap
- 46mm houses
- Two case color options
- 1.47-inch AMOLED display
Xiaomi says the Watch S1 Pro delivers a classic and sleek design. What that means in practice is you’re getting a 46mm stainless steel case that comes in either black or silver, and that’s partnered up with the choice of a more gym-friendly Vitron strap or a brown leather option – the latter costing around £30 blackberries/€30.
We had the silver case and leather combo to live with and we’d say it’s a reasonably nice looking watch that’s slender at 11.28mm thick. Like the S1 though, it doesn’t really do enough to stand out from the smartwatch crowd. The leather strap attached to it doesn’t feel great quality, though you do have scope to whip it off as Xiaomi uses a simple pin mechanism to quickly remove it. Unlike the S1, you don’t get an additional strap to let you switch between formal and sporty looks out of the box.
There are still two physical buttons with the top one now more reminiscent of a classic watch crown. Unlike the twisting crown on the S1, this one does now usefully let you scroll through watch screens. A tap brings you into the main app screen while a longer press will launch the Amazon Alexa support. Further down is a flatter button, which you can use to get you quicker access into the workout tracking mode just like you could on the Watch S1.
Screen-wise, you’re getting a 1.47-inch, 480 x 480 resolution AMOLED display with sapphire glass on top. That does mean you’re getting a larger and higher resolution screen on the Pro compared to the S1. It’s certainly a bright, sharp, colorful screen, visibility has been good indoors and outside and you do have the ability here to keep the screen on 24/7.
If you want to take it in the water, Xiaomi has kept to a 5ATM rating, which means you can submerge in water up to 50 meters depth, allowing you to take advantage of the pool and open water swim tracking. Even with the leather strap in place it wasn’t a wet mess after a dip in the pool.
Is the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro a classy-looking watch? Well, sort of. Yes, it’s got some more high-grade materials here but it struggles to shake off that feeling of a smartwatch that’s aspiring to look like a normal watch but doesn’t fully pull it off.
- New MIUI Watch OS
- NFC for payments
- Works with Android and iOS
Xiaomi wants its smartwatches to feel more like smartwatches and it’s signifying that on the Pro by introducing its own MIUI Watch OS. At first glance, this OS doesn’t look hugely different from the software we’ve seen on its previous smartwatches.
Along with offering compatibility with Android and iOS (we tested with an iPhone 14), the Pro mainly seems to promise a smoother, better optimized operating system for a dinky display.
On the version that launched in China first there’s the promise of a third party app store, but there’s no sign of it here. There’s none of the mini-apps that appeared on the Watch S1 either.
It’s a pretty familiar gesture-based setup with swipes taking you to the usual places and that does make it easy to get to grips with as a smartwatch operating system. You can set to view apps in a grid or a list and there’s screens packed with mini widgets to give you shortcuts to features like heart rate, stress data and Amazon’s Alexa.
As a smartwatch it’s been a bit of a hit-and-miss experience. You can receive notifications, but those have to be enabled in the Mi Fitness companion app. We were only able to select from a list predominantly populated by China-only apps. We did receive text messages and call notifications but that was about it.
There’s a nice collection of both analogue and digital watch faces where you can customize complications and there’s about 30 additional watch faces you can grab that are all at least free of charge to download.
The Amazon Alexa support works fine once you’ve negotiated the quick setup, but it doesn’t speak out responses to your queries. It did handle most of our queries without much issue though.
Xiaomi Pay, on the other hand, wasn’t quite as smooth. Using NFC to make contactless payments was quite a slow-going process, plus we failed to complete the setup on multiple occasions.
The music player controls work fine but can be a touch slow to respond to taps and swipes and you need to be using it with an Android phone to take advantage of the built-in music player. While the onboard speaker doesn’t seem to work for the Alexa support it does when you want to make calls over Bluetooth if you like to take calls from the wrist.
While the MIUI Watch OS looks and feels slick, there’s some bugginess and missing features that creates a rather clunky smartwatch experience overall.
Health and fitness features
- Dual band GPS
- New temperature sensor
- 100+ sports tracking modes
Xiaomi packs the S1 Pro with plenty of sensors and modes that ensures you have something on your wrist to keep track of your more active time. There’s a PPG heart rate sensor, which supports monitoring heart rate and SpO2 levels throughout the day and night. There’s now a temperature sensor that quickly takes on the spot skin temperature measurements, but like many features here isn’t designed for medical use.
On the fitness tracking side, it counts your steps and monitors sleep time, there’s dual-band, multi-system GPS like the S1 to offer improved outdoor tracking accuracy, and over 100 tracking modes with running courses. The latter is a clear riff of Huawei’s running courses feature, to introduce beginner runners to sessions like interval and fat-burning runs.
The dual-band GPS support fares a little better here than it did on the S1, and while it didn’t entirely match with the distance tracking on the impressive dual band-packing Apple Watch Ultra, metrics like average pace and elevation gain were pretty similar. Average and maximum heart rate readings for steady paced workouts were nicely in line with the Ultra too. However, you do lack the ability to pair up an external heart rate monitor sensor to improve things on the accuracy front at high intensity.
We used it for indoor workouts as well, including indoor rowing sessions and stroke counts, calorie burn estimates and average stroke-per-minute metrics were very consistent with Garmin’s reliable indoor row tracking. Xiaomi does support the ability to share data to some third party apps with the most notable one being Strava here.
As a fitness and health tracker, daily step counts were nicely in line with Garmin’s step tracking while sleep monitoring produced similar sleep duration data and deep, light and REM sleep stage breakdowns compared to the Oura Ring Gen 3.
If you care about keeping tabs on your heart rate, though, we found that resting, average and both maximum and minimum heart rate data were significantly higher than what was reported on an Apple Watch Ultra and the Garmin Epix – two watches we’ve had very reliable continuous heart rate readings from.
SpO2 measurements can be taken on the spot or measured continuously with average readings coming in within 2 percent of a pulse oximeter and the SpO2 tracking on the Oura Ring 3. On the spot skin temperature readings seemed reliable too, so it’s a mixed bag on the accuracy front as far as how useful and insightful the Pro’s health and wellness monitoring features can be.
- 14 days in typical use
- 10-minute quick charge mode offers 2-day battery
- Uses wireless charging dock
The S1 Pro does promise some gains in the battery department going from 12 days to 14 days in typical use over the S1. Getting that maximum battery life means living without features like more precise continuous heart rate monitoring or enabling continuous SpO2 monitoring. Switching the screen to always-on mode will dent it as well.
If you want anything close to 14 days you’ll really need to make those sacrifices. Generally, in more heavy usage we saw a daily battery drop-off 10 per cent, which would work out to about 10 days of battery life. An hour’s worth of outdoor running using the dual-band GPS mode saw battery drop by 8 percent. It basically equates to slightly short of that promised 14 days in typical use but is still a good showing overall.
Xiaomi does include a useful quick charge feature, that means dropping it onto its disc-shaped charging cradle for just 10-minutes will give you 2 days battery life.
The Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro is something out of a mixed bag. While it gives Xiaomi a smartwatch that feels more sleek and high grade than its previous models, ultimately it feels very much the same inside. Measurements can be variable in accuracy, the MIUI Watch OS is buggy and it’s missing features too.
While the S1 Pro has some things to love, at this price, it struggles to match up to its wit more capable competition.