Xiaomi Watch S1 test: a convincing but perfect upgrade

The interface of the Xiaomi Watch S1 is mainly based on its touch screen. However, the top button on the right edge is used to return to the main dial or to display the list of apps, while the button below has the default role (you can change the action in the Mi Fitness app) to open the activity menu to quickly start one of the 117 exercises the watch offers.

Touch operation is otherwise very intuitive and responsive. Swiping down shows your most recent notifications, swiping up opens the Shortcuts pane (Do Not Disturb, Silence, Alarm, Settings…). Side scrolling, for its part, leads to scrolling in different UI elements, which are organized differently compared to those on the Mi Watch, since they are now grouped together by default. This eliminates the need to scroll through many screens, while still accessing details with a single click on the desired tool. Thus we can quickly reference heart rate, sleep duration last night, activity metrics (step count, calories burned, number of times hiked during the day), weather forecast or even an audio player. The organization of the gadget can be changed in the smartphone application.

Good point, the ambient light sensor allows the watch to change the intensity of the light on its screen automatically. It’s too bad it doesn’t go down any further for nighttime use. Fortunately, the automatic Do Not Disturb mode takes care of turning off the screen at night and deactivating the automatic ignition with a movement of the wrist.

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Regarding the dial, there are many options, from classic digital hands with integrated complications, to moving dials and more sports dials. Many other watch faces are available for download. However, it is too bad that the definition of some of the dials is not higher, because even the default dial displayed when the watch is first turned on does not particularly satisfy the infinite contrast and good display resolution of the Amoled panel on the Watch S1 (visible anti-aliasing on the hands, limited contrast).

Equipped with a speaker and a microphone, the Xiaomi Watch S1 can be used to make phone calls via Bluetooth. The sound is somewhat muffled and the speaker saturates quickly, but the conversation remains clear and the watch manages to cut out some of the ambient noise to maintain good audio clarity.

Although the Watch S1 runs NFC, unfortunately we have not been able to use contactless payment, which does not appear to be active in France yet.

Stan Shaw

<p class="sign">"Professional food nerd. Internet scholar. Typical bacon buff. Passionate creator."</p>

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