Unlike the Apple Watch to the iPhone, Android users still don’t have a universal wearable companion. Instead, a variety of manufacturers are still tussling to deliver a flagship smartwatch that works harmoniously with all devices out there. Samsung is the nearest there is – whether you pick up the regular Galaxy Watch, Galaxy Watch Active or Galaxy Watch Active 2 you’re treated to a device that can not only deliver your notifications but also boasts a swathe of health and fitness integration, too. However, these TizenOS-powered wearable still has closer ties to Samsung-branded smartphones than Android Wear rivals.
And that’s where Xiaomi sees an opportunity. The company is no stranger to wearables – the Chinese manufacturer has sold fitness bands and trackers for a while – but now it’s taking the smartwatch sphere seriously. The firm launched its new Mi Watch last month and now it’s releasing the Mi Watch Color today. The biggest difference between the Mi Watch and new Mi Watch Color is design. The former boasts a square case that looks similar to the Apple Watch while the latter is circular.
First of all, the Xiaomi Mi Watch Color comes with a 1.39-inch AMOLED display that packs a resolution of 454×454 and can be customised with over 100 watch faces. The device’s panel isn’t completely bezel free – there’s a small border around the outside of the display that has little pointers to help you see the time at a glance if you’re using an analogue watch face.
It’s currently unclear what operating system the device is running, but if Xiaomi follows tradition it will likely be a customised version of Google’s Wear OS platform. When it comes to features, the Mi Watch Color does everything you’d expect – it can monitor a user’s heart rate, sleep and fitness activities. And of course, the device can alert you to notifications.
The Mi Watch Color also comes with GPS and NFC, allowing you to quickly leverage it for location tracking and quick payments respectively. It’s water-resistant up to 50 metres too, so you won’t have to worry about taking it off if you’re going for a dip in the pool.
All of this sounds incredibly tantalising, but what about battery life? Well, Xiaomi is promising users will be able to get a whopping 14 days of battery life on a single charge.
According to Gadgets360, the Mi Watch Color will come in black, gold and silver colours and as you’d expect the Chinese tech firm is selling a variety of bands to go along with it.
Xiaomi’s newest wearable goes on sale in China today and retails for 799 Chinese Yuan, which translates to roughly £87. That’s almost half the price of Samsung’s cheapest smartwatch – the Galaxy Watch Active.
Before you rush out to pick up a new companion for your Android device there are a few things you take note of though. Firstly, it appears the device will only come in a Bluetooth flavour, meaning it can’t be used on its own to make phone calls. Secondly, the smartwatch is currently limited to Chinese markets for now and it’s unclear if Xiaomi has any plans to launch it in other territories.
Xiaomi isn’t the only Chinese manufacturer looking to challenge the biggest players in the Android smartwatch space though. Last month Oppo revealed it’s hard at work on a wearable that’ll likely be shown off at MWC in February.