Pebble was the last smartwatch that I had owned few years back. I liked it for its simple design, and the features that one cannot find in a traditional smartwatch, such as counting the steps you have taken, changing of watch face, amongst others. After the company ceased operations and the watch broken, I went back to using my Seiko 5 Automatic watch (Yeoman’s Watch Review has a post on it here). Until now.
Introducing the Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite.
Why the return to a smartwatch? I still like my automatic watches but with the COVID-19 situation brewing and concerns about my current health status, I got curious and decided to get an affordable one. So far, I am quite pleased with it, in terms of pricing, features and reliability when compared to my prior experiences with smartwatches.
I used to own a few Pebble watches before they ceased operations. Back then, smartwatches aren’t popular and as feature packed as current day products. A classic Pebble watch will set you back by about SGD$100 in those days if I remembered correctly. I got my Mi watch for less than that now. Those classic Pebble watches are like the current Mi watch I have now, simple and easy to use, but the similarities stops there. The Mi watch offers more functionalities and features, such as touch screen, heart beat sensors, GPS, and more!
I still miss the classic simple clean design of the original Pebble watch. What I don’t miss is their reliability. They don’t last very long and they tend to fail a few months just shy of the end of warranty period (I guess it is a good thing for consumers?). I had 3 replacements for it, with the last one upgraded to a newer model for free. That too, failed within 6 months. Pebble customer support was good though – they offered 1-to-1 exchanges, no questions asked.
What’s in the box?
This is pretty much what is inside the box. Lite. You get the watch (with strap), a user manual and a charger. Actually I think they can even go further by switching the user manual to a card with an URL to the manual online. I mean you are using a smartwatch, you definitely have internet connection and a browser somewhere, no? If they could get the watch to power by using a microUSB or USB C connector, that would even be great. Less material use, less cost and hopefully cheaper pricing for consumers.
Specifications in Brief
- 1.4″ LCD TFT display at 320×320 resolution
- Weight at 35g with strap
- Dimensions at 41mmx35mmx10.9mm
- Water resistance to 5ATM
- Battery at 230 mAH
- Strap material TPU
- Heart rate-sensor, Compass, 6-axis sensor, L-sensor, Barometer
Experience and Usage
You can use the watch straight out of the box without pairing/syncing but I don’t recommend that. If that is your use case, you should be buying a conventional watch instead. Download the Xiaomi Wear app from Google Play Store or Apple App Store to pair with your watch. It will open up more options for you to play with.
I have been using it for a few months now and am quite pleased with it. The display is crisp and clear and even after wearing the watch for the whole day, it is still comfortable. Battery life typically lasted me for the whole week with room to spare. I like the build quality too and for that price, it is value for money. The best part is it has all the basic features that a smartwatch should have with extras like GPS and heart beat monitoring feature at that price range. It is currently my daily driver.
There are many types of smartwatches out there and they all vary at different price range. It is really hard to say which are the best for you as it depends on your use case and budget. Having said that, when shopping for a smartwatch, you should not focus only on the watch aspect, but also on the mobile app support in terms of ease of use, functionalities, pairing and so on.
I would recommend the Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite for a first timer or if you would like something easy and simple to use. It has all the basic smartwatch features, with GPS and heart rate monitoring. It is extremely attractive for those who might not have a big budget but want to try out a smartwatch for themselves. It is affordable and at that price range, it doesn’t compromise on build quality.
Catch it during a sales if there isn’t an urgent need to get one or wait for the next version to be available in your country.