Xiaomi has announced the global launch of its Mi Watch, and formally kicked off the company’s entry into the world of smartwatches.
The Chinese phone maker has been causing big problems for the likes of Fitbit with its Mi Band range of fitness trackers, with affordable price tags and big spec sheets.
And it takes the fight to Apple in terms of price and battery life. It’s set to cost around €99 (around £99) and claims 16 days of battery life.
Mi Watch features
But that looks to have changed, with an aggressive list of features and a price tag that should frighten most mid-range smartwatch makers.
The global Mi Watch is actually different to its Chinese offerings. Visually, it looks like the Mi Watch Color – the Mi Watch was a boxy Apple Watch clone.
On board we have a 1.39-inch AMOLED display, though it’s not confirmed whether it’s the same 454×454 resolution we reported for the Mi Watch Color.
It’s packed with sensors too. Heart rate, GPS and blood oxygen show it’s not here to be dominated by Apple and Fitbit, and there are 117 exercise modes.
That’s pretty much all we formally know about the Mi Watch, and Xiaomi has only confirmed it will be available “soon”.
The company used an MUIU Android fork for the Chinese Mi Watch based on Wear OS, but with 16 days battery life on offer, we’re going to assume that’s not the case here.
That puts its strategy at odds with the Oppo Watch, from another Chinese smartphone maker, that’s chosen Wear OS for its global product.
It heads into crowded waters, with plenty of Chinese phone makers aggressively targeting smartwatches.
Huawei has seen traction with its Watch GT range, which have impressed us with long battery life and good health focussed features – although the closed OS is slightly limiting.
And Amazfit, whose owner Huami has a manufacturing partnership with Xiaomi, has also announced the GTS2 and GTR2, which offer sports tracking and similar feature sets to the Mi Watch, at a slightly high price.
Let’s just say the budget smartwatch market just got really hot.