[REVIEW] : Xiaomi Watch S1 test: a convincing but perfectible move upmarket

As it did with its smartphones, Xiaomi is also moving upmarket in the connected watch segment with its Watch S1. Steel case, sapphire crystal and leather strap seem to bring Xiaomi into the big leagues.

Presentation

Overall convincing in the mid-range with its Mi Watch connected watch, Xiaomi is now targeting the upper range with its Watch S1. Taking the technical basis of the Mi Watch, in particular its heart and SpO2 sensors, the S1 is thus more luxurious with its sapphire crystal flush with its stainless steel case, which attaches to the wrist with a leather strap.

Large AMOLED screen with permanent display, dual-band GPS, 5 ATM water resistance, Bluetooth calls, wireless charging and long 12-day autonomy complete a technical sheet which allows the Watch S1 on paper to rub shoulders with the big names in the category. Xiaomi nevertheless remains faithful to its aggressive pricing policy, marketing its Watch S1 at €269.99, when competing watches with equivalent equipment often exceed €300 or even €400.

Ergonomics and design

The Xiaomi Watch S1 can be considered somewhat of a premium version of the Mi Watch, released a year ago. It corrects most of the faults that we found in the latter, in the first place of which its too plastic construction and the low scratch resistance of its glass.

If the base of the case of the S1 remains in polymer, its entire upper part including the bezel is now in stainless steel with a shiny finish on the top and brushed on the edges. A design of the most beautiful effect which immediately gives a luxurious aspect to the tocante.

The scratch-resistant sapphire crystal blends seamlessly into the case with its bevelled edges. It protects a large 1.43-inch AMOLED panel, well defined (466 x 466 px, or 326 ppi) and whose almost perfect blacks merge with the 3 mm borders (4 mm including the thickness of the case).

The 46.5 mm wide watch remains suitable for fairly wide wrists, the bracelet not being designed for too thin wrists anyway (adjustable length from 157 to 241 mm). Too bad Xiaomi does not offer a smaller version of its Watch S1.

The Xiaomi Watch S1 and S1 Active arrive in Europe

Good news for those who were impatiently awaiting the launch of connected watches Xiaomi Watch S1 and Watch S1 Active in Europe. As Wearable informs us, both smartwatches will arrive with us in March.

After being launched in China, the Xiaomi Watch S1 and S1 Active are setting out to conquer the European market. Indeed, the Chinese firm plans to market them in the Old Continent from this month of March. As expected, the Watch S1 will cost more than the “Active” version. Both support the NFC protocol and embed Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. Regarding the Watch S1, it has a 46 mm case measuring 11 mm thick. Its weight is 52 g. It sports a 1.43-inch AMOLED screen covered by a sapphire crystal lens.

Features more useful than each other

The Xiaomi Watch S1 integrates different kinds of sensors. In particular, it can measure the heart rate and assess the level of oxygen present in the blood. Of course, Xiaomi has not forgotten to equip it with standard motion sensors. The watch is also compatible with the dual-band multi-system GPS function. A feature that ensures more precise navigation. For sports enthusiasts, more than 100 fitness modes are available. Added to this is the ability to sync data with Strava and the Apple Health app.

In addition, the Watch S1 is compatible with Android and iOS. It even gives the possibility of making phone calls via Bluetooth. Regarding the contactless payment function, Xiaomi announces support for Mastercard. On the power side, the smartwatch incorporates a 470 mAh battery that promises up to 12 hours of battery life in typical use. Maximum battery life is 24 days in power save mode. It should be noted that this wearable from the Chinese firm is compatible with fast charging.

What about the Watch S1 Active?

For its part, the Xiaomi Wacth S1 Active adopts a case displaying the same dimensions as that of the Watch S1. However, it is lighter, at 36.3 g. It also sports a 1.43-inch AMOLED display. Between the two models, there are very few differences in terms of functionality and performance. Also, the Watch S1 Active is also NFC compliant and benefits from dual-band multi-system GPS technology. As for prices, the Watch S1 will be charged €229, compared to €169 for the Watch S1 Active.

Buds 3T Pro: Xiaomi wants to cut the whistle to AirPods

The Xiaomi 12 and the Watch S1 connected watches were not the only stars of the manufacturer’s last conference. During its 1-hour event, Xiaomi talked about the international launch of the Buds 3T Pro. These in-ear headphones feature 10mm dual-magnet dynamic drivers. They do not really create a surprise on the design side by positioning themselves between AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro; two of the benchmarks in the sector.

The brand adds an ANC processor to its Buds 3T Pro to offer hybrid noise reduction of up to 40 dB. “With the “Light” mode, the user can enjoy a moment of relaxation in a park, while the “Balanced” mode allows for example to walk in an office, and the “Deep” mode is ideal for noisy journeys in the subway or on the plane”, explains Xiaomi. In adaptive mode, the ambient noise level is detected in order to offer the most appropriate option depending on the environment. A “Transparency” mode is also present.

Hybrid noise reduction and 360° sound

The new headphones support Bluetooth 5.2 and are IP55 certified. In addition to being compatible with SBS and AAC codecs, the Buds 3T Pro support the LHDC 4.0 codec. Created by Savitech, it is an alternative to LDACs from Sony or Qualcomm aptX which allows speeds of up to 900 kbit/s. Another curiosity, these headphones come with a “Dimensional” (or surround sound) audio function to offer immersive 360-degree sound. The objective is to offer a “live” experience to the holders of the headphones, via monitoring of the movements of the head.

The Xiaomi Buds 3T Pro claim a battery life of 6 hours to which is added 24 hours thanks to the case. It is wirelessly rechargeable and comes – like headphones – in black and white. With a USB-C cable, it takes about 70 minutes for a full charge. Inside each earbud is a 38mAh battery while the case offers a 480mAh battery. Each earbud weighs 4.9 grams, for a total of 48 grams.

Xiaomi Buds 3T Pro: Reinforced ANC and spatial sound for these high-end wireless headphones

The manufacturer continues to move upmarket and unveils its TWS with advanced features. A point on these new wireless headphones.

In addition to its Xiaomi 12, 12 Pro and 12 X smartphones, the Chinese firm has announced two new connected watches with a neat and elegant design, the Watch S1 and Watch Active S1. It has also reinforced its more upscale positioning with a new pair of in-ear wireless headphones, the Buds 3T Pro. They stand out as worthy successors to the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 Pro launched in France in 2021.

This third generation of TWS headphones retains a similar design for its buds, available in black and white, but goes much further in terms of functionality and presents itself as an alternative to Apple’s AirPods Pro, whose design is elsewhere quite close.

Better ANC

The Xiaomi Buds 3T Pro feature 10mm dual-magnet dynamic drivers and three mics. They embed active noise reduction technology (ANC), already present on their predecessors. Nevertheless, the noise suppression goes from 35 dB to 40 dB, for a tenfold immersion. Three levels of ANC are offered to users, including a light, balanced or deep mode, to which is added a Transparency mode for more risky situations or to enter into communication with another person.

Spatial sound makes its debut

Absent from the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 Pro, it is now integrated into this new model. These are the first headphones from Xiaomi to offer such a feature. It has notably been democratized by Apple and its AirPods Pro. Called Dimensional Audio by Xiaomi, it reinforces the level of immersion of the wearer, who then has the impression of being surrounded by sound.

At the same time, the Xiaomi Buds 3T Pro supports SBC and AAC codecs, as well as LHDC 4.0 for high fidelity sound.

In addition, they benefit from a multipoint connection, allowing them to be coupled to two devices simultaneously, and are waterproof and dustproof (IP55 certification).

Xiaomi announces a battery life of 6 hours for the earbuds alone without ANC. It could be extended to 24 hours with the charging case, itself compatible with Qi wireless charging.

At this stage, Xiaomi has not yet confirmed the price in euros, nor the date of availability of its Buds 3T Pro. As an indication, they will be marketed in the United States at 199 dollars. The manufacturer should speak very soon on the arrival in France of its new terminals.