Not everyone needs a high-powered smartwatch that can track everything from marathon runs to croquet matches nor does everyone need something that costs as much as a smartphone. For those looking for a smartwatch that covers the essentials, the Mi Watch Lite fits the bill to a tee. Here’s our Mi Watch Lite review where we put it to the test to see just how it fares…
Unboxing the Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite
The Mi Watch Lite comes in a relatively simple box without fanfare or accessories bar the bare essentials. You get the Mi Watch Lite itself inset in a paper tray along with a docking cradle that ends in a USB-A port.
Care must be taken with the charger as losing it means you can’t charge the watch. Bar the docking cradle and watch, there Xiaomi has also tossed in the obligatory user manual and aught else.
Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite Build and Design
The Mi Watch Lite eschews frippery and ostentatious design for a straightforward, business-like aesthetic with a squarish casing hewn of polycarbonate and a TPU strap. Our test unit comes in a shade of black but it’s also available in other colours.
The practical matte black finish repels fingerprints nicely and provides a modicum of traction. While the straps are removable, they take significant effort to swap out and at this point in time is only compatible with straps made specifically for the Mi Watch Lite which are all made of the same TPU materials but in different colours.
Even with the preponderance of plastic, Xiaomi has managed to make it look like a smartwatch with its square-shaped 1.4-inch TFT touchscreen display up front. The underside of the watch case hosts a heart sensor with a single button on the side of the case to navigate the menus.
Another advantage here with the use of plastic is that the Mi Watch Lite is extremely light, weighing only 35g with the straps on which makes it more comfortable to wear for extended periods. As a bonus, it’s also water resistant to 5ATM which does allow usage in the shower and the pool.
Unfortunately, the Mi Watch Lite isn’t much of a music player and it lacks the storage for music or additional apps with almost every available function hardwiredbut on the bright side, the watch has GPS and GLONASS tracking which comes in handy for outdoor running excursions along with constant heart rate monitoring.
|Display||1.4-inch TFT LCD, 320 x 320 pixels, 350 nits, 323 ppi|
|Supported Exercises||Outdoor running, treadmill, outdoor cycling, indoor cycling, freestyle, walking, trekking, trail run, pool swimming, open water swimming, cricket (11 sports mode)|
|Functions||Heart rate monitoring, sleep monitoring, breathing exercises, notifications, weather, clock, alarm, flashlight, music control|
|Weight||35g (with strap) / 21g (without strap)|
|Size||41 x 35 x 10.9mm|
Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite performance
Getting the Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite up and running and maximising its full potential requires you to jump through quite a number of hoops. Out of the box, it’s merely a timepiece but if you pair it up with your smartphone and their Xiaomi Wear app, it becomes much more. The app itself is free and available on both the Apple app store and the Google Play store for download.
Getting the watch to pair properly with the app and the phone itself via Bluetooth took several tries and resets but everything eventually started talking to each other.
On setup, you have to input your gender, age and weight and from there you can start setting fitness goals like taking a certain number of steps or burning a certain amount of calories per day.
Once the Xiaomi Wear app is talking properly to your Mi Watch Lite and the formalities are sorted out, you’re able to start tracking a variety of health tracking variables and 11 workouts.
On the fitness front, the Mi Watch Lite is able to track the aforementioned steps taken and calories burned along with your sleep quality and your heart rate. The watch has an integrated GPS that allows it to effectively track outdoor running, walking or outdoor cycling workouts; this is somewhat of a rarity in cheaper smartwatches which makes its inclusion in the Mi Watch Lite a pleasant bonus.
The watch is also able to track static runs on a treadmill and covers the bases for most common workouts including indoor cycling and some other more exotic exercises including freestyle, trekking, trail runs, swimming and even cricket too.
Getting about on the Mi Watch Lite requires you to swipe the display while the sole button on the watch is to confirm selections. Double pressing the button brings up the menu where you can then start a workout, get a bird’s eye view of your biometrics, heart rate and sleep quality, fire up some basic breathing exercises and interestingly enough activate a digital compass and an altimeter.
Basic smartband essentials like a stopwatch, alarm, weather report and flashlight are also on hand. Unfortunately, you’re not able to add additional apps to the watch unlike more advanced smartwatches but it’s a fair tradeoff seeing as it only costs RM249. You can, however, tweak what the display looks like from a fair assortment of available that range from the whimsical to the efficient.
In keeping with other smart bands, the Mi Watch Lite also has the ability to receive notifications from your smartphone by giving you a little vibration on your wrist and also control music playback with streamed music off your phone.
The watch proved to be comfortable enough to wear to bed and the screen was bright enough that you can view it under daylight though it isn’t the most responsive that we’ve tested with a discernible lag when you’re trying to navigate the menus. Rather than gently flicking about the menus, you need to give decisive swipes and prod the display like you’re trying to remove a smudge of dirt on a plate.
When tested, the Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite proved to be relatively accurate in fitness tracking especially in regards to recording routes with our jog around town tracked with surprisingly good accuracy. We took it for a spin without our phone and after syncing with the Mi Wear app, it managed to track every step we took including us doubling back on our route for a quick coffee.
Sleep tracking was up to par as well and it was able to track moments of light and deep sleep over the course of several nights including an inadvertent session where we had to get up to feed the cat.
On paper, the XIaomi Mi Watch Lite is rated to last 9 days of moderate use. With notifications on for most of the time and sleep monitoring, the watch had an average of 17% drain every two days which puts it well within its theoretical limits though the drain is much faster if you’re actively using the GPS to track your outdoor runs with a rated maximum of ten hours of usage. Charging it via the provided dock to full takes a couple of hours.
Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite Verdict
The Mi Watch Lite brings a lot of value for what you pay for and offers accurate fitness tracking for most basic exercises like running, cycling and trekking in a durable and comfortable design though it lacks versatility as most functions are hardwired and you can’t load apps on it. Even so, it’s not a major quibble seeing what you’re paying for this. Users looking for an effective yet affordable basic smartwatch can’t go wrong with this.
Review unit courtesy of Xiaomi Malaysia. Visit their official page here.
Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite
Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite
Streamlined in form and function, the Mi Watch Lite offers the essentials with activity and basic fitness workout tracking in a comfortable and affordable package that won’t break the bank.
Outdoor run tracking
Has a digital compass,
Decent battery life
Limited number of fitness tracking modes
Finicky to set up