It's getting harder to tell the difference between the best smartwatches and best running watches as the two categories are merging more and more. There aren't any smartwatches in 2022 that don't have at least some health and fitness features, and many fitness watches now offer lifestyle features such as contactless payment and smart notifications.
The Xiaomi Watch S1 Active is yet another example of a watch that blurs the line between the two categories. It's the sportified version of the also newly announced Xiaomi Watch S1 and has all the features you'd expect from a top smartwatch, including a bright AMOLED display, premium materials, heart rate sensor, dual-band GPS, contactless payments and smart assistant in a lightweight body.
And if you have flashbacks about the Huawei Watch GT 3/Huawei Watch GT Runner, you're not wrong; you have the exact same setup here with the Xiaomi Watch S1/Xiaomi Watch S1 Active. Both are the same watches but in different watch bodies. The Runner/Active caters for people who need a watch for tracking workouts (lighter body, sweat-resistant materials) while the smartwatch versions are a bit heavier and use different materials for the case/strap (e.g. leather).
Xiaomi Watch S1/Xiaomi Watch S1 Active: Price and release date
Both the Xiaomi Watch S1 and Xiaomi Watch S1 Active were announced on 15 March 2022 and are available to buy now from Xiaomi for a recommended retail price of $269/$199 (Xiaomi Watch S1/Watch S1 Active, respectively). These prices translate to £206/AU$373 for the Xiaomi Watch S1 and £152/AU$276 for the Xiaomi Watch S1 Active in the UK/AU, respectively.
Actual UK/AU prices TBC.
The Xiaomi Watch S1 weighs 52 grams, features a sapphire glass lens and 316L grade stainless steel bezel. It has five strap options: Fluororubber – Silver, Black; Leather – Blue, Black, Brown.
The Xiaomi Watch S1 Active weighs 36.3 grams, has a polycarbonate and a durable metal bezel. The case is available in three colourways, Moon White, Space Black and Ocean Blue. The strap comes in six different colours, including Moon White, Space Black, Ocean Blue, Yellow, Green and Orange.
Xiaomi Watch S1/Xiaomi Watch S1 Active: Features, battery life
Both the Xiaomi Watch S1 and the Xiaomi Watch S1 Active offer essentially the same features.
The main difference is the physical features: the Watch S1 has a sapphire glass lens and stainless steel bezel while the Watch S1 Active features a polycarbonate case and a "lightweight" metal bezel. Both have a 1.43” AMOLED display with 326 PPI resolution and up to 450nits screen brightness.
The watches have a PPG heart rate sensor that measures blood oxygen (SpO2) 24/7, a 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, geomagnetic sensor (digital compass), air-pressure sensor (altimeter), ambient light sensor (to dim the screen automatically when the lights are off) and a dual-band multi-system GPS.
Dual-band multi-system GPS is all the rage now and many top multisport watches, including the Garmin Fenix 7 and the Garmin epix (Gen 2), has it. Having this on-board enables watches to pick up the signal faster and track position more accurately. It also drains the battery more so I doubt it'll be turned on automatically; there is probably a setting somewhere to switch from the default mode.
The Xiaomi Watch S1/Xiaomi Watch S1 Active have a powerful 470mAh LiPo battery with an "up to" 12 battery life which is on par with similar watches in the category (e.g. Garmin Venu 2). In battery saver mode, the watches will last "up to" 24 days. There is a magnetic "wireless" charger included in the box.
Other features include Bluetooth® 5.2/BLE connectivity, Mastercard contactless payment with NFC. built-in Amazon Alexa smart assistant. There are 117 fitness modes and 19 "professional" modes available on the watches straight out of the box and they automatically detect workout modes like treadmill and walking, too. Both watches are water-rated to 5ATM.
Will they stack up against the competition? We'll soon find out, once we managed to review them. The stats look promising for sure!