Technophile

Mi Watch Revolve: Long battery life for the active

Mala Bhargava | Updated on October 07, 2020 Published on October 07, 2020

Vibrant circular display, easily changeable bands, among other useful features of Xiaomi’s smartwatch

You may remember Xiaomi’s very first Mi Smart Band from May 2015. It had no display and boasted of a 30-day battery life — which of course is easy without a display. Despite being bare-bones, it did have Bluetooth and would sync with the app on your phone. At a time when we were getting used to charging smart devices every day, this was just unbelievable. The company continued to launch smart bands and they were really popular, but if you wanted a smartwatch from Xiaomi, you’d have to look at Huami’s Amazfit watches which isn’t straying too far since they’re Xiaomi partners anyway. But now we have Xiaomi’s own smartwatch, the Mi Watch Revolve and it too boasts of unusually long battery life of one to two which is a lot for a full colour touchscreen smartwatch

Mi Watch Revolve will have to go head to head with Amazfit, Huawei, Honor and Fossil to name a few smartwatch makers active in India. But first, let's get the elephant in the room out of the way — there is no part on this watch that revolves. Many Samsung smartwatches have a rotating bezel to control interface elements, this does not. The icons don’t revolve either — the watch apps have square icons that are arranged in a grid that scrolls up or down. So there’s no specific reason for calling it Revolve, except that it sounds good.

In the box, you get the watch, a pre-installed watch strap (22mm width) and a USB charging cable with magnetic dock. To set it up, you need the new Xiaomi Wear app for Android or Wear Lite app on iOS. Setup takes a few minutes and is completed without a hiccup. The watch itself is smart though traditional looking with a 1.39-inch circular AMOLED touchscreen display and two buttons on the side. It's also available only in a 46mm size which is fairly large and typically masculine. The stainless steel frame is available in a choice of two colours (midnight black, chrome silver) while the straps are available in 5 different colours including black leather. Note the stainless steel 'frame' and not casing — the underside of the watch that actually makes contact with skin — is plastic. This is what contributes to the 40 gram weight, excluding strap.

After a full 10 hours of use, it's pleasantly surprising to see the battery percentage go from 100 per cent to just 96 per cent. But that is the main draw of the Revolve and it's achieved using aggressive power saving measures that are all enabled by default. The always-on display feature is off, display brightness is mid, screen time out is low, app notifications are all off. You can delve into the settings and switch on what you need but even then, you can’t leave the display on for longer than 20 seconds and it has limited watch faces with minimal elements.

Several useful features

Settle into a long term routine with the Revolve and you'll appreciate that it has several useful features like a sharp and vibrant AMOLED screen, heart rate monitor with variability, stress monitor, 10 sports modes with GPS, 5ATM water resistance (swim workouts possible too), over a 100 free watch faces in the app, a digital compass, altimeter, alarm, idle alerts, sleep tracker and so on. The couple of things that are missing are the ability to add any apps of your own (it has a proprietary operating system, after all) and the ability to take calls. It can still show you who's calling and you can always reject the call from the watch - small mercies for the hermits among us.

We found the step/exercise tracking and heart rate measurements to be fairly accurate when benchmarked against more expensive Fitbit and Apple wearables, so no complaints there. And the introductory sub ₹10,000 price is attractive too. It's a great option for someone who doesn't want to spend too much but still wants most of the trappings of a high-end smartwatch. If you're a fan of the rounded off rectangular design, you can always consider the Amazfit GTS. If you like a more sporty appearance, there's Amazfit T-Rex and if you want to consider some classic round designs, consider Amazfit GTR or Honor Watch Magic 2.

Price: ₹9,999 (introductory price) — ₹10,999 post introductory

Pros: Premium stainless steel design, vibrant circular display, easily changeable bands, long battery life

Cons: Large, some interface elements jarring, feels too lightweight, no calls or speaker, over active power saving

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Published on October 07, 2020
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