There are a number of brands that offer e-scooters with an extended electric range of 15-20 miles, with names like Ninebot Segway, Reid and Bird all in the mix, but very few offer as tantalising a package as Xiaomi with its Mi 1S.
Retailing at just under £500, it boasts an impressive 18.5-mile range and a top speed of 15.5mph, while the addition of proper 8.5-inch pneumatic tyres means the riding experience is comfortable and smooth, no matter how many miles you’re thinking of clocking up.
Recently overhauled as a replacement for the popular M365 Pro, it also features upgraded reflectors on the front, rear and flanks for improved visibility and an upgraded Bluetooth-enabled stem-mounted display unit that’s both easy to read and neatly designed.
The only downside is the package remains fairly large, even when the bars are folded, but weighing in at 12.5kg, it’s a lot lighter than some more expensive rivals that we have recently tested.
Xiaomi Mi 1S review: design
The Xiaomi Mi 1S is simple and won’t quite start conversations like the Ninebot Segway Air T15 and sleek Bird One, but it feels well bolted together and features strong, aerospace-derived aluminium for most of the frame and bars.
The main plastic platform is slightly smaller than its larger Pro 2 sibling, but there’s ample room to have even large feet resting one in front of the other. Unlike rival scooters, the rear fender doesn’t double-up as a brake and carries a ‘no step’ warning with it, which is slightly annoying given the rear foot naturally wants to sit here, but it feels strong enough to handle it.
The folding mechanism is incredibly simple, with an easy quick release lever at the base of the bars allowing them to fold backwards and neatly clip onto a holding hook that’s mounted to the rear fender. It’s not the most compact unit when folded but it’s easy enough to heft the 12.5kg mass around by grabbing the folded handle.
A neat Bluetooth display is embedded in the headstock and it’s all very nicely integrated, clear to see and good for getting quick readouts on current speed and the remaining battery life.
Aside from that, the remainder of the cockpit is fairly low-tech, with a standard brake lever for operating a rear hydraulic disc brake and a nicely weighted thumb shifter that deals with the throttle. There’s also a high powered LED headlight and a rear brake light that can be flicked to permanently on via an accompanying smartphone app.
Xiaomi Mi 1S review: performance
Xiaomi Mi 1S review specs
Max Speed: 15.5 mph
Range: 18.5 miles
Weight: 12.5 kg
Water resistance: IP54-rated
Tyre: 8.5 inches
Max Load: 100 kg
Removable battery: No
Speed settings: 3
Riding the Xiaomi Mi 1S couldn’t be simpler. It’s merely a case of applying an initial kick so the scooter starts coasting and then gently winding on the thumb shift throttle to increase pace. The electric motor kicks in at around 5mph and soon has you speeding along at up to 15.5mph before the fun police step in.
There’s also a conventional rear brake, much like you’d find on a bicycle, which pairs up with a clever regenerative braking technology in the front wheel to bring things to a fast and predictable stop.
A larger kick board would allow for a more comfortable and natural feet hip-with apart stance, but that would make the overall package much larger. Instead, riders stand with one foot in front of the other and turn using a mixture of subtle handlebar inputs and natural body lean. It feels like second nature after a few minutes.
Unlike the Pure air 2, the Mi 1S isn’t completely waterproof and it’s not advised to use it in the rain, but the large pneumatic tyres ensure it can handle a much greater array of lumpy road surfaces. The smaller, solid wheels found on some rivals lead to a twitchy and slightly worrisome ride at speed, but these 8.5-inch numbers do a great job of improving stability.
Battery range is pegged at 18.5-miles, based on a 75kg rider scooting around in fairly ambient 25-degrees celsius temperature, but we all know that’s not going to be the case in the UK.
The batteries will drain faster in colder climates and as soon as you throw a few hills into the mix, the remaining range soon slips away, but we’d say it could still handle a ten-mile commute if ridden carefully.
There are a number of riding modes to assist with this, ranging from the slowest ‘Pedestrian Mode’, to the fastest ‘Sport Mode’. It’s also possible to bump up the regenerative braking via the app, but this will rapidly scrub off speed when the throttle is released and leads to a slightly unnatural riding sensation.
Xiaomi Mi 1S review: other features
An accompanying Xiaomi Home app takes care of the scooter, looking after firmware updates and controlling some of the functionality. It’s not as comprehensive as rivals such as Segway Ninebot and Bird, but it handles the basics well. However, it’s also not very clear what app is required. A QR code for something similar would help matters, Xiaomi.
Users must first download the app (after hunting for it), link the device and watch a safety demonstration video, otherwise it won’t stop beeping. But this smartphone dashboard is a handy tool for working out remaining range and ogling at the recent distance covered. It can also be used to lock the scooter, which won’t allow it to be switched on until the owner’s smartphone is paired and the decide unlocked again.
Aside from that, the only other features worth mentioning are the powerful lights, with both front and rear proving nicely visible in the dark, and the aforementioned ability to adjust the regenerative braking. This can help add a few extra miles to the journey.
Xiaomi Mi 1S review: verdict
The Xiaomi Mi 1S sits right in the middle of the current range, costing less than the slightly larger and more powerful Pro 2 but only costing only slightly more than the basic and much slower Xiaomi Essential model.
For that reason, we feel it offers the most in terms of bang for your buck, with a riding experience that isn’t far off its more expensive brethren and packing enough battery range to last most daily commutes.
The Xiaomi Mi 1S isn’t particularly compact when folded but this fact can easily be overlooked when you consider how well it rides over a mix of terrain, the powerful motor and the fact that it’s almost £500/$500 cheaper than something like the Bird One, which only just pips it in terms of top speed and range.
This is a great scooter for those thinking of replacing public transport or even a bicycle with something smaller, more convenient and easier to stash in a flat or office. It offers a great mix of performance, durability and comfort at a price that won’t break the bank.